Sit down and brace yourself for this one, you're about to read truths about our health care system that will disturb you, but hopefully motivate you to make the transition to a whole-food, Starch-Smart® diet! One of the many reasons why we admire Dr. John McDougall so much is because he digs deep into unexplored and controversial areas of medical care. He reports his findings unashamedly, (for our benefit) knowing full well what the negative consequences may be.
Dr. McDougall begins his article, Intensive Therapy Means You Will Die Sooner with Good Looking Numbers, by expressing his disappointment with both the medical community and the pharmaceutical industry. He states:
"Research over the past four decades has consistently shown that intensive drug treatment will lower risk factors, such as cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure; but will also cause patients to die sooner, albeit, with better looking numbers. In general, people who have elevations of cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure, known as risk factors, have a greater chance of having heart attacks and strokes in the future. These elevated numbers are the signs of disease, not actual disease. During my forty years in the profession, I have never seen a patient die of high cholesterol, high blood sugar, and/or high blood pressure. These people die from rotten arteries, manifesting as strokes and heart attacks. Drugs won't heal the sick arteries. The reason pharmaceutical companies sell drugs that treat the signs of diseases is they can. The reason they don't sell drugs that cure the underlying diseases is they can't."
To further complicate matters, pharmaceutical drugs cover up the "warning messages" that our bodies are sending us. High blood pressure, chest pain, and elevated blood sugar are SYMPTOMS of disease; they are not a disease by themselves. These drugs reduce the symptoms, giving the patient a false sense of security. They believe that their medications have cured their illness, when in fact, their illness continues to progress. This can be compared to the warning lights we have on the dashboard of our vehicle. When a mechanical error takes place, the warning light goes on. Taking prescriptions for chronic illnesses could be compared to cutting the wires to the warning lights so we wouldn't see them - removing the warning signs, yet not fixing the problem.
Dr. McDougall address three extremely important medical conditions in his article, including diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia. He also examines the serious complications that ensue when treating these conditions aggressively with drugs.
"Aggressive Treatment of Diabetes Kills"
Dr. McDougall cites evidence against using aggressive drug therapy for diabetic patients:
- "Diabetic medications are approved for market based upon their ability to lower blood sugar levels, not based on any improvements in the quality or quantity of the patients' lives."
- A popular prescription drug for diabetes, Avandia, showed significant reduction in blood sugar levels in diabetic patients. However, May 21, 2007 the New York Times reported, "...patients taking Avandia had 66 percent more heart attacks, 39 percent more strokes and 20 percent more deaths from cardiovascular-related problems."
- February 6, 2008 an intensive study done on diabetic patients was stopped when "results showed that intensive treatment of diabetics increases the risk of dying compared to those patients treated less aggressively. Patients in the intensive group were sometimes taking four shots of insulin and three pills daily. The goal of intensive treatment was to make the patients' blood sugar numbers as close to 'normal' as possible. Those with the 'better numbers' died more often."
- Since 1972, the Physicians' Desk Reference warns doctors about the "Increased Risk of Cardiovascular Mortality" regarding every diabetic pill.
- Additionally, three major studies published between 1996 and 2000 showed more weight gain, higher total and LDL cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure; and an increased rate of heart disease and stroke with "aggressive" treatment compared to less treatment. Furthermore, those patients with a history of heart disease that were treated with pills/insulin "had almost twice the death rate as those diabetics treated with diet alone."
"Aggressive Treatment of Cholesterol Kills"
Worldwide, stain drugs are the number one prescribed drug, however, serious side effects from these drugs are rarely mentioned, including death. Dr. McDougall points out:
- "Their benefits have been established only for people with very high risks, such as patients with a history of previous heart surgery, heart attacks, and/or strokes." These drugs are also "approved for market based upon their ability to lower cholesterol levels, not based on any improvements in the quality or quantity of the patients' lives."
- "After withholding the results from the public for nearly two years, on January 14, 2008, the company Merck/Schering-Plough Pharmaceuticals, announced, under pressure from the US Congress, that even though patients taking Vytorin dramatically lowered their cholesterol levels, they achieved no improvement in survival, compared to Zocor alone; and doubled the thickness of their arteries. This thickening is associated with an increased risk of stroke and heart attacks."
- Cholesterol lowering drugs do nothing to heal sick arteries; in fact, they "appear to further damage a patient's arteries." These drugs also block the absorption of plant-derived sterols, which are vital to healing atherosclerosis.
"Aggressive Treatment of Hypertension Kills"
Using drug therapy for patients with high blood pressure increases the risk of serious side effects:
- "Anti-hypertension drugs are approved for market based upon their ability to lower blood pressure levels, not based on any improvements in the quality or quantity of the patients' lives. Over the past 22 years, multiple studies have shown that aggressive treatment of hypertension (with a goal of making the numbers look normal) increases the patient's risk of heart attack, stroke, brain damage, and/or death."
- An extensive review of data conducted on 22,576 heart disease patients revealed that the "incidence of heart attacks, death, and stroke was three times higher" for patients that were treated with medications. Similarly, another study consisting of elderly patients "found a 14% increase in strokes in those whose diastolic pressure was lowered by only 5 mm." Brain function in the elderly is also impaired by intensive blood pressure treatment with medication. "This loss of intelligence may be permanent in some cases."
"Why Does Intensive Therapy Kill?"
Drug therapies don't address the underlying cause of disease and many times the outcomes are serious, including death. Dr. McDougall goes on to explain this in further detail:
- "The more intense the treatments, the worse the outcomes. The most important reason intensive therapy kills is that drug treatments, which focus on the signs and symptoms of disease, are counterproductive to the body's efforts to stay alive under adverse conditions. Elevation of the blood pressure and blood sugar (and maybe cholesterol) also serve as part of the corrective adaptations that the body makes in response to the burdens caused by the unhealthy Western diet. In the case of hypertension, the blood pressure increases in order to improve circulation. The Western diet reduces the flow of blood to the tissues by creating blockages (atherosclerosis), spasms of the arteries, and the clumping of blood cells. The net effect is an increase in (peripheral) resistance to the flow of blood. To compensate, the blood pressure rises in order to restore adequate perfusion to the tissues. A rise in blood pressure is the correct response for the body to make under these circumstances."
- Dr. McDougall emphasizes that drugs "poison various parts of the cardiovascular system: beta blockers are given to weaken the heart muscle, calcium channel blockers prevent normal contraction of the arteries, anti-angiotensin drugs block the actions of adrenal hormones, and diuretics inhibit the kidneys' ability to conserve water and minerals. Rather than improving the circulation, these drugs cause the opposite: a further decline in perfusion pressure—counteracting the body's efforts to deliver adequate oxygen and nutrients to the tissues. The result, as would be expected from worse circulation, is more damage, seen as an increase in the risk of strokes and heart attacks, and loss of brain function (dementia)."
Doctor McDougall concludes by stating passionately, "The facts are indisputable: The intensive pharmaceutical treatment of signs of chronic diseases is a failure—causing great mental, emotional, physical, and financial harm to patients. We must stop prescribing treatments that don't work. The reason pharmaceutical companies don't sell drugs that cure the underlying diseases is they can't. All common chronic diseases are caused by diet and lifestyle. There is little profit in selling sweet potatoes, broccoli, and a pair of walking shoes. Doctors willing to step in front of the crowd and practice lifestyle medicine will reap great rewards. Foremost, they will fulfill their professional dream by helping their patients regain their lost health and appearance, get off all unnecessary medications and avoid all unwarranted surgeries."