Medicine has changed dramatically over the 20 years that I have been a physician. Technology has advanced significantly and among many other advances, cutting edge science has allowed us to see chronic disease in its very early stages. With the internet explosion, we are now no longer beholden to the government and big corporate entities to provide us reliable information. We now have each other and can access the science ourselves on our terms. That’s the good news and we must act on it.
Although technology is far superior then ever before, traditional medicine has led us on a path where the Center for Disease Control estimates that by the year 2050, 95% of all Americans will be overweight or obese and 35% will have diabetes. Today, our healthcare system struggles to deal with the current obesity and diabetes epidemic. I can imagine a complete collapse of the system as we move toward more and more people and their children coming down with obesity and diabetes and their related conditions of cancer, auto-immune disease, heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, blindness, amputations, infections, musculoskeletal problems, among others.
Many physicians are bucking traditional medicine. They recognize its failings. They are motivated by the passion that sent them into medicine. They want to spend time with their patients and provide them with non-traditional care or a hybrid care model that takes the best of conventional and non-conventional medicine. They recognize health care can be delivered in a different way. They often work outside the healthcare insurance model.
These physicians are opening up practices in “functional medicine,” “lifestyle medicine,” “integrative medicine,” and “anti-aging medicine.” They are spending a great deal of time teaching patients about proper nutrition, genetic predisposition, toxins in the environment, pollution of the food chain, and disease reversal. They are using biomarker technology to map individual biology. They are using and sometimes combining natural remedies with the most appropriate pharmaceutical intervention when necessary.
If the CDC estimates are to be believed, we as healthcare consumers are truly hurting in the traditional model. Our health insurance premiums continue to increase and most deductibles are significant – meaning more and more of the fiscal responsibility is falling on us in a marketplace where there is no financial transparency. We are getting less face time with our doctor with the predictable results.
Yours in Health and Bliss,
Alan Hopkins, MD