You might get the impression from what I do that I am against conventional healthcare and modern medicine, but you’re only partly correct. Actually I believe that modern healthcare has and always will have a hugely important role for patients. Indeed it has achieved a great deal: from eliminating polio to making cancer a survivable condition. But unfortunately it doesn’t cover the entirety of health; rather, it manages disease.
In fact, if you look at how healthcare has developed it has all come from acute care: you call 999, you have some treatment and voila, you’re back home and good as new. That works well for conditions that are acute in nature like broken bones, bowel obstruction, severe infections leading to sepsis; but it doesn’t comprehensively deal with chronic disease. I’m sure it needs no explanation that chronic disease needs chronic intervention, but given the huge progress in acute care we have come to expect immediate fixes and quick wins and so you start taking pills for your diabetes and arthritis, but are you ever planning to come off them? Unfortunately this leaves patients on lifelong medications, never really having addressed their root causes of disease, which are often mutifactorial and lifestyle-related in nature. And this is what needs to be addressed in modern healthcare, taking people not only from alleviating acute and chronic disease but through to complete health.
As it happens doctors are not well equipped to deal with root causes of disease: we learn next to nothing about the role of nutrition, movement, thought, sleep and relationships in treatment. This is why you’re always just told to ‘eat a balanced diet’, whatever that means. At a systemic level, there needs to exist an adjunct to Primary Care where patients can set positive health goals and work with professionals, ideally the same one over a meaningful length of time, to achieve them.
While healthcare gets its act together though, here’s how you can plug that gap and become the owner and steward of your own complete health and care using an approach we devised at The Outliers Project:
Don’t be negligent to your health - if you have concerning symptoms go to your doctor and get their advice
You may have a disease but it need not define you, decide what you want and look for references on how you can achieve it. Do the research, read some articles, talk to doctors and any other health practitioners you may want input from, and learn from the Outliers: the people who achieved your health goals.
- Day-to-day health decisions are all on you - ultimately it’s about what you want, choose it and stick to it and you will get your rewards
This complete health approach ensures your safety while allowing you to take active, positive steps to conquer chronic illness and be healthier. And if you feel like you want help with step 2, get in touch via Hippocrates’ Lounge.