Sick Care or Health Care?
I read a recent article by Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) that discussed sick care versus genuine wellness. It was truly interesting as the article spoke about the current state of our health care system. Do you realize that the American health care system is the most costly system in the world? It is not surprising to me that as Americans we have the opportunity to spend more than any other country on healthcare. The thing that bothers me as a clinician in this system is where our health is rated. When I think about health and costs I relate the two, right? If I spend more than anyone else I know I should be healthier, right? Wrong. In fact not even close. We are ranked 37th in the world when it comes to health. Can you believe that? We outspend our European counterparts two to one, but we are two times more likely to have chronic disease. This is terrible if you ask me.
What can we do about it? That's a great question and one I frequently get asked. We have to change our mind set. We have to quit thinking that the government or insurance company is going to take care of us. We are responsible for our own health and it is time that we stand up and do it. We must start taking accountability for our actions. You have heard the old saying that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. The same is true when it comes to our health. We destroy our health by ignoring signs and then complain when we don't feel as we should.
According to the article written by Senator Harkin 75% of the healthcare costs today are related to heart disease, diabetes, prostate cancer, breast cancer and obesity. That means that 75% of the cost we are spending on healthcare is for conditions that can be prevented in most cases by changes in our lifestyle. The way we eat, exercise and our lifestyle choices greatly affect our health. The government is trying to come up with a system that "fixes the problem" and the reality is that you and I are responsible for our own health. We must embrace preventative care and avoid chronic type illnesses that come from apathy and lack of interest in our health.
Now is the time to make a difference. Find a good book on eating right, start an exercise program and get rid of silly aches and pains that you shouldn't have to begin with. I recommend that all my patient's be on some form nutritional balance in their life as well as stretching and some physical activity. Walking with your spouse can be a great way to start and great for your relationship as well. So start choosing health and saying no to our old sick ways.