Dr. Jeffrey Bland is one of my heroes. He’s the father of functional medicine, which provides the foundation and inspiration for our approach to patient care at Natural Healthcare Center.
Dr. Bland recently wrote an article about the challenges of COVID-19 – not for society as a whole, but for each of us as individuals. He asked a simple question.
What should we do?
Dr. Bland talks about the stress and emotional exhaustion people are experiencing as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. He talks about the harsh reality that a vaccine is probably many months away. As a result, all of us are likely to be exposed to COVID-19 at some point if we haven’t been already.
Dr. Bland also discusses how different areas of the world have responded to COVID-19 compared to past epidemics like SARS and Ebola, and which approaches were more effective. He talks about how people suffering from chronic illnesses such as obesity, hypertension, and prediabetes are at the greatest risk. Genetics don’t seem to be a factor, and COVID-19 doesn’t just affect the lungs.
As a clinician who has been an advocate for functional medicine since I was an undergraduate student, I love the science and data behind COVID-19 research that Dr. Bland shares in this article. That science and data can get pretty technical and complex.
However, when you get to the answer to Dr. Bland’s question – what can you do – the answers are very familiar and fairly simple.
The first step is to reduce exposure. We need to stop politicizing public health and use common sense. Wear a mask. Wash hands frequently. Maintain social distance. Limit group interaction. Only gather in places with good ventilation.
These are all simple choices each individual must make.
The second step is to optimize your resilience to COVID-19. If you’re dealing with chronic illnesses such as obesity, prediabetes or diabetes, cardiovascular disease, you should take steps to rejuvenate your immune system.
Again, these are all choices each individual must make. Healthy people are already doing these things and are extremely low-risk.
Think about this for a second. We have this pandemic that has infected millions of people and killed more than 200,000 people in our country. We have the greatest functional medicine practitioner in the world breaking down the science in data.
As advanced as the science and data are, Dr. Bland’s recommendations – what you can do to overcome the challenges of COVID-19 – are very basic.
It doesn’t matter if we’re talking about the flu, heart disease, COVID-19, or the common cold. If you want to prevent or reduce the risk of chronic illness, you have to make better lifestyle choices. These are the conversations I have every day with my patients.
I’m not equating COVID-19 with the common cold. This is a highly contagious, deadly disease that everyone needs to take seriously. However, if you make healthy choices, the odds of becoming very ill, developing long-term health problems, and dying are greatly reduced.
This should be a wakeup call for all of us to take our own personal chronic illness survey. Do you have any of these conditions? Are you making healthy choices? If not, are you willing to make changes?
You don’t have to accept chronic illness as a permanent condition. There is an alternative to working with a medical doctor to manage symptoms with prescription medication. You just commit to reversing chronic illness and increasing your resilience to disease by making better choices each day.
Even if you’re not concerned about the coronavirus, don’t you want to feel your very best? Don’t you want to not only be able to do the things you enjoy, but excel? Don’t you want to live as many disease-free years as possible?
This is what I mean when I say feel better, function better, and live longer. This is what we work to help every one of our patients achieve.
Follow CDC guidelines for minimizing exposure. Live responsibly. Take better care of yourself to rejuvenate your immune system. It’s not complicated.
Remember, you don’t have to wait for a vaccine to enjoy life. You just have to make better choices! Always remember that you have the power to take control of your own health.
If you’d like to determine your current state of health and what steps you can take to reduce risks associated with COVID-19 and other diseases, contact us today to schedule your complimentary consultation.