Autoimmune disease – treating the cause, not the symptoms

Dr Mark Hyman practices Functional Medicine, which is as he puts it, ‘the future of conventional medicine – now’:

It seeks to identify and address the root causes of disease, and views the body as one integrated system, not a collection of independent organs divided up by medical specialties. It treats the whole system, not just the symptoms.

From the moment I was diagnosed with Crohn’s, it was obvious that this is the way to treat any disease, which is always – it appears to me right now anyway – caused by an imbalance in the system which needs correction. As I’ve seen over and over again in the countless case studies and testimonials I’ve read since coming home from hospital, contemporary western medicine seeks to simply cover up the symptoms, often with drugs that have incredibly damaging side effects.

The steroid I’m weaning off at the moment – Prednisalone – seems to be one that’s given very frequently for all kinds of auto-immune issues. Yet I read yesterday that when it was released to use by doctors, it was under the instructions that it only be used to treat ‘life-threatening situations’.

Here’s a case study written by Dr Hyman about a young girl who was being treated with many drugs, including Prednisalone, but was simply getting more and more sick. Within a couple of months of weaning off the drugs and addressing the root cause of the inflammation and auto-immune response, she was beginning to lead a normal life. The case study is a sanity-check for humanity – this is the way we should be looking at all disease, every time; it should be the way Doctors think first, not with raised eyebrows after administering a cocktail of dangerous, symptom-only suppressing drugs. Rant over.

Here’s a video of Dr Mark Hyman at TedMed, introducing the theme of Functional Medicine – I think he explains it really well; it’s so very obvious that this is how we should be healing people.

3 thoughts on “Autoimmune disease – treating the cause, not the symptoms

  1. Sally says:

    Hi Paul – I don’t have much direct experience to share though I thought to mention that in Australia Functional medicine is far more easily accessible than here in the UK. If you are seeking a practitioner to use or just information, it might be worth honing in on Australia. It may be that you can work with someone from a distance or just to gather information.

    My sister lives there and is a trained naturopath and thus I trust her advice on the ‘future’ of addressing health issues, her qualification is quickly being superceded by excellent Functional Medicine doctors whom she is successfully consulting in the care of my nephew with Down Syndrome alongside ‘regular’ consultations.

    • Thanks Sally, that’s really interesting, and very useful. My feeling at the moment is that holistic therapies, Chinese medicine and Ayurveda naturally use the same approaches as functional medicine, which is fascinating- it seems that much of the healing profession looks at health in a sensible way, whereas western/pharmaceutical medicine looks at health from upside down! I’ll certainly be looking more into functional medicine along my journey, so thank you so much for the tip.

      • Sally says:

        Yes, upside down, that is a good expression. Chinese medicine and Ayurveda are fine choices and I do believe very successful in treating conditions of the gut. You have such a great ‘care’ package going on.

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