Medical IronyWe live in a world where healthcare is foremost in our thoughts.  With the passage of the new affordable care act, millions of Americans will gain access to “free care”.  Now I am not writing this article to debate the merits of the new law.  I am writing on behalf of chronically sick people all over the world.  The people with gluten issues that go undiagnosed for decades until their bodies breakdown and develop the diseases below.  These are the people who will be at a major disadvantage with the passage of the new healthcare legislation.  Why?  Because their ability to get effective health advice will be greatly hindered.

I am writing from the perspective of what “free care” entails.  If we take the time to evaluate the current state of healthcare in the US, we will see some very alarming trends:

  1. Cancer is on the rise
  2. Heart disease is on the rise
  3. Stroke is on the rise
  4. Diabetes is on the rise
  5. Osteoporosis is on the rise
  6. Obesity is on the rise
  7. Autoimmune disease is on the rise
  8. Arthritis is on the rise
  9. Treatment of the above diseases with medications is on the rise.
  10. Death rates from the proper use of these medications is the third leading cause of death in the US.
  11. All of these conditions are primarily nutritionally related.

That is not to say that medicine is to blame for the increase in the above diseases.  Quite the contrary.  You see, the above conditions are largely lifestyle induced.  They are brought on by choices we make – foods we eat (gluten, sugar, GMO, etc), exercise we do or don’t perform, chemicals we expose ourselves to, etc.  Certainly there are other factors that contribute to these conditions beyond individual control (environmental pollutants, etc), but the largest influence contributing to chronic degenerative disease boils down to choices we make.

Free Care is Not Effective Care

Where medicine fails is in the following three areas:

  1. Medical schools fail to provide adequate education on nutritional sciences.  This topic was discussed in detail in a previous post.
  2. Acknowledge that nutrition and other lifestyle factors are more important than the need for medications
  3. Spending adequate time with patients on collecting health information and subsequently on patient education.

As long as the above three elements are flawed, no amount of “free care” given will be effective at achieving the desired outcome or goal – BETTER HEALTH.

As it stands, many sick patients are to blame because they also fail to acknowledge diet and lifestyle factors as paramount to their health.  Many doctors are to blame because they are guilty of the same crime, but also because they are in the leadership role.  Doctor means teacher.  To be a teacher one needs to be a perpetual student.  Constant learning and evolving is how we grow and get better (i.e. practice).  The following is a list of questions that need to be asked and answered to improve the health of the nation:

  1. Will providing free office visits and medicine lead to an improvement in the health of those receiving it?
  2. Has the traditional medical model of using medicine to treat symptoms of disease been successful? How does one define success in this scenario?
  3. What is the TRUE cost of providing healthcare in the form of ineffective treatments?
  4. Is keeping someone alive longer ethical when the means used to achieve said longevity lead to severe deterioration in quality of life?
  5. Can a doctor see 40 patients in a day and deliver quality care?

The Future of Healthcare

I have seen thousands of patients in 13 years of clinical practice.  I have saved lives by changing diet and lifestyle in many of these individuals.  I have seen patients who were able to stop using medications, recover from diseases with no cure, dramatically improve health as a result of using common sense.  I have seen patients who, at the proverbial end of their rope, found hope and resolution with good old fashion “doctoring”.  You know – the kind where a doctor spends quality time listening to and physically examining a patient.  From there giving solid and sound advice beyond the traditional “Mrs. Jones you need to eat less and exercise more.”

The future of healthcare lies in the doctor patient relationship.  The doctor must be able and willing to give attention to detail, be willing to listen without passing the “crazy” or “overstressed” judgement so often doled out in clinics today.  The doctor must be educated on nutrition and must be a student of physical exercise.    The patient has to be open to making meaningful change.  The patient has to have a true desire to improve and take an active role in their care, not just swallow a pill.

If we were to give this concept a name it would be called “Functional Healthcare”  – some have called it functional medicine, but that name implies that prescribing a medication plays a primary role in the process. It doesn’t, and it shouldn’t.  The primary medicine’s used in Functional Healthcare are:

  • Nutrition – proper food and identification of dietary deficiencies
  • Exercise – person specific and non generalized.
  • Stress management techniques
  • Sunshine
  • Sleep
  • Spiritual and emotional guidance toward fulfillment
  • Clean air and water

Without implementing these primary changes, no amount of healthcare will be effective.  That is why I developed my 100,000,000 Mission.  I want to help bring Functional Healthcare to 100 million patients by 2030.  If you are a healthcare provider and want to join my mission, need guidance on implementation, etc – contact my assistant, Casey, – glutenology@gmail.com  If we work together, we can help more people have healthful and happy lives.  What are your thoughts?  Please share below…

Always looking out for you,

Dr. O – The Gluten Free Warrior

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Gluten Free Warrior Commentary

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8 thoughts on “How Healthcare Will Impact The Chronically Ill

  1. Lynn says:

    Agreed that lifestyle is the number one cause of all these health issues as well as doctors being improperly educated and doling out pills by the millions. These are certainly causes of ill health and in my opinion designed to keep people sick, not healthy. I have all but given up on Western medicine after 20 years of being prescribed every medication under the sun for various issues that in the end all resulted from misdiagnosed Celiac disease.

