One more thing about doing what the medical experts say.
In the last three days there have been three stories in the news that completely contradict everything we've ever been told about staying healthy. Somebody please tell me what I'm supposed to do.
Forget getting a physical. New York Times environmental reporter and medical doctor Elisabeth Rosenthal recently reported on new evidence showing tests such as routine EKG's, yearly pap smears, and PSA blood tests to detect prostate cancer are pointless or even dangerous because they can lead to unneeded procedures. Rosenthal hasn't gotten an annual physical since she finished her medical training in 1989. She says scans and x-rays are overused, and false positives are too common in annual blood work. Her advice: See doctors only when you're sick, and follow schedules for a limited number of screening tests recommended for people of your age.
There is also new evidence about salt. Writing in Sunday's New York Times, an independent investigator in health policy and research, Gary Taubes, wrote about numerous national health institute studies that have failed to prove any link between salt and high blood pressure. In fact, new evidence suggests eating less salt can actually worsen health. Lack of salt in the body leads to higher levels of a harmful substance secreted by the kidneys called renin, which could increase the risk of heart disease.
Then there's the recent study on exercise. Scientists report that some people react negatively to physical activity and actually raise their risk for high blood pressure, high cholesterol and high insulin levels by exercising.
Maybe the thing to give up is reading about all these health studies. In the meantime, I think I'll head for the couch with a bowl of salt and call to cancel my physical.
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