HOMEWORK & HEALTH

publication-3-cropped-600If you go to your doctor for your annual physical, what do you expect?

  • height and weight check

  • blood pressure reading

  • auscultate (listen to) heart sounds with a stethoscope

  • maybe auscultate the lung fields

  • review prescription medications

  • blood and urine test

SOUND ABOUT RIGHT?

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Then we wait for the lab reports and the “thumbs up” from the doctor saying, “your in GOOD HEALTH!”

Twelve (or more) months go by and we repeat the same process. Does it seem like something is missing?

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I’ll give you a hint:

How does your doctor know if you’re in good health? Does he or she base conclusions on heart sounds, blood pressure, and lab values? Is this really all it takes to know if you’re in “GOOD HEALTH?”

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If this same patient was taking 2-3 prescriptions, not exercising, eating poorly and maintaining high levels of stress, would you really believe this person was in “GOOD HEALTH?” Even if their heart sounds, blood pressure and lab values were within normal limits, does this mean they’re in GOOD HEALTH or simply that their bodies haven’t reached measurable levels of BAD HEALTH (YET!)

If the patient walked away from this office visit assuming they were in “GOOD HEALTH” as reported by their physician, why would they modify their LIFESTYLE? The patient could actually justify their lifestyle by thinking, “why make changes when my lifestyle has resulted in a report of “GOOD HEALTH?”

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IT COMES DOWN TO DEFINING “GOOD HEALTH”

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  • If a person is on one or two or three medications it means something is wrong! They may be STABLE, but the ongoing need for synthetic drugs contradicts the concept of GOOD HEALTH.

  • If a person isn’t exercising, their body is gradually losing efficient FUNCTION. This ages a person more quickly making them more susceptible to degeneration (arthritis) and fracture (osteoporosis.) This is NOT how we define GOOD HEALTH.

  • If a person isn’t eating a BALANCED (healthy) diet, nutritional deficiencies begin to: (1) weaken immune function, (2) cause systemic inflammation and (3) alter gene expression resulting in a slew of symptoms and diseases. This is NOT the path of GOOD HEALTH.

  • If a person is overweight and sedentary, they are at greater risk for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, obesity and cancer. Again, NOT the path of GOOD HEALTH.

Regardless of blood pressure, heart sounds and lab values, it would be inappropriate to mislead this patient into believing they were in “GOOD HEALTH.” It would be much more accurate to inform this patient they were FORTUNATE not to have EXPERIENCED THE SYMPTOMS of BAD HEALTH YET and the CONDITIONS that would likely manifest if they pursued this path forward!

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TYPICALLY, “GOOD HEALTH” DOESN’T BECOME “BAD HEALTH” OVER NIGHT.

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For those patients seriously interested in EXPERIENCING “GOOD HEALTH,” a HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT should be created by the doctor following the exam. This assignment would be customized to support the individual patient’s needs by making certain to correct the PHYSICAL and EMOTIONAL aspects interfering with ACHIEVING AND/OR MAINTAINING “GOOD HEALTH.” Follow up office visits would be scheduled (as needed per individual case) to MEASURE THE RESULTS and make certain the homework’s goals were achieved.

This type of annual office exam (AND FOLLOW UP) requires greater interaction between patient and doctor. It shows greater concern by the doctor for the patient’s well being and greater patient commitment and responsibility based on compliance. This adds VALUE to the patient/doctor relationship and seeks better outcomes for the patient’s LONG TERM HEALTH.

LEAVING AN OFFICE VISIT UNDER THESE TERMS WITH A REPORT OF:

“GOOD HEALTH”

VALIDATES THE PATIENT’S EFFORTS AND ASSURES THEM THEY ARE ON THE RIGHT PATH!

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WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOUR DOCTOR GAVE YOU A HOMEWORK ASSIGNMENT TO IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH?

REMEMBER, THE 15 MINUTE OFFICE VISIT DOESN’T DETERMINE “GOOD HEALTH.” IT’S THE BEHAVIOR DURING OTHER 23 HOURS AND 45 MINUTES IN THE DAY THAT DOES!

 

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34 comments

  1. All very good. I think there is another piece to this puzzle as well. Often times doctors work in groups and they are only allotted 15-20 minutes per patient. I’m not how that can be fixed. Some patients obviously require more time than this.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re right. Here was my answer with my patients.
      “your problem today, requires more time than allotted. I respect each patient’s time and do not want to delay the next patient, however, I want to make certain your problem is addressed PROPERLY. Therefore, I am going to schedule an additional appt. for you so we can sit down and take the time necessary to discuss and work out a plan to address your concerns.”

      The patient appreciated my concern for them and appreciated the fact that I VALUED my other patient’s time as well.

      I used to joke with my patients. I told them, “until I can walk across a lake without getting wet, my time was not more valuable than theirs.” 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Great article..as usual! ◔‿◔

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much.

