Monday, September 13, 2004

To Your Health

I found two useful articles today on taking charge of your own health decisions.

First, MSN reports that your children might not need orthodontic work as much your orthodontist leads you to believe. The growth of a child’s mouth will often alleviate crowding, open bites, and overbites without any need for intervention. Even if intervention is required, it doesn’t necessarily have to be early, since orthodontics can be nearly as effective when incurred later.

My sister went through many years of orthodontic misery, starting with “palate dividers,” “tongue reminders,” and other medieval torture devices as early as age six – and now, at age 23, she’s going through another round of braces, some of it to correct earlier orthodontic work. As a result, I have serious reservations about early intervention in orthodontics, and this article confirms many of my suspicions. Here’s the article’s bottom line: first, ask your orthodontist questions about why he’s recommending treatment; and second, don’t be afraid to get a second or third opinion.

Second, the mostly political website “The Price of Liberty” offers a plethora of health advice that’s worthwhile regardless of your politics. Among the seemingly obvious but too often ignored bits of wisdom:

• Do research on your doctor. Don’t assume a doctor is good just because he’s licensed.
• Make a list of questions for your doctor, and make sure you’re scheduled for enough time for the doctor to address them all.
• Medication can’t substitute for a serious investigation of root causes. Medications often merely treat symptoms, possibly masking the real problems.
• Get a complete physical on a regular basis. Have a list of items you want checked during the physical (the article provides a link to a comprehensive list), and make sure they all get done.

Also, the article provides a list of symptoms and conditions that demand attention from a doctor. This list is as useful for what’s not listed – the little aches, pains, and colds that need no professional attention – as for what is. For people who would rather not go to the doctor, it’s nice to know what actually calls for biting the bullet.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Go ahead and let everyone know the orthodontist's name. This could be part of someone's doctor research. You'd be doing a public service.