Symptoms are the outward expression that vital body systems are struggling with stress.
In the absence of symptoms, you’re unaware that potentially dangerous changes in your health are occurring. Maybe you wait until you feel ill before visiting an urgent-care clinic or scheduling an appointment with your insurance-approved doctor…
A Common Scenario…
Your visit typically begins by completing a health questionnaire and being briefly interviewed by a nurse or medical assistant. “What brings you in today? What are your symptoms?” Someone checks your pulse, blood pressure, and temperature. “Are you using any drugs or medications? How long have you had these symptoms? Have they changed? How would you describe the intensity level of your pain?” As you respond to these questions, you’re led down a path of shortsighted intervention.
When the doctor enters, he reads his assistant’s notes, glances at your health history, listens to your heart and lungs, and palpates your body. Your physician is seeking to classify your symptoms as a specific illness or disease. Based on an evaluation lasting typically no more than 10 to 15 minutes, your doctor makes a “diagnosis” of your condition. Once a diagnosis—in this case, a label—is applied to your symptoms, the doctor can begin “fixing” your problem. Using standard and customary medical protocols, the physician treats the symptoms and may recommend a follow-up visit to determine whether you have been “cured.” You have just experienced Medical Intervention.
“Based on an evaluation lasting typically no more than 10 to 15 minutes, your doctor makes a “diagnosis” of your condition.”
In cases such as cold and flu, Medical Intervention can get the job done. Symptomatic relief is sufficient because the body’s defenses are usually strong enough to overcome occasional minor ailments. These short-lasting problems tend to respond well, unless the patient has compromised immunity. But, what if your healthcare provider failed to adequately analyze your condition? Stomach pain could indicate a serious bacterial infection like Helicobacter pylori or even stomach cancer. Would your treatment differ if the doctor had been able to scientifically diagnose exactly why your stomach hurts? Absolutely!
|By Dr. Timmins|
“One of my colleagues, a medical doctor, specialized in preventive medicine and nutrition. He experienced ongoing stomach upset. Eventually, his pain and discomfort became intolerable. Medical colleagues ascribed the symptoms to acute indigestion. Conventional medical tests confirmed that he wasn’t producing enough hydrochloric acid. Hydrochloric acid stimulates the pancreas to produce digestive enzymes and bile. Without enough of these substances, we cannot adequately digest carbohydrates, proteins, and fats. He supplemented his diet with digestive enzymes and hydrochloric acid to “fix” the problem. The enzymes and supplements brought relief, but only temporarily. Further testing revealed that he had stomach cancer. My colleague died at the age of 34.”
“What if, instead, his tests had determined why he wasn’t producing enough hydrochloric acid? What if the tests had revealed the cause of his hydrochloric acid insufficiency? He may have had a chance to kill the cancer and get a new lease on life.”
Many healthcare providers treat their patients without first developing an accurate diagnosis.
They fail to analyze the unseen stresses that are driving the illness. Why does this happen? What are the reasons for this shortsighted diagnostic approach? There are many, but the major ones are:
- Incomplete assessment of the patient.
- Lack of training in FM and preventative healthcare.
- Refusal of insurance companies and HMOs to reimburse for what they mistakenly label as “nonessential” services.
An incomplete diagnosis results in inaccurate treatment, which in turn prolongs pain and suffering and needlessly increases the cost of healthcare. In the worst-case scenario, as with Dr. Timmins’ young doctor friend, an inadequate diagnosis causes an irreversible decline in health, leading to death.
When you seek assistance from a healthcare provider, you are looking for an educated opinion on what is going on in your body. You want a diagnosis. The purpose of a diagnosis is to direct treatment. But, can treatment be effective when the diagnosis is incomplete or inaccurate? Certainly not, unless we are talking about a simple head cold or similar ailment. With typically short-term ailments, symptomatic treatment might be all you need to feel well.
By alleviating or eliminating symptoms, the body is freed of that stress and therefore better able to self-correct without further intervention. However, even in this case, you should ask yourself: Why did I get sick? Though it may seem common, getting sick is not normal. Your immune system, designed to protect you from illness, could be weakened by chronic stress—stress that you can’t see and your doctor neglected to diagnose.