The Kind of Physician I Want To Be

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Lately, I have been fascinated by a type of medicine called “functional medicine” and I follow a podcast called “Functional Forum” hosted by James Maskell.

This field of medicine is also known as “root cause resolution medicine” and it entails physicians exploring the mechanisms that cause conditions rather than treating signs like high blood pressure.

functional medicineI’m not saying it is not important to lower blood pressure since that will reduce the risks of cardiovascular complications.

What I am saying is that there are underlying physiological processes like inflammation, which do not promote optimal health.

One of the challenges that doctors face is the fact that the time available to see patients is extremely limited and finding the root cause of a condition requires a lot of time.

I often get frustrated when my patients are not in optimal health even though I treat them properly with the right medications.

The conventional medical system does not allow us to go deeper into an individual’s history to find out the events that may have triggered the cascade of biological processes that led to the development of certain conditions.

For example in functional medicine, when you take a patient’s history, the entire paradigm is different from that of conventional practice.

For instance, the physician starts at birth or even in utero to create a timeline. The entire life history is taken and in so doing certain milestones are uncovered which may unlock clues.

For example the patient may have been given antibiotics for an infection which may have promoted inflammation and increased permeability in the gut.  This lead to inflammation in other parts of the body and caused allergic symptoms.

elimination dietAs a result, the practitioner may recommend an “elimination diet” to remove certain pro-inflammatory foods in order to reduce the permeability.

They may also suggest avoiding inflammatory chemicals to reduce allergies.

This is a whole new exciting way of taking care of patients. I am in the process of increasing my knowledge of this field and I will start my first module of learning.

I feel that this is the type of medicine I was meant to practice and it has re-ignited my passion for caring for people.

The old practice of medicine often left physicians feeling like they were treating patients in an assembly line rather than individualizing their health care. Personalizing medicine is what makes medicine interesting since every patient’s story is different and we as physicians need to give solutions that are just as unique.

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