Medicalization’ of aging, and why do we need all this stuff done to us as we get older

Medicalization’ of aging, and why do we need all this stuff done to us as we get older

Have you ever heard about Nortin Hadler, author of several books on medical overtreatment? Apparently he has a new book out which questions how we perceive aging. For many of us and our parents, aging consists of aches, pains, doctor visits, medications and worring about the inevitable. As I have suggested to our patients, we all have an expiration date. The important thing to keep in perspective is that we want to live to a ripe old age in a healthy way, with minimal intervention and with our minds in tact. If you are worried about your legacy, it is never too early to try to strive for greatness in your own way, being the best parent, grandparent, friend and person you know how to be. For those who worry about their own aging process, unfortunately, there are many factors such as genetics, the foods we eat, the exercise we get and never being in the wrong place at the wrong time, some of which we can control and other things we cannot.

One of the biggest concerns I have discussed with patients is that aging has become a disease process and we are constantly testing and prodding people as they age to see if they are going to succumb eventually. Unfortunately, that has cost us dearly and we all know noone will live forever. I have seen many families sent on highly emotional roller coasters as they try to make medical decisions on behalf of parents which they cannot think through clearly, which almost never changes the outcome, but may extend someones suffering or worsen it or even hasten the end.

Read this interview. I found it quite thought provoking although I do not agree with his assertions about knee or back pain since his answers show little understanding about why people suffer from these problems.

Nortin Hadler, author of several books on medical overtreatment, turns his attention to what he calls the ‘medicalization’ of aging.

By Judith Graham, Published: February 20

Nortin Hadler, a professor of medicine and microbiology/immunology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been warning for years about the lack of evidence supporting many popular medical treatments and tests.

His work is controversial. In books such as “Stabbed in the Back: Confronting Back Pain in an Overtreated Society” and “Worried Sick: A Prescription for Health in an Overtreated America,” Hadler argues for holding medical interventions to a high standard: Do they reduce mortality or substantially lessen the burden of illness? Do potential benefits significantly outweigh potential harms? Unless research proves this, the interventions should be avoided, Hadler insists.

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