Yesterday I went to the doctors. Again, for the million and tenth time. Every Friday I either have an appointment or some kind of medical procedure, but that's life.
Anyway, while I was waiting for my appointment, I overheard two women (I guess they knew each other) talking about their health problems. I joined in because their conversation was extremely interesting.
So what was so interesting? One of the ladies was actually a mechanical engineer and a constructor. Her story is very similar to mine. For years she has been feeling sick, but the doctors could not find anything wrong with her. She was told that all her problems were psychosomatic, that she needed to see a shrink, etc. The usual stuff.
So when she was totally fed up with the conventional medicine, she went to the public library and started reading everything about diseases and treatments. She also devised a special self-identification chart. It included the following: symptoms, treatments, treatment outcomes. She spent seven months figuring out what medicines she had an adverse reaction to and filling out the chart before she finally was able to diagnose herself.
Once she knew what she had, she went back to all those doctors and presented the lab test results with her unconfirmed diagnosis. All they had to do was to confirm she was right.
She also gave me two suggestions. The first one was never to take any medicine unless I am 100% sure it is right for me. She told me that doctors make mistakes all the time because they forget to check for other underlying diseases and do not rule things out.
The second one is to write down the name of all the medications that my body reacts to (as an allergic reaction) and never to take it again. She said that if a medication was prescribed to me, but I am allergic to that medication, it means that it was wrong for me and I have to stop taking it right away.
Now for the Paleo connection:
1. How bad the state of medical science has to be if ordinary people like me and that lady have to diagnose ourselves? Do you think this is normal? What the heck is going on?
2. Those doctors go to school for six or seven years. Then they have to do their residency permit. Well, why in the world don't they know things? Why is our medicine so compartmentalized? I thought our educational system is failing. Apparently, compared to the state of our medicine, our schools are doing just fabulous. Are there good doctors anywhere or all of them are like that?
3. What, if anything, can be done about it? How do we raise awareness about the importance of diet and stress reduction?
4. Is it worth fighting against the food giants with all their processed foods and sugar laden products or are we fighting a losing battle?
asked byVB (15515)
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on September 29, 2013
at 11:19 AM
A few thoughts, but this is a fascinating, multifaceted (and monumentally important) topic. I highly doubt that I will cover all that can be said/thought about it.
Biology, and our understanding of the human body, is still in its late infancy/early childhood.
Many problems also arise simply because:
- Many scientists/doctors/what have you do not approach the world from a perspective of being able to see the inherent truth.
- Much of "medicine"/"psychology" is highly flawed because it relies on a very specific, very biased sample size. It is rather like taking test subjects from a highly specific environment and making inferences from those test subjects about how **all** test subjects would behave in **any** environments.
- "Medicine", practiced by M.D.'s, is often aimed at making the acute manifestations ("symptoms") of something disappear. It also is very flawed in not taking a truly healthy human being as a baseline.
Rather, it takes relatively unhealthy human beings as baseline. ...In fact, there is often no concept of a "baseline", or a healthy human being.
This results in things like entirely missing nutrient/chemical deficiencies, or problems with methylation, as the first solution.
Human beings are, instead, treated as if they are constantly, mysteriously, "sick", and all that can be done is to mitigate it.
(I was horrified, by the way, when I was concerned about what was actually going on and had strong reflux [containing stool-colored substances] for the first time in my life (among other alarming things) -- a resident at the hospital ER wanted to prescribe an intravenous PPI. [I did not know what this was at the time but had read about low stomach acid & mistreatments for it cursorily]
...The resident seemed genuinely frustrated and confused as to why I would be worried about reflux (esp. of stools) / sharp pains ("heartburn") and not want to "try" various medicines.
When I surprisedly asked whether they wouldn't run any diagnostic tests first to see if they could pin down what was truly happening in the body first & root causes, (and whether I was actually in any danger at all) he said, "Well, our approach is generally, when a someone comes to us with symptoms... we try giving them some medications to see if we can make the symptoms go away. That's what we do here."
