Modern industrial medicine treats disease with medication or surgery. That’s what it is designed to do, and when it comes to emergency interventions it is still the best medicine in the world. When someone comes into the emergency room with a severed leg, conventional medicine treats the problem with incredible efficacy.
But when it comes to chronic illness, this approach simply doesn’t work.
Here’s why conventional medicine tends to break down in the face of chronic illnesses like diabesity …
Most medicine today is based on clear-cut, on-or-off, yes-or-no diagnoses that often miss the underlying causes and more subtle manifestations of illness. Most conventional doctors are taught that you have a disease or you don’t; you have diabetes or you don’t. There are no gray areas.
Practicing medicine this way is extremely misguided because it misses one of the most fundamental laws of physiology, biology, and disease: The continuum concept. There is a continuum from optimal health to hidden imbalance to serious dysfunction to disease. Anywhere along that continuum, we can intervene and reverse the process. The sooner we address it, the better.
For example, when it comes to diabesity most doctors just follow blood sugar, which actually rises very late in the disease process. If your blood sugar is 90 or 110, you don’t have diabetes. If it’s over 126, you do have diabetes. But these distinctions are completely arbitrary, and they do nothing to help treat impending problems. I remember one patient, Daren, who came to see me with mildly elevated blood sugar. I asked Daren if he had seen his doctor about this. He said yes. I then asked, “What did your doctor say?” Daren’s doctor had told him, “We are going to wait and watch until your blood sugar is more elevated, and then we are going to treat you with medication for diabetes.”
This attitude is absurd and harmful in the face of what we know about the problems that occur even in the absence of full-blown diabetes. Science is now showing us that many people with prediabetes never get diabetes, but they are at severe risk just the same. Prediabetes actually isn’t pre-anything, it’s a serious health condition and needs to be treated as early as possible.
More to the point, this approach of completely ignores more subtle clues from symptoms and signs of disease, which may highlight underlying metabolic imbalances (especially when complemented by further testing). These imbalances may be remedied by the appropriate treatment—treatment that is not focused on some disease, but instead works to remove those things that alter or damage our functioning, and provides those things that enhance, optimize, and normalize our functioning by balancing the system rather than treating the symptom. We need to treat the system, not the symptom; the patient, not the disease.
Consider the man in the emergency room with the severed leg again for a moment. For that person, identifying what severed the leg isn’t likely to make the difference between life and death. The symptom—the severed leg—must be treated if he is going to survive.
But that paradigm simply doesn’t hold true for health conditions like diabesity. This mechanistic model can be applied in some health crises, but it doesn’t work when it comes to chronic disease.
For more information about diabesity click here for a sneak peak of my new book The Blood Sugar Solution coming out on February 28th.
In the meantime, I’d like to hear from you …
Do you suffer from diabesity? What has your struggle been like?
Why do you think conventional medicine is so ineffective at treating this illness?
Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
To your good health,
Mark Hyman, MD