William Osler, a highly respected Canadian physician of the early 20th century who was one of the founders of Johns Hopkins Hospitals, said “Listen to your patient; he is telling you the diagnosis.”
Patients who have been trying to get to the bottom of their often-long term health issues with no success have obvious frustration.
Osler pointed out that the only way to sort out what is going on is to listen to the patient; after all they are the only ones living in their body and have been there for the whole journey. A principle that many doctors seem to forget is that no testing is more important than getting the history from the patient.
The next step is to figure out when things went wrong. This includes considering the possibility of any genetic component. Numerous patients with genetic connective tissue conditions like Ehlers Danlos Syndrome present with a multitude of problems all of which can be traced to a condition of genetically determined overly loose connective tissues.
Was there an infection? Some physical or emotional trauma or stress that overwhelmed their system? Maybe some environmental or toxic exposure? Or some underlying autoimmune or vascular disease that is now apparent? Or maybe some dietary or allergic component that has triggered other issues?
After going through this process, necessary testing is done to shed light on or prove the theory, or uncover what has not been seen. This includes radiology and blood and stool tests, as well as a host of other possible approaches.
After all this questioning and testing, which may include referral to other specialists for second opinions it is time to work with the patient to come up with approaches to get well.
This begins with addressing the following areas sleep, nutrition and intestinal function, hormonal deficiencies or excess, inflammation, and stress management. If we are not sure what to do you can never go wrong by optimizing sleep, which may include doing sleep studies to uncover hidden sleep disorders, which are very common. Many patients with food allergies and underplayed intestinal disorders which when addressed can make a big difference with inflammation, pain, weight issues, nutritional disorders due to malabsorption.
In terms of hormonal issues many people are walking around with undiagnosed thyroid and adrenal gland issues, which can make people feel lousy and make life hard to live.
This is just a sense of an approach that can offer people the possibility of health where it did now previously seem possible.