Oregon’s Healthcare Crisis and Self-Care

A recent KOPB series focussed on chronic disease, an epidemic in our state and our county.  In fact, Oregon is the least healthy state in the west as it turns out.  Many Oregonians continue to live long-term with and manage diabetes, heart disease, various cancers and more. While the prevailing viewpoint is that these diseases need to be cured and just happen to some of us, the reality is that we have a great deal of say about how to personally manage and prevent these chronic ailments.  The OPB radio program outlines this:  Oregon’s $9 Billion-A-Year Health Problem:  Chronic Disease.  In the program one thoughtful family physician who spends most of his time with patients suffering chronic disease offered this, “If I could just convince people to engage in regular exercise and a good diet I would probably be out of a job.”  My physician colleagues who teach MBSR and those who refer folks to the training and yoga classes here tell me the same thing all the time.  They find when folks make time to really care for themselves many of their difficulties are far more manageable or prevented in the first place.  There is undeniable proof in the medical literature for the value of self-care that includes appropriate physical activity, a thoughtful diet, and practices that reduce stress.  The Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction (MBSR) training is one well-studied way for folks to gain an intuitive, ongoing, and foundational sense of self-care.  Studies done around the world and even here in my MBSR trainings show this:  Mindfulness in Participatory Medicine.   Perhaps Oregon’s $9 Billion yearly problem would dramatically shrink if more of us would begin to care for our selves more effectively as that family physician suggested.  Be well my dear friends.   —  Brant