What the doctors don’t tell 

I have great respect for doctors, and I have an annual check-up. My doctor is great and very thorough. They are great at what they do, but they are human nevertheless. The following scenarios are genuine cases and are mentioned for your interest. 


A client had a scan for backache, and they found that he had gallstones. The gallstones were not the cause of the complaint, nor had he had any gallbladder symptoms or issues. His friendly GP suggested he have them removed by surgery as if they dislodged in the bile duct, leading to severe infection. Naturally, my friend was concerned about this until he researched and found that 23% of Australians have benign gallbladder stones. In only about 3% of cases do they become an issue and need to be removed. Those who have had removal have a slight increase in risk for bowel cancer due to the bile acids not being stored on demand by the gallbladder and pooling in the bowel until evacuated. A smaller percentage will have ongoing digestive issues and, in some cases, no longer eat the foods they used to like containing a portion of fat. ( maybe that is a good thing, but we all need good fats ) . The doctor did not discuss the above facts, so the client was not given the complete picture. He did not go through with the advice and sought a second opinion. The second opinion recommended a watch and wait for approach. The client now has had many years since the scan and has not had any issues.


A friend of mine has had cardiac Arrhythmia for many years, and he is aware of the problem but has no significant symptoms associated with this condition. Arrhythmias differ in grades and seriousness but generally, the more serious the arrhythmia, the more the percentage risk of having a stroke, as MD.s tell us. Arrhythmia is where the heart does not contract appropriately on an intermittent basis. It is thought that the heart between missed beats allows blood to pool and coagulate, and this can cause clots, eventually leading to a stroke. Some people are more prone to clotting than others.  It was recommended to my friend that he be put on an anticoagulant drug to manage the risk. No treatment for the Arrhythmia was suggested, although it was of concern; there is no definitive medical treatment for his type. ( some more severe Atthythmias  like Atrial Fibrillation – may need more serious intervention and medical drugs or even surgery ) . 

Taking the Anticoagulant drug is by itself does have some issues and potential side effects.  So, in short, there is no treatment for Arrhythmia, just risk management for the possible stroke. My friend now has to take the drug for life and has to watch what he eats and, of course, may not take some nutritional supplements less they interfere with the effectiveness of the drug. ( usually enhancing the effect of the drug ) 

What was missing out From the interview was the information on the percentage risk if one was not to take the drug and the medication’s effectiveness rate.  According to the numbers needed to treat website   Http://     effectiveness rate of prevention of death from a stroke using an anti-platelet medicine like Warfarin in a person with non-valvular Atrial Fibrillation and no previous stroke is about 2.4%. No stats are available using the newer form of Anti-platelet drugs, but they are safer with fewer side effects. As mentioned, my friend does not have AFIB or major valvular problems. These figures were not discussed by his doctor, only that he was at high risk of stroke ?. I have been unable to Ascertain at the moment of writing the same percentage risk in one having a stroke as there are so many variables: high blood pressure, smoking, alcohol intake and heredity factors. None of these factors applies to my friend, so we do not know actually what percentage risk he is at, but It would be low according to NNT?! No other options were detailed to him.

Now there are natural products that also have an anti-platelet anti-stroke effect – Blueberries, Grapeseed Extract, Curcumin, Ginger, Fish oil  Pomegranate juice; all have an impact no definitive effectiveness rate with these products synergistically either although each one has demonstrated some anticoagulant effects. Synergistically if these were taken together, there would be a good foundation for stroke prevention, and there is data to support this. I believe that these products can offer some protection and good nutrition for overall health as well. One substance that has had quite a bit of clinical research is Dan Shen or Salvia Milliitorizia, which has been used in Chinese medicine for heart issues for millennia.  It is used in Chinese hospitals today as a premier product for preventing blood clots.

The downside is my friend now on the drug has to take the medication the rest of his life and watch what he takes supplement-wise if it interferes with the drug and thins the blood too much! He is also at risk if he takes other drugs, not to mention a hospital visit and now has to wear a medical bracelet!  He has been placed in a Straight Medical jacket !!

The moral of the story is always to ask about risk factors and percentages and do research as there may be good alternatives to drug therapy. An example in the above case is the herb  Hawthorn berry, which is well researched to assist in heart health and alleviate Arrhythmias.

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