Every four days, on average, we notice a symptom that makes us feel sick or about to get sick. But, according to Dr. Fernando Fabiani, “we should not worry in advance” because that is a “symptom that we are alive” and that “our body speaks to us.” “To be unwell is to be a little well. I cannot be perfect without any discomfort. The concept of absolute health does not exist, and if we look for it we become frustrated. It is unattainable.”
Dr. Fabiani, who has just published ‘Health is Sick. How to survive a society that does not allow you to feel healthy’ (Aguilar), has explained to Àngels Barceló and the ‘Northern Command’ (Aitana Castaño, Nacho Carretero) why, despite the fact that we have more life expectancy than ever (83 years ), our society tends towards hypochondria: “They make us feel sick to sell us a miracle remedy”, which can be a vitamin complex, a lactose-free food or a yogurt with properties. These messages, adds the doctor, “take us away from what is really useful”, which is going to the fruit shop, exercising and giving up tobacco and alcohol. “Everything else is shortcuts that we buy like a magic pill because it is easier than incorporating healthy habits into our lives,” he says.
He assures that today “pharmacies seem like supermarkets and supermarkets, pharmacies” because they suggest us with messages that make us need an “unnecessary” product for memory or to perform better at work, for example. According to Fabiani, one in three Spaniards take vitamin complexes although “they are not necessary for the general population” because we can find all the supplements for our health with a healthy diet that gives prominence to fruits and vegetables.
Among the habits that also make us sick, he points out ‘cyberchondria’, the anxiety caused by searching on the Internet to find out which disease is associated with the symptoms we have, and the monitoring of our body, that is, measuring heart rate, steps and even the quality of dreams, as some smart watches already do.
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Dr. Fabiani, who defines himself as a “defender of responsible self-medication”, believes that we should not leave all responsibility on the health system and know when, in mild cases, self-medication is necessary. He also recalled that not all patients are the same: “Those who lead a relatively well-off life do not get sick like those who cannot afford it. How many patients come very sick and ask me not to discharge them because they cannot afford that luxury! For Therefore, the health system tends to serve those who need it least.