Chronic DiseaseChronic diseases afflict 7 out of every 10 Americans.  And, one out of every three of those has more than one chronic disease.

We know that many of these diseases are caused by lifestyle choices.  And, we now know how to test our genes to see which ones of us are more likely to get one or more of these diseases.  Clinicians can tell you what you are at risk for.  Then, you have the information to make better choices.

Knowledge is power right? Not according to researchers.  Simply knowing that you are likely to develop a chronic disease like heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes isn’t enough to make people change their lifestyle even though they KNOW doing so can save their lives.

Doctor working long hoursUnfortunately, physicians are spending even less time with their patients now than they were a few years back.  They are pressured by insurance companies and the corporations they work for to see more clients per hour than ever before. One doctor told me she is expected to see a patient every 6 minutes.  Another doctor told me he works until 9 pm every night charting and doing other non-direct care.  And yet, he is struggling to keep his doors open due to high overhead.  Our doctors are getting burned out and patient care is suffering.

The CDC says there has to be a change.  Our current model can’t last long under the circumstances. It is pointing to corporations to fill in the gap by providing health education to employees.  Sounds like a decent idea except that corporate health care cost is sky rocketing, too. How pinched can they be? We already have corporations leaving the country to do business at lower costs elsewhere.

I agree with the CDC that the current model isn’t working, but I don’t agree that the burden should be shouldered by corporate America.  I don’t agree with the vilification of corporations.  After all, corporations are simple made up of my neighbors going to work each day doing the best they can to earn a living for their families.

Take Responsibility for your healthI believe that we need to better utilize complementary health professionals.  I have said it before and I’ll say it again:  with a good nutritionist, physical therapist, chiropractor and acupuncturist, most of your health care needs can be taken care of.  Note that I said “most,” not all.  I realize that there are times when we need pharmaceuticals and surgeries.  I’m glad we have those options, but there is a lot that can be done to prevent ever getting to that place.

We, as a society, need to take better care of ourselves.  We need better nutrition, better rest, and more consistent exercise.  We need to stop burning the candle at both ends.  We need to reserve doctor visits, pharmaceuticals, and surgeries for the most serious health threats.  Our current medical model is about disease management not prevention.  If you want to prevent disease and injury, that takes effort.  There are lots of well educated professionals ready and excited to help you be in the best health of your life.  You just have to be willing to put forth the effort.  You’re worth it.

Make a decision today to make your health a priority.