Welcome back! Our topic in January was a hit! We are so glad you all enjoyed it as much as you did. This month, we welcome Dr. Robert Ellis.
February’s topic is one many of you requested. We will cover the topic of “Chronic Illness: Does being sick mean never getting better?”. The CDC states: “Chronic diseases are responsible for 7 of 10 deaths among Americans each year, and they account for 86% of our nation’s health care costs, which in 2013 were $2.9 trillion.” That’s intense. For a current list of chronic illnesses and their cost in both lives and money spent in managing the illness’ please click HERE.
Thank you for reading us…we appreciate you. And now, please welcome Robert Ellis, DO.
What difference does our osteopathic philosophy make to medical practice? The growth of integrative training, boards and associations among MDs reveals that the conventional allopathic model does not provide the integral and holistic framework necessary to prevent and reverse chronic illnesses. Despite dramatic advances and increased availability in pharmacological, surgical and diagnostic modalities; chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease and diabetes continue to grow exponentially. This epidemic of chronic illness is at great cost to both individual patients and society as a whole. Basic and clinical research directed to heart disease, cancer and other chronic illnesses demonstrate the systemic and multifactorial causes of these modern day scourges. Even the simple theoretical underpinnings of infectious disease have abandoned the old one germ model. Statins and beta-blockers only slow down the process of arteriosclerosis; they do not reverse the underlying disease process. Managing blood glucose levels in type 2 diabetic patients, retards the organ damage, but growing research clearly shows that this does not reverse the metabolic syndrome, which is the pathological driver of the myriad clinical consequences. What if tumor reductive therapy is the easy part of cancer therapy? Research for the last 70 years has clearly shown that the tumor is the end result of systemic and metabolic dysfunctions that drive the malignant process. The most exciting conclusion to come out of this research is that the major drivers of these diseases are attributable to lifestyle factors clearly under our control. This is the goal of an osteopathically informed approach to chronic illness treatment.
The difference between osteopathy and the modern movement called integrative medicine is that integrative medicine is new and osteopathic medicine is old. The true genius of the fully developed and matured osteopathic approach and its unique contribution, is to give the provider a framework to approach the diagnosis and treatment of these foundational dysfunctions. It is holistic, patient centered and integrative. It is this that makes medicine osteopathic. When physicians aim to prevent and or correct early dysfunction to restore balance and prevent overt clinical disease, or work to correct disease at its foundational level, they are working a paradigm articulated many years ago by our founder Dr. Still.
The osteopathic tenets encoded and taught in osteopathic schools are now beyond reproach. The body as a whole, the interaction of structure and function and the body’s homeostatic and self-healing mechanisms are even taught in allopathic schools (albeit in a different language). What is often unappreciated and practiced is the fourth tenet. This has to do with clinical practice. This tenet teaches us that rational therapy always proceeds from an understanding of the other three.
When I approach the treatment of a patient with: “does he have a cancer or does cancer have him…. Am I only removing the tumor and watching, or am I working to correct the underlying processes, which produced and perpetuate the cancer cells ability to survive and thrive?” Am I treating disease or finding health? This is what makes medicine osteopathic.
This is a difference needed in our current health care system. When these tenets become accepted medical dogma and guide clinical care; osteopathic medicine will have fulfilled its place in the evolution of medical thought and a transcendent model will emerge; a model which includes and yet moves beyond both conventional and osteopathic medicine.