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What is Environmental Medicine?

            Environmental Medicine is the specialty that deals with the consequences of our total interaction with our environment. When I say environment, this means:

  1. Everything we breathe: pollen, dust, mold, dander, chemicals of all kinds and all particulate matter in the air.
  2. Everything we eat or take into our bodies: food, water and other liquids, drugs, nutrients, food additives, etc.
  3. Our internal environment, which includes organisms that live in the body (bacteria, viruses, yeast, mycoplasma, parasites), hormones, and other things that are internal, such as stress

            I treat patients with allergies and sensitivities of all kinds. This incorporates a very wide range of patients with a lot more problems than you would think. For example, I treat patients with seasonal hay fever (allergic to pollens) and I treat patients with gastrointestinal problems (allergic or intolerant to foods). Taking that a step further, foods can cause a myriad of symptoms other than gastrointestinal ones, and may cause or be a major factor in migraine headaches, chronic sinus infections, ADHD, autism, hives, skin rashes or eczema and many, many others. The bottom line is that the simplest things in your environment can cause a more diverse range of problems than you could ever imagine.   

            Think of it this way: good health is normal, poor health is not. When one has poor health, you can bet the environment has played the major role in causing it. Yes, bad genes don't help, but most illness is caused by the abuse the environment gives us, and moreover, the abuse we give ourselves with our environment, since we eat part of our environment every day - often eating what's come to be the American diet, a diet high in sugar and saturated fats. Our job is to return patients to that state of normal health by addressing their problems as they relate to the environment.

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Copyright 2005 Santa Fe Center for Allergy and Environmental Medicine
Last modified: October 23, 2013