The Miracles of Functional Medicine: A Sustainable Health And Wellness Approach For Everyone
Imagine if you could improve your health and wellness without relying on expensive drugs with serious risks and long term side effects. Check out this article to learn how Functional Medicine applies to you.
Each of us have felt the direct effects of chronic illness or have seen the harm and suffrage it imposes on our loved ones. In today’s society, over 60 percent of adults suffer from at least one chronic condition, according to the CDC. As chronic illness continues to rise as the number one killer in America, it is now more than ever that the core issues of our outdated and failing healthcare system should be addressed. The practice of conventional medicine urges patients to walk perpetually through the revolving doors of prescriptions and referrals to specialists, but never addresses the root causes of our ailments and illnesses.
Patients with severe symptoms are often victims to the failings of conventional medicine, but it is also the people who consider themselves healthy that unknowingly tolerate the flawed approach of our healthcare system as advised by their doctors.
If not conventional medicine, then what?
As a modern-minded medical professional, I strive to provide patients with the healthcare they truly deserve. In doing so, I practice under the construct of functional medicine; a systems biology- based approach to health and wellness that focuses on identifying and addressing the root of your problem instead of treating the symptom.
While the premise of functional medicine is simple and effective, patients are continually steered under the misguidance of conventional medical approaches. For instance, Dr. Mark Hyman, founder of functional medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, was recently presented with a four year old patient who had been suffering from Psoriasis since the age of six months. The patient had been prescribed a plethora of treatments, from TNF-alpha blocks to steroids and immunosuppressive medications from other doctors. One day the four year old was rushed to the intensive care unit with MRSA and was given IV antibiotics to prevent her from dying from the effects of her treatments for Psoriasis. This is often the dilemma of conventional medicine– in treating one illness, we run the risk of facilitating another. In this case, the outcome of this patient’s medical treatment was more than merely counterproductive, it was life-threatening.
In this case, doctors had been searching for a drug to suppress the patient’s immune system, but they never explored why the patient’s immune system was so aggravated in the first place. The doctors should have examined the underlying cause of inflammation but instead they prescribed temporary fixes that had inadvertent consequences. In functional medicine we aim to address the core issue; in this case, we know that several triggers, such as allergens, microbes, toxins, poor diet, and stress, can cause inflammation.
Operating under a functional medicine approach, Dr. Hyman deduced that the patient’s diet was the cause of her ailment. Medical literature shows that gluten can trigger psoriasis, so it was advised that the patient eliminate gluten and dairy products completely. An antifungal was also prescribed to clear out the yeast accumulated from months of antibiotics and she began consuming simple nutrients like zinc, fish oil and vitamin d to help repair her leaky gut. Can you guess the result? In a matter of three weeks, her immune system returned to normal function. Simply by eliminating the bad stuff and replacing it with good stuff, the body healed itself. The miracle and power of functional medicine is in treating the root problem; it is medicine by cause, not by symptom.
Functional Medicine For Everyone
While functional medicine has worked wonders for patients suffering serious illnesses, everyone has the opportunity to reap its benefits. Parsley founder and CEO, MD Robin Berzin describes functional medicine in terms of looking at the body as an intelligent organism that can heal itself given the right support. This means optimizing the kind of food you eat, identifying simple ways to change your lifestyle and using proven plant-based supplements that both help you feel better now and help prevent disease down the road.
A common struggle for many people is the inability to fall asleep at night. An overprescribed remedy taken by many people is Ambien, a sleeping pill with a long list of adverse risks and side effects. But imagine if you could address a widespread problem such as insomnia without the use of medication. That’s exactly what I strive to do. Upon deeper examination we know that several factors may contribute to insomnia, from simply staying up too late and looking at a screen for too long before bed to deeper issues like sleep apnea, anxiety and hormone imbalances. In finding the real cause of your insomnia and using natural remedies such as CBD oil ,you can ensure that you sleep better in a safer, more natural, sustainable way.
In our current healthcare system doctors rarely examine things like nutritional deficiencies and hormonal imbalances, but in doing so we can take preventative measures to combat the illnesses that could plague us down the road. While functional medicine doctors still prescribe drugs, refer to specialists and order tests as needed, we take a deep look at your lifestyle in its entirety. We aim to teach you how to eat, move and live better so you are better equipped to live your healthiest life possible. Functional medicine adopts a more holistic, natural and sustainable approach to getting well and staying well.
Our society relies on a vicious cycle of consuming terrible food, living sedentary lives and then depending on medications to restore ourselves back to health. We wonder why our nation is getting more sick with each day but we fail to look at our habits and the way we treat our bodies in the first place. Functional medicine is revolutionary in the way that it includes the patient in its prescription; its approach allows patients to implement healthy practices into their everyday life, and in doing so, claim autonomy over their health and wellness.
As functional medicine becomes more recognized among practitioners, a systemized model has been developed so that more health professionals can learn to use its approach in their practice. The Institute of Functional Medicine has made accessible a set of tools that aid in addressing the root-cause of illness. In addressing the true cause of an illness, a health practitioner has the ability to positively affect their patients’ lives rather than temporarily suppress the manifesting symptoms. These tools include the Functional Medicine Matrix which assists in organizing and prioritizing each patient’s health issues, a Timeline which shows patient history and provides insight of previous medical events and GOTOITwhich stands for “Gather, Organize, Tell, Order, Initiate and Track,” a simple framework practitioners can utilize to establish rapport with patients and propose personalized treatment and lifestyle modifications.
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