Sunday, July 3, 2011

More Healthcare Means Less Health

We are a nation of druggies. We have come to believe that whenever something in our bodies is off-balance, we can simply take a drug to cover up the uncomfortable symptom(s) of that imbalance. This is not only foolish, it is very dangerous. Here are some statistics from Dr. Mercola's article on the subject of over-medicating by U.S. physicians:

The average American, aged 19 to 64, now takes more than 11 prescription drugs, according to the latest statistics from the Kaiser Health Foundation. Not even children are spared from excessive drugging, and seniors are taking a downright frightening number of medications.

The average annual prescription rate for children and seniors in the United States is now:

Almost 4 prescriptions per child (age 0-18)
More than 31 prescriptions per senior, aged 65 and over

This is the product of a medical system that offers little in the way of disease prevention and non-drug alternatives, and is challenged to think beyond drugs when a person comes in with a medical complaint. That is why the new report Principles of Conservative Prescribing, by Dr. Gordon Schiff, associate director of the Center for Patient Safety Research and Practice at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston, is a breath of fresh air in a drug-saturated medical paradigm.
Here is the link to this article on Dr. Mercola's website: New Study Finds Doctors are Massively Overprescribing Drugs.

My own mother is an example of this overprescribing. I did a complete evaluation of her health when she turned 80. In Chinese medicine, we do a complex evaluation of the body's various pulses to determine the health of various bodily systems and organs. She had the pulses of a 40 year old. I was very happy for her. She did have some health problems (osteoarthritis, hayfever, migraines), but compared to most people her age, she was in great shape.

Two years later, she is feeble, and may lose a foot because of poor circulation. What is the difference? She is on 9 medications now. Her doctors are prescribing at least six drugs to prevent conditions she doesn't even have yet! That is more than ridiculous, it is bad science, and I am considering suing them for malpractice. There is no justification for that kind of overmedication. When someone is sick, their body is struggling. Instead of discussing with patients how they can support their body's built-in healing processes, physicians throw powerful drugs at the body, further challenging the body. Where is the logic in that? "Hit them while they're down." What kind of medical ethics is that? It boggles the mind.

One reason for many MDs' lack of interest in true healing is due to simple laziness. They no longer want to treat people by spending time with them, counseling them on how to maintain or regain their health. It is much quicker and less "dirty" than having to delve into a person's life and what might be causing their health problems. Just write a prescription, SO much easier!

Or perhaps it is because MDs have so little training (as in "none) in how to work with people to resolve their health problems through diet, lifestyle changes, etc. I am fairly certain that most physicians no longer even consider how the body works to right its own ship. They have completely forgotten to take into consideration how the homeostatic mechanisms built into the human body work to restore health when something has challenged the body. If you work against the body's natural methods of regaining its balance, of course you are going to make a person's health problems worse, much worse. That is only common sense.

I'm not the only one who believes this. Here is the abstract from a research study done by physicians at Harvard Medical School and the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine and College of Pharmacy:

Judicious prescribing is a prerequisite for safe and appropriate medication use. Based on evidence and lessons from recent studies demonstrating problems with widely prescribed medications, we offer a series of principles as a prescription for more cautious and conservative prescribing. These principles urge clinicians to (1) think beyond drugs (consider nondrug therapy, treatable underlying causes, and prevention); (2) practice more strategic prescribing (defer nonurgent drug treatment; avoid unwarranted drug switching; be circumspect about unproven drug uses; and start treatment with only 1 new drug at a time); (3) maintain heightened vigilance regarding adverse effects (suspect drug reactions; be aware of withdrawal syndromes; and educate patients to anticipate reactions); (4) exercise caution and skepticism regarding new drugs (seek out unbiased information; wait until drugs have sufficient time on the market; be skeptical about surrogate rather than true clinical outcomes; avoid stretching indications; avoid seduction by elegant molecular pharmacology; beware of selective drug trial reporting); (5) work with patients for a shared agenda (do not automatically accede to drug requests; consider nonadherence before adding drugs to regimen; avoid restarting previously unsuccessful drug treatment; discontinue treatment with unneeded medications; and respect patients' reservations about drugs); and (6) consider long-term, broader impacts (weigh long-term outcomes, and recognize that improved systems may outweigh marginal benefits of new drugs).
And here is the link to this abstract, which you can print or email to your own physician for comment: Principles of Conservative Prescribing.

And here is a link to an article published in the Archives of Internal Medicine entitled, "Less is More: How Less Healthcare Can Result in Better Health": Please print a copy of this article and give it to your doctor. You can be certain she or he has no idea of the harm they are doing.

Let's all do our best to usher in a new era of natural healthcare!

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