CNN had a good article today about the odds of people getting some of the more obscure diseases such as Mad Cow Disease, compared to more common ones like heart disease and osteoporosis.
Now, let's face it, as a hypochondriac, you probably spend a lot more time worrying about things like Mad Cow Disease than about osteoporosis. I admit it: I still worry about sausages I ate in Great Britain during the 1980's and wonder if eventually the Mad Cow prions are going to come home to roost! And I make a point of buying grass-fed beef at Whole Foods because I don't trust the USDA to inspect our meat properly.
But, as an overweight middle-aged woman with high blood pressure, I am much more likely to suffer from heart disease and diabetes in the future rather than Mad Cow Disease. But do I exercise? No. Do I lose the 25 lbs. I should lose? No. The two most useful things I could do to protect my health, I don't do. But do I go to the doctor any time I get a weird symptom that I'm afraid is some much less likely disease? Absolutely. Do I order new dietetic supplements that purport to prevent various diseases that I probably won't get anyway? Of course. It's so easy to take a pill.
The CNN article was a good wake-up call to remind us that we should focus on the proven things that we know can protect our health - exercising, achieving a healthy weight, and eating more fruits and vegetables - while of course still being vigilant about checking out new symptoms (did that mole really get bigger? Why am I so tired?) and getting our mammograms and colonoscopies regularly.
The challenge is that exercising, losing weight, and eating more fruits and vegetables require planning and effort, and the benefits are not seen immediately. Preventing these diseases requires a long-term commitment and change in lifestyle. But if your goal in being a hypochondriac is to have a longer and healthier life, these are the things you should be doing to achieve the goal!
Please see the link below for the full CNN article.