Delay and defer…a very popular way of “handling things” these days. Its popularity stems from the fact that it’s easy to just put things off till another time. Procrastination doesn’t require that we actually confront the present time situations that we ought to. Any need for personal responsibility can be put off till some time in the future. From this delay and defer approach, we get “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” When we live our lives according to this construct and apply it to our health, we can delay till we eventually reach a point of no return, where health problems become so advanced that nothing can be done to “turn the ship” and we sail off the edge and into the abyss. It would be bad enough if the mindset described above was our personal approach to health issues, but the health system is itself built upon the principles of delay, ease and no personal responsibility. It’s so seductive; the ease of just taking a pill to cure our ills. Even medical testing and analysis today is geared towards detecting end stage disease. You are fine…then it is too late.
The problem is that once pathology is detectable, the chances for complete resolution disappear. The focus becomes one of managing sickness and decline. It turns out that this approach is actually good for the system, but bad for you, the patient. Watching and waiting certainly does not promote health. As consumers of healthcare, we need to reject this approach and work instead to preserve health and support body function.
For now, I would like to focus on the medical brinksmanship surrounding blood testing. When we get routine blood work done with our primary care provider, the blood work is often given a very cursory analysis to determine if any indicators fall outside of clinical ranges. If you fall within these clinical ranges, the report that you get is that “your numbers look good”. But where do those ranges come from? They are merely patient averages and they are manipulated and changed based on “research”. But the changes are mostly trending towards a lowering of the bar for health. I have noticed lately that even when your numbers are out of range, no preventive and preemptive actions are initiated. No lifestyle modification is suggested. The answer is (if supported by diagnosis) almost invariably, some medication. Very easy and no personal responsibility.
More and more, I am seeing the decision of what to test driven by diagnosis and what insurance will pay for, not what information the doctor needs to establish proper patient care. If what you have is not a diagnosable pathology, but rather a subclinical condition, there is no approval for the testing the doctor needs. This system is supposedly (PR) being implemented to elevate the level of service to the patient and contain costs resulting from wasteful testing. Lately, I have been disturbed at seeing this managed care paradigm in action. At the end of the day, it accomplishes neither improved service to the patient, efficiency or cost savings.
So, even if your doctor gets approval and the necessary blood labs are performed, analysis of your blood work employs clinical ranges which are so broad that you need to be quite ill before your values move out of range. Looks good. Nothing to see here. Being in clinical range provokes no concern or curiosity, even if you are not doing well.
When I evaluate your blood labs, I tighten up the clinical ranges to what I call healthy ranges. The benefit of this approach is that it increases the sensitivity of the testing and allows me to see patterns of adaptation as your body works to achieve balance. Applying a higher standard also allows me to see where your body needs support. Your body knows what it needs to do, sometimes it just needs some additional resources. That is what we provide through dietary change, supplementation and increasing activity level. Once your body is supported, your body can then find and maintain balance. This is true health.
If you haven’t already, send the results of your most recent blood work for me to analyze. Bring them to your next visit, or you can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org. Though my evaluation may be less flattering than your medical doctor’s, it will give you vital information about how your body needs to be supported. The name of the disease that you have (diagnosis) becomes less relevant, to the degree that you regain your
health. My mission is to support health, not simply manage disease and practice brinksmanship, sailing right to…and over the edge, risking your life and wellbeing.
Yours for Better Health,