Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Do Most Doctors REALLY Practice Preventative Medicine and Search For The Cause Of What Ails Us?

Image courtesy of Getideaka at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

This is a post I've been thinking about for awhile, and have stopped and started a few times.  I know it's going to be controversial.  I know some people are going to disagree or maybe even be outraged.  Before you judge, though, please just hear me out.  The point of this post is not to bash our medical community (I have friends that are doctors and nurses and they are wonderful people), but to inform and to make you think and give you questions to go to your doctor with.  Keeping that in mind, I hope you read this with an open mind.  Thank you!

Do most doctors really practice preventative medicine and search for the cause of what ails us?  
This is a hard question to answer.  I truly believe that most think they do.  I think they mean to.  I think they do the best they can for their patients.  I think that most want to help and take their Hippocratic Oath seriously.  

However, despite their best intentions, I think I have to be honest and say that most doctors do not practice preventative medicine or search for the cause of what ails us.

How can I say that?  Well, let's think about this for a minute.  If you go to your doctor for a well check, what do they do?  They ask you how you're feeling, order some standard blood work, listen to complaints or lack there of and do a physical.  This is great!  They seem to be covering all the basics, right?  Yep.  It seems like they are doing all the right things.  I would say, according to their training, this is preventative medicine and seeking out the cause of what ails you (if you had any complaints).

But is it really?

I mean, they are doing the bare minimum here because that's all they are required to do at this point.  They will look over test results, they will look for abnormalities, they will adjust tests according to what your complaints are, and this seems good enough, but is it?  I mean, they are doing all the standard things, but is doing what is standard all they can do?

My answer to this question?  No.

Now here's the kicker:
Should they do more than standard?
My opinion?  Yes.
Insurance opinion?  No.
Doctor's opinion?  Varies from doctor to doctor.
Your opinion?  Only you know the answer that.

Let's discuss a few true-to-my-life scenarios here to look a bit deeper into this debate.

Real Life Scenario #1:
When I was around 14 years old, I was plagued with sickness for about 4 months or so.  I would run fevers, have severe stomach aches/pain and a whole host of other symptoms.  Every time I went to the doctor's office, they were sure that I had appendicitis, so they'd do blood work.  Because my white blood cell count was only elevated and not high like they normally see in appendicitis, they ruled it out.  I did several specialized and horrible tests.  I had tons of blood work.  I saw at least 6 different doctors.  Every last one initially thought appendicitis until they did their tests.  I was ruled essentially a medical mystery because the diagnosis they expected based on symptoms didn't match up with the test results.

At the end of the 4 months, they were talking about doing a spinal tap to rule out leukemia, a colonoscopy to see if there was something there, and they were even talking about doing some tests to rule out a type of lead poisoning.  My mother begged, and I do mean begged, the doctor to do an exploratory surgery to check my appendix, ovaries, uterus, etc. before putting me through all those medical procedures.  The doctor agreed that he had done enough in the insurance's mind to warrant such a procedure (let that statement sink in), and agreed to do it.  He also agreed to remove my appendix regardless of what else he found.

During the surgery, the doctor saw nothing out of the ordinary.  My appendix was a little longer than normal, but looked fine.  He removed it anyway, resolving to do a biopsy on it just to be 100% certain it was fine, and then checked out everything else.  My ovaries were a little enlarged, but nothing that couldn't be explained by normal female cycle things.  Finding nothing amiss, he stitched me up fully resigned to having removed my appendix in vain and having to tell me that we'd have to do all those not-so-fun tests after I'd healed up enough to do them.  He did not enjoy telling us this, and we understood, but deep in my heart and deep in my mom's heart, we knew that the appendix had truly been the problem and were convinced that the biopsy on the appendix would prove that.

Later that day, after the biopsy came back, the doctor came back shaking his head in surprise.  He said, "I can't believe it.  Your appendix was full of infection.  You indeed did have acute appendicitis.  It looked so normal, I would never have guessed it was infected.  I'm glad we removed it when we did."

After that surgery, all my symptoms went away, and I was healthy again.

The moral of this story:  All the doctors thought it was my appendix that was making me sick.  Because the procedures and the blood work that insurance - INSURANCE,  not the doctors - insisted the doctors rely on above symptoms and presentation were inconclusive, I could not get the surgery I needed.  The INSURANCE (a very good one, I might add), insisted on more and more and more tests until we had done enough testing to justify an exploratory surgery and warrant the removal of the appendix without the tests being definitive.  Though the doctors believed I was sick, knew I wasn't lying, knew that everything was pointing to my appendix being the issue, the INSURANCE dictated what they could and couldn't do.  THAT is a scary thing right there.

