2265 North Clybourn Avenue    Chicago, IL 60614    P: 773.296.6700     F: 773.296.1131

This is Your Moment (And You Didn’t Even Know It)

I’m surprised there’s been no mention in the newspapers or on TV of a newly published article from the prestigious American Journal of Medicine. Maybe it’s that we’re all suffering a bit of bad-news fatigue and the media decided to take mercy on us.

Let’s face it. The conclusions from an immense survey (40,000 participants in 89 communities across the US) are not a source of good cheer. Entitled “Adherence to Healthy Lifestyle Habits in US Adults,” the researchers give us a D.

They tracked five healthy habits over a period of 16 years (1988-1994 and again from 2001-2006). Here are the results:

1. Performing vigorous physical activity 12 or more times a month has decreased among men from 57% to 43%, and among women from 49% to 43%.

2. Eating five or more servings of fruits/veggies a day has decreased among both sexes from 45% to 26%.

3. The percentage of smokers among both sexes has remained unchanged.

4. Moderate alcohol intake has increased among both sexes.

5. Obesity has increased among both sexes.

As a result, Americans have measurable increased total numbers for heart disease, including stroke; adult onset diabetes; high blood pressure; and high cholesterol. And, even after being diagnosed with one or more of these conditions, there’s no evidence of people initiating lifestyle changes that might improve their health.

“But,” you’re thinking, “those statistics apply to other people, not to me. I really try to take care of myself.”

If you’re a patient at WholeHealth Chicago, I completely agree. I’ve been in practice for more than 30 years and can say confidently that our patients are the healthiest I’ve ever encountered. Most internists spend their lives tracking the downward spirals of their patients, endlessly adjusting medications until a series of hospitalizations end in a death certificate. Happily, not me. The single most common question I hear: “Is there anything else I should be doing?” The writers of this journal article would have all their gloomy data skewed to goodness if they knew about you guys.

Here are a few happier statistics: We take care of about 2,000 patients at WholeHealth Chicago. This is a larger number than other practices because you are all undeniably healthier, take care of minor problems yourselves, and live lifestyles so health-oriented that most physicians (including unfortunately myself) would find them difficult to match.

If you’re sitting in our lobby and look around, know that virtually all the people you see eat a healthful diet, exercise a lot, don’t smoke, drink modestly, and try to keep their weight under control. (On this last point, some are better than others, but virtually none of you live on junk or fast foods.)

The results? Whereas most internists have two or three patients in the hospital at all times, I have two or three per year, usually for a surgical problem such as appendicitis. Regarding illness triggered by unhealthful lifestyles, in comparison to other practices, I care for a relatively small number of people who have high blood pressure (triggered mainly by genetic issues, rather than lifestyle ones), a mere ten people with diabetes, exactly one patient with emphysema from smoking, and none with alcohol cirrhosis of the liver. Although I would refer any patient who’d had a heart attack to a cardiologist, no one in my practice has had a heart attack or stroke during the past seven years. I seriously doubt if any internal medicine practice in Chicago could match those numbers and I owe these enviable statistics to your collective diligence.

When warning signs start appearing on test results (early diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure), virtually all WholeHealth Chicago patients want to try lifestyle changes first, including a meeting with nutritionist Marla Feingold, an exercise program, or a trial of alternative therapies (herbs, acupuncture, homeopathy). Prescription meds are most often viewed as a last resort. Can these chronic conditions be reversed with lifestyle changes? You bet!

As far as healthy choices and their consequences, you guys get an A. “But,” you may be thinking, “if we’re all so healthy, why is Dr E’s office so crowded?” This is definitely a reasonable question.

