Acute Disease vs Chronic Disorder

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You may be surprised with what I’m about to say…

I consider Type 1 diabetes a disease. But not Type 2. Yep, you heard me correctly.

Ok, now she has lost her mind, right?

But Type 2 MUST be a disease. There are dozens of drugs on the market to treat it.

That is true…

There is also a new drug on the market for a new “disease” called OIC (opioid induced constipation). For people that chronically use opioid pain killers, their bowels often won’t move. The opioids slow down everything, including elimination. But is OIC a real “disease?” No. If a “disease” can be resolved simply by stopping some course of action, then, IMHO, it is not really a disease. If you stop the opioid use, you stop the constipation. Now, I’m not suggesting that all people can eliminate opioid use. Many people, say cancer patients, legitimately need to use them. My point is, OIC is not a “disease.” It is a disorder. It is a symptom. It is a byproduct of something in the body that isn’t functioning properly. And it is reversible with a change in what is causing the underlying problem.

So is Type 2 diabetes.

In Type 1 diabetes, the disease was not caused by modifiable actions, nor can any amount of effort on our part reverse the disease and eliminate necessary treatment. The same is NOT true for Type 2 diabetes, which is both preventable and reversible. Therefore, I consider Type 2 a disorder, rather than a disease.

You see, something has gone drastically wrong in the treatment of things that ail us. Less than 100 years ago, antibiotics were invented (or should I say discovered.) In the treatment of acute conditions, antibiotics are life saving. And it goes the same with ALL acute medical care. If you sever a limb, you will be incredibly thankful when you visit an emergency room, have the bleeding stopped, the limb repaired and any infection killed. Truly amazing!

But how did we go from this, to attempting to use medicine to fix everything that ails us, INCLUDING things we have done to ourselves? (Even though often unintentionally.) Most, if not all chronic diseases are related to lifestyle and environment. Why then, are we throwing pills and injections, at disorders that can be prevented or reversed by lifestyle?

Type 2 diabetes is a lifestyle disorder that needs a lifestyle answer. Now, does that mean that people with Type 2 don’t need medicine? No. If one has been Type 2 long enough, there may be unrepairable damage. However, why not get the max benefit from lifestyle intervention FIRST, and then use medication to make up for any remaining dysfunction?

Keep in mind, if you have a lifestyle disorder, NO AMOUNT of medicine you throw at it will reverse the problem. And most often, the medicine will not even control the symptoms. Because you have not stopped the underlying problem, the symptoms will get worse, requiring more and more medicine. You will, in effect, become a hamster on a wheel, expending lots of energy, but getting nowhere!

In counseling hundreds of people with Type 2, I can tell you that I have NEVER seen one of them who were controlled by medicine ALONE, without making changes to their lifestyle. HOWEVER, I have seen hundreds of people be controlled with lifestyle ONLY while often eliminating their medications.

We have got to stop applying principles of acute medicine to chronic disorders. With an acute disease, say an infection, taking medicine is a great option. But for chronic disorders, taking a pill or injection is NOT the answer. The majority of chronic diseases are lifestyle related. You don’t take a lifestyle disorder and throw a pill at it. You fix the lifestyle. And guess what, the “disease” often goes away! Who would have thought that something caused by unhealthy habits could be fixed by healthy ones? ;).

Enjoy this powerful, newly released video from Dr. Rangan Chatterjee

Be well!