\(Advertisement Looking at Chronic Disease: Are We Looking at You? Looking at Chronic Disease . . . are we talking about you? We all know and fear the life threatening illnesses: cancer, heart disease, neuro-muscular disease. But what about a chronic disease? What about living everyday with pain, sickness, always aware of feeling ill, your mind trapped in that concern? What is it like to live every day half sick and half well, with health problems that won’t go away? Facts from the National Center for Health Statistics tell us that more than 140 million Americans more than half of us have a chronic illness. Twenty-four million people have arthritis; more than 13 million have some form of health impairment; 19 million have high blood pressure serious enough to disable them; 7 million have bronchitis; 6 million have asthma; 5 millibn have diabetes; 5 million have migraine headaches; and no one knows how many millions suffer from backaches. In addition, 36 million have some diagnosable digestive disease and an equal number have all the symptoms of digestive disease, but no apparent organic problem. How many of all of these millions suffer because of some dietary or nutritional deficiency or because of the stress and tension of daily living? Probably most of them. Did you know that 20 0/o of all migraine headaches are triggered by certain food substances? Even varicose veins are caused to some extent, by the lack of fiber in the diet. What we’re saying is this: tens of millions suffer from chronic disease. Most caused by poor diet, insufficient nutrition, stress and tension. All of these causes can be dealt with. Answers will not be uncovered by research in some laboratory. They will come when patient and doctor begin working together to develop techniques for achieving and maintaining a relatively stable social and work life. To do that, to promote such a “normal” life, the patient will have to expend some real effort. Dependence on a physician produces little or nothing. Too many people give up. Fighting chronic illness is difficult. Living without hope for a “cure”; living with the endless cycle of promise and disappointment is not easy. The problem is that in chronic illness physicianspecialists can’t agree on treatment. And wouldn’t you know it, those that they do agree upon are the most predictable, the most boring, and the most repetitive. But they work. For instance, virtually every chronic illness rules out smoking. Every treatment stresses weight loss and a balanced diet. \(No wonder. There are 40 million Americans who are more than 15 pounds overweight . . ment for chronic illness insists on reasonable exercise to strengthen muscles or increase stamina. Heart patients walk miles; people with back pains do a variety of calisthenics; overweight people learn to exercise because exercise reduces appetite. Yes, reduces it. Did you ever try playing frisbee or jogging or riding a bike while eating a sandwich? What else is Important in treating most of these chronic illnesses? Often massive doses of vitamins to correct nutritional balance. Keep in mind that there is a difference between nutrition and diet. Nutrition is what your cells need to be healthy and productive. Diet is what you eat. Biofeedback helps. Yes, that “far-out” looking practice of being hooked up to an electronic machine that helps to control functions we think of as involuntary: breathing, heart rate, blood pressure, muscle tension. Yes, it works. And anyone, anyone can learn to use it and make it work .. . We’re not talking about dangerous drugs, or extraordinary treatments in a medical center, or surgery. Chronic illness can be handled when you learn about your own diet, nutritional needs and how to control your own life stresses. These are things you can do yourself. And we’ll be here to help you do it. It will take a little effort. But the victims of chronic illness who successfully cope with their difficulties, are the ones willing to take the time and make the effort. In the opinion of many doctors, will and determination are more valuable than all the pills in the world. Think about it. If you have a health problem you would like to discuss with us, write us: HEALTH ADVISOR, c/o American Income Life Insurance Company, P.O. Box 208, Waco, Texas 76703. Describe to us the nature of your health problem, whether or not you have seen a doctor and what treatment or medication you were given. From that information, our specialist physicians will answer your letter and respond with advice and suggestions. Please limit your questions to problems concerning digestive or gastro-intestinal disorders. Prepared by: American Digestive Disease Society and the Bernard Rapoport Postgraduate Institute for Digestive Health AIL Bernard Rapoport, Chairman of the Board P.O. Box 208, Waco, Texas 76703 American Income Life Insurance Company 8 JUNE 20, 1980
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