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Bob Schieffer And Bladder Cancer: A Survivor’s Story

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Bob Schieffer is broadcast journalism’s most experienced Washington reporter. He has covered Washington for CBS News for more than 30 years, and has been the anchor for Face The Nation (one of the longest-running news programs in the history of television) since 1991. I had the privilege of interviewing him about his bladder cancer at the CBS studios today. It is Bob’s sincere hope that his story will inspire others to seek medical help at the first sign of bladder cancer, and also gain comfort from knowing that they are not alone.

This is part two of our interview series. Click here for part one.

Dr. Val: Do you have any advice for patients facing bladder cancer?

Schieffer: Bladder cancer is a very insidious disease, you can have it for a long time without knowing that you have it. At the first sign of blood in the urine, you need to go to the doctor. I think men are often reluctant to go to the doctor, and their tendency may be to attribute blood in their urine to a muscle strain of some kind. But waiting is a dangerous proposition. When I think of my own situation, I realize that even waiting another week or two could have put me into a whole different risk category and I might not be where I am today.

Cancer research is such an evolving field – that if you can keep yourself alive today, there may be a cure tomorrow. That’s the good news about this. The bad news is that we spend about as much on cancer research in a year as we do on one day in Iraq. I don’t know anyone in the cancer community who doesn’t believe that if we invested enough money in it we’d find cures.

Dr. Val: Was it hard for you to speak publicly about your cancer?

Schieffer: Tony Snow and I became really good friends, and we both felt that we had an obligation to talk about our conditions in order to promote cancer awareness. Hamilton Jordan was also a good friend of mine, and he devoted his life to raising awareness. He survived 5 cancers though the 6th one got him. I was a very private person before all this started, and when Hamilton found out I had cancer he called me and said that I really needed to get out and talk about it because I have the opportunity to have an impact on so many people.

As it turned out, I went on Don Imus’ radio show one morning and talked about it, and soon afterwards Wolf Blitzer asked me to be on his show on CNN. I must have received 600 emails from people thanking me for talking about my situation – some were glad to know how to recognize potential bladder cancer, and others told me they no longer felt alone in their cancer experience because they knew that I was going through it too. At that point, I thought to myself that speaking out about my cancer might have been the most important thing I’ve done so far as a journalist. If one person goes to see their doctor when they first notice blood in their urine, then I may have had a part in saving a life.

Bladder cancer is a “below the belt” disease and people are reluctant to talk about it. I think it’s really important to help people get past this barrier. It is nothing to be ashamed of, there’s nothing wrong with you as a person – it’s just that a certain percent of us are going to get bladder cancer.

Dr. Val: How do people get plugged in to the cancer community to get the help they need?

Schieffer: What I’ve noticed is that when you get cancer, you become acqainted with everyone else who has it. There’s a kind of natural networking that occurs when you participate in meetings and events. However, I’d encourage people affected by bladder cancer to go to the Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network. The founder, Diane Quale, left her job as an attorney to create the advocacy group after her husband was diagnosed with bladder cancer. She has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for the cause, although sadly her husband lost his battle with bladder cancer a few weeks ago.

Hamilton Jordan told me this, “You have to take control of your disease. Nobody is going to be more interested in it than you. It’s your life, so you’re the one who has the most invested in this. Just Google ‘bladder cancer’ and learn as much as you can about it.”

When you go to a doctor, especially with cancer, it’s invaluable to get a second opinion. I got a second opinion from a wonderful physician at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Mark Schoenberg. And Dr. Schoenberg told me this: “A doctor is like a good craftsman. A good craftsman is always happy to show his work to other craftsmen. It’s the guy who isn’t really sure what he’s doing who doesn’t want to discuss his work with somebody else in the field.”

Dr. Val: What’s your bottom line about cancer?

Schieffer: Cancer is not something to be embarrassed about. It’s something that happens to us and needs to be dealt with. When the doctor tells you that you have cancer, it is not the death sentence that it once was. Cancer research is advancing every day and we’re finding new ways to fight the disease. There’s no need to say, “I have cancer — this is it” but rather, “I have cancer and what do I need to do about it?” And then you have to do it.

*Visit the bladder cancer center at Revolution Health*This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at RevolutionHealth.com.