Only a doctor should be able to make decisions about your health and wellness, and that their hands are tied is terrifying.  

This alone proves my point that most doctors don't practice preventative medicine or search for the cause of what ails us, NOT because they don't WANT to but because they CAN'T.  They have to jump through hoops, too, and that's just ridiculous.

Real Life Scenario #2:
My recent experience with chiropractic care has been a real eye-opener to me.  I had weakness in my limbs, inability to move, and other symptoms that mimicked MS.  Now, I'm going to be careful here and say that I still don't have a diagnosis, but chiropractic care has helped a majority of my symptoms.

Do you know why I went to a chiropractor?  Because the only thing that looked off on my MRIs was the alignment/condition of my spine.  My other doctors were dismissing the issues with my spine as "normal aging", and really didn't think a chiropractor would help, but told me I was welcome to try it.  I thought that their reasoning was odd, and decided that I would indeed give chiropractic a try.  I never imagined the difference it would make.  I trusted my gut and pushed for healing by finding a good chiropractor that practiced holistic medicine, and it made a huge difference!

How many time do we ignore our instincts to check further into things simply because a doctor has told us (s)he can't see how such a small thing could make such a big difference?
How many times are we told not to worry about something being just a little off because it could be "perfectly normal"?  Here's what I think about that: If something is off and it isn't sitting right with you, especially if you feel poorly and there is even the slightest chance that that small thing could be the cause, look into it further!  You never know - you could find the cure is closer than you think!

Real Life Scenario #3:
I've talked about this before here, but people have cured or managed illnesses with diet and life style changes.  I've been able to help keep my Fibromyalgia at bay by following my rules with food, exercise, environment, etc.  I know other people who have done so, too, and even cured themselves.  THAT is telling.

IF people have been able to cure themselves of Fibromyalgia, Autism, Epilepsy, etc., HOW can a doctor or group of doctor's say that it is impossible to do so in every case?
HOW can they say you can only treat the symptoms?  HOW can they say they can't know what triggered it?  HOW can they say you will never get better?  How can they say those things when there is so much evidence to the contrary?

They call it practicing medicine because things are constantly changing and evolving in the medical world.  There are new studies, new findings and new advancements nearly daily.  Unfortunately, there is big money in medicine.  There is big money in testing.  There is big money in anything medical...Except for healing.  If you are well, then there is no need for doctors or medicine.

Is it the doctors that are keeping us from healing?
In some cases, yes, in others, no.  I think most truly strive for full health of their patients.  I think they try to work themselves out of a job.  Unfortunately, most are trained to do the bare minimum and only search further into something if the basic tests are truly abnormal.  If they are on the fence or you have the symptoms and the tests don't support the hunch the doctor has EVEN IF NOTHING ELSE FITS THE SYMPTOMS or don't fit them as well as the hunch, they don't pursue it further UNLESS YOU INSIST, and even then only if you have a good doctor.  Why is this?  Because they are afraid of being sued or the insurance says they can't unless they do thus and so first.

Now, let's think of this:
What would happen if insurance wasn't involved?

What if doctors were allowed to do the tests they truly deemed necessary knowing that the insurance would back it because they'd trust the doctor to do tests for the right reasons?

What if there were more doctors out there who looked into the way food effects the body?

What if they realized that GMOs and additives affect everyone negatively, at least a little bit, and that processed foods and artificially ingredients are what are making us sick and fat?

What if they instructed us to keep food diaries and monitor our symptoms and see if we could find parallels?

What if they were allowed to practice truly preventative medicine?

What if they were allowed to follow their gut instead of wait on insurance red tape?

What if, when doctors suspected say a thyroid issue, they were allowed to do all of the blood work associated with the thyroid, not just the "gold standard" of TSH?  If this had been the case with me, my Hashimoto's would've been discovered when I was a child, if not a baby, not when I was 15, and certainly it would've been treated well before I turned 30.  Imagine the difference in my life had that been the case - more focus, less weight issues, and who knows what all else.

What if doctors would screen children for the genetics that show a child is more prone to Autism if they have certain vaccination BEFORE they gave them the vaccinations?  
What if they could go to the parents and say, "Your child has this and that gene that makes them more prone to vaccine injury if they have this vaccine.  Do you want them to have it?"  How many less cases of autism would there be?  

What if doctors would check children for food sensitivities as well as food allergies?
What if they had a parent keep a record of everything that happened when a child was given wheat?  What if they told them to not only look for rash or anaphylaxis, but also for changes in behavior or tummy aches or pain?  How many less issues would we have with Celiac's disease?

