Im going to start this discussion with a few thoughts and I am sure some of you will run with.
As with most profound cultural challenges, it starts with assumptions and expectations. If a doctor OR a patient expects the doctor to know everything (and the patient to know nothing), then trouble starts the moment a doctor does NOT know something, and the moment a patient does. That's why the internet has had such profound effects: the information explosion means NOBODY can know everything anymore, and the internet means patients (without medical training) CAN find information that the doctors haven't seen.
THIS DOES NOT MEAN THE DOCTOR IS A FAILURE! It's so important to realize that in the old world, good medical information was available ONLY inside the academic medical world, and that's no longer true.
To show you how fast research is ahead of clinical medicine consider this fact.....If I said that if he went home every night and read TWO journal articles after a year I'd be 400 years behind the current data known.
Contemplate that for a minute.
My belief is your doctor needs you as much as you need them. You can bring the information they lack to better their former selves.
So Paleohackers........will you do this or not? And if not why not?
I tend to agree with you. The problem I have found after going to literally dozens of doctors for an unidentified auto-immune disease (now properly diagnosed as Ankylosing Spondylitis, but since I am female, I couldn't possibly have such a thing) I found that most doctors are not willing to even listen to their patients, let alone actually learn from them. They thought if I had found an idea on the internet, that it was most certainly bogus and I was just OCDing. After several years of this, I actually found one doctor to listen to me and he just so happened to be the most brilliant doc I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. Turns out he is involved in the human genome project, is part of our local CDC and has testified before congress regarding AIDS, Autism, etc. He had Polio as a child and has a passion for the immune system and infectious disease.
My point is that the one and only doctor who actually listened to me and considered my ideas, happens to be the most intelligent and the least egotistical. So I believe your statement is correct; but a large factor of the success of such an idea will lay with the doctor, his intelligence, and his lack of ego.
You know, when it comes down to it, I don't expect my doctor to know everything. They are only human after all. It would be nice, however, if they took a page from the retail worker's training manual and employed the "I don't know, but I will find out for you" technique, instead of the "making something up and throwing prescriptions at you" technique. I haven't found one yet.
The problem is, the doctors I come across seem to take it as a pointy stick to their ego if I try to explain something I've found - yes, on the internet. Usually from a medical journal. I have had a nurse practitioner tell me I was full of it when discussing something put out by the Mayo Clinic. When I tried to get my thyroid tested, that doctor yelled at me and then told me how long he spent studying endocrinology at school so obviously he knew better than something I read on the internet. This was also the same doctor who, when I explained my symptoms at the time, told me "God does not hate you enough to give you all these ailments" and gave me a prescription for lexapro. Which I never took. I wasn't depressed.
The truth? I'm exhausted from trying to have conversations with doctors. It never seems to go both ways. I try to have a discussion with them and they try to throw prescriptions at me, treat me like a child and leave. Yes, I understand you (general "you") spent many years at medical school and I didn't. That doesn't make me an idiot.
Are you asking if we will "school" our doctors?
I sort of schooled my doctor (and myself) recently. I went in for a routine annual physical. I requested a blood lipid panel and it came back abnormal, but in the opposite direction of what my doc is used to seeing (Very high hdl, low LDL). I mention this because I had to fight my doc to get the test in the first place. She thought I had "no obvious signs of needing such tests." I am out of the range of normal. If it weren't for "Paleo", sites like this and the open exchange of information I may not have had the courage to fight for such tests in the first place. I think we both learned something.
I would like to add, though that my doc has always asked my opinion about things like fluoride, exercise and supplements. She thinks eggs are a superfood and she has a small farm. I don't know enough about it, but I wonder how much her hands are tied by "standard of care."
Actually, Quilt, I want to answer the question you haven't asked. Medical education, from beginning to postgraduate, needs an international overhaul. Med students are still taught that in many vital ways they are superior to other health professionals and their patients. They are taught to appear, and perhaps to believe that they are, omnipotent. This attitude gets in the way of their ability to work alongside patients and families, and the arrogance that is inculcated in this way interferes with their ability to evaluate new information. Once a doc gets into a specialty, their exposure to 'general' health knowledge is compromised, and ongoing testing of their ability to be an effective medical practitioner is minimal; often it is managed by colleagues which is a perfect way to retain the status quo.
I am willing to bring new information to my health care practitioners, but I am not willing to re-educate them in basic open-mindedness, communication and courtesy. I have better things to do with my time, and I am very fortunate to live in a part of the world where I can vote with my feet.
I am by no means excusing nurses from this, and am dismayed at the concrete thinking, limited range of knowledge, and often sheer rudeness of nurses. We have a lot of work to do.
My doc is a very good cw doc. She listens. She doesn't force me to take things I don't want. She is always on time. She is open to lifestyle approaches.
Since there don't seem to be any Paleo receptive MDs in Northern California, amazingly enough, I'm going to stick with her for now.
So, to answer your question, I doubt that there is anything you can do to change her.
I've had some great progress with my GP lately. Health and care is becoming an open conversation with us now - which is great. He's interested in my familys progress (hubby's lost 40lbs and 2 yr old son is healthy as a horse). I don't know if I'm changing the way he views things - but he did tell me that he has cut out wheat at home after we spoke. He also lets me know when a specialist that he's referred me to will or wont be receptive to our diet.
I think that an open conversation with a doctor is really the best thing that could happen. And hopefully everyone will evolve together!
Wow, after reading all of this, I feel really bad about my answer here.
I love my endocrinologist. She listens to me. She told me, the day I was diagnosed as a type 1, that I would ALWAYS know more about my condition than she does, because I know me and she really doesn't. I live with it, day in, day out, and she does not -- what she knows comes from books and patients. She gave me insulin, told me a starting dose, and sent me home. When I came back two weeks later and had readjusted ALL my doses without her, and explained how I came to those numbers, she was very impressed with me. Same thing when I got my pump -- I had the 4 hour meeting with the pump trainer, then went online to forums and bought books on using my pump and now I know it better than my doctor does. And she's cool with that. I was the one who suggested switching my insulin from Novolog to Apidra due to the stuff I'd read on the net (mostly that it worked faster, which can be bad for some people, but I metabolize insulin slowly, so I thought it might help). Sure enough, works better for me and she's fine. The ONLY time she stopped me in my tracks was when I'd been doing research on a particular drug and she told me she'd rather NOT prescribe me things I don't need, and I did NOT need that drug. Good for her :) (This was before I know about primal/paleo.) And when I explained Primal to her, her entire attitude was, "whatever works for you."
So happy You raised this question! I've always brought my information to my docs and in most cases they weren't interested. Bit lately I'm seeing more docs turn to nutrition discussions. When I asked about it a couple of them replied that they were sick of being pill pushers but also saw the results of nutrition in themselves. Yet another replied that the simple way is often the most effective. I love that.
I used to have that authority complex and believed they knew all. As of late I refuse to be a passive participant in my own health. I'm seeing the negative consequences of such inaction with my father and I'm shocked and disturbed by the lack of thought and critical thinking they put into his care. I suspect in this case it is about the profits over the people. Given that midwives still face obstacles I fear our American medical system will not progress as fast as the patients in their quest for improved information and quality research.
...sent on my phone so excuse egregious grammar and spelling :)
Paleo PhD. (Doctorate) 6 Answers
How do you geek out? 12 Answers
How to speed up digestion? 3 Answers
Paleo Post-Heart Attack? 2 Answers