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Old 11-14-2011, 07:22 PM
 
10,139 posts, read 23,282,770 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robyn55 View Post
What kind of health care plan are you in (Medicare or otherwise)? Perhaps you need another one. Or to interview/research doctors in your area with the same time/enthusiasm you'd put to work when buying a new car. I am much more picky about my doctors than I am about my cars . Robyn
I'm in Medicare but I have a real good friend who is an ER MD but I needed someone with a GP office base so if I get sick I ha e someone to refer me into a hospital. I only spent one night in the hospital in my life for toncils 40 years ago. But I didn't want to not have a GP with privileges somewhere.

I don't take any RX except acute meds for infection, etc.
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Old 11-14-2011, 07:26 PM
 
48 posts, read 38,702 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robyn55 View Post
What is sillier than having blind faith in doctors or drug companies is having faith in what anyone says anonymously on an internet chat board.

I think most people here know my background. A retired lawyer who did a lot of medical-legal work. A somewhat (I'd like to think) intelligent consumer of health care as well. But does that make me a good health care professional? No way. I am just probably an 8 or so on a scale of 1 to 10 when it comes to non-professionals. And about a 5 on a scale of 100 when it comes to real professionals.

So what is your background? Inquiring minds want to know. Robyn
I have been interested in health all my life, have read a lot about it, have known people with all the typical health problems. I believe in a more holistic approach, and our medical industry has become dominated by the drug industry. The drug companies have enough money to be powerful and influential. We are brainwashed to think medical science is above being influenced by money and politics, but it isn't. Wherever you find human beings, you will find situations that are less than ideal.

And I am a scientist so I know that scientific research and statistics can be very confusing and misleading, for the experts as well as for the general public. I read and I analyze and I think. No one here has any obligation to believe me, I am just expressing opinions formed over many years based on lots of evidence and information.

Modern medicine had several dramatic successes -- antibiotics, vaccines, anesthesia, etc. As a result the public began to worship MDs and believe anything they say, without trying to educate themselves. People, including MDs, started to believe that drugs are good for you.

Sometimes drugs are needed, but they should be avoided if possible. Antibiotics should only be used when really needed. And so many of the new drugs cause a lot of harm and little or no good. Older people are especially likely to be on a long list of drugs that may be harming them.

It takes years to find out if a treatment is really effective and safe. HRT was given to millions of women before studies showed it can be harmful. New drugs are constantly developed and given to patients in untested combinations over long periods. There is no scientific evidence to guide these decisions.
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Old 11-14-2011, 08:24 PM
 
Location: Next stop Antarctica
1,799 posts, read 2,429,147 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by songbird52 View Post
How much exercise do you consider plenty? 20 minutes 3 times a week -- that's what MDs used to recommend.
I do water aerobics once a week the other mornings i have a brisk walk for 30 mins. i also do a bit of gardening, never watch TV during the day. I'm also on a diabetic programme where i have 6 monthly blood tests and annual eye test plus an annual visit to the podiatrist.
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Old 11-15-2011, 05:54 PM
 
Location: Texas
14,078 posts, read 17,654,955 times
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Here's an interesting update on the efficacy of taking prescription drugs just because your doctor recommends it:

As I stated earlier, I won't take a Statin, even though it was prescribed for me because of my "nearly" high cholesterol.

Well..today, I went for a physical and guess what? My cholesterol was 195 and the doc said that was great.....and I haven't taken a single, solitary one of those Statin's!
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Old 11-15-2011, 07:02 PM
 
48 posts, read 38,702 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cushla View Post
I do water aerobics once a week the other mornings i have a brisk walk for 30 mins. i also do a bit of gardening, never watch TV during the day. I'm also on a diabetic programme where i have 6 monthly blood tests and annual eye test plus an annual visit to the podiatrist.
Have you done at least that much all your life? Or did you start recently? Sometimes people expect to make up for a lifetime of inactivity with a small amount of daily exercise, and when they don't get quick results, they rely on drugs instead, or in addition.
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Old 11-16-2011, 02:32 PM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,920,408 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wilson513 View Post
I'm in Medicare but I have a real good friend who is an ER MD but I needed someone with a GP office base so if I get sick I ha e someone to refer me into a hospital. I only spent one night in the hospital in my life for toncils 40 years ago. But I didn't want to not have a GP with privileges somewhere.

