What we need a new paradigm that recognizes the body’s innate ability to heal itself when given the opportunity.
Because all drugs, not just the centrally acting ones, are synthetic, unnatural materials they usually have a shopping list of side effects and some can be disastrous for a patient. They range from an increase in cancer rates to causing catastrophic muscle disease and death. Other drugs are less likely to kill you but can inflict terrible consequences: like treating male pattern baldness and ending up with a rare but permanent form of impotence.
We do not need a system which by design slowly increases the average number of toxic medications per patient per decade in a never ending fashion. Recall the Kaiser Health Care of California study showing the average 60 year old is on about 30 medications. The system made all the more real by the imperious and ultra wealthy pharmaceutical houses with their never ending direct-to-consumer advertizing and complete control of medical education, research and publishing.
In order for me to make this work Jimmy (or you) would have to be an active participant and want to change-this is very important. If you are not willing to aggressively try to become healthy and work with your (new) doctor to develop a fresh, permanent lifestyle change it will not work out for you. Tossing most of your meds and wanting to be illness free, and willing to do something about it, are the keys to becoming well again. It is also very different from the usual Commercial Sick Care System (CSCS) fare where the patient is subservient and passive. Sorry but that never works out well for the conscript. If you sit there passively and take every prescription a doctor throws at you in no time you will be well on your way to becoming a chronic. Just like the above study showed you will be a walking pharmacy-a polypharmacy-with several dozen drugs on board. It underscores the differences between the wellness paradigm and the modern pills and procedures approach.
A chronic often means that exotic biochemistry and toxicity are now actively broiling away deep in your atoms and cells (to quote David Sylvian)generating new and unusual symptoms, even new diseases, for which more drugs are prescribed producing new symptoms needing new drugs. Once chronic I fear you may be lost in the CSCS. At that point you will need an avalanche of help to become drug-free and well. For some it will be too late. For others a new beginning-I have saved many who were a mess. The good news is that most of the drugs that people are on can, and should, be tossed without a second thought and with no medical repercussions.
Only time will tell if it’s too late for Jimmy. Let’s examine some details in Jimmy’s case: with metabolic syndrome some of the more recalcitrant patients often need double and triple anti-hypertensive medications. Jimmy is one of them needing three different meds for his difficult to control high blood pressure. Now you do not want to dick around with uncontrolled hypertension because it can among other things give you a stroke. It is also an endothelial poison because it changes flow dynamics within blood vessels that leads to endothelial dysfunction (see my chapter on atherosclerosis) and heart disease. Hypertension has a predilection for other organs as well such as brain, eyes and kidneys. Only with three very powerful meds, with side effects like erectile dysfunction, fatigue, depression and weakness is he able to be controlled. In this condition Jimmy is a time bomb.
JIMMY THE BOMB
When I see a patient like this I immediately ask myself what are the forces at work tipping the scale so greatly in favor of dangerously high and difficult to treat blood pressure? How is it that one person needs three medications and the next only one? Like trying to cap a volcano it hardly helps by piling more dirt over the top, plugging it up only to explode out the side. But this is what these drugs are doing while we ignore the deeper cause of this huge imbalance. You see this is where commercial medicine completely misses out; the cause of this deeper imbalance is endothelial disease and the cause of that is obesity, lack of exercise, poor dietary habits, hormonal imbalance, alcoholism, smoking and the other risk factors I have listed previously.
In other words the cause is poor lifestyle choices. Jimmy needs a major lifestyle change-that’s the prescription-not more medications.
I would put him on a specialized anti-inflammatory diet, along with an exercise and nutrition program (to learn good food choices), while we simultaneously wean him off of his toxic medications Seroquel and Paxil first then slowly reduce the others like his antihypertensives. Part of his lifestyle overhaul is to correct his hormonal imbalances. This whole process relies on simultaneous changes which strengthen each other.
When you are hypothyroid the extra body fat you carry around is impossible to lose under those conditions. You can diet and exercise all you want but it won’t matter if your thyroid is not working. I don’t care if you starve and run ten miles a day. Your next sandwich will demolish those efforts. That’s how bad hypothyroidism is (for much greater detail see my chapter on bioidentical hormones). As he starts his new program with supplemental thyroid hormone, transdermal testosterone, exercise and eliminating cereal grains and non-fibrous carbs his body fat will literally melt off and with it his hypertension-sometimes dramatically dropping. I had one patient, a man in his early 30’s, who cleaned up his diet and lost 65 pounds. His blood pressure went from 190/100 to110/65! That amazing drop in blood pressure was all from eliminating cereal grains and sugar and increasing his exercise level. His thyroid didn’t need supplementing. I have seen this many times where cereal grains especially wheat acts like a toxin and skyrockets blood pressure. Usually after about 20-30 pounds of fat loss we could expect Jimmie’s metabolic syndrome to start to reverse. In a few short months he becomes a human being once again for the first time in 20 years. Yes, it’s that simple-in theory.
To clarify the point: in my paradigm lifestyle is the prescription, in the CSCS drugs are the prescription.
You tell me which one you would rather be in.
Paradigm A. The addled patient who is still fat and sick. He is at great risk for a serious insult such as a heart attack or stroke because his blood vessel endothelium is still on fire. But his lab numbers look acceptable to a Doc in the Box. Patient A: “I don’t really need to change my habits, Ethel and I really enjoy our nightly cookies. My doctor informs me that all of my problems: hypertension, loss of libido and erectile dysfunction, grain belly and chronic pain are simply due to aging. I’m not as young as I used to be and some days are better than others but I’m getting state of the art medical care-the best in the world. It’s easy for me: all I do is take my pills every morning. Doc says I’m doing great.”
. Paradigm B. (True case) The patient who just lost 75 pounds, clear thinking for the first time in 20 years, and no longer feels unglued because she is off of all medications-all 15 and is only on bioidentical hormones and supplements. Since she has lost weight, changed her diet, and is exercising her endothelium has healed and she is no longer at an increased risk for heart attack, cancer or stroke. She can sleep at night without a soporific. She no longer suffers from chronic pain and headaches because, as it turns out, low thyroid is a major cause of chronic pain and headaches. “It was tougher at first getting started but in the end it was well worth it. Look at me I’m beautiful again-I have my life back. I had a guy flirt with me the other day at the store. At first I kept looking around wondering who he was talking to! I feel as if I just awakened from a bad dream. Doc says I’m doing great.”
In the next publication I am going to introduce the biggest-well one of the biggest anyway-disasters in modern prescribing. It’s so effed up that I had to give it a name: The Push me-Pull You phenomenon. Simply put it’s when your typical Doc in the Box (DIB) gets so heavy into prescribing that he or she inevitably writes for a drug or drugs which directly blocks or antagonizes the effects of a drug previously written, without knowing about the interaction. Since it is due to antagonism at the receptor level the major drug store pharmacists and computers will not catch it and warn the patient. It is only if you really understand pharmacology and give a sh__t, can you ever hope to avoid this. Most DIB’s are way too apathetic to usually catch it. I believe this is one of the reasons why people are dying due to polypharmacy, when no other cause can be found.