Friday, January 9, 2009

Are We Getting What we Pay For?

In today's Wall Street Journal, Deepak Chopra, MD and his colleagues wrote a very interesting opinion piece on the mainstreaming of alternative medicine. But I really thought the core message of the article was that, in the US, we are spending billions on health care, procedures, medication, and technology when much of what we are buying could be reversed with simple lifestyle change.

Instead of needing coronary stents or expensive cholesterol, diabetes or blood pressure medicine, patients really need to embrace smoking cessation, exercise, stress reduction, better nutrition, and having a more active and more supportive social life.

Physicians should be as excited about advocating healthy lifestyles (and providing guidance on how to do it) as they are in making complex diagnoses and prescribing procedures and medications.

Let me know what you think about this issue.


Dr. Val said...

I think that diet and exercise are the core of good health - and that should not be confused with "alternative medicine." I find it mildly annoying when people like Deepak Chopra and Andrew Weil act as if these fundamentals are somehow "alternative" and need to be integrated with Eastern meditation and sticking needles in our ears. Why can't we just focus on what science shows: a balanced, portion-controlled diet rich in fruits and vegetables along with 1 hour of exercise/day is the recipe for good health. :)

Charles Smith, MD said...

Thanks, Val. I totally agree.