NU doctor calls for greater focus on preventive healthcare |  News, Sports, Work
NU doctor calls for greater focus on preventive healthcare |  News, Sports, Work

Staff photo by Fritz Busch. Dr. Bradley Burger, MD, of New Ulm Medical Center, said prevention is the best medicine at the 2024 Home and Health Expo at the New Ulm Civic Center on Saturday.

NEW ULM — New Ulm Medical Center OB/GYN and Primary Care Dr. Bradley Burger shared his thoughts on what health care is like today during the 2024 Home & Health Show on Saturday.

“We don’t focus as much on prevention as we do on treatment in this country,” Burger said.

“This is really a disservice. It is much easier to prevent disease than to treat it and try to reverse it.” he added.

Burger said primary prevention is intervention before disease occurs for someone who is healthy, disease-free and maintaining a healthy lifestyle with good diet, exercise and sleep patterns.

“Secondary prevention reduces the progression of the disease, such as a person diagnosed with diabetes treating it with medication and physical activity to prevent the disease from getting worse.” he added.

Tertiary prevention deals with intervening in an established disease such as diabetes with kidney problems or heart disease and preventing a person from undergoing dialysis and reducing mortality such as heart attacks.

“In the United States, secondary and tertiary prevention are medical industry advertisements for drugs for diabetes and heart disease. We’re doing pretty well with that, but why don’t we try to prevent someone from getting that far before they need medication.” Burger said.

He said the general health of the US population is in decline.

“Our life expectancy has decreased in the last few years, which is unheard of in advanced countries like the US. I see this daily with the younger generation. I see people in their 20s and 30s who are so unhealthy that they are on more medications and have had more surgeries than the older generations.” he added.

If this trend continues, Burger said, it will create a national disaster in the coming years.

“Quality of life will continue to deteriorate, life expectancy will decrease, more people will have huge medical bills, will be on public insurance and will find it harder to see a doctor.” he added.

“I see 40- and 50-year-olds who literally look like they’re 90. I see 90-year-olds who look much younger,” Burger said.

“Prevention reduces the two most common risk factors for disease in the United States, which are malignancy (the tendency of a medical condition to worsen, such as cancerous tumors) and cardiovascular disease.” he added.

Berger said lifestyle is part of the problem.

“We are becoming more sedentary. Machines are doing more of our work,” he added.

Burger said he believes in educating patients to prevent disease.

“Watching your diet and exercise are important. Health insurance gives discounts for people to join health clubs. Nationally, it has been shown to save about $100 billion a year by preventing chronic disease. Last but not least, prevention will help as the population grows and the number of providers decreases.” he added.

Burger said it’s scary to think, but there will be a severe shortage of doctors and providers.

“By 2030, more people will have trouble even getting to a doctor. Providers are retiring, burning out, and the medical bureaucracy is getting worse.” he added.

He advised people to maintain a healthy lifestyle for primary prevention to help them travel through life instead of suffering from diseases.

Burger urged people to get tested for diseases, some of which are easily treatable.

“A lot of people don’t. It’s really unfortunate,” he added.

Burger urged people to get regular health checkups for things like health screenings with things like vaccinations and blood tests.

“Preventive examinations and control examinations are very important. Even things like answering doctor’s questions are extremely important in stopping the disease early. It could provide a clue to the disease.” he added.

Burger said family medical history is also very important in preventing certain cancers, heart attacks and strokes by screening for future diseases.

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