Over the past decade I’ve spent a significant amount of time reading medical research and thinking about medical-related health problems. One of the things this process has shown me is that our health care system is, by and large, a failure. By definition, the primary job of any health care system is to care for people’s health. In that regard, our health care system is not doing its job.
At the moment, we’re not really taking care of people’s health, we’re merely trapping them in a vicious cycle of disease, drugs, disability, and despair; and ultimately, death (The 5 D’s of modern health care). We’re sacrificing the health of the population in favor of the financial interests of pharmaceutical companies.
Obviously, I’m exaggerating to make a point here. Not all of the components that make up our health care system are malfunctioning: some people do find the help they need within the mainstream medical system. Moreover, not all health practitioners sit behind a desk prescribing drugs all day long. However, as a whole, I think it’s safe to say that our health care system is not working as well as it could be. Far from it.
The idea that modern medicine works miracles is so ingrained into many people’s minds that they don’t question it even when they don’t get the medical care they need
To the average Joe, the initial statements of this article may seem extreme. My impression is that a significant proportion of the general population believes our health care system is working very well. A lot of people grow up learning and thinking that we, as a species, got the whole medical thing figured out: they think that modern medicine produces miracles all the time, and like Mark Zuckerberg, they believe that we will soon be able to cure many or all human diseases via the development of new drugs and medical technologies.
These beliefs are so deeply ingrained into people’s minds that even many of those who get sick and fail to get better despite seeing several different doctors and other health practitioners don’t question the merits of modern medicine. Instead of thinking that there’s something wrong with how we currently approach the prevention and treatment of disease, they end up thinking that there’s something wrong with them: that they are simply destined to be sick and that there’s nothing that can be done about their problems. Many are labeled as hypochondriacs by their doctors and loved ones, despite the fact that there’s clearly something physically wrong with them.
Countless people across the world undoubtedly find themselves in this situation. I’ve personally been in contact with some of them, who reached out to me because they had found no help within the conventional medical sphere. I’ve also been there myself. I think it’s truly sad that so many people find themselves in this situation, and I think it’s long past time that our health care system starts taking better care of these individuals.
Where we succeed and where we fail
In some respects, it could be argued that the conventional opinion of modern health care is correct. There’s no doubt that modern medicine is capable of doing great things. Particularly within the realm of health care that has to do with surgical procedures and the treatment of acute, life-threatening wounds, mainstream medicine does a lot of good work.
However, within many other realms of conventional medicine, the situation is not so pleasant. As I pointed out in my recent article entitled Mainstream Medicine Overlooks the Two Major Causes of Chronic Illness, mainstream medicine fails to address the two major causes of chronic illness, namely dysbiosis and chronic inflammation. Most doctors know little or nothing about evolutionary nutrition, microbiome restoration, or Darwinian medicine; hence, they are not equipped with the tools they need to treat chronic inflammation and dysbiosis.
I don’t claim to have all the answers; however, if there’s one thing I know, it’s that it’s impossible for health practitioners to take good care of their patients’ health if they don’t possess knowledge about nutrition and evolutionary health, seeing as obesity, diabetes, acne vulgaris, colon cancer, and many, many other chronic diseases and health disorders can’t be effectively treated with a pharmaceutical drug or a surgical procedure. One has to intervene at the level of diet and lifestyle to make any headway. Evolutionary health principles are also invaluable assets to have in the prevention and treatment of many acute health problems.
This is something everyone who’s digged into the scientific research on evolutionary health promotion and Darwinian medicine knows. Unlike the average Joe, most Darwinian physicians probably don’t find the initial statements of this article extreme or radical: they acknowledge that our health care system needs a makeover, or else, it will continue to work at partial capacity.
Our health care system is in desperate need of a makeover
I think the main problem at the moment is that we’re not seeing the human body for what it is: a complex, evolved biological system. Instead, mainstream medicine seems to operate under the belief that the body is a machine. At least that’s the impression one can get from seeing how we’re currently treating disease. Instead of addressing the fundamental, underlying causes of illness, much of the focus of mainstream medicine is on manipulating individual receptors and genes that are involved in specific disorders.
