“Looking over your medical record, Nancy, I’m a bit concerned about your risk for osteoporosis and hip fracture. It looks like your mom had a hip fracture at age 67. Is that right? ”
“Yes, she did,” Nancy responded. “And her life was never quite the same for the 15 years she lived after that.
“You’re 53 year old. Bone thinning develops over many years. Let’s get you scheduled for a bone scan.”
Two weeks later:
“Your z-score is 1.5, Nancy. This means you’ve got a mild form of osteoporosis called ‘osteopenia.’ Here: This is a prescription for alendronate, what used to be called Fosamax.”
“Aren’t there side-effects with that drug? A friend of mine said that her mom had a leg fracture from it.”
“Well, yes. All prescription drugs have potential side-effects. They’re rare, but they can happen and we can’t predict it. Besides leg fracture, there’s something called jaw osteonecrosis in which the jawbone dies and has to be surgically replaced. But would you rather run the risk of a hip fracture?”
“Before we jump to drugs, aren’t there natural things I could do first?”
(Big sigh.) “You can take calcium, but that only helps a bit. You’ve got to make a choice: Take the drug or risk a hip fracture.”
“I’m going to explore some natural remedies on my own first.”
Nancy’s dialogue with her doctor is fictional but based on similar encounters that occur thousands of times every day nationwide. Identify a problem, prescribe a drug. Natural remedies? “They don’t work.” “I don’t know anything about that.” “None of that is proven.” “I only practice evidence-based medicine.” You’ve probably heard a few of these explanations yourself if you ever question the wisdom of conventional medical care.
Each of Nancy’s fictitious interactions were no more 10 minutes long. If she is like most people, she will have one or two such interactions over the course of a year, unless she develops some acute illness. So she’s got something like 20-30 minutes per year to compress all of her “health” advice into the time allotted. 20-30 minutes per year to discuss bone health, nutrition, blood sugar issues, cholesterol issues, blood pressure, female issues, and all the other facets of health. Perhaps she has developed some chronic gastrointestinal complaints, too, and an odd rash on her elbows, maybe headaches a few times per week that she didn’t have before. Regardless, she’s going to have to make do with those few minutes, likely receiving one or more prescriptions or imaging procedures for each.
Such is the nature of modern healthcare: Provide the minimum interaction, address only a few, perhaps no more than one, problem, then prescribe a drug. This is, more often than not, wrong. Plain wrong. Tragically, awfully, unethically, unnecessarily wrong.
Let’s pick up again with Nancy. Upon learning of her osteopenia and long-term risk for hip fractures of the sort that changed her mom’s life and health irretrievably, Nancy started searching for solutions. Not only did she discover that, yes, there are indeed a number of safe and effective ways to deal with osteopenia. She also learned that such strategies have even been examined in clinical trials, some of the strategies pitted head-to-head with drugs and performed on a par, sometimes better, than prescription drugs. She also found that there are online communities that she could join and discuss her health situation with people all sharing the same health interests. During one such interaction at the start of her effort, when she was still a bit unsure and tentative, a woman she didn’t know but who shared a similar interest in restoring bone health, commented to Nancy, “Don’t sweat it, Nancy. I was in your shoes a little over a year ago. I followed a program for bone health: vitamin D, vitamin K2, magnesium, I made sure that I included leafy green vegetables at least once or twice per day, and I added strength training for a few minutes twice per week. I started with osteoporosis. My most recent bone density test showed that I reversed it completely—it’s entirely normal! So hang in there and be sure to share your questions and concerns with us here.”
THAT is what Cureality is all about. Cureality fills the gap of knowledge in health that is not being provided in a few minute-long medical interaction. Cureality reveals the astounding amount of credible, safe, scientific information that allows you to participate, sometimes take over completely, various aspects of health. You don’t have to fire your doctor; these efforts supplement the information and advice you obtain (or don’t obtain) in the doctor’s office. While critics may sometimes say that this can be dangerous or that misdiagnoses and dangerous treatments might be risked, our experience is the exact opposite: People do better by taking the reins of health themselves, choosing to use the health care system for acute or catastrophic illness—but not necessarily for health.
Our fictional woman, Nancy, returns to her doctor one year later after undergoing a repeat bone scan. The doctor opened her chart, clearly expecting to scold her for her foolhardy and careless attitude. Instead, he was speechless. After a pause, he said, “I don’t know how you did it, but your bone density is now normal, the density of a healthy 30-year old woman. Just continue doing what you’re doing.” He closed the chart and walked out.
Yes: “Just continue what you are doing”—not “Please tell me what you did so that I might learn something new,” or “Where did you learn about such strategies? I knew nothing about this!” Just “do what you’re doing.” Too often, that is the response you get that defines what modern health care has become.
You don’t want that kind of health care. Sure, it’s reassuring to know that the doctor and hospital are there in case you injure yourself or develop pneumonia. But obtain day-to-day health advice of the sort that keeps you slender, keeps blood pressure normal, maintains normal insulin and blood pressure responses, helps keep bowel health ideal, can even be used to reverse conditions such as autoimmune joint pain, diabetes, osteoporosis, or skin rashes, while costing next to nothing and yielding health care benefits for you and your family in multiple areas of health? That is the kind of health care you want.
That’s why we developed Cureality.
William Davis, MD
Author of #1 New York Times Bestseller Wheat Belly: Lose the wheat, lose the weight and find your path back to health, The Wheat Belly Cookbook, and Wheat Belly 30-Minute (or Less!) Cookbook published by Rodale, Inc.
Author, Track Your Plaque: The only heart disease prevention program that shows how the new CT heart scans can be used to detect, track, and control coronary plaque