I’ve had people ask me why I’m not posting videos on social media about how to exercise while staying at home. They ask why I’m not trying to sell more nutritional supplements. The reality is that COVID-19 hasn’t changed my vision for Natural Healthcare Center.
For more than 30 years, I’ve been working to reverse the chronic illness epidemic in our country by helping people make better lifestyle choices so they can prevent disease and maintain an optimal state of health.
Although exercise and supplementation will always be important, now is the time for a serious education about chronic illness. If you’re fortunate enough to have extra time on your hands while staying home, gaining a deeper understanding of terms like chronic illness, immunosuppression and, in this case, viral infection, has never been more urgent.
Unfortunately, most people don’t think about health until something tragic happens. That’s just human nature. Someone who has a chronic illness like high blood pressure, osteoporosis, or type 2 diabetes will typically say, “I’m taking my medication to control it. What’s the big deal?”
If there’s a silver lining from the coronavirus pandemic, my hope is that it will shine a new light on chronic illness and motivate more people to take better care of themselves all the time, not just during a crisis.
When you listen to the doctors on the front lines treating people who have contracted COVID-19, you’ll hear them say that people with an underlying disorder and a compromised immune system are most vulnerable. What you don’t hear, however, is an explanation of what that means.
Let me connect the dots.
Your ability to fight off a viral infection so you don’t die begins with your current state of health. Immunosuppression, or a compromised immune system, increases the likelihood that you’ll develop serious complications from a viral infection such as COVID-19. A compromised immune system begins with chronic illness.
The question you should be asking yourself is, “Am I in a state of chronic illness?”
Am I clinically obese? Do I have high blood pressure? Do I have type 2 diabetes? These and other chronic illnesses can be diagnosed, treated and, in most cases, reversed, often without prescription medication or surgery.
Chronic illness is the biggest epidemic on the planet. Two-thirds of all healthcare visits and 90 percent of all healthcare costs can be attributed to chronic illness. While I would never minimize the impact of COVID-19 and my heart goes out to those who have lost loved ones, the chronic illness epidemic makes COVID-19 that much more deadly.
The chronic illness epidemic was placing an enormous burden on our broken healthcare system long before the coronavirus pandemic arrived. Now, COVID-19 threatens to completely overwhelm hospitals and the brave healthcare professionals working so hard to care for those who need it most.
Everything I’ve been discussing with patients during appointments, in blog articles, and during speaking engagements for the past 30 years has been an attempt to prepare for and prevent events like the one we’re experiencing today with the coronavirus.
Instead of taking better care of themselves because of COVID-19, people should be making better decisions all the time to improve their state of health, boost their immune system, and reduce the risk of chronic illness and viral infections.
Think about something as simple as washing your hands. Should it really take a pandemic to motivate people to wash their hands as frequently and for as long as they should?
This is one of the reasons I love my patients. They’re in the lobby reading articles I’ve written about gut health and intestinal permeability. They’re learning about psychological and emotional stress. They’re learning about what an anti-inflammatory diet looks like.
Then they say to me, “I remember reading about this. I made these changes. I know my immune system is stronger because I’ve taken these steps.”
That’s what people need to realize. Nobody can do these things for you. You have to do it yourself.
As awful as the coronavirus pandemic is, the chronic illness epidemic makes it much worse. Let’s take steps every day to reduce the risk of serious complications or even death from viral infections and other diseases. If COVID-19 has motivated you to make lifestyle changes to boost your immune system, I encourage you to make those changes permanent to reduce the risk of chronic illness.