Monday, March 28, 2011

Know Your Enemy: Who's Really Trying to Kill You?

Out of 386 posts I have written since 2008, this one is very passionate to me....

My wife is a medical professional and everyday I get to hear stories about how the entire health care system works. What we hear from the daily news and politicians is rudimentary compared to the the stories my innocent ears hear every-night at the dinner table.

We live in a society that favors doing the least amount of work to fix big problems. Our society favors quick fixes and antidotes to elicit pleasure and get us back to 'normal speed'. We look for prescription pain killers and other drugs to make discomfort and mild pain go away. We pop over the counter pain killers and move on with our day--only to continue complaining and searching for the closest parking spots, shop for bigger belt sizes or wear the most advanced knee wrap. For every nagging pain,  there is a culprit or an causative action that we remember and loathe. Our society heavily blames others and events that we wholeheartedly believe our out of our control. We maintain our cars, but fail to maintain our bodies. We treat our dead grandmother's china better than we treat our digestion system. THEN, when there is pain--or better yet--an interruption in our daily life, we seek out our favorite and trust-worthy medical professional. 
Your enemy....
I want to tell you something you probably don't hear often....Doctors are people too!  With our country's current focus on the health-care system, we tend to place doctors on high, high pedestal. This belief behavior occurred when we were children and we were taught to respect authority and respect physicians. The man in the white lab coat that carries a stethoscope around his neck and called you into his office is now the man that sits in his office and is at the end of  a long tunnel of waiting-room patience and forms to fill out. Society has been taught to accept a doctor's prognosis and ingest any medications he decides to prescribe. 
The problem has become that the medical profession is being swamped with patients that want to be seen for every minor cut, scrape, or bruise. While we are at it...throw in a headache, depression, anxiety, low back pain, and anything else under the sun. The doctor's office has become bottle-necked. 
To remedy this---our health-care system with the help of the trusty dollars from huge prescription drug companies---have implemented a plan to treat as many patients as possible, and ultimately, increase care giving in the form of tiny little magic pills. In a society that desires quick fixes and immediate pleasure, huge prescription drug companies unleashed their hound dogs on the medical profession in the form of....the prescription drug sales rep.
Prescription drug manufacturing is a BILLION dollar industry. Prescription drug sales representatives travel everyday to medical offices around your neighborhood and spend upwards to 2-4 hours with medical staff. During their visit,  they shower the staff with small gifts (which has since been prohibited by the US government) and hot, delicious meals in an effort to win over the favoritism of the doctors. The more courteous and down-right nicer they are to the medical staff and doctors, the more likely the doctor will "push" their drug of specialty. And if their drug is prescribed more and more to helpless patients, do you know what that means for the prescription drug rep? Cha-Ching!!

So while our nation is over-dosing on prescription drugs to treat depression, anxiety, pain, and sleeplessness, we are actually getting sicker. The very person that we were taught to trust and abide by their advise   to keep us healthy is actually making us sicker and eventually...killing us.

So what can you do? As a personal trainer or fitness professional we have a number of advantages at our disposal:

1.) We can support others with applicable and realistic advice. Personally, I always refer clients and friends to reputable sources (journals, websites, books) in an effort for them to stay abreast on alternative information.If I don't have an answer, I usually find it for them.

2.) Be passionate, enthusiastic and motivating. No one will train with a "Debbie-Downer".

3.) Encourage others to be PROACTIVE about their health! This cannot be overlooked. As a society, we need to remove ourselves from a 'reactive mode" and become more educated and aware of risk factors in order to stave off disease and mental breakdown. Fitness is a the ultimate medicine. Fitness professionals think in a preventative frame of mind. We need that mentality to become contagious among others.

4.) Before you choose a medication do research! Teach others to ask themselves, "Is there anything I can be doing for myself that will help me before I ingest this man-made chemical into my body?" Here is a quick check-point list for everyone seeking medication. Follow these check-points before subscribing to a bottle of pills:
a.) Do you engage in some sort of exercise everyday?
b.) Do you eat vegetables and fruits daily?
c.) Do you eat breakfast every day?
d.) Do you get a restful night's sleep every night?
e.) Do you drink plenty of water daily?
f.) Do you control stress in your life with positive reflection or activities?
g.) Do you have a supportive social outlet of friends and family?
h.) Do you take a multi-vitamin daily
i.) Do you brush your teeth and floss daily?

Think about it....if you do all these things listed above. You should be relatively healthy? You should be in a pretty good position to stave off disease and live longer? Problem is, we don't DO all of these things.

5.) Rid yourself of the 'RIGHT NOW' mentality! Society needs to think less short-term and more long term. We are too infatuated with "right this minute" and not "tomorrow". I can relate this to many clients that come to me and want to gain 15 lbs. of muscle in 2 weeks. Won't happen.

Hopefully, this post will make you think about the direction of health care in this country.  Sure, we make some strides in preventative (my degree is in Public Health promotion, hence the passion to proactive); but we are not making a big-enough dent to impact our society. If you think we have, you are living in a life of scarcity.

1 comment:

  1. For some time now I have felt that the entire healthcare system is a mess for some of the same reasons you have stated above.There is a pervasive trend of get healthy quick, get pretty quick,etc..with no consideration given towards sustainability,long term consequences of a quick fix,and the importance of the learning process that happens when a person is involved in a lifestyle change.A change in how a person lives takes patience; it's a process that has a large reward waiting for a person.However, during the process, you have the opportunity to learn about YOU.What makes you tick,what sets you off,what things to leave in your transformation and what to toss out.Too many people actively avoid knowing more about themselves in favor of having everything now.To me, that is a great loss.


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