January 10, 2013

Bye, bye, magic bullet

I actually laughed yesterday when I read this quote in The Wall Street Journal article "New Rules for Giving Good Cholesterol a Boost":
"Let's pay at least as much attention to nutrition as we do [to] drugs," says Stephen Devries, a Northwestern Medicine cardiologist and director of the Gaples Institute, a nonprofit that promotes heart health. "There's a big focus on drugs, partly because no one is making a lot of money selling nuts."
The article was about the failure to find a HDL ("good") cholesterol-raising drug that also helps prevent heart disease. Because high levels of HDL have been shown to have a heart-protective effect, the big pharmaceutical hope was that HDL-raising drugs would be the best thing since sliced bread statins. Looks like those hopes have been dashed, and not for lack of trying.

While medical intervention in the form of drugs or surgery are the only hope for some diseases, when it comes to prevention, and sometimes treatment, of "lifestyle-related" diseases like type 2 diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, heart disease and some (but not all) cancers, eating healthfully, staying active, getting adequate sleep and reducing stress (or managing how you react to stress if you can't avoid it) are the best medicine.

[I realize there are strongly genetic forms of these diseases that can't be managed without medicine, but these instances are the minority, and a healthy lifestyle is still important as part of the treatment plan, as well as for general health and well being.]

Kind of breathes new life into the saying, "An apple a day keeps the doctor away."

1 comment:

  1. People need to just stop trying to solve everything with medication once a problem has already developed. i guess it's just the easier, but not the smarter, way.

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