Do you trust your Healthcare Provider? Part 1.
There is a commercial on television these days that asks the question – “You wouldn’t want your doctor doing your job, would you?” I’m not exactly sure what the product is they’re promoting… probably some sort of acid reflux prescription, or sleep aid, or libido enhancer. But the point they are obviously trying to make is that there are just some things you should leave up to your doctor. Or should you?
In this next series of articles, we’re going to be raising some serious questions when it comes to who you trust with your healthcare. In this first article, we’re going to take a look at a recent study that showed healthcare workers aren’t exactly “practicing what they preach” when it comes to monitoring and managing their health. Which, when you think about it, should worry you – and not just a little.
Preventative Measures: Making a Case
There are three things that can have a huge (and I mean HUGE) impact on your health. Staying at a healthy weight is one. Being overweight or obese is linked to all sorts of health conditions: diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, and even dementia and Alzheimer’s. Another, not smoking, is also tantamount to living longer. And finally, getting appropriate cancer screenings can be the difference between being able to spend your golden years with the ones you love and going to an early grave.
Other, smaller things – like going to the dentist, making sure to wear sunscreen, taking your vitamins, and even wearing your seatbelt – can still have a profound impact on whether or not you’re truly a “healthy” individual.
So… if you found out your doctor never exercised, drank heavily, neglected sunscreen on a regular basis, and rarely brushed his teeth, wouldn’t you be a bit surprised? OK, a LOT surprised?
And, given our advances in technology and even just the vast amounts of knowledge we have accumulated when it comes to health, wouldn’t you think that those involved directly in patient care would be conscientious about their own health? And wouldn’t you, the patient, expect them to?
That is what is so appalling about the results of this study.
Not only were the healthcare workers surveyed just as likely to be overweight, avoid the dentist, get sunburned and not wear their seat belt as those in other fields, but it seems the women in particular are neglectful when it comes to a very important cancer screening: breast cancer.
Now, there are up-and-coming alternatives to the mammogram; but currently it’s still the most widely accepted way to routinely check for cancerous activity. In fact, the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, a government-backed panel, recommends women aged 50 to 74 get a mammogram every other year. Of the women surveyed, 21 percent had not had a recent mammogram. And women aged 50+ were 13 percent more likely to say they hadn’t been screened for breast cancer in any way in the past two years compared to non-health care workers.
Still more astounding, of all the participants who were surveyed, almost two-thirds reported being overweight and 18 percent smoked.
This is not a new phenomenon. I’m sure this type of activity has been going on for years. But again, given what we know about health, your doctor, nurse, or other healthcare provider SHOULD BE THE HEALTHIEST PERSON YOU KNOW. If they don’t care enough to take the time to be at optimal health, why should you trust that they are looking out for YOUR best interests?
The message here is simple: if your doctor is overweight, smokes, has bad teeth, or comes in with a wicked sunburn, you might want to think twice about coming back.
In our next article, we’ll look at doctors who ignore the wants and needs of their patients – whether that is due to time constraints, ignorance, or just plain negligence. Stay tuned!
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