Posts tagged ‘aging’

Protect Yourself from Unnecessary and Damaging Medical Intervention (Part 2)

This is my second article based on Dr. Hadley’s book, Rethinking Aging. To access the first installment, click here.

In his book, he devotes a great deal of thought and analysis to the incestuous relationship between “thought leaders” in medical research and the pharmaceutical companies who fund that research. He makes two excellent points: researchers in universities are almost totally dependent upon pharmaceutical grants to fund their work; and those self-same companies are unlikely to continue funding a center that doesn’t “deliver the goods.” (I.e. A favorable outcome with regard to a potential cash cow.) I’ll leave it to your good judgment to understand the enormous conflicts of interest this paradox generates. (pp. 36 – 43) {Side bar: It is also the reason the argument “more research is needed” is so disingenuous. No pharmaceutical company will fund research into natural therapies. There is no profit margin!}

His skepticism is confirmed by the recent revelation that the sugar industry paid three Harvard scientists the equivalent of today’s average American yearly income to review heart health studies that made sugar look less unhealthy than it really is – and to paint fat as the villain instead. The Sugar Research Foundation (the perpetrator of this hoax) cherry picked a handful of studies that they wanted spotlighted. The result has been a “low fat” craze that has serious consequences for our health. The article referenced above doesn’t even make the point that high cholesterol is a result of excess sugar consumption, not ingesting fat. Simply put: The American public has been subjected to so-called “scientific” data that is completely erroneous thanks to the infusion of large amounts of cash by interested parties. This misinformation seriously impacts the food that is available to you in the grocery store. It is almost impossible to find dairy products that are whole fat. Removing the fat increases the sugar content — increasing our cardiovascular risk.

Returning now to Dr. Hadley, he then pursues an in depth discussion of the evidence for “tight control” of blood pressure parameters. Would you be surprised to learn that no evidence of benefit to you, the patient, exists? This is particularly true with regard to so-called “essential hypertension.” He agrees with what I have been preaching for years: at age 45, a pressure of 140/90 is borderline hypertension, and both of those numbers increase by 5 points with each decade of life. In essence, what we have done by insisting everyone’s blood pressure reading be less than 120/80 is turn normal aging into a disease, which must be treated aggressively. (p.45) The problem with this model is that no one benefits except Big Pharma.

The actual curve when death rate is plotted against blood pressure is an inverted “J.” Death rates rise at both ends of the curve. Blood pressure that is too low increases the death rate in the elderly, just the way extremely high blood pressure does. (p. 25)

I have a personal anecdote that illustrates this issue. Currently, the medical protocol for Type II diabetes includes prescribing both a statin and a blood pressure medication, regardless of your actual blood pressure. This happened to a friend of mine. She was in her mid-70s, and the drop in her pressure caused her to fall in the kitchen, putting her head through the cabinet she fell against. She also was involved in a major car accident and developed hydrocephalus, increased intracranial pressure. Her doctor decided she needed a shunt to drain the excess fluid, a procedure he expected to be fairly straightforward. However, when they opened her skull, the area of her brain that had absorbed the impact was a tangle of indecipherable blood vessels. The surgery took four times longer than anticipated, and she never recovered. She developed a major brain infection that took her life. Without the blood pressure medication she would never have sustained the injury that complicated the surgery.

I personally believe that far too little attention is given to the maxim, “First, do no harm.”

To further illustrate the problem with high blood pressure medications, I think Dr. Hadley’s statement on pages 46 and 47 of his book is very important. “All [the drugs] on the market are licensed by the FDA because the agency was convinced that the drug actually lowers blood pressure without undue short term toxicities. None are licensed because of data showing that a meaningful reduction in untoward cardiovascular outcomes results over time.” {emphasis added}

To put it succinctly, the drugs may lower blood pressure, but they don’t improve health. Does that seem reasonable to you? Particularly in light of the side effects, which include heart failure and kidney failure, depending upon the class of drug you are given. In fact, multiple studies have been launched to demonstrate a health benefit. None were successful, although the authors did their best to massage the data to make it appear like there was a benefit.

