Be An Informed And Empowered Patient

Pat Garner

I recently needed to change my healthcare provider from a PPO to an HMO. I had been seeing a naturopath for the in-depth blood work she would do. So much information can be learned from blood work.

With my recent trip to a “regular” MD, I felt I knew more than she did when it came to nutrition and how food affects the body. The one issue I can’t seem to hack is better sleep. I thought I would discuss with the doctor to see what her suggestions would be. I made it clear medication was NOT going to be my solution. She made some good suggestions with herbs and natural remedies; however, I was already aware of her solutions.  She gets extra credit for knowing something about herbs and supplementation.

We continued our discussion and she ordered some blood work for me. I was super excited to have labs done. A few days later I was able to see the results. I was surprised by the lack of the bloodwork texts that were ordered. The labs were a slimmed down lipid panel, A1C, creatine for kidney function, and a basic THS for thyroid. I was certainly disappointed at the lack of information that’s provided from these basic and non-exploratory tests. Why wouldn’t a test be ordered for insulin, inflammation (hs-CRP), hormones, anemia, and in-depth lipid panel other than total cholesterol, LDL and HDL? The tests that were ordered didn’t tell a story. I shared my previous labs from my naturopath with the doctor and she was amazed at how many labs were ordered and commented on how most weren’t necessary.

I recently went for a follow-up and she suggested a statin drug because my LDL was ever so slightly elevated. Why is a pill the solution? Because it’s the medical practice of “standard of care”. Doctors don’t have the billable time to get to underlying issues. Their job is to treat the symptom and bill accordingly. I asked why she didn’t ask for a more extensive blood work panel and she said it’s not necessary.  I asked if she could order additional labs and she was hesitant but willing to order the labs I was wanting. She was impressed I knew what I wanted.

I’m going down this path for a few reasons. First, most people don’t know what they don’t know. Most people feel their doctor walks on water and believe their doctor knows what’s best for them. In my opinion, nothing is farther from the truth. In a book by Ken Berry, MD, Lies My Doctor Told Me, you’ll hear from an MD about the medical standard of practice and the lack of education so many physicians have when it comes to nutrition and even general health. It comes down to – treat the symptom and not the patient.

I would encourage you to do your own research about medications you take. There are effects from taking medications long term. Metabolic syndromes like high blood pressure and high blood sugar are lifestyle related and can be reversed with diet so you can get off the medication. Oh, you have high blood pressure or you’re pre-diabetic? Take a pill. You see how the medical community and drug companies are connected, right?

I advocate for people to be informed, empowered and to take control of their health. No one else will care about you until you take control.

If you have comments or want to share your own experience, I would love to hear from you. You can post below or email me at