“Treatment Without Prevention is Simply Unsustainable.” ~ Bill Gates
The Evolution of Medicine
Modern medicine has made significant advances in the last century, eradicating illnesses such as polio and smallpox and developing antibiotics, surgeries, and pharmaceuticals to extend the lifespan and often swiftly treat severe illnesses and complications once they arise.
One thing that has yet to advance to the same degree, however, is preventive medicine.
We have gotten good at caring for acute conditions (for the most part), but we’ve also partly forgotten how to seed the soil of our biological systems and care for our health before illness develops.
Most chronic illnesses develop over time - for months and years, long before an individual is typically flagged or diagnosed. Cellular changes occur due to factors such as cortisol levels, inflammation, improper nutrition, and toxic environmental exposures.
With preventive medicine and an individualized approach, however, we can work through a detailed history, physical, and lab work, to pick up on more subtle markers of disease and pathology. This allows us to work to prevent that pathology’s progression and stop the disease before it starts and an official diagnosis is given.
Chronic preventable illnesses are a significant burden on the medical system and economy. When including the loss in productivity among workers, the costs are estimated at 3.7 trillion dollars in the United States alone.
In this article, I’ll be going over the three critical aspects of what differentiates preventive medicine from conventional care and how you’ll know you’re a good fit to take on a preventive medicine program.
An important differentiator of preventive medicine is that it is integrative. By this, we mean taking the best of modern conventional medicine and pairing it with ancient wisdom and cutting-edge science in an evidence-based approach to holistic healing.
Integrative also refers to the integration of systems in the body. As much as we often think of mental, cardiovascular, and digestive health, for example, as separate systems, they each profoundly affect one another.
The different body systems are continuously communicating, and subtle cues from one system will invariably influence others.
A simple example of this we’ve all heard of is the ‘mind-body’ connection, which we are often referring to now as the ‘brain-body’ connection, as it is not just an abstract concept and relates to pure physiology.
If we think anxious thoughts, our blood pressure and heart rate will increase immediately. On the flip side, if we have tachycardia (an abnormally elevated heart rate), our anxiety levels will increase instantly.
If we have disruptions in our gut lining and microbiome, we are much more likely to experience depression and anxiety, and the list goes on.
Integrative medicine often involves the collaboration of multiple disciplines and approaches in medicine and employs a more collaborative and multi-faceted approach to disease. This crucial aspect often differentiates conventional care from a more preventive approach.
Another vital differentiator in preventive medicine is that it is highly individualized. While conventional medicine tends to focus on putting symptoms in a categorical box with a categorical treatment, preventive medicine is proactive and focuses more on disease processes.
With the focus on mechanisms, biomarkers, and symptoms before they progress to illness, we can often stop them in their tracks and help improve overall health and well-being.
For example, someone may not fit the criteria for Type 2 Diabetes according to the ranges in blood sugar measured by conventional doctors. If their results are not optimal, and their blood sugar levels have been steadily increasing, we’ll work at slowing reversing the imbalance and preventing progression before it’s an official diagnosis.
The prevention of differing illnesses often involves comprehensive lab work, sleep optimization, stress management, supplements, dietary changes, or devices to help the concern(s). It will all depend on the individual’s ability to implement changes and the worries addressed.
A critical piece of the puzzle in preventative medicine is the ability of both patient and practitioner to be proactive.
Functional Medicine Doctors who are either Medical Doctors, Naturopathic Doctors, or Chiropractic Doctors have chosen to practice a type of medicine that requires them to take a proactive approach. That being said, it’s essential that the patient is on board with this approach and be highly motivated to implement a protocol.
Functional Medicine and Preventive Medical protocols are much more comprehensive, mimicking the human body’s complex nature and working to target multiple systems.
Monotherapies (such as one drug for one condition) are typically not an effective approach preventively, so often a multi-faceted approach works best.
How to Know You’re a Good Fit for Preventive Medical Care?
If you’re new to a functional or holistic medical approach and struggling with health concerns and nagging symptoms, you may be unsure whether this approach is right for you.
Below are some signs that you may be a good fit for a preventive medical approach:
- You’re struggling with low energy, stress, trouble sleeping, or nagging physical symptoms such as soreness, digestive issues, or other complaints that may not have led to an official diagnosis.
- You’re highly motivated to make changes to live a long and healthy life.
- You see health as an investment and understand that insurance will only sometimes cover your bases for optimal health.
- You’re concerned about your family health history, and you want to work proactively to prevent conditions that others in your family may have suffered from.
You Have the Power to Change Your Health Trajectory
Regarding our long-term health, we have all heard the cliche that prevention is better than cure.
We are learning through research in longevity and genetics that over 80% of our long-term health is, in fact, in our hands and related to lifestyle, not genetics. Only a much smaller percentage of our genes invariably lead to illness, and we have much more power over our long-term health than we’ve been led to believe.
This being said, there is also a spectrum between optimal health and disease (with many of us sitting in the middle with much room for improvement).
When we take a proactive approach to our health with qualified expert health practitioners, we help prevent illness and improve our overall health, energy, and vitality.
For further reading, view the following articles on our learning center:
- Nine Considerations When Choosing a Personalized Medical Program
- What can I do to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease?
- A Review of the Tiger Medical Institute Personalized Medical System – Pros and Cons
You have what it takes inside you to make a definite choice that will change the future trajectory of your health.
Our team at Tiger Medical has the experience, clinical skills, and coaching acumen to help you get your health and energy back.
To talk to one of our professionals, click here to schedule your call!