“Health Span”: A New Paradigm
“Health Span”: A New Paradigm
I did a recent Google search on “a new paradigm needed for health care” that turned up many articles on how the less-than-optimal delivery of current managed health care could benefit from a new paradigm.
I want to share with you my story of how I have embraced a paradigm shift regarding how I view my own health care and make decisions around it.
For all my working career, I ‘ve participated in my Employer’s health care plan, selecting an option of a monthly fee deduction from my paycheck, with an annual deductible and co-pay. I chose the lowest cost plan and under that type of plan I needed to stay “in-network,” or otherwise I would pay a much higher price for medical services.
What I didn’t realize was that I had been subconsciously indoctrinated into our current cultural and western medicine mindset on health care. I would wait until I had a problem to happen, and then see how much of the potential solution would be covered by insurance. In fact, “Is it covered by my insurance?” was my favorite line. Sadly, if it was a preventive measure, I would wait to get it done as long as possible. I always saw health care as taking care of symptoms and problems after I’d experienced them, rather than proactively participating in preventive health measures.
Here in the U.S. our medical care concentrates more and more on “population medicine,” which is a focus on the health of populations, not on the individual health of folks like you and me. Thus, in the west, we frequently determine treatments based on populations instead of individuals. In doing so, outpatient treatment often consists mostly of pharmaceutical drug use. We treat the disease after it happens–assuming the person survives the precipitating symptoms that brought them to the doctor–while minimizing prevention when it comes to diet and lifestyle.
We can see this focus clearly when we look at the exponential rise in the prescription drug spending in the U.S. Compared to other nations, our USA per capita prescription spending demonstrates that USA health care centers around prescription drug solutions for treating symptoms, rather than putting the power for “health span” into our own hands.
Source: OE Peterson KFT Health System Tracker
A few years ago, my son-in-law who is an interventional cardiologist aptly described “health span” when he told me: “Dominic, what we want to do is live long and die fast.” I agreed this “health span” paradigm made sense. I hadn’t been thinking about my long-term “health span,” and certainly not about prevention, except for the typical western medicine tests such as colonoscopies and a basic blood panel once a year.
So although I was reasonably healthy, I latched on to “live long, die fast”—my new “health span” paradigm–and began to do research and take actions that helped me to rid myself of bad health habits, and replace them with healthy initiatives that now have become new habits. I feel strongly that I don’t want to have others take care of me until I die. I want to finish this beautiful life well and as independently as possible! Living long but suffering with major health issues and accumulating body dysfunction for many years before I die is not what I want!
Why would I allow risk factors to put me into candidacy for joint or organ transplants if I can avoid this path by taking better care of my mind, body, spirit before the onset of consequences of poor health maintenance? I don’t want to be like a car that doesn’t make it home from a long trip because I haven’t ever checked the oil just because oil check light never came on. I’ve learned that a long, healthy life–live long and die fast!–becomes more attainable when I reduce health risk factors such as stress, and take it upon myself to exercise, sleep and eat well.
I now invest in my “health span,” so I can help others. I still insure for catastrophic health issues, yet I invest in things like exercise, high quality nutraceuticals, food as medicine, and stress reduction methods. These enable me to increase my ability to remain healthy, strong and vibrant in my body, mind and spirit.
These days I use the term “health span” instead of health care when talking about my own health and my shifted worldview on my personal health decisions. My wife, Dr. Patty, and I now see food as medicine, and we invest in our mind, body, spirit health to reduce risk factors for outcomes of serious illness.
A medical association recently reported that patients are increasingly looking to work directly with their physicians, without the government or insurance company in the exam room. We at Speranza San Clemente agree. We believe patients have a strong desire for a transformative health care experience that supports individualized “health span.”
Join us as we work together to walk as partners with you in transforming your overall health into a better version of yourselves.
Anne Markt, Dominic DiBlasio IBBC, health coach, health span, longevity, mind/body/spirit, mindset, paradigm, Patty DiBlasio MD, Speranza San Clemente, wellness