The Quality of Your Health Will be Determined by the Quality of Your Questions

Written by Changing Habits

October 26, 2011

The over diagnosis of healthy individuals is becoming more of a health epidemic than many other diseases – become informed.

Do you ever wonder why when when you see a drug advertisement that they always end the advert to consult your doctor, if symptoms persist or to get the prescription?

Or do you ever wonder when there is a public campaign for men, to ‘get healthy’ the advice is to see your doctor for a checkup?

What if this advice may be something that will make you sicker rather than healthier or prevent disease.

There is a new study out that shows that the over diagnosis of healthy individuals is becoming more of a health epidemic than many other diseases.

Ray Moynihan, senior research fellow at Bond University and author of Selling Sickness and Sex, Lies and Pharmaceuticals says that over diagnosis of healthy individuals in the US wastes nearly $200 billion a year.

Research suggests one-third of people diagnosed with asthma may not have the condition, up to one in three breast cancers detected through screening may never have led to symptoms and some women at low risk of breaking bones are being harmed by osteoporosis treatment.

Contrary to popular notions that cancers are universally harmful and ultimately fatal. Some cancers can regress, fail to progress or grow so slowly they will not cause harm before the individual dies from other causes.  Such cancers include prostate, breast and thyroid cancer, the bulk of which will never harm. The over diagnosis trend is being driven by the cultural belief in early detection and fed by a deep faith in medical technology. Vested interests are also to blame, along with legal and health systems that punish under diagnosis or punish parents for not following medical advice.

The biggest selling drug in history is Lipitor (cholesterol lowering drug).  Just 17 years ago only 4.7% of the Australian population over the age of 45 was on this medication.  Now more than 30% over the age 45 are now taking cholesterol lowering drugs.  These drugs have many side effects including muscle wasting, sexual dysfunction, dementia and diabetes.  

This jump in prescriptions was mainly due to the fact that diagnostic criteria changed and the upper limit of so called “safe cholesterol levels’ was lowered bringing into the net more people who required this so called ‘life saving’ medication.

Fear mongering by some doctors telling people with cholesterol levels over 6.18mmol/dl that they will die the next day from a heart attack, causes haste to get you on medications and important questions are not asked regarding cholesterol levels.  Here are some that I’ve come up with to ask your doctor and yourself before you even considering taking medications with such horrific side effects and no proof that they extend life and quality of life.

The quality of your health will be matched by the quality of your questions to your doctor and yourself? 

  • Is high cholesterol proven to be a bad indicator of total health? 
  • Do our cholesterol levels change from day to day week to week?
  • It there really such a thing as good and bad cholesterol, or is it a homeostatic mechanism in the body? 
  • Do you live longer using statin drugs or does it just lower your cholesterol? 
  • Is cholesterol really an indicator of cardio-vascular disease? 
  • What percentage of people with heart disease have low cholesterol? 
  • Does the body need high cholesterol levels in times of stress? 
  • Does the cholesterol we eat make any difference to blood cholesterol? 
  • How much cholesterol will the body make if I eat no cholesterol? 
  • Is there another reason why cholesterol might be high? 
  • Is the body really that black and white – high cholesterol – heart disease, low cholesterol – no heart disease? 
  • If my brain is 80% cholesterol then why is cholesterol bad?
  • Are there side effects to Statin Drugs – if so what is the complete list?
  • Can you guarantee that if I don’t take the medications that I will die tomorrow of a heart attack or are you just scaring me with fear?
  • Ask your doctor whether they would take the medications?
  • Would diet help?
  • Would a traditional hunter gatherer diet make a significant difference?
  • Do I need my thyroid tested, could that have something to do with why my cholesterol is high?
  • Could it be an iron and copper deficiency that is causing my cholesterol to be high?
  • Perhaps it is the lack of antioxidants in my diet that may be causing my LDL to oxidise, therefore staying in my blood longer?
  • Should I try a diet high in antioxidants before I use the medication?

In order to ask these questions some knowledge about the intelligence of your body and the health crisis is at hand is required.  Any ailment you have should have a list of questions to ask in order to make sure that you are doing the right thing.  After all you have only one body, and respect should be shown to it at all times.

