Participants: Nick Evenson (Host), Dr. James Marcum
Series Code: UP
Program Code: UP000075A
00:16 We all experience symptoms, but understanding
00:19 why those symptoms are happening is so important.
00:22 Stay with us as Dr. Marcum helps explain it.
00:26 I'm Dr. James Marcum, are you interested in
00:29 discovering the reason why?
00:31 Do you want solutions to your healthcare problem?
00:34 Are you tired of taking medications?
00:36 Well, you're about to be given "The Ultimate Prescription"
00:42 A lot of questions about symptoms,
00:44 but treating a symptom is not always the best idea.
00:47 Dr. Marcum, tell us why this might be the case.
00:50 Well I will Nick, and this is going to be a
00:52 great discussion because we're going to talk today,
00:55 on our program, about the difference between a
00:58 symptom, what's causing the symptom, a diagnosis,
01:02 all these interesting things, and think about it this way...
01:05 If I were banging my head into the wall over
01:08 and over and over again, and my head started hurting,
01:11 the symptom of hurting would be
01:14 the hurting is coming from my head...
01:16 Well if you were treating the symptom,
01:18 you might give me a pain medication.
01:20 I'd give you a pill. Sure!
01:21 And the pain might go away temporarily,
01:24 but it doesn't get at the cause. Right
01:26 That's just one analogy of treating a symptom
01:30 and not understanding the cause.
01:32 But let's think about it this way...
01:34 Let's talk about what a symptom is first of all.
01:38 Anything that we feel that's not normal
01:42 could be considered a symptom. Okay
01:45 Now there are physical symptoms that our body undergoes,
01:50 but there are also mental symptoms
01:53 that we don't feel that we think. Okay
01:55 So your brain can have symptoms
01:57 just as well as our body can have symptoms.
01:59 Let's talk about the eyes...
02:02 What would be a symptom that the eyes are malfunctioning,
02:04 something that the eyes would not be normal.
02:06 If they are itchy and red...
02:07 Itchy, red, pain in the eye, blurry vision...
02:11 those are all symptoms from the eyes.
02:14 We can think of that with almost any body part.
02:17 What about the head? Pain, headaches,
02:20 ears - ringing into the ears, dizziness.
02:23 Of course, the organ I work with is the chest.
02:25 The symptoms that might be from the chest would be:
02:27 Chest pain, but chest pain can be from the heart,
02:30 there are many other things.
02:31 Can't breathe - that might be a symptom.
02:34 A rash might be a symptom; itching might be a symptom;
02:39 diarrhea might be a symptom, and then the opposite
02:42 of diarrhea - constipation - those might be symptoms
02:45 from the GI tract.
02:47 Well what a healer does first of all - is he collects
02:51 the symptoms and sees if there is some pattern
02:55 He sees if these abnormal feelings that a person
02:57 is experiencing might be leading to the cause.
03:01 So that's what a good diagnostician would do.
03:04 Now sometimes, there is disease going on in the body
03:07 that's longstanding that we don't even know we have
03:10 until we have a symptom. Right
03:12 Usually, when a symptom comes to surface,
03:15 the problem is pretty developed, and that's usually
03:18 when we need modern medicine is when the
03:21 symptom develops to help get us over the hump.
03:24 Are you following me? Yeah
03:25 Okay, like a heart attack might have been going on,
03:28 the cause, for 40 or 50 years.
03:31 Really? But it doesn't happen until
03:33 it accumulates and we have a heart attack. Right
03:35 Then we have to deal with the symptom,
03:37 but the disease has been going on for years and years.
03:40 You follow me? Yep
03:42 High blood pressure... high blood pressure can cause
03:43 aneurysms or weak spots in arteries.
03:46 That blood pressure might have been high for 30 years,
03:48 we might not have even know it.
03:50 The cause of that blood pressure might have been in our diet,
03:52 but we don't find out about it
03:54 until our body develops a symptom. Okay
03:56 So in our bodies, in caring for health, Nick,
04:00 we don't want to wait until a symptom occurs.
