Be a savvy consumer of “health care”

If I’m ever in an accident, I sure hope it is in the US, because our doctors are second to none at putting us back together. They are also fabulous for holding down the fort when a disease is in crisis. However, for prevention of disease and for the treatment of chronic disease, we have a poor record. The United States ranks 37th out of 191 countries in average life expectancy and rates poorly in  infant mortality, diabetes, heart disease, disability and health span. For all the pressure we feel to take cholesterol and blood pressure drugs we have the second highest death rate from cardiovascular disease among the top 17 wealthiest countries.

A giant portion of our national economy is now spent on what we euphemistically call “health care” but it is in fact “sickness care”. Whatever you call it, the US spends more per person on this care than any other nation on the planet. Annual costs reached $3.3 trillion in 2016 and is heading toward consuming almost 20% of our economic output. Those costs increase the price of everything we buy. Yet, as we all know, in spite of all those dollars, our citizens are still fat and sick.

We only do fairly well (but not great) in statistics for stroke, cancer and keeping folks alive if they make it to age 75. Our advantage in those categories is due in large part to the happy fact that we smoke less than many countries and that our high tech medical heroics at the end of life are superior. By that I mean we can prolong life almost indefinitely but, by then that may have become a miserable existence. Isn’t what we really want to live younger longer? That is where diet and lifestyle save the day and we’d darn well better do what we can ourselves because the medical profession is not prepared to lead the way and teach us. The question I’m asked most often is how to find a doctor like those I interview on the show. A good start is the Library page: Doctor Resources. Be sure to also visit a cutting-edge dentist–check out this page: Dental Resources.

There is a good reason that it is called the “practice” of medicine. Treatments and recommendations go out of favor as more is learned and the proponents of the old ideas retire. Major changes often take 40 years…especially if there is a big financial incentive to stick to the old paradigm. Meanwhile, old ideas can cost lives. The article linked below, Death by Medicine, and the radio interview with one of the authors points out that the side effects of drugs, hospital-acquired infections and medical mistakes add up to be the number one cause of premature deaths. The more you know, the better you can avoid being one of those statistics. The doctors in the resources noted above blend historic wisdom with new science to provide better care. Self-care is the most important and that is what this website and our radio show are all about.

For more information, read our pages on How to Recognize a QuackDrugs, and Testing

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