On page 48, Dr. Hadley discusses the cognitive dissonance with regard to salt restriction – a much touted lifestyle change to control high blood pressure. In fact, it has now become a staple of federal health policy; the mandate has been to get sodium out of our food chain, restricting salt intake to 2 gms daily. This approach was shown to be ineffective in a study conducted and published by Dr. Hadley’s father in the prestigious Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in 1984. So much for research!

The problem with this recommendation for the general public is that it is only a small subset of the population who has the genetic predisposition that requires them to avoid salt. Dr. Hadley doesn’t mention this cutting edge genetic testing; perhaps it was not yet available when he published his book. However, I can highly recommend it if you have a family history of severe heart disease and are worried about your own health. The genetic test is extremely simple – a cheek swab – and offers you a wealth of information about how to manage your own risk. It is called CardiaX and is offered by Vibrant Wellness. Although it is not reimbursable by insurance, it offers you information unavailable any other way. It has recently had a profound benefit for one of my patients.

Now just a few words about open heart surgery and stents. I know you know someone who has had open-heart surgery and probably a stent as well. These interventions have become standard operating procedure (pun intended). Would you be surprised to learn that, despite a growing number of studies attempting to prove their benefits, no one can find any advantages to these invasive therapies? (p. 51) As Dr. Hadley puts it, “No patient is rewarded in terms of longevity, the incidence of heart attacks, or likelihood of chest pain for having submitted to these expensive technical and technological feats, and many suffer harm in the course of the procedure.” (p. 51) These procedures are so ineffective that, were they drugs, the FDA would never license them. However, procedures are not subject to licensing and devices (like a stent) are held to much lower standards than drugs. They must be safe in the short term, but there doesn’t need to be a demonstration that they actually work! (p. 53)

So, why are they so prevalent, you may ask? The answer is simple: profit. There is an enormous incentive to market them aggressively since an enormous industry has grown up in support of these procedures. Dr. Hadley calls it “a behemoth.” (p.51)

So, what can you do? First of all, find a doctor with a good understanding of natural, drug-free alternatives to standard medical care. There are herbal tonics that improve your quality of life without poisoning you.

Secondly, question every recommendation you receive. Always ask for evidence that the treatment will actually benefit you. Become informed; don’t just blindly go along with whatever the doctor says. Unfortunately, the medical profession operates on fear. It is standard for the doctor to warn you that you will die without treatment. He or she may honestly believe that to be true. He may not be aware of the information and statistics contained in Dr. Hadley’s book. Once doctors leave school, much of their information comes from drug company representatives.

You need to educate yourself with material like I’ve presented here and not become embroiled in a medical system where one procedure leads to another and then another. It’s a vicious circle and the goal is not your good health. Doctors are taught to “manage” whatever diagnosis you have been labeled with. There is no medical model for cure. That’s why you are expected to take pharmaceuticals for the rest of your life. Remember that and you will be much better off in the long run.

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February 4, 2017 at 5:40 pm Leave a comment

Protect Yourself From Unproven and Dangerous Medical Therapies (Part 1)

I have been reading an outstanding book entitled, Rethinking Aging, Growing Old and Living Well in An Overtreated Society, by Nortin M. Hadler, M.D. While he is very medical in his approach and doesn’t have much knowledge regarding natural therapies, his warnings about medical care are very on-point.

