Recently, a reader wrote in asking me to "give up some of [my] antiquated notions about doctoring."
I like antiques as much as the next person, but I don't consider myself one.
In fact, I spent much of my career as a doctor railing against outdated medical techniques.
When I was a fourth-year medical student, I remember arguing with a senior resident. I claimed the cholesterol model was broken and absurd given the literature (that is, the "bench science," or research conducted in labs) at the time.
The long-held belief is that cholesterol leads to heart disease. But half of all people admitted to a hospital with a heart attack have average or low cholesterol levels.
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What's more, there's growing evidence that high levels of LDL – the so-called "bad" cholesterol – don't affect your risk of mortality. In fact, boosting your good cholesterol (HDL) is the best way to protect your heart.
And more studies are showing the tenuous link between cholesterol and heart disease, as well as the dangers of the drugs doctors prescribe. (I dedicated an entire issue to the cholesterol myth.)
I believe in questioning... That's why I always tell my team to "trust, but verify."
I've also warned against the outdated methods that doctors use against cancer.
Cancer is an extremely complex disease that has a lot of moving parts and many causes. And the basic weapons in our arsenal to fight cancer – surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation – haven't changed in decades.
Many people hear the words, "You've got cancer" and simply follow the doctor's advice.
Doctors make mistakes like everyone else. Don't put yourself through dangerous treatments – like radiation and chemotherapy – without the certainty that you have cancer. I have three close friends who were misdiagnosed and mistreated for cancer, and the outcomes were horrifying.
Always go for a second – or even third – opinion after a diagnosis.
In my book, The Living Cure, I talk about the steps you need to take immediately after a cancer diagnosis, 10 questions you must ask your doctor, and a revolutionary new cancer treatment. Retirement Millionaire subscribers can read it here. If you prefer to have a physical copy, you can buy one here.
So, is my advice antiquated? Unlikely... We've been years ahead of many in the press and front-lines in doctor's offices...
Old school? If by that you mean we read the literature, apply common sense, and don't trust people selling us snake oil and promises of government protection... Then sure!
My team and I are always on the lookout for new advances in treating and diagnosing illnesses and simply living a healthier life. And we've been on the leading edge of reporting new discoveries like immunotherapy, the negative effects of BPA in soup and cola cans, and the dangers of triclosan in hand soaps all over the country.
We told you the H5N1 flu stuff and the Ebola craziness was absurd... long before anyone else...
My team and I will continue to share with you the "truth" as we uncover it...
What you do with our stuff is up to you. I can tell you that my friend who got a second opinion and didn't start the deadly chemo and radiation treatments because they didn't have cancer still thanks me...
Q: I know you've told us to avoid white foods – does that apply to cauliflower? – S.G.
A: I've written a few times about the three white killers: sugar, white rice, and white bread. They're overprocessed and cause a load of health problems.
I've told readers to avoid these foods for years. But there are some white foods everyone should eat and enjoy... for example, cauliflower.
Cauliflower is a good source of potassium (so are bananas, another white food that is good for you). Potassium helps keep your organs – especially your heart and kidneys – working properly. Cauliflower also has vitamin C and omega-3. Vitamin C is my go-to vitamin when I'm feeling a cold advancing. And omega-3 fatty acids lower your risk of cancer, reduce blood pressure, and improve mental health (along with many other benefits).
Cauliflower is also a cruciferous vegetable, meaning it's packed with glucosinolates. These molecules help protect healthy cells and also quell the growth of some cancer cells.
Q: And don't forget about Assistance Services. – C.R.
A: We didn't forget, C.R. We mentioned the benefits of assistance services like the one Amanda's aunt runs here in Maryland. You can find them through The Senior's Choice Network, here.
Visiting Angels is a similar program, providing home-care services like bathing, dressing, housekeeping, etc. However, it also offers higher-level care such as hospice care, dementia care, and end-of-life care. You can find more information about these services here.
Don't forget to check with your state for great resources as well. AgingCare.com has a list of resources by state for you to use. Contacting your state or county's aging office can help you find more information on mobility programs, and they often provide caregiver training to help you learn the best ways to care for your loved ones. Find more information here.
And on a final note, the Department of Veterans Affairs has a number of caregiver resources, including a support line if you need advice or if you just need to talk. That number is 1-855-260-3274 and the website is here.
Q: I just wanted to say thanks for publishing the comments about negotiating brokerage commissions. I use TD Ameritrade and was able to reduce my fees for stock trades slightly and significantly reduce my option trade commissions. I trade a lot of different options in low quantities and now have a great rate. – K.D.
A: Congrats on your savings, K.D. We've had many readers write in about their brokerage experiences and how they've saved money.
For any readers who missed our tips, read how to beat your broker's commissions here.
Having a burning question? Send it our way at [email protected].
What We're Reading...
- The broker pricing war has started.
- Something different: The bitter battle of mole catchers.
Here's to our health, wealth, and a great retirement,
Dr. David Eifrig and the Retirement Millionaire Daily Research Team
Buffalo, New York
March 10, 2017