I was in Harrisburg, PA lecturing this weekend. I received the USA Today newspaper on Friday May 16, 2014 and on page 5A there was an article titled, “Life Expectancy Up; Japanese Females Living Longest of All.” (The chart on the left was in this article.) The article quoted a World Health Organization annual report which was released last Thursday.
With the amount of money spent on health care, you would think that the U.S. should be, at least, one of the top ten countries for life expectancy. You would think wrong. Americans spend over 18% of our gross national product on health care. While we make up 5% of the world’s population, we consume over 50% of the world’s pharmaceutical drugs. You would think if those drugs improved our lives and adequately treated chronic disorders, we would be at the top of the life expectancy chart. Again, you would think wrong.
In fact, the U.S. spends more on health care than the next nine biggest spenders combined: Japan, France, China, UK, Italy, Canada, Brazil, Spain, and Australia. As can be seen from the picture, the U.S. does not rank in the top ten countries for either male or female life expectancy. In fact, we rank 37th overall, tied with Cuba, Costa Rica, Nauru, Qatar, and Columbia. We lag behind Lebanon, Chile, and every other wealthy Western country. And to top it off, when compared to the U.S., all the other countries spend markedly less on their health care. Why do we put up with this nonsense?
Although there are many reasons for why we spend so much money on health care, the fastest growing expense is pharmaceutical drugs. We simply take too many drugs that don’t work. Nearly all pharmaceutical drugs work by poisoning enzymes and blocking receptors. As I stated in Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do, “You can’t poison a crucial enzyme or block an important receptor for the long-term and expect a good result.” Most drugs do not treat the underlying cause of a problem; they merely treat the symptoms of the illness. Furthermore, drugs that poison enzymes and block receptors are associated with too many serious adverse effects. What is the solution to this problem? I think the answer lies in education.
Both doctors and patients need to be educated about health. Educating the patients about how drugs work and what they do in the body will lead them to make better health care decisions. On a daily basis I see too many patients, particularly elderly patients, taking too many medications that don’t improve their health. Unfortunately, medical schools do not educate their students about health. Most doctors in practice have no skills in evaluating the health of a patient. Rather, doctors are trained to recognize pathology and disease. Once the illness is diagnosed, physicians are quick to prescribe a drug to treat it. However, the vast majority of the drugs do not treat the underlying cause of the illness–they treat the symptoms of the illness. Instead of prescribing ineffective drugs, doctors should be educating their patients about the importance of eating a better diet, exercising, maintaining hydration, and correcting nutritional and hormonal imbalances.
I urge you all to read articles and books about health so you can understand why it is so important to take care of your body. We are designed to live healthy and productive lives, even in advanced years. Supplying the body with the correct nutrients allows it to function at its’ optimal level. Ultimately, any health care decision is the patient’s responsibility. You must educate yourself so that you can make good health care choices. When we start making better health care choices, we will be taking less prescription medications. More information about prescription medications can be found in my book, Drugs That Don’t Work and Natural Therapies That Do, 2nd Edition.