Most Patients Ask - "WHY is my body attacking Itself?"
My Initial Reply - "Do you REALLY want to know?"
It's Not Just a Smart ass Answer
Most Doctors Only Deal in WHAT, not WHY
Your doctor says: "Your tests show that you likely have Inflammatory Bowel Disease. It's an autoimmune disease which means that your body's overactive immune system is attacking your own cells and causing destruction of the lining of your bowel. I'm going to prescribe Humira. It's a medication known as a biologic and it will shut down a part of your immune system that's causing so much inflammation. This should calm the areas of destruction and allow your bowel to heal." It all sounds good, but what about the part where Humira is shutting down your immune system. Is that good? And, don't you need that immune system to fight off infection and cancer? Yes, you do need that immune system, and no, it's not good, especially if you read Humira's side effects or really listen to them on their TV commercial: Click Play below to take a listen!
Seriously, how nicely can you say: "fatal infections and cancers" with some beautiful background music? Are we even listening? Go back to the beginning, and ask what is wrong. Well, my overactive immune system is attacking my own cells. Right, now what can we do about it? Shut it down with Humira. You see, it's an answer to what is wrong, but not why. The real question is: "WHY is my immune system overactive, and attacking my own cells? Now we get down to my question - "Do you really want to know?".
Why don't most doctors deal in why?
They Just Don't Have The Time
With an average patient time of 18 minutes and 10 minutes of that time spent on an electronic health Record (the computer), does your doctor have time to get to why in 8 minutes? The truth is, your doctor doesn't have time for why, but only for what. They only have time for what is wrong, and here's a pill to treat your symptoms. Is that his or her fault? No, it is just the nature of things.
Your Autoimmune Condition Is Complicated
Most of the time, the sheer complexity of getting an answer to: “Why is my body attacking itself?”, is one of the main reasons that most doctors don’t even attempt it. The magnitude of the answer is difficult to come by and requires a lot of testing and even more interpretation of that testing. The answer to why also requires a generous proficiency in Biochemistry, Immunology, and Physiology. It requires a very well-rounded doctor. This doctor must also be willing and able to do first hand research when inevitably his patient's condition challenges him beyond his knowledge. Most doctors would rather just say, "We just don't know why. Some day, we might know, but for now, you'll just have to use this drug that will treat your symptoms". But, Is this True?
Doctors Fear Insurance Companies
With increasingly ironclad contracts, insurance companies are telling doctors how to practice, and worse than that, how to treat patients. Doctors know they are always being evaluated by insurance companies. If the insurance company feels like the doctor orders too many tests or spends too much time with patients, they could be dropped (essentially fired) by the insurance carrier. Now the doctor is on the outside of their practice looking in, but they can no longer treat those patients because now, they are "Out Of Network". In fact, practice management consultants often tell doctors not to get too deep into one insurance carrier or managed care group, because if that group drops you, the financial consequences could be devastating. Insurance companies can fire doctors at any time and for any reason. Doctors know this, and they fear it. There's a reason doctors hate words like: Managed Care, Prior Authorization, Utilization Management, Step Therapy, Capitation, Over Utilization and Medically Unnecessary. These words are code for healthcare rationing, and for the insurance company these words represent big business and even bigger stockholder profits. Make no mistake, if your doctor is "In Network", they fear the insurance company. Getting to the why of your autoimmune condition means significant testing and lengthy visits with lengthy explanations to patients, and all that must be justified to the insurance company, If all of that might cost your doctor their practice and the way they feed their family, it's not going to be high on their priority list. This makes the Doctor operate out of FEAR instead of LOVE, FEAR of the insurance company instead of LOVE for taking care of patients.
Market Forces don't want to know WHY.
Drug Companies Don't Want to Know WHY
There's more money in treating symptoms than getting down to WHY you have those symptoms. Reading the clinical research quickly reveals a constant interest in drug intervention - "Where can we plug a drug into failing human biochemistry?" It's true, the pharmaceutical industry supports a great deal of research, but if you start that research with the intent of finding a drug to sell, you're not likely to find much else. Besides that, the research scientists themselves know where their bread is buttered, and that certainly has an influence on them and the outcome of their research. The pharmaceutical industry is by far the largest contributor to funding research, and their intention is NOT to find out why you have autoimmune disease so that you no longer need medication.
Most patients really don't want to know WHY their body is attacking itself.
We as consumers are partly to blame. Let's face it, the market for pharmaceuticals wouldn't be so big if we didn't consume so many drugs. The U.S. by far OUTSPENDS ANY OTHER COUNTRY on pharmaceuticals. We want our fast food, and we want our fast drugs. Most of us go to the doctor when our body is bothering us, and we want it to stop. Our bodies are keeping us from living life on our terms, and we just want them to "SHUT UP" so we can get back to doing what we want. We've gotten so used to going to the doctor and coming away with a prescription, that we think our doctor failed us when we don't. If we started asking WHY, and acting on the answer, it would be a game changer. The pharmaceutical industry would shrink to one tenth it's current size, Americans would shrink to half of their current size, and the cost of healthcare would drop so drastically that we would have the U.S. deficit paid off in no time. But why won't this all happen?