“I will praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Your works are wonderful; I know that full well” (Psalms 139:14). I suggest that if you can’t agree with that statement of David, you don’t understand your body very well. A medical doctor friend of mine says that 90% of the patients he sees every day would not need him if they would just take care of themselves and not run to him every time they have an ache or a pain. There is also concern about unnecessary surgery.
In the February 2018 issue of Scientific American (page 22), there is a follow up to an article that first appeared in the British medical periodical Lancet. The article in Scientific American is titled “Why Fake Operations Are a Good Thing.” The basic theme of these articles is that a lot of common operations like angioplasties are unnecessary surgery and that most of them do not reduce the risk of heart attacks or death. They are used to relieve symptoms such as chest pain, known as stable angina, and shortness of breath. Data in the British study shows that drugs could control the cardiovascular disease without the risks and expense involved in angioplasty.
One-hundred patients with blocked arteries were given a real stent operation, and 100 were told that they were given the operation, but weren’t. Six weeks after the operations there was no difference in how the two groups felt with both groups reporting less pain and performing better on treadmill tests.
A local brother had a blockage, but his doctor said that the body was building blood vessels around the blockage and he didn’t need a stent. That seemed plausible, but several weeks later he had a near-fatal heart attack, and EMTs had to shock him twice to keep him alive. It seems that there is no sure technique 100% success. At the same time, running to the doctor with every ache or pain with cost factors being what they are, may not be a good choice for many of us.
Cardiologists will take issue with not jumping on heart difficulties, but the idea of unnecessary surgeries applies to many other areas of concern. Patients receive two-million arthroscopic knee surgeries every year. The British study shows that a vast majority of them offer no advantages that patients could not get with physical therapy, weight loss, and exercise. Twenty-two percent of migraine sufferers when given sugar pills had reduced frequency of headaches. Fake acupuncture helped 38% of the same group, and fake surgery helped 58%.
The point of all this is that our bodies are incredible. Diet and exercise could eliminate a lot of medical expense. If the cost factors are eating you alive financially, there may be an answer other than unnecessary surgery or expensive drugs.
–John N. Clayton © 2018