The Road to Health & Wellness
A Health and Wellness Guide
According to the National Wellness Institute, wellness is a process aimed at achieving one’s full potential in a positive and affirmative manner while addressing the six components of overall wellness: occupational, physical, social, intellectual, spiritual, and emotional aspects.
How is wellness achieved? By making conscious decisions about your overall health.
Supporting Your Overall Health and Wellness Journey
Every patient should take charge of his or her health and wellness. This may be a daunting prospect, but being proactive about your own health care is the first step to living a healthy and fulfilling life.
Preventative care is an integral part of your wellness journey as it can help steer from conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and thyroid disease amongst others.
Establishing preventive care should consist of creating a health team of professionals who want to be a part of your journey. This includes individuals such as a primary care physician and/or functional medicine practitioner, chiropractor, acupuncturist, massage therapist, fitness trainer, nutritionist, and life coach as each will address a particular part of your health, physical or emotional.
Incorporating lifestyle changes is also a fundamental part of wellness. Exercise, healthy eating, and attaining a healthy weight are crucial to your overall health and wellness.
Importance of Health Screenings and Labs
The cornerstone of a health and wellness plan should be a physical exam with your primary care provider. The one-on-one relationship between doctor and patient supports a healthy lifestyle and allows your doctor to detect any changes over time.
At a minimum, every year, your doctor should order a complete panel of blood work that screens for such manageable conditions as diabetes and thyroid disease in addition to detection of vitamin/mineral deficiencies to include vitamin B12, vitamin D, iron, and magnesium as these are key in many of our bodily functions.
Taking part in screenings such as mammograms, colonoscopies, and thermography (my preferred method) for reproductive and digestive health, can help detect abnormalities that can lead to cancer: early detection increases the chances of survival and a full recovery.
Unfortunately, two areas often overlooked include dental and vision screenings. Dental health has a direct link to digestive health and it is therefore imperative to see your dentist twice a year for cleanings and preventive care. Vision screenings can help uncover irregularities that result from other underlying conditions, such as diabetes.
Any chronic conditions detected during the annual exam needs consistent treatment. Be sure to take medications/supplements and follow any lifestyle recommendations your primary care doctor and health team offer. Exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can help you manage the effects most chronic conditions.
Autoimmune disease is a serious condition mimicking the symptoms of many other disorders as it causes the body to be on constant attack. Most autoimmune diseases share similar symptoms such as fatigue, muscle aches, and inflammation, hence the reason for proper screenings and following through with your wellness plan.
The importance of mental health should not be forgotten in managing your health and wellness journey. Depression, anxiety, and more serious mental health conditions can seriously affect your quality of life in all areas including home, work, and relationships.
Be aware of the symptoms of mental health conditions and be sure to contact your primary health care provider if you feel you are suffering from one of these.
The stigma of such conditions can prevent patients from seeking treatment, but there is no reason to be ashamed of needing help. Mental health conditions can be as treatable as high blood pressure and diabetes and can be addressed with help from your health care team as mental health is more than a chemical imbalance.
Care for Life Stages
Managing your personal health and wellness changes as you progress through life’s stages is very important.
Starting early in life builds the foundation for a healthy life. Parents should bring their children to see a doctor for well child exams at the recommended intervals and consider additional services such as chiropractic care. Chiropractic care in children can provide many benefits such as prevention of common ailments to include ear infections, persistent sore throats, colic, constipation, and bedwetting and supports a healthy nervous system and has been proven to be safe and effective.
Women should have regular pelvic exams and receive screenings for cervical cancer, as well as annual mammograms or a thermograph after the age of 40. Pregnant women should receive appropriate obstetrical care and can certainly benefit from the guidance of a nutritionist to ensure that both mother and child are receiving the necessary nutrients.
As people age, it is not uncommon to experience symptoms which can eventually lead to chronic disease. Hair loss, hormonal imbalance during menopause, nutrient deficiencies, and digestive issues are typical indicators of the body’s need for better care.
Support Your Wellness
Lifestyle changes are as important as receiving regular health care. Eating healthy, exercising, and stress management are key in maintaining a healthy body.
Proper nutrition is important for everyone. Processed foods and sugars should be limited. Incorporating the right foods such as plenty of vegetables, fruits, and good fats can help control cravings and blood sugar issues.
Maintaining a healthy body weight is another important factor for your overall health. Obesity is associated with many health conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and joint problems. Consult with your health team about ways to lose weight in a healthy way.
Many patients choose to supplement their medical care with exercise, meditation, and yoga. A mix of traditional and alternative therapies can help patients to live more balanced lives.
Your Overall Health
While the prospect of managing your health proactively can seem intimidating and overwhelming, you are not alone. Your health care team is there to help and provide guidance on your journey, helping you make the best decisions for your health and achieving your full potential.