Health information is good, access to healthcare is essentialBy Veita Bland, M.D. / August 5, 2022
The landscape for the future of healthcare is littered with much debris. The changes that we have seen in the predictive capabilities for your health are staggering. So many new tests can now be run that will look at almost every aspect of your health. These new tests will look at your genes and will then provide valuable information about how you can live a better life.
There are many ways people can begin to improve their health. For example, the health information provided new wearable health products is amazing. Smart watches are consistently providing information about a person’s heartbeat and rhythm, oxygen content, the quality of one’s sleep and the number of steps walked each day, just to name a few. Such smart gadgets can even ask about your mood and emotional health and provide recommended periods for meditation.
There are now ways to examine how old you really are. Has taking supplements, exercising or eating a special diet made a difference in your fitness? Has your body turned back the hands of time? Are you really ten years younger than your birth certificate would lead one to believe?
All these wonderful landscapes for your health now exist. In stark reality, the true landscape of healthcare is not an all glowing, rosy picture. New studies have examined the disparities that exist in healthcare and those studies have made dire predictions, especially for people of color.
As the populations of Black, Latinx and Asian people increase, the researchers say that if no changes are made in the way people access healthcare, the number of people with medical illnesses will dramatically increase. We may see more people with heart disease, more people with diabetes, more people with kidney disease and on and on.
This trajectory can be altered by making changes to our healthcare system. Such changes can include providing all people with basic healthcare regardless of their ability to pay; basic healthcare such as offering blood pressure monitoring to prevent heart disease and kidney failure. Everyone should be offered basic blood studies to know their blood count, cholesterol number, kidney and liver function.
Healthcare providers and institutions should encourage more physical activity such as walking, hiking or biking. These small activity changes can have great benefits.
There should be initiatives to address mental health and provide basic education on how important it is to care for your mind, body and spirit via meditation, yoga and talk therapy. It is also important to just have fun and to value it.
Nutritional counseling can also aid in promoting better health by encouraging patients to eat balanced meals comprised of more fresh fruits and vegetables and some form of protein, especially for children. For people to access a healthy diet, we must immediately confront the plethora of food deserts plaguing many communities in Guilford County and across the state. We must decrease our reliance on processed and fast foods and decrease our consumption of foods and drinks loaded with sugars, artificial flavor enhancers and trans fats.
We must teach children and adults to honor and protect their bodies by understanding the concept that food is the fuel for their lives. The better the fuel, the better the body will be, which improves lives. Are we up to the task of preventing an onslaught of poor health in our communities? Time will tell.
Dr. Veita Bland is a board-certified Greensboro physician and hypertension specialist. Dr. Bland’s radio show, “It’s a Matter of Your Health,” can be heard live on Wednesdays, 5:30 p.m. on N.C. A&T State University’s WNAA, 90.1 FM. Listeners may call in and ask questions. The show is replayed on Sirius 142 at 5 p.m. on Wed. Email Dr. Bland at email@example.com.