04:04 Did you ever watch - what's that show that
04:06 Barney Fife was on that show...
04:08 Umm... I'll think of it in a minute,
04:10 but anyway, I used to watch that show - it was very good,
04:12 it was funny and he used to say, "Nip it in the bud." Sure
04:16 So we want to find out a problem before it's a problem.
04:19 So that's one of the reasons, about going to
04:21 really good doctor - he will help you identify
04:24 disease before it even manifests itself as a symptom.
04:29 So, if you're feeling something that's not right,
04:32 especially if you don't have an explanation for it,
04:36 you need to seek help.
04:38 Your chest hurts when you're walking up a hill...
04:40 That's a classic symptom, but it could be a symptom
04:43 of what we call "angina," where the heart
04:46 isn't getting enough blood.
04:47 But if you think about it, lots of our body parts
04:50 have symptoms and if we identify the symptoms,
04:53 and we can articulate it well, that's going to help
04:56 the doctor quite a bit.
04:57 I have some people that come in and the men are the
05:00 worst about this... they come in,
05:02 I say, "Well why are you here?"
05:05 And they say, "Well my wife brought me."
05:08 You know that's the #1... No, I said, "No, you can do
05:10 better than that." Right "Why are you here?"
05:13 "I don't feel good."
05:15 Well, you know, that's not really helping me a whole lot,
05:18 but that is a symptom.
05:19 You need more of a description, what hurts?
05:20 But the symptom of, "My wife brought me,"
05:23 doesn't help me very much. Right
05:24 The symptom of, "I feel bad all over," doesn't help me much,
05:28 but sometimes I can get them to lower it down a little bit.
05:31 They might say, "I'm having a fever," and that's a
05:34 symptom that might go with an infection;
05:36 it might go with a certain type of cancer.
05:39 They might say, "I've been losing weight,"
05:43 and that would go with maybe a bowel problem;
05:45 a malnourishment problem;
05:47 it could go with a cancer problem,
05:49 and even at that point, the symptoms would eventually
05:51 lead me to the underlying cause of the symptoms
05:54 which could lead me to the disease or the disease state,
05:57 and help me figure out what I need to do.
06:00 So it's always better off treating a cause
06:03 rather than treating a symptom.
06:05 Not that the symptoms don't need attention,
06:07 but long-term, like we said, banging the head,
06:10 if I quit banging my head, I might not need the narcotic
06:13 to take the pain away.
06:15 And that happens so many times in people...
06:18 They do things over and over, especially back pain, Nick.
06:21 I have people that have back pain and they come in,
06:24 and they say, "Oh, my back hurts."
06:26 Well, the best thing for them is to rest it.
06:29 If they wouldn't go to work for a week or two and let
06:31 it rest, it would heal, everything would be fine...
06:33 But no, they have to go to work, they don't let it heal,
06:36 "Give me some medicine so I can work."
06:39 So they're functioning, they keep tearing the muscles
06:41 and the nerves and the back never gets better,
06:43 and they make the problem worse. Right
06:46 So sometimes in treating symptoms,
06:48 we can make problems worse.
06:50 I have people that come to me after they've had the bypass
06:52 surgery and that's where they cut the sternum and all the
06:56 nerves in two... I say, "Well, if you let this heal well,
06:59 it takes about six months," and they go,
07:01 "Well can I have a pain medicine?"
07:02 And I go, "No, I want you to have the pain
07:04 because that tells you to stop doing what you're doing."
07:07 So sometimes pain is a good signal for us not to be
07:11 stupid and do things we shouldn't be doing to our body.
07:15 So I think in understanding in answering
07:17 these questions today, it's going to be very
07:19 important that we step back a little bit and let's try
07:22 to find the cause of the problem
07:24 rather than just treating a symptom.
07:26 Now if we look at modern medicine,
07:28 we have lots of pills, lots of over-the-counters...
07:31 most of them just treat symptoms,
07:35 they don't treat the cause.
07:36 Does a blood pressure medicine treat a cause? No
07:40 Does a diabetic medicine treat a cause?
07:43 No, it just lowers your blood sugar.
