AF ablation Doctoring General Medicine Health Care Healthy Living Nutrition Social Media/Writing/Blogging

Medicine, lifestyle disease and the pool-safety post

What follows is an introduction to my most recent post on | Medscape Cardiology. It was published yesterday. Many of the comments are excellent. The link is at the end of this post.

You might wonder what pool-safety has to do with lifestyle disease. Here is how they relate:

I am currently reading an excellent book by social media guru Dr. Bryan Vartabedian. In The Public Physician, Dr. V helps physicians understand the intersection of social media and medicine. One of the chapters is titled: We don’t need another pool-safety post. “Every summer,” Dr V writes, “pediatricians and children’s hospitals write posts about keeping kids safe around pools.” His point was that if you choose to write sterile posts about well-worn topics it will be tough getting heard over the noise.

That passage got me thinking about medicine’s problem with lifestyle disease. Here I am in clinic, day in and day out, trying to help people with their unnecessary disease. I leave the office knowing that a good life coach could offer my patients more effective and safer therapy. But all the parties involved–patients, colleagues, administrators–are most interested in my tricks–pills and procedures and surgery. Lifestyle interventions are denied or forgotten.

It is the same story in health writing. Posts on new anticoagulant drugs, AF ablation technology and mobile ECGs bring the traffic. Writing about lifestyle choices–exercise, nutrition, sleep and balance–is the euphemistic pool-safety post.

And that, my friends, is the core problem. Per AF ablation, I make hundreds of dollars making hundreds of burns in the left atrium when a poorly paid life coach could have prevented or treated the disease. This is cardiology writ large.

See this Tweet and response:

In doctoring, the prescription pad is easy. The EP lab is even easier–and more lucrative. The truth is hard.

In writing, new drugs are easy. AF ablation is easy. Statins are even easier. The truth–lifestyle choices–is hard.

The apathy has to stop somewhere. I see doctors as leaders and professionals in health. Although we cannot alone cure the ailing public health, we make it worse when we treat lifestyle disease as if it were another pool-safety post.

The title of the my piece and link is here: Heart Disease and Lifestyle: Why Are Doctors in Denial?


4 replies on “Medicine, lifestyle disease and the pool-safety post”

Bravo again, Dr. M.
Keep speaking the truth. It is very refreshing and inspiring.

I am hoping that someday you will tiptoe into the beckoning universe of integrative medicine.

Wiki definition: “the practice of medicine that reaffirms the importance of the relationship between practitioner and patient, focuses on the whole person, is informed by evidence, and makes use of all appropriate therapeutic approaches…”

It seems to me establishment medicine with its pills, procedures, expensive medical devices, overarching profit motive and assembly-line churning of patients through the door, has lost the thread of healing.

Bryant Stamford, who writes wellness articles for the C-J, said years ago that the focus of the healthcare industry should be on preventive medicine rather than corrective treatment. More focus on educating patients rather than popping pills or performing surgery. However, that runs counter to the quick-fix mentality of our society. Why watch your weight when you can get a joint replacement every 10 years?

Every boom has its bust, and no doubt the healthcare industry has been enjoying a rather extended boom. Perhaps the bust days of healthcare that are presumably yet to come will “unexpectedly” lead to improved outcomes by forcing us to use the simpler, cheaper, more effective methods of healthcare that Dr. John M advocates for. Maybe alongside of public library’s will have public gym’s in the future, free to use, and paid for by savings in Medicare funds attributed to people actually walking a bit! That would be interesting.

Comments are closed.