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  • Mohammad A. Emran, MD

Be The Captain Of Your Own Health




Hey everybody, so we’re continuing our talks about how to stay healthy and today, we’re going to be talking about how to be the captain of your own health.


So, let’s be honest, nobody cares about your health more than you, right? And if you don’t take care of it, nobody else will, so you have to be in charge. And particularly, when it comes to going to the doctor, sometimes we’re afraid to say things to the doctor or ask things of the doctor or say, “hey look, I looked up this thing…” because you’re worried about what they’re going to say and I know doctors, a lot of them when someone says “oh, I looked something up online”, they get to eye-roll or the internal “oh, God, what are you doing, you’re not a doctor, why are you looking this up”. OK but, here’s the thing, doctors in general are pretty busy people and medicine has absolutely exploded in the number of diagnoses that are out there and the treatments for it, the different medications. I mean, you have dozens of medications coming up every single day, there is no possible way for any doctor in any field nowadays, even with all the sub specialisation, there’s no way to know all the medicines that people might be on, all the medicines that you might use for conditions that you treat, all the side effects, the interactions, there’s no way to know all the conditions themselves, all the details about it, how to diagnose and what studies to do, how to treat them, it’s impossible, you cannot know everything as a doctor. So, for you, your whole concern is your own health. So, when you do research, you’re not going to be looking at all the millions of things out there, you’re going to be looking at things that have to do with how you’re feeling or what problem you’re having.


So, why is it important to participate in your health; other than the fact that your doctor is busy and probably won’t get to the stuff that has to do exactly with you and they’re just gonna try to do their best but that may not be good enough for you? First of all, we have about $120 billion of money spent every single year just in the United States on medical research. So, is there good information out there? You bet you. There is a ton of really good information that’s out there, the problem is that that information doesn’t actually turn into treatments or isn’t applied to people right away. In fact, the average piece of information that comes out of medical research, takes about 17 years to go from research to actual application and even then, it may be as long as thirty-something years before people take that application in people and apply it all the way around. A good example of that, [folly] for pregnant women, they took almost 30 years for it to be adopted, even though for 30 years it was known to be associated with spinal defects in babies, they let that go on for a long period of time because people say, “oh, we don’t have all the research”, “oh, we’re not sure”, “oh, well, you know we haven’t done this before”, “oh, we’re waiting to see what the outcomes are with the people who take it” and there were all kinds of excuses and reasons why it didn’t happen for 30 years. So, we don’t want to recreate that problem, particularly if it’s your health on the line.


Second. Research when it’s done, it’s not spread like other information because the people who are doing the research, they’re not marketers, they’re not journalists, they’re not entrepreneurs, so they don’t know how to get that information out there for the most part. And the problem is a lot of times, they’re creating that research for people who are working in the same area as them, in the same field as them, so they understand all the jargon, they understand all the details. And when you create stuff for people who are looking at those details, it’s hard for anybody else – you and me included – to go in there and read that article and understand “oh, this has to do with diabetes” or “this has to do with weight loss”. They’re talking about some little molecule in the cell, it’s hard to make that jump, so sometimes it’s really esoteric – the information is esoteric – or the title of the article is esoteric. And sometimes, they get cutesy with the titles to make light of it, but that makes it even harder to find it because sometimes those cutesy titles get lost amongst the serious titles. All right, so that’s another reason why research doesn’t get out there and doesn’t help you in your health right away and why it’s important for you to take advantage and look around and when you read something, find that original research and bring it to your doctor, because they may be able to help you interpret it.


So, one of the reasons that doctors hesitate to apply some of this information is that a lot of times, they’ll say, “oh well, it’s not confirmed, this is just one study” and if you have more than one study, then now you’d start having more convincing evidence, so a lot of people don’t like making changes based on just one piece of information. The second, we’ve been burned in the past as doctors, I’ll tell you, there have been some things that had come out in the past that have told us that this is bad or this is a problem and some people followed it and then they found out, “oh, that was bad research” or “that person lied in their research, they didn’t actually do that research the way they said they did or they made up information” and then you have to go back and say, “oh my god, I don’t want to do that, I don’t want to make that mistake again”, and we’re five to six times more sensitive to bad news than we are the good news. So, when we have that one bad event, we’re five to six times and more likely to say, “no, I’m not changing at all” than we are to say, “well, I’m going to think about all the new things whenever I get something that’s really good that comes out”, so doctors are biased that way, we all are, so we need some help.


So, your health depends not only on the standard of care, because that’s what most doctors follow is what is the standard of care for this disease but it’s also what’s in your best interest. What is going to help you the best and what are you going to be able to do? I mean, if you’re never going to take the medication the doctor gives you, well, then that’s not the best treatment for you. If you’re never going to do the exercise that the doctor tells you to do, well, that’s maybe not the best treatment for you. But at some point, you have to take responsibility for doing the things the doctor tells you, so you have a responsibility to do those things but you also have a responsibility to help your doctor find the therapies that are going to work best for you, that you’re going to be most compliant with, that you’re going to follow the best. And when you go to the doctor with information, don’t just go to them with an article off of the Internet from some website, go with the original research because most of them they’ll cite it afterwards or they’ll cite it in narrative. They’ll say, “hey, this is the article that we looked at or this is the research”. Get that original research because that’s what the doctor’s going to want to see.


So, remember your doctor has limited information, limited time and you want to help them help you get the best treatment for you. So, be the captain of your own health every single day and that means making sure that you eat healthy, you exercise, get your check-ups but be involved.


Hope you liked that tip. If you did, I’ve got more tips like that in my new book, ‘Silence Your Fat Gene’, so check it out at silenceyoufatgene.com. Please ‘like’ and ‘share’ this video to help other people get healthy just like you. We’ll see you at the next video.

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