As the current trend toward worsening patterns of behavior continues, the eventual need for corrective guidance will evolve. The science that most people believe will provide definitive answers will not be found. Our health problems do not manifest from a single cause that requires a specific single action to remedy. There are overlapping causal relationships. There are sensitivities to natural as well as chemical substances that trigger a cascade of reactions that result in unhealthy outcomes. This just discusses the tip of the iceberg when dealing with the complexities of health care problems.
We want to believe that doctors and scientists involved in research, are working diligently to come up with answers to correct these health maladies. There certainly is a lot of research, however, what are the main goals of this research? If we assume it is BETTER HEALTH, why do we not see research designed to strengthen HEALTHY BODIES? Why do our doctors request blood panels that do not include testing for nutritional deficiencies? Overwhelmingly, doctors agree that disease and health problems do not manifest in healthy bodies. Weaknesses must exist for damaging opportunistic outcomes to overtake normal healthy function. (Ex. if a person has a calcium deficiency, they become prone to developing osteoporosis). Rather than waiting until a person reaches a certain age to determine if a condition (that may have existed for many years) exists or waiting until a fracture results from this deficiency, why not run annual blood panels for common nutritional elements to catch deficiencies prior to their damaging effects? Doesn’t this sound more like HEALTH CARE? Doesn’t it make more sense to correct health problems (or weaknesses) prior to symptoms developing? Is the goal to maintain healthy bodies, or simply bandage them when they become damaged? We need to begin understanding that GOOD HEALTH is not simply the absence of visible symptoms. Symptoms are the END RESULT of an underlying condition.
Reliable guidance to improving health requires a partnership between patients and doctors. Patients need to assume greater responsibilities than they currently accept. They need to communicate better with their doctors and make certain their doctors are working with them to strengthen their bodies; not simply checking to see if meds are needed to address cholesterol, blood pressure, thyroid, diabetes, etc… Patients also have a greater responsibility than they realize. Doctors (in general) do not make people healthy; they assist patients in making themselves healthy. This is a very important concept. Until the patient begins to participate on a regular basis to maintain their own health, gradual degradation of the health of our society will continue. New research and new drugs will NOT be able to overcome the lack of personal responsibility that currently exists. I truly believe that people are not well informed. As a doctor, I believe our profession needs to step up to the plate and hand over to the patient a list of OUR EXPECTATIONS to be able to provide our services to our patients with the best outcomes. It might be time to place diplomacy on the side to achieve better results.
In conclusion, let’s look at some possible solutions.
Patients will likely need a team of professionals to work with. These may include a combination of nutritionist, complimentary physician or therapist (ex. chiropractor, naturopath, acupuncturist, massage therapist, physical therapist), medical physician, personal exercise trainer. BUT THE COST!!! As the consumer takes on the necessary responsibilities and LEARNS how to properly take care of their health (rather than simply manage their diseases), the frequency of professional assistance reduces significantly. Maintaining GOOD HEALTH is much more cost effective than treating and maintaining ongoing disease.
Patients will have to CHANGE THEIR ATTITUDES. We can no longer use our freedoms to choose behaviors that result in self destruction. Sedentary lifestyles combined with poor nutrition can not continue. The cost is too heavy on the individual as well as society. We already pay more in health expenditures per person in the United States than any other country. If that isn’t enough of a problem, we rank LOW in quality of health care received. The consumer, therefore must change their attitude as well as the attitude of the physicians they work with.
Children must be taught how to live a healthy lifestyle from a young age. If they grow up with it, it becomes the natural way to live. This means that parents must also accept minimum responsibilities to learn essentials necessary to reinforce healthy behaviors in their children. Our schools need to also accept a greater role in teaching health and making sure that children understand the urgency if healthy living is to prevail.
For healthier living to develop it needs to start from a grass root effort. We need to start in the family and community and progress to a state level and ultimately federal level to help manage the funding needed to achieve these new goals. It must work in this direction to prevent special interests from attempting to monopolize and profit at the individual’s expense. Our current regulatory system is consumed with waste and fraud costing a great deal of expense to the average person. Our government has been unable to address this health crisis in any meaningful way. By starting at the grassroots level we avoid some level of bureaucratic red tape.
I am hoping as I write these articles the words begin to resonate deeper into all of our minds. These changes are absolutely necessary and will benefit all of us. This doesn’t mean the process will feel good. Compromise in lifestyle is never met with overwhelming joy. The results, however, and the new benefits achieved from these compromises WILL BE MET WITH OVERWHELMING JOY!
Are you willing to make the personal compromises to help yourself, your family and our society achieve a healthier and happier outcome?