“Natural forces within us are the true healers of disease”- Hippocrates
Have you ever wondered why after so many advanced technologies and hospitals there are overwhelming chronic diseases and health problems?
According to a 2012 survey, nearly eight out of 10 physicians are somewhat pessimistic about future of the medical profession and are burnout today. Take a look at some of the findings:
- 87 percent agree that the medical profession is in decline.
- 58 percent would not recommend medicine as a career to their children or other young people.
- 34 percent would choose a different profession if they could do it all over again.
- 82 percent of physicians believe doctors have little ability to change the healthcare system.
Recent studies suggest that today’s children are the first generation expected to live a shorter lifespan than their parents.
ISN’T IT THE HIGH TIME TO WAKE UP?! “IF NOT NOW- WHEN? IF NOT YOU- WHO”?
The chronic disease epidemic is one of the most significant challenges humanity is facing today. They are the slow-motion plague. What do you want?
- A longer life with poorer health,
- A shorter life with poorer health, or
- A healthy life with good health.
Let’s crack the reasons behind of crashing and inundation of our conventional health care system.
Our modern diet and lifestyle are out of alignment with our genes and biology. Our 10,000-year-old Primal genes expect us to emulate the way our ancestors ate and moved. Before farms and factories took over, human being lived most of our history eating a hunter-gatherer diet and living hunter-gatherer lifestyle. Our ancestors would hardly recognize modern agriculture and manufacturing or the food they produce. Our genes are not fully adjusted to these changes.
For most of evolutionary history, humans ate primarily meat and fish, wild fruits and vegetables, nuts and seeds, and some starchy plants and tubers. Nobody ate processed food. Nothing came in a bag or a box. There was no refined sugar, no refined flour, and no industrial seed oil. The food available was nutrient-dense and whole. The preparation was minimal.
The modern diet is a prescription for obesity, metabolic problems, and all kinds of chronic diseases. We went from eating a nutrient dense, naturally low-calorie, anti-inflammatory food, to eating nutrient depleted, calorie dense, Pro-inflammatory food
While there’s no doubt artificial lighting has been a boon from a cultural perspective it lets us stay up late to create art, literature, and music, but it also has had a disastrous effect on our health. When you understand it through an evolutionary framework, you begin to see its problems. We take advantage of expanded daytime to do more activities at night, but doing so disrupts our circadian rhythm. Every cell in our body is regulated by the natural light-dark cycle. When we change that cycle our bodies suffer.
Here’s how it works: When we wake up in the morning, sunlight hits our eyeballs and our cortisol levels rise, telling us it’s time to get up. When the sun sets and darkness falls, on the other hand, our melatonin levels rise, telling us it’s time to go to sleep.
What happens when someone lies in bed at night, screening before going to bed? The screen of gadgets emits blue light, which is like the spectrum of sunlight. When blue light hits the body, it sends a “time to wake up” message. That not only interferes with sleep but has been shown to deregulate metabolism, promote weight gain, and cause cancer. Changes to circadian rhythm mediated by light exposure can have profound effects on health.
Our environment has changed faster than our genes can adapt. Genes typically take hundreds or thousands of years to change; they simply cannot keep up with the pace of environmental changes.
We’ve known for a long time that exercise is important but going to the gym isn’t an adequate solution. If we look at exercise from an evolutionary perspective, we see that our ancestors moved all the time. They walked an average of 10,000 steps a day. They didn’t sit for long periods and they stood more than half the day. In between, they chased prey, ran from predators, and built things. If you work at a desk for a prolonged period of time but go to the gym four to five times a week, you’ll still be at increased risk of disease. The important change for them is to move from being completely sedentary to increasing their non-exercise physical activity.
THE WRONG MEDICAL PARADIGM FOR CHRONIC DISEASE:
Our current medical paradigm is based more on managing disease and suppressing symptoms than it is on preventing and reversing the disease or promoting health. Heroic interventions can prevent death, but don’t necessarily promote health.
Don’t get me wrong: modern medicine is incredibly effective in acute and trauma care. If I get hit by a bus, I want to be taken immediately to a hospital! We absolutely need oncology surgeons who can remove cancerous tumours and gastroenterologists who know how to perform a colonoscopy.
Today’s patient has multiple problems, sees multiple doctors, and requires multiple treatments that go on for years if not decades. The average visit with doctors lasts for just eight to twelve minutes max. It is impossible to deliver high-quality care in eight to twelve minutes when a patient has multiple chronic health problems. Such a brief appointments leave little to no time to dig into the important diet, lifestyle, and behavioural issues that are causing the patient its symptoms. In a ten minutes appointment, there simply isn’t time to thoroughly investigate all the possible causes of a patient’s chronic illness. Instead, doctors describe the symptoms and prescribe the drugs, and that’s the treatment. It focuses on suppressing symptoms rather than addressing the underlying cause of disease. If that doesn’t solve the issue, the patient usually gets referred to a specialist. Unfortunately, it’s rare for those specialists to communicate with one another; our current medical system isn’t set up to accommodate that kind of collaboration.
