Saturday, February 6, 2010

You know how your health is.....

I believe that the body is interconnected hence previous post about impotence and heart disease, or another post that shows older looking people die younger. So here is another example of this. Older men in Brazil were asked about their health to say if their health was:
  • Poor
  • Fair 
  • Good 
  • Excellent
Over the two year study those who rated themselves as poor or fair where more likely to die than those who said they were good or excellent. It must be noted that to obtain these indications the effect of
 age, regular use of the public health system, current smoking, and acute cardiovascular disease

were removed. This makes sense as someone who is 80 is more likely to die than someone who is 65, or a smoker is more likely to die than a non smoker.

This tells me that we know how good our health is, let us take the time to listen to our bodies.

Another paper based upon the same study looked at what did the poor or fair health men have, or didn't have. They were looking for indicators that other people could use to gauge their health. They found that people with poor or fair health had the following:
  • Number of chronic conditions
  • Regular use of medication 
  • Recent hospitalization 
  • Not currently working 
  • Low schooling 
  • Being a user of the public health care system
The first three make sense. If you body is breaking down then you will have chronic conditions, regularly use medication and likely to have been to hospital. Thus we should be very alert if we have any of these. Not currently working is a more difficult concept. This study was done in Brazil were I would suspect there is very little social wealth, so the elderly would continue to work in some capacity. So in a Western context this might be a active participant in the local community events (volunteer / Rotary etc). Low schooling this might be a secondary correlation for example highly educated people are less likely to smoke than those who quit school at a young age. Lastly the public health care system, with out knowing the geopolitical background it is hard to judge. However I suspect that you only use the public system when you can't afford private care. Therefore this is an indication of poverty - or lack of poverty.    

I have always believed that most of know how healthy we are. Now appart from that little voice inside that tells some of us that we should be eating more healthy and taking better care of ourselves - I do take note that whatever we are doing that little voice tells us we are not good enough.... so time to give that voice the boot. However we need to be more objective about our health - or lack of it.

So in conclusion - if your body is not well it shows up. So change for the better now when you have the chance and the time. Your body can health itself if you provide the right nutrients and environment.

Reference 1:  Lívia Maria Santiagoa, Cristiane de Oliveira Novaesa and Inês Echenique Mattos Self-rated health (SRH) as a predictor of mortality in elderly men living in a medium-size city in Brazil Archives of Gerontology and Geriatrics. doi:10.1016/j.archger.2010.01.004

Reference 2:Lívia Maria Santiagoa, Cristiane de Oliveira Novaesa and Inês Echenique Mattos. Factors associated with self-rated health among older men in a medium-sized city in Brazil.  Journal of Men's Health doi:10.1016/j.jomh.2009.10.005

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