What Is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine is a 21st century approach to health care. It uses a whole body, systems-oriented approach to discover the underlying causes of your health problems. Rather than just looking at symptoms, functional medicine addresses the imbalances and dysfunctions that damage health and precede disease. Specialized testing including laboratory testing of blood, urine, saliva, and stool, physical examination, imaging and extensive case histories are utilized to ascertain the root of the problem. Treatments incorporate specific supplementation, dietary changes, medical interventions, exercise, physical rehab and lifestyle changes.
How Is Functional Medicine Different Than The Traditional Medical Approach?
The traditional medical approach typically focuses on symptoms. Helping a patient to relieve symptoms is extremely important in the beginning of care, and especially during emergencies. This is where the traditional medical approach shines. The weakness is when the next step is not taken. The vital next step is to ask why the symptoms are present. This is where functional medicine is most appropriate. Functional medicine uses testing and examination that focuses on whole systems and how they interact with one another to maintain function and balance. The medical term for optimal function and balance and the ability to adapt and maintain this state is called homeostasis.
A great way to describe the appropriate application of functional medicine vs. the traditional medical approach is to look at a scale from 1 to 10. In this example, 1 is optimal health and 10 is severe disease.
Traditional medicine will treat people who are 8 – 10, or in other words, very severe. This is a person who has severe diabetes or is just about to have a severe heart attack. This person will obviously need traditional medical interventions. This intervention will be focused on keeping you alive and reducing life threatening symptoms.
Functional medicine will help people who are a 2 -7. This can include people are just about to transition into severe disease to people who are simply trying to stay as healthy as possible and raise performance. Many people in these stages will not have symptoms yet. Many times dysfunction and imbalance will go on for years before any symptoms develop. Even more commonly, various symptoms due develop, but they are judged as normal and not needing attention. This is where functional medicine shines.
What Types Of Health Problems Does Functional Medicine Work With?
Functional Medicine approaches are used with any and all types of health problems; however, many functional medicine practitioners focus on conditions where traditional medical approaches have not had great success. These include:
- Autoimmune Disease
- Hashimoto’s Autoimmune Hypothyroidism
- Diabetes Type I & II
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Irritable Bowel Disease (Chrohn’s, Ulcerative Colitis, etc.)
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Pain Syndromes
- Digestive Dysfunction
- Hormonal Imbalance
What Can I Expect On My First Visit?
On your first visit, you will have a consultation with the doctor to find out what your main concerns are, and if you fit the criteria for care. At that time, you will be able to talk with the doctor, ask questions and most importantly make sure you feel comfortable in the office. At the conclusion of the consultation, you will be given questionnaires and other types of “homework”. This will help the doctor determine the appropriate testing to order to provide you with the best care possible.
Once the questionnaires are returned and analyzed by the doctor, the information will be reviewed and the recommended testing will be presented and explained. At that time, all costs will be discussed for care. The cost will depend on the severity of the problem, what needs to be done, and most importantly your goals. Options will be provided for various conditions.
If you are continuing to have problems and symptoms and you are not getting answers, then stop being frustrated! Help is available!
Call Advanced Healthcare of the Palm Beaches at (561) 296-1715 to schedule a free 20 minute consultation to see if you are a candidate for this program.