The future begins ...
Where we have arrived at today is as a result of all our thoughts of all our yesterdays.
Our future tomorrows will be determined by what we think right now, in this moment.
Let’s focus for a moment on the current state and practice of conventional
medicine, the thoughts that got us here, and the thoughts needed to get us
out of the mess. The NHS is broke, about to implode. Despite very good
work going on in certain areas. But despite advances and significant
breakthroughs in medical knowledge, we have ….
...become too focused on pharmacology, on drugs, on drug
medication … on the pharmaceutical treatment of lifestyle-related
chronic disease, and symptom management. Who thought it
a good idea to go on unrelentingly treating symptoms in a
health system that allows doctors insufficient training
(eg practically zero on nutrition) or time to go exploring the
Who thinks it a good idea to have a system which has derailed
the physician and patient from exploring real health, how the patient can create real health?
Who thinks it is right to focus on the purely physical instead of holistically encompassing physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual health? Each is inter-related. What and How I think affects my behaviour, my actions, and so my physical health. How I feel about my life and my health affects my physical , emotional, and mental health. And if I live in a worldly context where religion, faith, or spiritually are important to me, then my health will likewise be affected.
Why the obsession with the rush to medicate without exploring my thinking, lifestyle life? Perhaps because it is quicker and more convenient to print out a prescription and for a doctor to then imagine the drug will do the rest. Drugs do not cure, they do not heal. It is the body that does the work.
Is there in Britain, oft still unspoken, the influence of big pharma? We’ve seen in the USA just how big pharma rules the medical world.
Why are doctors and politicians, bright, educated people, not questioning the money spent on big pharma, highlighting why we spend a fortune on many drugs that have huge side effects and have minimal effectiveness. They simply keep people dependent because we are not addressing the cause. Why are we, the public, not shouting about this from the rooftops?
Who in their crazy thinking mind ever believes that one drug that is prescribed to millions of patients for eg depression is actually able to treat all of them who presumably have hugely differing reasons as to the cause of their depression. It does not make sense. We’re simply mass medicating populations.
Why are we as patients not challenging a system wherein no one looks at the cause of our depression and instead medicates us, hypnotizes us, mass tranquilises us?
When I was depressed, the cause lay in mid-life circumstances which at the time were so overwhelming I could not cope. Depression wasn’t caused by our because I was born with a pharmaceutical deficiency; so why does the medical profession, in which doctors are singularly untrained in mental health, imagine that the solution lies in a pharmaceutical drug? If we find ourselves being prescribed medication, it is critical to ask ourselves why, and initially, at least instead, seek out the root cause in an all out effort to obviate the need for a pharmaceutical intervention. But our health service is not geared up for such an approach. A drug does not address the cause of your depression - only you can….with the aid perhaps of a therapist, not an NHS psychologist who is confined to work within NHS guidelines.
Let's wake up
We have a health care crisis in the UK both in terms of our own health and that of the systems designed to help. The NHS is chronically and terminally ill, on the verge of its own breakdown, its implosion, its demise. And let me say again, as often said on this website, that is not down fully to staff. It is down to those who design, condone, and manage the system.
So, giving more money is not the answer. Why would you in your right thinking mind give millions more pounds to having more staff to just run the same broken-down system?
It is the current biomedical medical paradigm, the present medical model that is need of change And that will demand a change in what doctors are trained in, the medicine we do, and the way we do it.
If I have a goldfish (ie the NHS) in a bowl of water (the NHS system, the medical model, the environment in which it operates) and the water becomes polluted, inefficient, unable to sustain life, then pouring more water into the same unpolluted water will not change the environment, it will weaken the environment and itself become polluted. And the goldfish, the NHS, will ultimately die.
The amount of money demanded for the provision of health care continues to grow. Here in the UK the various political parties vie for public adulation as to who can put in most resources to the NHS. More money to the NHS should mean more votes. No? Simply giving more financial resources is not addressing the cause of the breakdown in our health system. They are, as their model does to us as patients, simply addressing symptoms.
In my many experiences of the NHS over recent years, I can find little convincing evidence that the standards of public health are improving. If anything, they are deteriorating. In 2017, just read the press or watch television news or tune in to consumer programmes.
While it is indisputable that life expectancies in many countries are increasing, this does not necessarily mean better health. In fact the longer you live, the more likely you will suffer multiple morbidity, be treated with multiple medicines, each with their unique side effects.
So the issues facing us are personal and systemic.
Our personal ie individual health care crisis is the result of severe nutritional, physical, social, austerity, age, and financial stressors and other environmental toxins, the biggest being corporate greed and the stranglehold the corporate world has on politics and how we live; all of that has created an unprecedented burden of illness and chronic disease. The sheer magnitude of these stress-related epidemics coupled with the runaway costs of “modern” medicine has earned America’s healthcare system the dubious distinction as the most expensive, and among the least effective in the developed world. Britain is not far behind. And note here I am talking of systems – not of the staff employed to engage the systems. Given half a chance, they too would change the medicine we do and the way we do it.
It is becoming commonplace (I have experienced it myself) to have patients, especially those with multiple medical conditions, on multiple medications that do nothing more than treat the side effects of the other medicines they are on. As patients we must say, “STOP the insanity – why is this happening?” We need to insist that doctors explore the cause of conditions and how can we treat them – and not simply cover over the symptoms alone.
We as patients need to change our attitude. We also need to inform ourselves better. We need to change our behaviours and actions (ie our lifestyle) that contribute to disease and poor health. Above all we need to give up the need for a quick fix and our insatiable desire for the perfect pill to make us feel well. That system is not working. It has clearly passed the point of diminishing returns. And we as patient need to become activists demanding a change in the paradigm.
We need change.
