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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Treating the Disease (vs.) Treating the Symptoms

I listened to a doctor on a radio talk show  today talking about diet, and the treatment of a disease itself (vs.) treating the symptoms with prescription drugs. His point of view as a doctor is that we are lining the pockets of the pharmaceutical companies with GOLD while telling the patient that his or her numbers are in good shape and in turn doing nothing to try and cure the disease.

He made a lot of sense. He also said, he has never had a patient die of high blood pressure, or high cholesterol, high blood sugar etc. as they are merely the symptoms of the disease. The cure for most diseases the doctor went on to say, is CHANGING OUR DIET and not taking one or more prescritption drugs which really do nothing to treat the root cause of the disease.

Our best tools to combat disease in other words are the kind and amount of food on our plates and our fork, knife and spoon, which we can control. Exercise also plays a valuable role.

Most of us eat too much meat, consume to much sugar in its different forms, eat way too many refined carbohydrates, drink too many sodas whether diet or otherwise etc.

It is our food that is killing us and it is regulating our food intake and water intake that will allow our body to cure itself, instead of masking the symptoms with drugs and telling ourselves it will be okay.

Here is a link to compliment what I am talking about:


"Let's start at the very beginning - a very good place to start . . ." A familiar tune, sure, & the words are simple wisdom, as wisdom often is. So, let's start at the very beginning. We have a health care dilemma in this great country. And we want our government to fix it. But we don't want them to interfere too much, of course. So where's the magic line? And what will the magic fix be?
Well, I hate to break it to America, but I believe we've reached a point where the pill to swallow that will magically fix the health care system just plain doesn't exist. Like our allopathic approach to medicine, we are accustomed to an easy answer. And like our suspicion of homeopathic & naturopathic methods, we are uncomfortable with anything that might mean taking away things we like, no matter what they personally cost us.
Let me explain.
We get sick. We go to the doctor. We want three things: a diagnosis, a prognosis, & a pill. Clean, concise, & requires no personal sacrifice, other than monetary, if even that is sacrificial.
The trend, however, is becoming blatantly obvious & unarguably clear: doctors may know the first one (diagnosis), rarely know the second one (prognosis), & the third part (pill) isn't working any more. If it ever was.
In 1993, I was invited to attend a national youth medical forum located in Boston & championed by none other than Hillary Rodham Clinton. I joined hundreds of other high-schoolers that were between their junior & senior years, & we were assigned the task of writing up health care reform packets that would be submitted to Ms Clinton herself. After hours of exposure to vastly different aspects that were to influence our priorities & decisions ~ from meeting with AIDS patients to walking the halls of Harvard's Gross Anatomy classes to having lunch with Dr. Marcia Angell, the editor-in-chief at that time of the New England Journal of Medicine ~ we spent our time learning quickly & filling notebooks with our thoughts. And, in the end, we came up with health care packages for Ms Clinton.
Now, I do not remember what my team put into that package. What I remember is meeting a whole lot of other people who shared my dreams and unaffected wide-eyed view of saving the world.
I wonder if that isn't how a lot of us are approaching this new wave of health care reform. We think if we just find a way to procure the money, there is an answer to taking care of every person in America. We think we can get something without having to sacrifice because that is the method to which we are accustomed.
I want to combine the ideas I've mentioned & roll them all around into something of a solution. I want to change how we view medicine, & I want to suggest an idea for funding health care. Westernized, allopathic medicine is amazing & life-saving on many levels. Injury & trauma we excel in, along with a handful of other broad categories. But give us non-contagious disease? Big diseases like heart disease & cancer all the way to smaller diseases like thyroid disease & diabetes. And we are LOST. We have no cures, no answers. We have, sometimes, the ability to prolong dying. And that's really it.
Why do we pursue what is not working? Because the unfamiliar is scary, I guess. Because change is so very hard. Many reasons, I'm sure. But we need to embrace Obama's very motto as we approach this disastrous health care dilemma. CHANGE! But not changing how we pay for health care by making it the government's responsibility to pay for us. We need to change from the roots up.
What would be the largest way to decrease medical costs? It's a simple answer, & it sounds foolish to say it: Stop seeing doctors. Right? THAT is the biggest way to make health care affordable. Outside of contagious illnesses & traumas, what does that mean? Control your health, folks! Stop eating garbage. Stop drinking soda. Stop smoking. Start taking a walk every day. Drink some of that awesome water that makes up most of your body.
Ahhh, yes, but . . . but! Who wants to do that?
So. Since it is a CHOICE to raise medical costs by choosing poor lifestyles, my solution is to tax the choices. My far-right political self cringes at the very mention of those words, but my fed-up-with-whiners self has HAD it with people who don't take their health seriously & want a quick fix with a pill or elective surgery. You want a donut? Pay a tax. Pay a tax that will pay for your health care b/c I'm sick of paying for your health care. I believe we have been given vast resources in nature to care for our bodies, along with the common sense of what we put into them.
Our entire bodies function as one entity, but we want to think our gut functions outside the rest of it. What fuel we put into ourselves doesn't matter. We wouldn't dare dump anything but gasoline into our cars, but we don't think twice when we eat a bag of chips & down them with a large coke & follow that up with a brownie. We fully expect (& are irritated & frustrated if they don't) our bodies to function at top-notch with such fuel! And when our bodies trip up, we want an M.D. (Miracle Doctor) to provide us with a magic potion to fix the mess WE made.
Doctors exist to help us heal broken bones & contagious diseases & traumatic accidents & things we cannot control. They have never had & never will have the answers to the diseases & illnesses we bring upon ourselves. Pills control symptoms if you're lucky - they never control causes.
There you have it, folks. A health care overhaul? Sure. But it doesn't start with our insurances charging less or our government paying for more.
It starts with you & me CARE-ing for our HEALTH. Health Care.
The answer to this health care disaster is very, very simple. It just costs in the form of discipline. And just as I'd never dare to suggest someone else pay for my Doritos, I'd hope to God our government will never force me to pay for someone else's either.

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