Who is your primary health care provider? If you named your doctor, you need to rethink that. I’m going to tell you why YOU need to be your primary health care provider.
I have had an issue with edema in my feet, ankles, and legs for a number of years. The reality is that the edema is everywhere but gravity causes it to show up primarily in the lower extremities.
It turned out that I had aortic stenosis, a condition in which the aortic valve is calcified and does not function properly. The aortic stenosis accounted for the edema – at first. In May of 2015, I had open heart surgery to replace the aortic valve. I expected the edema to clear up at that point.
It persisted, off and on. My primary care doctor said that it was an issue to address with my cardiologist. My cardiologist said that the heart was no longer the problem so I could have venous insufficiency. I declined seeing a vein specialist, at least until I have exhausted all of the other possibilities.
I actually suspected some things that the doctors did not think of. And I was partially right. Eventually, diuretics don’t work to pull off that excess fluid. My first theory is that it is a phenomenon similar to why a starving person holds on to weight. The body knows that something is taking water away and so it stores more. Another theory suggests that I am not getting enough of magnesium in a form that my body can readily use. I’ll have more to say on that theory in a few months, once I’m done with my testing.
The reality is that our ‘health care’ system is broken. In fact, it is no longer a health care system but a sick care system.
A health care system is concerned with a healthy lifestyle and preventive measures. While our system is more concerned with treating health issues rather than prevention.
Recently, I heard on the radio that Bill Gates was contributing $50 million to fund Alzheimer’s research. He says he’s hopeful that in time Alzheimer’s could be a chronic condition treatable with medication. The radio announcer was cheering this. But I couldn’t help but wonder if it wouldn’t be better to look at the causes and how to prevent Alzheimer’s first?
Alzheimer’s may not be preventable, but it is still a good place to start. Today, epigenetic tells us that even our genes are not the final story. So often, our environment decides who gets a disease, even when the genes for that disease are present.
When all you have is a hammer…
Sadly, that is the way of our ‘health care’ system. Every health issue can be treated with a medication. If a medication doesn’t exist, the pharmaceutical industry will create one.
It likely stems from the fact that pharmaceutical companies are now teaching in our medical schools. And so they are teaching that every treatment involves a drug of some sort. Like the saying that when all you have is a hammer, everything is a nail; when you have drug companies teaching medical students, every illness needs a drug.
We have even trained patients to expect that. The mother takes her child to the doctor with a cold and insists on getting an antibiotic. Even though antibiotics have no effect whatsoever on cold viruses.
This reminds of my father. In the last few years of his life he had given up driving; relying on friends and family (me) to take him where he needed to go. He developed a rash and made an appointment with a dermatologist. And I was to take him. He liked to work out all of the details so he suggested that we could go to his 10:00AM appointment then drop off the prescription and go have lunch while it was being filled. To him, every ailment could be fixed with a prescription.
I wonder how it is possible that he had a daughter, me, who avoided doctors because their solution to every ailment was a prescription.
Not all doctors are created equal
I need to say at this point that it is unfair to imply that all doctors fit the same mold. In fact, my current primary care doctor is not a fan of pills. Just one of the reasons that I love her.
Looking Out for Number One
Back to your primary health care provider. I have one more story to tell, which is frightening and had the potential to have rather drastic, and unnecessary results. I am part of a couple of Facebook groups for people who have experienced open-heart surgery. This man had moved to a new city and had a new cardiologist. This new cardiologist told him that he had a leaky valve and would need open-heart surgery within about six months. Trust me, this is something that no open-heart surgery survivor wants to hear. Fortunately, this man was smart enough to seek a second opinion. As it turned out, his mechanical valve was designed with ejection ports to prevent clots from forming.
And that is exactly why you need to be your own primary health care provider. You need to be informed about what diagnoses you receive. And about what prescriptions you are given. Ask questions. Be informed. Seek alternative treatments or preventive measures. And by all means, get a second opinion.
No one, not even your doctor, knows your body as well as you do.
No one is as concerned about your health and well-being as you are.
AND, no one has a bigger stake in your life and your good health than you do.
Take an active role in your health care, starting today. Be informed about what you’re hearing from your doctors and other health care professionals. Seek out a friend or even a health coach if it is too much for you.
The title of this blog is "Choose A Happy, Healthy, and Positive Life" but I don't want anyone to think that I'm perfect or that I've got it all together. I chose this title to help me become happier, healthier and more positive. I chose it as a way to remind myself and others of what we should strive for. I am actually proud to say that I am not perfect. After all, what else would I have to work on if I were perfect?