Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Wisdom Wednesday: Diagnosis

This term has been in use since the early 1800’s to describe the “label” given to a particular disease process. Its use has gradually grown over time to be common place today.

The Mayo Clinic in Minnesota is self-proclaimed as the best diagnosis facility in the world. I’ve had a couple of patients evaluated there and I am impressed with their team approach to diagnostic evaluation.

Once evaluated by Mayo, they follow your medical history until death and then hope to be allowed to perform an autopsy. The sole purpose of which is to verify the diagnosis they gave you years earlier. No other medical facility in the world has this kind of follow-up protocol.

So how accurate are they? Mayo Clinic states that their given diagnosis is correct about one-third of the time. That’s really seeing the glass a third full. Others may say that Mayo Clinic is wrong two-thirds of the time.

If they are indeed the best and arrive at the wrong diagnosis twice as often as the correct diagnosis, where does it leave the rest of the health care profession?

The term diagnosis is a combination of two Greek terms, “di” meaning two and “agnostic” meaning to lack knowledge or not know. So, the literal translation of diagnostic is to be of two minds and not know.

In all fairness, the concept is to develop a differential diagnosis, a list of possible disease causes. From there, unlike the television character House, a series of tests are devised to arrive at the correct diagnosis. You eliminate all that it cannot be and what remains is what it is.

Unfortunately, treatment is too often based on that diagnostic label, one that’s most often incorrect. In contrast, I look to treat the more general aspects of the condition, regardless of the label.

For example, treating Hashimoto’s thyroiditis is not much different than treating Rheumatoid arthritis. Both are autoimmune in nature. You need to modulate the immune system, restore the gut, and support the organ(s) affected. The traditional lab tests are then used as a benchmark for improvement, along with the symptom complex of the patient. Resolution of thyroid auto-antibodies or a decrease in the ANA (anti-nuclear antibodies) are good signs of improvement, not diagnostic labels.

I had a patient that was suffering from kidney failure erroneously diagnosed with psoriasis. The urea was seeping through her skin as the kidneys were unable to process the ammonia. The caking toxins looked a little like psoriatic lesions. Another was diagnosed with Carpal tunnel syndrome when the correct diagnosis was MS. As a chiropractor, I was taught that the cause of all disease is subluxation of the spine. That kind of dogma has no place in health care. I’ve learned never to accept the diagnosis the patient walks in the door with on face value.

The Bottom Line:
Don’t accept your diagnosis as being accurate. You can, however, approach your condition by addressing the organs and systems involved regardless of the label and use the diagnostic testing as a barometer of success.

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