It’s not from lack of trying.
We can give you an idea of what’s going on, and probably prescribe something to treat it. Or if you’re symptom-free, what the odds are of a malfunction down the line, and the steps you can take to prevent it.
But real life is complicated.
We’re good at understanding what eventually happens to masses of people, but less so at completely curing individuals.
Despite the best efforts of your medical team, shizz happens.
The last people who want your health to fail are your doctors
That being said, your doctors and healthcare providers are, by training, oath, and profession, actively engaged in keeping you alive and healthy.
That’s not clearly the case for anyone else.
Not that food corporations, politicians, lobbyists, insurance agencies, or tech companies are trying to kill you. Your ongoing contribution$ to society cease when you die, after all.
It’s just that keeping you alive and well isn’t their top priority. They have other goals, understandably involving profit and influence.
And news flash: YOU’RE probably not committed to your survival, either
I’d bet money that your doctor (ahem) is more committed to you surviving and thriving than you are.
It is a doctor’s PROFESSIONAL JOB DESCRIPTION to push patients on matters of life and death. It’s what we do for a living.
Is that what you do for a living?
I suspect you have other things on your mind than optimizing the biomarkers that happen to determine your health and longevity. That’s item #1 on the agenda for your medical team.
In Brazilian Portuguese, Sou médico
That’s how you say, “I am a doctor” in the language of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Predictably, that’s the first phrase I learned in Portuguese.
But when you say it in Portuguese, “médico” sounds like mage-i-co. Médico in Spanish sounds like medic, but in Portuguese I sound like a graduate of Hogwarts.
To ancient humans, healers probably seemed like mages, witches, and wizards. You took care of yourself as best you could, and then you died — but once in a while, the shaman might snatch you back from the jaws of death with his or her accumulated healing knowledge.
You, your tribe, and shaman against the natural world. That team kept us alive as a species for as long as we’ve been human.
In English, our health is no bueno
Now, it’s you, your family, and doctor against the entirety of modern existence. Corporations and 24/7 media on the other side, and if you’re a pasta-loving, beer-swilling, sedentary smartphone-addicted stressball, you’re not helping.
Partly because of what we’ve collectively done to ourselves, and partly because the threats have shifted from hungry bears to molecular shenanigans, our health problems have exploded in complexity over the last 100 millennia. Add to this the truly-not-helpful effect of science shabbily done and poorly communicated (translation: “Ya can’t trust anything these days!”), and figuring out how to make healthy choices can feel as daunting as a Klingon tax audit.
I’m not saying this to upsell you on my profession. I’m saying this because real-world health matters are complex as frak and accelerating in complexity.
Notice I didn’t say medical matters. Medical science is exploding — but many of the roadblocks to delivering or attaining health are social, political, and financial.
Every time you say, “I KNOW what I should be doing, it’s just that…” it’s no longer a lack of medical knowledge problem.
In my experience, we all say that quite a bit.
1) You can make things simpler, but only do so because you must, and when simplifying helps you get better. Real life and medical science are complicated, please don’t let anyone mislead you otherwise.
2) As the nerds say, It’s not paranoia if they’re actually out to get you. The forces arrayed against you aren’t the stuff of X-files conspiracies, but rather the marketing divisions, social media outlets, and behavior analysts maximizing your patronage of their companies. You wouldn’t expect benevolence from a corporate division any more than you would from a wood chipper. Your resources, like your fingers, are no match for theirs. Proceed with caution.
3) Be actively, critically engaged in choices affecting your health. Food choices MATTER. Sleep and recovery are vital; stress management — if you’re not managing stress, you can practically forget about losing weight and all things related to excess body fat. Screening tests and periodic doctor visits offer a pitifully narrow window into potential health problems, but WE’RE GETTING BETTER ALL THE TIME, PLEASE MAX OUT THIS LITTLE INVESTMENT IN YOUR FUTURE.
4) Work with your physicians. Some of us are stuck-up and 15 years behind the cutting edge of functional medicine, immunology, molecular biology, and, yes, mental health. These are heavy but correctable flaws, and many physicians are doing just that.
The core of why most médicos went into medicine is this: At root, we want to. Help. People. Heal. In the modern world, where your biggest threat isn’t a hungry bear but entities with no scruples about taking advantage of you, that’s important.
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