By Dr Nina Radcliff
“He sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present.”—The Dalai Lama.
This is one of my favorite quotes. For more than a decade, I would
work 65-90 hours a week taking care of patients and teaching medical
students and doctors in training. I loved it. But it took a toll on my
health and my relationships that I can only now see in hindsight. As a
physician, how could I preach good health and staying healthy when I
was not doing the same?
After having my first child, I could no longer be in the operating
room 24/7 and gave up my faculty teaching position and research at The
University of Pennsylvania to be able to spend time raising her. My
passion for wanting to take care of people and helping them become
healthy has not changed. I continue to directly take care of patients,
but I also take care of them with the pen (or more accurately, the
computer). I strongly believe that knowledge about our health can help
us to live a healthier, happier and longer life.
The goal of this column is to provide information about healthy living
and how to incorporate it into our life in a realistic manner. And I
would like to point out that health is not just physical, but also
mental, emotional, and spiritual — so much so that they are
intertwined, and being ill in one area can quickly affect another.
Prevention is the best and easiest medicine we could ever take. Just
last week I had a patient who was scheduled to have his leg amputated
above his knee because of poorly controlled diabetes. I also had a
32-year-old patient who had a stroke and was unable to use the entire
left side of his body due to poorly controlled blood pressure. He was
a contractor, and now his life has changed forever. In both cases, I
felt helpless and came to tears.
One of my dear friends told me, “If you don’t take care of yourself,
no one else will.” Although that sounds a little pessimistic, I think
there is an optimistic message to it as well. Who else better to make
sure we stay in our best health than ourselves? We have hospitals,
physicians and other medical professionals who are imperative in
keeping us healthy and treating us when we are ill. But even as a
doctor, a textbook author and medical contributor on television, I
learned that being in my best health required me—a patient—to
understand what is going on so I could be my own best advocate.
Remember, we must take care of our bodies; we each get only one in
which to live!
Let’s take this journey together to a healthier us by breaking down
“What You Need To Know” on health topics that impact our lives.
* * * * *
Dr. Nina Radcliff is passionate about sharing medical truths for
greater understanding; healthy, balanced living; and wise preventive
health measures. Author of more than 200 textbook chapters, research
articles, medical opinions and reviews; she is often called upon by
national, regional and local media to provide medical expertise on
breaking medical news and topics impacting lives today.