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How modern medicine treats disease symptoms while ignoring underlying causes

Western medicine

(NaturalNews) The greatest flaw in modern healthcare is that it aims to treat symptoms rather than the underlying causes of disease. Its inability to cure such diseases is the reason millions of Americans are now turning to alternative medicine and changing their lifestyles to ensure good health.

Beating Cancer with Nutrition, written by Patrick Quillin, illustrates how Western medicine merely scratches the surface when it comes to understanding and treating disease. The following is an excerpt from the book.

"There is a basic flaw in our thinking about health care in this country. We treat symptoms, not the underlying cause of the disease. Yet, the only way to provide long-lasting relief in any degenerative disease, like cancer, arthritis and heart disease, is to reverse the basic cause of the disease," writes Quillin.

Why treating symptoms is modern medicine's greatest flaw

"For example, let's say that you developed a headache because your neighbor's teenager is playing drums too loudly. You take an aspirin to subdue the headache, then your stomach starts churning.

"So you take some antacids to ease the stomach nausea, then your blood pressure goes up. And on it goes. We shift symptoms with medication, as if in a bizarre 'shell game,' when we really need to deal with the fundamental cause of the disease.

"Let me give you another example. What if, the first thing I do every morning when I arrive at my office is to slam my thumb in the desk drawer? Boy that hurt, yet I keep doing the same masochistic act of slamming my thumb in the desk drawer every morning for a week," Quillin writes.

"And by then, my thumb is swollen, painful, discolored and bleeding. So I go to Dr. A who recommends analgesics to better tolerate the pain. Dr. B suggests an injection of cortisone to reduce the swelling in my thumb. And Dr. C recommends surgery to cut off the finger because it looks defective. Of course, the real answer is to 'stop slamming my thumb in the desk drawer.'"

Preventive medicine vs. reactive medicine

"What's that?? You say that my example has no relevance in American health care? Let's look at the millions of Americans with rheumatoid arthritis, such as Mrs. Smith whose condition is caused by eating too much sugar, plus an allergy to milk protein, and a deficiency of fish oil, vitamin C and zinc.

"Mrs. Smith goes to Dr. A who recommends analgesics to better tolerate the pain. Dr. B suggests cortisone to reduce the swelling. And Dr. C recommends hip replacement surgery to cut off the defective parts. The real answer is to change the underlying cause of the disease.

"A more common example is heart disease. There are over 60,000 miles of blood vessels in the average adult body. When a person develops blockage in the arteries near the heart, open heart bypass surgery will probably be recommended. In this procedure, a short section of vein from the leg is used to replace the plugged up vessels near the heart.

"But what has been done to improve the other 59,999 miles left that are probably equally obstructed? A Harvard professor, Dr. E. Braimwald, investigated the records from thousands of bypass patients in the Veterans Administration Hospitals and found no improvement in lifespan after this expensive and risky surgery.

"Why? Because the underlying cause, which could be a complex array of diet, exercise, stress, and toxins, has not been resolved."

Temporary relief

"Bypass surgery treats the symptoms of heart disease like chemo and radiation treats the symptoms of cancer. Each provides temporary relief, but no long term cure.

"Meanwhile, Dr. Dean Omish was working as a physician doing bypass surgery in the early 1970s and watching some patients come back for their second bypass operation. Omish reasoned: 'Obviously, this procedure is not a cure for heart disease.'

"At the time, there was convincing data that a low fat diet, coupled with exercise and stress reduction could lower the incidence for getting heart disease. Omish wondered if we took that same program and cranked it up a notch or two, making it more therapeutic, might it reverse heart disease?

"And it did. His program recently was found effective in a clinical study. While the American Cancer Society was violently opposed to Dr. Max Gerson's nutritional program to treat cancer patients in the 1950s, the ACS then released in the 1980s their dietary guidelines for the prevention of cancer, which was very similar to the Gerson program.

"Note the chart comparing nutrient requirements to prevent versus to treat versus to maintain once in remission. The names of nutrients are the same, but the numbers change depending on what you are trying to achieve."


Quillin, P. (1998) Beating Cancer with Nutrition (Nutrition Times)


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