Health = Absence of Disease?
Wednesday, November 09, 2011
I had my yearly physical a couple of weeks ago. I dutifully went to get my blood work done afterward. I have now had my follow-up appointment to go over the results. According to my doc, I am 'healthy'. As Data from Star Trek would say, I am "operating within set parameters". This is good, I suppose. As I left the doctor's office, though, I got to thinking. What is health? Is it simply the lack of disease? Is it cholesterol levels within normal limits? Is it a heart pumping adequately? All I have learnt about health over the last few years would have me respond with a resounding "NO!"
I keep track of my blood work results every time I get them done. I have a chart at home that I have done on my computer that I fill in with each year's info. My doctor does not have easy access to the last 6 years of figures as I do, and she only sees one year's stats at a time.
When I had filled in this year's numbers, I was astounded by what I saw. While my numbers have been within 'normal' limits for each of the last 6 years, I see a trend. This year's numbers are the worst they've been since 2007. That was the year I was at my heaviest weight (within the obese range). My HDL was the lowest that year, and my LDL was the highest. The other results were equally abysmal. After participating in sparkpeople for over a year, and exercising regularly, watching what I ate, I had my 2008 blood work done. The numbers were much, much better.
Now, since I have gained back weight and am almost where I was when I started this journey, I have slipped into near-unhealthy ranges again. While still 'normal' and 'healthy', I can see the pattern. And I have no doubt where those numbers would end up in a few years' time if I didn't stop this thing now! I am positive that if I get rid of these extra 30 pounds I am carrying around, and in the process I strengthen my heart, lungs, and muscles, my numbers would be back to their great 2008 levels.
Stronger heart and lungs? The ability to run and play more without becoming easily winded? More energy? Improved self-esteem and sex life? To me, these are much better indicators of health and fitness than those isolated numbers on my doctor's sheet in my file.
I look forward to these improvements!