As I grow older, it seems that I spend more and more time thinking about things that are related to my health. Recently I pondered the question of which factor has more influence on a person’s health in general. Is it the person’s lifestyle or the person’s genetics?
I have come to the conclusion that it is primarily the person’s genetics. How else could you possibly explain a baby dying from cancer at age 3 when they have done nothing wrong and only been fed healthy foods? Pick any of these childhood diseases. How can you explain them other than faulty genetics?
How else can you explain the guy who lives into his 90’s and still smokes? How else can you explain the physically fit jogger who dies of a heart attack at age 50? What about the fat slob who is still alive in his eighties that has been 80lbs overweight for as long as you’ve known him.
I am willing to admit that certain lifestyle habits would certainly trump good genetics. Take for instance the habitual narcotics user. He is destined for a short life because of the things that some drug users do like share needles or become homeless or commit crimes to pay for their drugs. Consider the homosexual man who decides to engage in unprotected sex with multiple partners. His lifestyle choice is almost certain to land him some kind of STD in a relatively short period of time.
But, as far as the more minor things that people do to affect their lives like smoke cigarettes, drinking alcohol and not exercising, it appears that genetics will overpower those types of vices to some degree. Thank God for small favors.
I rationalized this way of thinking as being the reason why I need to not worry so much about poor lifestyle decisions that I have engaged in over the years. Instead I should just worry about living healthier now. Hopefully genetics will forgive me to some extent for the various ways I have punished my organs over the years.
Are you worried about your health? Think about how I rationalized this concept. Maybe you can find some solace in it as well.