No, I am not suggesting that you become your own medical expert. Nor do I suggest that you self-diagnose through ‘Dr. Google’ and ignore your physician. But there are reports suggesting that Canadians are experiencing an epidemic of overtreatment that is financially costly and physically harmful.
Is looking for things to be wrong a good way to promote health?
Over diagnosis occurs when people are diagnosed and treated for conditions that will never cause them harm, and there’s growing evidence that this occurs for a wide range of conditions.
For example, a Canadian study quoted in Science Daily finds that almost a third of people diagnosed with asthma may not have the condition; a systematic review suggests up to one in three breast cancers detected through screenings may be over diagnosed; and some researchers argue osteoporosis treatments may do more harm than good for women at very low risk of future fracture.
The Good Stewardship Working Group, a project of the US based National Physicians Alliance ,is a group of physicians who believe health care can be delivered in a cost effective manner. In the States, this group has estimated that over $6.0 billion dollars a year could be saved from eliminating wasteful testing and it has published a list of commonly used tests and treatments that are unnecessary.
Our various provincial governments are already groaning about the escalating cost of health care. Eliminating designated ‘wasteful’ testing is a shift from a disease and treatment focused approach, to a health and wellness consciousness in our culture.
In this shift, individuals are encouraged to take responsibility for their own health, and healthcare professionals focus on prevention and health rather than finding and treating problems. There is a huge cost saving to the health care dollar if we promote prevention and wellness rather than treatment of a disease
Deepak Chopra proposes that the secret to lifelong health is letting your body take care of you, as it was designed to do. Ask yourself the question ‘How am I doing?’ The answer requires greater self-awareness through mindfulness and spiritual practices – both of which are known to be beneficial to your health.
I’ve found that spiritual healthcare has been consistently effective. My personal care routine includes daily study of the Bible, and prayer for myself, friends and family; as well as contemplative prayer and quiet moments, maintaining a ‘gratitude attitude’, Christian fellowship and serving others through my church. I take my good health as seriously as the next person.
The growing concern about over diagnosis and over treatment is evident in a significant trend among the public to find health solutions outside of and/or in addition to the current disease- and treatment-focused medical approaches. This approach can lead to sound medicine and sound economics.