Do You Trust Your Doctor?

Do You Trust Your Doctor?

The best possible treatment plan for your lifetime health is one in which you are the majority shareholder.

It surprises me how many older adults still just “take their word for it” when it comes to interacting with their health care professionals – whether a primary care doctor, a specialist, a physical therapist. Please know that I’m not diminishing the value of medical professionals and their exceptional qualifications and training. I always respect medical professionals, and I also believe that YOU are the best participant in your own health care management.

We live in a world of information overload. You have access to hundreds of articles and suggested treatments for almost every ailment – and sadly, too many of us trust Dr Google before we trust our own doctors! Or, if you decide to change protocol and seek treatment from a naturopath instead of a medical doctor, or vice versa – you may compromise an existing treatment plan.

So, how best can you take charge of your own health – especially living with arthritis?

At Haraka, our focus is on whole-health management, as well as patient advocacy. Nobody knows your body better than you. We emphasize the importance of nutrition, exercise, emotional and spiritual health, as well as taking responsibility for your overall wellness. You may well need to be taking certain medications for chronic conditions, or an anti-inflammatory drug following orthopedic surgery, especially a joint replacement, when post-surgical swelling and inflammation needs to be managed effectively to enable joint movement – a critical element of recovery.

When you just keep taking drugs though over a long course of time, and never question the dosage or continuity in a discussion with your primary care physician, you may well be doing more harm than good. We often speak of the risks of taking NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) on a long term basis. Here is just one medical opinion on that, from the Cleveland Clinic.

The key is the term “partner.” You want to partner with your healthcare professional in managing your health in the long term.

Here are a few suggested ways to create a partnership with your primary healthcare provider:

  1. Tell them you want to be an active partner in your own health.
  2. Keep your own records of your key health indicators, over time – from every blood test. Be aware of your own scores for cholesterol, blood pressure, sugar, kidney function, etc. – whatever is key to your situation.
  3. Get copies of bloodwork results and go over them carefully – ask questions about what you don’t understand. If a result is “abnormal” as your provider what they recommend to get it into the normal range. Understand the implications.
  4. Take responsibility for your health. Know what’s good and not good for your specific health markers and take a proactive approach to your health. Don’t fall into the trap of wanting instant relief and developing “there’s a pill for that” thinking. YOU can determine the quality of your life and health.
  5. Do your homework. This is probably one of the most important actions you can take. Because we have access to SO much information – read articles or books, or listen to podcasts – that address your health concerns. Stay up to date on research. (I’ve included an example below** related specifically to osteo-arthritis.)
  6. Ask questions. If your provider gives you a renewal of a prescription, or orders tests without discussing them with you – ask. What is the risk/benefit analysis? When last did they actually measure the results you’re getting, etc.
  7. Check with your provider if you hear some about some new “miracle cure” or “fad.” Medical professionals are required to stay up to date in their studies.  Chances are, they can give you the facts behind what might be trending on social media.


**For those readers inclined to read more deeply into medical articles and other scientific research, here is an example I stumbled upon recently.

This research, written about in Forbes magazine, was underway in 2023. This was focused on treating the necessary imbalance of cytokines in the synovial fluid of a lab rat with induced osteo-arthritis. The initial results were promising. [Read part 1 here. Read part 2 here. Be warned – it’s heavy reading, if fascinating!]

Here’s a key quote that sums up the current status of this research:

The cells in the joints possess an innate ability to repair tissue damage but are inhibited by inflammatory factors present in the synovial fluid. This observation has profound implications for treatment development. If the inflammatory fluid environment can be altered, the cells, in theory, would be able to regenerate and restore joint function.

How is it different to use Haraka - the natural supplement designed to work with your body?

Boswelia – a key active ingredient in Haraka reduces the over production of the hormones that create chronic inflammation in the body – i.e. treating the cause. This breakthrough research – as encouraging as it sounds, treats the symptom and appears to forcibly change the chemical balance in the inflamed fluid “environment” – dysfunctional as it may well be in long-term arthritic inflammation. Certainly an improvement on the inhibition of Cox-1 and Cox-2 – the key mechanism of NSAID’s.

Here's a quote on this topic from Gail Reith, Founder of Haraka:

"Helping the body to heal itself through nutrition and natural supplements will win every time. When Boswellia (and Devil's Claw and Boron) work in the body they are doing a total spring cleaning job - not zeroing in one symptom or dysfunction."

This example is simply to illustrate that doing your own research makes you an informed patient. Not everything is helpful. Not everything is true. But knowing what’s available and how it works will increase your chances of finding the right balance between medications and supplementation.


I also recently read a snippet in the Experience Life magazine that spoke of a new tool to help you identify the levels of calcified plaque in coronary arteries. The CAC – coronary artery calcium – scan now gives doctors a better understanding of risks of cardiovascular events. The current (old) ways of measuring risk do no includes markers for inflammation or calcification. This may mean that you would not necessarily have to keep taking a statin if you battle high cholesterol.

I plan on taking that snippet with me to my next physical. When will my provider/group make CAC scans available?

Tackling the topic of medical research can be daunting for most of us. Just choose ONE step you can take to be more of a majority shareholder in the business of YOU.

Take ownership of YOUR health…make it a 2024 goal!





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