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The Persistent Health Debate

I ran into one of my parents’ friends the other day.  When she said, “You know you are getting old when your children are talking about their hot flashes,” I couldn’t help but laugh.  As one of those “children” who has come to realize conversations with friends have turned more and more towards health issues lately, I could see where she was coming from with that comment.

As we all sat munching on the wonderful “game day” food at this past weekend’s Super Bowl party, discussion among my friends drifted to good food versus bad food, good and bad cholesterol, LDL and HDL, and which medications have the least side effects.  Several of the women who had recently received blood work results indicating elevated cholesterol levels were comparing notes on the subject.  Yes, we are among those “children” my parents’ friend was talking about.

Monday morning, when I met those same women for our daily walk, the cholesterol conversation continued.  Knowing the paper work for my own blood work was still sitting unacknowledged in a box at home, I tried hard to fade into the background of the conversation.  While listening, it was obvious that two of my friends both believe strongly in preventative medicine – they are both conscientious about going to the doctor routinely in an effort to stay one step ahead of any potential medical issues, both conscientious about doing their homework and researching treatment options.  Interestingly enough, however, when it comes to deciding from among their treatment options, one tends to favor traditional prescription medications while the other prefers to opt for more holistic remedies.  Anyone who knows me will tell you I tend to “hide my head in the sand,” hoping what I don’t know can’t hurt me.  Clearly, there are 3 camps when it comes to health issues – those who believe in conventional medicine, those who believe in a holistic approach, and those who tend to “hide their heads in the sand.” 

So, which camp is best?  Well, with the exception of Camp “Hide Your Head in the Sand” – obviously not the place any of us should be pitching our tents – there are many strong and valid arguments to be found in support of both the conventional and holistic approaches to medicine.   All one needs to do is Google any health issue to understand how people can become so polarized in their views on each approach.  Google “cholesterol” alone and you will find 25,400,000 results – from The American Heart Association at #1 to the Canadian Soybean Council at #25,400,000!  Is it any wonder we have such vast and varying views when we have that much information available to sort through?

While we may often disagree on the best approach to dealing with health issues, we are in agreement that it is important to see a doctor regularly, to take the routine tests recommended by age group, and to discuss all available treatment options with a trusted health care professional.   My friends and I are also in complete agreement that exercise is the key – not only to our physical health but to our mental health as well.  Our morning walks/talks are the best medicine!!

Okay, ladies, I have my paper work in hand and I am heading out the door for that blood work….hmmm, maybe tomorrow!

Doris Honochick