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Mission Statement From Dr. Davis



Undoctored: The self-directed, health-empowering, cost-saving program that helps you achieve ideal health - and can help liberate you from doctors and drugs

Welcome! This may be the most important resource for health you will ever find.

Self-directed health: Health managed by yourself, for yourself, with results that exceed those obtained through conventional healthcare. We call it obtaining health Undoctored.

Hi, I’m Dr. William Davis, founder of the Undoctored program for health and author of several books, including Undoctored: Why Health Care Has Failed You and How You Can Become Smarter Than Your Doctor and the Wheat Belly series of books.

I’m going to make a bold proposal, one you may find farfetched: I propose that much of human health can be managed without a doctor or hospital, but by individuals, on their own, without drugs, without procedures, without hospitals.

Sure, you could remove a wart using the cider vinegar recipe your grandmother gave you--big deal. But I’m referring to something much more substantial. And I don’t mean removing your own appendix or self-splinting a leg fracture in your garage.

What I mean is that many health conditions can be safely, effectively, and inexpensively managed by an individual without a doctor’s guidance, without a doctor’s diagnosis, and without need for prescription medication.

It’s already happening. And it’s already happening on an incredible scale, not just by the eccentric doctor-phobe bearing acupuncture needles along meridian lines. It is a philosophy already embraced by tens of millions of people, although they may have done so unknowingly.

I call this phenomenon Undoctored health, or self-directed health: health practices and disease treatment that are self-managed. You might already recognize a rudimentary form of Undoctored health in its predecessor, “wellness,” the healthy-eating, take-an-exercise-break, check-your-blood-pressure and know-your-cholesterol practices followed at workplaces to reduce healthcare costs. But the concept is evolving rapidly from this humble start. And it’s going to grow much bigger.

To view evidence of self-directed health at work on a large scale, we need look no farther than nutritional supplements, a wildly popular $30 billion confirmation that people desire self-managed health solutions. Though we may dispute the wisdom and effectiveness of some of it, there is no doubt that options in nutritional supplements have exploded over the past two decades - and the public has embraced them enthusiastically. The lax regulation imposed by the 1994 Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act has allowed the definition of “nutritional supplement” to be stretched and includes obviously non-nutritional (though still potentially interesting) products like the hormones pregnenolone, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), and melatonin to be sold on the same shelf as vitamin C.

Though still in its infancy, direct-to-consumer access to medical imaging is yet another facet of the phenomenon of self-directed health. Today, it is possible to diagnose your own coronary disease (CT heart scan), measure bone density for osteoporosis (DEXA, ultrasound, or bone densitometry), or quantify the severity of carotid atherosclerosis (ultrasound) with tests available to the consumer - directly, without a doctor’s involvement. A number of market forces in healthcare (including increasing exposure to large insurance deductibles) are converging to make direct-to-consumer medical imaging an appealing option.

Direct-to-consumer laboratory testing, a silent but substantial phenomenon, has emerged only in the last decade, largely in response to physician reluctance to order tests requested by individuals eager to explore health. Cost awareness to the price of lab testing is also growing as more people are exposed to health costs through larger insurance deductibles. Competitive pricing that develops naturally in a direct-to-consumer retail service yields substantial cost savings. (50% or more is not uncommon.) A mind-boggling array of self-directed tests is now available, from advanced markers for heart disease, to genetic cancer markers, to hormonal assessments that promise to further enrich the Undoctored, self-directed experience.


The irresistible itch
The prospect of self-managing aspects of health is tantalizing to a lot of people. It conceivably means that cholesterol abnormalities can be identified and managed without a doctor; blood pressure reduced without seeing a doctor; early osteoporosis corrected using commonly available nutritional supplements and exercise; vitamin D blood levels can be self-measured and self-corrected; low thyroid underlying fatigue can be identified and corrected. When people begin to realize just how much they are capable of in directing their own health, an amazing spark of interest ignites and they develop a deep fascination with learning more - very different from the conventional health interaction.

Undoctored, self-directed health is a phenomenon that will stretch far and wide into human health. It will encompass preventive practices, diagnostic testing, and therapeutic strategies. Self-directed health will grow to include heart disease, cancer prevention and identification, diabetes and pre-diabetes identification and management; osteoporosis identification and correction; genetic testing; issues of interest to men, issues of interest to women.

