Reactionary, Preventative or Proactive?
What’s the difference between reactionary, preventative or proactive health care? Like many “health” care systems internationally, Canada’s system is reactionary. It was designed in the post-World War II era to primarily combat acute illnesses. The system waits for one to become sick before it kicks into reactive action. The system was not designed to help prevent the onset of disease, but instead, to diagnose and treat illness (for what was—at the time—a fairly healthy and young population). The Canadian system is designed around an acute care paradigm, where the focus is to address urgent issues and manage chronic illnesses. It makes perfect sense for this type of care to be provided reactively. Our system needs to continue to provide reactionary care in the context of acute illness. These interventions, however, will never create a higher level of health and function, but they can help you get out of crisis.
‘Preventative health care’ are buzz words you’ll often hear in the media. It suggests that we’re making health choices to prevent chronic illness. The problem is that prevention means we’re making choices just so we don’t get sick. It means we’re acting out of fear, lack and worry. It goes like this: “I watch what I eat because my mother has diabetes and I don’t want that!”, “I only brush my teeth so I don’t get cavities”, “I get up and stretch while I’m working so I don’t get back pain” or “I exercise because I don’t want to gain weight.”
Intent reveals desire, action reveals commitment. ~ Dr. Steve Maraboli
Proactive action begins with a much different mindset. As we recognize healthy lifestyle disciplines, it becomes more obvious that we should continue to do those for a lifetime. How long should you minimize (or have healthy outlets for) mental/relationship/work stress? Would it be good for you to drink lots of water each day even if you feel great? When would it be good to stop moving your body? At what point is it okay to stop brushing, flossing and getting your teeth checked? How often would it be good for you to get a good night’s sleep? How long should you take care of your spine and nerve system?
Whether you have a low, medium or high stress period of time in your life, these disciplines will always give you the best opportunity to heal and recover from those stresses. Proactive choices mean you’re committed to those actions regardless of how you feel in the moment because they lead to health.
Read here how the medical profession is moving towards proactive care practices.