What is Functional Medicine?

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Whenever I meet new people and they ask me what I do, I tell them I practice Functional Medicine. It never fails, they always give me a blank stare and it is obvious they have never heard of it before. Then comes the next question, “So, what is Functional Medicine??”

The short answer to the question is: It is the type of medicine where we look at the body as a whole while looking for the root cause of symptoms instead of creating a diagnosis that fits all of the random symptoms together under one umbrella. It is also the type of medicine that works to heal the body and rid it of these ailments instead of throwing prescriptions on symptoms (which often create new symptoms due to the endless adverse effect profiles of prescription medications).

The long explanation to this question is more like a scenario. I am sure you have heard a similar scenario from a friend or maybe this is your scenario currently… Have you ever heard of people who have an array of problems… anxiety, brain fog, chronic fatigue, random joint pains, insomnia, headaches, memory isn’t as sharp as it used to be, difficulty focusing, bloating, reflux, constipation/diarrhea, weight gain, hair loss etc?? These are usually the people who see their doctor and have “lots of tests run” {which most of the time translates to just a complete blood count, complete metabolic panel, and a thyroid stimulating hormone test and maybe a free T4 count if you are lucky…} and they all come back normal and they are basically told they are perfectly healthy. But these people don’t feel healthy. They actually feel the opposite - like they are falling apart. They were once extremely productive and now it feels like their body is working against them. Or, maybe you have heard of a child who has ADHD, a behavioral disorder or autism. Typically, these kids share many of the same medical histories… the struggle with chronic allergies, rashes, insomnia, constipation, the have had strep throat more times than their parents can keep track of, they have had recurrent ear infections requiring antibiotics and ultimately tubes being placed, some have asthma on top of all of the behavioral concerns. Often times, the parents are given a prescription to help the child focus or sleep but what many parents are not told is that these conditions can be improved by adjusting the child’s diet and treating gut infections that have resulted from so many antibiotics in such a short period of time.

The people described above are those that Functional Medicine can most definitely help. With the Functional Medicine approach, we dive deep into medical history. Starting from conception to present day, we ask the questions: What could possibly have been a trigger? And what could possibly be continuing this problem? We do advanced blood, stool, genetic and urine testing when we deem necessary on a case by case basis. These tests allow us to look at inflammation, oxidative stress, food triggers, environmental/metal toxicities, chronic infections, leaky gut, yeast/parasitic/bacterial overgrowth of the gut and more. From there, we create a treatment plan to work towards allowing the body to get back to its healthy baseline and function at its best.

I have had the honor to help countless families achieve optimal health by asking simple questions and digging a little deeper and it is the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my career.


For more information, visit www.ifm.org



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