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  • Dr. Sue Overkamp DO

What Is Root-Cause Medicine?

American medicine is pretty good at surgery and emergency. In fact we excel there.


What about the rest of life? Over 42% of American adults have at least one chronic disease, and most treatments can only reduce symptoms or slow the progression of disease.


Identifying and treating the root causes of illness is really crucial, and yet so many people believe there’s nothing that can be done about the diseases that dog them every day. They don’t know that there are answers to many of these problems!


Root-cause medicine is a way to help people with chronic disease or to help them avoid chronic disease. In the US, non-communicable diseases—usually chronic—cause a whopping 87% of deaths. At least 85% of US healthcare dollars are spent on chronic disease. (Of course statistics will shift some during a pandemic.) This is good news and bad news for us. In our country we usually don’t have to watch helplessly as babies die of pneumonia or diarrhea—as people in less developed countries often do. But we have a cultural pattern of long, slow debility and death instead. I don’t know about you, but I’d like to use root-cause medicine strategies to stay well until it’s my time to go.



What’s different about a root-cause doctor-patient relationship? We begin by careful and extensive listening to your history. Then all the signs, symptoms and diagnoses get filtered through what we call core clinical imbalances. (More on this next month.) Next we talk about about what came before the current problem(s), what seems to set it off, and how it’s carried out.


At this point we can begin to see that the diagnosis remains useful but is less important. It’s just one part of a bigger picture.


Now we have just a few more steps to go. We look at genetics, epigenetics, and studies. Once we have enough information, together we make a treatment plan that you think may work for you. Sometimes we hit the nail on the head the first time. Sometimes there’s more to learn, a job we undertake together.


So don’t be one of the people who give up! Work with a root-cause medicine doctor to learn about the problem beneath the problem and how to recover healing and wellness.


Dr. Sue Overkamp, root-cause medicine

Door to Door Medicine



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