Deceptive Health: Are you really “healthy” on all those pills?

“Deceptive Health” is a big problem in medicine for adults and children.  I often ask patients if they are healthy and they say yes, because their lab tests are normal and they sleep OK.

But when I ask if they take any pills, they reveal they are on medications that manipulate their blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol or other conditions so they have a “normal” lab report. They sleep just fine, they promise, on sleeping pills or with a breathing machine for sleep apnea.  This is not real health, this is Deceptive Health.

We have become a culture that relies on the easy solutions of a pill, liquid, surgery, or a diaper for whatever ails us (and our kids) to obtain this Deceptive Health.  It matters very little whether you take prescription drugs or just use over the counter products, because you are not really “well”.

What truly matters is whether the drugs are fixing your problems, or if they are just masking a symptom.  I am wary of drugs and products which allow us to think that if a symptom is common, then it must not be dangerous.   I am equally wary of the attitude that if a pill can quiet a symptom or change a lab report number, then nothing else needs to be done to fix that problem.

If you get through your day comfortably only because you take drugs to alleviate your headaches, heartburn, stomach problems, bladder dysfunction, eczema, fatigue and excess hunger then you need to ask what the game plan is to reverse these issues and get you off these drugs.  Those things are just symptoms of underlying and much bigger problems.

The same questions need to be asked regarding your kid’s health.  What is the long term game plan so that your kids do not need to take any medicine at all?

I am comfortable giving patients a short term prescription to get through an illness or a rough patch, with the understanding that we are working toward putting their diseases in remission.  Many people do not realize that with the correct medical treatment plan, consistent effort, and lifestyle changes that most diseases (even the big ones) may be resolved and they can get off all those pills.

I believe that living on drugs to achieve Deceptive Health is not our goal.  I encourage everyone to keep searching for the right solutions which restore your health and keep you out of the pharmacy.

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Patrick Nemechek, D.O.

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