- Grant enables UAB Hospital staff to feed underprivileged moms of newborns
- Military man coming to UAB for first time, graduates Saturday
- UAB’s College of Arts and Sciences to honor distinguished alumni and friends
- ‘Tis the season of giving — UAB launches holiday blood drive
- How a cybersecurity expert protects his smartphone
- ASC presents Take 6, “The Most Wonderful Time of the Year” Dec. 15
- Leeth named UAB School of Medicine assistant dean for strategic planning
- Coping with holiday grief
- New water plan saves big money
- Campus police offer holiday safety tips
- Alys Stephen Center Screens Walking the Camino: Six Ways to Santiago
- Hospital feeds underprivileged new moms
- UAB’s Alys Stephens Center presents Yo-Yo Ma Dec. 6
- Southern Miss tops Blazers, 62-27, in season ending game
- Henry Panion selected for 2014 Alabama African-American History Calendar
Diseases don’t occur due to genetics alone
Blaming our genes seems to be the easiest way to accept our health problems. We are tempted to believe that these problems are embedded in our DNA, so there is nothing we can do but sit back and accept our fate. When the FDA approves medications for our particular ailment, we will take them, but until then sitting idly is all we can do. What many people don’t realize, however, is that whether it comes to heart disease, diabetes, lung disease or just the common cold, preventative measures can help us stay healthy.
For serious ailments such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, there are several precautions we can take to prevent these diseases or at least lessen their severity later in life.
One of the most important steps humans can take to improve their quality of live is to alter their diet. Advertisements abound, coaxing us to eat the greasiest foods and sip on the most sugary drinks. What we don’t realize how much damage these foods do to our bodies. More importantly, when we eat these foods we aren’t eating fruits or vegetables, which are rich in antioxidants and nutrients. Processed foods are especially dangerous because they lack many of the nutrients essential to keep us healthy. I’m not suggesting that eating only fruits and vegetables is the way to go; we require a balance between all the different food groups. Splurging on comfort food doesn’t have to be a bad thing, as long as we counter it with healthy, more natural food that is low in fat and sugar.
In addition to diet change, staying active and exercising has shown benefits. According to studies done on cardiovascular heath, exercise has helped people shed some pounds and possibly even lower blood pressure. In addition, the balance between “good” and “bad” cholesterol are kept in balance. For diabetics, exercise can aid in regulating glucose levels in the blood. How exercise can help obesity is a little more obvious. Weight loss and better metabolic rates result from consistent exercise.
Other more obvious lifestyle changes include quitting smoking, not doing illicit drugs, and controlling alcohol intake. Even smaller things like living in the suburbs rather than urban centers can be beneficial because the air is cleaner. The point is that small changes can help make big differences. Diseases aren’t the result of just genetics. Both “nature” and nurture” play an impact in our lives. Our environment influences how our genes are expressed. This trend can be seen in cases where identical twins who share 100% of their DNA look very different and have very different health situations
As Dr. Mehmet Oz says, “Your genetics load the gun. Your lifestyle pulls the trigger.” Our actions play a greater role in our life than we realize. Our goal should be to take care of our bodies so we don’t have to rely on medical breakthroughs to cure us. Obviously, in some cases, breakthroughs in medicine are necessary to cure us, but prevention is the best cure for a good majority of us. Simple lifestyle changes now can make our lives a lot more enjoyable in the future. The main point to remember is that no one can force us to eat healthier or to exercise more; we are the architects of our fate.
By: Natasha Mehra