I always find it strange where and how inspiration strikes. No, the answer to “why my toilet is like our medical system” is not that it stinks. In fact, I think we have one of the best medical systems in the world. Does it have its flaws? Absolutely, but every system has its flaws. There is no magic structure that works for everyone, and that leads me to “why my toilet is like our medical system”. Our system has flaws and here is one of them…
A few weeks ago my toilet started acting up. I could see what the issue was, but I couldn’t figure out the cause. Water was coming from where it shouldn’t and not going where it should (technical plumber talk). My husband was out of town and I didn’t want to call a plumber if it was something that could be easily fixed once he got back. I fiddled around with it for a while and I found a work around. It wasn’t fixed, but I could keep the toilet in working order. Any time I used the toilet I had to flush, turn the water off, turn the water back on, let the tank fill up, and then turn the water back off. That’s when it dawned on me. This toilet is like our medical system. How many times do we go to the doctor with symptoms that are treated with a prescription to fix the issue or symptom, but we never address the cause?
The vast majority of all illness can be addressed at the root cause with changes to nutrition, movement and mindfulness. The problem with our health care system is that primary care physicians are not equipped to effectively address this with patients. According to the National Institutes of Health, the median office visit length is 15.7 minutes covering a median of six topics. About 5 minutes is spent on the longest topic whereas the remaining topics each receive 1.1 minutes. Now do you see how my toilet is like our healthcare system? Our primary care system is not designed to address root causes of disease and certainly not designed to prevent disease.
So what do we do? We need to stop relying on our primary care physicians to fix everything. That isn’t how our system is designed. We need to first focus on prevention, second on management, and most importantly, as individuals, we need to make our health a priority. We need to take control of our health and we need to take responsibility for our health. Among U.S. adults, more than 90 percent of type 2 diabetes, 80 percent of coronary artery disease, 70 percent of stroke, and 70 percent of colon cancer is caused by our lifestyle. Newsflash, there is no magic pill that is going to fix this. If you want to feel good, have energy, and be healthy (regardless of how you define health), you have to address nutrition, movement and mindfulness.
If you know me, you know I don’t like to dwell on the negative. I like to look for the positive, and here it is: You don’t have to make sweeping life changes. Start small, take the first step. Studies have shown that just a 5-10 percent weight-loss can have profound effects on cholesterol, hypertension, diabetes, insulin resistance, obstructive sleep apnea and inflammation to name a few. Consistently getting a good night’s sleep can improve memory, curb inflammation, help you lose weight, lower stress and improve depression. Reducing, not even eliminating, just reducing your sugar intake, can lower cholesterol levels, reduce inflammation, improve cognition, give you clearer skin and increase your energy. See where I’m going with this? You don’t have to live on kale and water to have improved health, not that I’m bashing kale and water, but you get my point. Make your health a priority, take responsibility for your health. I promise you won’t be sorry.
If you have questions or need help getting started, ask your doctor for recommendations, check out the resources your insurance plan offers, or reach out to us. Our staff of health coach RNs is always ready to help.
Have an awesome day!