Tag: pandemic

Re-Evaluating Health During COVID-19

All around the world today we are living in a truly bizarre time with COVID-19. We have stay at home orders and quarantines in place for the sick. Our grocery store shelves are empty of cleaning supplies, toilet paper and boxed foods, yet good healthy whole foods are still available in abundance. I have now seen multiple news stories where people wear rubber gloves when out shopping, only to discard them on the ground outside instead of in trash receptacles where they belong. People are living in fear of this cold virus pandemic as if there has never been deadly pandemics before which have killed far more people than the current COVID-19 pandemic.

There have been nine serious pandemics over the last one hundred years with the HIV/AIDS pandemic still ongoing.  Seven of these have occurred over the last fifty years. This pandemic is not the first, nor will it be the last. I wish I knew a way to get people to quit living in fear of the unknown factors behind this virus and be more positive about what we do know. What we do know is that world wide there have been about 132 million cases diagnosed, almost a quarter million people fully recovered and a death rate of just under 60 thousand for a mortality rate of under 1 percent.

Yes, this virus is highly contagious. We do need to be cautious!

But no, we do not need to live our lives in fear. Most people only display minor symptoms. Do yourself a favor and quit watching 24/7 news all day as you sit in the confines of your home. Tune out those on social media who do nothing but help spread bad information and blame. There are far too many armchair quarterbacks calling plays in this pandemic who are not armed with medical knowledge. Beware the politicians who are taking advantage of the current events solely for political gain.

What we do know about COVID-19

People who have chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes, lung disease and heart disease, face an increased chance of being hospitalized with COVID-19 and put into intensive care, according to data released Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that is consistent with reports from China and Italy. The CDC analyzed more than 7,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases across the country in which health officials had a written record about the presence or absence of any underlying medical condition. The preexisting conditions covered in the records include heart and lung diseases, diabetes, chronic renal disease, chronic liver disease, immunocompromised conditions, neurological disorders, neurodevelopmental or intellectual disability, pregnancy, current or former smoker status, and “other chronic disease.” Almost every one of these maladies can be avoided through good nutrition and exercise which keeps you fit, trim, and healthy. Of the 7,160 patients whose chronic illness status was known through health records, 184 died, and 173 of them had an underlying condition, the CDC said. None of the deaths were among people under age 19.

With the entire world in a state of worry around COVID-19, it’s not surprising that people with pre-existing conditions — like obesity — are more afraid than people who are in good health. If that’s you, your fear is of course natural and understandable. The virus swiftly took over the globe, leaving researchers scrambling to understand how it works, who is most at risk, and how to control its spread. It is a virus that is new to the world’s health care professionals.

As this COVID-19 pandemic spreads around the world, you should consider how being overweight or obese might affect you if you were to contract this virus.

According to the World Obesity Federation, “Obesity-related conditions seem to worsen the effect of COVID-19; indeed, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that people with heart disease and diabetes are at higher risk of COVID-19 complications.” This is because on the physiological level, there is a plethora of reasons why excess fat is risky for your well being.  Even patients who are metabolically healthy despite being  obese need to be concerned because of the excess adiposity based upon angiotensin-converting enzyme 2 (ACE2). What this means to you is the ACE2 enzyme binds well to viruses, like severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2). The risk of serious illness increases even more if you have multiple  illnesses or conditions such as diabetes, sleep apnea, coronary artery disease, or heart failure. Again, each of these are within your control if you choose to live a healthy life. These ailments usually accompany, or are a direct result of excess body fat in the form of obesity. So please, before you jump on social media and begin pointing the finger of blame on others who you believe are not doing enough to protect your safety and well being, just stop already.

Take a good look in the mirror and ask yourself what more can you do for yourself.

No one forces you to eat an unhealthy diet. You do this on your own. I’m pretty sure no one else is putting that fork and spoon in your mouth for you.

Except in the case of severe disability, most everyone can perform some kind of exercise.

No one forces you to consume alcohol, nor to smoke cigarettes.

You, and you alone are primarily responsible for your health. Your doctor might give you treatments and cures, but at the end of the day, your health is on you!

As you practice social distancing while sitting in your home,  please re-evaluate how you live your life. This pandemic is not our first, nor will it be our last. There could be another come along in the future that is much worse than this one.

Thoughts on Corona and Lifestyle

My life has been quite the whirlwind lately. We lost my brother in law and best friend Howard to liver cancer, and then my work schedule was changed unexpectedly along with a few more private and personal events I do not want to get into here. And just when it seems that everything is tapering off, along comes the Corona virus and all of a sudden, people everywhere have gone stark raving mad. I will never worry about a zombie apocalypse now, instead my fear is having to wrestle lunatics in the grocery store over a package of toilet paper. If I could find a pack, I might just make sure all in the store watches  as I first lick and then cough all over it in order to ensure no one steals the package out of my cart…

I have been a little remiss in my writing lately with all the events that have occurred n my life. I had a muse this morning to write another piece on childhood obesity, but while walking through my grocery store early this morning, seeing the run on bottled water, toilet paper and cleaning supplies, my thoughts on my muse began to change. I’m not a doctor or a scientist so I am not going to get into if I believe the virus is going to wipe out mankind or not, but I do want to address some absurdities:

Immunizations

How many of the toilet paper hoarders refuse to immunize their children against the numerous diseases that have been known to decimate children, diseases such as smallpox, measles, polio, or other vaccine-preventable diseases.  A decision not to immunize your child also involves risk and could put your child and others who come into contact with him or her at risk of contracting a potentially deadly disease. Without vaccines, your child is at risk for getting seriously ill and suffering pain, disability, and even death from diseases like measles and whooping cough. Yet, there are many people who refuse to vaccinate their children. Do we need to see them dying again for people to once again take these illnesses serious?

