Being a doctor is one of the most rewarding, challenging and necessary professions in our society. They sacrifice years of their lives to study the human body in hopes of being able to help people. They also make a nice chunk of money doing it. If this wasn’t the case, they’d all be chomping at the bits to work in low income areas, the VA or the Emergency room; but those are usually the least popular options.
We live in a capitalistic society and there is absolutely nothing wrong with this mentality; to an extent. Once it begins to impact care, it becomes more of a concern. It’s just one of the many issues with our healthcare system. Aside from pharmaceutical companies’ influences and insurance being an utter clusterfuck, doctors AND patients are also contributing to the problem. Here’s why.
Quite frankly, your average patient sucks. They don’t know much about health, wellness or the body and they’re often just looking for a quick fix drug. Doctor says, “Take this”, they nod and say “Yes sir.” Maybe once they should ask, “Why?” If your doctor wants to put you on a statin, wouldn’t it make sense to at least make yourself aware of what you’re dealing with? The response, “I don’t have time, that’s what I pay them for.” This is problem number one.
You don’t have time? The time spent on social media has tripled since 2006 and the average American watches 34 hours of TV per week. BUT YOU DON’T HAVE TIME, RIGHT? Before you buy a car you research the cars you want, average prices, ask opinions etc. Before you see a movie you read reviews, check for your favorite actors, try to find suitable times, etc. Buying a home? Picking a restaurant? Shopping for clothes? My point is you spend plenty of time researching complete nonsense that usually offers little benefit to your life.
I don’t know about you, but since I only get one body, I’d at least like to have a general idea about it. Health in this country wouldn’t be so shitty if people kept up on health issues as opposed to which Kardashian is getting married next. And while just reading some excerpts online doesn’t make you an expert, it does help you understand your situation better. Obviously you cannot replace the experience doctors have but I am simply advocating that you become an INFORMED patient.
It comes down to personal responsibility. It’s not your doctor’s job to babysit you. They don’t care and they don’t have the time. They also have their own body and their own family that they need to invest in. YOU must take CONTROL of your own care. Why do you have to be told that you are overweight? Or that you should go and get a physical? You aren’t a child. You know when a bar has its happy hour or when your favorite TV show is on.
Make it a god damn priority if you want to give yourself the best chance to live a long healthy life. If your doctor tells you on 5 occasions that you need to diet and exercise (which they are not trained in, but I’ll address that), but you don’t do it, you are forcing their hand. Your lack of effort forces them to prescribe drugs to do things that you don’t have the “time” or discipline to do. Guess what? Time is valuable and you will never ever get it back.
On the other side of the coin is the care and information we receive. There are a ton of incredible doctors and there are also a ton of bad ones. This is no different than any other profession. People need to stop viewing doctors as magical workers who are all knowing and without fault. It’s an unfair standard to be held to and it’s just not true. Everyone makes mistakes; they are human like you and I. However, there are a lot of issues that doctors are also contributing to, so they need to take some blame here as well.
Let’s start with the concept of time again. America is as unhealthy as it gets and there are a ton of sick people. The amount of sick people greatly outweighs the number of doctors. How many of these sick people are doing this to themselves by not taking care of their body? Quite a lot; not all, but a lot. More than 2/3 of the country is overweight or obese. No excuse for this.
Now, add all of the issues with insurance companies refusing reimbursements or Medicaid being declined, so on and so forth. Doctors are still used to a certain level of income and with more stringent insurance regulations they need to see a lot of people to maintain their lifestyle. This leads to a doctor having too many patients and not enough time to deliver exceptional care.
But it’s not always just economics getting in the way. For doctors in the ER, they don’t get paid as well as a private practice and yet they are still overworked with too many patients and not enough time. This is out of their hands as they have to shuffle from patient to patient. This doesn’t mean they aren’t trying, but they are in a tough spot. Could some doctors afford to make a little less? Sure, but their education also cost them $200,000+ or more. They invested in their education and deserve to reap the benefits of it.
You Know Your Body Best
A long time ago doctors had very close relationships with their patients and their family as they simply didn’t have to see so many people. They could sit and chat with your for 30 minutes. It was easier to keep an eye on the individual and their case. Rushing from person to person leaves more opportunity to miss something and sometimes this can be fatal.
Here are a few examples. An older client of mine wanted to get blood work to see why he wasn’t quite feeling the same. I told him, “make sure you ask for a complete thyroid panel (T4, T3, reverse T3, TSH – instead of just T4 + TSH) and have testosterone (total, free), estradiol, etc all checked while you’re at it.” If you want something you better ask for it. Well, he didn’t specifically ask for those things so guess what? He didn’t get any of those tested. He got a basic blood test and everything was “in range,” so he was A-Okay.
Well, he has to live with how he feels every day, the doctor doesn’t. And quite frankly he knows more about how he feels than his doctor does. Nobody knows your symptoms, levels of pain and how it impacts your daily life more than you do. Get a second opinion or third opinion if you have to. Once again, you must take control of your situation here.
If the typical range for testosterone is 250-1,100 ng/dl and estradiol is 10-40 pg/ml, what if your testosterone is 290 and estradiol is 39. You are “in range” so it will likely be ignored, but you will also likely feel like shit as the ratio here is not conducive to feeling optimal. This is where you need to step up and take control of your own care. Get a second opinion, do some reading, don’t accept everything you are told.
My next issue is their lack of education in fitness but more importantly nutrition. Ask any MD, they will openly tell you it’s not something they cover much in med school. So they pretty much give you the advice that a first grader could which is, “eat your vegetables, drink milk and exercise.” This is more an issue of the schools and the lack of importance they place on nutrition for health purposes.
The food pyramid is an outdated piece of garbage and the average person doesn’t have the slightest clue how to lose weight or eat for health. The advice goes in one ear and out the other until they eventually have diabetes, metabolic syndrome or are begging for gastric bypass. At this point you are forcing the doctor to administer drugs to “help” you because you simply couldn’t help yourself. So you can criticize them for prescribing drugs but sometimes people don’t give them any choice.
And while I do think doctors underappreciate how powerful and precise proper nutrition can be, they don’t have time to execute it. I sell diets and do countless nutrition consultations, the diets last anywhere from 12 weeks all the way to people using me month to month for years. Consultations are an hour and the client usually wants even more time to try and learn more. I have the time to do this because it’s my job and I cap the number of people I work with so I can focus on those I am working with. Sure I could keep piling them on but then I’d have less and less time to spend on each individual and that would negatively impact their results.
Moral of the story? Invest in your body! Pick up a book and read…Stop eating like shit…Get off your ass and workout. Just stay on top of your health.