When others "know" more than your doctor does
I didn't want to hijack another thread, so I started this one.
I am constantly bombarded by armchair doctors who seem to know more than my actual doctor, since what they say contradicts what she already told me. They'll outright tell me she's wrong. Some of these people are in the nursing profession, but others don't have any medical or nursing training at all. My mother, who thinks her herbalist all but wrote the Bible, won't shut up about Vitamin C, colon cleanses, your body's pH balance, and the latest quack remedies as the cure to everything. If I tell her what my doctor said, or even that I'll mention it to my doctor, she'll go so far as to say, "Oh, doctors don't really want you to get well. They make so much money off of people being sick." She thinks I should be taking 1,000 mg. of Vitamin C every TWO HOURS! And then magically my diabetes would be cured!
Is there a solution other than not talking to my mother? I already moved 3,000 miles away from her.
Ironically large doses of vitamin C have been PROVEN to be bad for T2 diabetes. Almost all of the insulin absorption benefits of exercise get wiped out with mega doses of Vit C.
As for mommy, dont argue, dont over share, just say "Oh, that's interesting" or " I'll have to think about that" "Oh, you know, I HAVE heard that before" (you dont have to say FROM YOU) and change the subject. Try to avoid talking to her about anything your doctor says. Talk about innocuous subjects.
Totally not saying this is your case here - but my doctor doesnt know all and others I have seen in the past know even less then my current doctor.
I do think that everyone has their own opnions though - and you can't stop people from giving them. Maybe just polietly say thank you and leave it at that.
And sometimes information from doctors is just that, their own opnion. (again not saying this is your case, but it has been for me in the past)
Don't feed the crazy. Just say "Thanks. But that's not up for discussion." or "Thanks for telling me. What ELSE is new with you?" and change the topic.
Your personal health business is you personal health biz. You simply don't have to go there with these people. You can't really control their crazy, but you can control how YOU react to it.
Just acknowledge that your ears work and change topic. "OK. So what ELSE is new?"
Doctors are human and make plenty of mistakes. The same goes for mothers.
Don't trust your doctor to invest the effort into keeping on top of the breaking research into topics that affect your health or understand the best approach for each individual case. Don't trust your mother to have the breadth of experience to make sane judgments about approaches that would work for you.
When you speak with your mother, try to find an approach that defuses the topic. Refusal to discuss the topic might work for some but often a less confrontational approach works better. You might tell her that you are researching and/or working the issue then change the subject. Just as in dieting, use whatever approach works for you in dealing with your mother.
I do suggest that you do your own research -- enough to feel well-informed and confident that you approve of your doctor's approach. You don't want to live with the consequence of your doctor's mistakes.
I second the research. Read, read, read and when you're done, read more. Be careful of your sources. Medical journals are the best place to start, if they are credible. If people give you random info, you can do one of two things. Either thank them and check up on it yourself, or ask them where they learned it and to back it up with facts and references. Most people cannot back up their opinions with concrete facts.
Even when studies are cited, that still may not guarantee what they are saying it true. There are actually factors that make studies valid. That's why (most) medical journals are a good place to start because the studies are often peer reviewed. My husband, who just finished his masters for Physician Assistant actually had a class on how to read studies, and determine their accuracy.
Also, a medical professional's knowledge can be effected by how long they have been in the field, if they have kept up on new research and their experience. Case in point, I am an RN and I learned that taking large doses of Vit C is a waste of money. Its a water soluble vitamin, so the more you take, you just pee it right out again. My husband did one of his research papers on the effects of Vit C on immunity and so far the research available still does not support or dismiss this age old idea. So the jury is still out on it, I guess. I've been a nurse for 5 years, and just in that time, maybe this diabetes effect has started to be researched, but I've never heard of it (and I would really ask someone to give some literature to back it up) BUT, its possible that I simple have not heard of this study and that its true. And it was not being taught when I was in nursing school.
Sometimes, some issues don't have a definitive answer, so different doctors will have different opinions. That's another factor.
