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Day 2 @ Paleo f(x)™

Dr. Chris Kresser, “How to End Chronic Disease”

Day two featured Berkeley-based Dr. Chris Kresser, Founder, The Center for Functional Medicine and The Kresser Institute.  I was really excited to hear Chris’s talk and will dedicate this entire post to what he covered. Most of what Chris covered can be found in his book, Unconventional Medicine.

I’m writing this on the airplane and noticed Chris is on my flight. I decided not to bother him as I suspect he may have entertained a fair number of fans during the weekend event. I was a little tempted to be that guy.

I’ve supplemented a few of the points from his talk with a few point from his book and strongly suggest you consider adding this one to shelf. I’ve briefly discussed his work before and hope this represents a bit more context and learning.

  1. Today traditional, conventional medicine uses drugs as band-aids. It’s time we figure out a new model of disease prevention.
    1. ABoone note: Let’s think about the relationship we have with our Doctor. Is he/she strategizing and consulting re: how to optimize our health and well being?  Who are the Docs out there able and willing to engage in these discussions? Let’s go find them.

Imagine a new model of healthcare where:

  1. The approach is one that prevents and reverses chronic disease instead of just managing it.
  2. Patient protocols are overhauled, so time spent between patient and doctors and other participants is creative and inspiring and rewarding.
  3. The focus is on patients taking charge of their own life, namely lifestyle and behavior changes.
  4.  Organizations and individual experience a decrease in healthcare costs.

Chris’s view of chronic disease:

  1. Chronic disease is a slow motion plague that is destroying our health, shortening our lifespan, bankrupting our government and threatening the health of future generations.
  2. Most people don’t realize two really important points:
    1. The scale and urgency of the problem.
    2. The action we take must not come out of same system that caused and continues to cause problems. It’s time for real change.

*Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. We need a new approach to healthcare.

3 Pieces to the Puzzle – a new model of Healthcare:

  1. Functional Medicine – a systems approach to patient care.
  2. Ancestral Medicine + Lifestyle – living in line with our genes.
  3. Collaborative Practice Model – a group of people all strategizing toward empowering patients to take charge with the mission being preventing, reversing and even curing conditions vs. managing.

Today we are living longer, but are we living better?

  1. If you were born in 1900, there was a good chance you would be dead before your 50th birthday.
  2. Collectively, advances in technology and medicine have led to dramatic increase in human lifespan in the industrialized world.
  3. Today if you live in the US, average lifespan is 78 years. But are people able to live rich and fulfilling lives?
  4. 27% of children suffer from chronic disease. This can mean 60 to 70 or more years of medications and suffering.
  5. Situation is worse than we thought. It’s estimated that children today are the first generation of children not expected to outlive their parents.
    1. ABoone note: I’ve mentioned this one before and it really has be thinking about how I can continue supporting and empowering our children, adolescents and teens
    2. Key mission of Julie Shepherd‘s Equip Sport Performance.
      1. How do we Equip our kids to take charge and wake-up to their own Health sooner vs. later?
  6. 20/20 hindsight:
    1. 1950’s obesity was rare
    2. Chronic disease is a defining feature of Western society
  7. The colossal burden
    1. 1 in 2 Americans has a chronic disease
    2. 1 in 4 have multiple disease conditions
    3. Chronic diseases causes 7 of 10 deaths in the US
    4. Chronic disease accounts for 86% of healthcare expenditures
    5. 99% of medicare dollars
    6. 91% of Rx
    7. 76% of physician visits

  1. The financial burden is so enormous, hard to comprehend
    1. Costs the US $3.2 trillion year
    2. Will generate $47 trillion in costs globally by 2030 if epidemic is unchecked
  2. Expected to get worse before better. A few of the staggering numbers:
    1. CDC estimates 1 in 3 or about 100,000,000 (one hundred million) have pre-diabetes or diabetes
    2. 88% of people with pre-diabetes don’t know they have it
    3. Rate of type 2 diabetes in children and teens the rate of type 2 is progressing almost 5%/year
    4. 1 in 6 people have an autoimmune disorder and this is growing

While chronic disease has become our “normal”, there is a BIG difference between what’s common and what’s normal.

  1. Not normal for humans to develop these conditions
  2. Not normal for us to suffer
  3. Not normal to take piles of medications

3 causes to chronic disease epidemic:

  1. Mismatch between genes and our environment
  2. Current model is optimized for acute care vs. chronic conditions
  3. The way healthcare is delivered, doesn’t support interventions for prevention and reversing disease.

So, a new model of health care is one that we all must be interested in. It will take our collective effort:

  1. Functional medicine – systems focused approach that looks at underlying causes.
    1. What that means to you?
      1. Find a Doc who is willing to look at the underlying cause vs. treating symptoms.
      2. Several excellent functional medicine doctors in the area.
      3. ABoone note: CFN is working on partnership, so that we can secure direct, discounted blood tests and panels. My intention is to help you create tools so that you can work with your current physician or find a new physician willing to partner with you as y0u get more curious about your health.
  2. Ancestral diet & lifestyle
    1. Individualized diet approach that’s in line with what genes are designed for.
      1. ABoone note: Are you curious about your genetic make-up?
        1. Some very interesting talks on Day 3 which I will share tomorrow, Monday.
      2. Lifestyle changes in line with what our genes are designed for.
      3. Two above are effective, but not always enough to restore.
  3. Collaboration between Doctors, patients and other Supporting players like a knowledgeable Health Coach who can offer service and/or help guide players.
    1. These often include Body worker, meditation practice, nutritionist other healers.
    2. This is the role of the CFN 7 and really how we want people to get curious!

ABoone note: I want to close by posting the following slide from Chris’s talk one more time. I have no idea if Chris will ever read this post – unlikely – but want to offer him sincere and public thanks for being a leader among a growing group of practitioners and advocates fighting for change. This was his 7th Paleo f(x)™, so he’s not new to the scene.

What’s your job? I rather see it as our collective opportunity. I want to encourage us all to continue waking-up to our Health. To be curious about what data we can look at and really consider how we are thinking,  feeling and living. Not the stories we tell ourselves, but really the daily choices we make re: our lifestyle and behavior.


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