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Am I Healthy?


As a physician, one of the most frequently asked questions that I get are "Am I healthy?", "Can I get tested to make sure that I am healthy?"or "How do I know that I am healthy?" 


I have found a lot of people think that they are healthy because their blood work is normal or because they have not been labeled by their physician as having a chronic disease like high blood pressure or Diabetes. However, on further questioning I found that they are living with a lot of different symptoms which are non­specific such as gas and bloating, constipation, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, off and on headaches, joint pains and stiffness.


One of the most important reasons why we have failed to stop the rise in heart disease, Diabetes, cancer and autoimmune diseases is that we consider health as an absence ofdisease. If someone is not labeled with a diagnosis then that person is considered to be healthy. This is a misconception.


Our bodies talk to us constantly through symptoms. Every symptom is an indication of discomfort and restleessness within a particular organ or tissue of our body. It is our body's attempt to draw our attention towards it. In Ayurveda, presence of symptoms is the fifth stage (Vyatki) of a disease. It means that the body has been compensating or dealing with a stressor for a long time but it's ability to continue to bear that stressor is getting overwhelmed. The stressor could be environmental toxin, food sensitivity, anxiety, stress, depression, hormonal imbalance etc.


I have also seen people who have never paid attention to these symptoms and considered themselves to be normal till they have a major health breakdown like a heartattack or severe fatigue disrupting their ability to take care of themselves. Unfortunately a lot of damage is done by then.


There is no test that is as accurate and as effective as how we feel physically, mentally and spiritually. Most of us are so busy and often are unaware of the subtle signs that our bodies use to communicate with us. A patient of mine realized the tension in his neck a couple of weeks after he started yoga. That was the first time he actually used all the different sets of muscles around his joints. Another patient of mine realized a negative but constant chatter in her brain when she first started meditating. The best way to listen is to engageregularly in an activity such as yoga, meditation, Tai Chi or mindfulness that puts us in a state of self awareness. It enhances our ability to listen to our body.


If there are symptoms, whether physical, mental or spiritual, then it is critically important to heed to them right away. Consult a health provider who does not merely prescribe medications to suppress symptoms but attempts to understand the cause of the problem.

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