The Two Sides of Medicine

Throughout time there have always been two opposing points of view as to how to maintain good health, or how to regain it after having lost it. This
conflict has continued since ancient times … and no doubt will continue well into the future.

One ‘side’ believes good health is as a result of outside intervention… drugs, surgery etc. The other ‘side’ believes that good health results from
living in harmony with natural law… correct nutrition… cleanliness etc.

The ancient Greeks had terms for these two groups of people. As was often the case in those days each group came under the umbrella of a ‘god’. One was ‘Asklepios’… the god of medicine, whose proponents advocated the ‘intervention’ approach. These people were known as ‘Asklepians’. Those who believed that the secret of good health resulted from living in
harmony with nature looked up to ‘Hygeia’… Goddess of health. These people were known as ‘Hygeian’.

Asklepians versus Hygeian

Both sides tended to be critical of the other… nothing much has changed over the ages. Modern mainstream western medicine takes the ‘Asklepian’ approach. However, in recent years the Hygeian approach which has always
been the underlying principle behind Chinese traditional medicine has gained much ground. The increase in the popularity of the ‘Hygeian’ approach is no doubt due to a combination of several factors:

* Dissatisfaction of traditional mainstream medicine.
* Increasing cases of medical ‘misadventure’. (Hospitals are places to stay away from)
* Awareness that good health is primarily a personal responsibility… not of overworked physicians.
* An increasing awareness that the medical industry is highly influenced by drug companies and that there are often better, safer and more economic
natural alternatives to drugs.

In spite of this justified ‘swing’ away from mainstream medicine, mainstream medicine does have a place in everyone’s health program … apart from the obvious ones in treating accident cases or chronic urgent illness. So, if you are already a ‘Hygeian’ don’t over look the benefits that mainstream medicine can offer to you in your overall quest for good health and longevity.

These benefits are primarily in the early detection of a pending disease that you may not as yet be aware of!

An example

Let’s assume that you are over 40 years of age… you are healthy, fit and not overweight. You eat well, you don’t smoke, don’t drink excessively and rarely get sick. You probably think that you will live forever… well at least
into ripe old age! Right? Maybe… or maybe not.

Reflect on this for a moment. Have you ever known anyone around this age that has died suddenly to your amazement because you thought they were so healthy? That person may even have been a competitive athlete!

Let me tell you a true story.

About 15 years ago a friend of mine who was around 40, a former competitive body builder who was still in great shape and extremely fit was at a lake water-skiing. He was watching some young water-skiers doing some ‘tricks’.

Being the competitive person that he was he waited until they came in and went down to the waters edge and said “Now, I’ll show you how to really do it”. Those were the last words he ever uttered… a couple of minutes later
he was lying on the ground dead of a massive heart attack.

My friend died instantly. He could just as easily had a stroke which he may or may not have recovered from… which would also have been a major tragedy.

Tragedies can often be avoided

Tragedies like this happen every day and the results are devastating not only to the victims but also their families, friends and loved ones. Sadly, many of these tragedies could have been averted … if more people were aware of
their risk factors and could correct any abnormalities before it was too late!

Now back to the point of this story. My friend died of a blockage in his artery. Only takes one! If 15 years ago the technology for measuring ALL the ‘predictors’ which indicate your risk of such an event were available AND
my friend had understood what they meant he would probably still be showing those young fellows how to do water-skiing tricks!

How many thousands of people are still dying needlessly because they do not know how to take advantage of current technology … or, in some cases are so opposed to mainstream medicine that they do not take advantage of
the ‘good’parts!

OK… what should you do?

First of all, if you are over 35 and have not had a blood
test within the last few years … arrange one… NOW!

Get a general one, which tests for:

* Cholesterol. Both LDL and HDL
* Triglycerides
* Homocysteine
* Lipoproteins
* Liver Function
* Renal Function
* Plasma Glucose

If you are a man over 40 make sure you also have a PSA. (Prostate Specific Antigen) test) Hint: There is recent evidence that suggests that if you have had sex within the previous 72 hours your PSA levels could be affected.
Play it safe and abstain for 2 – 3 days before your test.

Irrespective of your gender ask your physician if any other tests are also recommended for you. If each test is within the normal range, that’s great, you can rest easy knowing that you are unlikely to be subject to any
immediate health risk. You can then direct your efforts towards improving the way you feel and slowing down your aging process.

If any of your tests are abnormal you will need to do something about bringing them back to within ‘normal’ ranges … and possibly be subject to more tests. It is the treatment of any abnormalities from these blood tests
that create a potential conflict between ‘Askelepians’ and ‘Hygeians’.

Here is an example of potential conflict

Let’s say your tests show that your cholesterol is ‘out of whack’, your ‘mainstream’ physician may first propose lowering your intake of diet cholesterol. That’s unlikely to be successful as ingested cholesterol only
makes up a relatively small percentage of blood cholesterol.

