In some of my previous articles on various news portals, I described the inadequacy of current medical health care system. This article will not be published without being maligned into quite a different and sedate story by my editor of established new portals or print media.
Imagine that a visit to a health practitioner of the future could be as follows : A worried woman, Helen, in her 50’s calls the receptionist to make an appointment for herself who has been exhibiting unusual symptoms.
She has been chatting with a friend whom she bumped into at a supermarket recently and has made her realise the following isnt normal and something can be done about this. She has been stumbling over things lately and exhibiting increasingly foggy memories lately. She has had trouble sleeping at night and attribute this to being of increasing age. She gets highly anxious over seemingly small daily occurrences which in the past she would handle without a second thought. Her last visit to her doctor has indicated a borderline high blood pressure and she has attributed this to her throat infection at that time which has recently been shown to be a consistent reading. Her blood sugar from her blood test shows it to be just over the limit.
A visit to a doctor where her medical insurance has designated indicates the following. A scan shows uterine fibroids which has been there for a number of years. Her doctor attributes her symptoms to peri-menopausal symptoms where the following is prescribed;
- As she is past 50, a hysterectomy is suggested and in view of the other symptoms she has described. She is above 45 and considered of past child bearing age.
- She is prescribed hormone replacement therapy ie synthetic chemical hormones or natural hormones extracted from animals – HRT to deal with her declining and imbalance in her hormone levels.
- She is prescribed a diabetic drug, Metformin to mitigate the creeping upwards of her sugar levels.
- She is prescribed the usual cardio trio drugs to manage her upward trend in blood pressure.
One would not be faulted to assume that their doctor is always right, however, all the above are NOT necessary and will place Helen in a situation where she will suffer the consequences of the above prescription for the rest of her natural life, unnecessarily.
The rise of ‘scientific’ medicine in the last century has accompanied and enabled the phenomenal progress of medical technology. The benefits of medical technilogy are obvious. The problems it has caused including ways it has warped medical thinking are not so obvious but are very real.
The dazzling effect of technology is a major reason for ‘health care’ industry’s lopsided focus on degenerative disease management or sick care system. Priorities of reimbursement both reflect and exacerbate this imbalance. Insurance pays for reactive procedures and drugs instead of lifestyle counselling and nutritional supplements to prevent degeneration of lifestyle conditions. This must change for us to achieve wellness rather than just being in a state of symptom free.
Medical technology is excellent when it is used appropriately. I would never hesitate to use it for management of severe, critical and life threatening conditions. However currently such technologies are being utilised for virtually everything with the consequences of unnecessary costs and potential side effects. It also distracts us from the true goals of preventive medicine and wellness promotion. It also blinds us to the true nature of healing which is our innate capacity of one’s own body.
To modern ears these suggest a bygone era when superstition ruled and the light of scientific knowledge was dim. The time honored concept of treatment as facilitator of an innate process of healing has been replaced by the belief that treatment itself is the cause of healing and any recovery. Today most doctors and patients prefer drastic interventions that give quick relief. Admittedly treatment of chronic conditions is much more exciting – look at the popularity of hospital and operating room TV shows. Who would want to watch shows about doctors discussing food plans with patients!
As a guide, conventional high tech medicine is most appropriate in a crisis. It is effective for the diagnosis and treatment of severe illnesses and injury, diseases involving vital organs and other dire conditions. In general such cases are the minority and therefore returns on expensive equipment becomes much longer. What this translate to is not ordering MRI’s as the first means to evaluate knee pain or headaches. It means not prescribing anti-depressant drugs at first sign of sadness. It means not sending all patients with coronary insufficiency to operating rooms for angioplasty.
Numerous medical journals presented scientific studies which clearly shows that angioplasty without lifestyle intervention does NOT offer any advantage for the procedure and yet such surgeries are perform without any emphasis on lifestyle but perhaps a cursory mention of the importance of diet.
Such ‘high tech’ procedures are not only expensive but are risky. XRays and CT scans expose the body to ionising radiation [ c/w microwaving your body organs ] which increases risks for cancer. Mammograms can also be dangerous and thermography should be promoted instead. Some doctors promote routine CT chest scans to detect early lung cancer. I had a local gentleman who was diagnosed with lung cancer recently and his medical records shows 12 xrays and 2 MRI’s within a 12 month period. The ionising radiation exposure has probably contributed towards his tumour.
In addition indiscriminate use of new high tech scanners frequently turns up anomalous findings that have no clinical significance but still draw the attention of their doctors, making the patients even more anxious leading to more intensive and invasive testing. Patients in these situations are drawn into the world of hospital medicine where they are persuaded to accept unnecessary treatments with the end results of high hospital bills and sometimes grave physical harm.
Another case is point is the vested interest in profits. As an example, doctors consulted in multiple medical centres can have a choice of an angiogram or an MRI for a certain diagnostics. Selection of such choices can be biased not based on medical considerations but on where the money flows. An angiogram means the attending doctor gets more fees as it is his skills which are required, a MRI means that the money flows to the radiography department instead in a major medical centre. The typical patient will be oblivious to such considerations.
The doctors of today also practice ‘defensive medicine’ where such tests are ordered not for medical reasons but to protect themselves from the ever present threat of malpractice litigation in some countries. One of the worst aspects of over reliance on technology is the complacency it creates in patients where the general expectation is that everything can be fixed with a pill or procedure. Doctors has always tried to justify over prescription of antibiotics based on ‘to be on the safe side’ and same applies to countless other drug intervention.
To boosts sales on drugs, drug companies routinely sponsor doctors ‘educational trips’ to world class resorts. Such advertising can create a new overnight sensations before drugs are properly evaluated not only by researchers but by the doctors themselves. The arthritis drug Vioxx is such an example. It was marketed direct to consumers so aggressively that 100million prescriptions were written before ten studies reveal that it significantly increases heart attack risks and subsequently removed from the american marketplace.
Our doctors are NOT trained for behavioral change or lifestyle intervention, the real preventive medicine in preventive diseases and promote wellness. Doctors should teach by example to exemplify health and model healthy behavior for patients and others. Unfortunate the experience of medical school and residency training that follows make it rather difficult for doctors to develop or maintain ways of living to support good health. They go without sleep, eat dreadful cafeteria food and fast food available in most hospitals and give up regular physical activity. They get no instructions to managing stress but endure and learn to stifle their emotions. Neither are they taught to enquire about their patients’ lifestyle or how to coach them into making improvements in habits and addictions.
A typical patient overweight with high cholesterol and hypertensive goes to his doctor and is placed on a statin and the cardio trio. He enquires about Mediterranean diets and the doctor doesn’t know anything about that. He enquires about a referral for lifestyle intervention and the doctor can’t advise him either. You can’t blame the doctor; his medical education was deficient.
Technology can work wonders, particularly in a crisis but it is not the source of health and wellness and should not be overused or misused as it is happening now worldwide. As shown by Dr Barbara Starfield in her findings, iatrogenicity is the single largest ‘killer’ in modern medicine, higher than heart disease, diabetes and cancer combined !
Reverse your degenerative diseases through healing.
For a wellness consultation, contact the author at LivingWell Center for OrthoMolecular Medicine, Malaysia or livingwellMY@gmail.com