What is Functional Medicine?
Our bodies are complex systems that interrelate. Modern medicine uses an allopathic approach, meaning they diagnose and treat symptoms. Just like you don’t want to keep patching a tire that goes flat, you don’t want to simply treat symptoms and ignore the underlying systemic issues that might be causing them.
Functional medicine looks at the body as a true system and treats the entire person rather than just addressing isolated symptoms. The result is an approach that looks at overall health and treats you as a person instead of a diagnosis.
How does Functional Medicine work?
Because this approach looks at all the body’s interrelated systems, it is necessary to gather information systematically. Because the endocrine, gastrointestinal, nervous, immune, and circulatory systems interrelate, a problem in one area can throw off the entire system, causing disease.
Autoimmune disorders, diabetes, neuropathy, and arthritis are among the many conditions that can be caused by imbalances in one or more of these systems. In order to search for the root cause, patients must go through a thorough examination, including an extensive blood chemistry panel.
Without a thorough examination of the body and all its systems, all patients can do is continue to treat symptoms and mask the pain that the root cause is giving them.
The blood chemistry panel allows the doctor to look at multiple indicators of health. A healthy body has optimal levels of glucose, cholesterol, minerals, and blood components like white blood cells. The range for healthy readings in these areas is very narrow, and imbalances in any of them can cause multiple issues throughout the body.
By thoroughly reviewing the blood chemistry panel, the doctor is able to pinpoint areas where the body lacks proper nutrients and levels of other essential cellular components and create a plan to address these deficiencies, as well as address areas where levels are too high.
Next steps after the results of the blood chemistry panel
The doctor, having examined the levels and whether they are in the optimal ranges, can then create a plan to address the problems and bring your body back into balance. The treatment plan can consist of homeopathic treatments as well as adjustments to nutrition and exercise.
Because the diseases and discomfort that the patient is suffering often stem from these imbalances, addressing them and restoring equilibrium treats the root cause rather than simply addressing symptoms with expensive medicines that often have serious side effects.
The goal of the treatment plan is to address the issues in an inexpensive way that restores your body to its natural, healthy state and allows the patient to regulate themselves by following the prescribed plan. Added advantages of this approach is an increase in the effectiveness of the immune system as well as improving the metabolism of nutrients and the patient’s overall health.