The second chapter of his book, “The Golden Years,” is an indictment of many of the most commonly prescribed medical interventions. I will touch on some of the highlights in this brief article:

  1. Aging is a normal part of the life cycle and it comes with its own challenges. Not every symptom of aging needs to be labeled a “disease” requiring medical intervention. This is a direct contradiction of our pharmaceutical, profit-driven “health care” industry.
  2. “The . . . assertion – that one is more likely to promote physical health by attention to social cohesiveness than by attention to human biology – is counterintuitive. . . [F]or every darkening shadow there are diagnostic tests, screenings for risk, and treatments galore. . . .America’s elderly swallow the prescribed remedies, often many simultaneously, to bring their laboratory numbers to heel. America’s elderly are hell bent to be normal. . . It’s all so sad. They are on a fool’s errand.” [p. 13]
  3. The obesity “epidemic” has no basis in scientific fact, and is in fact a political construct. There are many studies that indicate that there is no difference in life expectancy between “normal” BMI and “obese” individuals. In fact, the risk of death was 13% lower for overweight elderly people than for those of normal weight. [p. 15] However, there is a huge financial incentive for the pharmaceutical companies and weight loss industry to bury these findings.
  4. You have undoubtedly seen the Crestor commercials about how wonderful it is for reducing cReactive Protein (cRP). However, the touted benefit is not as great as you are led to believe. The abstract of the research paper in the New England Journal of Medicine announced a 56% reduction in adverse outcomes. Sounds impressive, yes? However, that’s not even close to the truth. The outcome of the study was that, after 2 years, about 2% of the 18,000 subjects had suffered any of the cardiovascular adverse events. Of those on Crestor, 1.6% were stricken; while 2.8% of the control group (not taking Crestor) were affected. This is a difference of 1.2%. At this point, it gets complicated due to the structure of the study. To summarize the data, the “composite outcome” is 0.77 on Crestor and 1.36 without Crestor. This is the 56% reduction that’s being touted. What it actually means is that 400 well people would have to take Crestor for a year to spare one a nonfatal heart attack, and about 600 to spare one a stroke. There is no evidence there is any life-saving benefit. So, the relative reduction of 56% turns out to be an absolute reduction of 0.59%. [pp.29-30]

I side with Dr. Hadler who said, “I am unwilling to let anyone test my cholesterol until I see unequivocal data that taking a statin yields meaningful benefit for me.” [p.27]

  1. Hadler then addresses antihypertensive therapy for diabetics, specifically Actos & Avandia. He discusses at length the conflict of interest and financial incentives of both the researchers and the pharmaceutical houses to “prove” the efficacy of these substances. The data actually suggested that “[these drugs] were associated with an increase in the incidence of serious cardiovascular complications, including heart failure, heart attacks and death.” [p.37] The drugs were outlawed in the European Union; our FDA only saw fit to place a warning label on the packaging insert.
  2. Part of his discussion regarding diabetes highlights the fact that current diabetic therapies, including insulin and oral hypoglycemics, are ineffective in preventing any of the adverse effects of diabetes. Please, read that sentence again. Does that make you wonder what is going on? According to a respected medical publication, A H R Q News and Numbers (issue no. 288, July 25, 2009), purchases of cholesterol and diabetes prescription drugs by elderly Medicare beneficiaries reached nearly $19 billion in 2007 – approximately 1/4th of the $82 billion spent for medications for the elderly. [p. 35]

My personal experience with diabetes has convinced me that the important criterion that medical treatment completely ignores is the health of the micro-circulatory system. I have had Type II diabetes for more than 15 years, yet I have no circulatory pathology. My retinal fields are perfectly healthy and there is not a sign of atherosclerosis, based upon an exam I had just last week. I attribute this to my aggressive supplement program that prevents arterial plaque and lowers inflammation. I also have a protocol to improve microcirculation. This is incredibly important both to your vascular tree and to your kidneys – two areas that develop pathology with diabetes. I would be glad to share my insights with you if you care to make an appointment.

The next section of Dr. Hadler’s book deals with how badly the medical therapies mismanage coronary artery disease via antihypertensive meds, surgical interventions and stents. I will cover these in my next installment of my newsletter. If you don’t want to wait, you can always look for Dr. Hadler’s book on amazon.com. One word of warning, it is very heavy going.

September 8, 2016 at 3:51 pm Leave a comment


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