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Anti-Aging Physicians: What To Know Before Choosing One... And Why Itís Important To Have One
Before looking for an alternative or anti-aging doctor, you must do several things.
First: Educate yourself. If you have a specific medical condition, learn as much as you can about available treatments. (This is good advice even if you are not looking for an alternative physician.) Do not rely just on the Internet, friends or neighbors for information.
Trust yourself. You have the ability to learn what you need to know. If you can read and think, you can become your own expert with the help of a properly trained anti-aging or alternative physician.
Subscribe to a newsletter written by a reputable alternative medical doctor. Your knowledge and self-confidence will increase and improve your relationship with any doctor. You will be in the driverís seat as managing partner of your health care. Download my Resources List for newsletter and other suggestions.
Next, decide what you expect from an alternative physician. Not all of them think and practice alike. For example, if you want to use human growth hormone (HGH), not all alternative physicians will prescribe it for you. Some alternative physicians do not approve of estrogen replacement.
After you do your homework, start shopping. Ask your pharmacist, (preferably one who operates an independent pharmacy) for a recommendation. Or, log on to acam.org for names of alternative physicians in your area. Interview at least several who say they practice alternative or anti-aging medicine.
Be aware that many alternative physicians do not take insurance. You pay for everything out of your pocket. (Your private insurance may reimburse you Ė check with your plan.) Most alternative physicians donít take Medicare or private insurance because more than enough people eagerly pay cash for their services.
Scrutinize how their business operates. (Yes, I did say ďbusiness.Ē Doctors are business people, not gods.)
Is there a nutritionist on staff? If so, thatís a definite plus. A nutritionist will take time to educate you about which supplements you need and why they are important. This is a critical benefit for those who know little about diet and supplements.
What kinds of blood tests are done? Blood tests are critical. They tell what's really going on in your body. A good alternative physician will do many tests not done by traditional physicians. For example, traditional physicians often donít test hormone levels for menopausal women Ė they just prescribe ďone size fits allĒ synthetic hormones.
After you select a physician, and then decide the doctor is not right for you, donít hesitate to look elsewhere. There are plenty of dedicated alternative physicians available. The challenge is to find the right one for you.
Why itís important to have an anti-aging or alternative physician:
Twenty years ago, the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) reported that 21 hours of education in nutrition was required but found many medical schools did not offer nutrition courses.
A survey published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition (Vol.83,pp. 9415-9445) re-examined the state of nutrition education in medical schools. The result of the survey showed that less than one half (41 percent) of the responding schools provided the minimum 25 hours or more recommended by the NAS in 1985. Also found was that 17 schools (18 percent) required only less than or equal to 10 hours of nutrition instruction.
This is alarming. Most people rely on their physician for nutrition advice. Less than adequate nutrition training explains why many traditionally trained physicians do not understand the importance of nutrition and may discourage supplement use.
Living an anti-aging lifestyle is easier than you think. With the help of a dedicated alternative physician, you can do it. When you find the right doctor, your health and wellbeing can benefit dramatically.
Copyright 2006 Barbara Morris, R.Ph.
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