Chapter 19-IDIOPATHIC DISEASE
Idiopathic disease is defined as a disease that does not have a known cause. You would be shocked to find out how many diseases are classified as idiopathic. I have never seen a figure put to it but I would guess the number to be at least 25% and possibly upwards of 50%. The point is we really don’t know much about disease. Yes, as modern science improves we are learning, but we still have a long way to go.
When I entered the chiropractic college at Parker University I was excited to learn all of the things I would need to know to become an amazing doctor, in fact I still aspire to this day to become one of the world’s greatest healers. My expectation was to have some incredible life-changing revelation, and I did! But it wasn’t the mind-shifting change that I thought it would be. Instead it was a confirmation of what I already suspected.
I came into school healthy, with a good idea of what defined it. I believed before my education that diet, sleep, exercise, and a fully functioning nervous system were the keys to health. Exiting school I have realized that I was right…with the addition of positive thinking to aid in optimal health. This has been a novel concept.
Working at the Research Institute at Parker University provided me with the opportunity to read a great volume of scientific literature, including case studies, meta-analysis, and randomized controlled trials. In reading study after study patterns began to emerge. Obesity is the most accurate predictor of most disease. Lifestyle habits like caloric intake (how much you eat) and exercise were the only viable predictor of survival rates after a serious disease formed, for example ovarian cancer.
Although diseases like cancer and autoimmune conditions like rheumatoid arthritis are classified as idiopathic, in my mind the causes are clear. Lifestyle choices are the cause in most cases. There are exceptions, for example children who suffer from cancer. It is doubtful that this type of disease process could be attributed to a lifestyle choice. More than likely there is some sort of structural pathology that science has not yet been able to detect. But I digress. The classification of idiopathic disease, like genetics, has given people an excuse to separate themselves from personal responsibility.
I am not quite sure why modern medicine hesitates to attribute diseases to lifestyle choices. The ball is moving in that direction but ever so slowly. Epidemiological studies have proven how diet and other lifestyle factors contribute to disease. Historically their peers shun the doctors that speak out about this, perhaps that is the reason it is taking so long for the truth to emerge.
Lastly…what would it hurt to try to improve your health in the ways I have described? If you have an autoimmune condition, cancer, or any other idiopathic disease why not try to eat, sleep, move, and think well? Why not get your nervous system checked for subluxation? Why not improve all of the key areas of health? The worst thing that can happen is that you will become a health-nut, and that isn’t such a bad thing.