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Pharmaceutically compensated docs come up with take-a-pill rules. No surprise there.

November 13, 2013 - Paul Giannamore
Comedians have long made fun out of the 30 second commercial for a pharmaceutical product that contains 26 seconds of disclaimers. If the drugs are so dangerous even after testing, then why the heck do we need ‘em?

Which is why I am livid over the hard-to-understand new heart disease guidelines by the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology.

Here’s the deal for me. I weighed about 310 pounds and my liver went wonky because it was filling with fat. My cholesterol was over 275. I was a mess.

That was four years ago this month. My doctor was AFRAID to give me a statin because of the state of my liver enzymes, running four and five times acceptable levels.

My choices were to clean up my diet and get off the couch or die, pretty much.

I chose the gym, six days a week at the start, and lived like a food monk, swearing off everything but a single helping of a perfectly balanced meal. Did it for a year. Shed pounds. Got the blood sugar under control. Got the cholesterol under 200. Got the liver enzymes to where they’re running right down the middle of the acceptable range. Feel great. Look younger. Lift more weight than ever in my life other than the 100 pounds of extra fat I lugged around.

Whew, I thought. Only pill I’m on is for my just about under control blood sugar and we’re hoping to get off that at some point because my sugar is staying pretty darned low. If I eat just right, it never climbs at all.

Which means I changed my lifestyle.

So what does the medical profession do? In cahoots with the pharmaceutical follks, it comes up with the Take a Pill doctrine of wellness. No matter how these folks try to sell us this complex set of assessments and blood tests that now don’t tell us much to go by if the new suggestions are believed, the deal is this, in my view. At least half the doctors who participated in making the regulations are on the dole from pharmaceutical firms. One doc I heard said that doens’t mean they voted on the guidelines.

No, but they were involved somehow or what were they doing on the panel?

“It is practically impossible to find large group of outside experts in the field who have no relationships to industry,” said Dr. George Mensah of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. The AP story I quote there then goes on to quote the doc about how important these new guidelines are.

So, now that my liver is in the better than it was category, do I want to take a drug that may “cause muscle problems like weakness, tenderness or pain that happen without a good reason”? After all, when my cholesterol and blood sugar and liver enzymes were high, I had all of those.

Or should I take a pill that can cause liver symptoms, including upper belly pain and dark amber urine and yellowing of the skin or whites of your eyes? Or how about the joys of diarrhea, upset stomach, muscle and joint pain, tiredness, tendon problems, memory loss and confusion?

All of that sounds like I wouldn’t feel much like continuing to eat properly or hit the gym four or five days a week, which have so far made me proveably healthier by the blood numbers these pharmaceutically challenged docs say are meaningless now.

Because under the new guidelines, I’m one of those new folks who need a statin. I’m between 40 and 79. My mother was a Type II diabetic who eventually died in old age from complications of the disease. I became diabetic in my mid 40s from being a depressed, fat, lazy guy who ate all wrong.

I also am between 40 and 75 with Type II diabetes, another factor in the “take-a-pill” school of medicine’s new rules. And do I have or don’t I have liver problems? It’s been fine for four years and seems as if it might stay that way so long as I continue to exercise heavily, avoid booze, Tylenol and a high-fat day-after-day diet.

Seems to me the choice is mine. It’s my body and I’m not pharmaceutically compensated. I was fitness club compensated. I will admit I swear by getting into a supportive and good gym filled with other middle-aged folks fighting the good fight and a couple of pushy and effective trainers as a way of life-improving, behavior-changing conduct.

I just don’t want to be told, “Hey, you’re over 50. Take a pill.”

Bull. You go ahead and add the four asterisks to that if you want. I have to go work out now.


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