So you thought that getting your regular checkups at the doctor would keep you healthy, right?…
…Well new research has found that routine medical health check-ups have no effect on mortality rates.
In a review of 14 randomized trials conducted between 1963 and 1999, researchers evaluated the effect of annual health checkups on morbidity and mortality. A general health check was defined as “a visit dedicated solely to preventive counseling and screening tests,” and excluded visits required for the management of chronic conditions or acute care visits.They found no benefit on the long term mortality of patients despite the fact that the checks did increase the number of new diagnoses of hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes mellitus during the health checks (and probably increased the number of drug prescriptions to boot!). Which just goes to show that real preventative medicine goes above and beyond a standard medical checkup at the GP.
As a holistic practitioner, it wasn’t too surprising to me that these kind of checkups wouldn’t confer many benefits. With little understanding of the underlying cause of disease and little training in supporting patients to make healthy diet and lifestyle changes, doctors are really not well placed to help prevent disease.
Real preventative health comes from paying attention to what is out of balance in all spheres of life, not just the physical body ailments. I love doing a wellness checkup and audit with my patients to continually assess what needs to change to ensure optimal health. Sometimes it is your diet that is creating havoc, sometimes it is stress and emotions that are lowering your health. It can even be your quality of sleep or regularity of exercise that needs to change.
When we work out a individualised plan for restoring and rebalancing your health to a new level, we are also working to keep you well and prevent chronic disease. It can be that simple! This kind of approach also works for overcoming many genetic conditions as the new science of epigenetics shows that it is our interaction with our environment that ‘switches’ our genes on or off. We can no longer blame our genetic blueprint per se, but we now have to take personal responsibility for how we live our life and in turn understand that in many cases it is our choices that will determine what diseases we end up with.
Let’s hope they do some research one day to look at how this kind of preventative healthcare program can improve the endgame!