Today’s healthcare system is weighted down by chronic illness. Overweight and obesity, Hypertension, Type II Diabetes, Cardiovascular Disease, Osteoarthritis, and more. We do a great job of treating things like trauma, acute infections, and broken bones.
The chronic conditions? A totally different story.
Walk into a typical primary care practitioner’s office and they will follow the typical sequence, as described by John Abramson, MD: “Diagnose the ill, prescribe a pill, and send a bill.” Patients are told that there is no cure for their disease, and they will need to take a prescription drug for life. The medication won’t even grant them a cure; it will only, at best, slow the progression of the disease.
One of the nursing school lessons describes the continuum of chronic illness. Once diagnosed, a victim moves along further and further along on this sequence, until the end: death. Yes, the word victim is the correct choice. We are told that illness is just a bad luck of the draw. Bad genes. Nothing caused it, nothing will cure it. Just continue with the meds and or go for the procedure. You’re doomed anyway.
Can’t we do better than that? Maybe there’s more to illness than just bad genes. This sounds like blame, but really, it’s empowerment. Knowing that we may have acted in ways that promote disease gives us the knowledge and, yes, the POWER to change the way we act to ways that promote health.