Let’s go back in time – over 2,500 years ago. Hippocrates (the father of medicine) wrote in 400 B.C., “All parts of the body which have a function if used in moderation and exercised in labors in which each is accustomed, become thereby healthy, well developed and age more slowly, but if unused and left idle they become liable to disease, defective in growth and age quickly” (https://www.nuigalway.ie/media/schoolofpsychology/KDowd_21Feb2018_NUIG_Health-Behaviour-Change_Final.pdf).
What happened to that public outcry of the 1980s? As I have previously written, hospital-related medical errors are considered the third leading cause of death (after heart disease and cancer) in America and the root cause is not individuals, but systems (Study Meta-analysis of studies published in The Journal of Patient Safety, September 2013).
Which would you bet on for a longer healthier life: A happy, active 70-year old or a cynical, sedentary 60? It may seem obvious, but we need to ask ourselves: Are we really mindful about practicing a healthier lifestyle when it comes to our attitudes? Our health and illness patterns are much more rooted in our minds and in our hearts than people realize (www.nytimes.com/10/26/2014).
The path to good health is typically a more modest one. That does not rule out the many benefits of the new discoveries in medicine, the advanced technologies and the numerous wonders of medical science. The shortcoming of the science-side of medicine is the tendency to lose the patient; we still need to keep an eye on the art of medicine when caring for our patients.
Most of us feel revitalized when we connect to nature in some way. Summer is around the corner and this means we will have more opportunities to get outside. A walk in the park, watching and listening to birds, or catching a beautiful sunset or rainbow can lift our spirits.
At what point does a person decide to go to the doctor? Other than emergency situations, the doctor might ask you: “Why come to see me now?” Consider this – a person truly carries out the first assessment of their illness by thinking: “I should go to the doctor because…(fill in the blank).” It is at this point that the person becomes a patient. But when do they go back to being a person again?
Is there a doctor in the house? What if the answer is no?
The U.S. has been facing a physician shortage, but why? It comes down to basic supply and demand. We can understand the demand side to the equation because more physicians are needed by the aging population that is growing at an astounding rate of 10,000 baby boomers turning 65 on a daily basis. But what about the supply side of the equation?
Now known as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Communicable Disease Center (CDC) started in this country in 1946 in order to investigate malaria in the southern states of America. The agency’s first mission was to prevent the spreading of malaria throughout America. Today, the CDC is a critical agency under the onus of the Department of Health and Human Serves and focuses on five strategic areas:
Less is more. This is typically true with prescription medication. Although some medications are lifesaving, many people in this country are overmedicated, especially older adults. The term is called polypharmacy. According to the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists, 65-69 year olds take an average of 14 prescription drugs per year, and by the age range of 80-84 that average increases to 18 prescription drugs per year. The cost of overmedication with the elderly population is estimated at $80 billon annually (http://www.healthwatchersnews.com/2010/10/when-seniors-are-over-medicated/).
We talk about the impact of mental and physical distress on our health, but what about spiritual distress? It is often a difficult topic to approach. First of all, it is not easy to define, and secondly, many people feel awkward about discussing it. Our spiritual well being is not the same as our emotional well being.
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