This week I will be discussing the Western approach to medicine and soon I will present my thoughts on Eastern approaches to medicine. Watch this short video and read more below.
Western medicine refers to a system where medical professionals use medications to treat diseases.
Western medical traditions started with the discovery of the smallpox vaccine and was followed by discoveries of the transmission of diseases by bacteria and then the discovery of antibiotics.
The success of sulfa drugs started the reliance of Western medicine on pharmaceuticals to treat disease and illness. Soon, evidenced-based medicine using drugs, surgery, and lifestyle changes were adopted after their tolerance, effectiveness, and side effects were documented and analyzed. Treatment protocols are continuously updated using discoveries in molecular biology and genomic research and disseminated by global information science and practiced by doctors, nurses, therapists, and pharmacists worldwide.
However, the major drawback of the Western approach to medicine is the lack of emphasis on prevention. Even when the effectiveness of vaccination to prevent infectious disease and smoking cessation to reduce the incidence of lung cancer are clearly evident, prevention strategies for reducing the incidence of lifestyle conditions such as Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and cancer recurrence are not vigorously promoted.
For example, the major contributor to blood glucose elevation that promotes the development of Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer recurrence is carbohydrates from grain-based food. A reduction of 50% of the intake of grains and grain flour products can produce significant control of body weight, blood sugar, blood cholesterol, and cancer recurrence.
Another drawback of the Western approach to medicine is that it promotes the overuse of medical tests and care in the name of prolongation of life regardless of the potential for suffering by the patient.
Yet another drawback is the continued administration of old remedies even after new and more efficient methods of treatments are available because there is no efficient system to remove the old ones from the established reimbursement processes.