This image is of 4 men sitting in a boat, it is a satire cartoon of today's society for a Friendship CrossFit blog post

Are We Our Own Worst Enemy?

CrossFit recently published an article posted on Medium discussing the corruption of Evidence Based Medicine. I read an article last week about the last male White Rhino dying…we have let other humans hunt and kill off an entire species. Then I read this article today, discussing (another) recent change in the definition of hypertension…basically the threshold of where doctors will put patients on blood pressure medication.

All of them have left a very sour taste in my mouth. I work very hard to surround myself with positive people and positive energy. In the bubble of Friendship I am constantly AMAZED by the selflessness of our community. Just the other day there was a car crash out on Reflections Dr….by the time I made it out there, have no fear that one of the many Friendship Medical Teams was on duty… J.C. (DO in training), Sam (Paramedic in training), and Dr. Jenny were out there controlling the situation and assisting until medical personnel arrived.

When I saw the cartoon posted above, I thought to myself, “that really isn’t the reality that I live in every day.” On the micro focus, I am blessed to be deeply embedded in a community of action takers, goal setters and achievers, and empathetic, loving people. We hug, we smile, we laugh, we dance and we support no matter what. I think it is because I see what people ARE capable of every day that makes my blood boil when I see the adversarial, profit-driven nature of the articles listed above.

You see, for decades now, the American Heart Association has lowered the threshold levels of cholesterol and blood pressure that they report to practicing physicians. Well, you might be thinking that this is research-based right? Unfortunately, you would be wrong there (reference the first article). What it most certainly does though is provide “an additional 31 million people in the United States” as new potential clients for pharmaceutical companies…that just yesterday were not clients.

“We estimate that about 25 million Americans who are now labeled as hypertensive… will be at low risk of cardiovascular disease. We are not aware of any evidence that labeling such low-risk people as hypertensive offers them any benefit,” she said.

But Bell says it’s possible labelling such people as hypertensive could put them at risk of mental health problems.

“Labeling a person as having hypertension increases their risk of anxiety and depression, as compared to the risk for people with the same blood pressure who aren’t labeled as hypertensive,” she said.

Brilliant profitability strategy. Unfortunately those doctors, and the AHA has now made the real possibility of help for those people harder than it was before. Doctor’s need to get to a place where they are able to quickly send people to a facility of improvement, not continue to be a part of the quick fix mindset. However, it seems more and more that the healthcare industry’s profit spectrum is way out of wack. Student loan debt is too high, so good, modern, young doctors cannot afford to start their own practices. Instead they must sign on to a big hospital, and cram patients in.

Ben Bergeron recently posted a podcast that I think should be required viewing for doctors and the medical field.

According to his information Doctor’s get 8-minutes per client per year (according to this more in depth study, it is closer to 15 minutes, half for client to explain the issue, half for doctor to recommend a fix – spread across 7-topics). A topic might be: Blood Pressure, Obesity or Depression — You get 1-minute to talk about it, and the doctor gets 1-minute to get you an answer. 1-minute…to cure your depression. What else is he going to do but put you on Cymbalta or Zoloft? As Ben puts it, Doctor’s are lifeguards and if you’re in the middle of the Ocean and don’t know how to swim and thus you’re drowning…you certainly don’t want someone to call a swim coach. However, millions of Americans are currently being told, being CONVINCED, that they are drowning by lifeguards (aka need to get on medication)…when in reality there is still time left for them to hire a swim coach and learn to swim on their own (learn to eat and exercise properly).

It surrounds us every day. Decisions and circumstance that allows us to get involved and be a part of the change. It is hard, it is more work…and much like the cartoon above…it means grabbing a bucket and getting involved. Worse though is a society that becomes its own worst enemy. One who mindlessly kills animals for profit…one who mindlessly kills its own kind for profit. Worse even still than that, is a society that lets it happen and continuously shrugs it off. Our problems are our problems because of the CHOICES people make and are making. If they are not brought to light, not discussed and not acted upon…in my mind, we become complicit in the eventual downfall.

In my youth, I used to rant. Ranting is basically describing the problem as you see it…and explaining why it is a problem. As I’ve grown as a person, I realized that ranting is complaining. I’ve stopped ranting and I try now instead to find solutions and recommend those with each of my ‘complaints’. My solution for this one is simple. Ask questions. If your doctor is only willing to give you 7-minutes per year, find a new doctor or find a professional who specializes in FIXING your problem. If you’re a very successful, fit and mentally competent person, tell others who are struggling how you have found success and where people are that you TRUST to help them find success. A lot of times the issue is that people who WANT help and NEED help simply don’t know where to go or who to trust…that is the unfortunate bi-product of the system we live in.

Another way to help is to find doctors and support medical personnel who are doing the right things themselves. Who can make the correct recommendations to you and your family on how you can fix issues, rather than just identifying and prescribing. Prescriptions are a last ditch effort if everything else has failed. They are that floaty thing on the side of the pool that never really gets used…it might work, but do you really want to rely on that? Wouldn’t you rather find a team of professionals that can make you Michael Phelps?!

Jeff swimteam

Well, maybe more like 6 & Under 25m Backstroke Record Holder Jeff Binek.

Lastly, do not let yourself become numb to the issues. We are all in the boat in that cartoon, and it is sinking…in more ways than one…and we all must grab a bucket, and find ways to contribute.

Author Jeff Binek is the Owner of Friendship CrossFit. Friendship CrossFit is a health and wellness facility in Dublin, Ohio that serves the greater Columbus area. 

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