Personalized Healthcare?

The Blends

Beyond One-Size-Fits-All

Historically, medicine often applied broad strokes when treating patients. However, as our understanding has evolved, our approach has too. We’re now moving away from generic treatments and acknowledging the nuances of individual health. This has led to the promise of personalized healthcare. Let’s begin with the next exploration of our Health Horizons series.

Historical Overview

Healthcare has been a game of averages. Medical professionals rely on broader, population-based data to diagnose and treat ailments. This works its way through many ways – such as population health metrics, geographic locations, and more. The famous physician Hippocrates once said, “It is more important to know what sort of person has a disease than to know what sort of disease a person has.” However, somewhere along the line, we decided to standardized treatments for all – partially because of economics and partially because of improving outcomes.

Our Individual Uniqueness

We are all distinct, from our fingerprints to our DNA, which means our bodies react differently to our environments, lifestyles, and treatments. Biochemical individuality, a term coined by Dr. Roger J. Williams, encapsulates this concept. The premise is that the molecules and chemical reactions inside our bodies are as unique as our external features that are influenced based on genetics, lifestyle, and environmental exposure to various stresses. Recognizing this can lead to treatment plans that align more closely with our individual needs.

Genomics and Personalized Healthcare

The mapping of the human genome was a landmark moment in medical history. Genomics – the study of an individual’s genes – allows us to understand our potential reactions to drugs, susceptibility to diseases, and much more. Personalized medicine uses this genetic information to provide targeted treatments. For instance, two patients with the same type of cancer might receive different treatments based on their genetic makeup. These fields continue to grow with developments – such as epigenetics, metabolomics, proteomics and other genetic based treatments.

Precision Nutrition

Nutrition isn’t just about calories – it’s about chemistry. Each of us metabolizes nutrients differently based on epigenetics/genetics, gut microbiome, and other lifestyle factors. Precision nutrition is the next frontier in dietary recommendations. Instead of our current broad dietary guidelines, the possibility is forming for receiving tailored recommendations based on our current health status, DNA, and long-term health goals. Check out the current microbiome study – The Microsetta Initiative – being conducted by UC Sand Diego.

The Power of Data

With the proliferation of wearables and health tracking apps, we’re amassing enormous amounts of data daily. This data – when used ethically and efficiently – can be a goldmine for health insights on our journeys. By analyzing our health data, healthcare providers can recognize patterns, make predictions, and provide highly personalized health advice in ways that would not be possible in a normal office visit. For instance, an individual’s sleep data – combined with dietary and exercise habits – can be used to tailor a holistic plan that optimizes and tailors our daily energy, long-term health, and even manage stressful events – in real time.

Pulse Points

Take a moment to reflect on the health advice or treatments you’ve received recently or in the past. Were they generic or tailored to your needs? Did you feel it should be more specific to you? That is how a personalized approach might change how you view your own health.

Personalize Your Experience

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**Note | Our blog is designed for educational purposes and is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult a healthcare professional before starting a new health regimen. The FDA hasn't evaluated our content, and it's not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

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