The Disease Delusion: Conquering the Causes of Chronic Illness for a Healthier, Longer, and Happier Life Featured Hot
For decades, Dr. Jeffrey Bland has been on the cutting edge of Functional Medicine, which seeks to pinpoint and prevent the cause of illness, rather than treat its symptoms. Managing chronic diseases accounts for three quarters of our total healthcare costs, because we’re masking these illnesses with pills and temporary treatments, rather than addressing their underlying causes, he argues. Worse, only treating symptoms leads us down the path of further illness.
In The Disease Delusion, Dr. Bland explains what Functional Medicine is and what it can do for you. While advances in modern science have nearly doubled our lifespans in only four generations, our quality of life has not reached its full potential. Outlining the reasons why we suffer chronic diseases from asthma and diabetes to obesity, arthritis and cancer to a host of other ailments, Dr. Bland offers achievable, science-based solutions that can alleviate these common conditions and offers a roadmap for a lifetime of wellness.
I believe that this book represents an important watershed in medical thinking. The delusion referred to in the title is that good medical practice is about finding the right drug to treat the symptoms of any given disease. Dr. Bland, who is a proponent of functional medicine, suggests otherwise. His subversive platform is to find and treat the underlying causes of the chronic and debilitating diseases that are making life a lot less fun for a rapidly growing majority of the population. The explosive increase of cancers, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, autoimmune diseases and the like, has been blamed on the genetic lottery. It turns out however, that genes respond to their environment - internal and external. The growing science of epigenetics demonstrates that genes' expression can be turned ON AND OFF by environmental factors like stress, toxins, and nutrition (or lack of it.) The changes caused can even be passed down to subsequent generations. This is mind-blowing information, because it implies that by changing the environment of the body, you can change the susceptibility to these diseases.
A very important point that he makes is that the causes of our chronic diseases are as individual as we are. The “cures” need to be tailored to the particular circumstances of our life and physiology. One only needs to listen to the side effects in the drug ads on TV to realize that taking them is like playing Russian roulette. Not surprisingly, nutrition is at the heart of his program. As Hippocrates said, “Let food be your medicine and medicine your food.” He has a 4R program to get one back on track: Remove - your specific allergens like gluten, dairy, shellfish, etc.; Replace – enzymes that have become insufficient; Reinoculate – the gut bacteria that have been killed off by antibiotics and toxins; Repair – with nutritional supplements. Detoxifying and de-stressing are also right up there.
Bland provides self-assessment questionnaires to help you pinpoint your own areas of sensitivity and suggests protocols to address them. He also stresses the value of having the supervision of an enlightened medical practitioner, but the 80:20 rule probably works here as well. Anyone with the self-discipline to read and apply the principles in this book should reap major health benefits – both in terms of healing existing conditions and preventing more serious ones down the line.
This is just a small taste of the gems in this comprehensive book. I can only hope that the solid science presented here will make its way into the conventional medical education curriculum. It might even help take general medicine back to its roots of “do no harm.”