Wednesday, October 11, 2006

QuickFix... The best Fix??

We live in the information age where at the click of a button a plethora of information is available at our fingertips. But are we really informed? Or more importantly do we really care to be informed? Information or knowledge is a powerful weapon. And like most weapons it can be used to do good or evil.

Let me get down to the specifics of this piece of writing through an anecdote. The other day, my wife and I went to a skin specialist to get his opinion on some pigmentation on my foot. He assured me that its nothing to worry about yet went on to prescribe around 7 medicines which he said would be available at the medical store downstairs. On my way down, I told my wife that in all probability the prescribed medicines were Steroid based. Before I went to the medical store, I called my parents (who are both doctors) to get their advice on them. And what do u know, the medicines indeed tuned out to be Steroid based. Needless to say, I did not buy them!!!

So how did I know that the medicines are probably Steroid based? Because I have been warned by my parents. They have seen the rise in use and prescription of these type of medicines by some of the new generation of doctors.


What is Steroid based medicines? Is it a health hazard? Steroids are effective and lifesaving medicines, but they can cause side effects if they are taken for a long time. These side effects include thin skin, a higher blood sugar level and weakened bones. Your body naturally makes steroids by itself. When you use steroid pills, sprays or creams, your body may stop making its own steroids. When you're under stress -- caused by infections or surgery, for example -- your body normally makes extra steroids. But if you have been taking steroids for a long time, your body may not be able to make enough steroids in times of stress. At these times, you may have to take more steroid medicine. It creates lower Immune response and heightened vulnerability to diseases.

There are way too many side effects to be mentioned here. For more details please go through
http://www.asthma.org.uk/all_about_asthma/medicines_treatments/side_effects_of.html

If steroid based medicines are bad and have short term as well as long term side effects, then why do some doctors prescribe them? What is their incentive? Competition!!! Wouldn’t every doctor be like to be know for his/her “Magical Healing Powers“? Wouldn’t patients flock to them if they can cure illness in a matter of few days? Wouldn’t it be wonderful if he/she can cure a viral fever in 3 days instead of the normal 7 days? In that case, they will get more practice, more name and ultimately more rewards from their profession. With so many doctors with super-specialty degrees graduating from the numerous colleges all over India, it is a quick way to make a name for oneself. So the medical weapon gets used to do evil.

And we, the uninformed public, fall prey to such unethical practices which go against the Hippocratic Oath which every doctor pledges to. I am not saying that all doctors are unethical. But the number is fast growing. It pays to be informed about these practices and take necessary caution. Children are particularly vulnerable to this practice as their immune systems are just getting built up.

So, for the sake of your and your family’s health, the next time you go to a doctor for treatment, do call up a trusted doctor to get his opinion on the medicine. I for one will not recommend that doctor to anyone else.

2 comments:

Shankar said...

Very good information

Rohith said...

That was a good piece of information... i didn't know it!! But its my practice to consult one doctor.. who is our family doctor.. Probably that is one way out to face this problem....
Thanks