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Published on: 09-Feb-2024

Have you ever wondered what the term “functional medicine” meant? It’s overtaking the health sector, and I want to make sure you understand why it’s such an important element of healthcare for patients.

Functional medicine focuses on treating the whole person rather than splitting symptoms into a dozen unrelated divisions. At the same time, the functional medicine approach draws on our ancestors’ millennia-old traditions to influence medical judgments. Just because individuals did not have scientific publications hundreds or thousands of years ago does not imply we should disregard what they knew and believed. Many of their examples are literal demonstrations of the Hippocratic approach in operation.

Although this discipline is gaining widespread attention as a result of voices such as “functional medicine nj“, functional medicine is still widely misunderstood. Let me walk you through the basics of functional medicine, how to identify a functional doctor, and what to expect while you’re there.

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to healing.

One of my favorite statements is, “Health is not just the absence of disease.” This nicely describes the approach of functional medicine. The old disease-focused approach of functional medicine is being replaced with a patient-centered approach.

Functional medicine is preventative as well as customized. In functional medicine, compounded medication refers to a one-of-a-kind, tailored prescription treatment.

Patient care is everything in functional medicine. When treating chronic disease, functional practitioners take into account a patient’s biochemical uniqueness and involve them in their treatment plan. Because it is the patient’s chronic condition, it stands to reason that they should be co-equal partners in planning their wellness. In this regard, functional medicine empowers patients. It’s upsetting when a traditional doctor dismisses a patient who inquires about a more natural treatment or simply asks a question.

Functional doctors are more attentive to their patients’ needs and recognize the significance of not only medicinal therapies, but also dietary, lifestyle, emotional, and even social factors in health and disease.

Other concepts that are synonymous or similar to functional medicine include:

  • Holistic medicine
  • Natural medicine
  • Folk medicine
  • Unconventional medicine
  • Integrative medicine
  • Alternative medicine

Functional Labs and Testing

A conventional doctor will order laboratory testing based on the patient’s symptoms. A functional medicine practitioner will look at several elements of a patient’s total health, including:

  • Toxin concentrations
  • Hormonal balance
  • Food intolerances
  • Metabolic testing.
  • Bacteria in the intestine
  • Genetic analysis

A functional doctor may not test ALL of them, but these are the types of tests that provide the doctor and patient with a more complete view of the patient’s health.

The diagnosis also takes into account the medical history of the patient’s family. While conventional doctors may inquire about your family history of heart disease, functional medicine practitioners may inquire about your family history of stress, chronic pain, susceptibility to bacterial infections, or even spiritual health. Finally, a functional doctor is more concerned with the whole picture of diagnosis and will order lab testing accordingly. This complete image is sometimes referred to as your “mind, body, and spirit” in connection with your physical and social circumstances.

Because a complete picture is being painted, diagnoses may take a little longer. A functional diagnosis, on the other hand, can make all the difference.

Why Functional Medicine Is a Necessity

Conventional medicine works well in emergency rooms and on operating tables. However, it is notably lacking in long-term, general wellness of the full individual. This is why functional medicine is so important.

In the United States, up to 40% of deaths from the top five primary causes are avoidable. This is where the value of functional medicine’s emphasis on prevention rather than reaction becomes clear.

Furthermore, I cannot emphasize enough how wrong mainstream medicine is. Because traditional doctors rely on Big Pharma and the FDA for information, they will never have a complete picture of a patient’s overall health.

Does Functional Medicine Really Work?

Science underpins the functional medicine concept. The primary difference between functional medicine and conventional medicine is that it is not dependent on the whims of pharmaceutical companies or outmoded ideas that the medical profession expects you to believe. 

Functional doctors recommend effective remedies to cure and prevent genuine health issues. That’s why functional medicine is improving patient experience and becoming more popular in many countries around the world.

Here are some recent instances of functional medicine research:

According to an integrated review, women who develop diabetes during pregnancy can minimize postpartum diabetes status, improve metabolism, lower the risk of preterm delivery or birth weight, and reduce stress by following a balanced diet, getting enough exercise, and maintaining a happy social life.

A study of pre-surgery patients discovered that a low-calorie, healthy keto diet prepared them better for surgery than merely a low-calorie diet (better overall outcome, better drainage output, better hemoglobin levels, shorter hospital stay). 

According to a paper published in Frontiers in Neuroscience, stress is linked to inflammation. Both stress and inflammation can predict depression and low mood. This review is intended to aid in the development of future treatment regimens for depression

Is functional medicine truly effective? Yes, according to a pile of studies! Yes, say millions of patients!

Lifestyle Adjustments

To treat high blood pressure, a conventional doctor may recommend increased exercise. However, a consultation to a functional doctor may result in some unanticipated lifestyle changes.

Here’s an excellent example: Stress and physical inflammation are undoubtedly linked, but the precise mechanism is unknown. Because their connection is somewhat enigmatic, traditional doctors avoid emphasizing stress-induced inflammation.

However, functional doctors will frequently advise their patients to reduce stress in their daily lives. Many medical disorders are caused by inflammation, and reducing stress may lead to decreased inflammation.

However, self-contained instances are problematic. Because functional doctors consider the entire picture of lifestyle factors when diagnosing and prescribing treatment, two or more lifestyle changes are frequently administered concurrently.

Exercise therapy is an excellent example. Exercise has been shown in studies to lower depression and inflammation. The control group (no exercise) suffered steadily worsening mental health in this study, which was done on university students.

Based on this research, functional doctors may recommend exercise to a patient suffering from depression as well as an inflammation-related ailment.

Other simple instances of lifestyle adjustments are as follows:

  • Meditation, yoga, and spiritual growth
  • Purifying your home’s air or water
  • Making social changes, such as joining a local community organization
  • Spending time outside every day
  • A full night’s sleep and/or better sleep quality
  • Limiting alcohol consumption
  • Preparing for hormonal abnormalities throughout puberty, menstruation, and menopause

A functional doctor may even advise you to discontinue or adjust the dosage of a medicine. These medications may not treat the underlying cause of your illness, and the side effects may cause long-term harm.

There are numerous methods for finding a physician, but one of the most popular today is to use search engines such as Google.

It’s feasible to identify dozens, if not hundreds, of doctors in a limited geographic area in seconds by entering in a brief word or phrase. However, the only results that most searchers pay attention to are those at the top—and the only way your site can get there is through search engine optimization, or SEO. Physician websites do not appear toward the top of search results by chance.

High rankings necessitate a consistent monitoring and refining program that can take weeks or even months. When your site achieves them, however, they can result in a new stream of referrals and appointments, not just in the short term, but throughout the life of your practice.

Continue reading to learn more about SEO for doctors, such as how it works and why it is beneficial. In addition, get practical advice on how to begin an SEO plan for your doctor’s office or medical institution.

Final Thoughts

Functional doctors examine more than just the symptoms of a disease; they examine hormone levels, toxin levels, food sensitivities, and even genetics! FM is required as long as traditional doctors utilize a disease-focused strategy rather than FM’s patient-centered approach. FM is quite effective. It’s founded on research and backed up by a slew of success stories.

The post What Does Functional Medicine Really Mean for Patients? appeared first on Sports Medicine Weekly By Dr. Brian Cole.