Possibly you have heard your doctor say, “We’re not exactly sure right now, why don't we follow up on this say six months from now see what develops”. In other words you have not progressed to a nameable disease that can be managed with drugs. Our modern health care today is based on a disease care model. Disease is seen as enemy separate from the body that must be labeled and destroyed. The body is seen as a physical object made up of separate parts with their own medical specialty with its own special drugs to fight its enemies. Much to the detriment of your health no clinician sees and works with the body as a whole.
In reality the body-mind has no discrete boundaries. Through the communication systems of the body (nervous, immune and endocrine systems) every cell, tissue and organ is intimately interconnected. Because of this the health of one organ affects the health of all other organs. As discussed in previous articles by this author, the health of the digestive tract has a profound influence on the health of distant tissues even our brain. In another article we explored how improper diet and lifestyle leads to insulin resistance and metabolic syndrome well before diabetes develops. This insulin resistance turns on inflammation that affects every tissue in your body leading to pain, fatigue, weight gain and eventually cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer's disease
Let's look at the typical patient, which may even look familiar to you. Most of course don't feel well and complain of multiple symptoms involving various interconnected tissues and organ systems. Nearly all are on multiple medications. Usually they have pain somewhere in their body, a signal from their nervous system that tissues, e.g. the muscles and joints are not healthy. Most have issues with fatigue and insomnia. At least 75% have some digestive disorder such as gastric reflux, irritable bowel syndrome, or constipation. Nearly 2/3 of these patients are on some medication for depression or anxiety.
What our disease care system misses is that these common symptoms of chronic pain and fatigue, digestive problems, depression, insomnia come from the same underlying metabolic problems of systemic inflammation, oxidative stress, insulin resistance, hormonal imbalances and mitochondrial dysfunction, which are caused by how we eat and live, along with our genetics. Many are blessed with wonderful genetics and can get along with many dietary and lifestyle indiscretions. But for most eventually it catches up with us causing metabolic dysfunction that leads to disabling and chronic symptoms that our disease care system is ill equipped to help.
How is this disease care model working out for us? The US now spends $2 trillion per year on health care, more than any other country in the world, which should give us the healthiest population in the world. But, in a recent study of the top 13 industrial countries the U.S. rank second from the bottom for the 16 indicators of a healthy population. Worse yet, an article in JAMA by Dr. Barbara Starfield published in 2000 stated that medical intervention was the third leading cause of death in this country. Only heart disease and cancer kills more people.
As devastating as this is to us as a country it is even worse for you as an individual. Especially if you're one of the millions of Americans who find yourself taking three or even five prescription medications along with over-the-counter drugs and your only feeling worse with each passing year. As with other doctors who practice functional medicine, my practice is dedicated to those special individuals who have said enough is enough and are dedicated to taking the journey to real healing. If you're ready for this journey give our clinic a call and set up time to discuss what real healing means for you at no charge. Or attend an upcoming lecture.