What do I do?

I got asked the other night – what exactly is it that you do? It’s a very good question. I call myself a Nutrition Consultant. This is simply because my expertise is on nutrition and health.  Over the years the role has changed slightly in the fact that I often liaise between patient and GP regarding tests.

A consultation takes between an hour and an hour and a half, sometimes longer. A full medical history is taken and your blood pressure is done. Then you have the chance to talk and tell me your “story” – what your symptoms are etc. Then I will ask you lots and lots of questions going through every system in your body ie do you sleep ok? do you get lots of coughs and colds? do you have split lips? do you get headaches? etc etc. You can see why we need so much time. I then make a note of all medications you are taking and any supplements, and then I look at the food diary. Often its quite simple to pull all the strings together and see whats causing what, but often you may need to go back to your GP with a letter from me asking for some more tests, or there might be a need to do some private testing. I use The Doctors Laboratory and Biolab in London. What tends to happen with our bodies is that one “thing” or food might be causing any number of symptoms which is hard to cover in a ten minute consultation with the GP.

Now for the science bit. I am not into what I call “woo woo” nonsense – I could not look consultants and GPs in the eye if I practice some of the nonsense that I have heard. What I do practice is evidence based personalised healthcare where interventions are science based and efficacy can be statistically validated.

I like to think I cut through the media nonsense, the labelling mazes that just confuse people and get back to basics. Most of the time I listen – and take time to listen to people who are ill, who are frustrated and cannot find solutions as to why they are ill. These are often labelled the “heartsink” patients – those who clog up GP surgeries with varying non urgent symptoms like “I feel tired all the time” “I feel spacey in the head” ” I ache all over like I have flu” and every other odd symptom that you could mention. To pull this all together takes time and an understanding how there are often overlapping symptoms ie those ten cups of coffee you are drinking per day may be giving you a) heartburn b) stomach cramps  c) palpitations, or  what about all three. Sometimes its so obvious, sometimes its not.

I remember a case in question about eight years ago, I had a lady come and see me who suffered with migraines. She had tried everything and had been having weekly injections for nearly thirty years. We left no stone unturned in the quest to find out the cause, from neck trauma to MSG. We got nowhere, but after the second consultation as she was leaving she stopped and said “Oh I suppose this wouldnt be important, I put xxxxx (an artificial sweetener)in my tea every morning and I forgot to tell you”. I asked her “How long has this been going on for”. “Oh” she said, nearly thirty years”. BINGO… and there we had it – for this lady, that was the cause of her migraines. After thirty years they stopped virtually over night.

Perhaps I should change my title and call myself Sherlock Arnold…

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