In case you haven’t noticed, we are living in a time where health issues are constantly hitting the headlines. And the health headlines are increasingly relevant to us all.
As someone who has suffered the severe consequences of our modern lifestyle, I see the situation as a clear sign that we need to change some aspects of our lifestyles. We need to be more aware of the consequences of poor diet, of a lack of exercise, of the impact of stress, and of not getting enough sleep. And it is time that we each take a more pro-active approach to our own health. It is for us to take responsibility and not to rely on the medical establishments to provide us with a cure.
So I thought I would just keep an eye on the mainstream press over a week or so and see what the headlines were telling us. To be clear, I haven’t gone out of my way to find these stories, and I didn’t have to dig very deep. Rather, they have found me and all during a time when Brexit has been dominating the news.
Type 2 diabetes prescriptions “rocket”
The first story was that the number of prescriptions for type 2 diabetes has ‘rocketed’ according to BBC breakfast. The number of type 2 diabetics in this country has now risen to an estimated 4 million. 4 million! And that is just the rather large tip of the huge ‘Obesity’ iceberg which now apparently includes 62% of all adults in the UK. Apart from the personal and social cost of this condition, the direct financial cost of treating this disease (often referred to as an ‘epidemic’) has risen to more than £1bn per year.
One in four suffer from workplace stress
On the same day, the BBC’s One Show reported that 1 in 4 people in the workplace is experiencing significant workplace stress. They claimed that this was going to be the next NHS ‘epidemic’. These individuals are not just a bit ‘stressed’; they are experiencing the levels of stress that can result in anxiety, long-term absence from work, and serious mental health issues. And some of these individuals are so badly affected that they leave the workplace never to return, thus making the situation much worse for them, their employers and for our society.
An over-stretched NHS
Next came a story about how the NHS is already over-stretched even before we reach winter and the annually predicted ‘flu epidemic’ hits (BBC Points West). This is a very worrying situation about the lack of capacity in the system, of long queues and even longer waiting times. The demands on the NHS are at records levels and still increasing.
All was quiet for a couple of days while we debated the merits or otherwise of the Brexit deal, but then came the major story that up to 10 times more children and young people are suffering from type 2 diabetes than previously thought. These new figures are not large in comparison to the population (at 7,000), but these are record numbers for this age group, who have had relatively few years to become so badly affected by this disease. And don’t forget that a diagnosis is a ‘lag’ indicator of this increasing and lifestyle-related issue, instances of which have quadrupled over the last decade. Something is clearly very wrong with our diet in this country.
Hot on the heels of this news came a report of many of our NHS Trusts missing their targets on cancer care, A&E, planned operations and mental health treatment (BBC Breakfast again). Not just missing them, but missing so many that it prompted the question of whether we should change the targets to make them more achievable. Really? Is the situation in our health service so bad that we should seriously consider reduce the targets? I doubt that those who are having to wait months for cancer treatment, critical operations etc. think that this is the answer.
Surely now is the time to start focussing on prevention rather than a cure?
And just as I was sitting down to write this article, I tuned into ‘The Food Show’ on Radio 4. This half hour programme was packed with information about how misguided conventional advice on our diet has been in recent years, how the panels which set our diet policies have been dominated by the big food companies, and how many conditions can be avoided, or even treated, with the correct dietary advice. But the real revelation was that our doctors in this country are only given between 3 and 15 hours of tuition in this absolutely critical area of health care in six years of their studies. It’s no wonder that many of our doctors do not feel comfortable giving advice on diet when they are so poorly trained in it.
If our medical professions are so over-stretched and under-trained that they cannot offer us a ‘cure’ for many of the diseases that our modern lifestyle causes, surely now is the time to start focussing on prevention rather than relying on being provided with a cure.
So, if you’re looking for a sign that now is the time to start taking better care of ourselves, how many signs do you need? Surely just this random collection of unsolicited health headlines is evidence enough that we need to start taking more responsibility for our own health and well-being. Still not convinced? Then why not monitor the headlines for yourself.
But what do you think?
At Halcyon Life, we can show you how to significantly improve your overall health and well-being by making a few small changes to your diet and lifestyle. If you are concerned about your own health, or those of your employees, come and talk to us and we’ll show you how.