Politics of Health Care

This post is written in memory of my aunt Freeda bas Yehuda Leib because she was always willing to investigate all health care options and give informed consent based on an educated decision.

Based on my experience as a NYS Registered Pharmacist and a clinical nutritionist trained by the International and American Association of Clinical Nutritionists post graduate accredited continuing education programs; in my opinion there are four health care issues that are costing Americans millions.

When medication labeling reads, “If  diet and exercise is not adequate, this medication is indicated,” the word diet in the labeling needs to be changed  to balanced meals, because the word diet is too ambiguous, and the expression balanced meals indicates that something in the diet should be balanced.   See my free web site www.balancedmeals.org for a comprehensive description of balanced meals as a prescription for blood pressure, blood sugar, cholesterol and triglycerides.

Vitamin D deficiency contributes to high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, chronic and resistant infections, the flu and cancers.  We are no longer a society of farmers working out in the fields all day in the sun.  Sun exposure produces vitamin D.  When we are in the sun we use sunscreen.  There may be differences of opinion amongst medical professionals as to safe and effective dosages, but there is a consensus of opinion that vitamin D deficiency is a significant issue in health care today.  The cost of treating these conditions with prescriptions, hospitalizations and nursing home care is far greater than adequate vitamin D supplementation.  The Center for Disease Control and the State Departments of Health advertise and advocate flu vaccinations and we are discouraged about supplementing with adequate amounts of vitamin D.   

Calcium overdose/Magnesium deficiency: The FDA allows claims for Calcium without a concurrent advisory that consumption of Calcium without adequate Magnesium causes Magnesium deficiency.  Magnesium deficiency results in migraines, asthma, high blood pressure, leg cramps, early labor, inability to swallow, strokes, sudden death and problems related to muscle tension and immobility.  A British Medical Journal article reported on a survey of fifteen trials in which participants (all over age 40) were given at least 500 mg of elemental calcium per day. The researchers concluded that calcium supplements increase the risk of myocardial infarction by about 30% over five years.  It is possible that taking calcium supplements without taking an equal amount of magnesium does cause heart attacks.  Even though the British Medical Journal slanted the presentation of the information, it may be detrimental to drink juice or eat yogurt supplemented with calcium and to take calcium supplements, multivitamins and prenatals that contain more calcium than magnesium.  Magnesium deficiency is a potential problem with use of enteral and parenteral food supplements and infant formula, these products contain three to five times as much calcium as magnesium.

Medications, like acid blockers and metformin, that inhibit the gastrointestinal absorption of nutrients do not contain warnings about the health risk of developing anemia, neuropathy, risk of bone fractures, cardiovascular issues.  If alternative dosage forms of nutrients were included in the insurance, medicaid and medicare formularies, doctors would probably be willing to advise patients receiving prescriptions that inhibit GI absorption of nutrients to supplement with sublingual tablets or topical patches to prevent these health risks.

These four health care issues if addressed would facilitate genuine preventive health care.  Prevention is not just mamograms and colonoscopies, these tests are diagnostic procedures that facilitate early diagnosis.

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