Treating Risk Factors: Is it Bettering our Health?

by dr.g

Exercise calisthenics #2

Exercise calisthenics #2 (Photo credit: Ed Yourdon)

I recently re-read an article regarding healthcare reform that was written  3 years ago, but is just as relevant today.

The majority of all chronic diseases have to do with what we eat, how much exercise we get,  the degree of chronic stress we have, environmental toxins and if we smoke or not. These chronic diseases account for   78% of  all healthcare costs according to Hyman, Ornish, and Roizen (Alternative Therapies, Nov/Dec 2009. Vol 15. NO. 6).

In contrast, the majority of medical care is comprised of prescribing statins for high cholesterol, diuretics and anti-hypertensives for high blood pressure, medications for blood sugar control  and biphosphonates for thinning bones. Diet and exercise can control the majority of these risk factors and result in preventing the disease process, but often not  much importance or emphasis is placed on this. In addition, it is up for individuals to take more responsibility for their health instead of placing the responsibility on their doctors.

Treating risk factors like those described above has not made our country any healthier either, as we continue to fall in all measures of health by the WHO compared to other industrialized nations. Early detection of disease without addressing the underlying causes is simply leading to earlier treatment and rising healthcare costs.

It is time for the public, doctors and the government to come together to provide a consistent message that if we don’t all start taking better care of ourselves not only will our individual health decline, but the health of our nation declines under economic collapse from excessive (disease care) healthcare expenses.


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