The same goes for those who are fit, or muscular. It is nearly impossible to tell that they are healthy based on appearance alone. Dr. Hilton says it’s possible for these muscular physiques to be achieved at the cost of an internal disease.
The more common health issue for those with “buff” bodies is mental illness. While some may exercise regularly because they truly enjoy it and others may be using exercise as a coping mechanism or to avoid dealing with personal issues.
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“I consider mental health as part of being “healthy” as well. The constant concern about a physical look is cause for me to look deeper. [Is there a] potential history of bullying? [Are they] using exercise to avoid dealing with personal issues, such as avoiding drinking or constant pressure or work stress?” explained Dr. Hilton.
Perhaps the biggest reason to avoid critiquing larger body types over smaller body types is because we never truly know someone else’s battle. Unfortunately, being thin doesn’t prevent autoimmune diseases, like or type 1 diabetes.
“In Chinese medicine, we say we can see the “shen” or, spirit, in a person’s appearance. That is true for a trained professional eye, but there are many times when people look outwardly healthy because people make the assumption that thin is healthy. [That’s] not necessarily so,’ said Teri Goetz, a Chinese and Integrative medicine practitioner.
There are nearly one hundred autoimmune diseases and they are most likely to affect women and girls up to the age of 65, according to the American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc. (AARDA). The initial symptoms of an autoimmune disease are often intermittent or unspecific.
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“Here’s the thing. Inflammation is silent in the beginning. It might show up as an occasional headache, joint pain or upset stomach. We think nothing of it and continue in our unhealthy habits until one day that turns into a chronic disease. So, you might look healthy. But if you have an unhealthy habit, you’re likely brewing an inflammation storm inside!” said Goetz.
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