By Dr. DV, Dushyant Viswanathan, MD, ABIM, ABOIM, AACE
CCIM Medical Director
My heart goes out to all people who are struggling with daily symptoms, physical complaints, illnesses, which if they’ve been going on for longer than 3 months, I’d call chronic. Sometimes people find themselves in the hospital with an acute exacerbation of a chronic illness, or they find themselves in the hospital being diagnosed with a serious illness even though they had no prior complaints. It happens every day, and it usually is very scary and anxiety-provoking.
People in this situation want to “get better,” and this is the fundamental intention behind whatever treatment plan their doctors or the medical system provide. Doctors usually provide statistics from clinical trials to substantiate a decision to provide a treatment, but CANNOT promise that a patient will “get better.” Nor is the concept of disease reversal ever discussed with patients in the mainstream medical setting. Again, even the experience with doctors is usually confusing, anxiety-provoking, and scary.
Typically the treatment plan involves surgery, drugs, radiotherapy (for cancer), devices (such as pacemakers, prosthetics, etc.), or extensive physical rehabilitation programs. These treatments each are developed by multi-million dollar industries, and are substantiated by clinical trials that occur in very controlled settings. Doctors essentially match a treatment to a disease, and facilitate the execution of the treatment.
Yet the fact of the matter is that with very few exceptions, most patients do not “get better.” Even if one illness (such as cancer) improves, another one (such as heart failure, pneumonia, etc) manifests soon thereafter. Too many people suffer this way- one thing after another. The reason this happens is because simply matching a technology-driven treatment to a disease isn’t enough to address the complicated and nuanced aspects of human physiology and pathology.
All of this sounds like bad news. Very depressing. However, I come as the bearer of good news. What I want the reader to know is that many diseases are reversible. Not just be on medications for life. Not that. What I mean is that the illness can go away. This is about possibility-driven thinking.
There is a process that led to the illness in the first place, and there is a process that leads to the healing. It is that simple. My patients see themselves as dynamic participants in their experience, in their medical care, rather than as static sufferers doomed from the start. When we complete a diagnostic workup and we understand the causes of symptoms, then our next step is to say,
“Well, the good news is, this is totally reversible. Let’s talk about how to do that.”
When my patients hear this, they find it a natural response to the problems they are experiencing. All medical conditions are either reversible or irreversible. An experienced doctor will be able to communicate without delay whether a particular clinical condition is reversible or not. In my case, as an internal medicine physician who specializes in enteroimmunology and endocrinology for patients in the community, in the hospital, in nursing homes, and at home, I identify immediately whether a medical condition is reversible or not. And then I proceed getting to work helping a patient reverse their illness.
You, as a patient, can have this conversation, in fact, you must! Make your physician accountable for this, and seek out the reversibility of illness now! That opportunity is available to you now!
It is because I can have this conversation, engage this journey, with my patients that I love my work as a doctor so much. I see other doctors watch their patients slowly deteriorate over time, mostly because there is no plan of action addressing reversing the illness; meanwhile my patients’ health visibly improves; they not only get to the point having no symptoms but also achieve their health goals. I speak at conferences presenting my patient cases as examples of how to reverse illness.
The culture we create with our patients isn’t about aggressive treatments to destroy illness; rather, it is about intelligently and with a nuanced sensibility optimizing physiology, leading to improved organ function, eradication of inflammation, improved metabolism, and improved vitality and lifestyle. As a side effect of improving and optimizing the immune system, illness/symptoms go away, and wellness persists. Why the American public doesn’t expect treatments to reverse the underlying causes of illness is something that I still do not understand. Thankfully there are physicians available committed to exactly this. That is the only medical treatment I would want for my family and loved ones.
Dushyant Viswanathan, MD, ABIM, ABOIM, AACE
21900 Burbank Blvd. #300 Woodland Hills, CA 91367
10320 Little Patuxent Pkwy Ste. 200 Columbia, MD 21044
74075 El Paseo # B2, Palm Desert, CA 92260