Have you wondered if there is something missing in our healthcare system?
Earlier this week I was talking to a group of veterans and we were discussing health trends.
They were shocked when I explained that, statistically, the USA is one of the sickest industrialized countries in the world.
With life expectancy starting to decline and health care costs sky-rocketing, they asked me what I thought was missing.
Let’s first look at a few of our current health trends:
- For the last 3 years, the life expectancy in the US is decreasing, that is the first time ever recorded.
- The US makes up roughly 6% of the world’s population yet we consume over half of all pharmaceutical drugs made on the planet.
- Diagnosis of diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and many others are continually rising.
- Obesity in our children is more common than not.
- Autism, ADHD, depression and anxiety are becoming more and more common.
- Health care costs are skyrocketing and we have an opioid crisis that is plaguing the country.
- All of that and the US has the most technologically advanced health care system in the world that we spend over 3 trillion dollars a year on.
So what’s missing in American healthcare?
I don’t believe the answer is as simple as one research breakthrough or a change in diet. I believe the issue is our current health paradigm and our approach to our health.
If you walk outside or go for a drive take a second and do a bit of people-watching. More than likely what you will see is a community that is stressed and moving as fast as possible between their daily destinations. We go go go constantly from one place to another and the only time we stop is when we are on our phones or laptops.
We push ourselves to the brink of full burnout for decades.
When something hurts or we have some type of dysfunction in our health we turn to whatever can help us “feel” better the fastest.
If we have a migraine we take an Excedrin. We keep tums and Pepto around for our stomachs. When we have digestive, circulatory, neurological or immune issues we turn to a handful of pills to get us well. When our body seems to be breaking down we often turn to removing parts of our body like the tonsils, gall bladder or thyroid.
When we are in chronic pain we utilize medicine and surgery to try and repair a damaged body.
Should medicine be our first stop when something is wrong?
Before we go any further I must explain that all of those things in life threatening circumstances are vital. Many lives are saved by medical intervention each year.
The question however is should that be our first stop?
Each of the above sentences represents what I call an outside-in approach. This approach revolves around the idea that we can add something (medicine) or remove something (body parts and organs) in order to restore health.
If we have a thyroid issue and our body is not producing enough thyroid hormone (T3 and T4) and we add a synthetic hormone to our body, does that help restore our thyroid? If we have diabetes and we add insulin shots will the addition of extra insulin help our bodies produce more of their own?
What’s missing is the body’s ability to heal and recover!
If someone goes and sees their doctor and is diagnosed with high blood pressure does that mean their blood pressure was really good the day before?
Or if someone has a heart attack does that mean their heart was healthy the days before and today it is not?
The answer is of course not. The body has an amazing ability to heal and to keep you moving at that fast pace for years.
When your body is placed under to much stress, whether that is emotional ( work, relationships, finances) physical ( car accidents, sitting behind a desk all days, sports) or toxic (food and other chemical toxins), it will slowly lose its ability to heal. Instead of identifying that we push even harder.
The more your body loses its ability to heal the more “issues” that will start to arise.
We then add more and more medicines in hope that the pain and dysfunction will go away.
All the time your body has a never ending to-do list that it can not come close to completing. We then get diagnosed or have a health emergency and we tell everyone around us that we have no idea how this happened.
The World Health Organization states:
Health is a dynamic condition resulting from a body’s constant adjustment and adaptation in response to stresses and changes in the environment for maintaining an inner equilibrium called homeostasis.
So the question is, how well is your body adapting or adjusting to the current stresses it is under?
Like most, you may not know how to answer that question. Let us help.
Dr. Aaron Cain