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Your Money’s Worth … You’re not Getting it

Something is wrong and it’s not in Denmark. It’s in the American healthcare system. The simple and stunning facts are that we spend more on healthcare than any other country in the world but don’t have anywhere near the best health care as its usually measured. Currently America spends 17 % of gross domestic product which is significantly more than any other country. Switzerland is the closest and they spend 11.5%. That’s a very big difference when you are talking about GDP spending. These numbers are from 2105 which is the latest available at the time of this article being published. Furthermore the average American spends just over 1,000 dollars a year on prescriptions and OTC drugs. This data is from 2013. The next highest spender, Japan, spends 750 dollars a year on average per person. So, more pills don’t seem to equal more health. 

What’s the problem? … Here is a pill for it. What’s the symptom? Here is a test or procedure for that.


Despite this enormous expenditure of money we rank low amongst developed nations in life expectancy. In America the average life expectancy is approximately 78 years. In Japan the average life expectancy is approximately is 84 years. 18 countries have better life expectancies than we do including Chile, Portugal, Germany, Israel, Slovenia, France, etc. despite spending less than we Americans do. Our infant mortality rate is also much higher than comparable countries so it’s not just a problem with the elders.

So what’s wrong? I think the answer lies in our Allopathic system of medicine. The
definition of allopathic medicine is: “A system in which medical doctors and other
healthcare professionals (such as nurses, pharmacists, and therapists) treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery. Also called biomedicine, conventional medicine, mainstream medicine, orthodox medicine, and Western medicine.” This is how we have been trained: What’s the problem? … Here is a pill for it. What’s the symptom? Here is a test or procedure for that. Now testing and meds are not inherently wrong or evil but the issue is that they don’t get to the bottom of the problem. They treat the symptom and the symptom and the cause of the symptom are not the same. Your symptom might be stomach upset but the cause could be a virus, an ulcer or most likely some food intolerance. Giving you Prilosec only covers up the issue … it just treats the symptom and will not fix the underlying issue. Same concept with arthritis, headaches, irritable bowel, etc. we are giving you meds to treat/cover up the symptoms but not
getting to the underlying issue.

Fortunately the underlying issue is often that you are doing something or eating something that you should not and when you finally address it you can finally regain your health. If you look at the top ten causes of death in the U.S. you will see heart disease, cancer, lung disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, renal failure all of which are lifestyle related. That’s diet and exercise and smoking etc. … that’s what we mean by lifestyle. What you do to yourself and how you feed yourself determines your health.
One term to describe your health is metabolic health which means having ideal
measures of five factors without taking medications: blood sugar; triglycerides; good cholesterol (high-density lipoprotein); blood pressure; and waist circumference.
According to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from Nov 2018 release:

“The prevalence of metabolic health in American adults is ‘alarmingly low,’ even among people who are normal weight, according to a new study. Only one in eight Americans is achieving optimal metabolic health. This carries serious implications for public health since poor metabolic health leaves people more vulnerable to developing Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other serious health issues.”

The bad news is that as a nation we are an unhealthy mess … the good news is that you, individually, can take action to improve your health and it doesn’t require an expensive prescription, it doesn’t require exposure to radiation. It doesn’t require long waits in the doctor’s office … It requires you to take personal charge of your health and start working on your diet and exercise. Sure doctors don’t agree on the best diet but you know you can go a long way towards improving your health with the obvious stuff … no soda, no sugar … no fried foods … skip breakfast, more soup, more salads. It certainly is going to end with you so why shouldn’t it start with you. Why can’t you start today … with your next meal. You don’t need to wait for a New Years Resolution. You can have a new resolution every morning. You can improve your health anytime you want … you just have to work on wanting it. Dr. Peter Attia says change comes from inspiration or desperation. Which one will motivate you?

We have the most expensive health care in the world but we are clearly not the
healthiest people in the world and the answer is not going to come from your doctors office because they have been trained to use the latest pills, the latest tests and
treatments but don’t have the training to focus on the basics of your health … your lifestyle … your diet, exercise, sleep and stress. Luckily you can work on this on your own. You don’t need a prescription. You don’t need pre-authorization. You don’t need to spend a lot of money … you just need the proper motivation and understanding that you can dramatically improve your health by changing your diet. Change is hard and you don’t have to change everything overnight. The more you change your diet the better you will feel.

Get the Gundry book.

Get the Susan Peirce Thompson book .

Get going.

Get well and stay well.

Dr. Barry