Saturday, July 27, 2013

Medicine Stops At Symptoms

A resin cast of all the blood vessels in the face. Here's the brain.
Another excerpt from Campbell's book, Whole: Rethinking The Science Of Nutrition:
"Medicine stops at symptoms. With rare exceptions, we do not treat the causes of the disease, we treat its effects. And we convince ourselves that those individual effects are themselves causes. Got hypertension? We better lower your blood pressure with an antihypertensive drug, because high blood pressure causes heart disease. We're not interested in why your blood pressure is high to begin with. Got cancer? Let's irradiate and chemo-poison the tumor. We don't care that the tumor may have been caused by [lifestyle]. Had a heart attack? Let's put stents in your arteries so the blood can flow more freely in the future. The root cause of the blocked artery doesn't matter. The practice of medicine focuses almost exclusively on treating symptoms as the whole of the problem."
Of course, this is out of context, and elsewhere he defends emergency interventions. ("When someone enters a hospital suffering from a heart attack, stroke, or diabetic coma, the first order of business is to ameliorate the most serious symptoms so the patient can survive the night.") But he makes a very good point about allopathic Western medicine failing to address more than symptoms.

The example of stents is a good one. An adult human has about 60,000 miles of blood vessels, a length that, laid end-to-end, would stretch two and a half times around the earth. To think that narrowing is occurring in just one tiny centimeter of many miles of arteries, and that one stent would prevent ischemia, or any inadequate blood flow to any other organ, is senseless. You may prevent a heart attack, but you're not preventing the damage that may be occurring in the brain and the kidneys and the eyes and all the other critical organs that are supplied by atherosclerotic arteries. Atherosclerosis is a systemic condition. In fact, implanting a stent or performing heart bypass surgery may increase the risk for damage in other parts of the body when patients return to previous unhealthful behaviors thinking the crisis has passed.


Angela and Melinda said...

Wow, what a knock-out image!

Bix said...

Isn't it? It say so much more than words could say.