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Why is it that the American society puts more thought behind buying a house or a car then what they put in their body and the level of care their physicians provide?

I watch HGTV and an overweight couple searching for a new home. They have a wish list two pages long and joyfully profess about how quot;particular” they are. They complain about the paint color the master bedroom is as they huff and puff over the small flight of stairs they just climbed. I wonder if they know that paint color can be changed in a few hours, but that extra 75 pounds of body weight will take awhile to work off.

Our couple is very particular about the layout of the home wanting a lot of space- 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms (there is just the two of them), an open floor plan, granite counter tops, hardwood floors and of course the husband needs a “man cave”. After all, it is THEIR money. And the consequences to not choosing the perfect home could haunt them for years to come as they wake up every morning with laminate countertops glaring at them while preparing cereal. They decide against the beautiful two story house, because of the stair situation, obviously, the stairs are a problem. At the beginning of the show, they tell the audience that they are both in their early 30’s. What a bummer.

For early adulthood, they are walking around in a body that parallels someone in their 60’s. But, luckily for the young couple, if physical limitations hold them back from purchasing their dream house, they can just find another one minus the stairs. Society makes it convenient to be obese. After all, statistics state that our generation will be sicker and die earlier then our parent’s generation. This is the first time this has happened in the history of our species that we don’t evolve forward with healthcare.

Is it more acceptable that we have the majority of Americans in the same boat? There will be a whole lot of new marketing ideas around the concept that our generation is less healthy than the previous. I have treated many patients in my short career thus far, and there is a common theme that seems to ring true with every patient I see, they come to see me as a last resort. What if preventative medicine was a priority and they visited me first? Would our picky couple still be compromising their dream home over a set of stairs?

Now we can get into how “the system” in this country is poorly run, how physicians don’t spend more than 7 minutes with a patient, how insurance companies push prescription medications and we’re all walking around  over medicated. The hoops you have to jump through to get a referral from your primary physician for the specialist you really need to see. How after you get your referral, your appointment is 2 months away because they are booked solid. We could even discuss how the quality of food has diminished in the United States, everything in the grocery store is genetically modified without labels, our meats and dairy products are full of anti-biotics and hormones. We can discuss these things in depth and shift blame to “everybody else” as to why we are not a healthier nation.

But the truth of the matter is your health care, emotions and personal happiness has nothing to do with the dysfunction of society and EVERYTHING to do with you. If you feel that your needs are not being met, then meet them. Even with all the politics of our modern health care system, one fact still remains and that is choice. We choose not to help ourselves. We choose not to be seen and heard. We choose to put health care on the back burner until something critical happens. It all begins with you and your choice. Personal responsibility is the most beneficial thing a person can do in their life.
Choosing to exercise, get adequate sleep, and make good dietary decisions will keep your body functioning properly and keep you out of the “majority bracket”. This pattern is what keeps Western medicine functioning and in part, why health care coverage is so high. Until people become active and not reactive in their own health care, the system of Western medicine will continue. It is the public that funds the behavior of insurance and health care practices in this country. We have accepted that this is how things are and play the game, becoming frustrated when we do not get positive results.

Nobody, and I mean nobody, knows your body better then you do. Despite the title of the person you are being treated by, their experience or education. If you are not being heard by your doctor, find one that does. There are options here, and it is our system to believe that Western medicine and not being treated with respect is acceptable. Remember, you get what you settle for- the house, that car and your health care.

Taking Your Health Personally

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