The one lifestyle issue the journal article did not address was stress, ad this is because the effects of stress are symptoms rather than actual measurable disease. Here’s a list of the major symptoms that bring people into office, and also account for why the office is busy:

• Fatigue (including adrenal and thyroid fatigue), the single most common symptom, sometimes persistent enough to be classified as chronic fatigue syndrome.
• This is followed by muscle aches and pains, sometimes worsening to fibromyalgia; tension and migraine headaches; digestive symptoms with no apparent flaws in the gastrointestinal system (e.g., irritable bowel syndrome); menstrual disorders, including PMS and menopause symptoms; sleep disturbances; depression; and anxiety with panic attacks. With most of these symptoms, there are no positive test results, so strictly speaking, no actual disease is present.

The overall numbers for each of these diagnoses have been steadily increasing every year–no surprise, considering the state of the world.

So on the one hand, our patients deserve major congratulations for their healthful lifestyle choices, which allow me to thumb my nose at the naysayers in the American Journal of Medicine.

But next, look carefully at your life and work with equal diligence to get stress issues under control. With your good overall health dramatically increasing your odds of living well into your 90s, take some steps now to make all those healthy years happy and stress-free ones as well.

Leave a Comment


Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, delicious and time-saving recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

BIRTHDAY

Health Tips

Dr. Edelberg’s Health Tips contain concise bits of advice, medical news, nutritional supplement and pharmaceutical updates, and stress relief ideas. With every Health Tip, you’ll also receive an easy, delicious, and healthful recipe.

When you sign up to receive Health Tips, you can look forward to Dr. Edelberg’s smart and very current observations arriving in your in-box weekly. They’re packed with helpful information and are often slightly irreverent. One of the most common responses to the tips is “I wish my doctor talked to me like this!”

Quick Connect

Get One Click Access to our

patient-portal

The Knowledge Base

Patient education is an integral part of our practice. Here you will find a comprehensive collection of staff articles, descriptions of therapies and nutritional supplements, information addressing your health concerns, and the latest research on nutritional supplements and alternative therapies.

Join our Newsletter

Get health recommendations, recipes, medical news, supplement reviews, birthday discounts, and more!

Upcoming Workshops

**Pain Relief with Myofascial Balls
Tuesday, October 29, 6-8pm
With Renee Zambo, C-IAYT Yoga Therapist

Course Fee: $65.00
(includes WholeHealth Chicago Myofascial Release Kit, $40 value)

Does that same spot in your neck, shoulders, back or hips seem to bother you every day? Do you have joint aches and pains in the hands and feet? Would you like to learn ways to alleviate that pain and tension?

Join WholeHealth Chicago’s Yoga and Movement Therapist Renee Zambo for an evening of muscle tension release with myofascial therapy balls.

Space is limited and registration is required.
Please register online.
Call the Center for additional information at (773) 296-6700
More>>

Recent Health Tips

  • Dandruff, Fungi, and Cancer of the Pancreas

    It’s an eye-catching title, I’ll admit. But the links are quite real and further research may guide medicine in new directions of cancer prevention and treatment. It all starts in your gut microbiome, the totality of microorganisms–bacteria, viruses, protozoa, and fungi–present in your gastrointestinal (GI) tract, mouth to anus. Until recently, researchers and clinical physicians alike paid virtually no attention to the microbiome and the Read More

  • New Hope For Sinus Sufferers

    When osteopath Dr. Rob Ivker moved to Colorado in the 1980s to set up his family practice, he had no idea that when he stepped off the plane he’d succumb to symptoms of chronic sinusitis that just wouldn’t go away: stuffy nose, thick mucus, pressure behind his cheekbones and above his eyebrows, dull aching headache, and thick goopy drainage in the back of his throat. Read More

  • Director of IV Therapies Katie McManigal, BSN, ANP

    Most people at some point in their lives have had an intravenous (IV) line. An adept nurse warned you about the tiny pinch of the needle as it was smoothly inserted and taped in place.  Then the  fluid dangling above your head slowly started making its way through a tube and into your body. IVs are all over the place in hospitals. They’re seen in Read More

October Sale – Save 20% off UltraMeal Rice

UltraMeal RICE is a tasty, non-dairy, nutritionally fortified, powdered meal replacement for those who want to support healthy body composition but may be sensitive to soy.

Click here to take advantage of this month’s promotion!