America: We have a problem!
But there is a solution!
We can't solve a problem if we don't know it's there. I want to fill you in on some sobering medical data that has come across my radar in the last few months which mirrors what I am seeing in my medical practice.
The Bad News:
Unfortunately, recent data from the CDC is troubling regarding trends in many aspects of our health. The rate of obesity continues to rise. A recent study in the Journal of the American Medical Association reported 35% of men and 40% of women are obese. I'm talking OBESE, not just overweight. For women, almost one in 10 were "severely" obese. The etiology is not only excessive food consumption but lack of recommended physical activity. Being a little overweight may not be harmful to our health as long as we are meeting the physical activity guidelines. However, being obese is associated with numerous health disorders, even some cancers. If you are obese, I highly encourage you to get out of that group. My friend Carol lost 116 pounds in 12 months by changing her diet and physical activity. She did it, and so can YOU!
What about alcohol consumption? The CDC has announced that excessive alcohol consumption kills more people annually (88,000 deaths) than breast cancer (41,000 deaths) and prostate cancer (26,000 deaths) COMBINED! If you are in the habit of consuming more than one or two alcoholic beverages daily, that's excessive, and you need to decrease your drinking and seek help if necessary.
And it's not just alcohol that's the problem. The U.N.'s World Drug Report 2016 stated the number of heroin users in the U. S. reached about one million, almost three times as many as in 2003, with a five-fold increase in heroin-related deaths since 2000. Cocaine, marijuana, and prescription narcotic drug abuse are also a major problem. According to the CDC, 47,055 people died from drug overdoses in the U.S. in 2014.
The news gets worse. In April 2016, the CDC announced that the suicide rate over the last 15 years had increased in all groups from age 10 to 74 years. For women 45-54 years of age, there was a 63% increase and for girls age 10-14, a 200% increase in suicide. I wish these numbers were not true, but the fact is that many people today are stressed out, depressed, and anxious.
What about death rates? Minorities have had higher death rates but mortality data made available in May 2016 revealed that death rates for middle age Caucasians had increased. That's right, increased, not decreased. Why? The reasons: an increase in alcohol and drug poisonings, suicide, and liver disease - - i.e., self-induced afflictions. We are killing ourselves. The increasing death rates were not seen in other ethnic groups or other industrialized countries.
There is Good News!
All of these documented increases in unhealthy habits are affecting our families, schools, businesses, and organizations.
The Good News - - we don't have to be a victim of these shocking health trends. This is not some deadly incurable infection spreading around the country. No! Our current epidemic of alcohol and drug abuse, unhealthy eating, emotional instability, and sedentary lifestyle is a product of our current culture and can be turned around by Living WELL Aware!
Many may be saying, "But, Dr. Sulak, you don't know what I'm having to go through." That's right, I don't. But I do know the many challenges my husband and I have overcome including a stress-filled life, a tumultuous marriage, tobacco abuse - - to only mention a few. I also have heard the stories of countless patients and attendees of my conferences who have turned their lives around by not being victims of their circumstances but victors of their lives. I can't control many things in my life, but
I can control how I will respond to the challenge. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it!
What does all this mean? We all need to INVEST in the best wellness information, implementation, and inspiration! Wellness is a multi-billion dollar industry, and there are plenty of companies that want you to buy what they are selling. I have seen numerous medical trends come and go. An example is mega vitamins with some now showing an increase in liver disease and others an increase in certain cancers such as lung cancer. If the billions of dollars spent annually in this country on "wellness" products were effective in improving our health, then we would see improvements in health statistics. The facts show us just the opposite.
What has been scientifically proven to decrease disability, dementia, depression, and death? A healthy lifestyle - physical, emotional, and spiritual. If there were a pill that could replicate the benefits of Living WELL Aware, it would be a trillion dollar product taken by all of us! Too often, wellness programs just focus on diet, exercise, weight loss, and normal numbers. That's the tip of the iceberg. Having optimal health and happiness is so much more than that. That's why Living WELL Aware focuses on ALL aspects of health.
I welcome the opportunity to speak at your school, business, organization, or church.
We can all benefit from knowing the FACTS and what truly can make us healthier and happier. A big Thank You to the Texas Department of State Health Services, Apple, Inc. of Austin, Altrusa International, Missouri Health of St. Louis, Knapp Medical Center, Texas A&M University, and the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology for having me speak during spring 2016. My keynote addresses and conferences are greatly discounted for school districts and non-profit organizations. For businesses, I reduce the costs of my books and workbooks so employees can have access to the best in wellness information, implementation, and inspiration. My goal: to reach as many people as possible with a holistic approach of wellness. I welcome the opportunity to work with you and your group.
Let's get healthier and happier by Living WELL Aware!
Patricia J. Sulak, MD
Living WELL Aware LLC