Monday, November 10, 2008

"It defines a new population" of patients at risk.

There is a big Crestor study out, and I take Crestor, and it says that it greatly reduces the risk of heart attack even in people who appear healthy.

And, then, a Doctor from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit said something revealing (it is from Today's Wall Street journal):

"This takes prevention to a new level," said Douglas Weaver, head of cardiology at Henry Ford Hospital, Detroit, who wasn't involved with the Jupiter study. "It defines a new population" of patients at risk.
This, I suspect, is the ultimate goal of the so-called prevention industry. This has bothered me for a long time. They will lower risk numbers (like on cholesterol), creating a whole new class of people who are suddenly "sick."

Of course, risk is not destiny. Many of the people "at risk" could live on and not have an early, adverse outcome. However, the prevention industry doesn't know who those people are, so they treat everyone as sick. I wonder if they spent as much money on this as they do on creating new "populations" of people who are "at risk" whether they would actually be able to make the pool smaller (and more precise) and reduce how much people spend on medicine that isn't helping them.

I have always told my doctor that he treats me like a population. I am a 44-year old man with medically controlled cholesterol and blood pressure and a family history of heart disease. And, he treats me just as all the rest of the people with those characteristics are treated.

But, at the end of the day, there is no risk for an individual. An event will either occur or it will not. Add those up, and it creates all kinds of cool graphs, but these mean nothing to an individual. You either reach life expectancy or you do not.

In fact, think about this quote....the whole subject doesn't just define a whole new population. It gives the word "risk" a whole new meaning.

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