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!

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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo CD3528530
    That is actually an awesome idea, tracking your figures. You are fortunate indeed to live in a country where your healthcare is available for you. We are not as lucky here in the states. I just had bloodwork done awhile ago as a result of an (unscheduled) trip to the hospital and fortunately, the doctor told me that my labs were equivalent to someone in their 20s, which was good to know. But prior to that, I couldn't tell you the last time I had bloodwork done because I have been running without health insurance since 1994 when I left my state job. Hopefully SOME day the U.S. will catch up to the more progressive countries in this regard, but with the medical field here being such a huge cash cow to the insurance/pharmaceutical/medical corporations in general (which allows their highly paid lobbyists to influence our political system), I don't look to see this change in my lifetime. Hopefully in my grandchildrens' lifetime we will finally join the 21st century. But kudos for seeing what you need to do, and then taking the steps to do just that. It will only serve you well.
    3032 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3409143
    Yeah I thought I hadn't commented on this before. I sure know I need to try to improve my health - having said that I know from personal experience as my wife is very (gravely) ill right now and is trying to get LTD as she can NO LONGER work.
    3099 days ago
    I love the idea of a how you can look and compare. I love it when people take an active role in their health care.

    I know you can do this.
    3102 days ago
    Great insight. A good lees on for all of us. I am back to visiting spark people and fitting in daily exercise. I hope you are well!
    Take care,
    3142 days ago
    I also look forward to joining you with better health and fitness this year. I put on 40 pounds in a few months last year and have sure noticed the difference. So cheers to the New Year and new beginnings

    I have never thought to keep a record of the results over the years..thank you for sharing that info I will begin that habit now.
    3243 days ago
  • no profile photo CD3409143
    I am not looking forward to mine in March as I always get the lecture about losing weight and my blood pressure (SIGH). Glad you have a more understanding GP
    3251 days ago
    I'm in the same boat, CJ! My Dr. tells me I'm basically very healthy, but I'm not feeling it so much. I'm thankful not to have the terrible diseases that I'm aware can occur to anybody at any time. And it seems reasonable that if we know how to do better, we will do better.

    Good luck, dearie!

    3302 days ago
    I love the idea of a spreadsheet! And you are so right, health is more than just the absence of disease.
    3304 days ago
    thank you dear for this very honest and healthy minded blog...I need to step up as well!
    God gave us this temple...I need to take better care of it.
    3304 days ago
    what a great idea to keep a spreadsheet!!
    ok girls i think its time to step it up....

    3304 days ago
    emoticon emoticon
    3304 days ago
  • JUSTME29
    Good health is far more than just the absence of disease. Thank you for giving me something to think about.
    3304 days ago
    Very interesting CJ. I think if I were to keep track, mine would show pretty much the same thing. If I'm healthy - great - but I think we should strive to be healthier. Here's to both of us accomplishing that!!!
    3304 days ago
    Pro health! emoticon emoticon Rhonda emoticon emoticon
    3305 days ago
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    Disclaimer: Weight loss results will vary from person to person. No individual result should be seen as a typical result of following the SparkPeople program.