The Medicine We Need Now

2020 was the year we were all looking forward to. The first year of the decade and a year whose numbers are synonymous with clarity of vision. Then came March.

March came in like a growing, ravenous lion and we have yet to see its hunger satisfied. From social media trolling of each other’s social distancing to protests about amendment rights, many wondered how things would ever return to normal. By May, just as cities in the U.S. started their ‘soft-open’ to the public, a global roar against police brutality has come echoing through the streets. Shops and restaurants boarded up their windows, and many people continue to work from home; if they have work at all.

The global response to our endangered health and human rights have surfaced in revolutionary ways. With the call for changes socially, politically, and economically, we also look at needed changes in the field of healthcare. If we are to heal from the various wounds manifested in 2020, we need to be confident that we are getting the right medicine.

The Healing Power of Integrative Functional Medicine

If you are a lover of all things health and wellness, or have been following me, you probably know of Integrative Functional Medicine. The ‘Medicine of the Future’, as it is often referred, carries ancient philosophies. While conventional medicine separates health symptoms and approaches wellbeing through forms of management (while often being managed by pharmaceutical companies and insurance protocols itself), Functional Medicine takes a unifying and healing approach.

This systems-based view of health recognizes that all the structures in your body; organs, pathways, chemicals and substances, function in ways that affect each other. So, if you are experiencing haywire hormones, as an Integrative Functional MD, I want to know what you eat, what your sleep routine is, the types of relationships you have, what your childhood was like, if you experienced any trauma in life-even the way you were born. These are just a few of the aspects of your timeline and Living Matrix that I look at to discover the root causes of your health issues. Diagnostic testing may be used to consider any toxins in your environment, like mold or heavy metals, for food sensitivities, allergies and more. Personalized protocols will be applied for removing the triggers of your health issues and for restoring your overall health.

Functional Medicine prevails in its focus on creating sustainable change. We cannot rely on medicine that simply seeks to repair only one part of the body without addressing the underlying causes for its failures. We must shift our mindsets from the allure of quick temporary relief with its false sense of security, to a lifestyle that fulfills our needs as unique spiritual beings with complex physical bodies.

Why We Need Medicine Focused on Immune System Health

Why is COVID-19 having a major adverse effect on people who have chronic health conditions? A main reason is that their immune system is compromised as is their overall health. According to the CDC, we know approximately 90% of COVID-19 admissions include comorbid health issues such as hypertension, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease-chronic diseases developed through one’s lifestyle. As our immune system is our biggest defense mechanism against viruses like COVID-19, it is essential to know that chronic diseases like these lower the ability for the immune system to fight harmful viruses and other illnesses. 

These findings show us the importance of Functional Medicine’s strategies for helping a patient develop and maintain a health-promoting lifestyle that is specific to their well-being. By supporting the immune system and overall health we combat not just metabolic disorders, but also COVID-19.

As 7 in 10 Americans think that chronic diseases are due to factors beyond a person’s control; raising awareness of chronic disease is essential. This is a time when we desperately need to look to the answers found in Integrative Functional Medicine, not only for global healing but also for enhanced life experiences, as the driver for chronic disease is rooted in unhealthy lifestyles.

Awareness as a Core Principle in Personalized Healthcare

According to the CDC 33% of people who've been hospitalized with COVID-19 are African American, which raises questions as to why, when you consider that only 13% of the U.S. population is African American. The answers may lie in these facts:

  1. There's a higher prevalence of obesity, high blood pressure and diabetes among African Americans compared with whites.⁠
  2. Developing research has pointed to African Americans possibly having genetic risk factors making them more salt-sensitive, increasing the likelihood of high blood pressure, which is linked to more serious forms of COVID-19 cases.⁠
  3. High stress levels. Experiencing racial discrimination can contribute to chronic stress, which leads to higher levels of inflammation making someone vulnerable to infection because it lowers the body's ability to fight off infection.⁠
  4. Marc Morial, president and CEO of the National Urban League, says that "Black workers are more likely to hold the kinds of jobs that cannot be done from home.” If they are working in places where it’s difficult to social distance, this increases risk of infection. He also says that they may be subject to bias in the health field resulting in poorer-quality medical care.⁠
  5. People who develop chronic illnesses that put them at higher risk of COVID-19 often live in urban and rural low-income neighborhoods where they are less likely to have access to affordable and healthy foods.⁠

As a core principle of Functional Medicine, awareness of a patient’s experience in life is critical for ensuring the best quality of care. These facts show us that we cannot separate the effects of lifestyle with health conditions. Addressing the symptoms only, does not fix the reasons that caused the health problem in the first place. 

As an Integrative Functional Medicine doctor, I do not ignore the reality of the various factors that influence my patient’s health. With an empathetic doctor-patient relationship, I seek to help my patients avoid any feelings of shame which may invoke a patient’s not disclosing full details of their mental and physical health, sexual or literary status. Otherwise, a lack of awareness and minimal unity in the doctor-patient relationship could result in ineffective treatment, prescription, failure to complete treatment, and ability to achieve improved health outcomes.

Influencing Change

2020 has not been easy, but it has provided us some clarity. We are learning that the deterioration of the doctor-patient relationship, lack of awareness, and the inability of current conventional medicine to treat chronic disease adequately has contributed to rising interest and critical need for Integrative Functional Medicine. We are learning how habitually sustaining a mindset of separation or unity has ripple effects to our health and the health of the world. Let’s heal ourselves and help each other find healing.

To Your Health,

Kiran Grewal MD

Doctor, Researcher, Patient

PLUS: Whenever you’re ready..here are 3 ways I can help you enhance YOUR health.

1. Schedule Free Global Access Coaching

If you are curious about how Integrative Medicine can help you, I am happy to address your health concerns in this free coaching session. Schedule your session HERE.

2. Tired of Feeling Tired?

Find out how to get back to feeling like yourself. Sign up for my FREE Tiredness Elimination Guide and get on the road to feeling great again. Get your copy HERE

3. Release Your Stress

Deepen your levels of calm with a guided online meditation. Click HERE and start to discover the health benefits of Guided Meditation.




 

 

 

References:

https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/need-extra-precautions/racial-ethnic-minorities.html

https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/04/18/835563340/whos-hit-hardest-by-covid-19-why-obesity-stress-and-race-all-matter

https://www.nih.gov/health-information/coronavirus

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7205616/

https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6915e3.htm

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