I say government because it feels so unjust to take a pop at our poor, beleaguered, unsupported NHS.  I genuinely feel that we need to spend more on the mechanism that provides for our health and well being and it’s likely that the root cause of my ire is lack of finance, however, the medical profession is disappointing me at the moment.  In honesty I think they’ve been disappointing me for a long time but right now I am feeling it particularly keenly.  As it is the beginning of a new year one of the hot topics is, naturally, health and how we can go about improving our own through changing our habits.  There is a desperate need for the population to take more responsibility for their own well being and self-medicate by adopting better habits so the focus is a justifiable one, it’s not the focus that upsets me, it’s the misinformation.

My old man was told he would probably be dead by fifty when he was my age.  His cholesterol and blood pressure were so high that a heart attack was almost a certainty.  He’s in his mid sixties now so that particular predication turned out to be false but as his child my own health has become an increasing concern for me as I’ve aged.  I don’t want to go down the same path as him.  For this reason I keep an eye on the latest data regarding positive nutrition and what the TV is pedaling ain’t it.  The fat you consume doesn’t cause your cholesterol level to rise, the cholesterol in your blood is generated by your liver and current evidence suggests that it is over-consumption of sugar that causes your liver to generate too much cholesterol, not over-consumption of fat.  Worse than that a low fat diet which is often very heavy on carbohydrate (which the body converts to sugar) makes it harder to lose weight.  Those who focus on fats and proteins and aim to limit carbohydrate, particularly the simpler varieties like white bread and pasta, fair far better in their weight loss efforts.

The medical establishment is setting people up to fail by feeding them the wrong information.  In a climate where people are positively encouraged to worry about their health, that can only create stress and stress increases blood pressure.  Oh, but wait, the medical establishment denies that too.  As far as the medical community are concerned the body and the mind are not interconnected.  The fact that we cry when we’re sad and our hearts race when we see a lover is not enough proof.  So when an individual is found to have high blood pressure, the first thing the doctors will tell them to do is lose weight, not take up yoga or try meditation or go on holiday or anything.  I’m not saying that weight loss and exercise won’t help fix the problem, just that putting more pressure on someone already  under pressure is not a good idea.

Stress is an insidious ailment, it gets into your bones and becomes habitual.  Months, or even years, after the original source of the stress has been removed, the sufferer will still carry the symptoms.  They are on the look out for danger to the point of paranoia, they worry about everything and they carry tension in their bodies.  They are constantly flooded with adrenaline, prone to anxiety, sleeplessness and high blood pressure.  Overcoming stress is a battle and one that is hard, maybe even impossible to fight alone.   The best the medical profession will do to help you is prescribe some pills and after that you’re on your own.

I honestly believe that stress is behind many of our most serious health concerns.  Stress fuels bad eating and drinking habits and therefore it fuels the obesity epidemic.  Stress increases blood pressure and encourages heart attacks.  Stress encourages bad behaviour, outbursts of temper and irritability.  Stress is the reas0n why most of the people you meet appear to be so rude and grumpy.  Stress drives people to nervous breakdowns.  Stress is a neglected disease.

The plus side is that the government are starting to recognise the problem of stress with regard to children but, though I admit that I’m not a parent and may not be equipped to comment, is it not impossible to prevent a child from feeling stressed if the environment they are brought up in is stressful?  Will a stressed parent not automatically bring up a stressed child?  To address the issue of stress in children, surely you need to first address the issue of stress in adults?

I don’t have the answers on how that should or could be done but until we start thinking about it, we have no chance of coming up with the answers.  It’s very possible that any endeavour to reduce stress would have a massive impact on both the employment sector and the media.  It may appear to be inconvenient and costly.   But then health and safety requirements can be both inconvenient and costly and we all have to take heed anyway, so why not take the same care with our minds as we do with our bodies?

It feels to me at times that the health service has put their fingers in their ears and started humming because in the face of all their other worries the last thing they want to consider and a tremendous change in their focus and approach.  I can’t, however, help but feel that if we are to fix the ills of society, as much as the ills of the body, such a change has to be coming.  An overhaul of how we address the issue of health and well-being of our we regard ourselves, our minds and our bodies is long overdue.


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