Sometimes, doctors cannot remember their patients' names. Funny thing is, if someone in the doctor's office changed your name from "Samuel" to "the right-sided abdominal pain guy," your doctor would, most likely, instantly know EXACTLY who the patient is. It isn't because he/she doesn't care ... quite the opposite, in fact. When it comes to practicing medicine, doctors learn how to see patients from the "inside out." Athletes see themselves this way, too, and so do their trainers and coaches.
This is where health and healing begins, and ends. This is also the reason that you usually cannot look at a person and know whether he or she is healthy or unhealthy. Heart disease, for example, can be congenital. So, if there is a genetic defect that was passed to you by one or both parents, then you could be a person who is a normal weight, athletic, who eats right, and still suffer from this illness. It is a mistake to think that only the obviously unhealthy are at risk for, or dealing with certain ailments. Having said that, it is my opinion that we should get to know ourselves from the inside out. See your primary care physician at least once per year. When you do this, have a comprehensive set of blood tests done. Ask for a urinalysis (pee test.) Depending upon your age, you might want to include an annual chest x-ray and an EKG (electrocardiogram...heart rhythm test). Your blood pressure and weight will also be recorded.
Don't stop there ... KNOW the results of these tests. Ask for printed test results, and keep them in a safe place. If you notice any asterisks (*) beside any of the test results, there is a chance that the results are either higher or lower than the "normal" range, and you should discuss this with your doctor. Many times, very simple changes like adding a supplement to your multivitamin can get those results back within the proper range. Being outside the range can also indicate that there is something else wrong with you that needs a closer look. If that is the case, your lab tests can often give you a heads up, and maybe you can begin life-saving treatment earlier than you would have if you didn't see these results.
Here's something else to consider: As you age, things change. This is the natural order of things. Our bodies are made to last for a certain amount of time under normal use, or "wear and tear." That is why there is the term called "life expectancy." The organs, tissues and cells in our bodies are made to withstand only so much damage before they begin to deteriorate. When we smoke, drink too much alcohol, fail to exercise on a regular basis and don't sleep enough, we are not just doing things that cause us not to feel our best here and now, we are actually doing damage to our bodies that we cannot necessarily see or feel right away. We are speeding up the aging process!
Remember that old song that said, "the hip bone's connected to the thigh bone..." and so forth? Well, it's ALL connected. From the point of taking a breath, eating something, or even going to the bathroom to release waste, it is all connected. If you lose your ability to breathe, oxygen cannot flow through your blood and keep your organs, cells and tissues healthy. Your brain begins to die within moments of not having oxygen. Eventually, your heart stops beating, and the result is death. It is not just YOU as an entity who dies...it is every distinct piece of you.
With this in mind, take better care of you. Take better care of every teeny tiny bit of you. If you smoke, consider the fact that you're breathing in poisons that are going into your lungs, and your bloodstream. Since your blood is recycled throughout your body, you are sucking in poison to your whole body. If you are a person who has poor eating habits, think about what your failure to properly provide nutrition to your body's many components is doing to you.
We can all make changes that will make us feel better and help our bodies last longer. Since this is a new year, why not start 2011 by making changes that will improve your quality of life for the long haul? That is what I am going to do, by getting to know myself better ... inside out. Join me!