There are only a few seemingly inescapable truths in life: You’re going to die, diseases will kill you and you will waste your time if you don’t do your best to reduce your risk. This final lesson in the essentials of health comes courtesy of a small group of researchers who recently published a much-talked-about study in the medical journal “World Health Organization.”
The title of the study, written by Marie-Claire Gastaut of the University Hospital of Bièrge in France and colleagues, reads, in part: “The importance of incorporating virologic clearance and weight gain to decision-making regarding surgical intervention,” according to a New York Times report on the study.
That reference in the authors’ title sets the stage for an utterly radical revelation – that having the right test results and making decisions based on those test results may (it is important to emphasize here) be the most effective means for reducing overall health costs in the long term. After all, good health is extremely costly to society. The opposite and excessive use of treatment is even more expensive.
After all, this essentially intuitive notion assumes some kind of logical connection. Most people who make big decisions must know they’re making the right choice based on the data they have access to. In fact, it’s easier and more logical to believe that you’re making a good decision when you’re not wrong. Likewise, if you’re wrong, you pay for your mistake.
So what does this study suggest about the link between test results and deciding about surgery? As Gastaut and colleagues write: “Obstructive sleep apnea, a symptom of obstructive pulmonary disease and a common measure of respiratory function … is the only joint indicator of chronic diseases and mortality developed by our committee.” They then go on to claim that if there’s one thing that determines the effectiveness of surgery for a particular patient, it’s the test results for obstructive sleep apnea.
What’s more, they further argue that you’re probably going to die sooner if you do not have the procedure because … what’s this? Here, where did this come from? More specifically, what could this (ir)revelation possibly mean for the future of health care? For today, let’s just go ahead and enjoy the surprises. In effect, the solution presented by Gastaut et al. offers the ultimate health-conscious exercise. We can use the results of test results for obesity to justify receiving weight-loss surgery to lessen our risk of dying from heart disease. Think of that.
What’s more, it appears that when it comes to making decisions about how to eat, nutrition-and-amount-of-carbs vs. weight-loss vs. health-related vs. doctors-are-not-lazy-or-are-they? the accuracy of test results is likely to determine whether we get pushed up against the edge of a fat “Spiri-Tide” and get to the edge of a doughnut-wars reality-show cliffhanger or whether we come away with wads of healthy cash – while maintaining our sloth-free way of life.