Did you know that the average life expectancy for someone on kidney dialysis is five years? If you didn’t, you are not alone. Editor and integrative medicine expert Jeffrey Bland, PhD wrote in a recent opinion column in Integrative Medicine, a Clinician’s Journal he was dismayed to learn this fact from his son Kyle, an executive in the biotechnology sector that focuses on therapeutics for kidney disease
In the commentary, Bland notes: “According to the National Kidney Foundation, the average life expectancy on dialysis is 5 to 10 years, but the foundation also indicates that many patients can live well for 20 or even 30 years.” What accounts for the vast discrepancy?
Kyle had a surprising answer for his father:
“Following a decade spent in dialysis centers, Kyle told me he felt that he had developed an instinct for privately forecasting potential life expectancy based on lifestyle habits he took note of among patients. On many, many occasions, he indicated he has observed individuals arrive at a dialysis center with large containers of carbonated beverages and bags of fast food in hand. This tendency has become a marker for him, one that he has come to personally correlate with diminished success of treatment and an increased likelihood that he will see those patients at the centers he visits only a limited number of times in the future.”
In a condition, where the major contributor is related to “lifestyle, diet, and environmental factors,” Bland suggests that “future efforts may focus on the development of a personalized lifestyle medical approach to the prevention and management of this epidemic.”
Could personalized medicine for kidney disease present an opportunity for the mainstreaming of complementary-alternative medicine? The father and son comments prompted Today’s Practitioner to take a closer look at another opinion column by two Italians with the same mindset at Bland.
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