Talking Health and Wellness: Why We Do This?

Editors note: The 31 Days of Wellness skipped yesterday in honor of MLK Day.

Chuck Garcia and Joe Galati: 34 Years of Work

Chuck Garcia, my longtime friend and fellow health enthusiast, collaborate daily for the month of January to present you with the 31 Days of Wellness. For 34 years, Chuck and I have been close friends, talking long distance on how we can solve the next great problem our society faces. Several years ago we settled on obesity, the end result of bad nutrition and a general lack of interest in ones health. Powerful words, but it’s the truth. While he works in the financial thrown of New York City, he has observed what I have been seeing for years as a physician. Obesity is out of control, and the public needs insight as to how they can take control of their health. Through my work daily caring for patients with my staff, as well as Chuck’s addictive conviction that you alone can take control of you health, and collectively on the radio with Your Health First, we do our best to encourage those around us to get involved, make changes, and lead them to sources of reliable information they can use to expand their knowledge base. This Global War on Obesity, as we like to call it, has to be fought one small battle at a time.

Despite our efforts, we seem to be talking until we are blue in the face. Is anyone listening? Do you care about developing diabetes, progression to kidney failure, eventually start dialysis, and lastly have your toes cut off one by one due to poor circulation?  While my last line seems rather grim and depressing, we have connected with many and encouraged them to better health and wellness.

A favorite New York Times column of ours, Well, penned by Tara Parker-Pope, this week discusses Getting Patients to Take Charge of Their Health, posted by Dr. Pauline W. Chen. Dr. Chen clearly relates to what was noted above, describing the gradual decline of a young adult through the progressive stages of personal neglect.

Overweight for much of his youth, the patient developed diabetes in his early 30s, then high blood pressure a few years later. By the time he was in his 40s, he had become so debilitated by a heart attack, congestive heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, arthritic joint pains and his ever-increasing weight that he could no longer work.

This tragic senario is played out thousands of times in physician offices, emergency rooms, and hospital wards across America everyday. At what point does any of this connect with people?

Referring to limits of what can be done, Valerie Overton states:

There comes a time when we have to realize that there’s not much more to squeeze out of this old turnip.

Dr. Chen completes her commentary with a final quote:

Patient engagement is a way to get us to the next level of quality of care, but it’s not an easy journey.

Do we get frustrated with what we see around us? Yes

Are their plans to throw in the towel on our efforts? Absolutely not.

Walking around the campus of Syracuse University, Chuck and I dreamed of working together on something big. At 19 years old, we realized that putting our heads together was important, and that in some corner of the world, we could make a difference. Here we are now, trying to help the current 19 year olds gain clarity on their own health; leading the charge on the Global War on Obesity, and how to take steps in preventing the disasterous cascade of events described by Dr. Chen. That’s why we do this.

What about you?

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