Optimal Health Checklist


Holistic Living Blog

By Dr. Rachelle Tetreault, DAOM,Dipl. O.M. (NCCAOM), L,Ac


To maintain optimal health throughout our life span, there are many checkpoints to point us in the direction of this goal. It is quite achievable despite genetics, history, or diagnosis. This transcends in feeling good energy throughout the day, ability to stretch and stay active without joint and body aches, and much more. Good health is available to all of us and our bodies are wondrously made to be regulated and maintained.

Some of the main target areas we look at to see long term health all begin with proper digestion. Gut health is true health and affects the body as a whole. This includes not only the microbiome of the gut itself but the way the gut assimilates what it is given. Assimilation includes both absorption and digestion of our nutrients to properly nourish our entire body. Without this, the immune system becomes affected over time and malnourishment, or even autoimmune issues can arise creating secondary disorders and diseases.

Another target area of interest for optimal health is to look at the body’s ability to fight off colds and inflammation. This can mean arthritis, or any frequent discomfort in the body including the frequency of getting ill. The energy of the body is often determined by the mitochondrial health of our body’s cells. These have a primary role  to convert products of proteins, carbohydrates, and fat metabolism to carbon dioxide and water. That is why they are considered the powerhouses of our body’s cells. Some symptoms of mitochondrial disorders include impaired vision, cardiac arrhythmia, diabetes, and even hearing loss.

Another area of concern is our body’s natural detoxification system which often shows in how often we sweat or have a bowel movement. This is in overdrive with more and more pollutants affecting our resources and environment.

Our body’s ability to handle insulin is vital. Our overall health is affected if we do not have optimal insulin or blood-sugar levels. This is often shown with constant sweet or carbohydrate cravings, inability to lose weight, feeling shaky only a couple hours after a meal, and having a family history or alcoholism, diabetes, or any hypoglycemia issue.

Our lymphatic system and cardiovascular health should be working optimally for long term health. Signs of less than optimal in these categories would be hypertension, poor circulation in extremities, slow healing of wounds, muscle cramps, any edema, and a history of heart disease.

Other signs of circulatory deficiency may be varicose veins, numbness or tingling in the feet or hands, and erectile dysfunction. Blood pressure is a wonderful indicator of vascular health but sometimes a carotid ultrasound or full body MRI is needed to fully assess total health of the heart and brain vasculature depending on severity of symptoms.

The endocrine system plays a major role in overall health including thyroid health and even sex hormones. Estrogen helps prevent bone loss later in life. Sex hormones also help protect the brain and increase brain function and resilience especially later in life. Estrogen helps maintain blood flow, wards off inflammation and disease.

The regulation of sex hormones are beneficial in many ways including improvement of both memory and fine motor skills. Studies reveal that not only estrogen helps reduce the risk of osteoporosis, but also lowers the risk of stroke, dementia, heart disease, and even affects our mood. Low testosterone levels in older men show to have an increased risk of hip fractures, osteoporosis, and overall bone loss.

The HRV or heart rate variability is a wonderful tool to monitor your autonomic system which directly affects your vascular health. Studies have shown that HRV is linked to optimal long-term health. It is the body’s ability to maintain alliance with heart rate variable changes measuring how the body responds and reacts to these changes. More specifically it is the slight variation of time between heartbeats and the steadiness of these heartbeats. Typically, this interval is usually a fraction of a second. Healthy HRV ranges are minimum 60 to 70 but triathletes often can be much higher.

This non-invasive marker is affected by the autonomic nervous system and though relatively new has been shown to reveal long-term health of individuals. HRV can improve with small changes like handling stress better and a good diet, regulating hormones and improving activity levels. Certain factors such as stress, sleep, anxiety, health, hormone levels, disease, inactive lifestyle, and certain medications all affect HRV.

All of these major target areas are specific criteria for optimal health for long-term. Each of these are further broken down into individual assessment from each category to determine if some deficiency exists to improve optimal health. Optimal health is meant for each of us. Eastern Medicine has been well versed in treating the body as a whole and creating harmony of both heart and mind.We all may have our target areas to improve on and to maintain more rigorously. These measures assure vitality, wellness, and optimal health in our ripe old age. Call today for your journey to begin: 772-353-1397