by Erin West
I am more and more convinced every day that my parents were right: Doctors sometimes don't really have a clue. Don't get me wrong, when I am sick I will usually go to a doctor, but they don't have the last word and a lot of times you have to fight to advocate for what you need.Doctors are oriented to "fix" things. But they often don't know much about preventing sickness or maintaining good health.It concerns me that doctors live such unhealthy lives. At my local hospital, there is only fast food anywhere around. They are starting to incorporate some healthier foods, like having a whole grain option in some dishes, but they have a long way to go.Most doctors don't live a healthy lifestyle. When they are medical students and soon after, they work extreme hours, don't have much time for rest or a social life. They probably eat whatever is available, which is probably fast food. And these are the people who are supposed to be our advisors for health!!They don't realize that they are sending a message by doing this: The message is that all problems can be fixed by drugs and surgeries. Things like food and exercise are "extra".A balanced lifestyle with good food, excercise, time for rest, time for meaningful social interaction and stress management, these are the cornerstones of health. Drugs are surgeries are only there to address things when all else has failed. But too often they are the first things people do. My only reservation is that a lot of people are taking an extreme view in the other direction too: They think they can solve all their health problems by eating certain foods. Well, that may be true a lot of the times, but sometimes it is not. There is a big difference between habits that promote health and prevent disease and things that cure diseases once we already have them. Food can still do this, but it takes much more research and knowledge to do this, and many people frankly have not figured out how to do this, yet. In other words, I would say that it is probably possible to cure most diseases with nutrition: The problem is that no one has worked out a foolproof method for doing it, yet. Each person, each sickness is different, it is great if it works but there are few guarantees. I am not sure I would take that chance if I had a serious disease.WHen I feel something is not quite right in my body, the first things I do are:1: Look at my diet, exercise and sleep habits. Maybe I haven't been sleeping well lately or eating the wrong foods, or not exercising enough.2. If that does not work, I'll do something more focused: Maybe a form of exercise like Yoga or the Egoscue Method would help, or specific foods like herbal remedies (under the guidance of an herbal specialist).3. If all that does not work, I will also consult my doctor. So I definitely would not rule out doctors, I just remember that:A. Two doctors can give you two very different opinions, so it is good to get a second opinion and ask them challenging questions to make them think. You can get a very different diagnosis from them if you push them with tough questions. It will force them to do more research and think harder.B. Doctors are good about drugs and surgeries, but often don't know much about maintaining good health. An ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure!
There is certainly a lot of proactive work that could be done by physicians that is not being done. That ought to be a much higher priority. My new insurance allows each of us two visits *a year* as part of the plan. Anything else is totally on our own. No proactive work here. Not even much room for the various illness. They are more likely to get us to the end of the year without any visits since I want to save them for something really "important", like a broken something or deadly illness. Not likely to happen, but if it does...we'd be screwed to the wall.So I think both are needed.
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