Functional Medicine Uncovers Why Your Body is not Functioning Properly.
No two people have the same genetic makeup, history or life experiences. We are unique and different. And as a result, we need a health plan that addresses these differences. That’s where functional medicine comes in. A Functional Medicine expert is like a medical detective gathering all the clues of your past, such as where you grew up, your family situation, traumatic events, health history, and your present, such as your environment and potential toxins in your community, social life, stress level, relationships, diet (not just what you eat but its quality), workout regimen, sleep habits and symptoms, among others. Armed with this information as well as the results of a physical exam and detailed lab tests, we try to uncover where and why you body is not functioning right (hence the name “functional medicine”). With Functional Medicine the focus is on the underlying factors that are causing symptoms and affecting your health. Then we determine your specific treatment plan which integrates western medical practices, such as prescription medications, with what are sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” approaches like nutrition, botanical medicines, supplements, detoxification programs, stress-management techniques and exercise, among others. In Functional Medicine, there’s no one-size-fits-all treatment so even if you and a friend have the same symptoms or condition you won’t get the same treatment plan.
In contrast, most traditional doctors take note of your symptoms and figure out what diagnosis they can bundle those symptoms into and this dictates your treatment. Therefore, if you and friend have the same symptoms, you often get the same diagnosis and then the same treatment. This works for traumas or health issues like an appendicitis or broken leg, where certain things like surgery can remedy that immediate problem or symptom. Unfortunately, this approach doesn’t work when you’re trying to treat and prevent complex, chronic diseases (diseases that are more prevalent today than ever before).
Functional Medicine Expands the Physician’s Tool Kit
Though it includes elements of traditional medicine, Functional Medicine expands the physician’s tool kit. For example, imagine that your symptoms are constipation some days, diarrhea on others and frequent stomach aches. A traditional doctor would likely give you a colonoscopy or endoscopy to make sure there’s nothing seriously wrong, like cancer. When that’s ruled out, you’re diagnosed with irritable bowel, a condition they can’t do much about. But come to a functional medicine expert with the same symptoms and, though we’d agree that your bowel isn’t functioning properly, our goal would be to figure out why. Is it food sensitivities? Leaky Gut Syndrome? Problems with digestion? Or a lack of good bacteria in your gut? We do an array of tests that help us find these answers and determine your treatment from there.
Functional Medicine is Personalized Medicine.
The goal of Functional Medicine is not only to improve your health if you have a chronic illness, but to prevent future health issues. It’s a patient-centered approach, where we address the whole person not just your isolated set of symptoms. The result? A program that’s personalized for you, one that will remedy or reduce the severity of your symptoms, help prevent chronic disease and get your body and mind as healthy as possible.