Another human being I know of has had to fight ER doctors to wrangle them into understanding that it was not the pain that was a concern. She did not want the pain to go away. She wanted to know whether her body was in danger of suffering any immediate or significant damage.) [i.e. what the pain & symptoms meant]
3) As for health, and taking care of oneself, it appears that -- sadly -- having intelligence and learning some portion of sciences or math (even being something "cool" like a rocket scientist is likely learned from a flawed, incomplete approach) does not protect one from: bad approaches to begin with, and a flawed approach to life.
A human being who is wise, perceptive, and truly intelligent (earnestly thinking/understanding/attempting to solve the mysteries of the universe, not simply able to reproduce the thoughts of others they've been given) will often get much farther in any endeavor than an "intelligent" rocket scientist/neurosurgeon with a flawed approach to their life. This is an elephant in the very large room of humanity which is rarely addressed.
All actions, thoughts, and conclusions are affected by the aptitude and wiseness of the person making them. For example, if Einstein were to somehow apply his considerable talents to biology/medicine (and was able to), his conclusions would likely be very "outside outside of the box" compared to even a rather intelligent but more 'normal' person.
Conversely, the world is full of people who are not good people -- personal weaknesses, misattributing cause and effect, generally insisting internally that it is not necessary to be aware of the truth... simply not strong. This is a big elephant (perhaps **the** biggest) among all human beings -- many human beings of today's world treat the topic of how strong another human being's approach to life truly is, and criticizing their own approach by the same standards, as taboo.
"Good" doctors/scientists/what-have-you (human beings at large) realize the necessity for a wide and varying ability to approach things. ...philosophy is not irrelevant to practicing healing. Nor is art, or business, irrelevant to impactive science.
Flawed approaches bleed into every aspect of life.
This means that it is largely every human being's "responsibility" to be able to make accurate judgements/thoughts about the universe - if not directly, then of others' judgements of and collected data regarding the universe.
There *are*, in fact, "good" doctors out there... probably. However, **their** approaches may be flawed, or incomplete. ...and, the world is also becoming such a large place that all the information we possess is not being used properly.
Until, and probably even after, the world adapts to the sheer volume of information in sciences and maths (This will likely require both a decentralization of knowledge as well as a far better approach & acknowledgement of all the uncertainties and potential errors in our currently available data) - you are best off being the aforementioned wise, aware, and earnest human being and (teaching yourself how to, if necessary) judging everything in the world -- medicine, health, conclusions... -- very carefully.
4) "How do we raise awareness about the importance of diet and stress reduction?
Is it worth fighting against the food giants with all their processed foods and sugar laden products or are we fighting a losing battle?"
I myself have wondered why the Wikipedia articles about GERD, or NSAIDS/proton pump inhibitors (can have dangerous side effects, and were originally never intended to be used for longer than 6 weeks, but seeing 10-year+ usage is quite common nowadays) don't have more information under headings such as "History ('of approaches to treatments?')" and "Possible dangers of treatments". <- Especially given that nasty side effects such as long-term erectile dysfunction, and lots of problems stemming from messing with proton pumping, which is essential to many processes in the body, are very common with long-term use.
Why, if there are facts which can be presented in an unbiased way, are human beings -- in the ancestral health communities, or otherwise earnest (and with more information than the general public) about health/the body -- not posting things to **extremely** high-traffic areas on the internet like Wikipedia, and continuing to discuss only on specialized forums & blogs such as this?
on September 29, 2013
at 05:32 PM
You're over-critical of doctors, they do know things, but I don't think many of them are great problem solvers. Medical training is more about memorization than critical thinking, the average GP do no scientific method in their practice. It's medicine by flow-chart, and I do recognise the deficiencies in doing it that way. Some folks can't be cured by flow-cart, but the overwhelming majority can.
