The most valuable thing a person has is health and life. And most often, when we have health problems, we turn to doctors. A professional and competent approach to the treatment of diseases ensures in most cases the success of a favorable outcome. But, unfortunately, it is not always possible to get this very professional approach, since in recent years there have been significant problems in the field of healthcare and medicine, and not only in our country, but also in a number of others. The new coronavirus infection COVID-19 has discovered and highlighted this problem very acutely. It became obvious that there are not enough doctors, moreover, in all levels of medical care of the population: both outpatient and inpatient. There is a shortage of hospital beds, there are significant problems in equipping medical institutions. But the most significant problem was the lack of a competent approach to the treatment of patients that meets modern views on medicine. Most doctors, unfortunately, do not go through the proper process of self-training, do not improve and do not update their knowledge – all this leads to the fact that the treatment used in many areas of medicine is inadequate and often disastrous.
These problems lead to the fact that when health complications occur, an ordinary person begins to wonder how justified a trip to the doctor will be, especially since it has become not so easy to get to doctors of many specialties, and even to a district therapist, through the system of free medical care. And in private medical centers, prices for admission and examination by a doctor are sometimes not available to everyone and also do not guarantee success. And in such a situation, many people begin to self-medicate. How acceptable and acceptable is this approach to your health?!
Despite all the above problems with medical care, such a choice as self-medication is extremely dangerous. An ordinary person may have elementary knowledge about the anatomy and physiology of the human body, but not to a sufficient extent, not to mention such deep things as the etiology (cause) and pathogenesis (mechanism of course) of diseases. There is no understanding of pathological physiology, pharmacology, biochemistry, without knowledge of which it is impossible to correctly diagnose and prescribe treatment. Sometimes, even an experienced doctor has to carry out a rather difficult differential diagnosis before the pathology is correctly identified, which means that reasonable treatment is prescribed.
The lack of such knowledge in an ordinary person leads to the most negative consequences in the case of self-medication, the use of certain medications, techniques and any other effects on the body.
Why can’t I take medications without a doctor’s appointment?
I will start with the most frequent and, unfortunately, habitual – the use of medications on their own, without a prescription and a doctor’s appointment. The widespread use of antibiotics, for example, has led to the resistance of many microorganisms to most modern antibiotics and the resistance of bacteria (insensitivity) when antibiotics are really needed. This is caused by the fact that people do not realize that most of the so-called respiratory diseases, called acute respiratory infections or acute respiratory infections, and in the common people colds, are caused by viruses, which antibiotics have no effect on. But they have an effect on friendly bacteria of the intestinal microflora, which provides a huge front of immune protection to the human body. This causes both damage to the body itself and causes the appearance and growth of insensitive (resistant) bacteria to this antibiotic. And this has become a global global problem in recent years.
The use of medicines without prescriptions concerns not only antibiotics: self-prescribing drugs is often resorted to at temperatures and pains of various localization.
This absolutely cannot be done, since most often an increase in temperature ensures the “activation” of the immune defense mechanism of the body, and pain relief can lubricate very serious problems and lead to fatal consequences.
For example, the use of painkillers for abdominal pain can blur the picture of an “acute abdomen” and worsen the course of acute appendicitis, ectopic pregnancy and other problems that require surgical intervention. By “anesthetizing” himself in such a situation, a person makes it difficult to diagnose correctly, and therefore hope for a favorable outcome.
An excellent example of when self-medication can threaten a patient’s life is the use of so-called cardiac drugs such as Valocordin and Corvalol. People may not recognize a serious problem such as myocardial infarction in a heart attack and delay the appointment of adequate and life-saving therapy, which worsens the prognosis for recovery.
Often ordinary people, when some banal problem appears in their opinion, such as, for example, cough, do not consider it necessary to consult a doctor and be examined, independently assume that they have an obvious cause of cough in the unhealthiness of the throat, bronchi or lungs and self-medicate in the form of taking cough pills or expectorants. Whereas such a symptom as a cough may indicate completely different problems in the body, for example:
- from the cardiovascular system – chronic heart failure, arrhythmia, side effect of taking certain medications, in particular, ACE inhibitors (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors) in the treatment of hypertension;
- from the gastrointestinal tract (gastrointestinal tract) – GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease), GPOD (hernia of the esophageal orifice of the diaphragm);
- cough may be neurogenic, etc.
It is clear that with all these reasons for such a seemingly simple symptom as cough, the use of expectorant drugs and blocking it is absolutely ineffective, and sometimes even harmful.
What is the danger of dieting without the involvement of a specialist?
A fairly common problem is the idea of losing weight without involving a specialized doctor – a nutritionist or an endocrinologist. The problems of overweight and obesity are now relevant all over the world and are only gaining momentum. This is due to many factors. Traditionally, the food industry is most blamed, which, along with agriculture, has indeed undergone significant changes since the middle of the last century. The ways of growing, storing, processing and manufacturing food have changed. People began to eat out more often, use semi-finished products more, fast food became popular. The composition of products, the method of culinary processing has changed significantly, portions have grown, the fat and sugar content in products has increased. The main cause of excess weight is called a positive energy imbalance, when the energy consumed exceeds the energy spent and it accumulates in the form of fat deposits, which, in turn, leads to weight gain. This was significantly influenced by the change in the lifestyle of a modern person, due to physical inactivity, a decrease in physical activity. Such reasons as lifestyle, stress, unsatisfactory sleep and fatigue, psychoemotional problems, genetic predisposition and endocrinological problems also lead to weight gain. Knowledge of all these aspects and factors in the problem of overweight and obesity allows you to lose weight safely and long-term, when a nutritionist or endocrinologist controls this process with the parallel support of a psychologist and a fitness instructor.
