Monday, February 11, 2013
Preventive Health Care: Does it Exist?
True preventive health care is nonexistent for most Americans. That's because traditional medicine focuses on treatment of symptoms, and that's not prevention. Our health care system operates like the old barn door ?it's left open and then the farmer tries to figure out why the horses ran off.
Preventive or "alternative" medicine is available, but it's not the norm. You have to be informed enough, open minded enough and have enough money to get it. If you find a traditionally trained physician who integrates alternative medicine into his or her practice, and still takes your insurance, you are in luck.
Most often you will not be in luck because alternative practitioners are usually fed up with the traditional system. Part of their gripe is dealing with insurance providers who dictate what medications the insurer will pay for. So doctors stop taking insurance. The result is that patients seeking alternative medicine must either pay the entire cost of care or do without.
Our overburdened health care system is controlled by the pharmaceutical and insurance industries. The pharmaceutical industry holds the "solution" (prescription drugs) to medical problems. That prescription drugs usually don't cure a condition doesnt matter. Drug companies are not interested in finding cures. A cured condition does not require medication. No profit it that!
However, it is profitable just to manage symptoms (high blood pressure for example) with medication for years, or until the patient changes lifestyle habits or the patient dies.
If you think about how long it is taking to find a cure for cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's and other devastating diseases, you must conclude that something doesnt add up. We are the most technologically and scientifically advanced country on the planet and it still takes forever to find cures.
Take the amount of time and money spent over the years to find a cure for cancer. Yes, there are cures (which often become relapses), but treatments that poison the entire body in an effort to get at the cancer and usually end up killing the patient are barbaric. There has to be a better way.
Look how long we have been dallying with Alzheimer's disease. Research money provided by corporations and advocacy organizations continues to fund the same unproductive "plaques and tangles" theory as the cause of AD.
At the same time, credible Alzheimer's research at universities (with the help of government funding ?not usually the pharmaceutical industry) clearly shows there is a probable answer to AD but more research needs to confirm preliminary findings. Why isnt promising research followed up by the entities that claim to want prevent or cure AD?
This brings me to a true story. The husband of a close friend, Mary, was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. In the early stage, he had some hand tremor but what was most disturbing to Mary was evidence of cognitive decline. A math whiz, her husband now had difficulty with simple arithmetic.
The doctor said medication was not yet indicated. He could offer nothing to help the cognitive problem. Mary asked if I knew anything that might help.
I had recently seen research that showed progression of Parkinson's could be slowed a staggering 44 percent by taking 1,200 mg. of CoQ10 a day. (Normal daily dose is 50-150 mg). The Life Extension Foundation protocol for treatment of Parkinson's indicates up to 3,000 mg daily. There are no known side effects or contraindications for high doses of CoQ10.
Mary started her husband on 1,200 mg a day and about two weeks later bumped up the dose up to 2,400 mg.
Within a month, her husband's cognition was almost back to normal. Was it luck? Was it a "miracle" that would have occurred without the CoQ10, or was it the CoQ10 that produced the benefit? Will the improvement last?
Shall we wait for Alzheimer's advocates or the pharmaceutical industry to fund adequate trials of CoQ10? We should not hold our breath. CoQ10 is not patentable.
When the traditional health care system fails us all we can do is take personal responsibility and act on our own behalf to the best of our ability.
Taking personal responsibility includes developing a prevention-oriented mindset ?learning how to stay well without reliance on a health care system that talks a lot about prevention but doesnt seem to know how to provide it.
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