Functional medicine practitioners take into account not just the physical aspects of a person, but also the mental-emotional and spiritual components. Research shows that if any of these areas are out of balance, illness and disease can manifest. Functional medicine practitioners acknowledge symptoms, but go further to uncover root causes that lead to chronic disease and pain. They aim to maximize your overall vitality, rather than simply treating disease.When patients conditions are chronic, their biochemistry and physiology become imbalanced, as a result of many possible drivers. These drivers of disease include but are not limited to the following:
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Blood sugar dysregualtion
- Dysbiosis of the microbiome
- Hidden infections: yeast, fungus, bacteria, viruses
- Environmental Exposures (air, water, food): antibiotics, heavy metals, chemicals, molds, GMO foods
- Hormone Imbalance
- Genetics (SNP’s- MTHFR, ApoE, Telomeres)
- Lack of movement
- Food allergies or sensitivities
Drivers —> Inflammation—> Tissue Damage —> Dysfunction —> Clinical Signs & Symptoms (PAIN) —> Chronic Disease —> Decreased Quality of Life
Many chronic diseases that patients suffer from are related to environmental exposures and lifestyle choices. Until these underlying factors are addressed, patients will have to rely on pharmaceutical drugs for symptom relief only. It is our goal to uncover and address these underlying root causes and break patients free from their reliance on prescription drugs.
What can I expect from a functional medicine appointment?
Patients are often surprised by how much time a functional medicine practitioner spends with them. You can expect the initial visit to last longer than most doctor appointments they are used to. On average, this may be anywhere from 45 minutes to 1 hour. A detailed patient history is taken, along with the use of questionnaires about your diet, exposure to toxins, review of systems, past illnesses, and present symptoms.
Your functional medicine doctor many times utilizes lab tests to gather further information for your case. These include basic panels such as CBC, CMP, hemoglobin A1C, insulin, inflammatory markers, vitamin D, and iron. More often than not functional medicine practitioners are treating difficult cases that require advance lab assessments to help further uncover root causes. These test may include the following:
- Micronutrient Analysis
- CardioMetabolic Panels
- Hormone & Neurotransmitter Levels
- Comprehensive Stool Analysis
- Auto-Immune Panels
- Omega 3 Fatty Acid's Levels
- Heavy Metals & Environmental Chemical Load
- Detoxification/Methylation Efficiency
- Genetic (ex.MTHFR, ApoE)
- Food Sensitivities
The patient plays an active role in functional medicine. You will work with your doctor to improve your health, rather than passively taking medications to alleviate present symptoms. A working relationship between provider and patient is a hallmark of the functional medicine approach. Together, an individualized treatment plan with patient specific goals is created. This includes realistic ways patients can improve their diet, sleep patterns, exercise and other relevant behaviors.
Cost Effective Disease Prevention (True Health Care)
Preventing a disease is more cost effective than treating one. While initially the cost may be expensive uncovering and correcting triggers and lifestyle factors, patients save money in the long run and have higher qualities of life. By preserving your health and minimizing damage done by poor nutrition, stress, and exposure to environmental toxins, functional medicine is a winning approach to a vibrant and healthy life.