A survey has found that a majority of Americans age 50 and older use alternative medicines, but don’t tell their doctors. The survey was conducted by the AARP and the National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine.
Health experts warn that informing your doctor is very important to prevent any conflicts between the use of complementary and alternative medicines (CAM) versus over-the-counter, prescription drugs and traditional medical methods. Although conflicts and side-effects resulting from those conflicts are rare it is still a possibility, Also and conflicts or side-effects of mixing the two forms of treatment could completely undermine the whole process of treatments altogether.
The report said that discussing everything with a physician “allows patients and doctors the opportunity to identify CAM practices that may be beneficial and also minimizes the risks to a patient from potential therapy interactions.”
The Majority Use CAM’s
During the survey of 1,559 people age 50 and older, 63 percent admitted to having used a CAM
Among that group, a whopping 69 percent did not discuss their use of CAMs with their doctor. The most popular CAMs among those surveyed were massage therapy or chiropractic manipulation, and also herbal or dietary supplements. Each type of CAM represented more than 40 percent of what Alternative Medicines are used, totaling 87 percent of the whole. Other types of CAMs used included hypnotherapy, acupuncture and naturopathy.
The most common reason responders gave when asked about talking to a doctor about the use of a CAM was that the doctors ‘never ask’. Other reasons included many people not realizing that they should tell their doctor (30 percent), believing the doctor wouldn’t be knowledgeable about the subject (17 percent) and believing the doctor would try to discourage them from using CAMs altogether (12 percent).
“The fact is, the majority of American adults use complementary medicine. Why? Because it’s safer, a lot less expensive and more effective than conventional medicine’s drugs-and-surgery approach,” said Mike Adams, consumer health advocate and author of numerous books on natural health. “One big reason that patients don’t discuss these therapies with their doctors is, frankly, that many doctors are egotistical, have closed minds to new ideas and sometimes are even downright hostile when they learn that patients are educating themselves about health, nutrition and disease prevention. Doctors are being taken out of the loop because people are increasingly seeing them as irrelevant to their health.”