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    Telling people they are at risk of disease makes the healthy sick, warns professor


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    Telling people they are at risk of disease makes the healthy sick, warns professor

    Post by graham64 on Tue Nov 17 2015, 22:31

    Telling people they are at risk of disease is likely to make the healthy sick, a health expert has warned.

    Doctors are increasingly advising patients that they risk of developing conditions like diabetes or cardiovascular disease, with most over 60s now advised to take statins.

    But Dr Teppo Jarvinen, of the Department of Orthopaedics and Trauma at the University of Helsinki, believes that the warning signs have become conditions themselves with high cholesterol, blood pressure treated as if they are illnesses.

    Writing in the British Medical Journal, Dr Jarvinen said: “Nowadays being ‘at high risk’ of having a disease had become a disease in and of itself.

    “Sweeping educational programmes at all levels of healthcare now turn an otherwise healthy person’s high blood pressure, elevated serum lipids or low bone density into chronic conditions.

    “On an individual level possible disadvantages include making relatively healthy individuals perceive themselves as sick.”

    Dr Teppo said patients are not being told about the very small advantages of taking certain drugs. Some osteoporosis medications which are widely prescribed only lower the chance of a hip fracture by one per cent, he claims.

    Under current guidelines, around 40 per cent of adults in England are advised to take statins to cut 50,000 deaths a year from strokes or heart attacks. It means that the majority of men over 60 and women over 65 are now offered the drugs even if they only have a one in 10 chance of developing cardiovascular disease within 10 years.

    Yet Dr Jarvinen said most patients did not want to take drugs to prevent a condition until the risk was greater than 20 per cent.

    “The new cholesterol guideline colonises virtually the entire elderly population into the realm of the sick,” he added.

    “Despite laudable efforts to improve the communication and comprehension of both the concept of risk and the anticipated treatment benefit, risk-illiteracy of the gravest magnitude still affects both doctors and patients.”

    A recent study showed that one in five people are now taking five medicines or more, and many are to prevent conditions. Around one billion prescriptions are written each year, the equivalent of 45,000 for each doctor, and 18 for each person in the UK. While hospital medical charts used to have room for five drugs, they now have space for 30.

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    chris c

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    Re: Telling people they are at risk of disease makes the healthy sick, warns professor

    Post by chris c on Thu Nov 19 2015, 20:58

    Agree and disagree! The other side of the coin is all those people who are told there is nothing wrong with them, they are making up their symptoms etc (BTDT) because they have not YET crossed some diagnostic threshold. Many conditions, not only diabetes, can be controlled without drugs as long as they are found early enough - and patients are given the correct dietary advice, which is the bit that isn't happening.

      Current date/time is Sun Jul 22 2018, 17:24