What You Need to Know About Functional Medicine
The number of individuals who suffer from complex chronic diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and autoimmune disorders is on the rise. The conventional care provided by allopathic medicine is oriented toward acute care and the diagnosis of trauma or disease of limited duration, such as a broken limb or heart attack.
Physicians practicing in this model typically prescribe drugs or surgery with the goal of ameliorating the immediate condition and symptoms.
If you are frustrated by watching yourself and family members suffer from chronic disease and be cycled through the system of diagnosis and drugs without improvement, Functional Medicine can provide you with powerful tools and strategies to help your patients regain their health.
Why Functional Medicine?
The acute-care approach is ill-equipped to handle the multifaceted issues that accompany most chronic diseases. It’s also a model that fails to address the unique genetic background of each individual. It does not take into account the impact of modern lifestyles, environmental factors that are related to an increase in chronic diseases.
Diet, exercise, exposure to toxins, and stress are a big contributor to chronic health issues. This is why, most doctors are unequipped to assess the underlying causes of disease, they lack knowledge on how to address and utilize diet, exercise, and nutrition as a preventative measure when combating chronic disease.
FM offers an approach and methodology to treating and preventing chronic diseases. From a chiropractic perspective, seeking to discover the underlying cause of disease by examining how structure impacts function is a foundational principal for the profession.
As a practitioner of FM, I develop customized wellness programs that address the interaction between the external environment and the internal environment of the body, including the immune, endocrine, and gastrointestinal systems.
How is Functional Medicine different?
The primary factors considered during your assessment include foundational lifestyle factors: nutrition, exercise, sleep, stress level, interpersonal relationships, and genetics. These primary factors are, in turn, influenced by certain predisposing factors, ongoing physiological processes, and discrete events that result in an imbalance in the body’s ability to maintain homeostasis.
Conventional medicine focuses on the constellation of symptoms the patient presents with and the grouping of these symptoms under the label of a diagnosed disease. The diagnosis is then accompanied by the prescription of a drug (or group of drugs), and in some cases therapy, in an attempt to mitigate or ameliorate the patient’s symptoms.
Beyond this point, traditional medicine finds itself at a loss. This approach to the treatment of disease neglects fundamental aspects of health that are often underlying cause of the patient’s condition. It also groups patients together who present with similar signs and symptoms, and thus neglects the differences between patients as well as the multiple potential causes that a “disease” may have.
The hallmarks of a Functional Medicine practice?
Considerable time is spent with each person, more time than conventional medical doctors do.
Critical information is collected about your underlying factors that may be contributing to your condition. These include an analysis of your lifestyle, daily living habits, history of trauma and prior illnesses, environmental exposures, and genetic influences.
You will be asked to complete an extensive questionnaire that covers topics not usually addressed in a traditional medical setting. These include toxic exposures in the home and workplace, a daily diet history, and a specific history of the characteristics of both the patient’s acute and chronic symptoms. Your responses provide the doctor insights into health-related information that might not be easily gathered during a typical patient history.
The doctor may also recommend laboratory testing, including routine tests, such as a complete blood count (CBC), as well as less conventional tests, such as stool, saliva, hormone levels, and genetic testing. These tests help determine which biological processes may be functioning at less than optimal levels. This information is then compiled to develop a comprehensive customized plan of care to restore the patient to good health.
Functional Medicine in Clinical Practice
We have known that chronic disease is driven primarily by factors related to lifestyle choices. New approaches to prevention and health management are required to turn back the tide of chronic disease that is now on course to outpace deaths from infectious disease over the next decade.
This can be accomplished by integrating what both chiropractic and allopathic practitioners know about how the human body functions. This results in a level of care that is both patient centered and science based, taht addresses the causes of chronic disease rooted in lifestyle choices, environmental exposures, and genetic influences. This is precisely what FM does and it is perfectly aligned to address the health challenges confronting the majority of our population today.
FM integrates the art and science of healthcare. There is extensive research and science-based evidence that supports the collaborative approach at the foundation of FM. Research shows outcomes are improved when an effective therapeutic partnership exists between doctor and patient.
This partnership engages the body, mind, and spirit. It encourages deep insight and a more comprehensive answer to challenging and complex health problems.
One way to increase your satisfaction in health care system is by providing yourself with answers that are unavailable from other sources.
FM may provide you with a source for those answers.
We do not treat disease. We treat people and their unique relationship to the world.
Why do you need testing?
Results of diagnostic testing provides a framework for the program and lifestyle that will best fit your needs. Whether you need vitamin supplements, or a diet adjustment, every recommendation and program is customized to meet your needs, based on your health.
Do not guess what your condition is. Test to know what your problems are.