What is Functional Medicine?
Addressing the ROOT CAUSE of Symptoms
Functional medicine uses a different approach and model for preventing or eliminating chronic illness. It focuses on treating the entire individual, rather than a set of symptoms. In the conventional model of care, if you have chronic pain, it’s often called fibromyalgia. Elevated blood sugar levels is called diabetes. If you have an elevated TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone), we call it hypothyroid. If you have high blood pressure or cholesterol, it’s referred to as cardiovascular disease.
However, those are names given to conditions shared by a group of people. The causes are multiple and different in each patient, and thus the treatments should be different and personalized depending on the causes. But yet they’re not. Everybody is on the same drugs.
Functional medicine doctors discuss not only medical symptoms, but also diet, nutrition, traumas, lifestyle and any exposures to toxins. They address the underlying causes of disease through extensive testing. This includes searching for factors that might affect how the patient’s body functions, such as:
Lifestyle (diet, activity and stress)
Environmental influences (toxicity)
Epigenetics / Nutrigenomics
Example laboratory testing may include:
Expansive blood chemistry
Laboratory urine analysis
Adrenal stress index
Salivary hormone profiles
Comprehensive digestive stool analysis
A disease can have more than one imbalance or cause that needs to be treated. For example, Diabetes can be the result of imbalances in inflammation, hormones, gut flora, genetics, diet, or exposure to environmental toxins. Similarly, one imbalance — such as inflammation — can cause many conditions such as cardiovascular disease or fibromyalgia. Functional medicine studies these complexities and believes restoring balance is key to restoring health.