Undoctored health will dramatically shift the landscape of healthcare, change the economics of payment for healthcare, and revolutionize health for millions.   Critics will say this is hazardous. In our drive-thru, just-add-water-and-microwave world of instant gratification, critics will warn that there is potential for danger. They fear that people will misdiagnose, misinterpret, or fail to recognize various conditions, choose the wrong diagnostic test, institute the wrong treatment. Chaos will result, unnecessary or unwise treatments instituted.

I disagree. Surely, increased freedom necessitates increased responsibility. Boundaries need to be established, rules followed, guidelines provided, guidance available. But I predict that self-directed health will, on the whole, improve health - enormously.


Self helpless
You walk into your doctor’s office armed with a laundry list of tests and treatments you’d like, a set of long-term health goals that include identification and elimination of cancer-causing behaviors, identification and quantification of atherosclerotic disease in the coronary arteries (since your Dad had a heart attack at age 63), implementation of a nutritional program, correction of your borderline high blood sugar and cholesterol, increased physical energy and mental focus, and you’d like to lose 20 lbs for your son’s wedding in two months. How far do you think you’d get?

With rare exceptions, not very far at all. During your insurance-mandated 15-minute office visit, you’re generally permitted to report a symptom or two, resulting in a prescription delivered with as brief an explanation as the allotted time will allow, closing with “See you in six months.”

It’s not news that conventional healthcare has proven increasingly dissatisfying to the public. Doctors have been forced into a role of time-limited, event-driven healthcare delivery that leaves little time for meaningful interaction. Patients are unhappy with the revolving door of doctors; the lack of genuine health information, especially in preventive care; the focus of healthcare providers and hospitals on revenue-generating hospital procedures, rather than health.

Given the current constraints of the medical system, it is difficult or impossible to receive long-term, in-depth, and personalized health insights. The hours and hours of personal attention necessary for such a process would be prohibitively expensive, particularly when multiplied by millions of people.

And so it goes in the current medical system. Disappointing, limited visits that accomplish little more than applying a temporary Band-Aid on a problem. Nationalization of healthcare services, by definition a form of rationing, will make this process even more restrictive than it is now.

Imagine instead a process in which you walk into your doctor’s office. You’ve already begun your health empowerment program and have improved your health considerably: lost 25 lbs, reduced cholesterol and blood pressure without medication, begun a supplement program to correct the abnormally low bone density (osteoporosis) identified a year earlier. However, you could use occasional help, for instance, obtaining another test of bone density since it’s covered by your health insurance. You therefore ask your doctor to order another bone density test to assess the effects of your nutritional supplement program. In other words, you’ve come to rely on your doctor to provide his/her counsel when needed, advocate alternatives, keep you out of trouble spots. But, for the most part, you are in charge of your health.

In short, your doctor would be working for you. You have accomplished far more than can be achieved in the usual abbreviated health interaction with results superior to what your doctor could achieve without your active participation. But you still rely on your doctor for the occasional unexplained rash, health question, or to facilitate some of the testing you request.   In fact, without seizing the reins of your own medical fate, you will flounder. Left to the whims—and neglect—of conventional healthcare delivery, you obtain the minimum allowed by the absurd time constraints and the benign disinterest of your healthcare provider.   Why not create a better situation for yourself through the self-direction of your health? Is it possible? Is it safe?   I propose that it is. I have seen people do it, I coach thousands of people on how to accomplish it.

It means being provided the information that allows you to create your own health program. It means enlisting your doctor as an assistant or advocate rather than director in a process that is largely self-directed-something that is a lot easier than it sounds.


Then and now
1950: I want health information on a disease.

I go to the library and ask the librarian for a book on human health and anatomy. She lowers her bifocals, looks me up and down to make certain I’m not a pervert, then grudgingly allows me to look at the book she keeps behind the front desk.   Leafing through the book, I view curious drawings and photographs. But the information is written in incomprehensible medical language and I learn very little about my condition despite the embarrassment encountered in obtaining it. My insight is therefore limited to the little information my doctor provided.

