Monday, March 02, 2015

Do you consider yourself healthy?

Health and nutrition maven Jane Brody, NYT, Mar 2, 2105, says she always answers questionnaires saying she is healthy--despite a double knee replacement 10 yrs ago, breast cancer 16 yrs ago, a bad back, tinnitus, and high cholesterol.

She says this is OK because she can still walk three miles a day and swim three-quarters of a mile. She shovels, sweeps, cooks, and chases her dog around. She still writes a weekly column at age 74.

The World Health Organization describes health as a stage of complete physical, mental, and social well-being--not just the absence of disease or infirmity."

But what about all that well-being WITH infirmity? Is that health?

Most people--she points out--live longer and age with chronic ailments.

Some scientists says being functional is more important than disease-free.

Yet--we constantly try to find medical problems or head them off--all this preventive stuff. You could spend your life going from test to test--or you could live your life.

The idea that ALL risks can be lowered leads to more risks.

Many scientists also believe it's better to fix a problem than to manage it.

And yet another assumption--that early detection before symptoms is lifesaving--is challenged by some.

Sometimes this turns people into patients years or decades sooner than they would be otherwise.

And--get this! Now researchers think income, education, a safe physical environment, social support, and genetics--among other factors have more effect on "health" than chasing down every risk factor and trying to "fix" it.

Me, I would say my health is fair. I still typed this, didn't I?

As for Brody's breast cancer--if it had not been detected, would she be writing? See? Not simple. You have to decide for yourself.

No comments: