(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
5 thoughts on “Doctors: Good For Your Life Or…”
Thanks soooo much for this post. This information is vital and potentially life-saving.
My experience is that most doctors are far too wedded to conventional medicine as opposed to alternative remedies.
For example, our primary care physician is thorough and expert in examining and diagnosing a condition. Yet, when he prescribed aspirin to Don, and I gave him a list of five of Don’s dietary supplements that inhibit platelet aggregation, he said to stop taking the supplements and start taking the aspirin.
Another excellent doctor, when my liver enzymes were elevated, advised me to stop taking dietary supplements because they cause the liver to work harder. I researched each of my supplements, and while I did find some that pose a risk to the liver, I found several that were actually beneficial. I ended up stopping a few, increasing others, and taking others in small sublingual quantities.
Shortly after the above incident, the same doctor prescribed an antibiotic for a UT infection. I looked it up and it posed significant risks to the liver. I discovered another that was much better. I asked her to switch my prescriptions and she did.
I could go on and on, but I will not. I will, however, send you an article I wrote for CBS Healthwatch/Medscape about drugs that cause acquired Long Qt Syndrome.
Thank you for your informative and assuring post.
You are the only manager of your life, all the rest of the world are your advisors. If you wisely choose your friends your advisors, your information sources and your medical team, you will get very useful information that will help you in making your decisions and achieving your goals, including health and longevity.
My family, both father and mother generation lived to be close to or over 100 years of age. My last uncle died a month ago at 111, fully active untill few weeks before he died.
My father’s “advice” was that when he is sick, he goes to his doctor who presctribes him a drug. He pays the doctor’s fee because the doctor has to live then he goes to his pharmacy, gets the drug and pays for it, because the pharmacist has to live. Then he goes home throw the drug to the garbage because he has to live!
Me and my children are following (not strictly) his advice and also most of what you recommend in your post.
Your advice about use of drugs, dosage, side effects and interactions Is presented clearly. My approach is similar but much more careful about information presented by the drug company, Google, drugs.com etc.
I consider the information you get from the pharmacy or the drug package as containing mostly their legal protection against possible lawsuits, very little to do with your specific health condition. Moreover, the drug companies information and their doctor’s seminars and sales pitches are directed to make you continue to use the maximum tested dosage and continue indefinitely until you die.
Other internet sources, including Google and the other websites you mentioned are also biased. Google will present to you, at the top of the search list, links that will serve their purpose (revenue from advertisers, political or other considerations) not yours. The is with other search engines, social media or websites. Still those are available information sources and good ones if you read them carefully.
Thank you for the post and I hope that your readers will benefit from reading, considering and using it in managing their life.
Thanks again for “supporting the good for being good”
All I can add is that I heartily agree with you. It is vital to take a pro-active role in dealing with medical care for yourself. FWIW, I’ve been insured by Kaiser Permanente since the 1980s… and you can get rather good or rather poor care depending on how you use their system. (All in all, I’m satisfied with their service — and those that have complained about their service, often did not take a pro-active interest in their care.)
Key point is to always apply good Objectivist thinking and make your health care decisions for yourself. Do not simply “default” to “take the doctor’s advice without fully understanding all aspects of the condition and proposed treatment.” Finally, it’s important to keep in mind that some symptoms can be atypical and/or possible indicators of more than one affliction. Medicine is a science — but it is not an “exact” science. Finally, nearly every condition or illness has trade offs — so you need to consider what options are practical and what options are impractical or even impossible (for you) to endure.
That said, over the years I’ve experienced “truths” that you mention. When drugs are prescribed, dosage means a lot. Following a back injury, I was given Valium in a low dose as part of the treatment regimen. It was effective and I had no difficulty with it. Some years later, I was given a significantly higher dose following a surgery, intended to help relive the pain during recovery. The higher dose affected me with an “uncommon” side effect that actually magnified my pain and added pain to joints and muscles that were not in any way involved in the surgery! (Online research turned up this side-effect.)
I, too have discovered that online searches will (usually) deliver you to some good sources of information about particular conditions and drugs. I caution that starting with symptoms and trying to find a matching condition/disease can be very misleading and potentially upsetting. (No, the weird bump was not a deadly cancer, but rather a common skin lesion that was easily excised…) But, checking a physician’s diagnosis against the online information can be helpful as it can give perspectives that the typical medical consultation might pass over.
As a Traditional Naturopathic doctor for 22 years now, I help people to get off their chemical drugs and onto natural formulations. The Chinese herbs used have over 4,000 years of history and herbs from other countries have been in use for hundreds of years. I’ve gotten 4 people out of wheelchairs that were told that they would never walk again. None of my herbal remedies are FDA approved because they get you off the chemical allopathic drugs. I myself 24 years ago was overweight and on an asthma inhaler and several prescription drugs. I met a naturopathic doctor and took a chance and 6 months later I was down over 80 pounds and on no prescription drugs. Get your health back now before the FDA bans even more plants.
Always read the prescribing instructions *for physicians* (which you can find by googling) before you take a new drug. No doctor or pharmacist can be up on all drugs and all drug interactions.