Functional medicine is the future of what we refer to today as conventional medicine. The main goal of functional medicine is to identify and address the root causes of diseases. This type of medicinemedicine views the body as one integrated system; opposed to a collection of independent organs divided up by medical specialities. Functional medicine aims to treat the entire body, not just specific symptoms of a disease or illness.
It addresses the underlying causes of medical conditions and diseases. Using a systems-oriented approach, functional medicine engages the practitioner and patient in a therapeutic partnership. Functional medicine is an evolution in medical practices and better address the needs of patients more than another other approach to medicine in the 21st century. How is functional medicine so innovative? By switching the traditional disease-centered focus of medicine to a patient-centered approach, functional medicine is able to address the entire person. This form of medicine does not just isolate the symptoms and make a diagnosis. Upon visiting with a practitioner of functional medicine, you will notice that a functional medicine practitioner will spend time with patients, they will listen to their histories and look at the interactions amongst genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that may be impacting their current health and will likely impact the future health of a patient. It supports lifelong health and vitality that is geared towards each individual patient.
How Can It Work for You?
There has been a large increase in the number of individuals suffering from complex medical conditions. These complex medical conditions can include diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular disease, mental illness and autoimmune disorders — such as rheumatoid arthritis.
It can help to identify the root cause of these illnesses.The type of medicine practiced by a vast majority of physicians is geared towards acute care, trauma and illnesses that are short-term problems and urgent medicine — such as treatment for a broken leg or an appendicitis. Physicians use specific, prescribed treatments (such as medications or surgery). These treatments are standard for all patients and aim to treat the immediate problem or symptom.The acute-care approach to medicine, that we are all very used to, lacks the tools and methodology to help prevent as well as treatment complex and chronic diseases. In most cases, acute-care does not take into account the unique genetic makeup of an individual or factors such as environmental toxins. Our lifestyle have a huge impact on our health.
There is a large gap between research and the way doctors practice medicine. This gap between emerging research in basic science and integration into standard medical treatment is very large; especially in areas of complex and chronic disease. Some practices that were being used 50 years ago are still put to use today. Most physicians are not adequately trained to access and determine the underlying causes of complex and chronic illnesses. Not all physicians are trained to apply strategies in diet, nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes to help treat illness in their patients as well as prevent future illnesses.
What Makes This Different from Conventional Medicine?
Functional medicine does more than just treat the symptoms of an illness. Functional medicine involves understanding the origins, prevention and treatment of complex and chronic illnesses.Patient-centered care plays a huge role in functional medicine.
The focus of functional medicine is patient-centered care and promoting health as positive vitality. Functional medicine goes beyond just the treatment of disease. By listening to their patients, functional medicine practitioners learn the story of their patients. This allows functional medicine practitioners to address the issues that are specific to each individual patient. Remember, each individual patient has very unique needs when it comes to treating and preventing chronic and complex illnesses.
With this type of medicine, you can expect an integrative, science-based approach to healthcare. Functional medicine practitioners examine a patient’s history, physiology and lifestyle choices that can lead to illness. The unique genetic makeup of each patient is considered as well as internal (body, mind and spirit) and external (environmental and physical) factors that affect the entire function of a patient’s body.
Functional medicine integrates the best medical practices. Functional medicine integrates conventional medical practices with what may be considered alternative or integrative medical practices. This creates a focus on prevention through exercise, nutrition and diet as well as the use of the latest diagnostic and laboratory techniques. Functional medicine may also use prescription medications, supplements, botanical medicines, therapeutic diets, stress-management programs and detoxification programs.