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It’s not me… it’s you

It’s not me… it’s you

Sorry, but it’s not me… it’s you. Despite evidence to the contrary, most Americans believe they are managing their own health well, while those around them clearly are not. Only 17 percent of us recognize that our own health is going in the wrong direction and we’re pointing fingers.

A study commissioned by GE Healthcare, The Cleveland Clinic, and Ochsner Health System, and reported in HealthDay News, asked more than 2,000 Americans and their doctors to rate the country’s health. Apparently, the way we see ourselves, and the way our doctors see us, are at different ends of the spectrum.

We think we our eating habits are healthy; our doctors do not. We believe we get enough exercise; the doctors say it ain’t so. Many of us don’t know or understand our blood pressure or cholesterol numbers, even though we recognize that they are important to overall good health. And we see a lot of folks who are heavier and appear to be more out-of-shape than we are, thus giving the impression that we are healthier. (You can read the specifics of the survey HERE.)

You feel fine, so you must be healthy, right? Wrong. Many killers are silent before they strike — heart attack, stroke, and diabetes are a few that often give little or no clue of what is to come. Lifestyle choices, including diet and exercise, can help prevent problems from occurring in the first place.

There is much we can do to invest in our own health and wellbeing, so why don’t we? It is human nature to give ourselves the benefit of the doubt, easier to make excuses for our own shortcomings, even while casting a critical eye on everyone else. We sneak in that extra sugary snack and conveniently dismiss it as just a little treat. Ten minutes of exercise seems like 30 when you’re the one doing the exercising. You smoke, but you’re tapering off.

We are not taking responsibility for those things within our control, and whether we admit it or not, we’re setting a ghastly example for the next generation, a generation expected to have a shorter life expectancy than our own.

Given the debate on health care reform, I found this item in the survey of particular interest:

“Ninety-five percent agreed that regular checkups with their physicians were important, even though 70 percent said they had taken actions to avoid their doctors, such as hoping their health problems would go away on their own or asking a friend for medical advice instead.”

The report gives no explanation for the respondents’ answers and I’m not sure that this particular point speaks to the issue of Americans purposely neglecting their health, but rather to the problem of soaring health care costs and lack of adequate medical insurance. Hoping health problems take care of themselves, turning to friends for advice and to internet medical sites is what you do when you can’t afford medical care.

In any case, it’s time to stop the finger pointing. Maybe it’s not just you… maybe it’s me, too.

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Photo: http://www.sxc.hu/photo/905626


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73 comments

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10:27PM PDT on Mar 25, 2010

noted

6:36AM PST on Feb 28, 2010

Sorry, could not find your petition with that direction.

6:35AM PST on Feb 28, 2010

Point well taken.

1:24PM PST on Feb 25, 2010

I know this is off the subject, but if you will just take a moment to look at my Petition-I would appreciate it kindly. Thanks!

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/23/human-rights

8:03AM PST on Feb 25, 2010

it is easier to not see....

10:36AM PST on Feb 24, 2010

Double-booking isn't necessarily going to make them more money, although like with airplanes or restaurants, it can keep their workload full and protect them from downtime from cancellations.

The reason this wouldn't necessarily mean more money is that office visits are typically billed for certain time increments, whether 5 minutes, 10, 20, etc., depending on the type of visit (primary, specialist, ER, new or repeat patient, routine or medical). Certainly, doctors could bill for a higher increment than they actually did, but as they are to keep notes from the session, they could be subjected to audits or other measures to keep them honest.

Even differentiating between insured and uninsured patients can be a crap-shoot. Insured patients will likely have contracted or otherwise negotiated rates under their plans, so a $100 office visit, for example, might be discounted down to $40; in this case, double booking 2 insured patients would earn them less than booking 1 uninsured patient.

Even if they have 1 uninsured patient who they charge $100 for the visit, they would have a lower success rate in getting paid by the uninsured patient vs. the insured.

One significant problem is the scarcity of certain specialists on some areas as this can make it more difficult to be seen for certain conditions (dermatology, for example).

Better incentives could also be offered to med school students to nudge them toward these specialties to fill in the gaps.

10:35AM PST on Feb 24, 2010

Sorry, this was left out of my post-'no matter how much I exercise or eat right (I'm trying to lose weight), I can't lose weight because I need medication to control my thyroid'

I hope that makes more sense!

10:33AM PST on Feb 24, 2010

I'd love to go to a doctor if I only had the money-$200 for a check-up is just not in my budget unfortunately, and because of that, no matter how much I exercise or eat right, I need medication to control my thyroid, which is another $30 a month (which I could probably swing, just not the initial $200). Which means I am one of those adding to the problem of not getting preventative health-care because of a lack of insurance.

There does need to be universal healthcare and on top of that, insurance companies do need to be more regulated, as anyone who has dealt with insurance companies knows it's like pulling teeth with grease.

8:51AM PST on Feb 24, 2010

sometimes they just don't have time to listen to you, as alot of doctors now are into double booking for more money and shorter time with each patient and that is wrong.

7:52AM PST on Feb 24, 2010

We must treat with caution anything that doctors say. Medical science is still in its infancy. Recently a friend showed me a diet-sheet recommended for healthy living. I discovered that for 82 years of healthy life I have been eating and drinking all the wrong things. Apart from infant tonsilectomy I have never been in hospital and missed only a half day of work through sickness. I shall not change my omnivorous diet!

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