Friday, January 2, 2009
Are Americans Too Soft?
Sometimes I think Americans are too soft. How many could survive traveling almost a year in a covered wagon? How many women could give birth without an epidural? What about experiencing "restless legs syndrome" without medication or "social anxiety disorder" (shyness?) without medication? How about suffering a common cold without needing antibiotics .
It's not entirely our fault. Now that pharmaceutical and medical device companies can advertise directly to consumers, we are lead to believe that everything has a medical label and can be cured by medication or surgery. Every condition is given a medical diagnosis and there seems to be an expensive, daily dosed medication that can help.
I believe we live in a wonderful age where medical science provides benefits and cures that were never thought possible. But I also know that many "conditions" are the result of inactivity, stress, poor diet and boredom.
Do we even know what is normal anymore? We now have imaging technology that finds "incidentalomas" in the body and we don't even know if they cause symptoms. We can detect cell changes that "might" become cancer...or might not.
I don't want to turn back the clock to the pioneer days but I do think the pendulum for "treatment" for every condition in life has swung too far. And I do think we are too soft.
Posted by Toni Brayer, MD at 11:59 AM