While sugar may seem like an innocuous substance to some, the compound can cause severe damage to both physical and mental health when consumed in excessive amounts. Experts believe that high sugar intake is one of the leading causes of rising obesity and chronic disease rates across the globe. What’s more, chronic overconsumption can increase future cravings for sugar and ultimately result in sugar addiction, which has become prevalent in the population. Many people remain unaware of the negative health effects the substance has on their bodies and even the amount they are consuming on a daily basis, as sugar is often a hidden ingredient in various food products. These individuals experience a heightened risk of developing one or more of the many conditions associated with high sugar consumption, including but not limited to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
The speed and scale of the COVID-19 pandemic response highlighted the fragmentation of current healthcare systems across the globe and how it significantly impairs the ability to respond effectively. Making matters worse, the impact of the pandemic on population health and the functionality of healthcare systems has been and will continue to be far-reaching and long-lasting.
As the world attempts to rebuild from the pandemic, many individuals are left with serious and lingering health issues that require immediate and consistent attention. Healthcare practitioners are now facing a rising prevalence of chronic disease, growing cases of long COVID infection, as well as pandemic-influenced mental, physical, and emotional crises.
Addressing the devastating psychological and physical aftereffects of the pandemic will require deviation from the current standard of medicine. An integrated approach to patient care heavily grounded in functional medicine is emerging as the solution to healing global public health and repairing the siloed structures of the healthcare industry.
“Most physicians are not adequately trained to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease, and to apply strategies such as nutrition, diet, and exercise to both treat and prevent those illnesses in their patients.”
—Jill Carnahan, MD, ABFM, ABIHM
During her third year of medical school, at age 25, Dr. Jill Carnahan was forced to transition from the role of doctor to patient after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer. While she returned to medical school after treatment, within the next six months, she was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease: likely a result of the chemotherapy’s toxic effect on the gut lining. Dr. Carnahan’s gastroenterologist at the time informed her that diet was unrelated to clinical outcomes. Moreover, not only would Dr. Carnahan require multiple future surgeries, but she also would never be completely cured. Dr. Carnahan was prescribed medications and drugs for the inflammation, but she received nothing to help alleviate or address her symptoms.
Refusing to believe that pharmaceuticals and surgery were her only sole options, Dr. Carnahan embarked upon an intensive study of dietary changes and nutrition, which would ultimately form her career trajectory and professional mission. After consulting with a naturopath, making major changes in her own diet, and seeking out the appropriate supplements, Dr. Carnahan is—more than 12 years later—both breast cancer free and healed from Crohn’s disease. Now, Dr. Carnahan knows that assessing and evaluating the triggers that contribute to sickness and disease—in addition to utilizing the least invasive treatment methods possible—is the reason that functional medicine is highly effective and beneficial.
Dr. Carnahan’s personal journey of resiliency and relentlessness have spurred her commitment to help patients achieve optimal health and wellness through the practice of functional medicine. “More than ever before, I believe that the human body can regain health if given the right tools… and I am living proof!”
From September 14-16 in Chicago, Dr. Carnahan will speak at Module IV: A Metabolic & Functional Approach to Gastroenterology, along with a panel of other clinical experts—all of whom will discuss comprehensive functional and nutritional approaches to gastrointestinal dysfunction and disease. Faculty members will further discuss topics including the physiology and pathophysiology of gastrointestinal disorders, gut permeability, inflammatory bowel disease, celiac disease and gluten sensitivity, the gut-immune-brain connection, and other digestive and glandular disorders. Do not miss this core module, which delves into the root causes of chronic diseases and disorders—many of which begin in the gut.