Imagine you get a rock in your shoe and it makes your foot hurt. If you look for help in the current medical system, you may get a description of foot discomfort along with the directions to the nearest drugstore for some extra-strength ibuprofen. Sure, ibuprofen would help to reduce the pain. But wouldn’t it be better just to take off your shoe and dump out the rock?
In most cases, there’s more than one rock. The first pebble might be a patient’s poor diet. The next comes from sleep deprivation, a result of going to bed late night, and only getting four to five hours sleep at night. Another rock is born from sitting at a desk for eight hours a day and failing to do any exercise. Some rocks are nearly invisible such as IBS (Irritable bowel syndrome), SIBO (Small intestine bacterial overgrowth) or gut brain axis problem caused by an autonomic nervous system issue, like sleep loss or stress. A skilled practitioner would identify the rock in the shoe and how it is possible in just eight to ten minutes?
For example, patients suffering from Type II diabetic require a lifestyle change; Patients need to remove unhealthy processed foods and refined sugars from their diet. Most doctors know but our current medical system doesn’t support patients to make the lifestyle changes required for long-term solutions. The result? Patients continue to live chronic disease, and doctors continue to prescribe them medication for symptom management.
FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE -THE TRUE HEALER
Imagine you are in the boat, and the boat is leaking. You can bail water from the boat to make it sink more slowly, but if the leaks are still there, you’ll have limited success. Conventional medicine is mostly about trying to bail water out of the boat without fixing the leaks. Wouldn’t it make more sense to prevent the leaks from happening in the first place, and then fix them completely if they do occur? Functional medicine seeks to get to the bottom of things. It looks for the underlying cause of disease. Conventional medicine, on the other hand, is organized primarily around suppressing symptoms with drugs and surgery. It’s a quick fix band-aid.
FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE SYSTEMS MODEL:
The exposome is the sum of all non-genetic exposures an individual encounter from the moment of their conception to the moment of their death. It’s a new word that encompasses all aspects of our diet, lifestyle, air and water quality, toxins, social environment, family system, and so on. The functional medicine holds that any progress in a patient’s health must start here at the core.
Pathologies are the underlying mechanisms that give rise to diseases and syndromes.
Let’s consider a syndrome like IBS. When our genes combine with environmental influences (such as poor diet, stress, sleep deprivation, exposure to toxins, etc), which in turn affect gene expression. These interactions lead to pathological mechanisms-such as gut infections, parasites or bacterial overgrowth in the small intestine, or a disrupted gut micro biome-that can the syndrome that we call IBS.
Diseases and Syndromes:
A disease is defined as a disorder of structure and function that produces specific signs and symptoms.Eg-Type 2 diabetes, GERD, Celiac disease.
A syndrome is a group of signs and symptoms that consistently occur together, or a condition characterized by a set of associated symptoms are IBS, restless leg syndrome, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia syndrome or premenstrual syndrome.
Signs and symptoms:
A Sign is an objective indication of a disease or syndrome that can be observed during a physical examination or through laboratory testing.Eg- blood pressure, high blood sugar, and oedema.
Symptoms, on the other hand, are the subjective experiences that the patient might report to the clinician. For eg, the type 2 diabetes patient, symptoms might include increased hunger and thirst, blurred vision, and fatigue.
FUNCTIONAL (HEALTHCARE) VS CONVENTIONAL (DISEASE MANAGING) MEDICINE:
Conventional medicine sees and treats the symptoms, whereas, functional medicine view it as a manifestation of a pathology that results from the interaction between patient’s genome, Epigenome, and Exposome.
An even simpler example is migraines. If a patient reports having migraine headaches, he’s clearly describing a symptom. Headaches are not a disease; they’re not even pathology. Headaches are a symptom, but conventional model might address them simply with a prescription for painkillers. The conventional model typically seeks to manage disease, slow its progression, and help the patient live with symptoms. It misses the opportunity to prevent and reverse disease, because it works from the outside in, focusing mainly symptoms. Whereas, functional medicine, approach treatment from the inside and move outward.
CONVENTIONAL MEDICINE IS NOT TRULY HEALTHCARE-IT’S DISEASE MANAGEMENT.
The writing is on the wall, and conventional medicine should stop resisting change and start to embrace it. This is a battle that those who believe only in conventional medicine cannot win, and the more they resist, the more credibility and respect they will lose. This is truly the beginning of the end of the war in medicine.
“YOU WILLL NOT SOLVE THE CURRENT HEALTHCARE CRISIS IF YOU SIMPLY CONTINUE TO DO THE WRONG THINGS BETTER” – DR.MARK HYMAN
Reference- Unconventional medicine-Chris Kresser.
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