It's an episode of House, everything starts out with the most likely diagnosis and gets increasingly obscure from there. When in doubt, treat for Lupus!
on September 29, 2013
at 11:34 AM
on September 29, 2013
at 05:47 AM
Three cheers for the ME that you met. She applied her analytical skills to her own problems and formulated a solution path. She was motivated and had the skills. Her advice is quite sound.
I happen to be an ME as well... for nearly 40 years, so far. First aerospace / defense R&D and then a civil / structural research lab. My career has been one of asking "why & why not" and developing answers.
Most MD's come from a bio background and in my academic experience, most are not the sharpest tools in the shed. Yes, modern western medicine can perform miracles but not if the diagnosis is wrong, as it too often is. When the diagnosis is wrong, the wonders of modern medicine will be misapplied and the results...not so good. :( Don't forget, they work on a system that is typically doing its best to fix itself. How many people work on systems that are self correcting?
When I choose an MD, I inquire as to their background. I want who can diagnose & admits when they don't know. I insist on being part of the process, if they're not amenable, I vote with my $'s & my feet.
My wife's autoimmune issues were misdiagnosed for nearly 20 years... remove this, take this pill, remove that, take these pills, oh... that;s back? remove it again. Don't complaint that you're not "getting better" and the side effects are nearly unbearable..... your symptoms are gone, right?
If your only tool is a knife...surgery is indicated. If your only tool is a prescription pad... pills are in order.
She switched to a real MD who practices alternative medicine and emphasis nutrition. She was put her on an anti-inflammatory protocol for nearly a year (no wheat, no dairy, no eggs, no peanuts, no nightshades, no sugar, no food additives, no fruit). "I'll have the wild salmon & greens"....again. Her condition improved immensely...no more steroids. Very similar to the fellow in "Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead".
However, in the MD's defense, "non-standard" / "non-mainstream" treatments put them at professional risk and the pressures to run their office like a prescription mill are immense.
I think that "trying to save the world" and "fight against the giant food companies" are laudable but generally unachievable goals. Stick with doing the best you can for yourself and the part of your family and friends that are receptive.
I've tried to nudge a Type 1 / Type 2 diabetic friend towards paleo type dietary changes but she keeps to the ADA suggestions.... including grains & fruit. She loves her sweet fruit and occasional junk. She says "what do you know, you're just an engineer". In year since her diagnosis, I've lost 30 lbs (220 to 190 @ 6') by diving into Blood Sugar Solution, 4 Hour Body, Primal Blueprint & finally PH. She's plodded along with "conventional wisdom" & ADA recommendations and has lost 0 lbs of body fat in the last year. I did experiments to see what worked & what didn't ...she just followed her doctors advice. I gave up... nagging does no good. Even a supreme example cannot sway a lot of people.
Trying to convince the skeptical is a huge effort, save your energy for the doable projects. Vote against the processed food companies with your $'s, spend them at the local farmers' market.
btw there are "good" doctors out there...you just have find a few.
Finally, I don't completely slam modern medicine, it has its place & its uses.
My surgeon was an egotistical jerk but his diagnosis was "spot on" and his skills with a knife were fantastic. He's surgical prowess allowed me to work back from a less than 100% functional right leg. I did the 6 months of work that got me out of a leg brace & off of a cane but he set the stage... I still have pain but without the surgery, I'd be a cripple. I've also had a number of injuries (again, my own stupidity, mistakes and misuse of my body) repaired & sewn closed. Again, I'd have died of infection or have a few substantially less than fully functional appendages.
on September 29, 2013
at 03:46 AM
The simple answer for me is that I fight for my family and myself to eat properly and use doctors as sparingly as possible. Trying to save the world from big business and corporate greed is impossible. Expecting a doctor to be familiar with all the intricacies of each medicine and it's interaction with other drugs and supplements and each patients individual needs is also expecting too much of them. They have enormous workloads and time constraints and education that is geared to bandaids on problems as opposed to finding the root causes. That my friend is our job, keeping watch on our own bodies.