One Foot in the Grave: We Have Only Ourselves to Blame

Nearly a third of all deaths in the United States are classified as “preventable”, which begs the question: why do we treat ourselves worse than we treat strangers? Why do we feel the urge to self-destruct? It’s an age old question that unfortunately, for whatever reason, has never been answered. Well, the solution lies within each one of us putting forth an individual effort to protect and preserve our own lives. Toxic waste, tainted water supplies, polluted air, haven’t we all endured enough uncertainties? Must we reduce our chances at survival even more? Unfortunately, it is the careless actions against oneself that facilitates an open invitation to an early death. At least one thing is and will always be certain, life is gift endowed with overwhelming beauty. Instead of just living our lives, let’s learn to cherish them.

Comprised below is a list of the top ten worst habits that will inevitably land you six feet under.

1. Smoking– With all the knowledge we have gained regarding smoking and its detriments, it seems difficult to believe that smoking is still the number one cause of preventable deaths in the United States, claiming over 467,000 lives a year, which translates to roughly twenty percent of all annual deaths. To no surprise, cigarettes contain over 400 different hazardous chemicals including formaldehyde (used to embalm the recently deceased), ammonia (cleaning supply), acetone (nail-polish remover), tar, and carbon monoxide (highly toxic to humans), just to name a few. Smoking is utterly pointless and serves only one purpose — to kill. If you’re ready to seek help, here is a smoking cessation website that will hopefully aid you on the road to recovery. 2. High Blood Pressure– Responsible for one in six deaths, hypertension is known as a condition that requires little intervention to remedy. With the right management, high blood pressure can be treated, reducing the associated risks and preventing possible morbidity. Hypertension is commonly referred to as, “the silent killer”,because of the nature of its symptoms or lack there of; symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, and nausea and vomiting. In fact, it isn’t unusual for most people to attribute these broad symptoms to something other than high blood pressure. It is important to note that hypernatremia, or elevated sodium levels, is the most significant contributing factor when it comes to hypertension; avoiding salt intake is of paramount importance when trying to maintain a healthy blood pressure. In addition, anti-inflammatory medications should also be avoided if high blood pressure is present or suspected, as steroids are contra-indicated in patients suffering from hypertension and can only exacerbate high pressures. 3. Obesity- According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity affects nearly one-third (33.8%) of the adult population and approximately 17% (or 12.5 million) of children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese, claiming 216,000 lives a year. With health food prices on the rise, its no wonder obesity is an epidemic. Well, its time to take matters into our own hands, and that means more home cooked meals, and less eating out. When we dine out, we have no idea what is dumped into our dishes but, with homemade meals, you control what goes into your mouth. Yeah, I know it can be inconvenient at times but in the long run, your body will show its gratitude towards you by granting you a longer life. Need some healthy recipes in your arsenal? Here is a phenomenal website for healthy cooking that will help get you feeding your body right. 4. Physical Inactivity- What’s that old cliche? “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” Well, we all know that there is plenty of truth behind those words. Sadly, not much is being done about it. With roughly 190,000 deaths a year related to inactivity, it is a legitimate concern. In essence, our bodies require oxygen rich blood flow to thrive. When we become stagnant, our blood flow diminishes. When we sit, gravity works against us to pool the blood, making it less capable of circulating effectively. Without sufficient circulation (brought on by physical activity), the probability of forming a blood clot significantly increases. This condition is known as, “Deep Vein Thrombosis”, this can be severely debilitating and even fatal. You owe it to yourself to get up off your derriere and get that life-sustaining blood pumping! Fortunately, we all have the opportunity to buy ourselves a little more time on this earth and we can start by being physically active for thirty minutes a day, at least five days a week. 5. Hyperglycemia or High Blood Sugar-Over a million deaths a year are attributed to poor dietary choices, which constitutes for 45% of all deaths. Hyperglycemia is just one of the many harmful consequences to making poor dietary decisions. Think about it terms of cause and effect, everything you put in your mouth will either have a positive or negative impact on your body, so choose wisely. Hyperglycemia can greatly debilitate your quality of life and bring on a constellation of symptoms, as well as increasing your risk for developing a chronic illness, such as Coronary Artery Disease. Having a diet high in sugar perpetuates a cascade of issues and can only complicate your life. We don’t have to take the sweet out of life; we just have to modify what makes it sweet. Here are some suggestions to lowering your sugar intake: substitute sugar for all natural sweeteners such as Stevia . Some other great alternatives are either honey or agave nectar. These plant derived ingredients can also act as an antioxidant, which can help rid the body of free radicals. Luckily, simple changes like this can precipitate a life full with longevity and vitality.

Each one of us possesses the ability to live our lives the way we see fit, making choices everyday that will eventually construct our futures, bright or grim. The thing to remember is that only we have the power to determine how our story ends. Living a health conscious lifestyle can help facilitate a quality life, bringing about a genuine sense of fulfillment and happiness. Unfortunately, living life any other way can only perpetuate a sub-par existence full of limitations and regrets. The time for reasoning is over, its time to either get busy living or get busy dying. You decide.


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