Asthma, Pollution, And The Beijing Olympics: The US Women’s Track And Field Coach Weighs In

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I had the pleasure of interviewing Jeanette Bolden, US women’s track and field coach for the Beijing Olympics, about her life-long struggle with asthma and her thoughts on the upcoming Olympics. We were joined by her physician, Dr. Bobby Lanier, on a fascinating call about how the environment in Beijing might affect Olympic athletes and visitors to China.

*Listen to the podcast*

Dr. Val: What was it like growing up with severe asthma? How did you cope?

Bolden: I’ve had asthma all my life, and unfortunately, when I was young my mom used the Emergency Department as the primary source of treatment for my asthma. So I was in and out of the emergency room all the time and my asthma was really out of control. Things got so bad that I was actually sent to a home for asthmatic children, where I had to live for 9 months – away from my family. I did learn how to manage my asthma with the help of the people at the home, and learned to be much less afraid of it.

However, I had problems with other kids picking on me because of my illness. I used to carry my inhaler in my sock and one time it fell out and a boy picked it up and started spraying it all over the place and shouting “asthma face” and “spasma girl” and he would tell others not to play with “asthma girl.”

Dr. Val: What got you interested in track and field? Did anyone discourage you from athletics because of your asthma?

Bolden: When I returned from the home for asthmatic children, I was a pretty normal kid – and I liked to run and play outdoors. One day I was with my younger sister at a park and we met a local track and field coach – so I asked if I could join his team. I told him that I had asthma and was worried that he wouldn’t want me on the team. However, he really surprised me and simply said, “If it doesn’t bother you, it doesn’t bother me.”

Although my dad was worried about me running and having a potential asthma attack, my mom always encouraged me to do my best and not let it hinder me.

Once I started winning races, my asthma became more acceptable. I don’t think I would have accomplished as much in my career if I didn’t have asthma – because it drove me to strive harder to prove myself to others and to show those kids who picked on me that nothing would stop me from excelling.

Dr. Val: How did you manage your asthma when you were at the 1984 Olympics?

Bolden: I had to submit a letter to the United States Olympic committee about my asthma, along with a note from my doctor about the medications I was taking. I always kept my inhaler nearby (though not necessarily in my sock) and tried to stay away from things that I was allergic to.

Dr. Val: What was the turning point for you – to get your asthma under control?

Bolden: My doctors always told me that I’d outgrow my asthma. I’m now 48 years old and still have it. And it wasn’t until lately that I understood that I have a specific type of asthma, called allergic asthma, which responds really well to a new medicine called Xolair (omalizumab). That medicine has made a real difference for me.

Dr. Val: Dr. Lanier, can you explain a little bit about monoclonal antibodies and how they’re now being used to reduce asthma symptoms?

Dr. Lanier: We’ve had effective medicines for the treatment of asthma for a long time, but a lot of them rely on inhaled steroids, which are not healthy for people (especially women) to take long term. So research has focused on getting to the root cause of asthma. About 60% of people who have asthma also have allergies – and we refer to this as “allergic asthma.” Allergies are caused primarily by a certain type of antibody in the blood stream known as IgE (immunoglobulin E). The “Holy Grail” of asthma treatment is to find a way to selectively cripple IgE without affecting the rest of the body.

Xolair is a targeted therapy that sticks to IgE and removes it from the body. It’s like taking away the fuel for the allergic process and this dramatically helps some people.

Dr. Val: Are there any risks associated with Xolair?

Dr. Lanier: There have been reports of people having an allergic reaction to Xolair, but I’ve never seen a patient with this problem, and I’ve treated hundreds of people with the medication. However, I’m always careful to watch out for a potential reaction. In my opinion the risks associated with Xolair are lower than those of standard therapy (steroids) – and when you’re removing IgE from the system, you’re really attacking the disease at its root.

Dr. Val: Jeanette, how did you become the coach of the 2008 women’s track and field team?

Bolden: I was voted to be the coach by my peers in track and field. There are criteria that they use for the selection process, and eligible candidates must have 1) been an Olympian 2) been a coach for a number of years 3) coached Olympians. There is an Olympic coach committee that handles the selection process and I’m pleased that they chose me. My commitment lasts three years and is over on the last day of the Olympics, 2008.

Dr. Val: What is the “asthma on track” program?