At the same time, the use of various diets, increased physical activity, refusal of certain foods and any other restrictive techniques independently implemented by people who want to lose weight, lead at best to short-term results, and most often to inevitable subsequent rollbacks to the previous weight, and sometimes with “weight gain”; at worst, they lead to the acquisition of such psychological disorders as eating disorders, which requires more serious and long-term treatment.
Some diets can be dangerous at all if you do not know the normal and pathological physiology of the human body. For example, keto diets are strictly contraindicated for people with kidney and liver diseases, and prescribing them to yourself can lead to the most serious consequences, up to acute renal failure and death.
To find out in more detail what a diet can threaten without the supervision of a specialist, I suggest in the article “Why you can’t go on a diet on your own“”
When can physical exercises and massage pose a threat to health ?
Similarly, it cannot be said that various physical activities involving a more serious impact on the body than traditional restorative exercises are harmless and safe. Some diseases have significant limitations on certain types of physical activity, and the lack of such knowledge in an ordinary person can lead to disability. For example, in the presence of intervertebral hernias that can injure the spinal cord, the load with weights in the gym is contraindicated. And people with such problems need specialized physical exercises aimed at eliminating the causes and reducing the consequences of these problems. Therefore, in the presence of health problems, even such a seemingly harmless effect as physical activity should be selected together with a professional – a physical therapy doctor. Such influences include massage, physio-procedures, and the use of medical devices with therapeutic effects. All these interventions have both indications and contraindications. It is impossible for the layman to foresee all the nuances, therefore it is not necessary to resort to therapeutic effects without professional advice and support. For example, the same massage with certain spine problems can cause not only improvements, but on the contrary – lead to paralysis.
How to treat health information on the Internet?
We live in an interesting time when we can get information not only from TV and newspapers, as a few decades ago, but also from many sources on the Internet. On the one hand, it is wonderful and very informative. On the other hand, it can give a person unjustified worries or doubts, and sometimes, on the contrary, unnecessary hopes. Now everyone can “Google” their symptom and get an exhaustive answer about their problem for millions of gigabytes. But it is very difficult and almost impossible for a person without a medical education to fish out of this huge mass of information that is truthful, and also takes into account his individual characteristics.
A few words about the problems in the healthcare system
Taking into account all modern problems in the healthcare system, it is very important to be a conscious and responsible patient, take care of your health yourself, without waiting for the problems to begin to remind you of themselves. It is important to undergo regular preventive examinations. After all, for example, every car owner annually subjects his car to a technical inspection, and sometimes his attitude to his own health is much less reverent. In the event that you still have health problems, you do not need to panic, but you also do not need to close your eyes and bury your head in the sand, hiding from the problem. And even more so to engage in independent solution of health issues. The fact that it is now quite difficult to find a professional in a particular field of medicine once again emphasizes that a conscious person in the role of a patient should have critical thinking. This does not mean that he should distrust and doubt the recommendations and advice of a doctor. But if you still have questions about the diagnosis, methods and treatment options, the use of certain medications, you should definitely ask your doctor. If a doctor is reluctant to answer such questions or even dismisses you as an annoying fly, adhering to the principle “I am a doctor, I know everything, and listen to me”, this is an occasion to listen to the second, and maybe even the third opinion. Sometimes it will help to preserve health, avoid unnecessary, and sometimes harmful, interventions, or even save lives. Of course, a doctor cannot, within the framework of a regular consultation, give you the information that he has received for at least eight years of his classical medical education, but if he is confident in his professional data, if his vision of the problem meets modern global views on this problem, it will not be difficult for him to direct you to the necessary information resources so that, if you wish (and such a desire should be), you receive comprehensive general information about your disease and modern approaches to its treatment. In any case, you should not self-medicate or resort to methods of alternative or alternative medicine instead of searching for worthy medical professionals in the field that you need for your health. It can cost lives or wasted time.
In conclusion, I will say that medical science does not stand still, new studies are constantly emerging, new data on long-known diseases, sometimes the view of the causes, the mechanism of the course and treatment of some problem is radically changing, as it was, for example, with gastric ulcer and duodenal ulcer. When the theory that the cause of ulcers is aggressive nutrition and excessive production of hydrochloric acid was replaced, a scientifically based idea came that the cause is an infection, namely, Helicobacter Pylori. Accordingly, both the treatment and the approach to patient nutrition have changed.
In the context of the above, the conclusion suggests itself: when is folk, non-traditional, alternative medicine acceptable and safe. If it is a common cold with weakness, sore throat, dry cough, temperature no more than 5 days, there is no burdened history, then it is quite acceptable to use self-medication, which, in principle, should be recommended by a good doctor: abundant warm vitamin drink, antipyretics (paracetamol or ibuprofen) at a temperature above 38.5 degrees, but no more than 4 g per day, room ventilation and humidification. If your “cold” goes beyond the typical course: the cough is paroxysmal, there is green sputum, the temperature is more than 5 days, purulent discharge from the nose has appeared, then you definitely need to seek help from a specialist therapist or family doctor. In the case of sick children, it is better not to self-medicate, even when the situation seems quite typical and not dangerous. It is better, after all, to call a doctor and insure yourself.
Alternative methods of treatment in the form of folk recipes, as well as methods of complementary medicine, such as stress massage, meditation and yoga, etc., are acceptable only as additional to the main, full-fledged treatment based on the principles of evidence-based effectiveness and safety.