Recently I went to an Endocrinology conference at the University of Washington in Seattle. It was a great conference with topics including: diabetes, testosterone, thyroid problems, PCOS and much more. There were also pharmaceutical companies present. I have always grappled with understanding the presence of pharmaceutical companies at medical conferences. You always have to take everything that’s said with a grain of salt (unless you have high blood pressure, then don’t!). Medications are great when you need them, but they also come with side effects and too many can cause as many problems as they are trying to help.
My goal for my patients has always been to be on the least number of medications possible. I had a professor tell me once: “You should not be on more medications than the square root of your age”. How true! We now know that we can heal many of our health problems simply by eating right and exercising. I know I try everyday to make good decisions, but sometimes I don’t. Then I have to make a correction, and on and on it goes. Having a holistic approach to healing a person comes from appreciating that the body can heal itself and sometimes it needs help through medicine. Knowing the difference is part of the art of medicine.
So, yes, I did learn a lot about disease processes, treatment options, and evidence based medicine. One of the speakers commented that although we are taught to practice medicine based on evidence, we are too often practicing medicine to what is covered under a patient’s medical plan. We could save on some of these costs if we just sat down with our patients and talked about what they could do to improve their diet.
“Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food.”