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Entries in health and wellness (2)


Why Autoimmune Disease Affects Your Career

Here is a useful clinical analogy that can have great impact on your professional and personal life.

Did you know that there are more people diagnosed with an autoimmune illness than cancer and heart disease combined? That is startling given the numbers of people with each of those ailments.

Unline cancer and heart disease, though, autoimmune disease tends to cause much more daily morbidity and distress. And unfortunately for all of us, autoimmune disease is rapidly on the rise with new cases diagnosed every single year.

To refresh your memory, autoimmune disease takes the shape in many forms: MS, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, Celiac, Type 1 Diabetes, Psoriasis, Lupus, Sjogrens, Scleroderma, Rheumatoid Arthritis, and Crohn's Disease are just a few of the top autoimmune diseases. Each of these carry their own unique challenges for patients, but each is similar in what is the root cause.

In my view, autoimmune illness represents a disordered and misbehaving immune system--an immune system that is in haywire. Under normal conditions, our immune system identifies vialbe vs. dead tissue and removes the cell turnover from our bodies so that new cell growth can occur.

When a patient has an autoimmune illness, their immune system has misfired (for reasons we do not fully understand) and now starts its assault on viable tissue. In general, this cascade of events takes place due to a "perfect storm" that arises. Here is my simplistic model:

  1. Over time there is mismanagement of cortisol due to

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Hey Doc! Inspire Action

On the door to my office, I had posted a little memento from a new business pitch we did for one of our clients several months back…and on this memento is a phrase that reads “Hey Doc…Inspire Action”.  Although I pass it each day, I’ve never paused to think about what it actually means.

Today, I pause.

And I question myself, “Do I inspire action? Is that my role and responsibility as a physician?. Is that part of my duty in treating and managing patients?”

I must confess, I have not seen a patient (at least as part of a formal practice) in a few years, but the statement still resonated with me since I always consider myself first and foremost a physician.

In today’s hustle and bustle practice, it’s easy to get caught up in managing the pure science of disease. Without placing blame, I’m convinced this has largely been the result of a health system that is utterly broken…one that is predominantly focused on measuring financial and scientific outcomes at the sacrifice of quality drivers of care. In essence, we have lost the art of medicine. After all, how do we measure it? How do we get paid for it? How do we know its working?

Quick answer, I don’t (yet) know. But I can confidently wager that every one of us would agree that it is important to address these critical issues to achieve optimal patient care.

My hunch?...Perhaps this dilemma is the result of system that designed to treat disease, rather than prevent disease. Do we have our priorities misaligned?

It is well known that - beyond the science - patients seek guidance, support and trust from their providers…and not just during the course of disease, but also before the disease ever occurs. This is not science, but rather art.

How are we helping patients stay motivated to get well and stay healthy? How are we inspiring them to take action and be proactive for their wellbeing? How do we create a structure that emphasizes and rewards prevention? How do we make this work within the construct of our existing cost-ridden health system?

In my many interesting people encounters over the past several months, I can happily say that I have met a number passionate individuals who are trying to solve these very issues through active participation and innovation... The only problem is that just a handful of these people are representing the voice of physicians.

Rather than watch a pending disaster unfold before our eyes, it is my hope to inspire all of you to take action and be a part of the solution, not the problem.

Hey Doc! Inspire Action.

(If you are doing something innovative in this area, please comment and let us know what you are up to! Inspire us!)

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