Bolden: It’s a fantastic online resource for people to learn more about allergic asthma, IgE testing, and how to find a specialist who can help. People can also learn more about my story on the website. I think education is really important because it’s the only way to free yourself from the fear of an asthma attack. My hope is that this website will teach people with allergic asthma that they don’t have to sit on the sidelines and watch life pass them by. The proper treatment program can put people back in control of their lives so they can train to become Olympians if they want to. And for me, the proper therapy has allowed me to enjoy having my dog live in the house with me for the first time. This makes both of us really happy.

Dr. Val: Do any of this year’s US women’s track and field team members have asthma?

Bolden: Asthma is the leading cause of absenteeism among school age kids. I’m sure that there will be individuals who make the team and also have asthma.

Dr. Val: Tell me about the environmental conditions in Beijing – what are you worried about as a coach?

Bolden: We’ve all heard about the pollution problem – though the Chinese government has scheduled factory and industrial shut downs many months prior to the Olympics. I really think that the main issues are the heat and the humidity, though. And since the Olympic trials are being held in Eugene, Oregon – where it’s been really hot and humid – the athletes will be well-prepared for Beijing.

Dr. Val: Dr. Lanier – as a physician, what are your concerns about environmental risks to Olympians in Beijing this summer?

Dr. Lanier: I don’t think the environmental risks are going to be as great as some think. If you look at historical paintings of Beijing dating back hundreds of years, you’ll always see a foggy cloud around it. That’s just the microclimate of that area of the world. However, there has been significant construction in the area recently – half the steel in the world went to China last year and a lot of that went to Beijing.

I’ve been going to Beijing multiple times a year for 10-15 years now, and although the construction effort has been extensive, I think that with the steps that the Chinese government is taking to improve air quality will make a big difference. It’s also interesting that the incidence of asthma in China overall is much lower than it is in the United States.

Dr. Val: Are visitors with allergic asthma at risk of having flare ups in Beijing?

Dr. Lanier: I think they actually have a lower risk than they would inside the United States. Allergic reactions are a defensive response from the body, and ordinarily that requires that you’ve had a prior exposure to the allergen. People going to Beijing for the first time have never been exposed to their native pollens, so I think the allergic asthma issues will be greatly reduced.

However the heat and humidity, exercise-induced asthma, and upper respiratory tract infections (that come from large crowds of people being in close contact) could all be problematic in Beijing.

Dr. Val: What general medical advice do you have for people traveling to Beijing?

Dr. Lanier: The most important thing for travelers (no matter where they’re flying) is to carry their medications with them in their carry-on luggage. Don’t take your pills out of their original bottles, because you may need the exact prescription labels. That way, even if your luggage is lost, you won’t miss any doses of medicine.

There are some vaccines that are recommended for people traveling to China, so people should check with their doctors before they go.

As far as food is concerned, I think that people will be pleasantly surprised by the variety and quality of food available. Food borne illnesses like salmonella are not common in Beijing, but I can’t speak for the surrounding countryside. Of course, it’s always wise to drink bottled water and not eat unwashed foods that may have been handled by many individuals – like grapes for example.

Dr. Val: Do you have any final thoughts about Beijing?

Bolden: I’m looking forward to a fantastic Olympic games. We have so many wonderful Olympic athletes this year – I just know it’s going to be great.

***

Jeanette Bolden is the head coach of the 2008 U.S. Olympic Women’s Track & Field team and the head coach at UCLA, her alma mater. At the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics, she won gold in the sprint relay despite a life-long struggle with asthma. Jeanette is preparing her team of athletes to compete in Beijing this summer – a city known for its asthma-inducing pollution.

Dr. Bobby Lanier, is a Clinical Professor in the Department of Pediatrics & Immunology at North Texas University Health Science Center and a Clinical Professor of Allergy and Immunology at Peking Union Medical College in Beijing. As a former NBC reporter, Dr. Lanier produced and appeared in over 5000 daily nationally syndicated broadcast radio and television segments.   He is currently working on a book entitled The New Epidemic: A Patient Survival Guide to Asthma.

*Listen to the podcast*This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at RevolutionHealth.com.

Office Safety: Do You Know How To Use A Defibrillator?

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Would you know what to do if someone in your office collapsed in front of you and became unresponsive? Having a defibrillator handy could save their life – and it’s important for you to know how to use one. I interviewed Dr. Jon LaPook, Medical Correspondent for CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, to get his take. [Interesting factoid: Jon became passionate about cardiac defibrillators after a friend of his died while exercising at a gym in NYC. The health club did not have a defibrillator on site – which could have saved his friend’s life.]