      Like

  3. I would echo feistyfroggy’s comment. I must say I have experienced closer to the level of consultation you suggest by scheduling with the NP at my primary care office. They seem to be able to dedicate more time to each patient than the MDs do.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. As long as their education and experience qualifies them to fulfill this role, I completely support it. If it is a “stop gap” because the doctor’s schedule is too busy, this can complicate matters. A patient, however, must be willing to understand if they require excessive amounts of time with their physicians, this time must be compensated fairly.

    Like

    1. Thank you J.M. 🙂 Just trying to stimulate some neurons in the world.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. dimarino.6 · · Reply

    I agree! All too often, healthcare professionals and marketers use terms that do not have standardized meanings: “Good Health”, “All Natural”, or even “All organic”. Customers and patients need to do their own homework on improving their understanding of health terms and how it effects them daily! I need to write a blog about that in more detail

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I look forward to your interpretation in a future blog post. Thanks for the feedback. Comments help share various opinions and ideas that often shed new light on the subject.

      Like

      1. dimarino.6 · · Reply

        You are very welcome. I so agree. It creates depth and new perspectives of our work. If you ever have thoughts or ideas on my blog posts, please share!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. You can count on it!

          Like

  6. Another seriously interesting post Jonathan. Thank you. You always make so much sense!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I appreciate your willingness to read and comment on my posts. I believe the content can seriously affect the quality of people’s lives. Hopefully, those seeking positive changes will connect in a meaningful way.

      Have a great upcoming weekend!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Jonathan. Looking forward to your next post.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing. I appreciate your commitment to help other people’s lives.

      Like

  7. Great Insight in your closure line Dr Jonathan !! 🙋

    Liked by 1 person

    1. So glad you liked it and thought it added a valuable message for people to consider.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Wow !!! How true !!! and it all makes perfect sense !!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sometimes people ask me, “why didn’t I think about that?” I tell them, “we are so used to a system dealing with health problems, it just never occurs to us to STEP BACK and ask ourselves, DOES IT MAKE SENSE?”

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Nice piece. I’m wondering what your take is on multi-vitamins and other dietary supplements? Most people say they just give you expensive urine but have you found them to be helpful?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I use whole food supplements because I’m not convinced our farmers provide adequate time to allow the soil to replenish their nutrients. If I am going to “miss” in life and do something that might be unnecessary, I will miss on the side of strengthening and supporting my body. That’s a potential mistake I am willing to make any day of the week.

    The average consumer’s diet is so bad, I think WHOLE FOOD QUALITY MULTI-VITAMINS are a smart choice. I do not, however, recommend them in place of quality foods. The term is SUPPLEMENT!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for taking your time to read this.

      Like

  11. I whole-heartedly agree with Healthy Living Tips!! This post was very helpful!! Additionally, I miss the patient-doctor relationship that use to exist…appointments often feel like drive-thru experiences & I get so sad because I don’t enjoy fast-food; therefor I feel this same disappointment, in my medical appointments. HUGs!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You may want to consider searching for a good qualified (certified) FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE provider. These doctors spend the necessary time with their patients and seek to CORRECT the VARIOUS deficiencies impeding healthy outcomes. They typically do NOT replace your primary doctor. They fill the void that extends beyond the antibiotic, muscle relaxer and pain meds.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I believe that the MDs can look at someone and tell what kind of life style the are leading, heck I can do that…..but most MD’s only look at the #’s….BP, lab values etc….if you pass the #’s test then they tell you that you are doing okay….one of my husbands old MD’s was guilty of this….just because all his #’s came up within “range” they told him to keep up the good work!!! I said really, he doesn’t exercise, he’s at the high end of all the “ranges” and his belt buckle is at the last notch…keep up the good work…I was furious that would give him permission to continue as he is, you see, he used to be one of the sheep that follow and believe what the MD said was “Gospel” needless to say, he changed his MD shortly after that….at least now his MD addresses his weight and over all health….just because he is in “range” doesn’t necessarily mean he is on the right path to health…..wow that got me going….LOL great article….

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I couldn’t have said it better myself. If something doesn’t APPEAR bad this does not necessarily equate with BEING GOOD! Doctors need to “lift their faces” from the diagnostic test results and LOOK DIRECTLY AT THEIR PATIENT before giving advice to “keep up the good work.” If the patient is highly stressed, overweight, eating poorly and living a sedentary life, I wouldn’t advise they tell their patients to “keep up the good work!”

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  13. thx doc for sharing..i will do that

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Awesome post 👌🏻
    Please check my latest post on What Eyebags tells about our health- What do Eye Bags Reveals About Your Health || – SUNAINA DAS
    https://sunainadasblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/01/what-do-eye-bags-reveals-about-your-health/

    Xoxo 💗

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Very interesting article! Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always a pleasure. Glad you enjoyed it. 🙂

      Like

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