Sunday, January 1, 2012

What Is Health....Really?

I know I normally write about some aspect of sports medicine, rehab or related nutrition, but I wanted to start 2012 with a basic foundation. I simply want you to be on the same page with me when it comes to health.

Having done consultations on over 10,000 individual patients in my office since starting my practice, I've come across something I think is a bit hypocritical but are completely unaware of. Simply, it's what people define as "Health". Starting on the right foot for 2012 I wanted get a basic understanding of what health is and what health isn't. What better to do on the 1st day of the new year.

In doing a medical history on a patient, it is routine after the "history of present illness or injury" to ask about their personal past medical history, surgical history, allergies and social aspects of their life. Along with those it's critical to ask about their family's past medical history. As it may give you unique insight to why the patient consulted you in the first place.  In doing a family medical history, when asking about the health of their mom and dad, I routinely get the answer that "everyone is healthy". But being the curious person that I am, coupled with a sense that I wasn't getting the whole picture from a particular patient, I asked "are your parents taking any medications"??? The answer was yes.

Both parents were on blood pressure medications and the father was on Lipitor. His father's older brother was also on blood pressure meds, Lipitor and was on medication for non-insulin dependent diabetes.

So I quickly remarked - I thought you said your parents were healthy?

The patient said "the medications make them healthy"

To which I replied: No, the medications don't make them healthy, they just keep their disease under control. They have disease that is controlled by medication, if they were healthy, they wouldn't need the medication. The patient looked at me and (yes, you guessed it) agreed with me.

So now let me give you what I feel is one of the best definitions of health. I had to dig all the way back to 1946 to get it:

1946: The World Health Organization (WHO) "a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.

(Notice the word - COMPLETE)

Dorland's Medical Dictionary defines health as "An optimal state 
of physical, mental and social well-being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity."

To further emphasize my point, I would add: A state in which all the tissues, cells and physiologic functions are working at 100%  Why? Because as pointed out in the 2 definitions above, health isn't merely the absence of disease, health is when you have an optimal state where your body (systems) are working completely.

In order to be healthy, you have to know what health is. If your doctor has put you on medications, it means you have some type of condition or disease.  We are lucky we live in an age where we have the luxury of have a group of professionals that can prolong your life and improve the quality of your life with medications. However, don't confuse being medicated to control a condition with being healthy.  They are not on in the same. You may feel good, you may look good, you may not be in acute distress, but your medication is controlling your condition, not making you health. I refer you back to the 2 definitions above to emphasize my point.

In some cases, people just got a bad roll of the genetic dice and don't have much of a choice. But others, well, just remember the old and real definition of health: a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.  Something that you have a lot more control over than you are led to believe.

Having said that, for those that did get a poorer roll of the genetic dice, you can certainly take control over the rest of your health and be as healthy as you are capable of. I have a good friend who is a type II diabetic and he could go to any doctors office (other than his own) today and if he didn't say anything, the doctor wouldn't even know.

Hear's to your health and a great 2012 and the power you have over your own health!

'nuff said

Dr. T

Preamble to the Constitution of the World Health Organization as adopted by the International 
Health Conference, New York, 19-22 June, 1946; signed on 22 July 1946 by the 
representatives of 61 States (Official Records of the World Health Organization, 
no. 2, p. 100) and entered into force on 7 April 1948.The Definition has not been 
amended since 1948. 

Dr. Narson is a 2-term past president of the Florida Chiropractic Association’s Council on Sports Injuries, Physical Fitness & Rehabilitation and was honored as the recipient of the coveted Chiropractic Sports Physician of the Year Award in 1999-2000. He practices in Miami Beach, Florida at the Miami Beach Family & Sports Chiropractic Center; A Facility for Natural Sports Medicine. Click here for Dr. Narson's Bio

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