*Listen to the podcast*

Dr. Val: What is a defibrillator?

Dr. LaPook: It’s a machine that can convert a life threatening heart rhythm (like ventricular tachycardia or ventricular fibrillation) back into a normal beating pattern. It uses a pulse of electricity to do this. These machines are potentially life-saving.

Dr. Val: Why is it important for offices to have them on hand?

Dr. LaPook: About 1.2 million people in the United States have a heart attack every year and 300,000 of those have “sudden death.” The reason why these people die is not because of the heart attack, but because of the irregular heart rhythm that accompanies it. When the heart isn’t beating in a coordinated fashion, it can’t pump blood effectively and people pass out and ultimately die if there’s no intervention.

If a defibrillator is used to administer a shock to the chest during one of these life threatening heart rhythms, there’s a much higer chance that the person’s life will be saved. For every minute of delay (from the time a person collapses) to receiving a shock to the chest, their chance of survival decreases by 7-10%. So it’s very important for people to get defibrillation quickly.

Dr. Val: How do you use a defibrillator?

Dr. LaPook: When you first see someone collapse and become unresponsive, all you have to do is get the defibrillator and press the “on” switch. It will talk you through the next steps. Remember that the first step is always to have someone call 911 so that EMS will be on its way while you continue CPR. Then you expose the victim’s chest so that you can apply two sticky pads, and the defibrillator will tell you where to put the pads. Then it will analyze the victim’s heart rhythm and decide if it requires a shock to get it beating in a coordinated way. If a shock is recommended, the machine will announce that and ask you to step away from the person. Once the shock has been received, it will then give you instructions for CPR (which includes chest compressions and rescue breaths) until EMS arrives or a pulse is able to be felt. If a person doesn’t require a shock, the machine will not give one – so there’s no risk of harm to the victim.

It’s important for people not to be intimidated about defibrillation because it’s really very simple and can save a life.

Dr. Val: What are a person’s chances of surviving a cardiac arrest?

Dr. LaPook: Nationally, your chances of survival (without intervention) are about 4-6%. If you receive CPR, your chances increase to 15% but with a defibrillator – especially if it’s used quickly – the chances are 40% or higher.

Dr. Val: What do you think about the new research suggesting that rescue breaths may not be as important for CPR as initially thought?

Dr. LaPook: I spoke to Dr. Rose Marie Robertson, who is the Chief Science Officer at the American Heart Association, and she said that in a “witnessed arrest” (when you actually see someone collapse) it doesn’t seem to make a {big} difference if you do rescue breathing (i.e. mouth-to-mouth resuscitation) or not. The reason they studied this is because one of the main reasons why people don’t perform CPR is the “ick” factor of mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. As it turns out, chest compressions alone are about as successful at saving lives as traditional CPR.  However, if you’ve been trained to do the rescue breathing technique, you should definitely use it. The key to CPR is “hard and fast” chest compressions, about 100 compressions per minute.  Whatever form of CPR you use, the key to success is using the defibrillator as soon as possible, ideally within several minutes.

Dr. Val: What should people working in an office environment know about first aid?

Dr. LaPook: The most important thing is for people to be trained in CPR, the Heimlich maneuver, and defibrillator use.

Dr. Val: Are there enough defibrillators out there nowadays?

Dr. LaPook: Not at all. At the very least, defibrillators should be in every single health club in America. I also think they should be installed in every office building and be widely available at schools.

A cardiologist friend of mine told me about some parents who lobbied for their daughter’s school to purchase a defibrillator. (They were in tune to cardiac issues in children because their daughter had an arhythmia called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome.) Two years after the school purchased the device, the girl  – only 13 years old at the time – collapsed while walking past the nurse’s office at the school. The nurse saved her life with the very defibrillator that her parents fought so hard for. So defibrillators are incredibly important, and although they’re not inexpensive (about $1200), you really can’t put a price on life.

*Listen to the podcast*

*Check out Dr. LaPook’s defibrillator training video with Katie Couric*This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at RevolutionHealth.com.

