While reading some online content the other day, I happened across a paragraph that gave me pause. The paragraph was addressing the work of primary care providers. Nothing earth shaking in what I read until I saw a sentence that said we should ask the patient how they define health. WOW!!! This is a major point that we often overlook. Taking notice of this one item can explain a great deal about our patient’s health behavior.
Those of us who have chosen an occupation in the health and wellness field have been well educated in the classic definition of health. We study normal lab values, charts, tables and a plethora of other items that we use to define good health. Variations to these standard values are usually indicative of some disease process. When a healthcare provider sees a value outside of the normal, we have this deep, burning desire to manage and correct the process that produced the offending value. We will often consult fellow practitioners to get their consul on how to best address the problem that we have found. Then we use a variety of medications and procedures to try and bring all the values we measure back to the physiologic normal. At that point, we pronounce the patient healthy.
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