Thursday, August 22, 2013

An appointment with a paleo doctor

So when is the last time that you talked with (not merely "at") your doctor about *any* of the following:

--bulletproof coffee/intermittent fasting
--the fact that high LDL cholesterol doesn't cause heart disease
--the near-uselessness of a standard bloodwork lipid panel
--fermented cod-liver oil
--grassfed dairy
--Vitamin K2
--the value of eating primarily animal protein, vegetables and good fats
--the fact that eating too much fruit slows fat loss
--how modern wheat is destroying people's health
--how going paleo will go a long way to clearing up acne and many other skin issues

Today, I had an appointment with a doc who talked with me about *all* those subjects.

It was amazing. It made me never want to discuss general health issues with my "regular" doc at all.

See, a few months back, I went to that regular doc -- the one that my health insurance covers -- and had some bloodwork done as part of a physical. Only one thing completely freaked out Dr. Regular: the fact that my LDL had nearly doubled, from 81 to 157, since going paleo three years ago. In fact, he was so flipped out that, based on this one result, he was already telling me, "If this doesn't get under 130 next year, I am going to have to give you a statin." I just kind-of nodded, thought to myself, "You can't make me fill the prescription," sang a couple bars in my head of "You're not the boss of me," and had nearly completely tuned him out by the time he got to recommending a low-fat/whole-grain-heavy diet. In fact, I got the impression that were my HDL not reasonably high (70) and my triglycerides low (66), he might have been writing the statin script *this*time.

It was a little nuts. But I didn't panic. Ever since I went paleo in 2010, I had devised a backup plan for precisely this type of scenario. I was well aware that high LDL alone was not a crisis in the paleo world and that there are more extensive -- and hence far more valuable -- blood tests that can be run to measure the real risk. I also knew that, most of the time, that real risk turned out to be minimal. I had even recommended "the plan" to a few friends who had similar blood-test/LDL issues arise with their docs: go see a doc from either the Paleo Physicians Network or Primal Docs. and get the super-extensive bloodwork done.

Today, I followed my own advice. I had an appointment with Dr. Steven Horvitz. It was fantastic to talk paleo with a doc who not only isn't preaching low-fat/whole-grain nonsense and isn't objecting to my paleo lifestyle, but is actually on the same page with seemingly every aspect of paleo.

And yeah, there is a small catch: some of these docs (Horvitz is one) don't take your insurance. The appointment may cost you more than your usual co-pay with Dr. Regular. I have one simple answer: if the mechanic told you your car needed a few hundred bucks of work, you'd go for it with little thought. Isn't your health worth at least that, especially when we are talking about bloodwork that might actually tell you something important, rather than the vague, nearly-useless generalities of a standard lipid panel?

The answer to that question was easy for me.

My bloodwork will be ready for the doc to review it with me in ten days or so.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

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