Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Many seniors in rural N.C. don't trust medical professionals, would rather treat themselves

Nearly 60 percent of seniors in rural North Carolina are skeptical of medical professionals, and believe they are better equipped to control their own health with home remedies, vitamins, mineral supplements or a self-care therapy, according to a report published in the Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved, Valerie DeBenedette reports for Health Behavior News Service. Almost 20 percent said they could overcome an illness without help.

Researchers surveyed 198 people over 65 in three rural counties. "To determine levels of medical skepticism, they were asked whether they believed they could overcome illness without the help of a medical professional, whether they thought home remedies were often better than prescribed drugs, and if they felt they understood their health better than most doctors," DeBenedette reports. Participants "were also asked about their use in the past year of various home remedies including honey, vinegar, baking soda, olive oil, whiskey, or petroleum jelly; vitamin or mineral supplements; herbal remedies such as garlic or ginseng; supplements such as fish oil; or of alternative medical practitioners such as chiropractors, physical therapists, or massage therapists, or self-care practices such as meditation, relaxation techniques or exercise."

Leigh F. Callahan, of the Thurston Arthritis Research Center of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, told DeBenedette, “The findings are not surprising. Older people in rural areas often live where their parents and grandparents lived and complementary treatments and folk remedies are handed down in the family." She said folk remedies are often used to treat arthritis and conditions that cause chronic pain or that interfere with sleep. (Read more)

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