Total Fitness Medicine

HealthLOGO1 300x252 Total Fitness Medicine Total Fitness Medicine/Health is wealth

By: Laurence T. Gayao MD

What do you consider your most valuable asset? Sounds like a loaded question but you really don’t have to think hard to realize that no mater how much wealth one has or what ever success one has attained in their profession and what ever status one has in society all these have no value if ones health is gone.

From Sick Care Provider to Health Care Provider

In over forty years I have worked as a “health care provider” in the role of a family & emergency room physician specialist, I have come to realize in all those years I was more of a “sick care provider.” In doing so as practitioners we are compensated well. In that time most of the services I provided were to treat peoples’ illnesses and very little effort if any was in promoting health or fitness. Don’t take me wrong, taking care of the sick is very important part of medicine, preventing individual from getting ill is more important. 

What is Wrong with Conventional Medicine

Statistics would show the that medical care in the United States has failed in promoting health among it’s citizen in spite of spending the highest per capita compared to the rest developed countries.. The current life expectancy on the US 78.49% years which is 50th among countries in the world, below most developed nations and some developing nations, yet the US health care spending is as of GDP is the highest in the world at about 17.5% followed by Switzerland with 11%. There is no question that the US have the most advance medical technology in the world and provides the one of the most excellent medical intervention for acute illnesses, yet in all these we still have low life expectancy. How does one explain this relatively low life expectancy in US in spite of the high expenditure compared to other nations. The obvious answer is,  the US health care is more focused  in care of the acute illnesses with hardly any of the resources directed at correcting the cause, and health maintenance. There is no systematic approach to ensure the optimal health of the population by emphasizing life style changes, because for the so called “health care providers” it is not as profitable compare to just treating acute illnesses. Let us face it sick care is a multi-trillion industry, it is a business and practitioners are well compensated so there is hardly much motivation to change from the status quo.

Cause of Most Illnesses

Many illness are the result of unhealthy life styles which starts early in life. A major problem which is precursor of many of these preventable illnesses is referred to as metabolic syndrome. This is a disorder characterized by a co-occurrence of 3 of five of the following medical conditions: abdominal (central obesity , elevated blood pressure, elevated fasting blood sugar, high serum triglycerides and low high density cholesterol (HDL) levels. Metabolic syndrome increases the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, heart failure, diabetes, stroke, cancer, peripheral vascular disease and other illnesses. According to the US Center of Disease Control and Prevention studies estimates indicates that approximately 34% of the population 20 years of age and over met the criteria for metabolic syndrome. There was no significant difference in the prevalence of metabolic syndrome by sex. The prevalence of metabolic syndrome increased with each succeeding age group for both sexes. While about 20% of males and 16% of females under 40 years of age met the criteria for metabolic syndrome, 41% of males and 37% of females 40–59 years of age and 52% of males and 54% of females 60 years of age and over met the criteria. Males and females 40–59 years of age were about three times as likely as the youngest age group to meet the criteria for metabolic syndrome females. Males 60 years of age and over were more than four times as likely as the youngest age group to meet the criteria, and females 60 years of age and over were more than six times as likely as the youngest age group to meet the criteria.
What’s Wrong With Conventional Medicine, Andrew Weil, MD

Treating the Cause Not Just Symptoms

Preventing and treating metabolic syndrome, which is the cause many of our illnesses that cost a lot of our tax dollars; is the most effective way to maintain health that is what Total Fitness Medicine is all about. We need to allocate human and financial resources to systematically approach this problem. Dealing with health maintenance entails more effort because one has to address life style changes and close coaching and monitoring, and involves multi-disciplinary approach utilizing a trainer, a nutritionist, a social worker and the physician coordinating the team. This is called holistic approach with the aim of preventing and correcting the causes of life style induced illnesses, these are the objectives of Total Fitness Medicine.

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