Diabetes: An Interview with Maria Menounos, Access Hollywood

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I had the chance to interview diabetes spokesperson and Hollywood A-lister, Maria Menounos, at a recent diabetes conference. Prior to the interview I was given her Entertainment Industry Foundation biography for my review. Most of the biographies that I see belong to physicians and health policy experts – so it was an interesting change to read an entertainer’s biography.

Of note, Maria is a featured reporter on The Today Show and Access Hollywood – she has directed and produced several films and was listed in People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People.” She also landed in the top five of the askmen.com poll for “the girl men most want to marry” along with Angelina Jolie and Charlize Theron.

But don’t let her beauty fool you – Maria has struggled with poverty, a chronically ill father, and her own weight issues. I enjoyed getting to know her better, and to learn about why she is such a passionate advocate for diabetes awareness. Enjoy our chat!

Dr. Val: Tell me a little bit about your dad’s diabetes and how you’ve been helping him to manage it.

Maria: My dad has type 1 diabetes, and he’s quite unusual in that he is extremely compliant with medical advice and dietary restrictions. He NEVER cheats. Many years ago he was told to avoid carbohydrates and so even when he was having a low blood sugar attack he’d refuse to drink juice to bring up his levels. Unfortunately my dad’s English isn’t so good (his native language is Greek and he has quite a language barrier with doctors) and I think a lot was lost in translation when he was given advice about how to manage his disease.

As a result of growing up in a poor neighborhood and not having access to more advanced medical care (along with the language barrier), my dad’s doctors were not particularly effective at communicating what he should be doing. My mom did her very best to follow their instructions religiously – she became his personal chef and kept him from eating carbohydrates.

My dad was in and out of the hospital all the time for low blood sugar, and because of a lack of coordination of care my family never realized why this was happening or what we could do to prevent it. So we were trying harder and harder to be more strict with his diet, which was in fact making the problem worse. My dad did janitorial work and would nearly pass out on the job due to a low carbohydrate diet. But since the doctors told him not to eat sweets or bread or pasta, he believed that his sickness was due to his not being strict enough, so he’d just eat less and less until he ended up weighing 140 pounds at 6 feet tall. My family was living in constant fear of him passing out again and needing to go to the hospital. We knew every ambulance worker and every fireman in our neighborhood by name because they were always at our house.

Finally when I moved to Hollywood and had some career success I was able to get my dad to a world renowned endocrinologist, Dr. Anne Peters.  Within three visits she straightened him out and explained how he did in fact need to eat some carbs. She got his blood sugars evened out and he never had to be hospitalized again.

What scares me the most is what’s happening to people who have diabetes and language barriers. They’re at incredible risk for misinformation, confusion, and poor care. Imagine how many people in this country are just like my dad – trying to follow advice they don’t fully understand? This is a real problem that we often overlook in diabetes education.

Dr. Val: As a Hollywood insider, how aware are your peers about diabetes and is there much talk amongst them about getting involved in campaigns to reduce type 2 diabetes?

Maria: I’m sure they are but I haven’t come across that many. It doesn’t come up that frequently. There haven’t been any breakthroughs in insulin therapy or any other huge scientific advances in diabetes care so the topic isn’t that newsworthy or “sexy.” It’s a real shame that it isn’t talked about more. Everyone seems to be aware that type 2 diabetes is preventable but no one seems to know how to do so. They don’t realize that you need to lose weight and exercise. But I learned about that when I had a weight problem.

Dr. Val: YOU had a weight problem?

Maria: As I said, I came from a diabetic home. We ate vegetables fresh from the garden every day and my mom was extremely careful about what we ate. We didn’t eat anything bad. My mom would buy ice cream and Doritos like, once a year when family was coming over. I didn’t even know what a bagel or a waffle was for most of my time growing up. Then I went to college and there was endless all-you-can-eat food. So over 3 or 4 years of eating pizza and I ended up gaining 40 pounds. One day I decided that I wanted to move to California and get into the business and I realized I needed to lose the weight.

I wrote down everything I ate in a week, and I realized that my problem was carbs. So I cut them back substantially and the weight just melted off. I lost about 20 pounds in several months, and then I added exercise to get the last 20 off. I’ve never looked back.

Dr. Val: How can we be more effective in getting Americans involved in their own health?

Maria: First of all, I think that we need to focus on educating children about healthy lifestyle choices. We have to get the message to them early. Kids enjoy knowing more than their parents and teaching them something new. So it’s really empowering for kids to learn about nutrition and then bring that knowledge home to their families and teach them a thing or two.

