Do you trust your Healthcare provider?

Before we get into some stats and figures, take a look at one man’s story. “Jim” (name changed to protect the innocent) had a bad experience recently when he went in for a routine check-up.  But there is a light at the end of Jim’s tunnel… read on to see why.

Here’s Jim’s Story: “Take This Prescription and Shove It!”
As a guy, you might think that I have a fear of going to the Doctor.  Most men do!  But I like to think that I have a vested interest in my health, and one of the things I make sure I do is get a physical on a yearly basis.

So I recently headed in to see my GP (or General Practitioner) for a check-up.  Turns out my blood pressure was on the high side.  He immediately wrote me two prescriptions – one for lisinopril and the other for hydrochlorothiazide.  Now, I’ve never been one to question doctors in the past… I mean, they’ve been to school for eight-plus years and are highly trained in medicine.  They are the experts when it comes to health, right?  Well, due to my career, I’ve learned a little bit about health and wellness; especially when it comes to holistic health and alternative options.  So, I decided to speak up.  I asked him if the reason my blood pressure was up might be because of my current eating habits – and the fact that I’d put on about 30 pounds over the past year and a half or so.  I also asked him what he thought about adding CoQ10 to my regimen to help manage my heart health.

He wanted nothing to do with my questions.  I got the feeling that I was one of many on a schedule of a packed-full day, and he was trying to get me out of there as quickly as he could.  As far as CoQ10? He said the “jury is still out” and that there’s no proof it helps the heart.

OK… not wanting to give in, I asked him what the minimum was that I could take as far as the medications he had prescribed.  Truthfully, I didn’t want to mess around with high blood pressure; so I still wanted to seek his advice – even though he had pissed me off a bit.  As he hurried me out of the exam room, he said I should, at the very least, take the lisinopril.  I left his office feeling disappointed, frustrated, and quite honestly, angry.

So I decided to take things into my own hands.  I made some changes, including a healthier diet, exercising more, and adding a regiment of CoQ10.  When I went back for my 3-month check-up, my blood pressure was at a point where I could stop taking ALL the medications he suggested.  All of that after just THREE MONTHS.  And I feel fantastic.

Mine is just one story out of thousands – millions even.  In all reality, I’m guessing that most people would likely accept what their doctor advises – without question.  Many to the point of being on prescription drugs indefinitely.

Here’s the kicker… my GP weighs about 300 pounds and looks quite unhealthy himself.  Which makes me think… How can people take medical advice from someone that doesn’t know how to take care of himself?

Anyway, I’m looking forward to finding a doctor that will spend some time with me and suggest approaches that address the root causes of bad health – not just some doctor that wants to cover symptoms with a prescription and get me on my way!  So, from my personal experience, I’ve found it’s quite important to choose the right doctor… one that doesn’t have “ulterior motives” and has MY overall health in mind.

Quite an astonishing story, isn’t it?  Just think how often that very same thing happens… but people are too scared, or too trusting, or simply don’t have the knowledge to question what the “expert” in the room has to say.

So why exactly are doctors so averse to offering other solutions?  Is it lack of time?  Lack of knowledge when it comes to natural medicine?  Are they getting kick-backs from the Rx companies?  Perhaps a bit of all of those.

Prescription Drug Sales through the Roof
In 2011, in the United States, prescription drug sales were $227,551,806,436.  Yes, that’s over $227 BILLION.  And that excludes certain categories, such as mail-order prescriptions.

And guess what?  Some doctors – maybe even YOUR doctor, is getting a cut of the profits.  You read right – doctors DO get kickbacks from drug companies, even though it’s highly unethical… and in some cases maybe even illegal.

Some statistics show that between 2009 and 2010, the seven major drug companies paid 17,000 doctors.  Approximately 380 of these doctors each received $100,000 or more in kickbacks.  About 250 of them had sanctions placed upon them for various reasons – things like malpractice, wrongly prescribing drugs, providing poor care, even having a criminal record.

But it’s not just these “bad” doctors that are accepting payments… in 2009, eight out of 10 doctors admitted to accepting free samples, gifts, and/or payments from drug representatives.  That’s 80 percent… a staggering number if you ask me.

So, if you’re a doctor, and you’re basically getting paid in one way or another to write prescriptions all day long, why would you give a guy like Jim the time of day when he questions your tactics (and your additional source of income)?  The answer is simple: you wouldn’t.

When it comes to your health, you should never feel what Jim felt – angry, frustrated, or disappointed; maybe even scared.  If you’re sensing that you’re not getting the attention you deserve – and you DO deserve it – it might be time to look for another provider… one that actually listens, takes into account what  you have to say, and helps you explore your options; whether those options be “modern” or more on the natural side.

Is ALL Hope Lost?
Now, all of this doesn’t mean that EVERY doctor is acting unethically.  You might have a real winner of a doctor who is actually looking out for your best interests.  But what they might be lacking is the time to devote to you as a patient, or the knowledge of other (perhaps more “natural”) options when it comes to prescriptions.  In part three of this series, we’ll look at some of the factors working against doctors – and ultimately YOU – in this day and age of healthcare. Stay Healthy… and Stay Tuned!