The Healthcare System: P5 :: The Spectrum of Health and Care
Do you know about the spectrum of health? Specifically, the Sickness, Wellness, Fitness Spectrum?
This is something that nearly no MD talks about. If they do, You know they are up on their game or at least do CrossFit.
Let’s start here: If we don't have measurable definitions for goals, we don't really have goals - not good ones at least. Ones that lend themselves to a plan. Goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and timely.
There is no working, widely accepted and measurable definition for fitness. This makes no sense. Because we have a definition of sickness...don’t we? Well, turns out we don’t have that either. There are no measurable definitions for fitness and sickness - even though we can tell the difference between the two. So how do we get to a goal of fitness if it can't be measured?
In the late 90's, when Greg Glassman, a personal trainer from San Francisco and the eventual founder of CrossFit Inc., discovered this great lack in definitions of sickness and fitness, he aimed to fill it - with logic.
He thought it best to have BOTH fitness and sickness be defined by measurable outcomes. After all, if it is pathological on one end of the spectrum, then it should be on the other end too. Then, if something has changed in your health, you know where on the spectrum of fitness and sickness you stand. If you take a step to improve your health, there are biological markers telling you that things are improving.
I mean, you may not think this is a big deal, but in an industry - healthcare - that operates within strict definitions of disease, objectives and treatment it is preposterous to think that there is no measurable and clear definition of wellness or fitness. That is there is no measurable way to see that people get better, instead of just 'not sick.'
From the 2002 CrossFit Journal entry, "What is Fitness?":
For example, a blood pressure of 160/95 is pathological, 120/70 is normal or healthy, and 105/55 is consistent with an athlete’s blood pressure; a body fat of 40% is pathological, 20% is normal or healthy, and 10% is fit. We observe a similar ordering for bone density, triglycerides, muscle mass, flexibility, HDL or “good cholesterol,'' resting heart rate, and dozens of other common measures of health.
So with this very helpful continuum, we can see out health changing as we go on attacking those fitness and nutritional goals. We know it is working - not just because we feel better - but because you can see all of your health marks move away from ‘sick’, through ‘well’ and into ‘fit.’
Let us now talk about the continuum of care.
It is my belief that we have put way too much responsibility on medical doctors and not nearly enough onto other health practitioners. Since MDs are pharmacology based, their treatment is pharmacology oriented. Their patients are getting prescriptions for mood altering substances and dangerous, sometimes addictive pill when they need a referral to a gym and a psychologist.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 60% of all adults in the US suffer from a chronic disease. And the National Association of Chronic Disease reports that 75% of the nation's aggregate health care spending is on the treatment of those with chronic disease. So over half of us are suffering from poor lifestyle choices and three quarters of what you pay for healthcare and insurance goes to those who made poor lifestyle choices.
Most of those suffering need the help of resources much cheaper than those from a doctor or hospital. They need the help of naturopathic doctors, nutritionists, health coaches, personal trainers, massage therapists, physical therapists and chiropractors.
This is where a spectrum of care comes in. If you are bleeding or caught a flesh eating bacteria, not you don’t need squats. You need a doctor. But if your blood pressure is too high, you need to see a gym and talk to someone about what is lacking in your diet.
Let’s lay out a rough outline for who you need to see at different times in your health journey
Sick: Medical doctor, surgeon, physician specialist, medical nutrition therapist Well: Health Coach, Nutritionist, personal trainer, chiropractor, naturopathic doctor, behavioral psychologist Fit: Physical therapist, nutritionist, chiropractor, naturopathic doctor, performance psychologist, massage therapist
I think everyone can and should have access to an ND (Naturopathic Doctor) and a DC (Doctor of Chiropractic). This should be your first line of defense against sickness or more aptly, your standard operating procedure to stay healthy. If you find a good DC, one familiar with fitness and or nutrition, they can be your guiding light to get you on track to training well and getting more familiar with your body.
A good ND is invaluable. They can order diagnostic tests and treat some serious diseases with herbal supplements and lifestyle changes. They are a great source of knowledge to get you to know your own body better.
You make be experiencing some symptoms of lacking a specific kind of gut bacteria or vitamin deficiency. When an MD would treat the symptom, and ND finds the underlying cause. Because they come from a philosophy that the body has the power to heal itself, they are better practiced to treating the body as a whole functioning unit and finding root causes. MDs are usually specialists. They treat the body as sets, parts and symptoms. When the issues move to another part of the body, another doctor comes in.
Expand who you use in your health network. There are so many resources out there to keep you from going to a hospital. Spread the word of good, non-traditional doctors you fin. The world is more open that ever to alternative forms of care and you could save someones life be making recommendations.