treatments

  1. The campaign to limit your options

    One of the reasons I've been able to cure supposedly "incurable" chronic diseases is that I know how to find the cause.

    I know the role food allergies, metals exposure, digestion and detoxification, and hormonal imbalances can play in causing or worsening disease -- and I know how to check for these and other problems inside the body.

    Once I understand the cause, I can get to work fixing it.

    The toughest part of this process isn't the diagnosis or even the treatment. It's watching my patients fight with their insurance companies to get coverage for the tests they need.

    They don't often win, which is why you can expect to pay out-of-pocket for many of the essential services offered by holistic doctors even if you have "good" insurance -- so when I see something like the "Choose Wisely" campaign from Consumer Reports magazine and the American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation, all kinds of alarm bells go off.

    The campaign is supposedly aimed at eliminating tests and treatments people don't need -- but the problem with that, of course, is that they get to decide what tests and treatments you don't need.

    And you can bet some of them are the very tests that could dramatically improve your life.

    For example, "Choose Wisely" frowns upon the IgG and IgE antibody tests used to detect allergies and food sensitivities despite the fact that even mainstream doctors have used them successfully to uncover the source of common illnesses.

    And if the "Choose Wisely" team wants to discourage those tests, I can't imagine what they'd think of the even more thorough allergy tests I rely on.

    We should be going in the opposite direction and making it easier for patients to get food allergy tests -- not harder to get any allergy testing at all.

    Look, I don't doubt that far too many people get too many tests too often. And I know that many of those tests lead to more tests, biopsies, surgeries, and -- of course -- drugs.

    Most of it's completely unnecessary, and some of them -- like X-rays and CT scans -- are actually dangerous and need to be ordered judiciously.

    But the real problem with medical testing isn't the sheer number of tests -- it's choosing the right tests. And you can't "choose wisely" if you and your doctor aren't given that choice in the first place.

  2. The patient made me do it!

    CT scans, X-rays, MRIs, ultrasounds -- you name it, people are getting them far more often than necessary, leading to extra stress and excess treatments.

    And in the case of those CT scans and X-rays, patients are being dosed with high levels of radiation for no reason at all.

    Well, docs now say they've noticed all this too -- and they've come up with a novel justification for it: The patients are making them do it!

    It's as if a patient might walk in with a gun and say, "doc, I have a headache -- give me a brain scan and give it to me right now… OR ELSE."

    Obviously, that's not happening… but a new survey finds that many doctors are basically afraid of their own patients -- and that's why they're ordering up all those tests.

    Researchers say their survey of 627 family physicians and internists finds that 42 percent believe their patients are getting too much medical care -- but say they have to go along with it… because 80 percent believe they'll be sued if they don't test the hell out of their patients.

    They have a point, to a certain extent. Many patients do walk in demanding meds, tests or both.

    But whatever happened to "just say no?"

    I think I know what happened to it, and it has nothing to do with lawsuits: "No" vanished when docs realized they could buy their own testing equipment and double-dip on their patients, collecting fees and co-pays for the office visit as well as the extra bucks for all those unnecessary tests.

    Some of them even admit it -- three percent of the doctors who took the survey said money influenced their decisions to order up all those extra tests.

    I'm sure the real number is much higher, and many of the docs in the survey even admitted that as well… sort of: Thirty-nine percent say OTHER doctors would cut back on those tests and scans if they didn't stand to gain extra money from them.

    In other words, "I'm honest -- but those other guys are crooks."

    No wonder the healthcare system is a wreck.

  3. Question authority -- question your doctor

    For years, the doctor-patient relationship went a little something like this: Patient visits the doctor... doctor tells the patient what to do. That's the way it still is in many practices, and that might even describe your relationship with your own doctor. But you're perfectly capable of making decisions about your health -- and two new campaigns are urging you to do just that.

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