Opinion: Take stock of your health

No matter what side of the health care debate we are on, we can recognize the value to all of us of having good health.  Unfortunately, we often take our good health for granted until we start having problems. If our blood pressure goes up or our cholesterol goes up, we can just pop a pill and that brings the cholesterol numbers down and the blood pressure numbers down. If we have a heart attack the doctor can fix it.
We need to take the time in our busy lives to recognize the value of good health and find ways to prevent our blood pressure and cholesterol from going up in the first place. We need to make the choice to be more active and to change how we look at the foods we put into our bodies.
Take a minute to think about the things that you will be able to continue to do if you keep your body in shape to do them. Think about saving money on doctor visits, tests and medications — where would you rather spend that money? Think about having the energy to keep up with your children and grandchildren. Why is it important to you to keep your body healthy or make it healthier?
I have put up a bulletin board at Kemper Drug so that our patients and friends in the community can share what they stay healthy for. Responses have been thought provoking: I want to stay healthy so that I can use my money for vacations instead of medications; I want to stay healthy so my brain stays sharp and I can keep winning at cards; I want to avoid getting diabetes so that I don’t have to worry about everything I eat and wonder if it will affect my vision or make me need to get my toe amputated; I want to be able to play with my grandchildren; I want to be healthy so I feel good!
As you work to maintain or improve your health, encourage those around you to find motivation to do the same. However, as you encourage people, do not judge them by how they look. Being overweight is not just a matter of people eating too much and exercising too little. The human body is a complicated thing. Two people can eat the same amounts of the same thing and exercise the same and the calories can be used differently. One can gain weight and the other can stay the same. Also, you can have thin people who are in poorer physical condition than overweight people — and more at risk for a heart attack.
Find ways to stay more active at work and at home. Learn more about the foods that you eat and how they affect your body. Get a regular check up with a health-care provider when you are feeling well so they can help you identify any risk factors and help you keep your health.
So what do I stay healthy for: To keep growing new brain cells, to be physically able to do what I want to do until I am 90, and to keep having fun! — Wendy Simenson R.Ph, Kemper Drug, Elk River

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