I don’t know if any of you have noticed this, but about 80% of my blogs are about preventative health care rather than acute treatment of illness, which to me is like observing that the Idaho summer sky is blue—rather obvious, you know? That is just the way I think. But most health care is not that way. Most American medical care is NOT preventative (think coronary artery disease, oncology, surgery, urgent care, etc.). Haunting statistics have proved for a generation that we Americans spend 90% of all health care dollars on 10% of those receiving health care—on the late complications of almost entirely preventable diseases. These would include diabetes (eating poorly, obesity), heart disease (eating poorly, obesity, sedentary lifestyle), and cancer (smoking, obesity, high fat/low fiber diets). Another haunting and disgusting statistic is that physicians are paid well for surgeries and procedures and very poorly for preventative care. That is a big part of why American health care is so screwed up. We have all seen those internet postings of candid photos of “Walmart Customers” in varying degrees of overweight, under covered grossness. (Yech!) Bariatric surgeons, cardiovascular surgeons, cancer surgeons, see those postings and see future business! My wife just returned from a once-in-a-lifetime trip to France. She loved it, just loved it. One of her observations, however, is that the typical Frenchman is thin—no obesity there. But don’t worry about the French taking over the world; everyone over there smokes too! Okinawa, Japan, has been studied for over 50 years because it has the highest concentration of centenarians in the world. These people just know how to live well. What do they do?? They exercise individually (more yoga, less competitive sports), they are passionate about their family vegetable gardens, they eat fish and seaweeds, they stay thin, their culture discourages a high stress, competitive lifestyle, and smoking is minimal. They meditate; they are spiritual but not outwardly religious. They value art and poetry (think Mr. Miyagi’s bonsai trees). And they outlive us by an average of over twenty years!
We all probably think we know how any doctor would advise us to live. Eat healthy, living as “close to the ground” as circumstances allow. Avoid processed and hormone-added foods. Stay thin, exercise, sleep, choose less stress, relax/meditate more and compete less. Surround yourself with emotional support (family, neighbors, support groups like church or civic organizations). Stay employed, seeking that ill-defined balance between a comfortable income and excess stress. In Idaho, nearly all of us are vitamin D deficient and need supplementation. We should focus less on lowering our cholesterol and more on lowering our inflammation. We should actively seek out our nutritional deficiencies when we become perennially tired or depress (rather than have our doctor put us on Prozac). We should focus on gut health much more than we do. We should use much fewer antibiotics. We physicians should go back much more to the basics of normal human physiology to understand and treat most diseases; we should rely much less on the recommendations of the large Pharmaceutical Industry whose primary purpose is to market to us very expensive new drugs. (Big secret: 50% of all medical education in this country is financed by Big Pharma, and these companies are wealthier by far than the state budgets of Idaho, Montana, and Wyoming put together!).
I am very much into prevention, as you can see. And I am suspicious of the present medical establishment in general. “Follow the money” is still the best way to understand large systems like the Medical-Industrial Complex, the Military-Industrial Complex, or even the Federal Government itself. If you want to see inside our current messed-up medical system, get on YouTube and watch “Escape Fire”, a documentary about the upside down provision of health care in America. It will open your eyes.
And if you want to practice preventative health care, really, then make an appointment (356-8883) and let us begin to change your life and your future. Feeling good does not have to be just a memory! We can test it and we can fix it, and do so naturally!
Your appointment with the doctor is waiting!