Stress blog

Make your health your top priority

By Edward T. Creagan, M.D. February 23, 2011

The email from the CEO swept through the company and the industry like a tsunami. An iconic character and a charismatic visionary, the CEO announced that he was stepping down at zenith of his career to focus on his health. The decision was hardly simple. He knew that his departure would have a dramatic impact on the company's fiscal health. But he also recognized that if his health continued to deteriorate, he wouldn't be able to help the business.

A prominent attorney from a big city underwent serious heart surgery. The surgery had been recommended two years prior, but because of an inflexible and demanding schedule, the attorney put it off in favor of professional and corporate interests. Although the surgery went well, it would have been far less complicated had it been done when it was first recommended.

A revered professional "let himself go" after retirement, gaining weight and neglecting health issues such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol. While working in the garden, he suffered crushing chest pain. His devoted spouse called for help. The retired gentleman ended up undergoing a multivessel bypass.

These three individuals offer a powerful lesson. You need to take care of yourself. Ignoring your health and well-being, no matter what the reason, can be disastrous to you and to those who depend on you. I particularly like the language the CEO used in his email. He wasn't stepping down because of "health issues" but rather he was taking preemptive action to focus on his health. A subtle distinction but an important one.


Edward T. Creagan, M.D.

Follow on Twitter: @EdwardCreagan

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Feb. 23, 2011