How does a naturopath diagnose disease?

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Dr. Christopher Maloney, ND
Naturopathic Medicine
The training in pathology is the same as a conventional M.D. or D.O.  But an N.D. is much less practiced in hospital level diagnosis and much more experienced in "subclinical" issues that can be missed by conventional doctors. 

Standard clinical labs will be done, although interpretation may differ. If necessary, referral to conventional specialists will also happen. 

Generally, because of the more detailed labs done, thyroid disease, adrenal fatigue, metabolic syndrome, and hormonal imbalance are far more likely to be caught by an N.D. than a conventional doctor.

As with any area of medicine, N.D.s go through "fads" of diagnosis. So certain illnesses may be both more likely to be diagnosed and more likely to be brought up by patients. Currently, Lyme Disease is overdiagnosed. Previously, it was Chronic Fatigue, and then Fibromyalgia, and also Candida overgrowth. All of these issues do affect many patients, but patients should be as cautious about these as final diagnoses as they would about a prescription for hypertensive medication after a single elevated blood pressure reading.  It is better to err on the side of not having a definitive diagnosis than to have one that misdirects correct treatment.
Naturopathic doctors perform examinations and order diagnostic tests, similar to a general practitioner. They invest time in interviewing you about your diet, exercise, habits, sleep and emotional state, in order to determine how it impacts your health. The doctor takes an extensive history and often spends a good deal of time with you on the first visit, in order to put together a treatment outline and answer any questions. Be aware that not all naturopaths are doctors or have training to diagnose disease, and a medical doctor should be consulted.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.