2013: I want health information on a disease.

I find several books on my condition at the bookstore or library. I search the internet for the information I need. Not only do I find dozens of websites that discuss in detail the condition of interest, but I also engage in conversations with other people with the same condition through online forums. I log my health data online. I track the course of my symptoms, graph my response and compare it to the experience of others in similar situations, and they compare their experiences with mine. I can obtain testing in my city, order the therapeutic agents I desire.

In short, I self-manage a substantial part of my health.

There is a common and pervasive misconception that the public is incapable--too lazy, too stupid, too poorly-informed--to manage their own health. This notion, a curiously modern perception, cultivated by regulation, has proven self-fulfilling. The doctor makes a diagnosis, prescribes treatment (with little or no explanation), and the patient is expected to comply. If the patient searches the internet and comes armed with a stack of reprints to ask the doctor some questions, more often than not the information is dismissed. “Why don’t you just ask the internet to treat you, too?” Indeed.

Over the past eight years, I have participated in a website experiment that provides online guidance on how to identify and manage coronary artery disease, the disease leading to heart attacks, bypass surgery, and other major hospital procedures. The followers of the program are not people in the midst of a heart catastrophe like heart attack, but everyday people who have had coronary atherosclerotic plaque identified with a self-ordered test called a CT heart scan. The “score” obtained through a heart scan serves as the basis for a program that tracks the score, identifies its causes, corrects the causes. People following the program enjoy a level of insight into heart disease that has astounded cardiologists and primary care physicians. Participants have stopped or reversed their scores--reversed coronary disease--using little or no medication. I have published these data in the medical literature.

This experience is not entirely unique. There are similar experiences in the world of thyroid health, women’s health, cholesterol, high blood pressure, and others.

Information is the basic ingredient required to even begin to talk about Undoctored, self-directed health. Reliable information is an absolute necessity, information that seeks only to inform--without profit, without the bias of marketing.

Other pieces necessary that allow people to begin to self-direct aspects of health have, only in the last few years, all fallen into place. Treatment options have expanded enormously as the loose definition of “nutritional supplements” permits a growing array of interesting vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, carotenoids, antioxidants, phytonutrients, herbal preparations, hormones, and even occasional pharmaceutical agents to enter the direct-to-consumer world. Home testing tools have exploded and now include home blood pressure monitors, blood sugar monitors, blood cholesterol monitors, body fat monitors, blood oxygen monitors, and others. All are readily available at affordable prices.

Even greater possibilities will unfold in the coming years. Several nationwide companies now offer direct-to-consumer testing for hundreds of different lab tests. There are also laboratories that specialize in at-home testing that allows the consumer to perform a finger prick (like checking blood sugar), blot a blood sample, return to the lab by mail, results returned within several days. There are even tests for blood sugar and cholesterol panels that can be performed start-to-finish at home. Direct-to-consumer medical imaging is becoming more accessible. Though the limits of direct-to-consumer imaging are a subject of continuing debate, CT scans, ultrasound, various x-rays, and MRI’s are already available in most states just for the asking.

Undoctored is not just about weight loss or gaining more energy. It will spark public consciousness and help create a movement of self-directed health that will change healthcare.


The future of Undoctored, self-directed health
Could there be a time when there’s no such thing as doctors, since everyone will act as their own? I don’t think so. There will always be a place for that special person who has devoted a lifetime to become an expert or skilled sufficient to provide real advantage in managing a specific disease or health dilemma.

For the foreseeable future, there are also the unexpected twists in health provided for by genetics, conditions that are sadly out of range of even the best self-directed health efforts. There are unanticipated catastrophes, injuries from car accidents, falls, and burns; infections; and the occasional chronic disease of lifestyle that gets out of hand. But that still leaves an enormous slice of human health that you have every right to take control over.

Right now, in our lifetimes, it is entirely possible that half the healthcare we receive--or fail to receive - through conventional paths will fall under the umbrella of self-direction.

I challenge each and every person to become their own best health advocate and enjoy perfect health: perfect weight, feel great and energized every day, enjoy an optimistic outlook, free from pain and disability, all Undoctored.</welcome!>

The Inner Circle Mission

A Message from Dr. Davis

Davis


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