Inspiyr recently spoke with Dr. Alan Christianson, an integrative healthcare provider and co-author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Thyroid Disease who believes true health starts with lifestyle, not popping pills. Dr. Christianson spoke about the problem with traditional medicine today, why taking a pill is not the solution to most ailments today, and how you can stay healthy into your golden years by making a few subtle lifestyle changes now.
What’s the problem with traditional medicine in the US today?
If there’s a single problem, it’s that there’s not really a focus upon gaining health, it’s really a matter of short-term management of symptoms. There’s not really a focus on resolving symptoms, instead there’s a focus of mitigating them for periods of time. A lot of it comes down to how things are incentivized.
Nearly all “new” medications nowadays are not really new treatments but instead they’re what we call “patent extenders”. It’s a huge process to get a new product approved to treat a condition – it takes about $300 – $500 million to get a new drug on the market to treat a condition.
The drug companies want to make sure there’s a product on the market and that the product will have significant sales. Consequently no one is banking on the hail-mary passes. Nobody is banking on radically new treatments. What everyone focuses on are the tried and true treatments, with slight modifications. That’s not enough to substantially raise efficacy, but just enough to extend the patent and put a “new” product back in the marketing chain.
That’s the difficulty; we’ve got some very good ways at managing acute conditions; by and large we’ve figured that out. We pretty well know how to manage infection and trauma. What we really are dealing with nowadays is chronic disease. Projections are showing that for the first time in human history the coming generation will actually have a shorter lifespan then the current generation.
That’s because the model of using a drug to treat a condition came about after the success of drugs and vaccines with infections. Unfortunately, this does not work for chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. The largest cause by far of these is decades and decades of an unhealthy lifestyle. That’s what we’re running into right now.
What are effective ways to improve