What is the Biggest Fear of Americans?

Chronic illness like diabetes trumped other common fears of Americans

What is the Biggest Fear of Americans?
© 2018 Health Realizations, Inc. Update

Getting diagnosed with a chronic illness like diabetes trumped other common fears of Americans such as the uncertain state of the economy, debt, job loss and leaving a loved one, according to a recent survey.

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The puzzling part is that despite the survey results, a very small number of people have made any changes to their diet or lifestyle to reduce their risk of diabetes and other chronic illnesses -- even though most people know lifestyle to be the cause of many illnesses.

Today this has become the direct equivalent to such time bombs as continuing to smoke while knowing it causes lung cancer and dramatically reduces life expectancy.

Diabetes afflicts one out of every four Americans and most of those with the disease don’t even realize they have it. Additionally, there are 57 million Americans with pre- diabetes. This is where the blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not high enough to be officially diagnosed as diabetes.

“We know Americans view activities like bungee jumping as Chronic illness tops heavy especially risky and so they avoid them, “ said Richard M. debt, getting a divorce and Bergenstal, MD, President-Elect, Medicine & Science, losing a job as the top fear American Diabetes Association. “However these same of Americans, people are gambling daily by ignoring risk factors for a life- altering disease like diabetes and doing nothing about it.”

The survey conducted by the American Diabetes Association showed a revealing breakdown of fears:

  • 52 percent identified developing a chronic illness the worse possible thing that could happen
  • 19 percent -- getting buried under heavy financial debt
  • 13 percent -- Getting a divorce or living alone
  • 11 percent -- Losing a job

And on making changes to reducing the risk of chronic disease it showed:

  • 67 percent admitted to following a poor diet
  • 62 percent maintained an unhealthy weight
  • 83 percent recognized being overweight or obese as a contributing factor to developing diabetes

Chronic illness is taking its toll and impacting the lives of millions of Americans. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt, chronic illness afflicts 100 million Americans, causes seven out of 10 deaths and consumes $2 ou of every $3 spent on health care. His solution is all about prevention by following a simple lifestyle and engaging in physical activity.

The key to reducing your risk of chronic illness is prevention, focused on a lifestyle and developing healthy hhabits by eating nutritious foods and getting regular daily exercise.

Experts say that you can get creative and come up with 2,400 ways to add healthy activities into your daily life. Making small changes to your lifestyle such as adding a 30- minute walk to your daily routine, adding more vegetables to every meal and choosing a piece of fruit over a candy bar could make a significant, positive effect on your health.

You can take charge of your life and reduce your risk factors for developing chronic illnesses by adopting certain behavior and lifestyle changes such as those below:

10 Habits to Keep Chronic Disease Away

  • Practice good nutrition

    Avoid processed foods and buy whole foods fresh or frozen whenever possible.

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    Replace drinks and foods made with corn syrup with better choices. Keep only healthy drinks like this around the house.

    Corn syrup is calorie-dense and void of nutritional value.

    Prepare a mixed green salad as an appetizer before each dinner. This is a great way to add vegetables to your meals and reduce your cravings for more caloric food.

    Pack protein foods in your diet combined with high-fiber foods for long lasting fullness. Enjoy small portions of nuts, low-fat dairy, beans, lean meat, poultry, or fish throughout the day.
     

  • Easy exercises that you can do just about anywhere

    When you go to pick something up, bend your knees and do a squat rather than bending over, which places strains on the lower back. Performing a squat forces the use of your leg muscles and will build strength.

    While in the car at stoplights, practice tightening your thigh and butt muscles and release until the light turns green. This action will firm the leg and buttock muscles and improve your blood flow.

    Take advantage of the time spent waiting in checkout lines at the grocery store by lifting one foot a half-inch off the ground. The extra stress placed on your opposite foot will help firm your foot, ankle, calf, thigh and even your buttocks muscles.

    Stop at your local sports store, pick up a pedometer and get walking. Park in a far away spot at the mall, take your dog out for an extra walk and do whatever you can to add more steps to your day and reap the benefits of stress relief, feeling better about yourself all while burning calories.
     

  • Keep your stress levels in check

    The simple act of giving your partner a hug each day will induce a sense of calm when chaos erupts throughout your day.

    Take a moment twice a day to practice deep breathing for three to five minutes. Other relaxing activities include journal writing, lighting scented candles, playing with a pet, listening to relaxing music and working in the garden. You can also clear your mind of the day’s stressors and bring peace to the end of your day by calming your body and brain with magnesium.
     

