Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Stents and Drugs

I am still digesting the study about stents and heart medication. Of course some of it depends on which article one reads. Some articles say that most angioplasties are unnecessary. Other articles say other things. It is a lot to digest. For a long time now I have been convinced that angioplasty and/or bypass was the way to go. Now I am not so sure. The conclusion seems to be that as long as I do not have an emergency situation, then drug therapy is just as good as angioplasty, etc. Actually that is good news to me. Of course I do not want to start taking a bunch of pills, but I think I would rather take them than have someone put a stent in one of my arteries.

Jeffry Fawcett at Your Own Health and Fitness has an interesting take on the whole thing. He says, in effect, that you can resist those who want to stick a stent in your artery, unless you get caught up in the fog of fear, and give in to the inertia that will exist once you enter an emergency room. It is difficult to resist that inertia, especially if you are in enough pain. As Fawcett says, “most importantly you can take control by taking care of your heart and your blood vessels so you won’t get wheeled into the emergency room in the first place.” I am with him on that. I just hope that all my efforts now will trump all the indiscretions of my youth – smoking, eating at McDonald’s, ordering fried food instead of baked, etc. And I also hope that today’s youth do not have to learn their lessons the hard way. I hope they can take care of their hearts and blood vessels. Maybe I am hoping for too much.

As a followup on the above study, they are now saying that the results of the study are unlikely to change the status quo: doctors will probably continue putting in stents, even though some of them are apparently unnecessary. That may be true generally, but the results of this study have certainly changed my attitude toward the whole thing. Now, if I am faced with an angioplasty, I will certainly explore other alternatives. (I know a thing or two about getting railroaded into a procedure that I ended up regretting. As I have said before, I wish I had not had that prostate biopsy in 2000. I think it was unnecessary.) In any event, I will continue to digest this latest news. I am thankful that, so far, I am not faced with a medical crisis. That gives me the opportunity now, with no pressure, to consider what I might do if I am faced with a medical crisis in the future.

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