Published on April 29th, 2022 | by Natural Awakenings Publishing Corp.0
Holistic Medicine: Why Bother?
One of the very most common reasons for patients to seek holistic/functional medical attention is fatigue or feeling “out of sorts”. Often, people will search for a holistic approach after first going to their primary care physicians with the same complaints, and that physician may do some basic bloodwork to rule out potentially serious or life-threatening conditions. Upon getting results “within the normal range”, the patient will be told that essentially, “nothing is wrong”, they are “okay”. That leaves one big unsolved problem: They still don’t FEEL “okay!!”
This is where a functional work-up comes into play. There are many possible reasons for feeling “less than well”, “fatigued”, or “not yourself”. Sometimes there may be additional specific symptoms to guide an investigation into the “root cause” of this feeling, sometimes not. Patients may have their own suspicions about the underlying issue perhaps based on preliminary internet research, and this can be quite useful. Past personal or family history may provide additional clues. However, for a functional physician an in-depth investigation entails objective testing to come to meaningful conclusions. Fortunately, many available innovative test options can provide the much-needed answers. And of course, proper treatment is based on correct and thorough diagnosis.
Vague symptoms of unwellness can actually be caused by a VERY wide variety of physiological imbalances, and in fact, the symptoms of many physiological imbalances overlap tremendously. So without pinpointed testing, treatment would be somewhat hit-and-miss, potentially off the mark, and could even leave serious conditions unattended for an extended period of time.
In a “don’t feel right” or fatigue scenario, MANY issues that night need to be considered, including, (but not limited to) the following:
- Thyroid problems, always a prime suspect
- Poor adrenal function/depleted adrenal reserves: Often ignored, adrenals actually impact many aspects of function, immunological status, mood and energy
- Hormone levels: They can affect mood, sleep, strength, endurance, cognition, confidence, energy, and of course, libido
- Lack of sleep for any reason
- Side effects of medications, even long-term ones that start to cause problems
- Stress: Perhaps this should be number one. Any type of stress, emotional, physical, mental, psychological, spiritual, all can impact health immensely
- Sub-par nutrient levels: B vitamins, Vitamin C, amino acids, antioxidants, Vitamin D3, etc.)
- Poor food choices or inadequate fluid intalk
- The population of organisms in the gut (“microbiome”) affects immunology, mood, allergies, energy, and of course, GI health
- Allergies/sensitivities to both environmental elements and foods
- Toxicity: From “heavy” metals (lead, mercury, etc.) organic poisons, mold toxins , etc.
- Sugar intolerance (Hypoglycemia)
- Neurological, Cardiovascular or Pulmonary disorders
- Auto-immunity of any sort
Even where NONE of these could be identified, the investigation could, nonetheless, NOT be considered complete, and further thought would need to be given to what else might be done, might be wrong, and how to correct it. Being told ”You’re fine. Just get some rest.” is not enough when you don’t feel right. If you don’t feel right, this is your body telling you clearly that something IS wrong. Signals from the body should be honored and addressed, not with fear, but with thoughtful consideration. It is the role of the functional/holistic physician to search as deeply as necessary to discover the problem(s) and find solutions that will work for you. If health is your priority, as it should be, you simply cannot settle for less.
Robin Ellen Leder, M.D., was mentored by Robert Atkins, M.D., author of The Atkins Diet, and has been practicing integrative/alternative medicine for more than 30 years at A Better Alternative Medical Center, in Hackensack.