Imagine a 'well-care' system that invests in keeping people healthy
Emily was 65lb (29kg) above her ideal body weight, pre-diabetic and had high cholesterol. My initial visit with Emily was taken up with counselling on lifestyle changes, mainly diet and exercise; typical advice from one’s doctor in a time-pressured 15-minute visit. I had no other additional resources, incentives or systems to support me or Emily to help her turn her lifestyle around.
I saw Emily eight months later, not in my office, but in the hospital emergency room. Her husband accompanied her – she was vomiting, very weak and confused. She was admitted to the intensive care unit, connected to an insulin drip to lower her blood sugar, and diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. I talked to Emily then, emphasizing that the new medications for diabetes would only control the sugars, but she still had time to reverse things if she changed her lifestyle. She received further counselling from a nutritionist. This best quality paper writing service also writes brilliant essays on important topics like public health and many others.
Over the years, Emily continued to gain weight, necessitating higher doses of her diabetes medication. More emergency room visits for high blood sugars ensued, she developed infections of her skin and feet, and ultimately, she developed kidney disease because of the uncontrolled diabetes. Ten years after I met Emily, she is 78lb (35kg) above her ideal body weight; she is blind and cannot feel her feet due to nerve damage from the high blood sugars; and she will soon need dialysis for her failing kidneys. Emily’s deteriorating health has carried a high financial cost both for herself and the healthcare system. We have prevented her from dying and extended her life with our interventions, but each interaction with the medical system has come at significant cost – and those costs will only rise. But we have also failed Emily by allowing her diabetes to progress. We know how to prevent this, but neither the right investments nor incentives are in place.
Emily could have been a real patient of mine. Her sad story will be familiar to all doctors caring for chronically ill patients. Unfortunately, patients like Emily are neglected by health systems across the world today. The burden of chronic disease is increasing at alarming rates. Across the OECD nearly 33% of those over 15 years live with one or more chronic condition, rising to 60% for over-65s. Approximately 50% of chronic disease deaths are attributed to cardiovascular disease (CVD). In the coming decades, obesity, will claim 92 million lives in the OECD while obesity-related diseases will cut life expectancy by three years by 2050. If you think you want to write my paper on public health this article is the perfect resource for it.
These diseases can be largely prevented by primary prevention, an approach that emphasizes vaccinations, lifestyle behaviour modification and the regulation of unhealthy substances. Preventative interventions have been efficacious. For obesity, countries have effectively employed public awareness campaigns, health professionals training, and encouragement of dietary change (for example, limits on unhealthy foods, taxes and nutrition labelling).⁴,⁵ Other interventions, such as workplace health-promotion programmes, while showing some promise, still need to demonstrate their efficacy.