No medicine cures what happiness cannot.
—Gabriel García Márquez
Fifty-eight percent of Americans have postponed, cut back, or skipped seeking medical care reportedly because of cost in 2012.1 In 2009, the latest available comparison by country survey done by Commonwealth Fund, 43 percent of American women between age 19 and 64 reduced or skipped medical care for this reason; the highest in the 11 countries studied.2 Experts cite the relatively high price of U.S. health care as the reason that Americans don't seek professional medical care more often. I wonder if the common feelings of not having enough time and the American attitudes of “grit it out” and “it's nothing, really” factor into Americans' reluctance to seek medical care. I know that I have rationalized not seeking medical care based on some of the above reasons in addition to the usual cost factor, and the same was true for many of the clients who came to the health care clinic where I was a partner.
Health is often defined as the absence of illness, injury, and disease. Actually, there is a wide spectrum of health—from being vibrantly alive and vigorous to being at death's door.33 We are, in large part, in control of how vibrantly healthy we are by how we choose to think, eat, and live each day. When we are out of balance, we are susceptible to a range of illnesses and we age much faster, too!