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At Georgetown University: What Does it Truly Mean to Be a Physician?

This year RH was again invited back to speak to the graduate students in the Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) program at Georgetown University on the topic of Metabolic Syndrome and the integrative medical approach to care. Dr. Safayan spoke on the environmental pressures from pollution and poor farming practices, processed food and stress which have lead to Metabolic Syndrome as being the number one cause of illness in the US today. He noted that it is truly unfortunate that the most productive nation in the world spends 17% of our gross domestic product (GDP) on a health care system that is ranked 38th in the world by the World Health Organization (WHO). “We are the most overfed and unhealthy first world nation on Earth and by 2020 50% of our population will be prediabetic or diabetic and of that population over the age of 50, 90% will have metabolic syndrome.” If left unchecked this will have a devastating impacted on health care cost in the US for decades to come.

Dr. Threlkel spoke on the integrative medical approach to evaluate Metabolic Syndrome and noted that although we have a lot of sophisticated diagnostic tools at our disposal at RH to evaluate and treat our patients with Metabolic Syndrome, we always start with lifestyle modification because it is simple and effective. When this does not work then we do further evaluation and management using supplements and even medications when required.

Dr. Windsor finished the lecture by giving a case presentation of one of our Metabolic Syndrome patients who came in to our office at 28 years old with borderline hypertension, mild obesity and prediabetes. Unfortunately she did not follow any of our recommendations and was lost to follow up. When she did return after two years she came in very sick and her physical exam and laboratory showed her to be hypertensive, morbidly obese and diabetic. After an hour visit with us she was told all of her problems were reversible if she was willing to make some lifestyle changes, and otherwise she would go on a minimum of three medications if not more as she aged. She opted for lifestyle change and saw Dr. Windsor over the next 6 months. At the end of Dr. Windsor’s program, she had lost 36 pounds, her blood pressure was normal, and she was no longer diabetic. She not only felt great but also commented that she has her life back.

Dr. Safayan ended the lecture by saying, “At Restorative Health we are able to provide our patients medicine when it is absolutely needed, but we would rather teach and empower our patients to care for themselves long term because this is truly what it means to be a physician.”