Consumerism and Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Taking responsibility for your health care is important. Knowing the proper way to medicine you and finding the most appropriate doctor for yourself. Even with complementary and alternative medicine, someone should make sure it the correct route for their health. Chapter 15 provides this information and opens different methods in keeping yourself healthy.

Knowing when you need to see a doctor is important. You just do not need to go to the doctor because you have a common cold. Here are some common forms of self-care:

Most minor afflictions can be treated without professional help. Self-care is behaviors that people can practice to promote health, prevent disease, and minimize reliance on the formal medical system. Self-care consists of knowing your body, paying attention to its signals, and taking appropriate actions. Some common forms of self-care are:

  • Diagnosing symptoms or conditions that occur frequently but may not require physician visits, like the common cold.
  • Preforming monthly breast or testicular self-examinations
  • Checking blood pressure, pulse, and temperature.
  • Doing periodic checks for blood cholesterol.
  • Benefiting form nutrition, rest, exercise, and mediation and other relaxation techniques.

Here is a list of when you should consult a physician:

  • A serious accident or injury
  • Sudden or serve chest pain, especially if they cause breathing difficulties
  • Trauma to the head or spine accompanied by persistent headache, blurred vision, loss of consciousness, vomiting, convulsions, or paralysis
  • Sudden high fever or recurring high temperature and/or sweats
  • Tingling sensation in the arm accompanied by slurred speech or impaired though processes
  • Adverse reactions to a drug or insect bite
  • Unexplained bleeding or loss of fluid from any body opening
  • Persistent or recurrent diarrhea or vomiting
  • Blue-colored lips, eyelids, or nail beds
  • Any lumps, swelling, thickness, or sore that does not subside or that grows for over a month
  • Any marked change or pain in bowel or bladder habits
  • Yellowing of the skin or the whites of the eyes
  • Any symptom that is unusual and recurs over time
  • Pregnancy

Allopathic medicine care providers use evidence-based medicine, in which decisions regarding patient’s care are based on a combination of clinical expertise, patient values, and current best scientific evidence. Primary care practitioner (PCP) is medical practitioner you can visit for routine ailments, preventive care, general medical advice, and referrals. Some PCP I use are my gynecologist and my primary care. Osteopaths are a specialist that are general practitioners who receive training similar to that of MDs, but who place special emphasis on the skeletal and muscular systems. An ophthalmologist holds a medical degree and can perform surgery and prescribe medication for eye care. You would need to see an ophthalmologist for eye infections, glaucoma, or other eye condition that requires diagnosis and treatment. An optometrist typically evaluates visual problems and fits glasses but is not a trained physician. Dentists are specialists who diagnose and treat diseases of the teeth, gums, and oral cavity. Orthodontists specialize in the alignment of teeth. Oral surgeons perform surgical procedures to correct problems of the mouth, face, and jaw. Nurses are highly trained and strictly regulated health professionals who provide a wide range of services. Nurse practitioners are nurses with advanced training obtained through either a master’s degree program or a specialized nurse practitioner program. They have the training and authority to conduct diagnostic tests and prescribe medications. Physician assistants examine and diagnose patients, offer treatment, and write prescriptions under a physician’s supervision.

Prescription drugs are drugs that are written prescription form a physician, whereas over-the-counter drugs can be purchased without a prescription. Over-the-Counter (OTC) drugs are nonprescription substances used for self-medication. Knowing the information on the package of drugs is very important before you take them. Here is common OTC that people take.

  • Pain relievers can be useful for counteracting localized or general pain and for reducing fever. Aspirin, acetaminophen, ibuprofen, and naproxen sodium are examples of pain relievers. Possible side effects are stomach problems ranging from simple stomach upset to worsening of ulcers, overdose or prolonged over use can cause liver damage. Aspirin and ibuprofen also reduce blood-clotting ability and can also trigger serve allergic reaction for some people.
  • Cold and allergy medicines mask symptoms in many ways. Antihistamines are used for dry running noses, clear postnasal drip and sinus congestion, and reduce tears. They are mild central nervous system depressants and can cause downiness, dizziness, and disturbed coordinated. Decongestants reduce nasal stuffiness due to colds. Side effects depend on how a person may react to the medication. Some may exhibit nervousness, restlessness, and sleep problems, where others may feel drowsy or nauseated.
  • Antacids relieve “heartburn”, usually by combating stomach acid with a chemical base such as calcium or aluminum. Occasional use is safe, however chronic use can lead to reduced mineral absorption from food, possible concealment of ulcer, reduced effectiveness of anticlotting medications, interference with the function of certain antibiotics, worsened high blood pressure, and aggravated kidney problems.
  • Laxatives are designed to relieve constipation. Long-term regular use can lead to reduced absorption of minerals from food, dehydration, and even dependency,
  • Sleep aids and relaxants are designed to help relieve occasional sleeplessness. Short-term side effects are drowsiness and reduced mental alertness, dry mouth, and throat, constipation, dizziness, and lack of coordination. Long-term uses can lead to dependency.

Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine as part of a modern integrative-medicine approach. Massage therapy along with prescription medicine to anxiety is an example of complementary medicine. Alternative medicine has traditionally been used in place of conventional medicine, like following a special diet. The following groups are more likely to have used CAM:

  • More women than men
  • People with higher educational levels
  • People who have been hospitalized in the past year
  • Former smokers
  • People with back, neck, head, or joint aches or other painful conditions
  • People with gastrointestinal disorders or sleeping problems

Many people seek CAM therapies as alternatives to the conventional Western system of medicine, which some people regard as too invasive, too high-tech, and too toxic in terms of laboratory-produced medications. Some CAM patients believe that alternative practices will give them greater control over their health care. Practitioners of most complementary and alternative therapies spend years learning their practice. Conventional medicine, there is no national training, certification, or licensure standard for CAM practitioners, whereas practitioners of conventional medicine have graduated from U.S. sanctioned schools by the American Medical Association. Each CAM domain has a different set of training standards, guidelines for practice, and licensure procedures. Nearly all health insurance providers cover at least one form of CAM, with acupuncture, chiropractic, and massage therapy being the most common. However, people who choose CAM often must pay the full cost of services themselves. The top five CAM therapies in the U.S. are natural products, deep breathing, meditation, chiropractic and osteopathic, and massage.

Traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) emphasizes the proper balance or disturbances of qi or vital energy, in health and disease. Diagnosis is based on personal history, observation of the body, palpation, and pulse diagnosis, an elaborate procedure requiring considerable skill and experience by the practitioner. Techniques such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, massage, and qigong are among the TCM approaches to health and healing. TCM is complex, and research into its effectiveness is limited. Ayurveda relates to the “science of life”, an alternative medical system that began and evolved over thousands of years in India. Seeks to integrate and balance the body, mind, and spirit and to restore harmony in the individual. There are various techniques, including questioning, observing, and touching patients and classifying patients into one of three body types, or doshas, before establishing a treatment plan. Homeopathy medicine is an unconventional Western system based on the principle that “like cures like”, the same substance that in large doses produces the symptoms of an illness will in very small doses cure the illness. Naturopathy medicine views disease as a manifestation of the body’s effort to ward off impurities and harmful substances from the environment. Naturopathy physicians emphasize restoring health rather than curing disease. They employ an array of healing practices like nutrition, homeopathy, acupuncture, herbal medicine, and more.

Functional foods are foods that are said to improve some aspect of physical or mental functioning beyond the contribution of their specific nutrients. Food producers sometimes refer to their functional foods as nutraceuticals to emphasize their combines nutritional ants pharmaceuticals benefits. Some common types of functional foods are:

  • Plant stanols/sterols. Reduces “bad” low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol.
  • Oat fiber. Can lower LDL cholesterol; serves as a natural soother of nerves; stabilizes blood sugar levels.
  • Soy protein. May lower heart disease risk by reducing LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
  • Garlic. Lowers cholesterol and reduces clotting tendency of blood; lowers blood pressure; may serve as a form of antibiotic.
  • Ginger. May prevent motion sickness, stomach pain, and stomach upset; discourages blood clots; may relieve rheumatism.
  • Probiotics. Yogurt and other fermented dairy foods that are labeled “Live and Active Cultures” contain active, friendly bacteria called probiotics. Normal residents of the large intestine, probiotics foods are thought to reduce the risk for certain types of infections, including opportunistic yeast infections and those associated with acute diarrhea.

Health insurance helps people pay for doctor visits. Policyholders pay premiums into a pool, which is held in reserve until needed. Originally, health insurance consisted solely of coverage for hospital costs, but gradually it was extended to cover routine treatment and other areas. To limit potential losses, private insurance companies began increasingly employing several mechanisms: cost sharing, waiting periods, exclusions, “preexisting condition” clauses, and upper limits on payments. Managed care describes a health care delivery system consisting of a network of providers and facilities linked contractually to deliver health benefits within a set annual budget, sharing economic risk, with membership rules for participating patients.

This chapter relates to my health aspect of cleaning eating by knowing the different alternative and cleaner medicines I can take rather than possible chemicals. Also, getting check-ups by my primary care is important to my healthy lifestyle. This final week of my health aspect has been a good one. I am happy to say that throughout this behavior change, I have lost about 10 pounds. I am happy with the results. I am also feeling better about myself and getting more sleep, thanks exercise! J I have decided to keep my health aspect going. I am hoping that in a year this will become a new lifestyle. Hope everyone has a safe and happy holiday season! And GOOD LUCK with finals!

I figured that this last photo is appropriate because I relayed on these guys a lot through my journey and still will! This is my family, my parents, my younger brother and his girlfriend, and my older brother and his fiancé.



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