Year 2016, fertility is declining. For couples who can conceive parenthood is tough – the rate of childhood disease is rising rapidly: childhood diabetes, mental health disorders and developmental disorders are all increasing. An alarming 1 in 40 boys (one in 125 girls) are now affected with autism. The European Commission has calculated that society will not be able to bear the indirect cost of the condition once today’s autistic population reaches their 50s1.
It sounds like the opening of another apocalyptic film; unfortunately this scenario is a reality.
This is just the beginning: the average life expectancy is rising, but a decline in mortality has not been matched by similar declines in morbidity and disease – as a nation we are living longer but we are getting sicker. A European Health newsletter reported, ‘the burden of chronic disease is staggering: 86% of all deaths are related to chronic diseases in Europe. Chronic diseases develop slowly, are long lasting and often incurable.’2
We will pick up on that last point – chronic diseases tend to develop slowly, but they are by no means incurable; if diagnosed and treated early enough there is often a complete recovery. Even years down the line there can be significant improvements. However, the underlying cause must be recognised and addressed, if the patient is given a drug to mask the symptoms, (providing temporary comfort) then the disease is likely to progress steadily.
What is Going Wrong?
No one is willing to admit this failing. So many have faith in our healthcare system and in many respects it does an amazing job – emergency procedures, vital operations and accident care are areas which we couldn’t do without. Though when it comes to chronic disease, who is willing to put up their hand and say, ‘we haven’t got this right’? The statistics alone should speak for themselves.
Pharmaceutical medications are convincingly marketed; thus, while we think we have the answer, no one is searching for a better one. This really should be questioned – if such a high proportion of all deaths are a result of chronic illness, the patient having suffered for many years; how effective are the standard medications that are handed out so readily? Our current health system is one of ‘disease management’ not a ‘health service’.
Time for Change
It would seem that crisis is necessary to fuel the incentive for development. Most people resist change as it takes them out of their comfort zones. When there is a groove for the wheels to run smoothly why alter the track?
Healthcare is changing but not all for the better. Fifty years ago GPs had the time to sit and listen to their patients’ concerns to find out what was causing the problem. Today with an average of 10 minutes in consultation this is a hard feat to achieve as taking the time is essential. Chronic diseases aren’t solved in 10 minute packages; their causes are as individual and diverse as the patients who walk through the door. Mr Jones’ heartburn, caused by a lack of stomach acid has very different roots from Mr Anderson’s heartburn, caused by an over acid condition. The same medicine given to both patients cannot be effective and further medications are often prescribed to counteract the side effects of the first.
The Wheels are Turning
Awareness is increasing. A recent BBC1 documentary ‘Doctor in the House’ featured Dr Rangan Chatterjee who recognises the significance of lifestyle in the development of chronic disease. Also, ‘What Doctors Don’t Tell You’, is a magazine reporting successes in natural healthcare and warnings of potentially dangerous pharmaceutical medications; until a few years ago it was available by subscription only, but is now widely available in shops across the UK.
Do not wait for the system to change to reap the benefits of good health as social change is slow. It takes funds which seem unavailable and a struggle with bureaucracy for governments to initiate new methods.
Happily, individual change can occur quickly as we can question old habits, shift our mindsets and transform our lives for the better, whenever we choose.
In our practice we understand disease at a level beyond the superficial symptoms and strive to find a permanent resolution. Together with the patient we aim to bring about a state of absolute health in everyone who consults us.
The Herbal Clinic
Meilyr James BSc (Hons) DBTh DAcu AcuC Dir MGNI Registered Medical Herbalist, Iridologist and Acupuncturist
32 King Edward Road, Swansea SA1 4LL 01792 474356 www.herbalclinic-swansea.co.uk
- WDDTY February 2016. The Politics of Health, Rob Verkerk, Alliance for Natural Health International.
- European Commission health newsletter, issue 169, 25th Feb 2016