NEWS

Cultivating good health instead of only medical care

Do you think that our modern way of life cancels out any medical achievements? Something else is at play here. For example, we found a case of hypertension in a patient and told the person to take a pressure gauge home. As a result, you get perennial patients who, as soon as they get dizzy or have a headache, measure their blood pressure and think they are about to have a stroke. We have come up with something else, called pre-hypertension. Pre-hypertension is when you have 13.5 systolic pressure with 8.5 diastolic pressure. If you take a thousand people and measure their blood pressure one-third will be pre-hypertensive, that’s for sure. In the USA it has been estimated that 70 million people are pre-hypertensive. What should they do? They discovered that if they take a drug for just two years, the onset of the illness is delayed. Do you realize what that means, 70 million people taking a pill that may cost a euro a pop? Scientific studies are published which always add something new. I don’t want to say that they are fake… I have a suspicion that the results are not satisfactory but are justified as it is in their interest. Another example is cholesterol, whose safe levels fall every three to four years. LDL levels should be at 80. These rates were found when I was in the air force half a century ago, in new recruits aged 18 who came as volunteers from the poorest parts of Greece to learn a skill. After eating American rations and «becoming civilized» their cholesterol levels rose. Minimizing risk Should we not minimize high-risk factors? Of course, I have no objection but it is far from easy. Inside us we have the cells, muscles and arteries of cavemen who did not have food every day and had to run from morning till night to eat and not to be eaten. Today we have all the temptations of contemporary civilization. How can you persuade someone to adjust his life to such harsh conditions when they do not exist? It is very difficult if not impossible unless you suffer from a neurosis or anorexia. How many of us use our muscles? Do you know of any housewife who climbs up to the terrace to hang her washing or somebody who collects wood? We use lifts, we cannot live without cars and average television viewing time has reached four hours a day. To change channels we even have a remote control. We have central heating so we are never cold. How can we burn calories? Prevention We might not be good at prevention but we have regular checkups. I believe that nobody is perfect and that a person wears down with time. But a doctor who finds the slightest problem is obliged to recommend treatment or he/she might end up in trouble. This is the danger of checkups. That is why I say you should go to the doctor only when on your last legs, otherwise you might get mixed up in treatments. If a checkup was that useful, doctors would never die unexpectedly. But they die too. In other words, no to excess, this is life. That’s right. Where there is illness or the threat of it, we should take measures to fight it. But to turn all healthy people into potentially sick people is sinful and suggests other interests are involved.