Thursday, August 20, 2009

Obama's Health Plan Won't Matter

Being that I am a health care provider, it seems like everyone wants to know what I think about the possible reformatting of our health care system. I have given it some thought and I have come up with an answer. But before I give it to you, I must first say this.

There absolutely needs to be some kind of change in the system we have or it will continue to spiral downward and get more and more out of control. However, change does not mean better it ONLY means different.

So now my answer to the question… doesn’t really matter. Before anyone gets upset, let me clarify.

When I say it doesn’t matter, I mean in relation to helping out the health crisis this nation finds itself in today. The World Health Organization has us listed around 35th (+ or – 2 spots) on the healthiest nations in the world. We are number 1 in emergency medicine (what medicine was to be used for) but way down on the list for chronic, preventable diseases.

Let me ask you some questions. How many people have health insurance? I think we can all agree that most people have some form of health insurance. When are you allowed to use your health insurance? If you are thinking “when you are sick,” then you are right. When do most people go to the doctor? When they are sick or have problems, and in the mean time, do nothing until they have another problem.

You see, we currently have a sick-care system and sick insurance – NOT health care with health insurance.

We have been brainwashed for several decades now that your health is all about how you feel. If I’m not in pain/sick, then everything is good. When pain/sickness is present, now there’s a problem. When it stops hurting, the problem is fixed and all is good once again.

This just simply is NOT how your body operates. We are not machines with nuts and bolts. We are dynamic, biological systems that are constantly assessing, compensating, and adapting to the environment we are in. Unless you can think of the exact moment you experienced trauma when your pain began, then it is something that has developed over time. Even then, the scar tissue left behind from an injury will cause that area to prematurely decay if not payed attention to.

Until we adopt a system that puts more emphasis on the prevention of health problems, we will always have a messed up system. You can’t wait until your car breaks down before you decide to take care of it and expect it to perform at a very high level. We all get that with our cars and our teeth, so why do we not get that about our health.

The health care crisis in this nation has little to do with the presence or absence of a health insurance policy. The crisis originates with the thought process currently used with respect to our individual health. The government is not going to get you or your children healthy. The insurance companies are not going to get you or your children healthy. We’ve been following there lead for several decades now with vaccination, drugs, and surgeries and look where it got us.

Obviously each individual case is different, and I would never say that we don’t need any of those things. In the right circumstances it is greatly needed. If I break my arm or my appendix ruptures, don’t come at me with some herbal paste to rub on my skin. Get me to a hospital first for some pain medication and possibly surgery. After things are stabilized then I’ll probably check out your herbal remedy.

The overhauling of our system needs to start with changing our out-dated ideals of health and use some of the research we’ve been spending billions of dollars on over the last 20 years and start applying it. Then we need to develop a system that encourages the individual to be more responsible for their own health. Until that happens, we will always end up right where we are at today.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Studies show millions of US kids are lacking in vitamin D

When I came into work this morning and pulled up my homepage on the internet, one of the top stories was entitled "Studies: Millions of U.S. Kids Lacking Vitamin D." I immediately clicked on the link to read the article. The first two paragraphs are as follows:

"Millions of U.S. children have disturbingly low Vitamin D levels, possibly increasing their risk for bone problems, heart disease, diabetes and other ailments, according to two new studies that provide the first national assessment of the crucial nutrient in young Americans.

About 9 percent of those ages 1 through 21 — about 7.6 million children, adolescents and young adults — have Vitamin D levels so low they could be considered deficient, while an additional 61 percent — 50.8 million — have higher levels, but still low enough to be insufficient, according to the analysis of federal data being released Monday."

This is a HUGE problem and kids are being set up for failure. Parents in general are taking a back seat to their children's health. It is assumed that they are getting all the vitamins and nutrients they need in their Poptarts, school lunches, and happy meals.

According to the article, about 70% of children have insufficient amounts of the super important vitamin in their bodies. You think we have health problems now?! Just wait and see what happens if nothing is done to correct this problem. Heart disease, cancer, viral infections, and so on will go through the roof.

I am not trying to point a finger at anyone and say you stink as a parent. I'm only trying to raise your awareness of a very serious problem that could easily go overlooked and have damaging effects to your child's health. I have 3 kids of my own and never really thought about this vitamin until Dr. Mercola started touting it's importance recently, so I'm preaching to myself at the same time.

I'm sure by now you're thinking to yourself, "So how do I make sure my child is getting enough of the good stuff?" I'm so glad you asked.

First, we need to turn off all the video games and cartoons and get kids outside playing. It's not the playing part for the vitamin D but the sun exposure. Your body will naturally make the vitamin when your skin sees the light of day. In fact, one theory behind why the flu is more prevalent in the winter is because of dips in the general populations vitamin D levels from keeping skin covered up.

Getting kids more active will have a lot of positive health benefits besides boosting their vitamin D levels. It will also help their bodies develop neurologically, promote a healthier immune system, and help prevent type 2 diabetes. Of course, regular exercise for kids does a lot more for their body then just those few things. I just wanted to hit some highlights.

Second, you need to find a high quality Vitamin D supplements for your kiddos. I say high quality because that is important in the world of supplements. In general, vitamins and herbs are still very loosely regulated. Brand X in the grocery store doesn't always make sure that what they have in their pills match what the label says on the outside and the vitamin in said pills aren't always of a good absorbable form of whatever you are taking. If you don't take the time to know who you are buying your supplements from then you are literally urinating or pooping your money away.

I would also like to point out that there is no 1 company that is the "best" with a secret formula to get you more vitamin D. There are several companies that produce quality vitamins. The company I recommend is web-based because I can't find any brands in the grocery stores that are reliable.

I hope that I have raised the awareness of at least 1 person. Have an excellent day!