Your potential to LIVE YOUNGER greatly depends on your ability to assess your own “check engine lights” and be aware of how your body is working. It helps to have reference ranges to define what is normal and what is abnormal. A reference range could be your blood pressure, your weight, your waist circumference or one of the many other check engine lights in health. First, let’s define the difference between optimal and normal ranges of any health measurement. I used to mistakenly believe that the “normal” range of anything was the same as the healthy or optimal range. I thought that any number anywhere within the normal range was totally worry-free for a healthy person and any number outside of that required concern. I assumed that there was no reason at all to be concerned if my numbers fell within those broad boundaries. Optimal ranges are much more helpful. Optimal doesn’t shift.
In reality, reference ranges only represent a certain patient population. In the case of a lab, they represent 95 percent of the patients who have been tested by that lab. So, as the population gets increasingly less healthy, the “normal” range expands. As diseases become more prevalent in the population, “normal” can shift. It is “normal” to see overweight young people but it is certainly not “optimal.”
As you have well experienced, people are not “totally well” one day and then chronically ill the next. It’s a sliding scale with lots of subtle signs and symptoms along the way. I remember a young, overweight woman, with a donut in one hand and a soda in the other, saying to me sadly, “Pray for me. The doctor said that I may be getting diabetes.” In reality, her blood sugar had been inching up slowly for a long time. A normal resting heart rate can range from 40 -100 beats per minute. That’s a huge gap! Often, the range for “normal” is too broad to be meaningful.
Optimal is a different story. Optimal doesn’t shift. For those of us who strive to LIVE YOUNGER, optimal is our target. Remember, reference ranges are based on arbitrary statistics, not health or logic. The “normal reference range” is increasingly becoming less healthy as the population becomes less healthy. True health cannot be a mere comparison to unhealthy people. The ranges may be representing what is “normal” for a sick population.
How do you define wellness? Are you happy as long as you are in the “normal” range or do you hope to live life optimally? Stay tuned! We will be talking about early signs and symptoms that you can tune into. Being aware of your own “check engine light” is the best way to LIVE YOUNGER. Remember, optimal doesn’t shift. Live life in the optimal range. You can do it. I will help you.