Root Causes and Fixing Symptoms

I think the supplements must be starting to work – my brain seems to be waking up and I’m thinking about all sorts of things at the moment.

One of my latest trains of thought is that I’m starting to become perplexed and how dependent we seem to be as a society on drugs.  Have a headache?  Take this pill.  Have IBS?  Take that pill.  Have digestion problems?  You must have too much stomach acid, take this medication.

Whatever happened to the good old fashioned root cause analysis in medicine?  It’s become apparent to me lately (for obvious reasons) that the emphasis seems to be placed on a set of rigidly-enforced guidelines:  If it appears to be disease x, perform these blood tests and if the results are within these parameters, there’s nothing wrong and the patient is imagining the symptoms (a leading consultant endocrinologist has stated publically that “The majority of patients who demand thyroid hormone treatment for multiple symptoms, despite normal thyroid function tests, have functional somatoform disorders…” i.e., they’re hysterical).  It’s particularly worrying when you think that around 300,000 people in the UK are suffering from the symptoms of a thyroid disorder by are being refused treatment on the grounds that their blood tests are normal.  If it was all in their heads, then why are we seeing these people self medicating, sharing stories and getting better without the assistance of the medical profession?  Is it mass worldwide hysteria?  I think not.  I’m seeing it happen far too many times for it to be a coincidence and it really does sadden me.

Some of these people have been treated for depression, cardiac disorders and other medical maladies which have probably cost the NHS an awful lot of money in drugs and treatment because the medical profession is taking no notice of what is actually wrong with their patients – they’re not listening to the symptoms any more, probably hearing the first thing, making an assumption, doing a test and relying on the results.  Certainly I realise that, having been dismissed more than once as imagining things when I had CFS has severely coloured my view.  I firmly believe that if my character and self belief wasn’t as strong as they are, I’d probably still be suffering to this day, drugged up to the eyeballs to keep me quiet and keep my nuisance value to a minimum.

Similarly, I was diagnosed with Gastric Reflux in my 20s and put on drugs for that, IBS a couple of years ago and I was put on drugs for that.  At no time did anyone make any lifestyle or nutritional enquiries or recommendations other than “you need to lose weight, quit smoking and exercise more”.  Well duh!  I’m not saying those things aren’t important but what has become apparent, to me at least, in the subsequent years is that what I eat has more bearing on my health than anything else.  Is it because giving out proper nutritional advice means that drugs aren’t being prescribed and the big drug giants are therefore not going to make as much money or is that too cynical a view?

All I know is that since putting myself in charge of my own health, reading and researching, I no longer feel that I’m blindly sleepwalking through life with the assistance of a guide with tunnel vision (my doctor).  I’ve cut out processed food, am changing my diet to support the lifestyle that I want instead of the lifestyle that I’ve had (which wasn’t nutritionally as healthy as it should be) I’m in the process of cutting right back sugar (and have cut out refined sugar completely).  The only drugs I take now are vitamin supplements to support my adrenal system and my thyroid as the blood tests that I ordered for myself have revealed some deficiencies.  My acid reflux has turned out not to be too much acid but the opposite problem (thanks doctors – the drugs for the reflux probably totally screwed up my digestion and health for years) and funnily enough, since coming off the medication for that and supplementing digestive enzymes, the IBS symptoms have disappeared.

Let’s not forget the hundreds of thousands of people who were on medication for stomach ulcers for years and told to stop eating spicy food.  Oh yeah, and smoking.  Turned out that Helicobacter pylori (or h.pylori) was actually responsible for most of the problems.  They discovered it back in 1982 yet even 10 years ago, doctors were doling out prescription medication and trolling out the same “don’t smoke and don’t eat spicy food” advice.  Hell, they even performed an endoscopy on me back in about 1990something – didn’t find an ulcer but still had me on the medication for 20+ years.  Every time it “stopped” working they just increased the dose or changed to a different brand.  I despair sometimes.

Programmes like The Food Hospital have been an eye opener for me – some of the things that they’ve fixed by simply changing the diet of some of these people are incredible.  Things like this just go to reinforce my belief that the power of food and diet (and not in the “losing weight” sense) are powerful.  If you can find the episode which featured the little boy who was having 400+ epileptic seizures per day of four different types, including drop seizures.  He had to wear a crash helmet permanently to try and avoid head and brain damage from literally dropping wherever he sat/stood when a seizure happened.  Within six months, this little boy was living a pretty much normal life (minus crash helmet) because of a change of diet.  Yes, really.  From being on a path towards a vegetative state because of the damage caused by amount and severity of his seizures, he was pretty much a normal boy.

I’m not advocating that we all go drug free (although it would be wonderful if this were possible) – I’m simply saying that there is a time and place for drugs and medication and we should stop relying on them so heavily.  I think it would be a much better idea if we all took more responsibility for our own health.  Spend some time reading and researching and stop placing such a huge reliance on our overstretched (and sometimes disinterested) medical professionals who, in general, seem so intent on doling out yet more drugs rather than addressing the root cause of our problems and seem to only address the symptoms presented (if they even bother to listen to that much) rather than getting to the root cause of the problem.

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