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Resilience, Vibrancy, Strength, Results

disease health

Let’s start with a little story. In anticipation of a new person visiting our clinic, all of the laboratory/blood work was sent ahead of time for review. In looking at the values of glucose, white blood cell counts, cholesterol, etc… one “should” gain an appreciation of how healthy or not a person is.

On paper.

When this person arrived at the clinic, she could barely get in the front door for lack of mobility and obesity.

This person was clearly not healthy. And yet by all medical standards, she was. If you have all your values in the normal range, and symptoms under control, then you are deemed healthy.

This got me thinking, “What does it mean to be healthy?”  “What does it mean to be sick?”  From this person’s blood work captured on paper, I really couldn’t tell either.

Let’s define some terms and let’s keep it simple… for my sake!

First of all health: Health is a big and often ambiguous term. Commonly health is thought of as the absence of disease. Like our person above. If all your symptoms are managed correctly, or you are asymptomatic, you must be healthy. In other words, if your body is not expressing sickness or disease, you are healthy. Do you see what has happened? A negative term, sickness, has been used as if it is the norm. Health, in this instance, is defined as the absence of sickness.  THIS IS COMPLETELY BACKWARDS! Spoiler alert: health is normal. Sickness is a deviation from a positive term. Health is normalSickness is not. This is more than a semantic difference. If we think that sickness is normal, then we accept the inevitable, and are not surprised when we feel poorly.

So what is health?

I think a great definition of health, at least a starting point, is the ability to adapt. Adaptation, as in the ability to change to the environment or change in response to demands placed on our bodies, is crucial. The inability to adapt, leads to sickness and disease. To further expand this definition, our emotions must be adaptable too. (That should be the subject of another post.)

The theme for this blog series has been adaption and how to harness stress to help us adapt to our environment. When we fail to adapt, we fail. That doesn’t sound like health to me.

Do healthy people get sick? Absolutely. Their bodies must adapt, however, and overcome the sickness and return to normal, or healthy. Can you tell much about a person by how quickly they adapt to the environment? Yes, and it looks like health.

Let us continue to find ways to challenge this underappreciated tool, stress, to provoke an adaptive response.

Resilience, vibrancy, strength, results. That sounds like a healthy life.

Cheers,

ks

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