I’m Natalie and I am a 23 year old health care and science graduate of the University of Wisconsin. After years of late night study sessions, countless patient contact hours and the occasional beer pitcher I had become the oh so common, cookie cutter health care student. I knew how to check vitals and perform simple diagnostic testings. I survived organic chemistry, anat&phys and physics. I had learned all of the formulas, anatomy, systems and symptoms and I was prepared (or so I thought) to continue to follow my passion for health and wellness by pursuing a career as a nurse practitioner. It wasn’t until after graduation, when my employer recommended that I read Dr. Mark Hyman’s book Ultraprevention, that I realized I knew nothing about how to be and stay healthy.
Our health care system today is built around the idea of disease. But when you break down the word disease to its core what is it exactly? Can you picture it? Can you describe it? Right now I’m guessing that your mental image is ranging anywhere from the running nose of an energetic six year old to an elderly grandmother bedridden with some form of cancer. In reality, these diseases do not exist in the way we typically think about them; diseases are merely just words that we use to describe a subset of symptoms and a tool we use to decipher the right medication. And thus our health care system is driven by a repeating cycle. Symptoms, diagnosis, over medication. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
It is because of this mindset that our country has worse health care outcomes and lower life expectancy than most other developed nations. Chronic illnesses in America, like diabetes, obesity and heart disease are on the rise and account for nearly 86% of our health care costs. Not only are chronic health conditions the leading cause of death and disability in the United States they are also the most preventable of all health problems. Our conventional system and westernized dominant approach of treating acute symptoms is failing to solve this chronic disease epidemic. It wasn’t until after I graduated that I realized our health care system approach merely puts a Band-Aid on the long term consequences of chronic disease. Our system needs to shift its focus away from symptoms and “disease” and start treating patients for causes and prevention. Promoting health and preventing disease requires so much more than prescribing pills and pushing procedures. Achieving optimal health and wellness requires caring and knowledgeable health care professionals, holistic approaches to care and expansion of knowledge of integrative and functional medicine.
I started Wholeheartedly Healthy to do just that. I have chosen to pursue a career as an integrative and functional medicine health care professional and I wanted to share with you, my family and friends, the interesting things I learn along the way. Whether it be medical lectures, lifestyle resources, recipes or my own personal journey, I hope you find it interesting, but more importantly I hope you learn to never stop asking questions. Science and the way we practice medicine are evolving and it is time that we stop treating symptoms and disease and start promoting health and wellness.
The information posted in this blog is for informational purposes only and should be used as a resource to question our current health care model and your own wellness. It is not intended to diagnose or treat conditions and should not be used as a substitute for advice from your own health care professional.