(Since many of my family and friends are advancing in age, I thought this post may be helpful. I do hope it is.)
Generally, doctors are very smart, hard-working, and conscientious—and incredibly busy. Their knowledge and skills vary widely.
Obviously, doctors can be outstanding, caring, life-saving professionals. Or on the other hand…
Generally, the advice that doctors give is credible, science-based; however, some of it can be mistaken (doctors, just as lawyers, can be ultracrepidarians), and sometimes their advice is harmful, or even deadly. There are many cases in all three categories. (I note that the medical profession has damaged its reputation severely because of the prognostications and propaganda regarding the Covid pandemic.)
I’ve come to realize: The best doctor is ourselves.
I don’t mean that we should literally practice medicine on ourselves. What I mean is that, first, we take responsibility for our own health and fitness—that’s fundamental. Without that, no other medical practice can be effective. That translates into never taking a doctor’s advice without verifying it as best we can with Dr. Google (😊), my favorite doctor. Doctors won’t, and can’t, tell us everything about a problem or medication. We need to check for ourselves. Never put anything into your body, no matter who’s advising it, without checking it out. Some websites I’ve used: drugs.com, rxlist.com, webmd.com, and many other respected websites.
Dosages: Dosages are one of the most important issues. A dose can vary widely depending upon age, race, gender, condition, and much more; that’s why a doctor’s judgment is necessary. But even there…read about the dosages, the ranges that have been tested, and see if the doctor’s recommendation makes sense to you. If not, then usually the lowest effective dose is the correct dose, but what is that? Then you have to be sure that the dose is effective, so it may need to be increased.
Dosages are one of the trickiest questions. One might also look for studies about using a lower dose for a particular medication and how that affects the efficacy, and how that affects side effects. Sometimes one can take a medication every second day, or every third day, or in some cases, once per week, or maybe once every two weeks, which may be sufficient.
Side effects: Side effects are an important issue. When we take any new medication, we should check out the side effects carefully—for a relevant period, be sure to be aware of any changes in our body, or our mental functioning. Most side effects can be safely ignored, but some…
Interactions: It’s important to check for interactions between medications and supplements. Some cannot be taken together at all, some need to be taken at different times, and some reduce the effectiveness of others and maybe an alternative is advised. All of this information is readily available on these websites, and they’re really very easy to follow—particularly those such as webmd.com or drugs.com.
Information: A vast amount of information can be found reliably online. (Some sites masquerade as clinical information when really they are oriented towards advertisements rather than facts and evidence.)
Carl B. Barney
March 26, 2022