Smithtown Wellness - Wellness Chiropractor in Smithtown, NY

Owning Your Health

Recent discussions in the scientific literature are focusing on monitoring and possibly improving cardiovascular health in children. There's been a lot of conversation and a lot of controversy. An article in the Journal of the American Medical Association1 argued that universal screening of children could result in young people being put on cholesterol-lowering drugs such as statins. And, according to certain experts, there just isn't sufficient medical evidence to justify such prescriptions.
These are not new proposals. In July 2008 the American Academy of Pediatrics recommended that some children as young as 8 be treated aggressively with cholesterol-lowering drugs.2 Soon thereafter, in November 2008, researchers recommended that statins be prescribed for millions of healthy people with normal cholesterol levels.3
What's going on here? Healthy adults and healthy children should take drugs? How can we make sense of these medical controversies and how can we take action that is actually appropriate to the health and well-being of ourselves and our children?
First, it's very important to take responsibility. That's difficult, because it seems that we live in a culture of denial. No one is responsible for anything. "Twinkies made me do it." "I have bad genes." "It's not my fault."
A person's health is usually evaluated in the same way. Who is responsible for a lifelong two-pack-a-day smoker developing lung cancer? The tobacco company, of course. Who is responsible for someone gaining 50 pounds in a year? Well, the fast food chain is responsible. Who is responsible for hundreds of thousands of Americans developing diabetes each year? Candy manufacturers, naturally. Throw in doughnut-makers, too.
But, people are actually responsible for their own actions. Going further, in many cases people are partly responsible for the diseases and disorders they develop. It's not that I'm a bad person, but I may be making choices that aren't in my own best interests.
"Lifestyle health" is a relatively new term being used by many researchers and health practitioners. From a lifestyle perspective, many cases of diabetes, overweight and obesity, and high cholesterol are caused by lifestyle choices. High-fat diets, high-sugar diets, lack of daily fruits and vegetables, and lack of exercise will cause people to develop diabetes, obesity, and high cholesterol.
Lifestyle health is directed at causing people to choose healthy behaviors.4
So taking statins when you're healthy to prevent high cholesterol and associated cardiovascular and inflammatory disorders is highly questionable. Giving medicines - whose long-term effects are largely unknown - to children makes even less sense.
Am I going to choose risky behaviors for myself and recommend risky behaviors for my children, causing us to possibly need medications down the road, or am I going to choose and recommend healthy lifestyles and take responsibility for my health and well-being and that of my children?
Statins like Crestor and Lipitor have certainly helped millions of adults with serious health problems. Still, taking these medications is like slamming the barn door after the horse has run away.
Let's see. If I'm healthy now, will I choose to maintain my good health by regular exercise, a consistent healthy food plan, and sufficient rest? The choice seems clear.
1Psaty BM, Rivara FP: Universal screening and drug treatment of dyslipidemia in children and adolescents. JAMA 307(3):257-258, 2012
2Daniels SR, et al: Lipid screening and cardiovascular health in childhood. Pediatrics 122(1):198-208, 2008
3Ridker PM, et al: Rosuvastatin to prevent vascular events in men and women with elevated C-reactive protein. NEJM 359:2195-2007, 2008
4Chan AT, Giovannucci EL: Primary prevention of colorectal cancer. Gastroenterology 138(6):2029-2043, 2010

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Reviews By Our Satisfied Patients

  • "I've known Scott for many, many, years but you don't do biz with folks you know so I asked him for a referral to a ENT because I was suffering from vertigo for a few years and it was driving me nuts. He said, "Just come here and let's see what's up." He wanted to run x-rays first so he asked if I was pregnant. I said I wasn't but that we've been trying for about a year. He said that he wouldn't be surprised if I got pregnant after a few adjustments. Well, he was right on all counts! My vertigo was gone after about a visit or two and I was pregnant within the month! ... he's been helping with my pregnancy woes and pains and no reoccurrence of vertigo!"
    Sharon R. - Hauppauge, NY
  • "Everyone at Smithtown Wellness goes out of their way to create a positive environment that is conducive to good health. Dr. Scott is very knowledgable and is always willing to share that information with others. We began seeing Dr. Scott while my partner was pregnant with our second daughter. His expertise facilitated a beautiful home birth by ensuring proper alignment of the pelvis. Our newborn had her first adjustment at just 10 days old!! Smithtown Wellness is more than a business, its a family of people that really care."
    Justin M. - Mt. Sinai, NY