Friday, August 12, 2005

Logic and Reality: Taking Charge of Your Own Health

One of the important things about taking responsibility for your own health (and this means relying on physicians, nurses, and even bloggers as consultants) is realizing that the information given has to be weighed by you and that you have to make the ultimate decisions about your health.

It also means that some of the things you will come to realize initially don't make sense. But they work.

One of my daughters inherited fairly delicate skin from me. In other words, she breaks out easily. This is from early childhood. I was the same way in childhood.

One of the things that has plagued her for years is a skin irritation in and around her ears. Various ointments will solve the problem temporarily, but it always came back.

The "logical" thing is to think that this is a problem of the summer months. That it's an issue of sweating, and heat, and humidity.

But that logic is wrong. The problem -- while it breaks out in moist areas such as behind the ear -- tended to go away during the warmer months. Which doesn't make sense. Until you realize that the warmer months are the times when we get the most sun exposure. Winter -- while the humidity is lowered, and folks tend to sweat less -- is the time when the sun is low in the sky, and it's usually too cold to get out in the sun much, anyway.

The problem basically went away when we realized early that our daughter's problem was curable with UV exposure. Mostly, that's from the sun. (When it's winter, and sun exposure is more difficult, use a tanning bed. Tanning beds -- as I've pointed out elsewhere -- are wonderful devices, and deserve far more credit that we as a society give them. They're not just for white high school girls wanting to look less white).

What's the lesson here? When you have a health problem, look at what seems logical to cure it, and then look at the opposite, and consider that that might be the answer. If a doctor is recommending surgery, consider whether diet might solve the problem. If the doctor's recommending pills, ask yourself whether exercise might solve your complaint.

You have to live with whatever cure you choose to use. Very seldom is the problem so urgent that you can't take a few days to ponder the alternatives. Use that time. Think about what's been suggested, and see if that's what ultimately makes sense to you.


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