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Jan 10

Chronic Disease Is Kind of Like an Onion

Red_onions-200x200I was in the kitchen a few days ago cutting an onion, and after I cut it in half, I looked closer at its structure. I thought about how chronic disease is like an onion. When you cut an onion you see the many layers, one on top of the other, each one somewhat unique but blending with the layer below and on top. Each layer grows on top of the previous. If there is distortion in one layer the next distorts in a similar manner. Over time small changes happen, year after year, until “suddenly,” there is a significant condition present. It could be diabetes, Alzheimer’s, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, heart disease, GERD, or any of a number of  other chronic diseases that are so prevalent in this time of our history.

In regards to our health, no one in their right mind says that they choose to have diabetes in five years, or heart disease in eight years, or Alzheimer’s in fifteen years. Most people have good intentions to live well. But because of choices that are considered to be the norm, there is a progressive decline until symptoms are present on a frequent to constant basis.  Maybe you have some tests run. The results  show the path you are on, and are looked at each year but there is no significant alteration to lifestyle or diet. At some point the problem is affecting your quality of life to a point that something has to be done.

There are basically two choices. The first, which most people do, is go and get a medication to cover the symptoms, often without appropriate testing, and often with little or no lifestyle change. It is the easy way to temporarily reduce the complaint but it is usually just a stop-gap measure.

The other fork in the road is to seek out a physician who specializes in functional medicine who can help determine what is the underlying cause of the symptoms. This is done with a thorough history, exam, and tests, if necessary. With an understanding of the basis for the condition, a treatment plan can be put in place to start the reversal of the problem. Most chronic health conditions need an orderly process to work at reversing the damage that has been done. I think of it as a roadmap back to health.

There is a growing number of people who are not satisfied with the status quo of health care. Our bodies are designed with an amazing ability to change given the right tools.  Join the revolution to take back your health.

Blessings,
Dr. Petro

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