Author Topic: Decision on Health Strategy/Spending  (Read 1730 times)

FarmFam

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 63
Decision on Health Strategy/Spending
« on: March 12, 2015, 02:28:13 PM »
Things haven't' been going good money or health -wise.  Since, I started on my debt repayment plan, my FIL had a stroke, then because of that, my husband tried his arm blood pressure device and found that he was having high blood pressure.

Our money plans were off track because of my husband traveling to the hospital for a month raising our gas costs and buying things for his parents because he wanted to be helpful.

Then my husband's ER bill is $500 and the 2 doctor visits have been $500 ($190 primary, $300 cardiologist) so far.  Then his wisdom tooth broke for no reason at all and it cost $70 to remove.  I told him he is falling apart and costing too much money so I should replace him with another model, LOL.

The doctor is asking him to get an ultrasound to see if there is anything wrong with his heart because they found a murmur and he is young and healthy so shouldn't be getting high blood pressure.  We just called to find the cost and it will cost $1000.

For about a month, we have been trying to use natural methods to lower his blood pressure and get him off of the Lisinopril.  With him jogging everyday, lowering his intake in beer, and taking some natural herbs and vitamins for lowering blood pressure, we have been able to keep his blood pressure normal.  My co-worker's husband has hereditary high blood pressure and he keeps his blood pressure normal by taking garlic pills and jogging everyday, but if he misses a day of jogging his blood pressure goes up.  He doesn't take any prescriptions.

But recently he had a night of many bottles of beer, which raised his blood pressure, stopped jogging, and then had his tooth taken out, so his blood pressure has been higher.  He had to take Lisinopril pill to lower his pressure.

We found a local doctor who is a MD and a holistic doctor who specializes in cardiology.  People travel from around the country to see him.  His price is $1000 for first visit which includes 2 hours and many tests, $300 for second visit to go over results and put a plan together, and $190 for additional visits as needed.  He will send out or do in his office other tests as needed for additional charge (maybe an ultrasound).

My question here is:

1) Do we pay $1000 for the ultrasound with the "regular" doctors who of course will only continue to prescribe the same medications even after the ultrasound? 

2) Or do we go to the holistic cardiologist who will find the cause and try to cure the cause?  BTW, we still may need an ultrasound with this option too if the doctor sees it is needed to get more research on the issue.  But at least with this option I have higher hopes in finding a cause that can be helped or at least doing things naturally with no prescription side effects.  This doctor can also do prescriptions if really needed.

3) Or do we just keep doing it on our own to keep his blood pressure low by making sure he jogs every day, limits his beer and takes his natural concoctions?

If you are curious about health insurance, we have a high deductible.

Family history: both his parents and his brother have high blood pressure and my husband's doctor also said he has high cholesterol but new research has found that high cholesterol related to heart issues is bogus.  My husband has no other health issues.

And not to mention my own health problems!  My family has a history of Aneurysms and I have been wanting to get an MRA to make sure I don't have any before I just drop dead at a moments notice.  But I have been putting it off because it costs a couple thousand. 

I also get the worst cramps every month (8-10 on the pain scale; they are worse than what my labor pains were.  Sometimes I just want to go to the ER for morphine) and my hormones are off.  I would love to see a holistic doctor to get things balanced.   But again I put off because of money.  I have found some natural stuff to help the pain not be so bad.  It costs $30 per month for the pills but if I forget a couple of days to take the pill the pain is still bad.

And I have two wisdom teeth that need to be pulled because they dig into my cheek and I have 3 (small) cavities that I have also put all off because of money!

We were supposed to be on track to pay off some debts so we can refinance to get rid of the FHA's mortgage insurance by May.  Now it looks like it will be in October!

Another Question: Should I just use all our money to take care of all these health issues now and get it over with, or keep putting them off to refinance as soon as possible?

Thank you for your wisdom!

swick

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2884
Re: Decision on Health Strategy/Spending
« Reply #1 on: March 12, 2015, 02:49:34 PM »

I also get the worst cramps every month (8-10 on the pain scale; they are worse than what my labor pains were.  Sometimes I just want to go to the ER for morphine) and my hormones are off.  I would love to see a holistic doctor to get things balanced.   But again I put off because of money.  I have found some natural stuff to help the pain not be so bad.  It costs $30 per month for the pills but if I forget a couple of days to take the pill the pain is still bad.

Sorry your family is going through so much :(

Personally, I would go the ND route, but that is just me. Although, you keep saying "pills" even when you are talking about natural medicine, which is usually the least effective and can be the most adulterated.

There are a couple of things you can do right away from your cramps/hormones though. Regularly drinking an infusion of Nettle and Wild raspberry Leaf is great for hormone balancing, providing missing essential nutrients and lessening cramping. 

