“Cure all” health claims
Will the newest treatment, supplement, drug or procedure claimed to cure, improve your health condition?
Media bombards society with the latest curable, whether it is an over the counter drug, nutritional supplement or alternative treatments. What can we believe is factual? How can we decide what remedy to try?
Learning how to evaluate these claims to make an informed decision on trying something new means we must manage our own health care. Michigan State University Extension advises to manage your own health care by asking yourself the following questions:
Where did I learn about this new treatment or drug?
One has to be careful of alternative treatments and supplements. These usually have not been scientifically studied, so you will not see them very often in scientific journal. If the author of the article is a respected doctor or scientist, it may be factual. If you see an article in a tabloid at the supermarket, you may want to brush it off. Another trust worthy source is research published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Were the people who got better like me?
The people claiming to have been cured or improved their condition – did they have your same concerns, lifestyle, gender, age, etc.? If people are not like you, there is a greater chance the results may not be the same for you. Ads on TV sound so believable, but many times actors or spokespersons do not have the same conditions that you do.
Could anything else have caused these positive changes?
Just being positive or changing your exercise and eating habits can cause positive changes in chronic illness. In many cases, being positive, eating well and exercising cause many positive changes; some individuals do not need as much medication. Even if your symptoms improve, always consult with your doctor before eliminating medication.
Does treatment suggest it’s time to stop other medications or treatments?
New treatments that proclaim you do not need your other medications are a red flag. Consult with your doctor or health care provider before making changes.
Does the new treatment suggest not eating a well-balanced diet?
Maintaining a balanced diet is important to overall health. Don’t exclude nutrients that will help the organs in your body
Can I think of any possible dangers or harms?
The majority of treatments have side effects and possibly risks. Always discuss with your doctor the risks of a particular treatment. Supplements that say “natural” still may not be right for you.
Can I afford it?
It costs money to give a new treatment the time to make a difference, otherwise it isn’t worth it. If you take half of the dosage or skip days, you won’t know whether the new treatment worked for you.
Am I willing to go through the trouble or expense?
Support is important, whether it be family, friends, a church group, club or another social group. These people will help you get through the low times. Be gracious and except help. Your recovery time will be faster.
When seeing a “cure all” health claim for a new treatment, procedure, etc. – ask yourself all these questions. Then talk to your health care provider about changing treatments and/or adding supplements. Together, you and your health care provider should make the decision together whether a new treatment is in the best interest of your health.
For more tips on health and nutrition visit the MSU Extension chronic disease webpage. Other resources include:
- American Board of Internal Medicine Foundation’s Choosing Wisely:
- National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health