If you are really tired of getting unsolicited medical advice from people, I would tell them that when they can provide credible proof, you'd be happy to listen. Or if they can explain the science behind why their advice might work, then that would be something you's be willing to try. Other wise, they can pedal it else where. You'll weed out the people that are just regurgitating what they heard someone else say, and that person they got it from heard it from someone else, and so on and so on. And you'll identify the people that actually have an interesting new piece of research or info to bring to the table and you may find some good advice.
While doctors don't know everything, they are far less likely to just spew wrong and unfounded info at you. Or to give a piece of advice they got from some random person. They do have a license to think about (as well as nurses) while lay people can give you the most inaccurate, dangerous advice and they have nothing to lose if they don't bother looking it up to make sure its true. That's something to think about too!
Hope this helps. :)
Thanks for the responses so far. GlamourGirl, I'd say your post was the most informative, though I don't mean to discount the others since they were all helpful.
My mother quotes her "herbalist."
Is there any reason I should trust an herbalist over a doctor?
You're welcome. :)
I would probably never trust an herbalist over a physician, but that's my opinion. I would wonder what is the education behind what this herbalist is saying? Does he have extensive knowledge in botany? How about pharmacology?
Think about the plant foxglove. It is used to make the medication digoxin. A very important medication used in treating certain cardiac issues. While I don't know anything extensive about foxglove, perhaps a botanist would know something valuable the plant in its natural form may have unwanted side effects. The biggest problem with just eating an herb, is that many are not regulated by the government and may contain impurities that while you are trying to get the desired effect (say cardiac treatment from the foxglove) you are also getting unwanted side effects that can be eliminated through extracting the desired chemicals only.
I would also expect a pharmacist (at some point in their schooling) to learn about more of the plant origins of medications. Whether or not they remember all of them is another story.
Also, there's a misconception about herbs being "natural" so they are somehow not harmful. This is simply not true. Tobacco is natural, marijuana is natural, there are many plants and herbs that are found in nature that would kill you if you ate them. The reason I would always trust a medication over an herb is first, its controlled. It was made in a lab, and we know what went into it. Second, its been studied, including its adverse effects. Herbs don't come with a list of all the possible side effects you may have due to using it. Third, medicine has a better chance of actually working. If an herb truly had this magical healing component, than medical researchers, pharmaceutical companies and everyone in between those two would be itching to study it and get in made into an excepted treatment. Some might be motivated by money, others by concern for patient welfare, but trust me, if an herb really was proven to be effective, it would not continue to stay this untapped resource.
I think the biggest reason people are afraid of convention medicine and turn to people like herbalist as their only approach (as opposed to patients I have had that follow conventional medicine but still use other forms of healing, and they do inform their doctors of such) is that people do not fully understand the science or medicine behind what a doctor says or prescribes, and they feel powerless, which make them feel they are being taken advantage of or lied to. (Like the crooked mechanic fear) Lets face it. There's not a ton of schooling behind medicine for no reason. They learn a lot that lay people just aren't going to learn with out sitting through the chem, bio, anatomy and physiology, the pharm classes. You can read a lot, but that type of knowledge foundation comes from formal schooling. So, we are forced to trust our doctors when we listen to their orders in circumstances where we don't have the knowledge or understanding to make the decisions on our own. We are trusting that they have our best interest at hand, and weren't the "C" student in med school. I think this scares a lot of people. I know this scares my dad, and he is pretty much anti medicine because of it, and his daughter is a nurse!
Also, I think the other issue is doctors expect patients to take more self responsibility. A doc is going to tell you, to manage diabetes, aside from the meds, you need to eat right, exercise and lose weight. Some people don't like to hear those types of things. They get angry at the doc for being rude or heartless. But the herbalist who is more likely to say "take this" is appealing to our egos. He doesn't point out what we've done to contribute to the problem, and he's not asking us to take the difficult steps in our own lives to correct it.
I remember when my cousin had trouble conceiving, and she must have went to every OB in the county. She complained that the docs continued to recommend she lose some weight before she tried to conceive (and that it would help her chances). She is morbidly obese. She even walked out on a doc because he said he would not address her infertility until she lost some weight. And she'd call me and complain that the docs had no right to put her on the spot about her weight. She wanted to keep her head in the sand and a good doc will make you take it out. Well, after many docs she found a doc (crappy one as far as I'm concerned) that just feed her what she wanted to hear, NOT what was in her best interest as a patient. Put her on what she needed to be one and she eventually got pregnant....and had gestation diabetes and some of the thankfully less threatening complications that came along with it. And when I asked her if she plans on now trying to lose the weight before her next...she was insulted I should suggest such a thing. She is someone who think all docs are out for her money or are heartless jerks, which is easier for her to admit than to step up and say "yes I need to loss weight before trying to conceive".
