How to Save a Life
A few years ago, there was a popular song by a band called “The Fray”, it was titled “How To Save a Life”. It started off with the verse, “Step one, you say we need to talk”. Well, we need to talk.
In this article, I’m going to talk to you about how to be healthy and save a life. It very well may be your own. This week, a few things happened that prompted me to “rattle your cage” and try to get your attention so that you can make a course correction in your life if need be.
First, I saw a post on Facebook all over the place and you may have seen it also. It was an advertisement from the company Krispy Kreme doughnuts. If you bring your vaccination
card into their store, you can get a free doughnut EVERY DAY for the next year. HELLO?? One of the #1 co-morbidities for death with Covid disease is obesity. This is like giving an alcoholic a little bottle of vodka every day if they can prove they’ve gone to AA for a week. It’s ABSURD and it should be an enormous wake-up call. They (the media, the government, addiction-driven/for-profit businesses like Krispy Kreme) think we're STUPID. You know what? Many people will take Krispy Kreme up on their offer, I know it. Stupid is as stupid does. Do you want to know how to save a life? One doughnut at a time. Krispy Kreme can take their sugar-laden, poisonous, diabetes-causing, obesity-producing doughnuts and shove them where the sun don’t shine. I hope this marketing campaign reveals them for the sleazeballs they are. Enough said.
The second thing that happened this week happened on Monday. I had a new patient come in at the end of the day. Let’s call her Betty even though that wasn’t her name. Betty is having intense back pain, specifically mid-back pain between her shoulder blades. It consumes her life and is preventing her from being the energetic, productive person she normally is. She is a mother and wife; she is 62 and she takes care of A LOT of people. If she goes down, a lot of people will go down as well. How has she been managing the pain for the past 3 years? With an over-the-counter medication, Aleve. She’s been taking 1-2 Aleve for the past three years until recently she was told by her doctor that her kidneys are shutting down, she has a fatty liver, and elevated liver enzymes. Did Aleve help her pain? Yes, it did, and she told me, it was the only way she made it through her day. However, she has paid dearly for this and if she doesn’t make some radical changes, she may pay the ultimate price.
How do you save a life? Understand the difference between cause and effect, disease and symptom, and in Betty’s case, pain and the underlying problem. She was treating her pain with Aleve when she should have been figuring out the underlying cause of her pain. I found the underlying cause of her pain when I examined her and x-rayed her back. She has degenerative disc disease, arthritis, bone spurs, and painful subluxations (misalignments) in her thoracic spine (mid-back). She is also 225 lbs., 51% body-fat with a waist circumference of 46 inches. She has high blood pressure and a high resting pulse. Her blood sugar is elevated, as well as her cholesterol and triglycerides. For her height, 5’4” tall, she is carrying about 50 more lbs. than she should. Imagine me handing you a back-pack with 50 lbs. of rocks in it and asking you to put it on and wear it every day? Yeah, your spine, and/or your knees would start to break down and hurt eventually too. The question is, would you understand that the pain is simply a physics problem? You have too much weight loaded onto a structure (the spine and weight-bearing joints) that can’t bear this OR would you pop Aleve every day to mask the pain and ignore the true problem?
This woman is a classic case of Metabolic Syndrome. High waist circumference (visceral fat), high blood pressure, high triglycerides, high blood sugar and high bad cholesterol (LDL), and low good cholesterol (HDL). People with Metabolic syndrome are significantly more likely to have heart attacks, strokes, diabetes, and even certain cancers. These are the leading killers in our society and the majority of the time, they are completely preventable. Want to save a life? Understand that ALL disease has a cause. Sometimes it is a case of bad genetics and/or bad luck. However, most of the time, it's behavior-driven and bad decision making as in the case of Betty. We don’t think about the consequences of our decisions long-term and so many people pay the ultimate price. Some people, and I have seen many of them over my career, wake up and smell the coffee and change their health behaviors. Others, never wake up and those people die young or suffer an incredibly poor quality of life as they age. Betty is 62 and even though her lifespan may be a little longer, her healthspan has come to an end if she doesn’t make a commitment towards behavior change. Changes that include losing weight (fat), exercising (gaining muscle), getting adjusted (improving movement and alignment), stopping the pain meds (saving her liver and kidneys), and finally putting herself FIRST instead of everyone else.
In the end, it’s very simple. Want to save a life? Understand that health or early death are the results of the choices you make every day. Using a baseball analogy, many singles are more important than occasional home-runs. The choices you make are the by-product of what you have been taught and your belief system. Who taught you? Your unhealthy parents or your healthy parents. If your parents (or someone) instilled a healthy belief system in you, you should thank them. If they didn’t, it isn’t too late. Go get yourself a coach and hang out with healthy people. Or ask yourself “what do the people whom I admire for their amazing ability to look good, move good, feel good, have loads of energy, and look younger than they really are; what do these people do that I don’t?”
God has gifted most of us the potential to be healthy at any age. However, potential isn’t enough. It’s taking advantage of that potential. It’s having a big enough reason to be healthy that matters. I tell patients all the time that the one thing that inspires me to exercise all the time, eat right and take my supplements, pray and meditate, and get adjusted is that ONE DAY I plan to meet my great-grandchildren and play with them. That’s one of my big WHY’s, along with enjoying a long life and many good times with my wife and best friend, Jill.
In the song, “How to Save a Life” by The Fray, there are lyrics that go:
Lay down a list of what is wrong
The things you’ve told him all along
And pray to God he hears you
And pray to God he hears you
Well, I pray to God you not only hear me but DO something about your health if need be.
Dr. Dane Donohue is a Chiropractor in Newtown PA and has been serving his community for over 25 years. Wellness Solution Centers provides all the services you need for a healthy life.