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Could your lifestyle be making you sick?

What is your lifestyle? Not whether you are married or where you live, but rather, how are you choosing to live your life? What choices are you making to keep yourself and your family healthy and well?

It is startling to learn that some of the most prevalent causes of illness, disease, and death - including cancer, heart disease, and diabetes - are all heavily influenced by lifestyle. For example, we don't usually think of cancer as a lifestyle disease. We think a person is unlucky if they have cancer, and often we have a fatalistic outlook toward news that someone has developed cancer. "It's in their genes," we say. Or "stuff happens - the luck of the draw."

But only approximately 10% of cancers are based on genetics. The vast majority of cancer cases are very much related to how we live our lives - our environment, the food we eat, whether we exercise regularly, and the quality of our relationships. Within the last ten years medical researchers have been learning of the strong correlation between overweight/obesity and a person's likelihood of developing cancer. It seems that fat cells are not merely passive storehouses of excess energy in the form of fat. Fat cells are metabolic furnaces that spew out a wide range of chemicals, including hormones and inflammatory agents that may often cause normal cells and tissues to become cancerous.1

Most people and even some physicians are unaware of these facts. The connection between lifestyle and heart disease, and between lifestyle and type 2 diabetes, seems obvious.2,3 But cancer, too, is a lifestyle disease. The very good news is that by creating the willingness to make healthy lifestyle choices, you're making positive long-term changes in your health and well-being.

Additional good news is that these choices are in your hands. Every day you get to choose a healthy lifestyle or not. Of course, some days or even some weeks just seem to go by without a real opportunity to do things that are healthy. You might be on a business trip in a country where it's difficult to find good, nutritious healthy food. It might also be difficult to find the time to exercise when you're on a travel schedule. That's OK, though, because lifestyle is a lifetime project. If you're eating healthful nutritious food most of the time and doing daily exercise most of the time, you can take a week off or even two weeks off here and there. The main goal is to be on a healthy lifestyle path the vast majority of the time.

Chiropractic care is an important component of healthy living. Chiropractic care helps ensure that your body is functioning at its maximum. Chiropractic care helps ensure you're getting the most out of the healthy food you're eating and the healthy exercise you're doing. Your chiropractor will be glad to provide guidance on creating nutritional plans and exercise programs that will work for you.

1Chan AT, Giovannucci EL: Primary prevention of colorectal cancer. Gastroenterology 138(6):2029-2043, 2010
2Shi Y, et al: Cardiovascular determinants of life span. Pflugers Arch 459(2):315-324, 2010
3Ma J, et al: Evaluation of lifestyle interventions to treat elevated cardiometabolic risk in primary care (E-LITE): a randomized controlled trial. BMC Fam Pract 10:71, 2009

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