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    Get a restful night’s sleep

    Getting a good night’s sleep strengthens your stress-coping abilities and may even help control your appetite as research has shown that not getting enough sleep can send “hunger hormones” out of whack and possibly trigger overeating.

    Sprinkle some lavender water on your sheets and pillowcases as a way to induce relaxation and create a better night’s sleep.

    Shop around for new pillows and try a “cool” pillow, containing either all-natural fibers or a combination of sodium sulfate and ceramic fibers that work to keep your head cool.

    Take moments to relax during each Snack on a handful of walnuts before bedtime to day. get some important essential fatty acids and a fiber boost. You’ll also enjoy the natural sleep- inducing effects of the amino acid tryptophan from the walnuts.
     

  • Remember to brush and floss daily

    Studies have shown that keeping your teeth and gums healthy and free of disease will reduce the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease from damage to the blood vessels due to periodontal bacteria.
     

  • Keep a positive attitude

    Go about your daily life with “the glass is half-full” outlook. Develop strong support systems and networks of friends that you can turn to in the time of need. Smile often and laugh out loud several times a day to stay grounded and help you deal better with stressful moments during your day.

    Read the comics in the paper, watch a sitcom that makes you laugh, tell your favorite joke or share a funny story to maintain happy feelings.
     

  • Meditate

    For at least 10-20 minutes each day, meditate as a way to help you cope with everyday demands of life and improve your overall health. Studies have found that regular meditation can increase longevity and quality of life, reduce chronic pain, anxiety, high blood pressure, serum cholesterol level, post- traumatic stress syndrome in Vietnam veterans, increase intelligence-related measures and lower blood cortisol levels initially brought on by stress.
     

  • Be aware of your posture

    By standing up straight and tightening your abdominal muscles, you can look five pounds lighter. When standing, your body should be vertically aligned, with a straight spine and head, and a straight line from your ankles to your knees, hips, shoulders and ears, keeping a slight inward curve in your lower back.
     

  • Kick the cigarette habit

    Cigarette smoking is cited as the primary cause of lung cancer. If you quit smoking now, no matter what your age, your body will thank you. Consider these statistics:

    • If you quit smoking before age 50, you have half the risk of dying in the next 16 years compared with people who continue to smoke. By age 54, your overall chance of dying will be similar to that of people the same age who have never smoked.
    • If you quit smoking, you also reduce your risk for cancer of the esophagus, larynx, kidney, pancreas, and cervix as well as your risk for chronic lung disease and heart disease.
    • If you quit smoking before you get pregnant, you can reduce your risk for premature delivery and having a child with low birth weight.
       
  • Stretch Your Mind and Body Each Day

    Try something new, fresh and fun that keeps you engaged -- and that you can do and will enjoy every day.

    Try what works best for you: Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, some basics from Ballet, or even a touch of martial arts.

    There are exercise programs you can do and enjoy at your own pace at home.

    As Oprah has said, if exercising isn’t both fun and challenging no one wants to do it.

    Gain a focus for getting into a daily practice you look forward to doing is the goal! Find what you are seeking that will nurture your mind, body and spirit along with increasing your strength and flexibility and improving your balance.

    Studies have shown that yoga can help lower blood pressure, elevate your mood, and improve your well-being and quality of life. Incorporate what you are comfortable with by stretching to strengthen yourself with a self-motivating program such as Yoga, Pilates, Tai Chi, possibly even some basic Ballet movements that top football players are now doing, plus if you dare a touch of martial arts ... all which will keep you enticed and engaged coming back for more.

    As you feel and realize your inner most core improvements it is apt to help your entire daily outlook allowing you to have a new positive perspective even when faced with your most challenging circumstances.

    In these times we could all benefit from inner strength and reflection, on the tough days especially... which we seldom can predict but need to prepare for each day in advance.

    It may be beneficial to include a form of physical activity such as yoga that addresses your mind-body connection.

    Any way you look at it, regular exercise is a key way to stay mentally and physically healthy.

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Sources

American Diabetes Association
Medical News Today
MedicineNet.com Health Tips
MedicineNet.com Meditation
MedicineNet.com Yoga
MedicineNet.com Posture
WebMd
Helpquide.org
University of Michigan
National Cancer Institute

Dr. Soram Singh Khalsa, M.D.

Dr. Soram Khalsa is an internist in Beverly Hills, California and is affiliated with Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He received his medical degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine and has been in practice for more than 20 years. He specializes in Internal Medicine and Integrative Medicine combining diet, nutrition, acupuncture, herbs and nutrition.

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