I read yet another horror story today about a healthy, happy, robust 84 year old woman who was, for all practical purposes, killed by unnecessary medical intervention. Long story short, this perfectly healthy woman went to get a wellness check. She was told she had dangerously high cholesterol, (265, which is actually perfectly normal for an 84 year old female,) and high blood pressure (140/85, also perfectly normal.) She was sent to her doctor who put her on several medications to correct these “problems.” When she then felt listless, dizzy, and depressed, she was put on antidepressants. Several days later she became so dizzy and weak that she fell and broke her hip. You can probably imagine the downward spiral that took place after this—more medications, more side effects, and more drugs to control the side effects. This poor woman, who started out a spry, lively, and very healthy elder, died in the hospital within two weeks of making the mistake of going in for a wellness check, then following her doctor’s orders.
There are several lessons in this tragedy. First, as I’ve told my clients and readers repeatedly, don’t let the medical establishment scare you about cholesterol. Cholesterol is a normal and necessary substance that serves a multitude of important functions in the body. It is not some sort of toxic sludge that clogs you up. You need it for hormone synthesis, brain function, and many other things. For every study that seems to indict cholesterol as the culprit in heat disease, you can find another that refutes this myth. For instance, no one talks about the study that shows that women with the highest cholesterol levels live the longest. (The real cause of cardiovascular disease, inflammation, is something I’ll talk about in another post.)
The other lesson to be gleaned from this story, is that when a real health problem does arise, in most cases it is best addressed through proper nutrition, lifestyle changes, and natural methods like chinese medicine, herbs, and qigong. These will bring the body slowly but surely back into balance without causing side-effects. In all cases of illness, the medicine should improve the whole organism. If it relieves one symptom but causes imbalance or harm to any other part of the mind or body, then it’s not good medicine. If you ever become ill, you should demand this standard from your practitioner.