I don't take any RX except acute meds for infection, etc.
I'm not sure I'd pick a PCP that way. I guess because I go to a PCP on a regular (although not often) basis. And have only needed surgery twice in my life. If I need surgery in the future - who knows what kind it would be? And whether it would be done on an emergency or non-emergency basis (if you have an emergency and go into a hospital through an ER - your PCP won't have anything to do with it). I think when you get to a certain age - it's important to know your local hospitals (assuming you have more than one) - and have a good idea where you'd want an ambulance to take you if you had to call 911 for something like a suspected heart attack or stroke.

Also - the PCP who might be best for you might not have privileges at the hospital that might be best for you depending on why you needed a hospital. For example - my husband and I would probably use Mayo Hospital here for most things (or perhaps an out-of-town specialist/hospital if we wound up with something really exotic). But Mayo really isn't good for regular primary case. Our PCP doesn't have privileges at Mayo. But she trained at Mayo and can get us hooked up with the right kind of doctor at Mayo if we need one.

Best I can tell - the days of your family doc coming to visit you in the hospital are pretty much over. Many hospitals these days use in-house hospitalists who will handle your day-to-day medical needs (assuming you have any apart from the specific problem that put you in the hospital). Also - in general - most PCPs will have specialists they know and respect - people they'll refer you to if you need a specialist/hospital.

IOW - I think you may have more options when it comes to selecting a PCP than you might think you have. Robyn
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:17 PM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,920,408 times
Reputation: 6716
Quote:
Originally Posted by songbird52 View Post
...And I am a scientist so I know that scientific research and statistics can be very confusing and misleading, for the experts as well as for the general public. I read and I analyze and I think. No one here has any obligation to believe me, I am just expressing opinions formed over many years based on lots of evidence and information.

Modern medicine had several dramatic successes -- antibiotics, vaccines, anesthesia, etc. As a result the public began to worship MDs and believe anything they say, without trying to educate themselves. People, including MDs, started to believe that drugs are good for you.

Sometimes drugs are needed, but they should be avoided if possible. Antibiotics should only be used when really needed. And so many of the new drugs cause a lot of harm and little or no good. Older people are especially likely to be on a long list of drugs that may be harming them.

It takes years to find out if a treatment is really effective and safe. HRT was given to millions of women before studies showed it can be harmful. New drugs are constantly developed and given to patients in untested combinations over long periods. There is no scientific evidence to guide these decisions.
What kind of scientist are you?

I personally think the days of MD worship are over. OTOH - the internet can lead non-doctors to think they know more than they do. I have a cartoon on my bulletin board where one doctor says to another: "With the Internet, my patients come self-diagnosed, have second opinions and already belong to a support group."

I agree that people should try to get some basic knowledge about their problems and potential problems. If only because a little reading may help them to organize their thinking - and come up with a list of questions to ask the doctor. It saves both the doctor and the patient a lot of time. When it comes to elderly people who may have a tendency to forget things or to ramble (or younger people who aren't organized) - it may well be useful for a family member to help put together the list of questions - and to accompany the patient to a doctor visit.

I think older people frequently wind up with a laundry list of meds because they go to 4 doctors - and the 4 doctors all prescribe drugs without knowing what the other 3 are doing. It is unfortunate that we pay PCPs peanuts - because a PCP can play an important role in sorting out all the meds. I recommend to people with elderly parents that they tell their parents to put all the meds they're taking on the kitchen table - sort them all out - make a list of them - and then asking the main doctor for the parent at a visit whether any should be eliminated (or if a specialist should be asked whether a med he/she prescribed should be eliminated). Sometimes - an elderly person will get an Rx for something he or she should have used for 6 months or until X happens - but the Rx just keeps getting refilled for years with no follow-up. Note that we did this with my husband's late parents with good results.

