Physicians of the future will dispense no medicine, but will heal by prevention. This is not a new prediction. It was made in the 16th century by the physician and futurist Nostradamus. His prediction is rapidly coming true and chiropractic is at the forefront of this wellness revolution.
But, few revolutions are won without fighting and winning battles. This one is no different. One of the most significant battles for today’s chiropractic is still being waged — and it’s a battle that affects the quality and level of care that you provide to your patients in their quest to prevent illness.
The battle involves your ability to provide metabolic and nutritional medical laboratory testing for your patients. At this writing, 13 states still have laws prohibiting the chiropractic physician from drawing blood for these diagnostic laboratory studies!
Your patients are demanding, the national media is spreading the word and the federal government is encouraging a pathway to wellness and prevention. They all realize that unless we, as a population, turn to wellness and prevention, our current health delivery system will bankrupt the system as 85 million baby boomers are approaching Medicare age.
To put wellness into proper perspective and importance, the federal government has initiated a program called Healthy People 2010. (See sidebar.) Healthy People 2010 is a set of health objectives for the nation to achieve over the first decade of the new century. The very first goal in this mandated program is “to help individuals of all ages increase life expectancy and improve the quality of life.
Engaging in the Healthy People 2010 initiative, the American Chiropractic Association is emphasizing wellness and prevention for patients of its members. It will be implementing a formal wellness program that incorporates the goals of the Healthy People 2010 initiative on behalf of the chiropractic physicians and their patients.
Likewise emphasizing wellness, the Texas Chiropractic College has introduced classroom instruction on nutrition and utilization of metabolic and nutritional medical laboratory testing as part of its core curriculum.
The word is spreading fast. Even President Bush spoke of the importance of wellness in his State of the Union Address in January of 2004.
Good diet = longer life
Research by Ronald Hart, PhD, with oversight by the Food and Drug Administration and the National Institutes of Health, demonstrates the impact of proper diet: The right diet can extend lifespan — and more importantly — health span within animals by up to 40 percent!
Hart’s studies measured thousands of molecular, biochemical, physiological, behavioral and clinical endpoints and how they were modified by diet. It was found that what we eat and how much we eat can change how long and how well we live by affecting those very basic biological systems that help fight off diseases such as heart disease, cancer, autoimmune disorders and even the process of aging itself. The question it leaves for the individual is: “Is what I am doing right now, right for my personal health?”
Importance of testing
To put your patients on the road to wellness, document their biomarkers, baseline health measures.
You can document biomarkers through a health history. But establishing them through metabolic and nutritional medical laboratory testing is better.
When you select a laboratory for metabolic and nutritional biomarker testing, determine if the lab:
• Is FDA-approved;
• Incorporates testing that shows the proper functioning of the kidneys, liver and thyroid gland.
• Tracks the progress of blood glucose, cholesterol, triglycerides, HDL (good) and LDL (bad) cholesterol to show the risk of coronary artery disease, strokes, diabetes and peripheral vascular disease.
• Tests for analytes such as calcium, phosphate and alkaline phosphate. You are acutely aware of the importance of bone health. Establishing a baseline analysis of these analytes is critical to determine bone health at the beginning of a wellness program. And periodically analyzing these allows early intervention with nutritional supplements or a change in supplements if deterioration in bone health occurs.
To measure the patient’s improvement in controlling their metabolic state, test specific metabolic parameters quarterly. Periodic biomarker testing tracks the effectiveness of nutritional supplements and a dietary program — and in doing so, enhances the relationship between your patient, your staff and yourself.
Major medical insurance companies realize the importance of wellness and prevention as suggested by riders that pay for wellness-related programs.
You know the importance of prevention and wellness. Your patients have heard you say how important wellness is to them and their families. Take advantage of the tools — the metabolic and nutritional biomarkers and educational materials — to help them on their journey to wellness.
And if you practice in a state in which you are not allowed to perform diagnostic testing, engage in the battle for health and wellness, to preserve healthy, quality life. u
Jacky F. Dunn, DO, has practiced general medicine and emergency medicine for 29 years. He is the medical director for Biomed Personal Metabolic & Nutritional Testing, Inc.
Ronald W. Hart, PhD, was the director of toxicological research for the Food and Drug Administration. He has written more than 650 manuscripts, 250 abstracts and book chapters.