Obesity At All-Time High as Physicians, Healthcare Professionals Strained
According to a report published by The New England Journal of Medicine last week, one-third of the world’s population is overweight. ⅓ of the global population is roughly 2.5 billion individuals. Additionally, the report stated that 711.4 million people are obese. Both numbers have increased dramatically in the past decade.
Data from 68.5 million individuals over a 35 year period, 1980 to 2015, was used to get the recent results. Over that 35 year period, throughout 70 countries, the percentage of individuals considered obese doubled. The report also noted an increase in childhood obesity. Overall, globally, there were 4 million deaths as a result of an individual being either overweight or obese.
Not surprisingly, the United States took first place with the highest prevalence of obesity worldwide. 35% of Americans are considered overweight.
Obesity has been a concern among Americans for decades. However, even though healthcare professionals have linked obesity to diabetes, heart disease, and death, Americans are becoming more overweight and unhealthy. This trend is no longer American. Globally, obesity is trending upwards. This is likely due to developing countries obtaining new foodstuff high in fat and artificial ingredients.
A rising prevalence of obesity and overweight individuals is adding to the already strained and overworked community of healthcare professionals. In the developed world, there is expected to be a shortage of doctors and other healthcare professionals over the next few decades. Fueled by global aging and a higher prevalence of obese individuals, the shortage is only set to get worse.
Maintaining a good and positive Physician-Patient relationship is essential for any doctor. Not only do better Physician-Patient relationships benefit the patient but also the doctor. Maintain a positive and beneficial relationship with patients enable physicians to provide better care. Additionally, if there’s a strong relationship between a doctor and a patient, doctors will be able to communicate more with their patients, therefore, providing more treatment options. Research indicates that the character trait that forms the best Physician-Patient relationship is empathy. Here’s why empathetic physicians have happier and healthier patients.
Empathy (\ˈem-pə-thē\): the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner
More Comfortable Patients
Physicians who are more understanding of their patients and their situation are more likely to provide higher levels of comfort. Doctors who know more about their patients and their pain are much more likely to go out of their way to ensure a comfortable visit or procedure. Additionally, empathy allows patients to relate to their doctors encouraging patients to talk more about their health and personal life.
Trust is unbelievably important in the Physician-Patient relationship. If a patient doesn’t trust their doctor, they will be apprehensive about allowing them to carry out procedures, treatment, and even diagnosis. If a patient feels that their doctor is understanding and caring, they will be more likely to trust their doctor and allow them to provide treatment and medical care.
Decreased Anxiety Among Patients
When you are comfortable with someone and feel that they understand you, the level of stress that you experience is greatly reduced. The same goes for the Physician-Patient relationship. When a doctor or healthcare professional lacks empathy, white coat syndrome will often set in. White coat syndrome leads to higher stress levels and hypertension. Empathy is key in maintaining a stress and anxiety free relationship.
A More Involved Patient
A patient who is comfortable with their doctor is far more likely to be involved in treatment and diagnosis. When a patient is comfortable talking to their physician, they will be more likely to talk about their health and even talk about possibly embarrassing subjects. If a physician is able to know more about a patient, they can do more to diagnose and treat them.
Going along the lines of a more involved patient, patient involvement enables a physician to provide a higher level of care. Providing a higher and more targeted level of care will allow for better outcomes including easier procedures and quicker recoveries.