Also - I have noticed that some pharmacies are now offering this kind of "pill inventory" service (often for a fee but the fee may well be worth it).

I also agree about statistics - but find that they are often used by the media in alarmist ways. For example - if a woman not on HRT has a 1 in 5,000 chance of developing breast cancer - and a woman on HRT has a 1.5 chance in 5,000 - you can be sure the headline will be "HRT INCREASES THE RISK OF BREAST CANCER 50%". Also - the mass media often doesn't discuss the "fine print" when reporting study results (or mention it at all). Like the fine print about some HRT studies applying only to women who have their female plumbing - not those who have had their plumbing removed.

OTOH - the media often tout new "miracle drugs" without explaining how sketchy the statistics underlying the studies are. Since my husband has MS - I always read about new MS drugs - and the hype frequently is much larger than the reality. Not to mention that most of these new drugs are enormously expensive - and - more important - have reasonably high incidences of very serious side effects. None of these drugs is currently approved for the kind of MS my husband has - but I don't think he'd take any even if they were approved. Because walking with a brace and a cane is better than a 10% chance of a catastrophic side effect. OTOH - if he were in worse shape - who knows what he would decide (after discussing everything with his MS doc).

With drugs - as with many things - everything is cost/benefit analysis. And - since there are thousands of diseases and medical conditions - and thousands of drugs - and millions of patients - I find it impossible to generalize and say "all people should avoid all/most drugs for everything that ails them" - just like I wouldn't generalize and say "all people should take all/most drugs for everything that ails them". One extreme seems as silly to me as the other. Robyn

Last edited by Robyn55; 11-16-2011 at 03:45 PM..
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:43 PM
 
Location: Ponte Vedra Beach FL
14,628 posts, read 17,920,408 times
Reputation: 6716
Quote:
Originally Posted by stillkit View Post
Here's an interesting update on the efficacy of taking prescription drugs just because your doctor recommends it:

As I stated earlier, I won't take a Statin, even though it was prescribed for me because of my "nearly" high cholesterol.

Well..today, I went for a physical and guess what? My cholesterol was 195 and the doc said that was great.....and I haven't taken a single, solitary one of those Statin's!
Is that really what your doctor said - that's great? I don't believe it. Unless your doctor isn't very talkative - or is treating you like a seventh grader.

For a couple of reasons. First - I assume the 195 number was total cholesterol. That is on the very high side of normal (which is 0-199). Also total cholesterol is just one of several things doctors look at when they evaluate cholesterol. There's the good cholesterol - the bad cholesterol - the ratio between the 2 - your triglycerides level - any other risk factors (overweight - high blood pressure - your (or family history of) heart disease - smoking - etc. - etc.).

Cholesterol levels: What numbers should you aim for? - MayoClinic.com

Just to give you 2 extremes. Person 1 has total cholesterol of 195. But relatively low levels of bad cholesterol - high levels of good cholesterol - a good ratio between the 2 - normal triglycerides - normal weight - normal blood pressure - doesn't smoke - no history of heart disease. I think most/many doctors would feel comfortable without meds there.

Person 2 has the same total cholesterol. But high levels of bad cholesterol - low levels of good cholesterol - a bad ratio between the 2 - high triglycerides - 40 pounds overweight - high blood pressure - smoker - history of heart disease. I think most doctors would prescribe meds there.

Of course - like I said - these are 2 extremes - and there are thousands of combinations in the middle. And I personally like to know - at least to the extent I can understand things - why my doctors recommend this - that or the other thing. A summary. Most patients have relationships with PCPs that extend over a period of time. And the more the summaries my PCP gives me make sense - the more faith and trust I put in her judgment. I'm probably at a 90+% confidence level now after about 4 years. Robyn
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Old 11-16-2011, 03:58 PM
 
Location: Texas
14,078 posts, read 17,654,955 times
Reputation: 7720
Quote:
Originally Posted by Robyn55 View Post
Is that really what your doctor said - that's great? I don't believe it. Unless your doctor isn't very talkative - or is treating you like a seventh grader.

