What is a Member Advocate?
Hi, I'm Chris, also known on Cureality by my Member Nickname "HeartHawk." My role at Cureality is rather unique as I am involved in almost every aspect of Cureality from technology to operations and working directly with everyone else on the team. I have been here from day one and it's my job to know what is going on in every "nook and cranny" of Cureality so I can help Members better understand, navigate, and utilize the Cureality website.
My lengthy history with Dr. Davis (you could say I was the first official Member of his earlier Track Your Plaque and now Cureality programs) as well as my academic background as an engineer and MBA (what can I say, I'm a "numbers" geek) certainly help, but there is a much more important resource I hope to share - the experience of my personal quest for solutions to many of the same health issues you may be facing. Here is a partial list of those personal health issues:
- Atherosclerosis (asymptomatic so far thanks to Cureality)
- High Lipoprotein(a), a new and widely acknowledged marker for early heart attack
- Pre-Diabetes (successfully avoiding full-blown diabetes)
- Hypothyroidism (Hashimoto's Thyroiditis)
- Premature Atrial Complex (think of it as "Pre-Afib")
- Optimized blood pressure (went from average to optimal without drugs)
The bottom-line is I not only "talk the talk" I "walk the walk" taking the same path as many in our Cureality Community.
My Personal Message to Everyone
Taking personal responsibility for your health is crucial. A typical doctor must be able to treat thousands of different health conditions for thousands of patients per year. These numbers make it impossible
for even the most conscientious doctor to remain up to date on the latest medical
advances. Simple arithmetic also tells us that most doctors can
spend less than one hour per year focused on your unique health needs. If you
want optimum health, it is up to you to fill this "healthcare gap" and
invest the extra time needed to achieve optimal health. Cureality helps make
the job easier and more effective by providing access to information and a community willing to share their experiences.
Keep in mind, taking personal responsibility does not mean "divorcing" your doctors. However, it is does mean changing your relationship with them. View doctors as your paid consultants, people you hire and pay to advise you on the highly technical and extremely serious issues affecting your health. Find good doctors and listen to them but keep in mind the good ones will always listen back!
Unfortunately, not every doctor is willing to listen, understand your unique needs, and take unique action. My personal story is loaded with examples of how I might have suffered severe consequences - perhaps even death - if I would have been satisfied with the one-size-fits-all approach of traditional medicine - if I had NOT decided to take personal responsibility. Here are a few examples.
- After my mother died of a heart attack suddenly and without symptoms – the third family member to do so - I went to my doctor for advice and testing. I was told my LDL (bad) cholesterol was fine and not to worry. I asked about getting a heart scan and was advised against it. What my doctor didn't explain was that my HDL (good) cholesterol was also low and I never tested for an emerging and now known cause of early heart disease - high lipoprotein(a). I got a heart scan and found I had atherosclerosis and further testing revealed that, indeed, a genetic disposition for high lipoprotein(a) was the culprit. High lipoprotein(a) is difficult to treat but I have had some modest success using advanced treatments. But, I would never have known about the condition or the treatments without filling the "healthcare gap" myself. Most importantly, my relatives now know about the condition and can take action, the younger ones decades earlier!
- I saw my doctor complaining about extreme fatigue. Since hypothyroidism is a common cause for fatigue (and many other nagging ailments), he tested my thyroid using the standard TSH test and declared I was fine. Not convinced, I saw three endocrinologists before I convinced one of them to test me for auto-immune thyroiditis. You guessed it, I have confirmed auto-immune hypothyroiditis (Hashimoto's Thyroiditis) which I now simply and successfully treat (and not without more bumbling by traditional medicine but that's another story).
- During some personal, at-home, blood sugar testing, I noticed my post-prandial (after eating) blood sugar was rather high. I saw my doctor and he brushed it off saying that all my fasting blood sugar tests were perfect and besides, I was "too thin" to have diabetes. I came back a week later to show him more of my personal blood sugar readings and, after a little strong-arming, he reluctantly ordered an Oral Glucose Tolerance Test (OGTT). You guessed it, I am officially pre-diabetic testing only six points under the cut-off for full-blown diabetes. Of course, the Cureality Diet helped improve things dramatically.
I could recite many more examples but I think you get the picture. Had I not taken the time to inform myself on these various health issues and taken personal responsibility for my health I would be ignorantly walking around with no explanation for my extreme fatigue and with serious complications that would have elevated my hidden risk for sudden heart attack.
Whether you do it through Cureality or some other program, I strongly urge everyone to practice what I call Informed, Self-directed Healthcare (ISH). Take charge, become informed, then take action. You will likely feel better, live longer, and with less stress about your health!