Check out the headline:
A high-fructose diet raises blood pressure in men, while a drug used to treat gout seems to protect against the blood pressure increase, according to research reported at the American Heart Association’s 63rd High Blood Pressure Research Conference.
“This is the first evidence of a role of fructose in raising blood pressure and a role for lowering uric acid to protect against that blood pressure increase in people,” said Richard Johnson, M.D., co-author of the study and professor and head of the division of Renal Diseases and Hypertension at the University of Colorado-Denver medical campus in Aurora, Colo.
You know what else can lower it – or keep it from rising in the first place? Getting the sugar out of the diet. But why do that when you can just take a pill, right?
Really, if we want to do something to lower health care costs in this country and improve health (which itself would lower costs), we’d do well to have a lot less medicine.
And indeed, a lot of “conditions” (read: symptoms) that people commonly seek medical attention for are, as an excellent Wall Street Journal article points out, conditions that will improve on their own without any special medical intervention whatsoever.
“Most people’s bodies and immune systems are wonderful in terms of handling things—if people can be patient,” says Ted Epperly, a family physician in Boise, Idaho, and president of the American Academy of Family Physicians.
“I have a mantra: You can do more for yourself than I can do for you,” says Raymond Scalettar, a Washington, D.C., rheumatologist and former chairman of the American Medical Association. But, he says, “some patients are very medicine-oriented, and when you tell them they aren’t good candidates for a drug they’ve heard about on TV, they don’t come back.”
An estimated one-third to one-half of the $2.2 trillion Americans spend annually on health care in the U.S. is spent on unnecessary tests, treatments and doctor visits. Much of that merely buys time for the body to heal itself.
Notably, a lot of those treatments are for things that don’t cure anything but do suppress symptoms – cough suppressants, pain relievers, chest rubs, nasal sprays and so on. In the short term, they can make the illness easier to live with, but in the long-term, they simply add to the body’s toxic burden and push symptoms deeper, making the body less resistant to future assaults, whether from microbes or viruses, or environmental pollutants.
It’s one of the most important things to remember when it comes to health matters and is the foundation of a sound approach to healing: the human body is a self-regulating organism, always striving to achieve a state of balance known as homeostasis – literally, the condition of remaining the same. This is the the phenomenon referred to by Dr. Epperly above: your body has mechanisms for healing itself. Symptoms are the signs that your body is doing what it was designed to do.
So if the particular illness or dysfunction is such that the expertise of a physician, dentist or other health care professional is required, the conscientious practitioner will do two basic things: 1) pinpoint the source of the illness or dysfunction – its cause, and 2) provide treatment that addresses the cause by supporting the body’s natural abilities in self-regulation and self-healing.
This is precisely why it’s so important that we live healthy lifestyles. By eating well, exercising, seeking balance, nurturing our social connections and all the other qualities that go into healthful living, we stay resistant to illness by supporting the body’s ability to stay well.