Why Our Health Matters by M.D. Andrew Weil Review
Weil has arguably become America’s best known doctor.” -The New York Times Magazine. The government and corporations both have to work to make the right lifestyle choices affordable and easy. You can knock it over; it bounces back up to the center. This is not the most cost-effective way to prevent disease. They dont learn about botanical medicine. You can interact with toxins and not be harmed. Q: What is health and who is responsible for it? A: To me health is an inner state of balance and resilience that allows you to move through life and not get hurt by all the things out there that have the potential to hurt you. An image that I like to use to illustrate that is a childs knock-down toy with a weighted bottom. And thats any way you look at it, whether its in terms of infant mortality, longevity, or rates of chronic disease.
The second myth is that having the most elaborate and expensive medical technology in the world must translate into medical excellence. Q: Why arent we doing better at preventing disease in this country? A: I think our efforts at prevention are feeble because we work from a model of prevention that is not very robust. The reality is that medical technology has helped us in certain areas like the management of trauma and critical conditions. That means teaching people how to make better choices about how they eat, how they exercise, how they rest, how they neutralize stress. You cant have the federal government telling people to eat more fruits and vegetables while at the same time making unhealthy foods cheap and healthy foods expensive through its patterns of crop subsidies. The fact is that we have a great medical infrastructure, in terms of bricks and mortar and very highly trained faculty. For example, our health professionals know next to nothing about nutrition. In fact, one of the main reasons American health care is so expensive is that our interventions are based in expensive technologyincluding pharmaceutical drugs. We need to think about prevention in new and better ways. I would like to see people become informed, and upset and angry with the facts about health care in America. There are many low-tech methods of intervening in disease that our doctors simply dont learn. They dont learn about mind/body interactions. We conduct a great deal of research, but the fraction of it that is relevant to health and healing and to developing cost-effective treatment strategies is very low. Q: Can you talk about the three myths of American health care and the realities? A: I think many people buy into three myths about American health care that really deaden us to the realities.
The first is that because American health care is the most expensive in the world, it must be the best. Many Americans would be surprised to know that our national health is far from the best in the world, even though we spend more money on it than any other country. The cornerstone of prevention should be lifestyle medicine. This is primarily something that needs to be done in terms of education, but the whole society has to pull in the same direction. I want to show them all the things that have to change. He shows us exactly how we have become embroiled in the present situation and provides a solution that will not only make healthcare affordable, but will also put each one of us on the road to optimum health. That puts us on a par with Serbia. The reality is that although we spend more per capita on health care than any people in the world by a long shot, our health outcomes are at or near the bottom compared to those of other developed countries. But the curriculum of medical schooland this is also true of nursing and pharmacy schoolsomits very large areas that are extremely relevant to health and healing. Cost of medical care today are a leading cause of personal bankruptcy. Weil shows how medical schools fail to give future doctors the education they need to care for patients, how insurance companies have destroyed our opportunity to get excellent care, and how pharmaceutical companies have come to rule our lives. The World Health Organization recently ranked America thirty-seventh in a survey of countries in terms of health-care outcomes. The World Health Organization recently rated America thirty-seventh in health outcomes, on par with Serbia. Also, our entire health-care system is geared toward intervention in established disease, yet the vast majority of that disease is lifestyle related and therefore preventable.
The third myth is that we have the best medical schools and research institutions in the world and that they are producing the best physicians and the best research in the world. Healthcare is no longer just a public issue; for millions of Americans it is now a crisis on their own doorstep. I want them to understand how much we are paying and how little we are getting.