Tag Archives: healthcare

Good Health: the missing ingredient in the Health Care Debate

Here’s a short article worth reading, and another one here, about what’s missing in the health care debate: Health. Drs. Andrew Weil and Ornish are both trying to raise the issue of preventive care and health…er…CARE as part of the medical industry’s core responsibilities.

As it stands, Ornish reasons, is we’re funding an industry that seeks out, treats, and only sees Disease. No prevention, no common sense about balanced diet, good food and exercise, the two easiest ways to maintain good health. Disease and its myriad high priced and questionable treatments.

Several years ago I decided to pretty much swear off doctors and the medical industry because it had so completely duped me about my own health. I wasn’t exercising nearly enough, I had put on weight and didn’t feel so good, and I had anxiety about a lot of things. The doctors I saw over the course of a couple of years increased the number and kinds of pills I would “have to be on” for the rest of my life. No one, not one doctor or nurse, suggested I ramp up my exercise, seek out forms of mind therapy like yoga or meditation, and that I cut out the pretty hefty amount of sugar I was ingesting.

Not one.

I decided for myself that I didn’t want to be taking pills so I started down a path of my own discovery. It required a lot of me. A lot of changes, a lot of refusal to give up. And an enormous amount of going against the grain. I’m not at all smugly suggesting that everyone should do what I do, but I am suggesting that people should view the medical industry as AN INDUSTRY. Much like car companies, cereal makers, record labels, and shoe manufacturers, the Medical Industry wants you to take pills and get treatment. It’s their business, after all.

Hence my deep appreciation for Ornish’s article this morning:

If we just cover bypass surgery, angioplasty, stents, and other interventions that are dangerous, invasive, expensive, and largely ineffective on 48 million more people, then costs are likely to increase significantly at a time when resources are limited. As a result, painful choices are being discussed — rationing, raising taxes, and/or increasing the deficit — and these are threatening the public acceptance and thus the viability of health reform.

what’s missing, tragically, is a diagnosis of the real, far more fundamental problem, which is that what’s even worse than its stratospheric cost is the fact that American health care doesn’t fulfill its prime directive — it does not help people become or stay healthy. It’s not a health care system at all; it’s a disease management system, and making the current system cheaper and more accessible will just spread the dysfunction more broadly…

I say an overhaul should be just that: an overhaul. A huge, eye-opening discussion of just what the heck “health care” has become in our corporate culture. In the meantime, eat right, exercise and find a little joy today. It works wonders.

What’s not to love about this?

What would you give to have a more positive outlook in your day?  Or feel stronger, more confident in your body? How about sleeping better, getting sick less often, having better self-esteem?

Most of us, living in this the-answer-is-out-there-and-probably-comes-in-pill-form society of ours, will think, yeah–what are you selling?

Nada.  Nothing you can’t do yourself. We’ve collectively come to this place where fresh veggies and fruit taste “funny” and processed food tastes normal. Our energy isn’t great, our brains are functioning on less real nutrients, and then we wonder why we don’t feel so good.

Obama is gathering his forces to help make America healthier, and this effort, perhaps more than his other unbelievable number of efforts, has me swooning.  This article on CNN discusses his ideas, and of course finds a way to make the effort controversial (that’s what sells, after all), but the point of Obama’s agenda is this:

A healthy population is a happier, less expensive, stronger, more motivated population.  Period.

Happier: endorphins from exercise help modulate mood, we’re made this way. It’s the way our mechanisms work. Further, even if you don’t go out an run 3 miles, just stretching and walking helps your mood by connecting you with your body.  It’s natural, it’s how our bodies work.  Connection lost: balance lost.

Less expensive: as the article points out, chronic diseases such as adult onset diabetes account for 2 trillion bucks in health care.  That’s Two. Trillion. Bucks. Medical studies have long ago proven that better nutrition based of fresh veggies, fruit, fish, etc combined with moderate exercise can help manage a ton of chronic complaints.  Imagine tossing those pills you’re stuck on–it could happen.

Stronger, more motivated: you know the old saying, if you want something done, ask a busy person.  Once your body is accustomed to moving, whether that means taking the stairs instead of the elevator, doing yoga stretches in your cubicle, going for a walk at lunch instead of sitting around, or even getting up off the sofa to change the channel rather than using the remote, your old bod gets used to it and craves it.  Pretty soon you’re finding ways to keep moving no matter what, and guess what: your body works better that way.  It doesn’t work so very well if you’re always stationary.

Okay, I’ll get off my soapbox now, but I just had to say, Mr. Obama, you are a dreamboat.