Empower Yourself … And Keep Your Most Valuable Possession

This information has been provided by Al Sears, MD and Doctor’s House Call. For more information or to sign up for a free subscription, visit alsearsmd.com.

“Every man is born with one possession which out values all others…His last breath”

–Mark Twain

Deep down, we all know there is nothing more important than our health. But sometimes we need reminding. We get distracted by our busy daily routines. It’s easy to neglect your health when it’s good.

It’s my job to remind you. Don’t procrastinate when it comes to taking care of yourself. Don’t take your health for granted. Take preventative action now, before things go bad.

In ancient China, they paid their doctors when they were well and stopped if they got sick. Sounds like a good system.

In today’s installment, you’ll find out why you have to take more responsibility for managing your own health than ever before.

* What Was Current Yesterday Is Outdated Today *

? The incredible speed of medical progress is a double-edged sword. A wise professor in medical school once told me that 50% of everything I learned in medical school would become obsolete within 10 years. Since graduating, the pace of change has only accelerated further.

• Publishing industry experts estimate that more than 6000 pages of new medical information are published every day. Even if your doctor reads 300 pages of new medical information per day, he is only skimming 5%. This overwhelming volume has lead to further and further specialization in medicine.

• Meanwhile, medicine has become big business. The insurance industry is taking control of decision making from your doctor. Their demands are forcing a hectic day-to-day lifestyle on doctors. The average workload is 150 patients per week.

• A recent issue of JAMA, The Journal of the American Medical Association, reports that Americans headed to their doctors’ offices 697,082,000 times last year. After waiting to see the doctor, the average time spent face-to-face was to less than 10 minutes.

• The average time to ask the doctor questions is less than 60 seconds.

• According to April 2002, issue of US News & World Report, “This assembly line approach to medicine leaves patients frustrated and doctors disillusioned.”

* Power to the Patient *

These conditions call for a new approach … a system that empowers patients to become better equipped to manage their own health. Twenty-first century technology can help offer solutions. Ask your doctor if he has an E-mail address. E-mail correspondence can be an efficient way to improve communication with your doctor. Your doctor may even have his own web site. You should ask.

Plan for your next visit in advance by scanning the internet for information on your health concerns. Jot down notes and questions to take with you when you see your doctor. Take a friend or a spouse to help you remember. And as always, if he gives you a drug ask about alternatives – and ask about side effects.

I have maintained for years that the highest ethical role for a doctor is to inform and advise. Now with the power of Internet communication, I can accomplish this with far greater efficiency than ever before. Now you can have the option of considering health matters from a different point of view – The perspective that drugs should be minimized and natural alternatives preferred.

In the next installment, I will look at the most important supplement you should be taking. Hint: It’s not a vitamin.

Al Sears, MD