When Knowing Your Numbers Isn’t Enough

You know your BMI (Body Mass Index) and your doctor checks your blood pressure and cholesterol levels regularly. But what do these numbers say about your overall health? Local wellness experts say it’s what you do with “your numbers” that really counts.

Today, nearly 45% of Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease, according to the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease. Many Americans are unaware of the extent to which chronic diseases could be more easily prevented or managed.

“Although prevention (of chronic diseases) has always been a focus, it’s definitely more so today than ever before,” said Bev Funkhouser, RN, wellness specialist, ProMedica Wellness. “We have more wellness tools to utilize, as well as the support of new research, worksite wellness, and wellness incentive programs too.”

“What hasn’t changed is the importance of taking that next step to manage your health,” added Laura Ritzler, RN, co-director, ProMedica Wellness. “Knowing your numbers just isn’t enough. It’s up to the individual to get motivated and make changes that promote health and well-being and prevent disease.”

Funkhouser and Ritzler support their patients’ efforts to have their blood pressure or blood sugar checked regularly. Knowing your BMI as well as cholesterol levels are still very important. But they challenge everyone to take a minute and think about what you’re going to do with the information. They suggest the following key messages:

Lifestyle Change

Although not easy for many, the best thing anyone can do for their health is to make a positive lifestyle change. This does not include going on a fad diet or extreme exercise plan, but changing your behavior in a way that is sustainable.

Realistic Goals

It’s also important to set realistic goals, which sometimes means taking things one step at time. Select a comfortable pace and don’t be afraid to celebrate milestones or acknowledge progress.

Don’t Expect Perfection

Expect lapses, but learn from them. The knowledge and skills you develop about your overall health and well-being will help you to control your environment. Don’t let yourself get in a failure cycle – plan for the next day. Don’t get derailed.

The Reality of Changing Behavior

After all, experts say it takes 21 days or upwards of three weeks to establish a behavior change. And just one change can affect your overall health and well-being.

What is Healthy?

Remember, healthy can’t be easily defined. It’s personal. Count on your healthcare provider and reliable information from local experts and sources, such as ProMedica HealthConnect, to help you determine what’s healthy for you. Use “your numbers” as a guide to help track your progress.