Also, go out and get some Vitex essential oil (Vitex agnus-castus) this stuff is an amazing hormone regulator. You can either massage it on when you are getting cramps or inhale as needed - I find inhaling is usually enough. It has a very long history of use and interestingly enough acts on men and women totally differently. My hubby hates the smell it actively turns him off (they use to call the berries Monk's pepper and put it on food in the monasteries) and while you may not love the smell, if your hormones are out of whack, you will crave the smell.

These are just my personal experiences and those of all the women in my life I have tried these things with. Worth looking into anyways :)

whydavid

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 51
Re: Decision on Health Strategy/Spending
« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2015, 03:25:26 PM »
You need to drop the overly-simplistic notion that "Regular Doctor" = Pill-popper who doesn't bother treating the cause of diseases and "Holistic Doctor" = Someone who treats the root cause.

Every MD in every first-world country is taught to treat the root cause of the disease, when possible, and not just to manage the symptoms.  The problem is, the non-pharmaceutical cures for most conditions involve lifestyle changes that many folks won't stick to.  For hypertension, regular exercise and limiting alcohol consumption is the first-line defense.  If you don't believe me, here is a simplified version of the JNC 7 guidelines...the very first treatment is "lifestyle modification": http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/files/docs/guidelines/phycard.pdf

And yes, those were written by good old-fashioned, overwhelmingly "non-holistic" MDs.

Quote
1) Do we pay $1000 for the ultrasound with the "regular" doctors who of course will only continue to prescribe the same medications even after the ultrasound? 

No, that would be ridiculous.  You should get the ultrasound because a heart murmur is something entirely different from hypertension, and left uncorrected can cause permanent heart damage.  Or it might be fairly benign...you will have to decide how to handle the risk.

Quote
2) Or do we go to the holistic cardiologist who will find the cause and try to cure the cause?  BTW, we still may need an ultrasound with this option too if the doctor sees it is needed to get more research on the issue.  But at least with this option I have higher hopes in finding a cause that can be helped or at least doing things naturally with no prescription side effects.  This doctor can also do prescriptions if really needed.

You just told us your husband can manage his blood pressure through diet and exercise, but that he didn't stick to it.  What exactly do you think the holistic doctor is going to find/tell you? 

Quote
3) Or do we just keep doing it on our own to keep his blood pressure low by making sure he jogs every day, limits his beer and takes his natural concoctions?

Yes and yes...but only if he can stick to it.  If not, take the pill.  Get a blood pressure monitoring device for home use, and check it regularly.  Google the correct guidelines for measuring blood pressure (seated position, arm rested but not supported, wait 5 minutes, etc.) so that you get good results.  If it is consistently above 120/80, talk to the doctor again.  The regular feedback might be the encouragement your husband needs to stick with a healthy regimen.

Also, this isn't a black/white thing.  Just because he may need Lisinopril or another med in the long-run, doesn't mean he'll need the same dose.  If he keeps exercising, eating right, and limiting alcohol, he will probably need a much lesser dose than if he lets it go entirely.  Not only will this save some money, but it will reduce the chance/severity of side effects.

Quote
Family history: both his parents and his brother have high blood pressure and my husband's doctor also said he has high cholesterol but new research has found that high cholesterol related to heart issues is bogus. 

Start doing your own research.  Medline Plus is a great resource: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/  If you want to go straight to the primary literature, try PubMedCentral for millions of open-access articles: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/  If you want something in between...synthesized from primary literature but not meant directly for the public, the gold standard would be Cochrane reviews: http://www.cochrane.org/

I'm not sure what " new research has found that high cholesterol related to heart issues is bogus." is supposed to mean, but if you think high cholesterol is no big deal, you are mistaken. 

Quote
Another Question: Should I just use all our money to take care of all these health issues now and get it over with, or keep putting them off to refinance as soon as possible?

If this were me, I would try to deal with the cholesterol and high blood pressure issues through lifestyle modification, but get the murmur looked at now.  You can probably get the ultrasound cheaper than $1k if you try.  Sometimes with my own high deductible plan I find I can get a better cash rate for certain things (e.g. my foot orthotics) than the insurance adjusted rate.  In 6 months, get the cholesterol checked again, and get it treated if the lifestyle modifications didn't work.  You should be able to monitor the blood pressure on your own, but the same advice applies.


These are just my two cents.  Take it or leave it.  I think you are doing a great thing in trying to get these issues managed...I would not waste a ton of money on a 'holistic' doc, but some people respond much better to that style of medicine.  The most important thing is your husband's buy-in.  Better to overpay for a holistic doc if that's the only person he'll trust.

Best,

D



FarmFam

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 63
Re: Decision on Health Strategy/Spending
« Reply #3 on: March 17, 2015, 01:05:08 PM »
Thank you both for your feedback.  We decided not to do anything.  His blood pressure has been good.  But then something stressful happened and it spiked again.  It turns out that it is stress related.  He assured me that he will continue with the Natural pills (herbs concentrated in a gelatin capsule) and jog daily as well as watch his diet. 

I really feel for him. I understand it is a huge lifestyle change when you haven't really been living a healthy lifestyle.  I am being as supportive as possible.