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Who is responsible for keeping you healthy

Who do you think is responsible for keeping you healthy? Who do you think is responsible for keeping you up to date on the latest health information? Who do you think should put you on a weight loss and exercise program to help you avoid certain diseases in the future?

It may come as a shock to some of you, but the one person who is not responsible for any of the above questions is your doctor. Who is? Well, it is mainly your responsibility, but only in that it is up to you to find, seek out, hire, etc. the necessary people who can help you be and stay healthy.

Please do not think that I don’t have faith in your doctors’ knowledge regarding health and fitness. On the contrary, most doctors I have met have a good handle on fitness and its importance in your life. However, medical care in our society is set up to deal with immediate health problems, not focus on preventative care.

When you visit your doctor, for an annual physical or a specific problem, he only has a few minutes to address exactly what you came in for. He can run some tests on you and diagnose where you are and tell you that information. He can treat obvious symptoms of illness, etc. with medicine that will take effect immediately. What he can not do is teach, prepare, and lead you to live a life of wellness; a life that includes a proper workout program and exercise regimen, a healthy and balanced diet, healthy lifestyle choices, etc.

“Treatment” like this would take hours and hours of private consulting and continual meetings to adjust these preventative programs. It is not feasible to think that a few minutes with your doctor is what you should be counting on to KEEP you healthy. At this point in the American healthcare system, you have to realize that your doctor is someone who will be dedicated to making you well, if you are ill.

The reason I make this point is that all too often I meet people who are proud to tell me that they do not exercise or eat particularly healthy, because every time they see their doctor, the doctor tells them that they are doing great and that all their “numbers” are “normal”.

NORMAL? What does that mean? Believe me; the one thing you do not want to be in this country is “normal”. In the United States, “normal” means you have a 50% chance of dying of heart disease and that you have a one in 4 chance of dying earlier than you have to of a completely preventable disease! Do you want to just be “normal”?

Be careful not to confuse what your doctor tells you with what you want to hear. If your doctor tells you that your cholesterol, etc. is “normal” he is not saying that it can not or should not improve. “Normal” cholesterol in this country is 205; that is too high! If you have a cholesterol level of 200 you should be working to lower it. This is true with many of the numbers that are looked at during a regular physical. Again, “normal” does not necessarily mean healthy or ideal.

I think it is best not to rely on your doctor as the person who will have the most important role in keeping you healthy, fit, of normal weight, and disease-free. This has got to be YOUR responsibility. You have got to figure out what you have to do to prevent the onset of disease.

There are many professionals out there whose job is to keep you healthy and whose job it is to spend many hours with you working on this goal with you; it’s just not your doctor.

Most doctors are very encouraging to their patients who want to work on the prevention of disease; your doctor may even recommend certain health professionals that can help you with this; they just don’t have the time to be that person.

Dieticians, personal trainers, health educators, etc. are all professionals who can take on certain roles in your quest for preventable wellness, however, for the most part; insurance does not cover this kind of care. It is unfortunate, but you will have to put the time, money, and effort into getting and staying healthy. The upside is that your overall healthcare cost could be reduced significantly if you get on the preventative track.

My message to all of you is this: realize that YOU are responsible for your health. Your doctor is there to diagnose, manage, and help cure illnesses, but he cannot be responsible for you living a healthy lifestyle. Do not look to your doctor for this……….look in the mirror.