Before Starting a Drug, Ask Your Doctor What’s It’s Really Treating – Here’s Why
Instead of addressing the underlying environmental factors that contribute to disease severity, most physicians focus on pushing their patients to take very potent disease-modifying drugs. They don’t explore these environmental factors that we know contribute to either greater health or greater disease. Some Western medicine physicians even tell their patients that diet has nothing to do with disease activity!
Unfortunately, these drugs are part of a multi-billion dollar industry. Billions are spent in research labs to create these magic drugs, allowing people to continue diet and lifestyle habits that are disease promoting. The cost is not cheap. Multiple sclerosis disease-modifying drugs range from $32,000 to $45,000 per year for older drugs like Avonex, Betaseron, Copaxone, and Rebif, and the newer, more potent drugs are even more expensive: Tysabri costs $42,000 per year and Gilenya will cost approximately $51,000.
The disease-modifying drugs prescribed for autoimmune conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, inflammatory bowel disease, psoriasis, and other diseases are similarly expensive. The cost keeps climbing each year, as do the number of people diagnosed with autoimmune conditions. We can’t afford these drugs individually. Furthermore, the steady increases in healthcare costs are a drag on our economy. There is another option that is largely overlooked: teaching people how to create more health and vitality in their lives by addressing the environmental factors that contribute to health and disease.
Holistic Approaches to Disease
What doctors don’t tell their patients is that hundreds, perhaps thousands, of studies have shown that all autoimmune conditions are a complex interaction of a person’s genes–that is, their DNA–and the environment, which means diet and lifestyle. Each individual gene known to increase the risk of an autoimmune condition increases that risk by only 1 to 2%. The rest of the risk comes from the interaction between those the genes and the environment.
Environmental factors that relate to increased risk include:
- Diet, including deficiencies in vitamins, minerals, or essential fats
- Food sensitivities, often an unrecognized gluten and dairy sensitivity
- Toxins stored in the fat, such as heavy metals like mercury and lead or other toxins from plastics and solvents
- Chronic elevation of stress hormones
- Weak social networks and lack of meaningful relationships that make us happy and healthy
- Unrecognized chronic infections, such as Lyme disease
- Unrecognized fungal problems, such as a Candida overgrowth
All these factors can prevent your cells from working optimally, increase inflammation, and worsen disease symptoms. Being evaluated for these possibilities and addressing any problem areas will likely lead to reduced symptoms, increased energy, improved mental clarity, and decreased need for medication. I have seen it time and time again. Addressing all the environmental factors that I listed above is the most potent intervention available for reducing symptoms and improving health over the long term.
Disease-modifying medicines will not fix the environmental problems that cause a great deal of confused biochemistry in your cells and the ill health so many Americans suffer from. Full health and vitality requires creating an optimal environment for your cells, which means consuming a maximally nutrient-dense diet that avoids foods one is sensitive to, reducing toxin exposure, controlling stress hormones, and nurturing a rich social life.
I have found that taking these inexpensive and comparatively small steps are the most effective way to reduce symptoms of nearly every chronic disease that afflicts modern society. I have seen many people turn their lives around, need far fewer medications, and have far more energy and vitality after we have taught them the Wahls Protocol™ way of life.
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Latest posts by Terry Wahls (see all)
- What Goes On Inside Your Body When You Take An Autoimmune Drug - April 4, 2017
- How to Shift Your Genes From Disease-Causing Mode to Disease-Fighting Mode - February 27, 2017
- The real truth: why anyone considering functional medicine needs to read this first - February 27, 2017