Obviously getting Americans to be more involved in their health is a very difficult challenge. Many people are struggling to get by and don’t have time to put their health first – they have to focus on work, paying their gas bill and putting food on the table. It will take a national, coordinated effort to really make a difference.

**Join Dr. Val’s Weight Loss Group**This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at RevolutionHealth.com.

Governor Mike Huckabee on US Healthcare

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This is a continuation of my interview with Mike Huckabee at the National Changing Diabetes Program conference in Washington, DC. In my previous post I asked Mike about his weight loss journey, and in this post I asked him some global questions about healthcare. My regular readers will appreciate that my digital voice recorder did not malfunction during this interview, though I did drop my Blackberry at one point out of sheer enthusiasm. Gov. Huckabee was the first to reach down and help me get it. What a gentleman!

Dr. Val: Your friend, Dr. Fay Boozman, said “We need to stop treating snake bites and start killing snakes.” Tell me what that means in practical terms.

Huckabee: Healthcare in America is reactive and is geared towards intervening in catastrophic situations, when what we should be doing is focusing on preventing them. The whole system is upside down. It’s like we’re focused on putting Humpty Dumpty back together again instead of keeping him from falling off the wall. Our healthcare system is based on a broken egg concept.

So the key thing that we have to change in healthcare is to focus our resources on prevention and a healthy lifestyle.

Dr. Val: You said that your hope was that “‘Healthy Arkansas’ will spread like a highly contagious but benevolent virus that could become the genesis of ‘Healthy America.'” Can you give me a virus update?

Huckabee: We did in fact launch “Healthy America” and it was the most successful Governors’ initiative in that we had more states participate in this than any other NGA (National Governors’ Association) initiative. Forty-three states launched state-based health initiatives for preventive health. Some were more aggressive than others.

We began the initiative because there was a new awareness of the need to change the healthcare model from intervention to prevention. The concept of Healthy America was to influence behaviors at work, at play, at home, and at school. These programs have been remarkably successful. For example, in the first year, the average productivity of state employees increased by $3400/year. And that’s not to mention the savings in healthcare costs. The average diabetic spends 8.3 days/year in the hospital. The cost of those days could pay for 7 years of diabetes counseling and medication. It’s as if the choice is between a new oil filter or a new engine – which do you think is going to be less expensive?

Dr. Val: Revolution Health is attempting to encourage behavior modification through social networking and online, physician-led programs. What do you think are the strengths and limitations of this approach?

Huckabee: First of all the strengths are more dramatic than you may realize. When we used the online approach in Arkansas, we did health risk assessments followed by online coaching for everything from smoking cessation to weight control. Online programs can be very successful because they’re instant and accessible 24 hours/day. The socialization becomes very important because peer pressure can be harnessed to challenge people to walk more steps or lose more pounds than the others in their group.

Online approaches aside, the key to improving health in America is to create an atmosphere of healthy behavior. This cultural change may take a generation to achieve, which is why most politicians don’t touch it. Politicians like to deal with issues that can be dealt with in an election cycle, not a generation.

However, America’s approach to littering, seatbelt laws, smoking, and drunk driving are four examples of real changes we’ve made in this country over time. The changes took place in three stages: attitude change, atmosphere change, then an action is changed.

Attitude change involves giving people information that changes the way they think about an issue. Atmosphere change means making unhealthy behaviors difficult to participate in (like taking away ash trays and putting up a no-smoking sign), and finally the government codifies into law the new behavioral norm.

The government is usually the last player, not the first, because people have to create the behavioral norm before the government can enact laws. If the government tries to mandate a personal habit, then the debate will not be over the merits of the approach, but over the personal liberties of  people to do what they want to do. And in America,  the government always loses that argument. So what you have to do is get enough Americans believing that taking care of themselves is the right thing to do, and then there will be the demand for government to put that into law.

We don’t have a healthcare crisis in America, we have a health crisis. And if we dealt with the health crisis we would resolve the healthcare crisis. The real reason we’re in trouble is because 80% of the money we spend on healthcare is a result of chronic disease. And that chronic disease is primarily the result of over-eating, under-exercising and smoking. It’s our lifestyle that’s killing us.This post originally appeared on Dr. Val’s blog at RevolutionHealth.com.

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