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An ounce of prevention

An ounce of prevention

Does the practice of earlier and earlier testing for specific pathologies promote health or disease?

A recent article in the New York Times by H. Gilbert Welch, a professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, says the latter (and I agree). While it’s true that early detection is important and has saved lives, it’s equally true that plenty of healthy people have been subjected to interventions and incurred costs that were unnecessary. It creates a culture of health anxiety, where we never feel well enough to fully participate in life.

A hyper-focus on test results and clinical interventions tends to obscure the importance of self-care and personal responsibility. I’ve often heard people say they want to see their doctors “just to find out what’s really going on.” The idea that western medicine has the final say on “what’s really going on” is a prevalent albeit curious one. As the author says, “for years now, people have been encouraged to look to medical care as the way to make them healthy. But that’s your job — you can’t contract that out. Doctors might be able to help, but so might an author of a good cookbook, a personal trainer, a cleric or a good friend. We would all be better off if the medical system got a little closer to its original mission of helping sick patients, and let the healthy be.”

Cheers to that. By taking responsibility for everything that’s in our power (and it’s often more than we think, even when it comes to genetics), we free up the medical system to do what it does best – care for the truly sick. Eating well, exercising, finding a way to manage stress – this is all within our hands. We can (and should) have all sorts of people who help us be our best, and yet we’re the ones with the power to enact change. And that’s a good thing!

2 thoughts on “An ounce of prevention

  1. dit :Ca me donne envie de reprendre la danse.Mais à mon âge, ce ne serait pas raisonnable.Bah c’est malin tiens. Alors là, je ne suis pas d’accord, on peut faire de la danse à tout âge, m’dame ! surtout que t’as un sacré background, en y allant mollo, je suis sûre que tu te débrouillerais comme une chef, et sans te blesser !

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