I could tell thousands of these stories related to smokers, alcoholics, people of an unhealthy weight (and that can be over or under), people that tan, that abuse steroids, and everything in between. People that would rather hear an herbalist say "take this" and our problems are "toxins" related to all the "impurities" in our world today. Its the drinking water, the air we breath, the processed food we eat, but its not anything you did. I'm not saying that there aren't contributing factors out there in our world. What I'm saying is when I get someone who smoked 2 packs a day for 50 years (and is still smoking) tell me they are worried about getting cancer from the tap water!!!! Or a microwave (this is a true story) I'm just floored at that kind of denial. Or they are worried about the "toxins" the drug companies "want to put in our bodies" while they are still smoking! I've noticed in my patient experience the more in denial someone is about their own contribution to their bad health, the more they don't like docs and would rather go to someone like an herbalist or whatever. I'm not saying this is true for everyone, just seems to be more often that not.
We all make mistakes. Heck, not only to I know the damage I'm doing to my body being over weight (actually I'm clinically obese, which I wasn't before I got pregnant, but pregnancy is no excuse to gain so much weight) but I've seen what it does to the human body. I know if I don't get this weight off, I'm going down a path to type II diabetes. (And I will not TTC again without losing weight first) And I don't want a guy to tell me to just take this vitamin or that herb. Because where is he going to be in 20 years when I'm a diabetic? He'll be gone and it'll be the doctors that will be trying to keep me from loosing my feet or fingers, losing my eye sight, going into renal failure and everything else that diabetes can result in.
Wow, that was long. But I have free time right now. I'm basically just sitting here waiting to go into labor!
I'd just like to say that my mom is the SAME way. ****, that woman even argues with HER OWN doctors. She reads & reads & reads (and so do I!) and she is the type to believe everything she reads, especially if it came from a (so-called) reputable source. *IF THERE'S ONE THING I'VE LEARNED*.... it's that even the experts can be wrong sometimes! - "they" always said that eggs were good for you! - then suddenly "THEY" said that eggs were bad-bad-bad! Now "they" are saying eggs are good again!... so how do we know what to believe?
I research so much; what my mom says, what my doc says, what people say on this forum, etc-etc-etc. I read books, articles, ask my doc about what I've read, etc.
And ya know what? I think I'm on complete Information Overload. I swear, half the time I don't know WHAT to believe - not just about dieting/exercise, but about herbs, medications, & so forth.
But one thing I DO KNOW - my body has proven itself! - in order for me to LOSE WEIGHT and BE HEALTHY, I need to exercise more, eat less, and make the most of my food intake from protein and veggies, and eat as clean as possible (that is, no processed foods) 80% of the time.
And make no mistake about it... it's hard for me! - partially because I have a sweet tooth from ****, partially because I've yo-yo dieted soooo many years I have just screwed my metabolism way up, and partially because sometimes I just would flat out rather sit on my bo-honkus than get up & BE active.
Otherwise, I'm cool with it. :)
You should also not trust the majority of doctors.
Ditto for personal trainers, nutritionists, chiropractors, hairdressers, mechanics, etc etc etc.
Do the research, educate yourself, take EVERYTHING and everyone with a grain of salt (or a whole shaker of salt) until you have verified the trustworthiness of a particular practitioner. Even then, do not ever turn your critical thinking off, when it comes to something as important as your own health. You are in charge.
My grandma used to say: "Free advice is worth what you pay for it." Folks sure do love to give advice. In a way grandma was right about that.
Anything someone says might be worth considering but - you need to check things out and sort out the information.
I think that many folks here at 3fc know alot more about weight loss that most doctor's know or can even take the time to help their patient's learn. That being said - I wouldn't just take any medical advice here without checking it out with my doctor. Folks are entitled to their opinion and we are entitled to agree or disagree or check it further.
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