This approach of targeting and changing isolated components of a system can work well when dealing with a damaged machine; however, it doesn’t work so well for repairing a damaged body, as evidenced by the fact that the prevalence of numerous complex diseases has skyrocketed over the most recent decades.
I think this is something a lot of people don’t know or forget. It makes absolutely no sense to think that our health care system is working perfectly, seeing as we’re in the midst of a chronic disease pandemic. We haven’t been able to knock out conditions such as obesity, myopia, type-2 diabetes, and celiac disease. On the contrary, these and many other chronic disease and disorders are becoming more and more common.
It is true that we in modern times have been able to combat many infectious diseases that plagued our not so distant ancestors. However, what is important to note is that modern medicine’s role in making this happen is much smaller than most people thing. In reality, much of the progress in this field occurred as a result of improvements related to public sanitation and hygiene. Antibiotics and other drugs were certainly also helpful in some instances; however, they were not solely responsible for kicking infectious diseases to the curb.
Moreover, it’s important to remember the widespread use of antimicrobial drugs over the most recent decades has caused untold damage to human health, as well as to the health of many other organisms here on Earth. Not only have we, via our indiscriminate use of antibiotics in clinical medical practice, aquaculture, and agriculture, triggered the evolution and spread of antibiotic resistant superbugs, but we’ve also damaged some of the microbial communities that are present on this planet, including those that reside on our own bodies. We’ve altered the natural cycles of life.
This is something I think a lot of people forget when they talk about the miracles of modern medicine. They forget that the benefits we’ve derived from antibiotics and other drugs have to be measured against the detrimental impact they’ve had on us and the planet.
If evolutionary biology had been an integral part of mainstream medicine, this fiasco could largely been avoided. Evolutionary science predicts that the infusion of antibiotic substances into microbial ecosystems will result in the creation and spread of antibiotic resistant bugs, and that it’s virtually impossible to keep up with the evolution of microbes by constantly creating new drugs, seeing as microbes evolve at a very rapid pace. Moreover, evolutionary science predicts that a significant perturbation of one or more of the microbial communities that are present in our proximate environment will adversely affect us, seeing as we humans have evolved together with microbes. Over time, we’ve come to depend on the genetic capabilities of microorganisms in order to function according to our evolutionary design.
If some of the organisms we depend on are taken away or we alter the microbial systems we’re regularly exposed to in novel way, bad things are bound to happen.
Unfortunately though, mainstream medicine doesn’t pay much attention to these evolutionary considerations. There’s little doubt in my mind that this is one of the primary – if not the primary – reason why he health of the modern man is so poor. On average, we live longer than our primal ancestors, much thanks to modern medical inventions; however, we’re not healthier. On the contrary, we’re in much worse shape than they were. It has become the norm to be chronically inflamed and overweight.
One of my goals with this site is to try and turn this around and help sick people who’ve gotten little or no help within the conventional medical system get better.
We should let science guide us in the development of a better health care system
Throughout this article it may seem that I’m skeptical of the way mainstream medicine operates. I’m not going to deny that. I think our health care system is in desperate need of a makeover. With that said, as pointed out earlier, I do acknowledge that some parts of our health care system, such as the parts that have to do with surgical interventions, work well. I just wish the same could be said for every part of our health care system.
What I think is important to mention is that Darwinian medicine differs markedly from alternative medical disciplines such as naturopathy and Ayurveda. Darwinian/evolutionary medicine is not based on beliefs or folklore; it’s based on science. The field of Darwinian medicine is guided by the principle of evolution via natural selection and is supported by a solid body of scientific evidence derived from studies within many different fields, including anthropology, evolutionary biology, and nutrition. Unfortunately, mainstream medicine pays little attention to this material, despite the fact that it could dramatically improve the working of the modern health care system if it were to be integrated into its foundations.