We seldom think about medication when the body is in good health. But the minute sniffles, high blood pressure or nagging heartburn starts, we think pills in a hurry.
After a short consult with Dr. Google and a drive to a local pharmacy we get a relief. Modern medicine is marvelous. It provides instant cures. Just one pill can turn sniffles turn into a smile, heartburn into digestion, and hypertension into a calm heart.
If there is anything we pour money into, it is health, for sure. In 2012 Americans spent over 325 billion on prescription drugs. In 2015 top ten pharmaceutical products alone brought over 83 billion dollars in revenue. I wonder, if we are so eager to get better and our modern medicine is truly so wonderful shouldn’t we be cured of all diseases by now? If an average American fills out 13 prescriptions a year[i] should we not be in peak health then? How come we are not even close?
1. Pills don`t lead to good health
My early clinical days were full of pills. I kept on prescribing them and continued being amazed by the quick cures that followed. But my initial success was usually followed by disappointment. Many of the cures were temporary, lasting less than a day. Blood pressure meds, painkillers, allergy pills, and other marvels had to be repeated, if not every few hours at least every day. I realized that the short-lived effects did not make patients any healthier, but actually worse off by creating dependence on the “curative” pills, injectables or creams.
I scratched my head. Were all these people so hopeless and desperate that they had to trade off the symptoms for a costly addiction to the meds? Something was wrong. I re-examined the files. About 90% of the patients did not require any meds, only lifestyle adjustments. But why were they permanently on pills then? The answer isn’t uplifting: because this is what the medical system is all about.
2. Doctors treat diseases, not good health
Doctors treat diseases and their symptoms, not lifestyles. Doctors alleviate pain, curb inflammation, and improve lab numbers, but they do not build health. They prescribe pills to reduce symptoms and disease markers, but fall short of advice to restore health. They do not treat lack of cooking skills, smart phone obsession, deficiency of sunshine, or electromagnetic stress. They seldom address the environmental causes or provide health-restoring nutritional advice.
3. Pills promote ill habits
Eventually I got mad at pills. They not only got patients addicted, but they also caused another problem. They made patients believe that they were disease-proof. With magic potions at hand no one cared to make any lifestyle improvements.
I watched in horror how pill-stuffed patients only got worse with time. They got weaker, less functional, more vulnerable, and eventually completely dependent on everyone around while they continued to increase their prescription load. It was sad to see people kept getting sicker while pharmaceutical companies kept getting “healthier”.
4. Pill system drains the society
Today I see even a bigger problem with the system. It is extremely costly. In the long-run pill-stuffing is neither beneficial to the patients, their families, nor the society on the whole. Consider that not only the caregivers are forced to support the progressively sicker individual, but also the taxpayers have to shoulder the direct burden of government-subsidized health care and indirect burden of loss of productivity from the individual and his affected family.
I have a moral dilemma with such system. It promotes ever growing wealth disparity between care-needing individuals and care-providing corporations. If you are concerned about this ugly situation I urge you to make lifestyle improvements, stay healthy and pill-free, because it is the only way out of this vicious cycle.
5. Pill-free health is good for the environment
It is also very troubling that pharmaceutical metabolites are taking over the ecosystem and becoming a leading contributor to a growing environmental disaster. We are already drinking water and eating fish that is spiked with prescription drugs, not because pharma companies are dumping them in the oceans, but because we pee them out in large quantities.
Polluted water and food won’t keep us in good health. For that we need clean environment. But to keep the environment vibrant it has to be meds-free, and for that we have to free ourselves from drug dependence. You may not think about it but your kids’ health will eventually depend on how many meds you take today.
6. Don`t believe everything officials tell you
Health care is not a charity. It is a business, big business. Since profit is the bottom line it is to be expected that not everything promoted as “healthy” is actually healthy, but a “little bit” skewed towards higher earnings.
That`s why many things don`t make sense. For example, diabetic nutritionists may advise clients to eat bread and cereals while endocrinologists would keep on prescribing more potent meds to deal with ever increasing blood sugar. Or one day health authorities tell us to avoid sun exposure only to advise us later to take supplements that correct vitamin D deficiency. Examples are plentiful. If you have one, comment below. Your perspective may help others.
7. Good health is within your reach
People carry on with their sicknesses believing that there is nothing they can do, yet practice proves otherwise. It is possible to reverse diabetes, lower blood pressure and have perfect cholesterol without medical intervention. Although, the path is not the same for everyone, the starting point is. It involves solid research, sifting through information and distinguishing health truths from myths and lies.
The Cholesterol Trap! my recent book on heart health can help with the above. It uncovers lesser-known facts and concerns about current heart guidelines.
Did you know that low cholesterol may make the body and the heart worse off than high cholesterol? Avoiding heart disease does not equal to taking pills to lower cholesterol.
Don’t fall for popular myths. Read, learn and thrive!
8. Good health is cheap
Believe or not you don’t have to get into a financial ruin to enjoy better health. Good health is cheap, if not free. Good health does not start in a pharmacy or a health food store. It stems from knowledge, skill set, and attitude, all of which could be changed, improved, and upgraded without any fees.
Cultivating good health starts from creating a healthy mindset, organizing and prioritizing time according to health, and ensuring health-supportive environment. The very last thing you should consider for health improvement is to go on a crash diet, or spend your last dollar on a symptom-erasing pill.
9. No-fee health care is available
Keeping in good health and on a budget is possible. But here is the solid rule: the earlier you start the less it will cost you. When you are relatively healthy all you need to do is to ensure healthy environment and keep your health skills sharp. When your health goes south you may require a short-term health upgrade like an acupuncture series, chiropractic care, or a special diet. But when your health is far gone, managing disease will cost you the proverbial arm and leg. This is when pill treatment is no longer an option, but a necessity and this is when even invasive procedures may not be avoided.
|1.||Environment||Outdoors, sunlight, ground, friendship, love, support||Free|
|2.||Health Skills||Stress coping, building relationships, meal preparation, active leisure, breathing skills, etc||Free or inexpensive|
|3.||Non-Pill therapies||Acupuncture, hydrotherapy, rehab, chiropractic, massage, sauna||Inexpensive if short-term, Expensive if long-term|
|4.||Pill treatment||Supplements, detox kits, pharmaceuticals||Inexpensive if short-term, Expensive or very expensive if long term|
|5.||Invasive treatment||Surgeries, amputations, hospitalization, disability equipment, house modifications||Extremely expensive, some are unaffordable|
Let me rephrase. When you are healthy, you are free and prosperous. When you are unwell, you get stuck with doctors and pills. When you need an invasive treatment your health may never be the same.
10. Start good health today
Here are some “treatment options” that would help you take the right health turn. The tools below can help you get in peak shape, health-boost your environment, and make you feel good about taking care of yourself. See if you need any of those:
- My favorite brand hiking shoes
- Fitbit Charge 2 to count your progress
- For packing sunshine
- A healthier cleaning alternative
- Sports jacket for outdoor fun
- Earthing kit in case of indoor confinement
- Automatic cooker for super meals
Good health is incredibly rewarding. When you factor in that your self-care also benefits future generations, the environment, and the society as a whole, you should feel good about your health-promoting efforts. Good health does more than just keep you away from doctors. It is an expression of your wisdom, a kind gesture towards others, and a powerful statement that you truly care.