That fount of modern female wisdom, Cosmopolitan magazine, inadvertently highlighted the fundamental problem with modern healthcare in its recent online article, Hairstyles Men Love. Next to this picture of an undeniably-photogenic Anna Faris:
The article notes that "From an evolutionary perspective, guys subconsciously like hair that looks clean and healthy, like Anna Faris's blond locks. "Hair that's in top condition shows that you have a balanced diet and good health — signs of an ideal mate," says biological anthropologist Helen Fisher PhD."
So far, so good. Sociobiology, or the description of human behavior from a evolutionary perspective, has come a long way since its introduction 40-odd years ago, and is now a widely accepted (if oft-misused) theory. It is quite probable that in matters as fundamental as procreation, we are hard-wired to respond in certain ways just as much as the female Western Tanager will always go for the guy with the big red top.
But then Cosmo blows the lid off of the secret behind looking healthy:
"Work a silicone-based straightening serum through damp hair before blow-drying," Cosmo advises. "Clip locks in 4-6 sections depending on how thick your hair is. Then tackle one at a time with a paddle brush and a blow-dryer equipped with a nozzle pointed straight down. Finish with a light shine spray."
Ok, let me see if I've got this right. The secret to attracting guys, Cosmo says, is to develop that healthy glow, which presumably indicates a fecund future of healthy, bouncing babies to carry the genetic line forward. And the secret to attaining that health is a silicon-based straightening serum?!?
Not a word about the things that I associate with good health, like, maybe, good nutrition, exercise, sanitation -- all that stuff that actually does give a person that healthy glow, instead of simply imitating it.
In the same way, mainstream medicine mistakes appearing healthy for looking healthy. Instead of looking at the person, they look at the numbers:
Cholesterol low? Check.
Thyroid hormone normal? Check.
BMI "normal"? Check
All well and good. But the fact of matter is, manipulation of the numbers does very little to change a person's health. You can have a normal body mass index and still be highly prone to cancer and heart disease. You can have normal thyroid hormone levels, yet still have a thyroid that is dysfunctional. And don't even get me going on cholesterol. Cholesterol levels are no indicator of any kind of health whatsoever.
So, by manipulating the numbers, the modern MD thinks they are creating health in their patients. But, like the two ounces of straightening serum, they are only creating the appearance of health.
Reducing your cholesterol level has no effect on your overall lifespan. None. Zero. Zip.
Normalizing your thyroid hormones does not mean your "thyroid" symptoms will go away.
A normal BMI does not mean you are fit.
Just like two ounces of straightening serum will give the appearance of health without the reality, the statin drug or the synthetic hormones will make pretty pictures -- but, in the long run, won't change your health for the better.