What is a diagnosis?

By definition it is, “the identification of the nature of an illness or other problem by examination of the symptoms.” In other words, it is a formal name given to a specific set of symptoms. At no point is the actual cause of the symptoms explored or identified.

Our current healthcare system relies on this formal identification. Once identification is complete, treatment can be determined. Unfortunately, multiple things can cause similar symptoms but need to be treated differently.

One great example of this is heartburn. Heartburn can be caused by too much OR, more often, too little stomach acid. Once the diagnosis of “gastric esophageal reflux disease” or GERD has been labeled the treatment is to use medications which lower the stomach acid. Has the problem really been fixed? Has other issues been created by not fixing the problem?

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