I watched the documentary Vitality on Netflix this afternoon. I didn’t really learn anything new, but it reinforced a lot of my beliefs in preventative medicine and natural healing. I liked that there was the support of medicine when it is truly needed due to traumatic injury to the body because I do believe medicine does have its benefits. The argument that our health system is flawed though was right on the mark; instead of educating people about health and prevention and rewarding doctors for keeping people healthy, our society focuses on treating/attempting to cure the ailment and rewarding doctors for “maintaining” people’s conditions that encourage them to make repeat visits.
Before I even worked in the health field or began reading more about the effects of food and medicine on our bodies I was very much against popping pills. I’ve always felt that common ailments such as a headache could have underlying causes like hunger, fatigue or eye strain. I tend to always try to treat the underlying cause before reaching for a pill. In doing so I find that usually I can make the pain go away, but if I do need to resort to using a Tylenol or Advil that I can take only 1 and find relief in a very short time frame.
I’ve never understood why people want to take a pill to fix everything. I understand that some people have to, that no matter what they try in terms of diet or exercise they may still have a chronic condition. My dad is a prime example. He is not overweight or a smoker and gets plenty of exercise, yet he still has to take pills for his blood pressure and cholesterol. His doctor says for him it’s a matter of bad genetics.
I have to take a pill myself each winter because of a condition known as chilblains. In short it is a condition in which the cold causes the blood vessels in my toes to constrict and when they are warmed too quickly the blood floods back in too fast and leaks. This causes pooling of blood under my skin in small, sometimes itchy blisters. I do all I can to prevent it including no longer taking a hot shower shortly after being in the cold. Unfortunately there is no “cure” and even the medication I take for it only helps to an extent. I am grateful there exists a pill to at least help though.
If I had a better, more natural alternative though I would certainly take it. Maybe it’s a distrust of the FDA. It could be my cynicism towards corporate America and believing that pharmaceutical companies have too big of an influence on health care in this country. Maybe I just like making life more difficult in not just popping a pill and wanting another form of treatment.
I just wonder how many people ever try discussing alternate options with their doctors before agreeing to pop a pill. I wonder how many doctors would be delighted to educate a person on how to be healthy and prevent chronic conditions instead of having patients walk in complaining of ailments and asking for a quick fix. I wonder if we can reverse the way we look at health and the use of medicine.