For a couple of reasons. First - I assume the 195 number was total cholesterol. That is on the very high side of normal (which is 0-199). Also total cholesterol is just one of several things doctors look at when they evaluate cholesterol. There's the good cholesterol - the bad cholesterol - the ratio between the 2 - your triglycerides level - any other risk factors (overweight - high blood pressure - your (or family history of) heart disease - smoking - etc. - etc.).

Cholesterol levels: What numbers should you aim for? - MayoClinic.com

Just to give you 2 extremes. Person 1 has total cholesterol of 195. But relatively low levels of bad cholesterol - high levels of good cholesterol - a good ratio between the 2 - normal triglycerides - normal weight - normal blood pressure - doesn't smoke - no history of heart disease. I think most/many doctors would feel comfortable without meds there.

Person 2 has the same total cholesterol. But high levels of bad cholesterol - low levels of good cholesterol - a bad ratio between the 2 - high triglycerides - 40 pounds overweight - high blood pressure - smoker - history of heart disease. I think most doctors would prescribe meds there.

Of course - like I said - these are 2 extremes - and there are thousands of combinations in the middle. And I personally like to know - at least to the extent I can understand things - why my doctors recommend this - that or the other thing. A summary. Most patients have relationships with PCPs that extend over a period of time. And the more the summaries my PCP gives me make sense - the more faith and trust I put in her judgment. I'm probably at a 90+% confidence level now after about 4 years. Robyn

Yes, that's what he said. He also said my "bad" cholesterol was high, but OK for someone who doesn't have diabetes or hasn't had a heart attack, which I haven't.

The point is that had I just started taking the Statin's a few months ago when he prescribed it, it never would have come to light that my cholesterol levels are fine without them, and I'd have been subjecting my body to whatever evils Statin's have in store. He would have assumed that the readings had gone down because of the prescription and recommended I keep taking them. I wouldn't have known any better either. Worse, when the liver or muscle damage started to show, I'd have ended up taking some other class of drugs to offset that!

In the end, I would have ended up poisoning my body for no good reason.

Never, ever, ever, ever, EVER start taking a maintenance medication, prescription or OTC, just because someone says you should, even a doctor.
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Old 11-16-2011, 05:43 PM
 
48 posts, read 38,702 times
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I find it impossible to generalize and say "all people should avoid all/most drugs for everything that ails them" - just like I wouldn't generalize and say "all people should take all/most drugs for everything that ails them". One extreme seems as silly to me as the other. Robyn
You must have noticed I was careful to say that some drugs have been very effective, such as antibiotics and vaccines. They shouldn't really be called "drugs" but we have been referring to medical chemicals in general as drugs, so you know what I mean.

The miraculous effects of antibiotics and vaccines in curing or preventing certain common infections made people overly enthusiastic and hopeful about modern medicine.

So many other kinds of chemicals are ineffective or harmful, and there is a lot of careless thinking. For example, high cholesterol is associated with heart disease, so MDs have jumped to the conclusion that lowering cholesterol with chemicals prevents heart disease.

Another example which I find distressing is treating fibromyalgia with drugs such as Lyrica. Patients are probably expected to take this for many years or for life, since it only treats symptoms and does not address the cause.

And similarly for anti-depressants -- they do not help restore mental health, and in fact patients can be much worse off if they take them for a long time and then try to stop. And even though no one knows the long term effects, many young people are taking them.

And Robyn, you need to know what kind of scientist I am because you don't believe anyone who questions mainstream science or medicine could possibly be knowledgeable. Whatever kind of scientist I say I am, you won't believe it and/or you will say it doesn't qualify me to have opinions on health. I only mentioned it because I have noticed that MDs often do not understand statistics any better than the general public.
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