We have been living in the current healthcare paradigm for so long that most people do not even realize that there is another, more sane, more logical, and more effective way to approach health and the prevention/healing of chronic illness. I am going to explain this new approach to medicine and it just might change the whole way you think about your own health and how you receive your healthcare forever.
The current, conventional healthcare system:
There are a few issues with the conventional healthcare model. First, it does not emphasize true prevention of chronic illness. True prevention can be boiled down to proper nutrition & lifestyle guidance and support while individuals are still healthy. The current system does not equip physicians with the in-depth knowledge and skills to use these basic preventive (and highly effective) nutrition and lifestyle therapies. Even the current screening exams that are done in the conventional model are more about catching disease early, not about preventing disease from occurring in the first place. Also, FSA or HSA accounts (which are tax-deductible dollars that can be used towards health care purchases), often can only be used by people with existing illnesses, not healthy people looking to prevent illness. If you want to get a massage or to see a health coach for nutrition and lifestyle support, you must already be sick to use these tax-deductible healthcare dollars.
Secondly, when the current conventional system focuses on making a diagnosis and prescribing a symptom-relieving pharmaceutical drug, it creates a huge disservice to the patient. By not asking why the patient became sick and addressing these underlying issues, the body is denied a true opportunity to heal, which the body often can do, given the proper root cause approach. Also, symptom management alone allows the underlying issue(s) to fester, which can 1) lead to a worsening of the initial illness and make medication doses no longer adequate and 2) allow the underlying problem to manifest as new, additional ailments. Furthermore, many of the medicines that are prescribed to suppress symptoms cause their own side effects. These new problems can have their own symptoms and require additional medications.
Lastly, conventional medicine too often doesn't acknowledge that the body has an incredible capacity to heal and can often do so when root causes are addressed. When someone is diagnosed with a chronic illness, the message transmitted is that getting this illness was just someone's genetic fate, end of story. The focus is then on simply helping alleviate the symptoms that are believed to be inevitable at that point.
If there was a fire in your home and the fire alarm was blaring, would you deal with the loud, disturbing noise by just removing the batteries from the alarm? Of course not! You would find the cause of the fire and put it out. But what we are doing today with our health is akin to just taking the batteries out. Root cause medicine is about finding the fire. Symptoms are the body's alarm system telling us that something is not right and it is our job, as physicians, to try and figure this out, and help the body heal. Root cause medicine is a long-term, foundational solution to chronic illness.
To shift our medical system towards a root cause approach for chronic, non-acute illnesses, we need to do the following: 1) provide medical training focused on nutrition & lifestyle medicine and less on pharmaceutical drugs, 2) create a system that allows enough appointment time with patients to provide true nutrition & lifestyle therapy and support, and not just quick drug prescription hand-outs, and 3) have a health insurance reimbursement model focused on prevention and root cause treatment using nutrition & lifestyle medicine and not solely disease management.
Conventional, modern medicine is fabulous for acute, life-threatening ailments and there is no comparison for its use in these situations. However, for chronic, non-acute illnesses, root cause medicine is the only logical approach.