The saying goes that they call it “practicing medicine” for a reason-because doctors don’t have all the answers when it comes to supporting your health and vitality. Case in point…most allopathic doctors prescribe medications as a first line therapy for treating disease. Now major pharmaceutical drugs are coming under attack, questioning the paradigm under which these drugs are prescribed. More often then not, drugs are prescribed to make the numbers on a lab report “look better” without assessing the person as a whole, and evaluating the potential drawbacks of taking a drug to force a lab report to look better. For example, a popular drug prescribed to hundreds of thousands of people called AVANDIA was used to lower blood sugar levels in Diabetics. And while the drug was in fact lowering blood sugar levels (appears, at least on the surface, to be a good thing) it was also increasing the risk of heart attacks. This is a perfect example of the importance of taking the WHOLE person and picture into consideration and not adopting a single minded focus on something as basic as blood sugar, without considering the fundamental CAUSE of why a patient’s blood sugar levels are low in the first place.
Then a few months after the news broke about AVANDIA Merck came out and said that VYTORIN, a popular drug used to lower blood cholesterol levels, did NOT slow the progression of heart disease. But wait..doesn’t high cholesterol CAUSE heart disease? So wouldn’t it make sense that if you block the body’s ability to make or use cholesterol then you treat the cause of the problem? NO- high cholesterol is a number reported on a lab report. Just forcing that number to go down does NOT address the UNDERLYING CAUSE of why your body has high cholesterol levels in the first place. It could be due to an autoimmune condition, or chronic inflammatory response, or damage to blood vessels caused by exposure to environmental toxins…these are all things that need to be assessed and treated and are far more valuable to a patient then simply forcing the body to make less cholesterol. Because guess what- low cholesterol doesn’t guarantee anything. People with low cholesterol get heart disease and so do people with high cholesterol-whether or not they are taking cholesterol lowering medications. For more information and examples regarding the ways in which prescription medications come up short click here
Here is a resource that offers some rationale for why we ought to rethink cholesterol and its role in disease: http://www.thincs.org/news.htm
Dr. Gina L. Nick
President California Naturopathic Doctors Association