Most people are completely ignorant of the impact their health philosophy has on their health; that is, until some aspect of their health reaches a crisis level. And even then, most still don't figure it out. Two recent research papers demonstrate this fact in bold letters, serving as a classic example of how opposing health philosophies ultimate impact patients.
In 1998, Viagra became the hottest-selling new drug on the market with more than $1 billion in sales in its first year. As we all know, Viagra, along with several other drugs, is prescribed for the treatment of erectile dysfunction (ED). Current sales of ED drugs tops $5 billion per year for the three drug companies that make them.
The fact that Viagra does so well suggests that the ED problem is substantial. Current estimates suggest approximately 18 million men suffer from ED. Fortunately, the passage of time brings many truths to light. Two studies published last year did just that.
The first study was published in April 2011 in the Journal of Urology.1 From a study population of 80,000-plus men, the authors concluded that "regular nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use is associated with erectile dysfunction beyond what would be expected due to age and comorbidity." This conclusion was based upon results that "the unadjusted OR (odds ratio) for the association of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and erectile dysfunction was 2.40."
That means a man who takes NSAIDs regularly is almost two and a half times more likely to also suffer from ED. Even when adjusting for all sorts of factors, the odds ratio was still 1.38.
In November, 2011, a paper in the British Journal of Urology International found that "the number of medications a man takes is associated with worse ED, even after comorbidities have been taken into account."2 The percentage of men reporting ED increased from 15.9 percent for those taking two or less drugs to over 30 percent for those taking 10 or more drugs. Not only did more drugs increase the likelihood of ED, but they also increased the severity of the condition.
There are plenty of studies that demonstrate how to reduce the risk of developing ED. Reducing alcohol intake and eliminating smoking are the first steps. Exercising, eating healthy foods and getting fit are also required to reduce the risk. The research shows that if you make the necessary lifestyle modifications, you will see "statistically significant improvement in sexual function."3
So, if you are an overweight male smoker in your 50s who has been taking an aspirin a day for your heart, Advil for occasional headaches, high blood pressure medicine and a few others, you can expect to have ED (not to mention diabetes, considering your comorbid conditions). If you see your MD, you will likely get another drug to help with the ED, which in the long run will probably only make it worse.
If that same man had been a chiropractic patient from childhood, he would have learned not to take drugs and to embrace wellness. The health decisions he made early in his life would have steered him toward real health and away from many ailments, ED included.
It is important that we all teach about the value of the correct health philosophy. It should be part of every conversation with every patient on every visit. Over time, people will gain the understanding required to maintain their health free of drugs. They will learn to appreciate chiropractic and a wellness lifestyle.
It's their health philosophy that underlies the decisions your patients make. They won't make better decisions without the philosophy to support them. They won't develop a wellness philosophy unless you take the time to teach it.
- Gleason JM, Slezak JM, Jung H, et al. Regular nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug use and erectile dysfunction. J Urol, 2011 Apr;185(4):1388-93.
- Londoño DC, Slezak JM, Quinn VP, et al. Population-based study of erectile dysfunction and polypharmacy. BJU International (journal of the British Association of Urological Surgeons); published online ahead of print, Nov. 15, 2011.
- Gupta BP, Murad MH, Clifton MM, et al. The effect of lifestyle modification and cardiovascular risk factor reduction on erectile dysfunction: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Arch Intern Med, 2011 Nov 14;171(20):1797-803.
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