Who Is Responsible For Your Health?

When it comes to your health, where do you place the responsibility for maintaining it?

Is it your responsibility?

Is it the responsibility of your doctor?

Is it the responsibility of your insurance provider or the government?

You would assume the answer would be clearly the responsibility for an individuals health would lie squarely on the individual. Yet, it is clearly obvious that we have far too many in society who take zero responsibility while expecting others to jump through hoops to make them well once they become sick. For instance, I was speaking with a home health care provider yesterday who was telling me about a client who had just checked their blood sugar with a reading of 400 mg/dl.  With a dangerously high level of blood sugar, this individual then proceeded to fill a bowl full of ice cream for an evening snack.

His health care needs are provided by the government on the taxpayers dime.

Are taxpayers responsible to this self destructive behaviour?

This individual has a doctor who can advise him and prescribe medications as required, but is his doctor responsible when the client has a medical emergency simply because he either could not, or would not follow directions?

Just where and when does the individual become responsible for their own health?

This topic is not just in regards to unhealthy diets, but can also be applied to other habits such as smoking, drinking and drug abuse. These habits all bring about self inflicted medical conditions that can be entirely avoided through living a healthy lifestyle. In America, we bring about most of our own misery, we have become too spoiled to “the good life”.

Obesity is a self inflicted pre-existing condition!

Let’s be real, the consumption of too many sweets and other unhealthy foods has turned us into a nation with an obesity epidemic. As we have written here before, in fact in several articles, we begin seasonal eating in the fall and then it seems to last all year.

While the American Medical Association has declared obesity a disease, it would be more accurate to describe obesity as a contributor to diseases. Obesity raises your risk of premature death through heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, type 2 diabetes, gallbladder disease, breathing problems, certain cancers, and osteoarthritis. Certainly, obesity can result from certain uncommon diseases and hereditary factors, but most people become obese simply because they eat too many unhealthy foods and do not exercise. I find it sad that in western society, we have created a cultural normalization of obesity with lingerie models, singers, and television shows celebrating fatness.

Do we high-five people with other lifestyle related conditions such as alcoholism, emphysema, or coronary artery disease?

Of course not.

To compound problems that have arisen from obesity, the obese have become easy targets for  peddlers of quick fixes who want to extract money from third-party payors. U.S. pharmaceutical companies spent $6.1 billion on direct-to-consumer prescription drug advertising in 2017. Many ads feature chunky type 2 diabetics happily frolicking about, thanks to the drug company’s magic pill.

The ads might as well say, “pass the chocolate cupcakes with statin sprinkles drizzled with a good dose of insulin.”

Let’s confront the elephant in the room. In America, we have the constant debate over healthcare policy and who should pay for our care. Healthcare policy should promote personal responsibility, rather than encourage free riders.

From the Center of Disease Control (CDC)

Obesity affects almost 1 in 5 children and 1 in 3 adults, putting people at risk for chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and some cancers. Over a quarter of all Americans 17 to 24 years are too heavy to join the military. Obesity costs the US healthcare system $147 billion a year.

More than 34.2 million Americans have diabetes, and another 88 million adults in the United States have a condition called prediabetes, which puts them at risk for type 2 diabetes. Diabetes can cause serious complications, including heart disease, kidney failure, and blindness. In 2017, the total estimated cost of diagnosed diabetes was $327

Nothing kills more Americans than heart disease and stroke. More than 859,000 Americans die of heart disease or stroke every year—that’s one-third of all deaths. These diseases take an economic toll, as well, costing our health care system $199 billion per year and causing $131 billion in lost productivity on the job.

In America we are free to overeat and under-exercise, but do we have a right to make innocent bystanders pay for the consequences?

What is your opinion?

Comments and questions are most welcome!

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