The Advantages of Good Health

by | Feb 21, 2022 | Resilience

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When all factors were combined, they estimated that as many as 64 percent of all hospitalizations might have been prevented if COVID-19 patients had not also had the above chronic health problems.

For the past year, concerns about contracting COVID-19 have eclipsed all other medical issues. One powerful measure of this worry is the fact that people have even been staying away from their primary care doctors during the pandemic.

At the same time, evidence has emerged that many people have taken steps to improve their health, by changing their diets, stopping smoking, exercising and taking other steps in the hope that they can help their body resist a serious infection.

This is a common-sense response. It’s logical that working to improve your health could offer protection against serious illness. And it’s not surprising that people are more likely to take such actions in the current circumstances: the threat of hospitalization, or worse, from COVID-19 is immediate, not as abstract as the long-range consequences of inactivity and bad diet that are possible–or even likely.

We’ve all probably heard from one source or another that people with pre-existing health problems are more likely to become seriously ill from coronavirus infections, and a new study from scientists at Tufts University provides dramatic evidence of this.

After reviewing more than 900,000 cases, researchers drew these conclusions about the contributing factors in COVID-19 hospitalizations:

  • 30% were attributable to obesity;
  • 26% were attributable to hypertension;
  • 21% were attributable to diabetes; and
  • 12% were attributable to heart failure.

When all factors were combined, they estimated that as many as 64 percent of all hospitalizations might have been prevented if COVID-19 patients had not also had the above chronic health problems.

This does not mean that COVID is not really serious. What it does mean is that if your body is already working under stress, the additional stress of coronavirus can become too much for it to handle.

All four of the above chronic health conditions leading to hospitalization relate to underlying problems with body function and metabolism that can be improved by changes in diet, exercise and lifestyle. Moreover, it doesn’t have to take years, or even months, for benefits to accrue.

Doctors are learning more about how to treat COVID-19, and the roll-out of vaccinations is part of the long-term public health solution. But treatment and vaccines do not provide absolute guarantees that your body won’t need reserves of health if you are exposed.

It’s a good sign that people are deciding to take their health into their own hands. The Tufts findings come from reviewing many, many cases, and they make it clear that better general health is a powerful protection against this virus, not to mention the suffering that can come from the chronic health problems that increase its risk.

The body has many complex aspects, but the key things you need to understand to take charge of your health are essentially simple. Once you understand those factors, you can make decisions and take actions that improve your health.

At eSavvyHealth, we’ve identified a useful set of categories for sorting health-related information and actions. We call them “health influences.” They are:

  • Nutrition
  • Physical Activity
  • Sleep
  • Medical treatments
  • Environmental exposures

These influences affect your immune system, your resistance to infections and your resilience if you do become infected. Of course, that’s not all they affect, but as I said at the outset, COVID is center stage at this time. If understanding these factors can help you make choices that could keep you safer, that’s good for you and good for the community.

More than this, you will begin to have a better idea what you can do to keep your body in good enough shape that your health is not a barrier to doing the things that you want to do in your career, your free time and your family life.

Our courses, ebooks and news briefs are designed to provide such insight. I encourage you to explore our site, subscribe to our news service and social media posts, download our ebooks and take our courses.

Bob Graves

Bob Graves

Position

Bob Graves is a long-time veteran of publishing of health, environmental and public-benefit information. He holds a Masters degree in Nutrition from UC Davis.

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