What do NDs do?
According to the 2020 AANMC Graduate Success and Compensation Survey, the top patient conditions and approaches of practicing naturopathic doctors include digestion, nutrition and mental health as core to patient interactions. Naturopathic doctors often take an eclectic approach to family medicine, and apply the therapeutic order while addressing the determinants of health.1
Who should see an ND?
If you are considering a career in naturopathic medicine, you may wonder what type of patients will be drawn to see an ND. Chances are you are or have been worried about your health and/or the health of your loved ones at some point. Chronic health issues often lead patients to explore alternative treatment options. Extended medication protocols may be appropriate for some patients, however the idea of the “never-ending pill” leaves others questioning if there are safe alternatives to an indefinite, symptom-management, medication protocol. Increasingly, patients are seeking health providers who are knowledgeable about a more organic and natural lifestyle in everything from cooking to medicine. This is where naturopathic doctors come in. Have you ever wondered if naturopathic medicine is right for you or your loved ones? Below are five reasons patients see an ND along with the top conditions treated by naturopathic medicine.
Multiple Health Issues
At the core of naturopathic medicine is the belief in six guiding principles. One of those principles is the idea that naturopathic doctors should search beyond the symptoms presented to uncover the underlying root cause of the health condition. This often leads to the discovery that there is not one “magic bullet” to a problem, and can help patients realize that there may be many health issues that are interconnected, some of which they may not even be aware of. Another of the guiding principles is treating the whole person. By focusing on both the physical and mental/emotional well-being, NDs can help their patients in multiple areas of their lives.
High Blood Pressure and Diabetes
Some of the greatest health issues facing North Americans are directly linked to nutrition. As a whole, many consume a diet high in processed foods, fat and non-nutrient dense calories. One of the best reasons to see a naturopathic doctor is to help personalize your nutritional plan. Core to naturopathic practice is the role of an ND as a health educator, helping identify and guide patients to eat properly for their particular situation. An ND may provide suggestions on how to eat healthy, and often with budget-friendly ideas. As a result of therapeutic nutrition, you can expect to see many health problems improve. Food as medicine may ease problems associated with diabetes, assist with weight loss, lower blood pressure, and foster general improvement in well-being.
Nutritional planning and strategic, evidence-based supplementation can also make a significant improvement in digestion. Conditions ranging from Irritable Bowel Syndrome and heartburn, to bloating and constipation can all realize resolution or decreased symptoms. Naturopathic doctors utilize a holistic approach to determine the root cause and teach patients how to identify issues and stay well.
Nutrition does not just impact your digestive system. A realignment of diet can help with hormonal imbalances aggravating conditions like thyroid disease, PMS and menstrual irregularity. Instead of turning to synthetic hormones, NDs may suggest herbs or naturally derived hormones. They can also identify foods that naturally regulate the cycle and promote balanced moods and sleep.
NDs treat the whole person, recognizing the impact of social support of family and community in navigating tough issues.2 Lack of social support has been shown to have detrimental health effects such as increased cardiac risk and mortality. Strong social networks can improve patient therapeutic compliance as well as overall health care outcomes.3
People are becoming more aware of naturopathic medicine and are opening up to the possibilities it offers. Rather than seeing naturopathic medicine as a replacement for traditional medical healthcare, people are beginning to understand that it can be an interlocking piece of the puzzle to promote overall well-being in integrative patient care.