Getting more healthy and less “medically managed”
BY Michael Buyze, L.AC., MSOM
Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? We’ve all heard that phrase before, but really – are you?
The most common ailments for people these days are known as “functional” ailments. They are not things that will cause you to drop dead in the next day, week or month. They really are just annoying because they make us function at a lower level, i.e. they make us feel “sick and tired!”
We’ve been conditioned all of our lives to seek the advice of our doctor: Before participating in a weight loss program; before beginning an exercise program; before taking vitamins and supplements and on and on it goes. How disappointing is it to find out your doctor has no training in weight loss, exercise, vitamins or supplements? Yet we are told to “ask our doctors.”
If we expect our health care system to make us healthy, we will be very disappointed. Our healthcare system is really an illness care system. When it comes to acute problems, our system is pretty good at pulling you back from death’s doorstep, but for chronic problems, it categorizes the condition and manages it.
Can you name one chronic condition that is cured with a drug? How about high blood pressure? Managed by one of more drugs. High Cholesterol? Managed by drugs. Acid Reflux? Managed by drugs. Hypothyroid? Managed by drugs. Insomnia, anxiety, depression, joint pain, arthritis, muscle aches, migraines, Crohn’s disease, IBS, asthma, allergies, diabetes – all managed by drugs. And when do you get to discontinue the use of the drug? Only if it causes side effects that you cannot stand anymore and then the treatment is a different drug.
Arguably, the biggest philosophical problem with the modern medical approach of illness management, is that it enables you by relieving you of the responsibility of responding to the signals that your body is sending you! Think about it – symptoms are the body’s way of communicating that something is wrong. Ignoring symptoms is like cutting the wire leading to the “check engine” light that goes on in your car. Cutting that wire would be crazy, yet that is exactly what we do with most disease states.
Now I am not a conspiracy theorist, and there are plenty of villains to go around when it comes to our healthcare system going off the rails, but there is simply no money in keeping someone well. Drug companies make money by making products that require you to be “a customer for life.”
Now enter COVID-19. We discovered early on that this virus kills people but who is most vulnerable? Well, it starts with age. The older you are, the higher the morbidity (sickness) and mortality (death), but what else did we discover?
A recent study by Tufts University found that 30% of hospitalizations for COVID-19 were attributable to obesity; 26% of hospitalizations were attributable to hypertension; 21% were attributable to diabetes; and 12% were attributable to heart failure. The total COVID-19 hospitalizations attributable to a combination of the 4 conditions is 64% or nearly two-thirds!
What do hypertension, obesity, diabetes and heart failure have in common? They are all chronic “lifestyle related diseases.”
These people were not healthy before they contracted COVID-19 – they were “medically managed.” This is different from a healthy state as otherwise healthy individuals who contracted COVID-19 are not the people who ended up hospitalized. If those hospitalized were actually in a healthy state we could have avoided many of the problems of the pandemic, if not the pandemic itself.
If you find COVID-19 scary, perhaps it is time to look at ways to improve your health. I would never advocate stopping a medication out of stubbornness, but I do encourage people to look for real solutions to their health problems. These lie mainly in lifestyle.
If we are to survive in the long run, we must be healthier! Relying on a strategy of other people being willing to take drugs to “make COVID-19 go away” is just not a viable long-term strategy. So make a commitment to get healthier!
Michael Buyze, L.Ac., MSOM is a healthcare entrepreneur with nearly 40 years of experience in healthcare and expertise in acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, functional medicine, clinical exercise physiology, and nutrition. He owns and operates East Wind Healthcare, an acupuncture and wellness clinic with a 23-year history of helping people in the Fox Valley with offices in Appleton, Oshkosh and Fond du Lac. He holds Master of Science Degrees in Chinese Medicine, Business Administration and Exercise Physiology. He and his team offer acupuncture as well as wellness programming for acute and chronic pain as well as many chronic disease states. Acupuncture consultations and wellness consultations are available by appointment.
Address: East Wind Healthcare, 3000 N Ballard Road, Unit#3, Appleton, WI 54911
404 N. Main St., Suite 201, Oshkosh, WI 54901
180 Knights Way, Fond du Lac WI 54935 (inside Fox Valley Wellness)