What You Should Know About Mainstream Medical Care and General Health
By Contributing Author, Ainsley Lawrence
We can’t deny that the U.S. healthcare system today is complex — systemically and politically. Between the influence of insurers and pharmaceutical industry monopolization, there’s a clear financial agenda. Many of us are frequently unsure whether we can trust the advice we are given to be primarily in the interests of our health.
This doesn’t mean that we need to go entirely off the medical grid, so to speak. Nobody’s suggesting that a combination of Web MD and DIY surgery is the solution to your medical quandaries. It is, however, important that you approach your health with a degree of personal responsibility. You should aim for your relationship with medical professionals to be a collaborative one.
How is this balance to be achieved? We’ll take a look at the steps you can take toward a practical, natural, and financially-sound approach to healthcare. There are pitfalls to be avoided and challenges to face, but the result can be a holistically beneficial lifestyle for you and your family.
Gaining Basic Health Literacy
A common thread running through advice about a responsible approach to your own health is one of quality education. Don’t worry, you’re not expected to hit the books in order to get the medical knowledge of a doctor! That said, it’s definitely in your best interest to gain some basic health literacy. You need to apply due diligence to your research, too — obtain advice from reliable sources, supported by verifiable evidence.
Health literacy is about getting a functional understanding of how your body works. This provides you with a great foundation to build upon. Over time, you’ll earn a better comprehension of the causes of common conditions and how they can affect you.
It can also be useful to fortify this with basic nutritional education, and how certain plants and other natural substances can be used to achieve a balanced, holistic approach to medicine.
The goal here is to cultivate an understanding of your own body. This isn’t only useful from a generalized health perspective — you will also come to recognize what a healthy system looks and feels like. You’ll be a little more attuned toward noticing when unusual changes occur, such as oral symptoms of potential issues elsewhere in your body. Your health literacy is a tool for maintaining general wellness, treating minor symptoms, and making informed decisions about potentially serious ailments.
Understanding the Value of Expertise
We can agree that there are problems with the healthcare system. But the work undertaken by committed health professionals is still very important. Accept your limits — there are professionals out there with a level of expertise in medical fields that go beyond your basic health literacy. Embrace the concept that clinical professionals can be an essential tool in your ongoing health. Just like any other valuable resource, you need to know how and when to use them.
You should aim to not be reliant upon your doctor for every ailment. This is financially draining, and it puts additional strain on healthcare providers. However, uncertainty is a good gauge of when it is time to visit your GP. Some symptoms you experience, such as sinus pain, may be familiar to you as indicators of infection you can treat yourself. However, be on the lookout for aspects that are unusual for you — symptoms that are more severe, or that go on longer than expected. In these times of medical uncertainty, it may be time to seek professional advice.
Advice is the keyword here; you are seeking an expert opinion. You are engaging in a dialogue with someone who has experience in the field.
What you do with this information is ultimately your responsibility, and you should be proactive about asking questions. Before committing to having a surgical procedure, talk to them about all the options available, and certainly discuss any natural aids and alternatives that may be of use. You may not have their expertise, but you should feel empowered to use that expertise in an informed way.
Researching Financial Factors
We’ve mentioned that there can be monetary agendas in medicine. However, it is not useful for you to simply dismiss clinical expertise on the basis that there might be financial incentives at work. Yes, this might contribute to reasons specific treatment is recommended, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the advice isn’t medically sound.
In fact, combining your health literacy with knowledge of how financial considerations affect the medical industry can help you make informed decisions.
Prescription drugs are one of the common areas of concern when it comes to financial biases in modern medicine. Providers in the U.S. often have economic relationships with pharmaceutical companies. It would be naive to think that this doesn’t affect what medications are recommended to you. If you have such concerns about your prescriptions, you can research your physician’s relationships with pharmaceutical companies.
Of course, this should be part of your overall approach to prescription medication, alongside investigating whether there are cheaper, generic versions of expensive brand names, or even reliable natural alternatives.
It’s also wise to educate yourself on more effective approaches to using medical insurance. While it can be a confusing subject, it’s worth bearing in mind just how expensive medical treatment can be when you’re under-insured. There are financial assistance programs for those undergoing surgery, and their effectiveness depends on the amount of insurance you have at the time of your procedures. There may be more options available to you if you are underinsured rather than simply uninsured.
There are financial biases that affect the operation of our medical care system.
However, this doesn’t mean to say that we can’t utilize services intelligently. It is imperative that we make concerted efforts to educate ourselves on basic health literacy, how medical expertise can fit into our lives, and how financial incentives may influence treatment options.
By taking a balanced approach to medicine, we can make more informed decisions that affect our ongoing holistic health.