Good health does not require an Apple Watch

Social media is awash in news about digital health.

I am a skeptic. Health is much simpler. I like this rendering from a kindergarten class.

When I was a trainee in electrophysiology, I spent oodles of time learning the underpinnings of the heart and its rhythm. I studied molecules, then cells, and then the physics (vectors) of how it all worked together. Catheter ablation of focal circuits or implantation of pacemakers for aging pacemaker cells are the appendectomies of EP. Curative. Clean. Easy.

Heart rhythm care has changed. It is much harder. The majority of my patients now suffer not from fluky imperfections, but from the sequelae of deviations from the kindergarten rules of health.

It’s weird; although I am a sub-subspecialist, a techie-doctor of sorts, most of my clinic days are spent teaching kindergarten health lessons.

For fun, let’s make brief comment on each of these beautiful rules:

1. Eat good food — Nothing to add here.

2. Exercise every day — that you eat.

3. Drink water — not sugary drinks.

4. Brush teeth — so you look good smiling.

5. Milk — No guideline or set of rules are perfect.

6. Don’t watch too much TV — or Internet.

7. Sleep well — It’s easier if you follow the previous rule.

8. Listen to the teacher — just listen more.

9. Remember stuff — See the previous three rules.

10. Dream — but don’t forget to work some as well.

11. Play with friends — Maybe modify this to: play nicely with friends.

12. Talk to people — I think they mean talk with people.

13. Ask people to play — I love a great group bike ride or run.

14. Calm down — It’s easier if you follow the above rules, especially numbers 1,2, and 7.

15. Express your feelings — Abscesses heal only when they are drained. Be careful though; pus comes out under pressure.

16. Make peace — and enjoy lower inflammation.

I’d put these rules up against any mobile sensor, blood test, DNA swab, medication, or surgical procedure.

If only there was a way to more easily hold on to the mastery of the obvious that we once had as children. Then there would surely be less AF (and PVCs) out there.

JMM

H/t to @rickplus3 and Brad Stulberg

3 comments

  1. Dear Dr. Mandrola,
    Thank you for being real– a real, honest expert, with basic, real and practical information! I plan to show the lists you shared with my 2nd and 3rd grade students this week. We are still working on being nice to each other.

  2. John
    I wonder if the list reflects smoking rates being low that tobacco use didn’t make the list.
    My question to you…would you say to a smoking patient that stopping smoking is the number one thing they can do for their health ?

  3. Dr. M, First of all , let me say that reading the info on your site has been very helpful.

    A year ago I went in for a colonoscopy and came out with a heart monitor – you guessed it – A-Fib!

    However, after doing a great deal of research on the internet, I am furious with my Internal medicine doctor, my heart doctor and with you!!

    Patients like me count on our doctors to do no harm.( As I understand it, doctors don’t even have to take the oath anymore. Sad). Now I take warfarin with all the side effects and a drug that as I understand it was created as a rodent killer! Plus, I am in the process of talking to my doctor about an ablation.

    So why am I so angry? Because I could find nothing on your site nor did my doctors mention anything about mineral deficiencies. Specifically, magnesium and potassium. My gosh, I am not a brain surgeon but you would think that one of you would surely consider checking your patients for mineral deficiencies before jumping right into the pills and surgery.
    I have appointments to talk with both of my doctors about this.

    I am sure I will never see this comment on your site but I just had to get it off my chest. Why not do a little research and write an article suggesting that patients talk to their doctors a mineral deficiencies!

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