In a latest column, I mentioned smugness as one of many best well being dangers. The downside is continual illnesses, like heart disease, typically present no indicators or signs they’re destroying one’s well being till they attain a really superior stage. Being symptom-free erroneously conjures up smugness that you’re wholesome despite the fact that you will not be, which is the right fertilizer for continual, slowly progressing illnesses. This is as a result of smugness basically equates to permission to disregard what’s going on contained in the physique, and most of us do precisely that till it screams for our consideration.
Waiting for signs is like refusing to examine your home for termites till you see sawdust falling from the ceiling. But being smug concerning the absence of signs is just not the one issue that promotes continual illnesses. Another contributing issue is how docs and sufferers talk.
Here’s what to know concerning the challenge of communication:
Why most individuals do not like to go to the physician
“All or none” is how sufferers typically understand their medical standing. They are both wholesome or in want of treatment. Take blood pressure, for instance. When blood strain reaches a Stage 2 stage of 140/90 mm Hg it’s thought-about to be hypertension needing medical remedy. Lesser ranges usually don’t elevate a pink flag.
Here is the issue with this method. Patients erroneously assume that except their blood strain has reached the purpose of needing treatment, it’s OK. Or worse, they assume it’s wholesome. Wrong! Healthy blood strain is 120/80 or decrease. The blood strain values that fall between what’s wholesome (120/80) versus what requires treatment (140/90), I seek advice from because the “gray zone.” Gray zone values can be very damaging, and substantial lifestyle changes likely are required, but such changes are ignored in most cases.
You may likeA Coronary Calcium Scan may have saved this man’s life. Here’s how it might help you, too
Why? Here is a scenario to make the point. A wife is very concerned about her husband’s health, his horrible diet, protruding midsection, how he gasps for breath when climbing stairs, etc. She also knows his blood pressure runs high as indicated on his last check-up years ago, but he refuses to go back to the doctor. So, why is he so resistant? There are at least three reasons.
One, deep down, he probably knows he’s on a downhill slide but doesn’t want it confirmed. Two, he hates exercise and loves eating junk food and doesn’t want to give it up. And, three, he is a man, and often men don’t go to the doctor unless they are either in dire straights or surrender to the relentless drumbeat of common sense from our wives.
(In my case, as I have often reported, it’s my wife who wears me down with common sense, inspiring me to finally take action.)
In this scenario, the wife finally convinces her husband to get a check-up. Since his last check-up, he has gained a lot of weight, which suggests his blood pressure is likely even higher. The doctor looks at his chart, a blood pressure of 135/86, quite high and dangerous to his health, but not high enough to require medication, so nothing is prescribed.
So, how does the average patient interpret the situation?
He is greatly relieved as he heads home to his wife who is anxious for news about his visit to the doctor. Hubby walks in with a big “I told you so” grin on his face and informs his wife that he doesn’t need medication, which in his mind means “all is well.” As a result, hubby’s lifestyle can no longer be questioned, and there is no need for any changes.
You may likeFrom intermittent fasting to more sleep, here are 3 ways to strengthen your immune system
Defeated, the wife backs off, and hubby continues down the path toward disaster.
Why we should be worried about ‘normal’ test results
In the U.S., we often use the term “normal” when it comes to test results. Let’s stop and think about the word “normal” within the context of well being. In this nation, it’s regular to be obese, sedentary, on a number of prescription drugs, and sooner or later in life to succumb to a preventable continual illness like coronary heart illness, stroke or Type 2 diabetes. With this in thoughts, the very last thing on this planet you wish to be labeled relating to your well being is “regular.”
Even so, after we are advised our blood strain, cholesterol, or blood glucose levels are regular, we naively and erroneously take this as excellent news.
When I give lectures, I often ask members of the audience if they have had their blood pressure or cholesterol level checked recently. Hands go up and I point and ask. “Do you bear in mind the numbers?” The answer almost always is: “No, however the physician advised me my values had been regular.”
How to have a direct conversation with your doctor about your health
It’s time for a change, and the place to start is changing how you talk to your doctor. The key is making it clear to your doctor that you want meaningful information, something you can act on to improve your health, and you don’t want sugar coating.
You may likePsychological stress is damaging your body. Try these tips to find some stress relief
For example, when your blood pressure results are discussed, be sure to ask your doctor: “Is that a healthy level of blood pressure? Or is it a level that is too high to be healthy, but not high enough to require my taking medication?”
As you now know, there’s a world of distinction between these two interpretations, and such a query, hopefully, would encourage a frank and significant dialog.
This is an instance of how one can assume extra duty on your personal well being by ensuring you get all the pieces it’s essential to be wholesome out of your physician. Otherwise, at finest, your physician is on the sidelines, prepared to supply assist for those who enable your well being to say no to the purpose of needing medical intervention.
Reach Bryant Stamford, a professor of kinesiology and integrative physiology at Hanover College, at email@example.com.