Sir Michael Marmot, the UK epidemiologist who proved that social status and power have a direct effect on human health says that the more education a person has and the more they are in control of their life and the more healthy they will be.  Sir Michael Marmot believes that ignorance and social status is killing people with sickness issues.  Become informed, be in control of your health or find someone who can answer your questions and is informed.
If your doctor does not have the answers to these questions then I would guess that he does not have the latest knowledge on cholesterols role in the body and as Ray Moynihan would suggest is being seduced, wined and dined by drug company reps with well-funded non independent drug research.  I was also told recently that doctors who refuse to prescribe medications are being threatened with cancellation of their medical license (this is happening in my town).
I was at a friend’s place the other night and her 20 year old daughter had her braces tightened a couple of days previous, she was suffering from a sore throat and not feeling well (this could be a result of the movement in her mouth and skull).  The mobile doctor arrived at my friends place to examine her daughter who needed a medical certificate for work reasons.  The doctor did no blood tests and left behind a work certificate and a prescription for antibiotics.  
Questions that should have been asked?
How do you know whether I have a bacteria or virus causing this sore throat?
If it is a virus will the antibiotics work?
If I take the antibiotics how long will it take for my bowel flora to recover?
If I upset the interplay between my cells and the bacteria in my body by taking these antibiotics what other health ramifications may occur as a result of taking these antibiotics?
Will the antibiotics cure the sore throat faster than if I don’t take them?
Could my feeling bad be because my braces were tightened?
If I just rest and eat well could this work as well as the antibiotics?
Is this life threatening or just a simple indication by the body to slow down and look after myself?  
If this is not life threatening then do you really think that it is advisable that I take antibiotics thereby reducing my ability to fight bacteria and thus becoming more susceptible to super bugs?
The NPS has launched a new education program for both health professionals and consumers about the overuse and misuse of antibiotics here in Australia – I don’t believe that this mobile doctor has got the memo.

Let’s do another scenario this time it may be a joint that you have that is hurting or several sore joints and you go to your doctor, he offers anti-inflammatories or a reconstruction.  You’re in pain or you really don’t know what to do, you put your trust in their protocol and go with the flow?  But questions should be asked?

Could it be a food I’m eating that may be causing this?
If I stop eating the food could this pain and inflammation disappear?
Could it be an exercise I’m doing that may be causing this problem?
If I stop doing the exercise or change the movement may this change things?
Is my body able to heal or am I past the point of no return with this injury or inflammation?
Should I see a chiropractor or osteopath in order to see that my physical structure is in great working order and that this may be due to a referred pain from another area of my physical structure?
(If you read April 2012 newsletter you will understand why I would ask these questions?   We now know that food effects the musculoskeletal system causing inflammation and injury within a joint, bone or muscle, we also know that food can effect bone density).
Last week I read in the paper that there were 4 well known sports men encouraging men to take the step to good health and visit their doctor.  If you feel good and visit your doctor and you have blood tests and there is a discrepancy in your cholesterol levels or sugar levels, you may then be told to go on some medication or stop eating sugar and fat and start eating low joule drinks and even margarine.  This may be the worse advice for your health according to researcher, Ray Moynihan.
When I see the term visit your doctor I actually cringe for people’s health and now with the research from Ray Moynihan I understand why.  Visiting your doctor may start you on a downward spiral to ill health than doing nothing at all.  Of course if it is an emergency then that is a different matter.
It is interesting to note the true meaning behind diagnosis, my good friend Dr Sarah Farrant reminded me of it.  
“Diagnosis in and of itself is an interesting word. When you break down the root meaning of it – you get to see how words can subtly play with you. In Latin Di means “two” and agnostic means “unknown”, “don’t know”. So really diagnosis means two people who don’t know”.
Ray Moynihan says that over diagnosis is harming the healthy who are afflicted by anxiety and over-treatment and it wastes resources and unnecessary care, increasingly we’ve come to regard being “at risk” of future disease as being a disease in its own right. Evidence mounts that we’re harming the healthy.

If you are interested in improving your health.  Firstly become informed, ask the right questions, and take control of your life and responsibility. Make small habit changes, start with improving your lifestyle, sleep more, eat real foods from nature, take a daily walk, drink more water, spend less time in front of screens and generally seek out activities that are less stressful.

I have many reports and articles available to you and many archived newsletters to help you become informed on the fundamentals of health allowing you to ask quality questions for your health.  It begins with a healthy lifestyle.

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