The field of medicine has made significant progress saving lives in the specialty of emergency medicine, trauma care, and in prolonging the lives of those with diseased or failing organs in the field of transplant surgery. Despite these milestone achievements, mainstreamed medicine has failed to successfully address the primary threat to Americans developed over the past 50 years.
The landscape of illness over the past 100 years has dramatically changed world wide. Physicians as recently as the 1940s were primarily treating infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, polio, pertussis and whooping cough. As these diseases were eradicated with vaccines and hygiene education, the American society experienced tremendous growth in society convince and leisure. The growth of the chemical and food industry ushered in the development of new diseases of lifestyle. We refer to these diseases as chronic degenerative disease. Today the leading causes of death in the U.S. include heart disease and cancer. Other chronic degenerative diseases that make up the list of the most commonly diagnosed include type 2 diabetes, auto-immune disease and gastro-intestinal disorders. These are diseases of our own doing!
Chronic degenerative disease is the reason for most hospital stays, emergency office visits and physicians office visits. Despite billions of dollars in research through donations and corporate investment, the cause of death by chronic degenerative diseases continues to increase.
While the majority of funding to combat this health dilemma is directed to cures and diagnostic technology, only a small fraction of funds are directed to discovering the CAUSES of these diseases.
The U.S. health care delivery system is sick. It has evolved into a special interest complex. It panders to insurance industry cost containment and the pharmaceutical industry greed to serve its shareholders. The U.S. insurance industry has evolved into a crisis care insurance policy. It is not intended to promote health and wellness. It promotes individuals using services covered by their policies which con ineptly cover pharmaceutical and surgical methods of treatment. You cannot use your insurance card for health club membership. They will not accept your insurance card at the market to purchase healthy foods free of chemicals.
The blame of what the U.S. sick care system has evolved into falls on the shoulders of many with special interests. We should not fault the physicians who have spent many years of their lives in school and coming out of these schools frequently in debt up towards $200,000. We can begin the blame game however on the educational system in place that teaches these young physicians. Doctors are trained with a emphasis in diagnosis of disease and treatment with drugs. The pharmaceutical companies play a predominant role in this educational process.
Little if no education is offered to medical students on disease prevention or nutrition. We have all experienced the deluge of television ads that promote a pill for every complaint. The attempt is to treat symptoms and ignore the cause.
Now for some good news.
There is a growing movement around the world directed by physicians and researchers to address the causes of chronic degenerative diseases. These brave individuals break away from the status quo and conventional medical wisdom to explore the root causes of why we get sick.
The movement requires re-educating physicians and the difficult transition of their practices. These physicians see their clients as a member of the team to lifestyle changes. I choose to use the term client as opposed to patient as I see health care as a ongoing process. A client is someone I work with to promote their health as opposed to treating a sick person.
The physicians who adopt this health care philosophy and deliver individualized care programs are referred to as functional medicine specialist. These physicians design care programs to reverse degenerative diseases and promote healthy lifestyle advice. This significantly differs from conventional medicine treatments that comply with what the insurance industry promotes and allows.
One of the earliest organizations to initiate the movement towards responsible personal and individualized health care is the Institute of Functional Medicine. Over the past twenty years, the growth of this organization has expanded across the world and given inspiration to several other like minded organizations.
I am proud to be Nevada’s first chiropractic physician to graduate a Fellowship Program and become one of only three certified functional medicine practitioners in the state. One of the goals of this health care transition is to empower people to become educated and proactive participants not only to preventing the need for crisis care but to enjoy healthy and vibrant lives.