by Kelsey White, Preventive Health Manager
May 10, 2019
“The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.” – Thomas Edison
The Doctors of Today
The doctors of today practice conventional medicine: a system in which healthcare professionals treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery. Their medical training splits the body into systems, instead of viewing it as one working unit. They attend medical school for four years but only spend 3 credit hours learning about nutrition and lifestyle. They learn how to diagnose acute medical conditions or diseases and prescribe a medication or surgery as a solution. The doctors of today specialize in short-term care, such as a broken leg or bronchitis. And they are very good at what they do, as long as their patients are seeing them for an acute medical condition.
But the patients of today require a different kind of care. The patients of today, 45% to be exact, have at least one chronic disease. A chronic disease is one lasting 3 months or more, and generally cannot be cured by vaccines or medication. Chronic diseases, like Type II Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Obesity, are brought on by poor lifestyle choices, such as tobacco use, lack of physical activity, and poor eating habits. And the majority of chronic diseases can be prevented and reversed through healthy lifestyle choices.
Here’s the problem: the doctors of today, including your primary care provider (PCP), are not trained to effectively treat chronic diseases through lifestyle medicine. They specialize in treating acute medical conditions. They are trained to diagnose and prescribe. Visiting your PCP for a chronic disease is like going to your dermatologist for open-heart surgery- it just doesn’t make sense. Because of this disconnect, conventional medicine is not effectively treating 45% of the population. Patients are becoming sicker and sicker each year because they are going to the doctors of today, when the only doctors who can heal them are the doctors of the future.
The Doctors of the Future
The good news: the doctors of the future already exist. They are licensed to practice medicine across the country, and they are damn good at what they do. The doctors of the future practice functional medicine. Functional medicine trains practitioners to treat the body as one integrated system. It empowers healthcare providers to treat the root cause of disease, instead of just the symptoms, through lifestyle modifications. The result is the reversal of chronic disease, patients who look, move, and feel better, and a healthcare system that focuses on optimal health, rather than just the absence of disease. The doctors of the future are adequately trained to assess the underlying causes of chronic disease. The doctors of the future are trained to empower patients to make the necessary lifestyle changes to prevent and reverse their illnesses. The doctors of the future exist, and it is your right to know about them.