Today’s fast-paced, modern office environment provides plenty of opportunity for ambitious professionals. However, the most successful individuals often commit so much time and energy to their work that they don’t realize the health risks that come with a nonstop lifestyle.
From balancing time between work and personal life to stresses brought on by incredible expectations and pressure, it can be difficult for executives to find the time or energy to make good choices for their health.
Have your lifestyle challenges become significant obstacles to your health? Sometimes the truth can sneak up on you when you’ve been focused on balancing your competing interests.
Here are four common, preventable health issues that executives often deal with and why you need to look out for them:
Weight Gain and Obesity
Active executives invest a lot of time in their businesses, which includes a lot of travel and many meals eaten at restaurants. Consequently, they often struggle to exercise regularly and eat well.
It can be easy for executives to fall into this type of situation. Over time, one or two pounds can multiply into five to 10 or more until suddenly you experience the emotional and physical challenges associated with being overweight.
Many executives become frustrated and even surprised by their weight gain. After all, if you didn’t feel the changes in your metabolism, it’s hard to recognize when your weight has become a problem. Unfortunately, obesity left untreated can lead to significant changes in confidence, energy and mood, not to mention more serious outcomes such as diabetes and heart attacks.
Executives are achievers and thrive when they’re accomplishing their goals. However, with this ambitious approach to life, they can easily place pressure on themselves without realizing how high the stakes grow over time. With pressure in the office comes pressure to be great elsewhere, too, until very quickly an executive can find themselves overwhelmed with expectations around the clock.
This struggle to balance the responsibilities of work and home often leads to unhealthy levels of stress. Over time, this unmanaged stress can manifest physically in the form of pain, lack of sleep, chronic headaches and grinding of teeth, just to name a few unhealthy effects.
Hypertension, or chronic high blood pressure, is another common health issue in America and it does not spare passionate, driven individuals who are under a lot of stress. Left untreated, hypertension is a major, but silent contributor to atherosclerotic disease which shuts off blood flow to the heart, brain and kidneys.
One of the most troubling aspects of hypertension is that it can go undetected for long periods of time. Infrequent visits with a physician make it difficult to get an accurate diagnosis, and many patients feel no disruption in their lifestyle unless their blood pressure is very high.
New medical studies are showing the incredible benefits of maintaining a healthy gut. However, when your stress, sleep, exercise and diet are disrupted, it becomes very difficult to achieve and maintain optimal gut health.
The most common symptoms expressed by our executive population include upset stomach, indigestion, constipation and heartburn. While often nothing more than a distracting and irritating set of symptoms, this type of chronic abdominal pain may make it more difficult to recognize the warning signs of more severe problems including inflammatory bowel disease, ulcers, pancreatitis, and cancers of the ovary and bowel.
What Can You Do Next?
If you think that you should only consult a physician when something bad is happening, it’s time to reevaluate your approach to health care.
Many of the most common health issues executives face are preventable and treatable with proactive food and lifestyle changes, and your physician can be an incredible resource to help you identify the changes you should make, implement them and move forward.
It’s clear that the most cost effective health care choice you can make is to invest in a healthy lifestyle.
Talk With a Physician
Lifestyle and food choices can have an incredible impact on your health, but not all illnesses are brought on by lifestyle and it can be difficult to differentiate between the two.
Roughly half of your health outcomes are determined by genetics, about 40 percent are driven by your diet and lifestyle choices, and about 10 percent results from good or bad luck. The best approach is to work with your physician to determine the origin of your unique health challenges and together create a plan to eliminate them.