Sunday, 14 June 2009

Dr. Keith vs Medicine

Last week the Sun had an article from it's medical "expert" Dr. Keith.

In it he complains about how medical conditions are being "re-branded", giving the impression of "ITSJUSTPOLITICALCORRECTNESSGAWNMAAAAAADDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!" For a GP this is an odd article to write, particularly as the ones he lists appear to be simply being given more accurate terms:
Acute coronory syndrome (ACS):

It used to be called a heart attack.
Not quite, because it also covers angina, i.e. not a heart attack, but a lack of blood to the heart muscle due to a spasm, not a lack of blood due to a build up of fat.
Erectile dysfunction (ED):

That’s impotence, in old money.
It is a correct description of the symptoms.
Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD):

Originally, it was emphysema. Then chronic bronchitis. Then chronic obstructive airways disease. And finally COPD.
Nope, these are different conditions, hence different names, which have been given an overall term.
Gastroesophageal reflux disease (GORD):

Old name: Heartburn. People used to worry that it might have something to do with their heart. It doesn’t.

It’s caused by acid flowing up (the "reflux") from the stomach ("gastro") into the gullet ("oesophageal").
Fair enough, that's a sensible reason for re-naming it. However, this doesn't fit in with the rest of the article!
Lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS)

Previously known as prostatism, it describes plumbing problems common in older blokes: Going often, especially at night, with a poor stream and a lot of dribbling afterwards.

It was assumed this is caused by prostate trouble – hence “prostatism”.

And sometimes it is. But there are other possibilities, such as stones or a twitchy bladder.

So LUTS may be a bit of a mouthful but it’s more accurate.
Again, you're arguing against your own article!
Cerebrovascular event (CVE):

To you and me, a stroke. I’ve no idea why medics decided "stroke" wasn’t good enough.

They probably wanted to sound clever. But don’t faff around when you go weak down one side – just call an ambulance.
Presumably it was re-named because, once again, it gives a description of the symptoms! After all, "cerebro" relates to the brain and "vascular" relates to blood.

No comments: