Over the last year since my bypass operation I’ve been told many time how “lucky” I am. Lucky to be alive. Every time someone tells me that I agree with them…adamantly. Why am I lucky? I ignored the very real and evident symptoms of cardiovascular disease for at least a year. That’s right…a year, and yes I am very luck to be here today. It reached a point where I could not walk my dog without experiencing severe chest pains.
Had it not been for a very good friend suggesting that I take a stress test, and the emergency quadruple bypass operation, I certainly would not be hear today.
In a recent Huffington Post article , health care advocate Gary Stein, discusses his own recent heart attack. In fact, he mentions that he will also be undergoing a double bypass operation in the near future.
Mr. Stein knew and knows what he should have been doing for his health – it’s what he does. He attributes the disconnect between what he advocates and what he was doing to “hubris and hypocrisy.” Unfortunately too many of Our Community can relate to health histories of Mr. Stein and myself. We knew what we should not have been doing or ignoring, but we did it anyway.
Mr. Stein boils the key issues down to the following:
“So here are the two main concerns: a) How do you get the message out, and b) how do you make those impacted take action? The first part is easy, and it’s been done countless numbers of times, on billboards, radio and television public service announcements (PSAs), “must-see-TV” episodes, billions of pounds of pamphlets picked up at doctors offices or health fairs and subsequently thrown away, and through hundreds of public health programs, from building community gardens to changing school lunches into meals that kids push aside and grab a snack later.”
So why don’t people who have see the ads, picked up the pamphlets, and seen the PSAs stop what their doing to themselves and live healthier lives? I believe everyone has a different reason for it, but I agree with Mr. Stein’s view:
“There are two main theories behind behavior change that are commonly used in public health program development. One is the “Steps to Change,” or trans-theoretical model developed by Drs. Prochaska and diClemente, and the other is the “health belief model.” Put together, they essentially say that people change health-related behaviors a) when they finally believe that the change will impact their health and b) they are ready to make that change.
That is why behavior change is so hard to propagate. I, along with so many others, have been desperately trying to make people understand, believe and ready themselves for the changes that can save or change their lives for the better. But it has to be internalized, ingrained, understood… and believed.”
How do you as members of Our Community begin understand, believe and ready yourselves (or your loved ones) for those life-saving and life-prolonging changes? Your comments would be greatly appreciated.