Monday, March 16, 2009

Lifestyle the key - it's a secret!

There's new evidence this week that European medicine is failing to tackle unhealthy lifestyles. Back in September we had a big grumble about the state of British medicine.

Now European researchers have concluded that just one third of high risk patients are referred to lifestyle programmes - by that they mean people with high blood pressure, high cholesterol and too much weight.

Instead doctors and health systems rely on treating patients by drugs, according to the EuroAspire report. This was my comment back in September.

It is in fact the same team whose work formed the basis of my September posting and at the time they did not mention the over-reliance on drugs. But they could already see evidence that European medicine, including Britain, has not taken on board the evidence about lifestyle collected by the Americans.

I still think they are right. British primary care is now finely organised to find high risk patients and this is likely to get better. But the answer, when a problem is found, is usually pills. To be fair, not always. Where I live they are now giving people free passes for the gym and swimming - but not much dietary advice. And the free passes are being snapped up by the worried well.

Are Professor David Wood and his team wrong? What do you think?