Taking diabetes drug will only lengthen a 45 yr old's life by 10 months ...
A recent article in New Scientist magazine suggested that the use of conventional treatments for type II diabetes is not always the right choice. The article focuses on a piece of research carried out at the University of Michigan that assessed the data from clinical trials on various type II diabetes drugs. The conclusions were very clear - in women with only slightly raised blood sugar levels, the side effects outweigh the gains. Women (45 age group) would only gain 10 months of healthy life by taking the drugs and for women in the 75 age group, this dropped to as little as three extra weeks. It would be interesting if the same group looked at how many healthy years could be gained by following an integrative medicine approach that included exercise therapy, nutritional therapy, diet and lifestyle changes as well as many other therapies that can help a patient control their type II diabetes.
Type II diabetes crying out for an integrative approach
Type II diabetes is perhaps one of the health problems that most clearly warrants an integrative approach. Unfortunately many doctors are unaware of the benefits of other therapies, and do not have the time to find out more, or are unwilling to discuss the options with their patients. Patients often look for information themselves, try various supplements and herbal remedies, and may even suddenly stop their prescribed medication. This can be catastrophic for the patient, due to medicine- herbal interactions and sudden extreme changes in blood sugar levels. It is time that doctors became aware of the other treatment possibilities, and if they do not have the time themselves to integrate other therapies into their practice, they should have a list of well qualified therapists to whom they can refer their patients.
Switzerland forges ahead in integrative medicine
The number of doctors practising integrative medicine is increasing, and we can learn a lot from countries such as Switzerland, France and Germany, where their integrated systems are more advanced. Switzerland, in particular, has an enviable health system. The general population pays health insurance, and most complementary therapies are covered by the insurance. Three years ago the Swiss government tried to remove some complementary therapies from the list of therapies that were reimbursed, but had to do a U turn due after a huge protest by Swiss citizens! Is it just a co-incidence that Switzerland also has the highest life expectancy in Europe? However, what is the point of high life expectancy if there is no quality of life? So, more importantly, Switzerland has the highest 'healthy life expectancy' in Europe.
Every patient has the right to know about every treatment or therapy than can help them and it is a doctor's job to make sure that they do, not a drug company's. We can almost hear the cries of 'dream on!' This shouldn't be a dream it should be a reality, and Switzerland are clearly heading in the right direction.
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