Health Conscious or Disease Conscious

If you ask medical practitioners of our community ”How common is it to see apparently normal looking young individuals walking into their clinics with a bunch of files?” Most of them will nod saying a lot of them indeed.

Few days back a young adolescent girl walked into my clinic with lots of files in her hands. After going through all the files and a detailed consultation, I found everything normal, so I asked what was the need for these unwarranted investigations? She replied “our family believes in regular screening, so all the family members get screened every six months. We call the laboratory assistant home and he collects samples and also offers good discount if we do more tests.” She continued to say ”Mam we are a very health conscious family”.

Her words didn’t sound new to me because I hear it so often from my patients that I had actually started to believe that we are a very health conscious society. But lately I have started questioning my own belief because I see disproportion between the health consciousness and the amount of disease and illness among our people .

I don’t know how many of you will agree with me but I am forced to see us as people who are “Disease Conscious” rather than “Health Conscious”. We spend more money in disease detection rather than health promotion. We talk more about disease awareness rather than health awareness, and we do spend more time outside doctor’s offices and labs rather than in sports, parks, playgrounds, fitness centers , libraries and recreation halls.

We constantly come across ads like full body scans and complete blood tests on discounted prices, free testing and family package testing offers and so on. It goes to show that our health care system emphasizes more on finding disease rather than on living a healthy life. One reason could be that there is more money in disease than in wellness.

Agreed that screening is a mainstay of modern medical practice but there are definite protocols and these protocols are evidence based. They need to be followed and respected both by common people and the medical practitioners. Patient centered medical practitioners will always follow protocols.

Let us choose our physicians wisely and follow their recommendations and let them focus on disease diagnosis, treatment and prognosis, while we focus on true wellness. Let us transform the way we look at health consciousness:

Talk more about health instead of illness

Look deeper into the connection of disease with emotions and life style.

Spend more energy to focus on mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing realizing that our physical well being is the end product.

Counsel especially the younger generation more about health, happiness, positivity and its relation to productivity.

And for policy makers , alongside with war against diseases , spend money and time on health awareness programs as well…

This attitude will not only help us prevention of disease but also improve the well-being of those who are already enrolled as patients.

Finally this is my favorite cocktail for being healthy…..”Pray regularly, move frequently, eat moderately and love abundantly”