What if doctors trained patients to see the advantages of eating as unprocessed as possible?
What if pressure was put on the food industry to use non-GMO ingredients and to go more natural and get rid of chemicals and additives that are proven to cause health issues?  What if the pressure was put on the manufacturers to change instead of leaving the doctors to fix the damage that could have easily been prevented if people had just known the truth about how the alterations in our food supply can affect and has affected us?

What if the FDA stopped thinking that they had the right to dictate to the world that certain food derivatives are "safe" for those with allergies (like soybean oil or soy lecithin being "safe" in the case of a soy allergy), so companies couldn't lump those "safe" things under "natural flavors" or skip placing them on an allergen label?
What if the FDA stopped having the right to say that things were "safe" up to so many millionths of a percent, so companies were forced to list all ingredients used no matter how small the amount instead?  What if the FDA stopped saying anything artificial or chemical was "safe for human consumption"?

What if companies had to list the truth?
What if they had to say that yes, their food contained ____ , even if it was minute?  How many deaths could be prevented?  How many companies would change?  How much better off would we be?

When did we decide that a cooperation, a business, had the right to dictate what is right for us or good for our health?
When did we decide that we would stop thinking for ourselves?  When did we decide that life was less important than the almighty dollar?

Makes you think, doesn't it?

You see, it's not that doctors don't MEAN to practice preventative medicine or that they don't want to search for the cause of what ails us.  They mean to.  They try to.

The problem is that their hands are tied just as much as ours are.

Whether it be by choice, tradition or bureaucratic red tape, doctors are limited in the ways they can treat patients when it comes to preventative care.

So, what's the solution?

Educate yourself.

Research the benefits of finding out how food affects you, and consider keeping a food diary.

Research the benefits of exercise, and what types are most beneficial to you and your current situation.

Research everything.

Once you've done that, find a doctor you can trust, talk to and who is not closed minded.  After that, work with anyone trying to change the shift in power from business to the individual in terms of health.  Write letters.  Sign petitions.  Get your voice heard.

Together we can change the future.

Think about the world you want your kids to grow up in or even your grandkids.  Think of all the diseases, autoimmune disorders, allergies, etc. that are in the world today that weren't here just 30 years ago.  You can look back and tell yourself that those things were always here, we just didn't know, and you would be partially correct.

However, most cases of illness or chronic conditions, or maybe even all of them, are completely preventable or curable if we were to change our diets and dig deeper into our medical pasts and genetics.

How many times do we hear of "miracle diets"?  How many times do we hear amazing stories of healing?  They are all over the place.  I've shared some here.  

You say, though, "But that diet or those things didn't work for me."  Here's why: our bodies are individual.

NOTHING is universal - not treatments, not diets, not lifestyles.

You have to figure out what helps YOU.  We are unique.  Yes, some things are good for everyone and will help, like avoiding GMOs or highly processed foods and artificial ingredients, but some of us can have milk and others can't.  Some things are deadly for you and not for me.  Some people can't eat meat, others can.  Do you see what I mean?

The medical community needs to stop putting us inside a box.  No two people are the same.  I do think that tests need ranges of normal and abnormal, BUT if all the symptoms point to one thing and the tests are inconclusive, those tests should NOT be the determining factor on whether you get treatment or not 100% of the time.  If my doctor had not had the wisdom to think outside the box when I was a teenager, I'd be dead from a burst appendix.

Also, just because a doctor has success in treating a symptom does not mean (s)he should stop looking for the cause.  The patient should be saying, "Something caused my body to be out of align, to have this symptom, so help me find out what it is."

Knowing the cause leads to the cure.

We need to stop being content to treat symptoms or dealing with health issues as they arise.  We need to start looking into causes of illness more and into keeping our bodies at 100%, not being content if they are running at 90% - any missing percentage in performance should be a cause for concern, and can point to something much more sinister if left alone long enough.  The Domino Effect is very much a real thing in the scope of our well-being.

Anyway, I know this has been a long post, so I'll end with this:

Because doctors cannot normally practice preventative medicine like they would like to due to insurance red tape, it is up to us to be our own advocates.

We have to ask questions, demand answers, keep food diaries, note changes in how we feel, insist on being seen when we know something just isn't right, etc.  It is your health - your life - and you have the right to insist that your body be performing at 100% whenever possible or to figure out why it isn't.  This doesn't mean that you have to pay for things out of pocket as far as testing goes necessarily, but it does mean that you will have to do your research to see what can be done testing-wise and/or to see if there is a natural alternative that may help (i.e. diet change, lifestyle change, exercise change, chiropractic).  You will often find that there are more choices than just "treat the symptoms".  You may just find a cure if you push hard enough to find the cause and don't just settle for close enough.

If you need any assistance on learning to become your own health advocate, I am more than willing to help.  Just send me an email, and we'll work towards bettering your health together.