Our medical system is broken. The costs of care are skyrocketing. The providers, the doctors, the nurses, and the staff are all overworked. Over 130 million Americans are on prescription drugs, and of those, the average person is taking 4 separate prescriptions (which doesn’t include over the counter medications). And what’s our reward for these efforts? A consistent rank near the bottom when comparing the health of Americans to other wealthy countries.
But none of the aforementioned things are the root cause of the problem, rather they are simply the symptoms. The problem with our healthcare system lies in the underlying philosophy in how we approach our health. Our system is focused on crisis rather than wellness. It’s built for putting out fires, not for keeping them from starting in the first place.
We have a sick care system instead of a healthcare system. We’re conditioned to ignore our health until it becomes a problem. But we can’t only pay attention to our health when it screams loud enough for us to hear.
So let’s highlight some of the main differences between a true healthcare system and a sick care system.
1. True Healthcare is Proactive Rather than Reactive
Being proactive means that we take the necessary steps for our health before we have problems and symptoms. It means that we are consistently making choices that we believe will have a positive effect on our health both now and in the future. We don’t wait for a problem to start making a change.
I want to be clear, as I know that some of us are in reactive mode right now. We’re dealing with a sickness or a disease or an ailment. And we’re trying to heal and get better. My challenge would be to take the necessary modifications that are needed for healing and symptom relief and then transform those into lifestyle modifications that can be applied preventatively.
I also understand that finding the motivation for being proactive in our health isn’t always the easiest. Getting out of pain is often a much greater motivator for taking action as opposed to making a healthy change that will improve our quality of life down the road. But we need to put things in perspective. We need to think long-term. And that means making a shift in our approach to health today so that we can have a healthier tomorrow.
2. True Healthcare is Function Focused Instead of Symptom Based
Symptoms are often a poor indicator for health. Many of the most prevalent diseases commonly operate silently. Conditions like cancer, heart disease, and arthritis can often operate asymptomatically until they’ve reached progressive stages of disease.
In fact, the very definition of health often makes this very distinction stating that: “Health is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease.”
So, why do we continue to base our health primarily on how we feel rather than how our body is actually performing? Because it’s possible to feel well and have compromised function, but it’s not possible to have sub-optimal function and still feel our best. This relationship means that function should be at the center of our health approach. We should be focused on how the body is actually working.
3. A True Healthcare System Values Optimal Over Normal
Now, this might sound confusing, but let me clarify. You’re probably thinking that normal is good? Don’t I want to be normal? If my health is normal, doesn’t that mean that there’s nothing to worry about?
The reality is that normal health can be a far cry from being functionally optimal. Normal results don’t mean that they are optimal for your general health, your physical, mental and social health, or your longevity.
We can often be classified as being in a normal state of health since our condition hasn’t yet progressed to a state of disease or even symptoms, but it doesn’t mean that it’s not dysfunctional.
In fact, focusing on normal health can actually be dangerous. Being comfortable with average can give us a false sense of security, which prevents us from taking the necessary steps now to move towards optimal health. It can make us feel like we’re doing everything right when at the same time we’re missing out on all the amazing benefits we could be receiving if we continued taking steps towards truly optimizing our health.
What are the Next Steps for Health?
Now, I know our healthcare system isn’t going to change anytime soon. But what can change is our personal approach and philosophy when it comes to our health.
We know that the “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it'' mentality doesn’t work. If we wait to address our health until we’re already sick, it's the same as waiting for the check engine light to turn on in our car before we change the oil.
So, ask yourself what types of changes you can start making today that will have a positive benefit? On some level, we all know the choices we need to be making for our health. We all know we need to be eating a healthy diet, exercising, drinking enough water and getting enough sleep.
The real secret to health is that there is no secret. A healthy lifestyle isn’t rocket science. It’s simply the cumulative effect of the small, seemingly insignificant decisions we make every day that add up to a tangible result.
Our goal is to make sure that when we add those decisions up, that they are moving us in a healthy direction. So, let’s choose to be proactive. Let’s choose to focus on function. And let’s choose to go after optimal rather than settling for normal. And when we do that our approach to health can evolve.
Looking for Maple Grove Chiropractors? Visit our office today to see how we can help you on your journey!