07:45 Does a headache pill treat the cause?
07:47 No, it just treats the pain.
07:48 So a lot of these things treat symptoms,
07:51 and that's okay for the moment,
07:52 but it doesn't get at the problem,
07:54 so the problem continues to recur over and over.
07:57 It's a great business model, but it's not the best
08:01 way to take care of one of your most valuable,
08:03 if not the most valuable, investment that you have...
08:06 And I find it very strange that most people will spend
08:09 more time learning about their cars and other hobbies,
08:13 than they will spending learning about their body,
08:15 how to take care of it and how to optimize the function
08:18 of this very valuable gift.
08:20 That's right, it's really important...
08:21 don't just let your doctor get away with treating
08:24 just the symptom, we want to know
08:25 what the underlying cause is.
08:27 Now, we've been doing first aid...
08:28 That's right, we've got some items here that we
08:31 pulled out of the first aid kit, and, Dr. Marcum,
08:32 why don't you tell us what you've got here
08:34 and why they need to be in our kit.
08:35 Well, we have been working on getting everyone some
08:37 practical things that they can do on a first aid kit.
08:40 First aid is just that... First aid - first treatment.
08:44 That doesn't necessarily find the cause,
08:46 but it enables the person to feel well enough
08:50 so they can get to a person that can find the cause
08:52 unless they know what it is. Right
08:54 And almost every first aid kit needs to have all sorts of
08:57 ointments okay... ointments for them,
08:59 and this is one called, "Betadine ointment."
09:02 And this is very good if someone gets an infection,
09:05 a nail, you know - a cut, they need to put this on it.
09:09 It helps kill bacteria because if bacteria from the skin
09:13 and from a contaminant gains access to the bloodstream,
09:16 that could be very bad, not a good thing.
09:18 So this helps lower the risk of infection.
09:21 This is sort of very easy to put on.
09:23 This is what we call a "Triple Antibiotic Ointment,"
09:26 and this is just a different antibiotic ointment
09:29 to do the same - to kill the different bacteria
09:31 that might be on the skin that might gain access to the blood.
09:35 Everyone has heard of "Neosporin."
09:38 We put a lot of these on wounds
09:40 that help with the infection with that.
09:43 But anyway, your first aid kit should have lots of
09:46 different creams that have antibiotics;
09:47 different creams to help with itches.
09:50 This is a burn cream and this is sort of not only an
09:54 anesthetic, but antiseptic.
09:56 And you don't have to necessarily know
09:58 all the active ingredients in it,
10:00 but you should have lots of these to handle
10:01 different situations that come involved with your skin.
10:05 Itching is another thing that will do it.
10:07 Some people have some things for really dry skin.
10:09 They have a moisturizer that will help.
10:12 Now you showed me, recently, something that was very
10:15 valuable that I want to add to my kit that I didn't have,
10:18 and that was a lighter.
10:20 That's right, I keep a lighter in my because I go camping
10:23 a lot and that type of thing, but, you know,
10:24 maybe in cold situations, building a fire
10:27 and having a little bit of heat would be very convenient.
10:29 Yeah, well I thought that was very useful because you
10:30 never know when you might need some fire for something,
10:33 and that's more of a survival tool...
10:35 But I think a good first aid kit is valuable not only
10:39 if you're going into a function or an event,
10:42 have a good first aid kit to help until ambulances
10:45 might get there and not everyone has access to ambulances
10:48 and urgent care centers... Sometimes that can take a while.
10:51 Sometimes that can take a while and we don't want that.
10:53 So we're going to talk about answering these questions...
10:56 We're going to try to always, when these questions come in,
10:59 for the people that ask these questions,
11:02 we going to focus on the cause, but usually it starts
11:04 out as a symptom and we're going to try to
11:07 let people understand that when you don't feel right,
11:09 that's a symptom and you want to understand the cause
11:12 because if you understand the cause,
11:14 you're more likely to get a long-lasting solution.
11:18 That's right! We're going to be
11:19 back in just a moment, please stay with us
11:21 as Dr. Marcum helps explain causes and symptoms.