Smokers

If you are a smoker who is fearful of this virus, you really need to re-evaluate your life. If you are afraid of this virus, you should be afraid of every virus that can get you sick or kill you. Cigarette smoking causes about one of every five deaths in the United States each year.

Cigarette smoking is estimated to cause the following:

  • More than 480,000 deaths annually (including deaths from secondhand smoke)
  • 278,544 deaths annually among men (including deaths from secondhand smoke)
  • 201,773 deaths annually among women (including deaths from secondhand smoke)

Cigarette smoking causes premature death:

  • Life expectancy for smokers is at least 10 years shorter than for nonsmokers.
  • Quitting smoking before the age of 40 reduces the risk of dying from smoking-related disease by about 90%.

How about doing us all a favor and put a can or two of disinfectant back on the grocery store shelf for someone else to have some.

Drinkers

If you are a drinker and panicked by the fact you might die from the Corona virus, why do these facts not bother you?

  • An estimated 88,000 people (approximately 62,000 men and 26,000 women) die from alcohol-related causes annually, making alcohol the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States. The first is tobacco, and the second is poor diet and physical inactivity.
  • In 2014, alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 9,967 deaths (31 percent of overall driving fatalities).
  • In 2010, alcohol misuse cost the United States $249.0 billion.
  • Three-quarters of the total cost of alcohol misuse is related to binge drinking
  • In 2012, 3.3 million deaths, or 5.9 percent of all global deaths (7.6 percent for men and 4.0 percent for women), were attributable to alcohol consumption.
  • In 2014, the World Health Organization reported that alcohol contributed to more than 200 diseases and injury-related health conditions, liver cirrhosis, cancers, and injuries. In 2012, 5.1 percent of the burden of disease and injury worldwide (139 million disability-adjusted life-years) was attributable to alcohol consumption.
  • Globally, alcohol misuse was the fifth leading risk factor for premature death and disability in 2010. Among people between the ages of 15 and 49, it is the first. In the age group 20–39 years, approximately 25 percent of the total deaths are alcohol attributable
  • More than 10 percent of U.S. children live with a parent with alcohol problems, according to a 2012 study.

Thursday night at my job, we had several employees not show up to work because of their fear of contracting the Corona virus. Yet, I cannot help to wonder how many of them sat around drinking away their obsessions with others in a bar or at home.

Obesity

In this modern age where we have all the information in the world contained by a small device in the palm of our hands, everywhere you look, there are people with significant weight problems. It is almost like no one either knows how this happens, or maybe they just do not care. Either way, the increasing prevalence of obesity over the last two decades has generated considerable concerns about its health burdens. It is frequently stated in scientific and lay literature that obesity causes about 300, 000 deaths per year in the United States. It has been suggested that obesity is second only to smoking as a preventable cause of death.

It is not rocket science to see that people who are overweight or obese face a lot of health complications. In fact, by being overweight or obese, you increase your risk for many diseases and health conditions that can be more debilitating or deadly than the Corona virus. Unfortunately, obesity rates in the United States are rising. With that statistic comes some staggering costs.

  • In the United States, 36.5 percent of adults are obese. Another 32.5 percent of American adults are overweight. In all, more than two-thirds of adults in the United States are overweight or obese.
  • Around 17 percent of American children ages 2 to 19 are obese. That’s more than 12.7 million American children.  One in eight preschoolers are obese. These statistics are unacceptable! Children who are overweight or obese are five times more likely to be obese or overweight adults than children of normal weight. This can increase their risk for many chronic diseases and health complications.
  • If you are overweight or obese, your risk for dozens of diseases and conditions is higher. These include type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, cancer, and many other diseases.
  • Globally, obesity is one of the top five leading causes of death. It causes more than 2.8 million deaths each year. The other four leading causes are high blood pressure, tobacco use, high blood glucose, and physical inactivity.
  • Obesity costs Americans $147 billion each year. People who are obese pay more out of pocket than people who are not. In fact, the medical costs for people with obesity are $1,429 higher each year than those of people with a normal weight.
  • As of 2017, all 50 states have an obesity rate over 20 percent. Just two decades ago, no state had a rate above 15 percent.
  • Today, Americans eat 23 percent more calories than we did in 1970. That can really add up. One of the leading causes of overweight and obesity is an imbalance of calories. When you eat more than you burn, your body stores the extra energy as fat. Over time, the pounds can begin to pile on.
  • People who are overweight or obese miss about 56 percent more work days than people of normal weight. While normal-weight employees miss an average of three days per year, overweight and obese individuals miss approximately two additional days.

I do not want to take away from the seriousness of the Corona virus pandemic, but seriously, we need people to calm the hell down and quit with the runs on the grocery stores. By taking more than you need, you are preventing others from also being able to buy those goods. Yes, the unknown factors behind this virus is kind of scary, however, there are far more scary things we do with our health each and every day without a thought to deadly or debilitating consequences. It appears the virus is most deadly to older people and those with health problems already. The good news is, there is something you can do about your health that costs little to nothing. What you can do is clean up your dietary habits and quit living a sedentary life. You have it in you to actually be able to increase and improve the quality of your own life if you simply make the choice to do so. Follow us here at David’s Way to Health and FItness, and we can help you to get there. Subscriptions and access are, and always be, free and easy for all.