They will next likely propose one of the cholesterol lowering drugs commonly known as ‘statins’. These are drugs that work by blocking an enzyme that your liver needs to manufacture cholesterol. (Up to 80% of your blood cholesterol is manufactured by your liver, NOT from the ingestion of cholesterol within your diet).

These statin drugs are very powerful and have been known to cause serious side effects including deaths. In fact Bayers were recently forced to withdraw their statin drug from the market place because of ‘unacceptable’ levels of fatalities. In spite of these risks, sales of statin drugs amount to billions of dollars per year and are commonly prescribed.

It’s ironic that there are natural alternatives to these statin drugs which can assist in lowering cholesterol, and do it safely, and without side effects. But the general public hears very little about them as they are not patentable and there is not the financial incentive for the big corporate’s to promote them.

The same principle applies for many different ailments. There can be many legitimate methods of treatments. What is important is that you seek out the natural alternatives and apply them before agreeing to subject yourself to the
negative side effects of pharmaceutical drugs.

Pharmaceutical drugs are ‘blockers’ whereas natural remedies are ‘enablers’

Pharmaceutical drugs are ‘blockers’ and do not normally heal the underlying ailment. They generally work by suppressing natural functions such as certain enzymes which I mentioned earlier when giving the ‘statin’ example. Because of this process, results are often ‘instant’ and as such there is sometimes a place for these powerful prescription drugs in the case of life threatening emergencies.

In contrast, natural products such as herbs, vitamins etc are ‘enablers’. They work at correcting the cause of the ailment which is often a nutrient deficiency of some sort. The results are not immediate and have to be measured in weeks, or even months.

If you have a serious ailment, work with your physician to try and correct it… by first using natural remedies. If she or he is not familiar with the treatment you would like to try, do some further research and get hold of supporting
information so you are in a better position to discuss the options intelligently. If your physician has a closed mind to natural remedies it may be wise to ask around and find another qualified physician with an open mind.

Heart Attacks And How To Prevent Them

At one time, little could be done for people with heart disorders, and for those who suffered from a heart attack. Today, improved medicines and new methods of treatment allow many cardiac (heart) patients to live normal or nearly normal lives. Also, new kinds of equipment and new methods of performing heart operations have saved the lives of many people for whom there was formerly no hope.

The arteries of older people may become hardened or narrowed. This may be serious if it happens in the coronary arteries, for the blood supply of the heart is cut down. Severe chest pain may result. A heart attack occurs if the heart muscle is deprived of its blood supply. The heart muscle may be permanently damaged and replaced with scar tissue. Most people who have heart attacks recover. They must rest for several weeks or more, but they can usually then lead normal lives.

A heart whose muscle has been badly damaged cannot do a good job of pumping the blood. This condition is called heart failure. With this condition, fluid collects in some parts of the body, such as the lungs and ankles.

Doctors have a large variety of medicines and other treatments for dealing with heart disorders. A drug named digitalis is given to strengthen weak heart muscles. Drugs called Diuretics help to rid the body of excess fluid by way of the kidneys.

Diet is usually an important part of the treatment of cardiac patients. The doctor may prescribe a diet that is low in salt content. This is because fluids tend to collect in the body in the presence of salt. The heart must work harder to pump the extra fluids. The doctor often advises a patient to lose weight. The heart of an overweight patient must work harder to pump blood to the extra, unneeded body tissue. A low-fat diet may be prescribed because of a possible connection between fats and hardening of the arteries. Patients are also advised not to smoke. Smoking is a cause of serious lung diseases, and it also appears to increase the risk of getting some kinds of heart disease.

The beating heart provides the pressure to move the blood along in the blood vessels. When the space within the smaller arteries is narrowed, as may happen in older people, the heard must push harder to make the blood move. This results in high blood pressure. Drugs are used that cause the arteries to relax and thus lower the blood pressure. Other drugs bring about a lowering of the pressure by their effect on the nerves that control the small arteries.

The rate of the heartbeat is controlled by electrical impulses from the nervous system. These impulses set the pace for the heartbeat. Sometimes the impulses may cause an irregular beat or one that is too fast or too slow. Usually this is a temporary condition. If the problem is a serious one, an artificial pacemaker is set into the heart painlessly. The pacemaker is powered by a tiny battery that lasts for years. The life-saving pacemaker supplies electrical impulses to the heart, causing it to beat regularly and at a satisfactory rate.

Medical and surgical skill have saved or prolonged millions of lives. But some hearts are so badly damaged that they cannot be repaired. The first heart transplant was performed in December 1967, and we’ve come a long way since then. Take care of yourself. Your family loves you.