Rawhide Health

Healthy Encouragement

Education, Patient Stories, and Medicine Topics to Ponder

by Dale J. Ross M.D.

Why is it important if you take your medicine, exercise your body, consider what you will eat? Is there a true imperative? What is the vital necessity of so much advice, prescribing, and ordering in medicine? Every being is self-willed and self-intended, so who should know your own body better than yourself? The answer should be – not a single person. If an individual desires to do just as they have always done, it is their choice. If a patient comes to me and asks how they could make xxxxx better, I want to help them. If you don’t know how to do something better, how can you know if it it is important to change.

Doctors can use practical advice, formal counseling, prescriptions, and many other modalities including surgery to try and make something better. Sometimes things can be made a whole lot better very quickly – if you recognize a ruptured appendix and recommend surgery, patients don’t tend to hesitate and they go to the operating room. Here is a story though: while I was undertaking some training a number of years ago, word got to me that a childhood friend’s father passed away. What struck me was why – autopsy showed he had a ruptured appendix that had likely been smoldering for several days before the overwhelming infection over stressed his body and he had a heart attack. . . . . Why?

Add to this picture a rather poorly controlled diabetic – rising blood sugars feed bacteria which multiply and further stress the body releasing more hormones that push even higher elevations in blood sugars and around and around higher and higher. He had high blood pressure and felt his numbers weren’t too bad so he took his medicines depending on whether he noticed head or eye troubles – years of 10-40 point elevations in blood pressure on 60 to 80 beats of his heart per minute every minute of every day leads to heart strain, heart failure, hardened arteries. Increase resource demand because of a raging body-wide infection and the pump can’t take it so the pump must give out. The man was medically morbidly obese. This means he was more than 100 pounds heavier than is recommended for his height – this is not only for people 500, 600, or more pounds. An average male at 5’10” and ~270 lbs or an average female of 5’5” and ~240 lbs fit the medical definition of morbidly obese. Morbid obesity is a term that was originally defined to indicate increased risk of death. This gentleman lived with an increased risk of death because of the added weight he carried and the effects this has on the body. (I will go into the specifics of the health risks and whys related to excess weight in future articles).

So, you start with a kindly and caring man that had always done all that he could for his son. A man that had worked hard for the lumber mill day in and day out for forty years. Here was a man that you could count on for a hand, right down there in the mud if you needed it, because he did not hold back when someone asked. Take him and strike him from the earth. He leaves a legacy that is true, but he did not need to die at the time he did or in the way that he did. Yes we will all die of something at sometime, but I have seen just how often people are leaving this world because they chose the harms to their bodies or they did not know why it might be important to live . . . . . . . differently.

Next time: Differently