This may seem like an odd question: Is healthcare getting too focused?
Many will argue no. In fact, we need to get more focused all the way down to the nanoparticle in order to figure out this complex bio-connected matrix of human. I am going to make the argument that along all of this great innovation and molecular understanding of disease we are in fact losing grip on the strategies which help people maximize their overall health. Amongst all of the vast and incredible scientific discovery, we are losing grip on what it means to have adequate water, macro nutrient and micro nutrient intake, proper oxygenation of the body, reduced biologic acid and free radical buildup, etc...
Human anatomy hasn't changed too much...in millenia. Yet we find ourselves in large debates about evolution and so on. Debate although necessary for scientific discovery and progression, still has not yielded a real, concrete, mutually agreed upon idea of why disease happens and why some seemingly healthy people get cancer, and how a few of the most unhealthy people live into their 100s.
With all that being said we have certainly established somewhat of a list of healthy habits, movement patterns and nutrient balance goals to place ourselves in the best possible percentile in relation to health outcome. We now know our lifestyle plays up to 90% involvement in our risk of cancer, but have we all truly internalized this? Genes account for a low percentage of cancer versus lifestyle, hence the explosive, emerging and wild west-like field of epigenetics.
The solution, the best we have, is that fixing basic nutrient imbalances is the way to bring us towards true health. Nutrition is the most neglected and vehemently attacked (when compared to exercise and disease prevention) in terms of proper gene expression, to keep you and I healthy and thriving. If you are anemic and need iron and all the nutrients associated with iron to function at your best then there is not a single prescription drug to help your anemia get better. If you aren't taking iron minerals and accessory nutrients you are not getting better, you will remain anemic and have low oxygen and energy and you will be at risk for all that comes with that presentation. We, to my knowledge, are not prescription drug deficient, we are nutrient deficient and must first fix the basics.
Functional medicine doctors get stuck in the trap of becoming too focused as well. We have all had a few cases, or continually do, have clients with a plethora of symptoms. We have all searched for and hunted for a weird infection, and kept hunting after a negative test came in, because that was the only thing that could possibly make sense (not). I have seen quite a few cases where clients don't feel well and bring in thousands of dollars of tests...none of which had helped their previous doctors find success in making the patient feel their best. Micro nutrient profiles, hair tests, Lyme panels from 3 different companies, stool testing, food allergy testing galore and yet there has been no difference made and nothing quite figured out that really makes sense or helps the patient. I have seen patients come in with thousands of dollars in testing with no CBC...no Anemia Profile, Thyroid Panel (a complete one, I will write a thyroid post on complete thyroid panels in the near future), Homocysteine, etc. These are things I consider basic blood testing. The previously mentioned testing has been around for decades, these tests are necessary to basic health and before we search for the Loch Ness Monster....we have to check if the wolf in the back yard ate the sheep.
The human body needs a host of vitamins, minerals, macronutrients, oxygen, water and fiber to survive. If these things are in abundance and balanced the body will be strong enough to fight off all the 'crazy infections'. If these things are in balance we have the better chance at not creating an environment where the wrong genetic expressions are indeed expressed. Nutrient balance will even out and support healthy detoxification and elimination, fighting cancer and fighting disease from within. Again, i haven't seen a patient yet who was prescription drug deficient, but there have been quite a few with basic nutrient deficiencies which we have fixed to reveal symptom relief and dismissal.
There is a place for nanobots in medicine, robotics, 3D organ printing and the likes. But let us not forget that vitamins and minerals at their core are nothing but molecules and nanoparticals combined! As a patient or as a doctor, we all must begin to lose our narrow molecular focus in medicine when we first approach an issue. We need to think big picture. How do you fix your fatigue, lack of energy, light-headedness and low thyroid symptoms all at once? Checking the basics is the way to start, and knowing how and where to check for the basics is a skill which we will talk about in later posts, because this is really the heart of the issue.
Be smart, be healthy and thrive!