some thoughts on medicine

As we have not done an essay on health concerns in some time, we offer these thoughts now.

Here are some chocolate covered strawberries.  Chocolate has some nutritional benefits.

 

chocolate covered strawberries

 

We have had doubts for years about the approaches used in treating disease and various medical conditions by Western medicine, especially medicine as practiced in the US.  So much of current medical care involves the prescription of powerful, synthetic, pharmaceutical drugs.   It does appear that in many instances these drugs are chemically instructing the body to shut down its symptoms.  Hence, a patient may feel better, even though he/she is still ill.  One may rightly question: do these prescribed drugs address the causes of the disease or medical condition?  Or, are these drugs only “treating” the symptoms?  If the cause(s) are eliminated, the symptoms will quite naturally disappear.

Many of these prescription regimens give rise to unpleasant side effects in patients.  It is not uncommon that additional prescriptions are prescribed to deal with these side effects.  Some individuals have claimed that side effects to prescription drugs are often the body’s way of telling us that it is still sick, and not well.

There is a legitimate need, and there are proper applications, for prescribed drugs.  The proper use of antibiotics saves lives.  Those who suffer from thyroid problems often need to take a synthetic hormone daily as part of managing their condition.  However, we seem to be suffering from a collective mindset that believes almost all physical and mental ailments can be “cured” by a magic bullet pill.  This is a fantasy.  (Anti-depressant drugs have been implicated in several instances of atrocious violence.  These do not appear to be safe either for the individuals taking them or for the society at large.)  You cannot “party” hard and abuse your health for years and then go to the doctor for a prescription to restore your health within a few weeks.

There is a tremendous profit motive at work behind the peddling, if not pushing, of prescribed pharmaceuticals.  The FDA approves these drugs for use in the US.  There are cases where only inadequate testing (as to safety) of these powerful drugs has been done. (An example of such a dangerous drug that was approved without adequate testing is Gardasil, the much hyped and touted vaccine against some of the strains of the HPV.  We noted this and included helpful links in an earlier essay under the Health category.)  It does not matter to the giant pharmaceutical companies as they factor in a certain financial cost for patient lawsuits in their budgets each year.  What is a $100 million payout to settle a class action law suit for a drug, when compared to the expected profits of a billion dollars over its product lifetime?

Natural remedies that make use of naturally growing herbs or adding certain seeds, nuts, fruits or vegetables to one’s diet are not made use of by many Western doctors as there is no profit in recommending these.  Similarly, as such remedies cannot be patented, the big drug companies are not interested in them except perhaps in asserting that such natural approaches do not or cannot work, and may even be harmful.  (It seems every few years the FDA is even attacking vitamins and other food supplements, and threatens to take away our right to buy and use these.)

The use of chemo-therapy in the treatment of cancer is problematic.  We have cancer cells in our bodies all throughout our lives.  A healthy, strong and properly functioning immune system destroys these cancer cells routinely.  When cancer takes hold and spreads that is a sure indication that one is dealing with a compromised immune system.  We are led to believe by doctors that chemo-therapy can help defeat the cancer in a patient.  It has a terrible track record here to be sure!  Common sense tells us that assaulting one’s body with very toxic chemicals when one already has a weakened immune system is not going to help the patient.  I have read of studies that show that if you opt for “chemo”, the odds are that you will die sooner and that your quality of life will be worse than if you decline to use it.

(In addition to these powerful chemicals in the prescription drugs we take, now we have to be concerned with our food supply becoming tainted by genetically modified grains (GMOs).  Man needs a little humility here and needs to stop tinkering.  His technology has outpaced his wisdom.)

We encourage readers to become informed health care consumers.  Do your own research before you go to the doctor.  (Online research can turn up many informative articles from credible sources.)  That way, you will be able to ask more relevant and important questions of your doctor(s).  When appropriate, get a second opinion as to both diagnosis and as to treatment options.  Consider natural and alternative therapies and regimens.  (Again, online research can help here.)  There are actually more than a few medical doctors that now realize and recognize the value (and potential benefits) in alternative therapies, even if only used as supplements to the standard, “orthodox” treatments.

“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” goes the old adage.  You can reduce your risk of getting various diseases by common sense lifestyle changes.  Proper diet and exercise help.  Obesity contributes to the risk of diabetes.  Smoking raises your risk of lung cancer.  Excess drinking of alcohol over many years destroys one’s liver.  Exercise regularly.  You do not have to run or jog.  Walk a few times each week for at least 30 minutes.  Eat more fruits and vegetables.  As to eating meats, do so in moderation as the body takes longer to digest meats.  Reduce junk food and sodas in your eating.

We do not believe in giving modern doctors the deference due a medieval priesthood. Doctors are not all-knowing and never will be.  They make mistakes.  Keep that in mind when you are a patient.

Thanks for reading.