I think everyone has heard the term Health is Wealth. Have you thought about what that actually means? Or maybe I should ask, what does it mean to you. To me it means that being healthy is priceless.

As one ages, the issues of health and healthy habits become more of a priority. The things that you used to do in your 20’s differ in your 30’s, and the things you used to do in your 30’s change in your 40’s. I can remember in my 20’s being able to eat whatever I wanted without thinking twice. Now, I have to think long and hard before a spicy meal because…acid reflux.

Growing up, sickness and disease is something you associated with old folk. Diabetes or “dia-beat-us” as my granny used to call it was not something I thought about until my diagnosis in 2012. That was the year my view of health began to change.

Then there’s the issue of things that impact our health. Things we can control, and things we can’t. Environment, medications, food, stress, and genetics. Let’s Talk about meditation for a moment…whew. If you watch television then you know the number of commercials advertising “new” medications to manage “this problem” and “that problem “. When considering medications do you research? How many of you read the leaflets that come with medication? Or do you just throw them away? Or are you more of a take the holistic approach? Some of these medications today are like poison!

Commercials today sound something like this…

“Are you having a hard time managing your blood sugars with just ______? Now you can take _____ just once a week to get your A1C under 7.” Warning: this medication may cause heart failure, liver damage, kidney failure, night sweats, suicidal thoughts, uncontrollable flatulence, and chronic diarrhea. Ummm no thanks!

Food and diet. The saying is definitely true, you are what you eat. There is so much garbage put into the things we eat that nothing is safe! Hell, you can’t even eat lettuce these days without the possibility of dying or becoming violently ill. Lettuce and spinach out here killing folks like the plague! Vegetables and fruits sprayed with pesticides that kill bugs, yet humans consume them…apples so shiny they look like they’ve been rubbed with Vaseline. Then there’s organic, which I try to buy whenever I shop, but hell how do we even know it’s really organic? Bottom line, everything in moderation. Reduce salt and omit unnecessary sugar when possible. Fact is, we need to eat to survive. Learn how to read labels. Understand the different fats. Sugars, sugar substitutes. When I was diagnosed as Type 2 in 2012, I immediately became a label whore 🤷🏽‍♀️.

Genetics also play a huge role in our health. The more you know, the better chance you have at being proactive instead of reactive. I know and knew that predisposed to diabetes, but it got it me! Fact is, I could have done a better job at prevention, but I didn’t. Now I’m in the managing stage. I also know that there is a risk for high blood pressure and Alzheimers. With theses things I can do my part, which will aid in prevention. Always remember, proactive is better than reactive.

As a black woman, I know that we as black people have a tendency to avoid the doctor, especially black men! Reoccurring heartburn doesn’t always mean taking “soda” aka baking soda. Sometimes it’s a warning of something more serious, like heart issues. BC powder is not a cure all, and neither is castor oil. As times change, so must we.

The more you know. A few helpful tips.

• It is recommended that women start getting Pap Smears at the age of 21 every 2-3 years until the age of 65. This is standard practice unless there are health issues or concerns. They may be recommended at an earlier age and more frequently for women who are sexually active.

• A healthy individual should see the dentist every 6 months. Oral health is super important!

• Men: Prostate exams should begin at age 50 unless there is a risk factor involved. I read that age 40 is recommended for African American men, who have a higher risk factor of prostate cancer.

• First mammogram for women should happen around age 40 if there are no risk factors including a first-degree relative meaning mom, dad sister etc…They should be done annually. Early detection is key in diagnosis!

• It is recommended that individuals get their first colonoscopy at age 50 or sooner if there is a first-degree relative meaning mom, sister etc…who was diagnosed with colorectal cancer before age 60.

These are just a few facts gathered from the internet and personal experience. Pay attention to your body. If it doesn’t feel right, look right, or smell right, get it checked out. Ask questions! Don’t go into the doctors office afraid to speak up! Yes, it can be embarrassing, but remember, the doctor can’t treat what you don’t tell them about. And be persistent if they don’t do what you ask. In that moment, they work for you. If you aren’t satisfied, request a new doctor or a second opinion. If you can’t afford health insurance, check out state offered assistance where you live. You only get one body. Take care of it, and it will take care of you.

Until next time…💛

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