Let’s Talk About Functional Medicine

If you have never heard the term Functional Medicine, I hope this post educates you about what is happening in the offices of some forward thinking physicians who have tired of the traditional approach that has become the Health Care Industry. The hamster wheel approach to medical care in this country has veered away from taking care of a patient’s health and moved toward filling in what has become a confusing spreadsheet of numbers and codes to satisfy the government and health insurers. The implementation of ICD-10 this month has increased the number of diagnostic codes from 17,000 to around 140,000. Searching for codes and fulfilling the requirements of electronic medical records has become your doctor’s job.

Functional medicine provides a patient oriented approach to medicine. This is the type of medicine most physicians want to practice. This type of medicine involves time, effort, and thinking outside the traditional medical box to provide patients a therapeutic partnership with their physician. This approach integrates traditional medicine with alternative approaches to health and wellness rather than just focusing on disease management.

Do we need this approach? A significant number of patients suffer from chronic and complex medical conditions. The complexities of management cannot be adequately addressed in the typical 8-10 minute traditional office visit. Functional Medical providers address your whole story including significant, and perhaps traumatic, life events that institute the development of chronic illness. Would it not be beneficial for your doctor to know what has happened to you during your life, your genetic make up, and what is an acceptable approach for you in managing your health?

Traditional medicine addresses acute care issues for the most part. Understanding what has transpired to bring you to the health status you are living right now is a tenet of Functional Medicine. This approach provides a way to manage chronic illness, reverse some health issues and attempt to prevent further chronic illness that can spiral you down into feeling ill and tired.

We address sleep, hormones, inflammation, cardiovascular risks, insulin resistance, weight management, nutrition, exercise, genetics and vitamin levels to address a picture of your health at this particular stage of your life. Functional Medicine seeks to address the origins of disease, treatment of chronic illness and prevention of future health issues.

The Institute for Functional Medicine has the following six core principles:

1) An understanding of the biochemical individuality of each human being, based on the concepts of genetic and environmental uniqueness;
2) Awareness of the evidence that supports a patient-centered rather than a disease-centered approach to treatment;
3) Search for a dynamic balance among the internal and external body, mind, and spirit;
4) Familiarity with the web-like interconnections of internal physiological factors;
5) Identification of health as a positive vitality not merely the absence of disease emphasizing those factors that encourage the enhancement of a vigorous physiology;
6) Promotion of organ reserve as the means to enhance the health span, not just the life span, of each patient.

If this approach to medicine resonates with you, find a doctor that will partner with you and take back management of your own health. We all have only one life to live. Shouldn’t we make it as healthy as possible?

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