    But, having said that, there is still a need for people to go to a doctor when they have cancer or heart failure, etc. and without affordable health care they would not be able to go to a hospital at all.

    There are two problems. Doctors practicing nothing but prescribing pills for every ailment and second, people not being able to get the care they need for serious life threatening issues. Both need to be dealt with and honestly, I don’t see this changing much in the near future. We all need to be our own advocates for living a healthy lifestyle. Pay the farmer now or pay the doctor later.

  2. Sarah M says:

    I live in the UK, and the National Healthcare Service (NHS) failed me in exactly the ways described above. Because the doctors are only allowed 5 to 10 minutes per patient, they have no time for the more mysterious, chronic conditions. After nearly 3 years of illness due to an undiagnosed gluten sensitivity, a severe yeast infection, and thyroid and adrenal hormonal disturbances, I am finally getting proper treatment from an American functional medicine practitioner. Please don’t let the system in the U.S. become what it has in Britain and most of Europe!!

  3. Brittany says:

    I believe, wholeheartedly, that what you are saying is correct. I just feel that many people, most people, are trusting. I’m taking a US Healthcare course in college right now, and what I’m reading about The Afforable Care Act right now, isn’t sounding so great. This new healthcare systems seems to be headed into the direction of it being Medicare, for everyone. Reading about Medicare is disturbing and upsetting. It’s expensive, most elderly have to supplement with other insurance and it’s hardly any better. Deductibles are high, only certain test/procedures are available due to cost constraints and what’s offered in bundled packages for treatments. Quality of care is not focused on, reduction of cost and time spent on a patient is focused on. Less time with patients is better and the less time spent with each patient is more money into hospitals pockets. There’s so much more but I am afraid we are all heading in that direction. I hope not. I’ve also read that Obama plans to implement this new healthcare system for everyone piece by piece, how vague can you be?? People like the idea of “free healthcare” but they aren’t seeing the possible big picture because Obama isn’t even telling us or doesn’t know himself. All he knows is that they can’t afford to pay for Medicare or Medicaid anymore so it’s times to mandate that everyone pay for their healthcare through taxes. Out current system, is not a system, it was based on the free-market…. Healthcare as we know it now, is how it is because of how we made it. Piece by piece, and it’s failed us. Yet, Obama wants to not have a plan and implement this new system one piece at a time and then tweek it? It didn’t work for us the first time. How about being honest, making a plan that doesn’t need tweeking, and letting us vote on it!! We have no idea what we are in for. Time will tell, hope for the positive.

  4. Sherie L says:

    I am a perfect example of what your article is discussing. Apparently i have been gluten sensitive all my life, had stomach issues as long as i can remember, no doctor could tell me how to feel better. Finally at age 50, i developed ITP, which i feel is a direct result of my body fighting gluten all my life. After going the conventional route with a hemotologist-taking steroids for 6 months and 4 infusions of rituxin. I decided to be my own advocate for my health. I now see a chiropractor/nutritionist and eat no gluten or dairy in my diet, when i cheat, my platelets drop and i eat clean again and my platelets come right back up to normal. I have had no drugs in my system for 22 months now and feel healthier than i have ever felt. I know that if i were still seeing the hemotologist, i would be on steroids which do so much damage to your body. Thank you for looking out for us and informing the public about health issues.

  5. shore bird says:

    Statistics behind this article are truly bizarre: when the US healthcare system formalized in the 1970s, perhaps 5% of cases were chronic disease, 95% were critical care, broken bones and auto crashes. Today, those numbers are reversed, yet in today’s HMO-based healthcare, a doctor has 7 minutes to figure out that you’ve got an adrenal issue from food sensitivities (and they won’t because there is no drug for adrenals!!) – Way faster and easier to rubber stamp us all with thyroid meds. Listen to Dr O and other food-sensitivity based doctors

  6. s.p. says:

    Hi Dr. Osborne,

    I’m a great fan of yours and your website, but I’m not clear on what you’re trying to say here? You seem to imply that “Obamacare” will results in worse results for us all when, in reality, more people will have access. Doctors can choose to spend 5 minutes with a patient but good doctors will spend more. Great doctors will listen, then provide guidance in terms of diagnosis, handouts, booklets, etc. So often I see nothing in terms of follow-up with other materials–people just blindly accept a pill and go home. Again, I love your website, but medical care in general is the problem and not additional access to care.

  7. chandra carr
    chandra carr says:

    s.p.,
    Many doctors aren’t trained to discuss nutrition and lifestyle management. Beyond that, many cannot afford to spend more than 5 minutes with a patient because the pay rates for their services are controlled by the new law.

    My point is that access to care has never been the issue. This law doesn’t solve access to care, because care is defined as a system of diagnosis and treatment that actually addresses the origin of disease.

    This law creates greater access to “care” that does not work. Bottom line – nobody gets meaningful treatment or guidance.

  8. Julie says:

    It would be tremendously helpful if prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins and supplements were REQUIRED to label if they are gluten-free!

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