Functional medicine is a system- oriented method of engaging the patient and a physician in a therapeutic partnership to address the underlying causes of diseases. It is a patient centered approach where physicians spend time with their patients and discuss genetic, environmental, and lifestyle issues that can influence long term health rather than just treating an isolated review of symptoms. It is a practice that is effectively suited for the 21st century lifestyle.
The world we live in is experiencing substantial increases in the number of people who suffer from debilitating and chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, mental illness, and autoimmune disorders. Traditional medicine is oriented towards the treatment of acute symptoms or in the treatment of illnesses with the need for urgent care. In these cases they prescribe treatments as drugs or surgery to treat the immediate problem. The advantage of functional medicine is in understanding the origin and prevention of these complex disorders as a better method of managing them and the prevention of these disorders.
What is it like to work with a functional medicine physician? It begins with a detailed history of the patient and their family, followed by a physical examination, and laboratory testing based on factors indicated in the detailed health questionnaire. There are several key factors that are considered as diet, exercise, emotional traumas you may have experienced, psychological and social factors, and genetic factors that may influence the development of diseases. Most of these issues can be addressed or restored to optimum function and substantially improved.
As a patient you develop a relationship with your doctor and discuss how you can improve your lifestyle through creating balance in your life with treatments, counseling, nutritional supplements, exercise and stress management techniques. It gives you an opportunity to be in charge of improving your health and preventing, or changing, the potential of health related disease.