22 Aug 2014
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Should You Fire Your Doctor?

Should You Fire Your Doctor?
How do you know? 

I remember my days back in the corporate world (HR) that it was all but understood that roughly 25% of all employees were severely under-performing. And 10% were all but out the door and set to be fired! I also remember working with a lot of different types of people. Some were educated and smart, some were educated and, well, not so smart. Some were un-educated but smart as hell. 

Shouldn't we then assume that, even though all doctors are educated that at least a certain percentage of them just aren't very good at their job? 

In the words of the late George Carlin. 
"Somewhere in the world is the world's worst doctor. And what's truly terrifying is that someone has an appointment with him tomorrow morning".

So how do you know? 

I always see people put things on Facebook like "Should I get a Galaxy S4 or and iPhone 5"? Or "What's a good Restaurant in Traverse City"? Shouldn't we do as much research on our doctor as we do on our next smart phone purchase? I'm not necessarily saying to put it on Facebook, but did you do research on your doctor? Did your friend tell you they were "good"? What does that mean anyway? If that doctor is good for your friend does that mean he/she is good for you?
I am by no means saying to stop going to the doctor or not to trust yours - I don't however put the health of my entire family in somebody's hands without doing my own research.

Here are a list of things you may hear that should put you on high alert when visiting your doctor.  

 1. Your BMI is too high. There are people with high BMI's that are perfectly healthy and then there are people with low BMI's with elevated body fat percentages that are unhealthy. BMI is meant for populations. Not individuals. 

 2. Don't lift heavy weights. This is almost always bad advice. Find a trainer that knows what they are doing and learn to lift heavy weights. The hard part here is finding somebody that knows what they are doing. 

**Note - if the trainer/program does not include barbell training you need to look elsewhere. Assuming the goal is to get stronger. 

 3. You need to go on blood pressure medication. I once read something somewhere and it has stuck with me ever since. "Nobody has high blood pressure because they aren't on blood pressure medication". I find this hard to dispute based on logic alone. Something else is going on, find a way to fix it. Work with your doctor to do this.
 
**Note - if you are on BP medication please don't just stop taking it without talking to your doctor. 

 4. Your cholesterol is too high. This one is dicey...It is so ingrained in our country that elevated cholesterol is going to lead to a heart attack that this may come off as crazy talk from an internet idiot...that being said. Do your research. Google the "cholesterol myth" and start reading. Also look up the side effects of cholesterol lowering medications for additional fun. 
In short - just to keep it simple...If you are trying to lower your cholesterol through cholesterol lowering medications (statins) and removing cholesterol from your diet, you may be doing more harm than good. 

Quick personal story...
In 2007 prior to starting a regular exercise routine I had full blood work done - I was a mess. High cholesterol, elevated blood glucose, high BP, etc. I remember my doctor telling me that my cholesterol levels were dangerous and that we needed to "keep a close eye on that". I was supposed to make a follow up appointment but never did. Fast forward a few years. I had made some changes started working out and lost a lot of weight. I needed to get a physical for something and made an appointment. I had the same blood work done. My doctor (a published obesity researcher) was stunned at my lowered cholesterol levels. She asked me what I was eating and how I managed to do that - when I told her she said that the reason my cholesterol was so low was because of genetics. Um...what? What about when they were dangerously high? Did I suddenly have different genes? My diet at the time included roughly 300% of the US RDA of saturated fat and dietary cholesterol. She told me that was too much (fat). What? Why? My blood work was optimal according to her! With that - she asked me to make an appointment in 6 months but was at a loss for my blood work results coupled with my diet which included so much dietary fat! I haven't been back to her since.

5. Your arm is broken. You need to go to the ER.  Good advice. Go to the ER.
 
Do your research. Read. Search the web. Talk to friends. Ask questions. Find out if your doctor has your best interests in mind. Maybe your doctor is awesome. Maybe he/she is educated, smart, cares about your family and wants the best for all of you. But how do you know?
I've encountered good and bad in my life...good and bad fast food workers, lawyers, accountants, cable guys, chiropractors, dental hygienists and yes, doctors. 

Maybe your doctor is awesome. 

Or maybe they should be fired. 

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