Can our general health be materially improved?It is a sad fact that despite the enormous advances in medical science and the conquering of many diseases which brought about the demise of many in the past, the general health of people today is poor by comparison with that of their forebears. Modern developments in transport and domestic machinery has led to sedentary lifestyles, while current production techniques often involve questionable procedures which make our food less nutritious even when claimed to be healthy.
A ticking time-bombToday in Western society it is very easy to follow a lifestyle of convenience which can actually lead to deteriorating health at an earlier age than would previously have been the case. There is a very real danger that our young people, engaged in social interaction through the exciting technology available to them, will suffer even greater health issues in later life through their lack of physical activity than those experienced by the current maturing generation.
How many are truly healthy?Add to this the self-inflicted ailments (caused by smoking or drug misuse, for example) and the confusion brought about by conflicting advice often circulated by self-styled experts through media such as monthly or weekly magazines or even popular blogs, and we have a situation where people may be cured of terrible diseases and live longer than they used to, but are seldom really healthy throughout their entire adult lives.
Expert limitationsIt is important to remember that the experts, particularly those in the pay of large corporations, are not always right. History is full of examples of where the pronouncements of one "expert" are later shown to be false by another expert. That is not to say that medical science has got it all wrong: in fact, doctors and other health professionals - especially researchers - have done an amazing job of opening up our understanding of how our bodies work and how to keep them working.
Not all in agreementBut medical science does not yet have all the answers. Some areas - like AIDS or cancer - could be seen as at the frontier of research work, with an occasional leap forward in the success of combating the conditions. Others, like fitness or diet and weight loss, have been the subject of research and discussion - even contention - for much longer, yet no real consensus has been reached, beyond certain basic principles, between the various bodies which concern themselves with such problems.
The lone fighterThrough much of the confusion surrounding various health issues there will often appear an individual who, by conducting detailed research into his own irritating or debilitating condition, stumbles on a method of dealing with the condition which at the very least works for that individual, and could potentially help others also to combat it. As a sufferer of the condition, the individual has real motivation to find the answer to something which a professional researcher may quite understandably see as less urgent than the killer disease she has been detailed to work on.
The answer for you?How can we benefit, then, from the discoveries of other sufferers of our own condition? Clearly, it is wise to have a good understanding of the condition, and where medical science has a good track record in treating and consistently dealing effectively with the condition, it would be equally wise to follow the advice of the medical profession. For the areas where the answers are not so clear-cut, if it is possible to locate a fellow-sufferer who has developed a means of combating the condition, then by all means find out all you can about the method, weighing it against such understanding as medical science can provide.
And to improve our general health? Perhaps it boils down to this: eat less, move more. Have a look elsewhere on the site for some fuller explanations of what that mantra might actually mean.