I’m one of five siblings, and we’ve all had heart surgery. Like most people with heart problems, none of us ever had any of the so-called risk factors. No high cholesterol. No high triglycerides. No high blood pressure. Nothing.
My ‘turn’ arrived on Christmas Eve, 2005. Of course, nobody worked on Christmas Day, so my stent had to wait a day. You couldn’t say anybody showed a sense of urgency.
Knowing what I know now, I wish I had seen that as a big-time clue and taken a pass on surgery. But, with a family history replete with death by heart attack, I didn’t.
I walked out of the hospital with five prescriptions to treat all the risk factors I don’t have. Since I live in a Standard of Care state, the doctor had to prescribe all five; that’s the standard whether or not the patient needs them, whether or not they do harm, whether or not anything. All patients treated for anything related to the heart get the same five prescriptions–no matter what. The State Medical Board thinks this makes sense.
I didn’t fill the prescriptions. At my first follow-up visit, the physician’s assistant read the full riot act, not missing so much as a comma. He preached long and hard that I would die a gruesome death without the meds, but he couldn’t tell me why I needed them.
I found a new doctor and made an appointment. As is my practice, I took a brief medical history plus a list of my supplements and one prescription (Armour thyroid) to give to the doctor.
He looked at the supplement list and asked why I took particular supplements. My answers persuaded him that I take my health seriously indeed, and I work at it. We agreed that in the face of the slightest symptom, I would come in. If I couldn’t research my way to fixing my heart issues, I would take a prescription to get the job done.
I love being treated as an adult. You see, my position is all about health, not ego. I learned long since that prescription meds present tough, tough challenges to my whacked out endocrine system. I can’t afford to ignore that risk.
Right now my endocrine system perks right along, my symptoms under good control. My energy level confuses doctors into thinking I don’t have a problem, but ‘control’ and ‘cure’ are very different. I’m shouting “Hallelujah!” all the day long that I am where I am, but my unhappy history with prescription drugs makes me very wary.
The Standard of Care medical board, though, just blitzkriegs its way forward. Concerns such as mine hold no interest for them.
But here’s the thing: Research shows that cholesterol levels don’t cause cardiac problems. The evidence leaves no doubt. But doctors working under standard of care guidelines make lives miserable–and bump off a fair number of patients–by driving down cholesterol levels–even though that’s not the problem.
The real problem? Inflammation. Inflammation causes rough spots and tears in our arteries. Cholesterol, the guy in the white hat, rushes in to patch us up, but after several patches, the cholesterol gets pretty thick and blocks blood flow.
Get rid of inflammation, though, and the problem’s solved.
So, how do we know if inflammation is setting us up for a big fall? The inexpensive homocysteine blood test checks inflammation levels quickly and easily.
However, Standard of Care opposes this test. Doctors, in my state at least, can risk their medical license by ordering it. Why? Big Pharma, the big kahuna of Standard of Care, lacks an inflammation fighter.
Would you like an example? My primary care doctor ordered a homocysteine test shortly after I acquired my stent. He told me folic acid controlled inflammation, and my homocysteine levels fell like a stone. But my quite young doctor no longer practices medicine, and nobody wants to tell me why. My guess is the Standard of Care medical board shut him down; they do that to good doctors. Bad enough he orders verboten tests, but then he recommends vitamins, of all things.
In the last few years, I’ve lost three good doctors, very suddenly, with no reason given. I called a fourth highly-recommended doctor only to learn he’d just moved out of state.
Meanwhile, pretty much nobody’s tracking inflammation, the most significant cause of cardiovascular disease–and many other diseases as well. Some standard of care, eh?
I think I’m okay, though. Thanks to a dedicated doctor, I know my problem. I researched the causes of inflammation and avoid what I can. And I learned about vitamins and minerals, in addition to folic acid, that fight inflammation. I feel good. But I have to wonder why I’m paying the big bucks for medical insurance when I’m doing all the heavy lifting because doctors aren’t allowed to practice medicine.
Bette Dowdell is not a doctor, nor does she purport to be one. She’s a patient who’s spent the past 30+ years studying, with great success, how to handle endocrine problems. Her best credential is that doctors tell her she’s doing ‘too well’ for somebody with pituitary problems. Subscribe to her free e-zine and get plugged in to her information at