February 13th, 2024

A prescription for a long and healthy life

On Tuesday, February 7th, clients and colleagues of Cumberland Private Wealth were treated to a presentation by Dr. Elaine Chin, a leading expert on preventive healthcare and wellness strategies. Despite the health concerns facing many Canadians and the strain on our healthcare system, the doctor gave hope and guidance to those who are willing to take control of their own well-being.

Dr. Chin is a pioneer in wellness, a best-selling author and media personality, and has impacted corporate Canada as a Chief Wellness Officer. From her clinic in Toronto’s Yorkville neighbourhood, she coaches her patients on how to transition from reactive to proactive healthcare so they can live healthier lives.

Chronic issues overwhelming the system


Before getting into her prescription, Dr. Chin outlined two realities shaping the healthcare environment for Canadians.

The first is a healthcare system that, in Dr. Chin’s words, is going up in flames. Systemic forces such as competition, economic pressure, social issues, technology and regulation are running headlong into a human resources shortage, resulting in disturbing statistics such as 6.5 million Canadians without access to a doctor or nurse practitioner, and Ontarians waiting more than six months to see a specialist.

The second reality is the prevalence of four conditions that contribute to more than 80% of all chronic suffering and premature death: heart attack and stroke, cancer, diabetes, and dementia. Dr. Chin pointed to worrying disease trends, such as a 77% increase in new cancer cases and a world in which the majority of people will be considered obese by the year 2030.

The prescription starts with you


Despite the health challenges facing Canadians and the world, Dr. Chin’s message is ultimately one of hope, because she believes that a large proportion of chronic disease and premature death is actually within our power to prevent.

She introduced a flowchart that showed how the risk factors for cardiovascular disease, heart attack, stroke, dementia, diabetes, kidney failure, and even cancer can be connected to one another, and how they can all fall under the broader umbrella of metabolic syndrome – a condition marked by abnormal biochemistry, obesity, and high blood pressure.

Dr. Chin proposed that, by tracking and improving our biochemistry, maintaining a healthy weight, and managing blood pressure, we can dramatically decrease the odds of experiencing the cascade of negative health effects stemming from metabolic syndrome.

Here are the four steps of Dr. Chin’s recommended process:

  • Know your numbers. Your numbers can mean everything from your body weight, blood pressure, and blood work data to the results of genetic testing for disease markers and MRI or CT imaging to see what’s happening inside your body. This step identifies problem areas and establishes a baseline so you can track your progress over time.
  • Create a health action plan. Your health action plan is how you address the numbers that need improvement. It generally means eating right, sleeping well, and staying active. It might also mean using drugs when necessary, adding supplements that can alter your epigenetics, and considering hormone replacement therapy when indicated.
  • Stay on track with coaching. Implementing your health action plan requires discipline. While you make efforts to eat enough protein, track the quality of your sleep, or count your daily steps, you might also draw on the support of professionals who can help you optimize your efforts, whether it’s a fitness trainer or a naturopathic doctor.
  • Reset and update. Like any plan, you need to adapt as conditions change – both in your body and in the external environment. Regular check-ins with your healthcare provider can help ensure that your numbers are moving in the right direction and that you are doing what you can to stay ahead of preventable health concerns.

The second half of Dr. Chin’s presentation was a Q&A period with the audience. The conversation covered many topics, including the importance of lifting weights to maintain bone density and muscle mass, the benefits of sauna and cold plunge, the dangers of environmental and lifestyle toxins such as smoking, alcohol, smog and pesticides, and the social and mental toxicity of our screen-obsessed culture.

Parallels with wealth management


Dr. Chin pointed to the many parallels between how we manage our wealth and how we manage our health. By setting goals, taking an objective look at the numbers, creating a plan, and working with good advisors to execute it over time, she believes that you can build a “health portfolio” that keeps you in good spirits for many more years to come.

For a more detailed discussion of the event or for access to a video replay, please contact your Cumberland Portfolio Manager.