I saw this graphic on a Tweet today from Jamie Scott:
“Some health professionals are also confused – they have to discard the old nutrition is dietary dogmas that they learned at college, took to heart and have been preaching to decades and take on board the latest advances in nutrition science based on high-quality evidence from randomised controlled trials (RCTs) And epidemiological studies published in leading peer-reviewed journals.”
The point is that we should not be confrontational with nutritionists and other health professionals, but rather educate them as to the current state-of-the-art.
Adopt, Adapt, Adept
We have a mantra at Sakharoff.com: Adopt, Adapt and be Adept. Through this, we have the possibility to create a revolution in health care.
One of the questions I want to put to the responsible citizens of the world is how they expect to be treated in old age? Do they want to be such a burden on society and indirectly on children? Do they expect to have the care that they will require when they have a bouquet of lifestyle diseases? When there are simply not enough resources to go around?
Adopt a new lifestyle
What is so difficult about learning a new lifestyle? Is it because that the dogmas that have been in place for the last 40 years or so embedded in people’s psyche that they cannot possibly think of changing? Is it because we are under so much stress in our daily lives are that we take on bad habits just to be able to keep up?
The High Cost of Chronic Disease
Perhaps it is a combination of all these things. If one accepts that lifestyle diseases all have this more or less the same root causes, then you can start assessing the cost to society. It has been said that each Alzheimer’s patient in the United Kingdom costs the National Health Service some £32,250 a year. I wonder what the figures are for heart disease, asthma and diabetes? In Denmark asthma is considered to be the source of many million lost working days every year.
By taking on the education and adopting the lifestyle changes, it would be possible to save nations a lot of money. In Denmark, the equivalent National Health Service is responsible for about 10.4% of GDP. Of that, we can attribute some 12% to the cost of medicine. (However, these numbers are substantially higher in the US.)
The Danish government has introduced a system to deal with the high cost of medicine, whereby copy medication is preferred over the original. The joke about this is that each copy medicine has its colour code and this means with older patients; they become very confused about the dosage and which medicine to take.
Yes, it is true people are getting older and living longer. But we must seriously look at the quality of life and the availability of care for older citizens. In non-Western countries, there has been a tradition of the sons and daughters to look after their parents when they get old. Unfortunately, with the migration to Europe, this aspect of traditional life is being discarded. Then you have the awful situation of older citizens, who do not necessarily have the language skills in the new country, having to be cared for by the welfare state.
Reduce Doctors’ Workload
I’m sure that family doctors have a very high workload in dealing with chronic diseases among the population. I sincerely hope that they would welcome a way of reducing this workload. It would be far more effective if the doctors were responsible for educating the citizens instead of medicating the citizens.
Is it fair to expect citizens of all intellectual abilities to learn how to take responsibility for their health? In this country, as well as most countries I would think, citizens are obliged to understand every law, especially tax laws. “Ignorance of the law is no defence”. Learning new habits as to how to live healthily is no more difficult than, say, understanding the law required to drive a vehicle. Yet most people learn how to drive.
We did it with smoking…
Governments have been quite successful, although not entirely so, in persuading people not to smoke. It has been estimated that one unit of currency spent on prevention of smoking saves 10,000 units of currency in treatment later in life. With smoking, governments were dealing with a highly addictive substance and a very strong industry.
I think public opinion should be developed to allow governments to take on Big Agri, Big Pharma, and Big Food. The problem of sugar addiction remains. No eyebrows are raised today when someone eats cakes or put sugar in their tea or coffee, or consume massive portions of carbohydrates and seemingly incessant eating. Indeed, the advice has been to snack regularly.
Today, not many people would light up a cigarette in a home or an office, because the customs have changed, bolstered by legislation, which means that people have to go outside to smoke. What’s more, it is an antisocial habit – yes, because smoking directly affects other people around. Of course, eating yourself fat does not have the same effect on others. Not directly in any case. In the long term, there is a devastating effect. In countries like the United States, the burden of health may land on the family and developing chronic diseases can seriously damage your wealth. In Western Europe, the state has a responsibility of providing health care universally. But who is the state? Regarding finance, it is the citizens having to pay tax. It is the hospitals who have to divert resources to pay for medication, very often cutting down on nursing – the function that is required to heal people, in the case of acute illness.
So it should be quite clear that the current path is unsustainable. Nations will drown in health care costs. Something has to be done, and has to be done now!