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Integrative Medicine: IWhat Kind of Hippie Dippie Stuff is That?

Integrative Medicine: IWhat Kind of Hippie Dippie Stuff is That?
Dr. Doreen DeStefano, ARNP

Integrative medicine is a partnership between a health care professional and a person seeking optimal health and wellness. The two parties work together to achieve optimal health for body, mind and spirit. There is active discourse aimed at achieving the goals decided upon. The patient is very active in the process, and ultimately achieves much more than the absence of disease. He or she achieves optimal health.

As health care costs rise, and insurance covers less, we must maintain our health as much as possible. We must decrease our need to enter the medical system. One way to do that is by achieving optimal health and reducing dependence on prescription medication. Dr. Doreen DeStefano, ARNP can help you do just that. Check out her approach in the vignette below.

Interviewer: So I guess we’ll start with the basics: What’s your name?

Doreen: Oh good, an easy question! My name is Doreen DeStefano, NhD, APRN, MpBA

Interviewer: That’s a lot of letters after your name. What do they all mean?

Doreen: Haha, yes I know. They mean that I am a Nurse Practitioner with a Doctorate in natural health. I also have a Master’s in Public Business Administration, and of course, a Masters in Nursing.

Interviewer: So what does that mean, exactly?

Doreen: I am a fully licensed medical practitioner. I can order diagnostic studies, make a diagnosis and prescribe treatment, including medication. However, I believe in partnering with my clients and asking them to participate to a large degree in their health. I don’t like to go straight to pharmaceutical support if we can use patient behavior, and naturally occurring things to accomplish the desired goal.

I like to use natural means to repair the body whenever possible. For example, if a patient has high cholesterol we are going to really work with nutrition, exercise, and nutrient supplementation

before we use pharmaceuticals to reduce cholesterol. Of course, it’s patient specific. We always do what is in the best interest of the patient.

Interviewer: OK, so say I had high cholesterol I’m already taking medication for it. What would you do?

Doreen: First we would get a full health history, we would do a full physical exam, and I would look at your labs. I would do some of my own testing, like a Cleveland Heart Lab. We know that 50% of heart attacks occur in people with “normal” cholesterol levels. Research shows us that the inflammation of the blood vessel wall is a very important factor that we must measure, and if it’s high, we need to lower it. Also, there are different types of cholesterol, some “good” and some “bad”. Even within the good and bad cholesterol, there are subtypes that are “good” and “bad”. Standard cholesterol testing doesn’t tell us all that.

Interviewer: What do you do with all that information?

Doreen: Well, it’s different for everyone. But in brief, we can teach our patients how to eat to lower inflammation and decrease “bad” cholesterol and increase “good” cholesterol. We find ways for the patient to move regularly. We find something that they like and can be consistent with. Even gardening is good exercise. We figure it out. We provide lifestyle modification options to create a healthier lifestyle, like maybe eating less red meat, or smoking cessation. We also have natural supplements that the patient can take at home to help decrease inflammation, lower bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. We have in office treatments like hyperbaric oxygen and intravenous vitamins and minerals that help to optimize patient health. If the patient ultimately needs a prescription medication, then we use them. But we find that motivated people can usually decrease their cholesterol and inflammation to healthy levels. Then they can reduce or eliminate the need for medication.

Interviewer: It sounds difficult. Is it?

Doreen: Well honestly, integrative medicine isn’t for everyone. It’s a partnership in health. The patient actually does more work than the practitioner. Diet and lifestyle change isn’t easy. Some people don’t want to do it. But some people really enjoy it. There are challenges, but the spectacular way that you feel when you optimize your health is beyond comparison.

Interviewer: So essentially, you help people get healthier without drugs as much as possible.

Doreen: Yes. I find I am very much a teacher and a coach. It’s a holistic approach. We don’t look at anything all by itself. We look at people as part of several environments, their own internal and external environments, and the environment in which they live. Each of those things effects the other. We strive to integrate all those pieces into optimal health.

Interviewer: What is optimal health?

Doreen: That is the state in which you look your best and feel your best physically, emotionally, and spiritually. You are simply your best you.

Call Root Causes today to make an appointment to meet your best you!

12734 Kenwood Lane. Ft Myers, FL 33907
239-425-2900 | www.rtcausesmd.com

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