I'm sure you'll agree that prevention is preferred over trying to manage or reverse a disease.

At the same time however, merely preventing disease does not actually create optimal health. Let that sink in just a little. Let's use diabetes as an example. Having a blood glucose reading over 100mg/dL indicates either pre-diabetic (up to 125mg/dL) or diabetes (126mg/dL and higher). Using this classification, someone having a blood glucose reading of 99mg/dL is given no diagnosis, no label, and no disease. He or she is considered for all intents and purposes disease-free and “healthy”. So you see where I'm going right? This system is great for making it in under the wire when applying for life insurance, but knowing the numbers like we do, I would not consider this person healthy.

With allopathic medicine being the mainstream and go-to form of medical and disease care, there has always been a lot of focus on medications and what they can do to treat disease. And, as treating the disease most often is merely treating the symptoms rather than finding and addressing the root cause, most people with a medical diagnosis live with disease management. Did you know that, more than 90 percent of prescriptions written in North America are written as a “take-this-for-the-rest-of-your-life” directive with little or no action plan for the patient to alleviate or reverse their condition.

As many people today are looking to get off certain medications, things are shifting towards prevention. Which talks a great talk, but the walk needs a little more pep in the step to really make an impact healthfully. Just because someone scored below the target number marking disease, hardly is enough to consider someone healthy. Enter optimal health.

Optimal health, in my opinion, is not merely the absence of disease, but also having the energy, vigor and vitality to live life healthfully, without permanent medications required to keep the numbers in line. Optimal health to me, is like getting old. I only consider myself or someone else “old” if they are unable to do what they want to do or need to do on a daily basis. The same goes for optimal health. Adopting and consistently (consistency is the key here) living a program of balanced health, goes beyond keeping you under that tipping point of diagnosis. It allows you to live comfortably in your own skin, enjoying optimal health.

Let's take a look at some markers that could indicate why someone, although not yet diagnosed with a disease, is not anywhere near optimal health. 1. Girth. Otherwise known as the “muffin top” for the ladies and the “basketball” or “dad bod” for the men. If the measurement around your middle at belly-button level is greater than the inseam of your jeans, it's time to take a look at losing a few pounds and lowering body fat percentage. 2. Medications. Receiving a “clean bill of health” then being handed your regular prescription refill to manage cholesterol, blood pressure or blood sugars, and given no at-home action plan to work at reducing those meds, is also a red flag. A big one. 3. Sleep and stress. On a scale of one to ten with one being least, rating overall sleep quality and stress levels at opposite ends of the scale – lack of sleep together with high stress. Each one of these points, independent of the others is enough to put your health at risk. Combine one or more as is often the case and it's never a question of if you will eventually be diagnosed with a lifestyle disease, but rather when.

Most of you have heard me compare our bodies to our vehicles so go there with me again. Picture your daily driver with a few mechanical or structural issues that don't actually prevent you from driving the car. Let's say the exhaust pipe is rusted through and has come away, hanging down from the car. Most people would not be ok with their mechanic simply wrapping the pipe in muffler tape too keep it from dragging, they would insist on a proper repair or replacement of the part, correct? But that is exactly what many are doing with that vehicle that drives them through life – their body. Like that muffler with the tape on it, it will work fine for a while and may not even affect the performance of the vehicle. But the patch job won't last forever, it's not restorative in any way, and may actually cause more damage in the long run.

Sadly, the general population takes better care of the car in their driveway than the one an only, no trade-ins, trade-ups, new leases or exchanges vehicle that they need to drive them through life. I'd like to challenge everyone reading today to begin thinking about how you would treat your car if you knew you could never ever have another one, and then apply that mindset to the care and well being of your health and your body. You will be pleasantly surprised at the great mileage you'll get from an older model.

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