What is Functional Medicine?
Functional Medicine is essentially a natural approach to medicine where we thoroughly investigate the patient’s condition to find the cause of the problem instead of treating the symptoms. This new approach shifts the focus of care to the individual needs of the patient instead of how to just treat a disease or condition. Every person is different and how each illness affects different patient’s is not always the same due to different genetic variations. Functional Medicine involves understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of complex, chronic disease, integrating best medical practices, including traditional western medical practices with what are sometimes considered “alternative” or “integrative” medicine, creating a focus on prevention through nutrition, diet, and exercise.
Its well known that there is a huge gap between research and the way most doctors practice. Most physicians are not adequately trained to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease and to apply strategies such as nutrition, diet, and exercise to both treat and prevent these illnesses in their patients.
Fundamentals of the Functional Medicine Approach
A patient centered approach to health starts with tracing the condition back to it’s origins through specific lab testing and thorough history that looks closely at the patient’s interaction with their environment. Everyone has different genetic blueprint and depending on our lifestyle habits, certain choices can make us unhealthy, whereas other people have no issues.
In our office, we take the time to determine which genetic variants you have that can predispose you a specific health condition that otherwise shouldn’t be a concern. From this analysis we can better predict what type of lifestyle factors could play a role in the degradation of your health and make the appropriate changes to steer you toward health and wellness. Thus we utilize a whole body approach to your health instead of waiting for symptoms to appear and merely treat or suppress the symptoms with medications. Through the new study of epigenetics, it’s now been determined that in most cases, the way your environment interacts with your specific genes accounts for 75% of your state of health, and your genes only 25%. So specific lifestyle modifications can have a profound effect on patient health.
The functional medicine paradigm does use prescription medications when necessary, but if it’s appropriate for your health condition, we try to work with lifestyle modification and dietary supplements to correct any nutritional deficiencies that may be contributing to the patient’s health issues first before introducing a pharmacological intervention.