What is Health? (C)
C. Norman Shealy, M.D., Ph.D.
For almost 70 years there has been a national and individual state debate over the issue of medical treatment, oddly called health care. Prior to 1926 there was no insurance to cover hospitalization and prior to the 1930’s there was no insurance to cover physician fees. In the mid 1940’s the first major national debate to have government or national medical insurance lost to a wide assortment of foes. In the 90’s the issue was defeated yet again. Now we stand on the threshold of another great battle over “Health Care Reform.”
Health is, to me, the absence of obvious disease or symptoms. Some super semantic purists insist that health is primarily a spiritual/attitudinal issue. I agree that Health Care should mean taking care of body, mind and spirit. That would include attitude, beliefs, food and drink, exercise, rest, etc. Medical Care includes all the attempts to FIX problems or restore the person to a healthy state, free of known symptoms or dysfunction. Obviously there are many problems which cannot be totally reversed. M.D.’s. N.D.’s, D.C’s, D.O.’s, O.D.’s , DPM’s, DDS and DMD’s, Nurses, Physical and Occupational Therapists, and the vast array of supportive therapists, including counselors, psychologists, etc are all primarily involved in attempting to FIX a perceived problem.AND THEY ARE ESSENTIAL! Virtually none of the work of the medical system has anything directly to do with just Health Care.
As with most problems, Health Begins at Home. Healthy mothers produce healthy babies at least 99% of the time. Thus, health should be the normal status-UNLESS you have unhealthy habits. Even major accidents appear to be the result of carelessness at least 80% of the time. Unhealthy habits are largely:
Unhealthy habits that result from unhealthy beliefs and attitudes
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug
Dependence(NCADD) (www.ncadd.org) “Substance Abuse” is our nation’s number 1 health problem.
In the long run, HEALTH CARE REFORM requires a major reformation of personal responsibility. Although there are assistants that can help restore health, Dr. Wilbanks noted in “The New Obscenity” that the vast majority of individuals who recover from obesity, smoking, alcoholism do it with Will Power. What we seem to need is a significant overhaul of real HEALTH CARE. Take care of your health!!