Tuesday, January 18, 2011

What's Safe in Medicine Today?

As I expected, my blog about vaccination has drawn the most ire from some people and also the most comments.  That's one of the reasons that I wanted to talk about safety issues in medicine this week.  Vaccines aren't the only portion of western medicine that need to be looked at as being harmful to your body and to society as a whole.  However, with that said, there are some safe options available as well.

I first want to state that I in no way intend to bash the western medical world as a whole.  There is a time and place for western medicine, especially in the event of trauma and life threatening illness.  However, where the western medical world has gone wrong in my opinion is that they take these same acute injury principles and apply them to non acute situations.  Perfect example being in most Type 2 Diabetes cases.  There are many medical doctors out there who jump to prescribing insulin, Metformin, or other drugs to help with blood sugar levels.  But, when you look at the actual physiology and research about Type 2 Diabetes, you will see that the best way to reverse and stop the effects of Type 2 Diabetes in most cases in by a healthy diet and exercise routine.  You should ALWAYS try a healthier alternative to fixing a problem before drugs or surgery unless it is a life or death situation.

The reason that you should start with a more "conservative" treatment is because of all the adverse effects of drugs and surgery.  Around 200,000 Americans will die due to adverse effects of prescription drugs this year.  If that number seems high, you can check for yourself.  The information is out there, it's just not being distributed.  That number doesn't even include death due to surgery mishaps, over the counter drugs, or international statistics. 

Also, there is a reason that the average older American is on 8 prescription medications.  Most often it's because one drug will have a severe or quality of life depleting side effect.  Therefore, they will give you another drug to stop that side effect which will typically have another side effect so they give another one and so on.  If you ever want to know some of the side effects of the more popular drugs, just sit and listen to one of the many ads on TV or radio and pay attention to the "____________ may cause...".

But not all treatments have all of these deaths and side effects right?  If you look at the "alternative medicines", you'll find that most are very safe and, in a lot of circumstances, just as effective if not more effective. 

Chiropractic, for example is one of the most safe modalities of health care out there.  There are reports of minor side effects in as few as one in 3 million treatments, others show fewer than that.  One way to look at it is to compare the malpractice insurance that doctors and other medical personnel pay each year.  Malpractice insurance is a requirement to practice medicine of any kind and it's in case something "bad" does happen under your care as a doctor.  Many medical doctors pay tens of thousands of dollars each year for their malpractice insurance, depending on their profession.  My malpractice insurance is about $1400 a year.  The reason that there is such a discrepancy is because chiropractic has far fewer cases of adverse events than western medicine, and there's the numbers to prove it.

So, before you pop that next Lipitor or get scheduled for your next surgery, ask yourself if you have tried other less invasive treatments and if the side effects are really better than trying to live a healthier life.

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