If you need evidence as to how public health is deteriorating, then witness the following examples
Alcohol Disease Alcohol misuse contributes to a wide range of social and health problems, including cardiovascular disease, liver disease, pancreatitis, cancer, suicide, accidents, and antisocial behaviours including crime and domestic violence. As many as 33,000 people in the UK die from alcohol related causes each year? That is ten times as many people as die on the roads every year. And just because figures of alcohol related issues inScotland is declining, it is no reason to take the foot off the pedal.
Autoimmune Autoimmune disorders are a broad spectrum of disease that can affect any part of the body. More than 80 have been identified so far, a considerable number with similar symptoms. Inflammation is the classic sign of autoimmunity although how this impacts on an individual is determined by which part of the body is affected. Autoimmune disorders can be placed into two general types: those that are localised to specific organs or tissues (such as hyroiditis) or those that are systemic and damage many organs or tissues (such as systemic lupus erythematosus). Specific figures are difficult to come by, just as getting a GP to give a diagnosis is difficult to come by.
Diabetes According to Diabetes UK there are around 400,000 people in the UK with type 1 diabetes and this rate is growing at a rate of 3% per annum. The direct cost to the UK of treating type 1 diabetes was estimated to be £1bn in 2010/11, while the indirect cost (for example through loss of productivity due to illness) was put at £0.9bn.
Rheumatoid arthritis affects roughly 700,000 people in the UK, according to the British Society for Rheumatology.
Crohn’s disease - at least 115,000 people in the UK live with Crohn’s disease with a growing rate of 2.4% per year.
Cancer Cancer is a leading cause of death but despite the resources ploughed into research, the progress in finding a cure is not encouraging. There are so many kinds of cancer. An article in the Lancet, notable medical journal, states quite bluntly: “Current strategies to control cancer are demonstrably not working. Already one of the world’s leading causes of death, the annual death toll from cancer has risen by almost 40% since 1990 and this rate of increase is set to continue. WHO predicts deaths from cancer will rise from the current level of around 8 million lives a year to more than 13 million by 2030”. Cancer has become so common that today one in 30 people living in the UK either has cancer or is in remission. 1:2 are affected, either directly or they know someone affected by cancer. By 2030 it is estimated that three million people in England will have had some form of cancer. Although overall survival rates are improving in the UK the UK still lags behind other European countries in terms of cancer survival.
Dementia Dementia is a major cause of disability and is getting progressively worse, especially as people are living longer. The proportion of people dying with a recorded dementia diagnosis in thee UK has more than doubled since 2001. Figures show the number of deaths with a mention of dementia was:
•6.6% of all deaths in 2001
•15.8% of deaths in 2014
It is now the 7th leading cause of global deaths in 2015.
Diabetes. In the UK, the incidence of type 2 diabetes (T2D) in both men and women has more than doubled in the last 15 years. It is predicted there will be 5 million cases by the year 2025 in the UK. In the USA, in 2014 it was estimated that 29.1 million people had diabetes and as many as one in three people could be affected in 2050. And of course, Type 2 Diabetes is associated with increased risk of many other diseases including heart disease, cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease. Diabetes killed 1.6 million people worldwide in 2015, up from less than 1 million in 2000. But the problem is the NHS does not deal with the causes of diabetes – doctors are only interested in treating numbers and blood results instead of patients, focusing on guidelines and protocols instead of engaging with the patient
Heart According to the World Health Organisation, “Ischemic heart disease and stroke are the world’s biggest killers, accounting for a combined 15 million deaths in 2015. These diseases have remained the leading causes of death globally in the last 15 years.” In the UK, coronary Heart Disease is the biggest killer, causing almost 74,000 deaths each year in the UK. That's about 200 people dying every day. “About one in three adults in England and Scotland have high blood pressure and nearly half of them are not receiving treatment for the condition,” says the British Heart Foundation. But neither are we as a nation paying sufficient regard to a healthy lifestyle whereby we can avoid heart conditions.
Liver Liver disease is the only major cause of mortality and morbidity that is on the increase in England while it is decreasing among European peers. Between 2000 and 2009, deaths from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis in the under 65s in England increased by about 20% while they fell by the same amount in most EU countries. And all three major causes of liver disease - obesity, undiagnosed infection, and, increasingly, harmful drinking - are preventable.
Mental health Mental health problems are one of the main causes of the overall disease burden yet it is vastly under-diagnosed, car for or treated. The poorer and more disadvantaged are disproportionately affected by common mental health problems and their adverse consequences. Depression affects around 22% of men and 28% of women aged 65 years and over, yet it is estimated that 85% of older people with depression receive no help at all from the NHS. Anxiety & depression are the most common mental disorders in Britain, with 7.8% of people meeting criteria for diagnosis. Mixed anxiety and depression has been estimated to cause one fifth of days lost from work in Britain.
One adult in six has a common mental disorder. Measuring the prevalence of mental health problems is challenging for many reasons: underfunding, the hidden nature of mental health issues, and the variation in diagnostic practices across the UK and the fact that GPS are just not trained in mental health and too willingly dish out anti-depressant without listening to the causes of mental ill-health.
Respiratory conditions The two main diseases are asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). More than three million people in England live with COPD, a lung disease which kills about 23,000 people a year in the UK. England has one of the highest rates of asthma prevalence in the world. Figures from GP registers in 2008 suggested that about 6% of the English population has asthma. Smoking continues to be the biggest risk factor for respiratory ill health in the UK and the most important cause of COPD is smoking, but about 15% of cases are work-related, triggered by exposure to fumes, chemicals and dusts at work.
Whichever disease, whatever the statistics, the above surely indicates the need for each of us to take more responsibility for our health and well-being.
Your future ...
...is yours to draw