Functional Medicine is a type of preventative healthcare that focuses on the root cause of chronic disease. These practitioners use lab tests and other diagnostic tools to determine the underlying causes for an illness or condition, then create personalized treatment plans that can include dietary changes, supplements, or prescription drugs. Functional Medicine is a holistic approach to healthcare that seeks to treat the whole person – not just symptoms!
Functional medicine is a science-based approach that focuses on the “root cause” of disease, rather than just treating symptoms. Doctors will look for underlying triggers of illness and conditions such as:
Functional medicine doctors will look at the interactions between all of these factors and how they influence your health. The ultimate goal is to treat each patient as a whole, rather than focusing on one specific problem. For example, someone with arthritis may need to address more than just their joint pain, because they could have low thyroid function or an imbalance of gut bacteria that are triggering inflammation and exacerbating their symptoms. These practitioners look at the whole body and treat each part as needed.
Is functional medicine a legitimate practice? Yes, when performed correctly. The testing is accurate, but it needs to be applied correctly. This is part of the art of medicine. Functional medicine doctors have a solid understanding of physiology and can use this knowledge to help their patients achieve better health.
Functional Medicine is not new, but it’s gaining popularity as more people realize the benefits that come from looking at all aspects of your medical history before prescribing medication or other treatments. Focusing on just one area without considering how interconnected factors are with one another can lead to patients not feeling their best or even developing chronic illness.
The following are some of the most common root causes for chronic disease, according to functional medicine practitioners:
Many people eat nutrient-poor foods that lack healthy fats and protein. Other problems include candida overgrowth in the gut which can cause leaky gut syndrome where undigested food particles escape into the bloodstream, leading to food sensitivities and other immune problems.
The body’s hormones are intricately linked with many different systems of the body including metabolism, inflammation, immunity, mood disorders like anxiety or depression. When hormonal levels get out of whack it can contribute to a number of chronic illnesses.
Many people are constantly exposed to chemicals, metals, or other environmental factors that can be toxic for the body and cause inflammation in cells. The human body doesn’t do well with these types of toxins at all! Chronic exposure to pesticides on food, heavy metals like lead from old pipes inside the home, fluoride from tap water, and toxic chemicals in personal care products can all contribute to chronic illness.
Functional medicine differs from conventional or traditional medical practice because it takes into account the genetic profile of each patient as well as their lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, stress levels, toxin exposures (like pesticides), and other environmental influences. Functional medicine practitioners use lab tests to screen for nutrient deficiencies, food sensitivities/intolerances, hormonal imbalances, and more – then they create a treatment plan that can include dietary changes or adjustments to supplement intake as well as prescription medications if needed.
Functional medicine is a personalized approach to healthcare whereas conventional or traditional medical practice focuses on symptom management through prescription drugs without necessarily identifying root causes for illnesses/conditions. Conventional doctors often fail to recognize how interconnected factors are with one another, whereas functional medicine doctors are more likely to recommend several different treatments that can work together. Functional medicine is a personalized approach to healthcare whereas conventional or traditional medical practice focuses on symptom management through prescription drugs without necessarily identifying root causes for illnesses/conditions. Conventional doctors often fail to recognize how interconnected factors are with one another, whereas functional medicine doctors are more likely to recommend several different treatments that can work together.
Conventional medical practice focuses on symptom management through the use of prescription drugs. Conventional doctors don’t always look at the root cause of a particular illness or condition, and often fail to recognize how interconnected all of these factors are with one another. This typically involves prescribing medication for symptoms, whereas functional medicine doctors are more likely to recommend several different treatments that can work together. For example, if someone has high blood pressure they may need to take both a diuretic and an ACE inhibitor in order to get their levels under control. If the patient is overweight then they might also benefit from a low-carb diet and an exercise program to lower their blood pressure. Functional medicine doctors will consider all of these factors (and more) when treating each patient.
Functional medicine doctors have gone through the same traditional medical school training as other physicians. They may then choose to get additional certification from an organization such as The Institute for Functional Medicine. Physicians that practice functional medicine may be trained in a wide range of medical specialties. After receiving a bachelor’s degree from a four-year college and subsequently receiving an MD or DO degree from an accredited medical school, a fellowship or residency is required for certification by a medical specialty board accredited by the American Board of Medical Specialties (ABMS).
Doctors who want to practice in this way apply it specifically to their original field of practice (such as internal or family medicine). It’s important to note that functional medicine is not considered a stand-alone medical specialty. Functional medicine doctors cannot prescribe medication, but they can recommend natural remedies and supplements. They may also work with other healthcare providers in order to provide the best possible treatment for their patients.
Integrative Medicine, which incorporates holistic therapies like acupuncture, herbal remedies, Diet, and Mind-Body-Spirit Medicine in conjunction with traditional modern medicine. Functional medicine doctors recognize the importance of individual differences, which allows them to work with their patients in a holistic way. They understand that each patient has a distinct set of needs and concerns for living a healthy lifestyle, so they develop treatment plans accordingly.
If you are interested in seeing one of these practitioners, pick someone who is board-certified and has experience. Make sure they have the proper training to help you reach your health goals. Functional medicine doctors can use natural remedies in order to treat symptoms instead of using prescription medication. They may also recommend supplements such as probiotics and omega fatty acids to improve your health. These treatments may also include dietary changes, exercise, stress reduction techniques, and lifestyle interventions in order for patients to feel their best.
These doctors typically work as part of an interdisciplinary healthcare team in order to provide their patients with the best possible care. Consulting with a Functional Medicine Doctor is usually done through a referral from your family doctor, but you can also search for functional medicine doctors near you on sites like this one. It’s important that you look for a doctor who is certified by The Institute of Functional Medicine and takes your health insurance. Contact us today and book an appointment with Claredon Chiropractic, or give us a call!