The Blog

It's Time to Change the Way We Do Health Care

This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

2015-07-19-1437302947-471058-dreamstime_xs_17961714.jpg

We have a problem.

People are living longer than ever before, but quality of life is sliding down a slippery slope.

We're adding years to our lives but problems to our years.

People are gaining more weight than a gluttonous Roman emperor, and become stiff and weak at the same time.

Movements that were easy before become difficult, and let's not even discuss how messed up some people's digestion can be!

I'm not just talking about small aches and pains here. These problems are debilitating, and add more strain to our society as a whole than an elephant on a tightrope.

Chronic disease has reached epidemic proportions.

The CDC reports that about half of all adults in the U.S. have at least one chronic disease, and one in four have at least two.

By the time we reach our 60s most of us are taking 18 prescriptions a year to try to manage our conditions.

(18!? That's nuts!)

Still, even with all of this so-called care, chronic disease is the leading cause of death in the world.

It's costing us more than Scrooge McDuck's fortune.

A whopping 86 percent of health care costs in the U.S. are spent on treating people with one or more chronic disease.

Unfortunately most medical doctors have little training beyond pill-pushing when it comes to treating disease.

To make matters worse, with 15-minute office visits most doctors wouldn't have time to teach patients useful strategies even if they did have the training.

But let's not blame the doctors.


The modern medical system isn't set up to support health.

Biomedicine is designed to treat infectious disease, but it's as clueless as Forrest Gump playing football when it comes to knowing what to do with the more widespread problems of chronic disease.

Popping a pill isn't the answer.

Our society worships medications and hopes that they will fix all of our problems.

After all, pharmaceutical drugs are scientifically engineered to fight against whatever is causing symptoms in the body, right?

Well, the thing is that while the one-shot pill-popping solutions might be really good at getting rid of a surface infections, they really aren't great when it comes to treating long-term systemic dysfunctions.

Plus, side-effects often make people feel even worse.

There are no pharmaceuticals that don't come with a long list of them.

Whenever I watch TV I have to laugh because an ad will come on advertising one drug with 10 side-effects, and then another drug is advertised that treats one of those side effects.

And all too often this leaves patients comparing their new drug-induced symptoms to their old symptoms, wondering which is worse.

The truth is that when you're only focused on fighting against disease you don't usually solve much.

If you really want to be healthy you have to also take steps to support health, work with your body, and help it heal from the inside out.

Luckily, it doesn't have to be this way.

Most chronic diseases are actually preventable.

Some are even reversible.

So here's what needs to happen:

We need to stop turning to doctors as though they were our puppet masters with all of the answers.

Now don't misunderstand me.

Medical doctors are an indispensable part of our community. Their dedication to promoting health and helping to relieve people's suffering and save lives should be honored and respected.

But as the numbers above show, we're expecting medical doctors to fix problems that they can't handle.

Which means that we're the ones who have to change.

We need to change our approach to health from reactive to proactive.

Instead of waiting for symptoms to appear, we should be living our lives in a way that limits how often they appear in the first place.

Many of us don't even need to change our lives too drastically.

Just a few small adjustments can have a big effect on your overall health.

When you take charge of your own health and stop chronic disease in its tracks.

Stop relying on doctors to give you all of the answers and start digging deeper.

Figure out what works for you, in your unique body and your unique situation.

Learn the ways that you can shift your own diet and lifestyle to really support the vibrant life you were born to live, instead of just sustaining it.

Your life will be better when you do this, whether or not you have currently have a chronic disease.

In fact, the sooner you start the better off you'll be.

Even if it's just the smallest change, like replacing soda with sparkling water, or taking a brisk 2-minute walk around the block every morning.

The most important thing is to decide to make a change and then show up for it consistently.

Pretty soon you'll be feeling like a superhero! Or at the very least you'll be feeling better than you do now.

Think it's too much to tackle on your own?

I know.

Making these kinds of changes, no matter how small, can be a really tricky.

The good news is that while medical doctors might not have the time or training to really help with chronic issues, there are plenty of other practitioners who do.

So expand your horizons and find a mentor.

Working one-on-one with a trained health care professional can give you the guidance, motivation, and accountability you need to make the healthy changes that will impact how you live the rest of your life.

Naturopathic doctors, nutritionists, Chinese medicine practitioners, functional medicine practitioners, private yoga instructors and personal trainers are great people to turn to when you're ready to turn your life around.


Because in the end, a lot of your health is your choice.

You just have to decide to make it happen.


Now I'd like to hear from you.

What will you do this week to take charge of your own health?

Remember, change life's constant, but you can't influence the outcome if you don't take action. Leave a comment below and share the inspiration!

xoKaterina

P.S. If you liked this article, head on over to the Della Terra Wellness and sign up to get FREE tips, inspiration, and actionable steps to help you live up to your most vibrant potential.