There is a paradigm shift happening in the healthcare world

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My website is finally live! I am kick-starting my blog by explaining the paradigm shift taking place in the medical and healthcare worlds and, thus, the important roles both you and I will be playing in your healthcare.    

What is a paradigm shift?

Simply put, it is a situation in which the usual and accepted way of doing or thinking about something, changes completely.

Conventional medicine vs functional medicine

The goal of conventional medicine is for doctors to identify diseases by recognising patterns of symptoms and then treating those symptoms with drug-based therapies. The goal of Functional Medicine is to promote health and vitality in each patient.

Why the shift?

Conventional medical practitioners are becoming more and more aware of the extent to which conventional medicine is, in many instances, failing their patients. The burden of chronic diseases and conditions worldwide, is rapidly increasing. Heart disease, obesity, arthritis, cancer, type two diabetes, stroke etc. are among the most common yet preventable of all health problems. The three approaches of conventional medicine (a ‘pill for every ill’, symptom management and 'one size fits all’), are all failing to:

  • Address the root causes of these illnesses and symptoms;
  • Treat each person as unique;
  • Provide each patient with a more personalised protocol that considers their genetic predispositions, medical history, diet and lifestyle.  

Why is it important for you to understand this?

With large studies revealing health statistics such as "90% of strokes are preventable", the time is here for you to realise the extent to which you can participate in your own health. This study [1] identified high blood pressure, smoking, alcohol consumption, diabetes, poor diet, lack of exercise, high cholesterol, heart problems, obesity and stress as the top ten risk factors for stroke. Therefore this study provides further support for the well-established notion that diet and lifestyle have a bearing on cardiovascular health, as well as many other chronic diseases.

It is time for you to become aware that for any disease prevention program to be as effective as it can be, you need to receive the right kind of information and awareness to help you take control of behavioural choices. It is time to become empowered with knowledge and to seek the assistance of health coach practitioners whose mission it is to educate you on the extent to which the emotional, environmental, nutritional, physical and spiritual aspects of your life influence your health, producing illness or wellness.

The Functional Medicine Model

  • Allows practitioners to spend significant time with each patient in order to help them understand the environmental, lifestyle and genetic factors that influence health and disease.
  • Incorporates dietary and lifestyle changes, including therapeutic food plans and nutritional supplements as part of a personalised treatment plan aimed at addressing the underlying causes of disease.

How do Nutritional Therapists like myself fit into the Functional Medicine Model? 

We view individuals from the perspective of health rather than disease. In addressing symptoms, we seek to unravel the cause or triggers of why they have arisen and to address them with a personalised programme based on diet and lifestyle. As these programmes often focus on behaviour changes, we help to break down recommendations making it easier for you to implement them. Coaching you, educating you in a self-care model and supporting you by staying in touch and tracking your progress are integral components of helping you in your quest for health success.  

We healthcare providers can furnish you with protocols and advice, recommendations and information. We can guide you, but the extent to which you succeed is dependent upon the extent to which you participate in your own healthcare.   

And finally, some food for thought:

Since it was Hippocrates who said 2,400 years ago; “Let food be thy medicine and let medicine be thy food," and "it is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has," and finally "the greatest medicine of all is teaching people how not to need it," is this really a paradigm shift or merely a return to fundamentals?

TT’s Tips this Week will focus on suggestions aimed at empowering you to take a more proactive role in your health and wellness.


Tracy Tredoux