“My wife made me come.”
I’ve seen it before. I first treat the wife’s thyroid problem, but then she realizes that I could help her husband with his medical concerns. When he sees how much energy his wife now has under my care, it isn’t too hard a sell to get him to make an appointment.
Still, Ed was skeptical. “I’ve been with the same internist for years, but all he seems to want to do is to push drugs on me.”
“Hmmmm. How so?”
“A few years back, my blood pressure was high and he said that hypertension could cause a stroke and kill me. He said, ‘Try diet and exercise for 3 months’, but when I came back, it was still high, so he put me on meds.”
Fran chimed in. “Those drugs had so many side effects. One made him hack and cough. Another made him tired and depressed. It took four tries before Ed found one he could tolerate.”
“I’ve written articles about how serious hypertension is . By subscribing to unbiased sources of information such as The Medical Letter , I prescribe the most effective and least toxic medications first, rather than the most expensive (and potentially dangerous) drugs that pharmaceutical reps like to advertise.”
Ed continued, “That doctor also said my cholesterol was high and he said that atherosclerosis can cause a heart attack and kill me. He said, ‘Try diet and exercise for 3 months’, but when I came back, it was still high, so he put me on more meds.”
“I thought the blood pressure drugs were bad, but these were so much worse. Not only did Crestor cause Eddie to get the worst muscle cramps, it was also damaging his liver ! I wonder if the treatments are worse than the disease!”
“Statin drugs prevent the body from making too much cholesterol, but they also deplete the body of Coenzyme Q10, and that causes muscle aches, fatigue, and elevated liver enzymes . I routinely check CoQ10 levels and use supplements to prevent those side effects.”
“Anyhow, my last set of blood tests showed my sugar is high and that he warned that diabetes could kill me. Do you know what he said next?”
“Let me guess, ‘Try diet and exercise for 3 months?’”
Fran interrupted, “Eddie needs more than lip service. It would be one thing if he taught us how to eat better, but all he had time for was to write prescriptions.”
“In addition to being a board-certified family physician, I also have a bachelor’s in Nutrition from Cornell, so I know how important diet and exercise is. You can’t teach 11 years of education in a 5-minute office visit, so I schedule 60 to 80 minutes with new patients, and at least 40 minutes for each follow up appointment. We’ll have plenty of time to teach you how to eat better.”
“Dr. Woliner, you don’t understand. I know what to do, I just don’t do it. I guess I just love bread too much.”
“No, I do understand. Eating too much isn’t just a cause of your weight gain, hypertension, and high cholesterol. It’ a symptom of the underlying condition which causes your sugar cravings. It’s called the METABOLIC SYNDROME, and when I fix your metabolism, you won’t crave bread excessively anymore .”
Ed wasn’t convinced. “You’re going to get an Italian to stop eating carbs? Good luck with that!”
“Let me make an analogy to help explain it. When a car is brand new, it doesn’t matter what type of gas you put into it, it runs fine. Even if the manufacturer says use Premium, if you use the regular 87 octane gas, you probably won’t notice any difference . But when a car becomes a 55-year-old clunker,” Fran poked Ed’s arm as she realized I just called him a clunker, “you need more octane in the gasoline, otherwise the engine will start to knock. One of the problems with factory farms is that the soil quality is not there . Our food doesn’t have all the vitamins and minerals in it as it would if we ate locally grown organic produce. Because I studied nutrition biochemistry and practice Functional Medicine, I know what vitamins and minerals we have to replace .”
I started Ed on a few pharmaceutical grade supplements, and as his appetite and weight came down, I was eventually able to taper him off his blood pressure medications.
At one of Ed’s follow up visits, he brought lunch in for my office. “Ever since I found this Organic Co-Op , my cooking has gotten so much better! You’ve got to taste the Purple Bell Pepper! It zings right off your tongue!”
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