What Is Functional Medicine? A Definitive Guidedoctormmdev
You are a unique human being with unique needs. Your healthcare should be unique too.
Traditional medicine uses a one-size-fits-all approach to diagnosis, treatment, and management of disease. But functional medicine uses a personalized approach.
It takes into account your lifestyle, genetics, and environment as a part of your wellness plan.
So, what is functional medicine anyway?
Great question! Keep reading for everything you need to know about functional medicine and how it may be right for you.
What Is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine is a personalized, holistic approach to treating illness and promoting wellness. The goal of functional medicine is to find the underlying things preventing you from being well.
Functional medicine is about not only treating illness but also promoting a healthy life and lifestyle.
Nutrition, stress, sleep, mental health, and other things can contribute to physical illness. But instead of treating only the symptoms, functional medicine addresses all the potential causes.
For example, a person with high blood pressure might visit their doctor and be prescribed a medication. If this same person visited a functional medicine doctor, the doctor may recommend a certain diet and exercise regimen first.
Using this holistic technique, the patient is at the center of the solution.
Functional medicine is focused on the larger, underlying causes of illness – not just the symptoms. And the people that work in functional medicine think about your needs as a person, not just your illness.
History of Functional Medicine
The ideas behind functional medicine started as early as the 1950s. At this time it was referred to as natural medicine or alternative medicine.
People began to study the causes of different diseases but also the causes of health. They learned about the nutrients that the human body needs to thrive. Over time, their research led to important discoveries that shaped the modern view of functional medicine.
Since the 1990s functional medicine has grown in popularity and in reputation. More health care workers accepted the principles of functional medicine. Patients have become more involved in their own treatment process too.
Functional medicine now has its own formal training programs and institutes too. People have devoted their lives to learning about the lifestyle habits that keep people well.
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How Functional Medicine Works
The functional medicine approach looks at the whole person rather than just the condition. Any condition or illness could be caused or made worse by a number of factors, not just one thing.
If a person is suffering from diabetes, a doctor may tell them they need to lose weight. But a functional medicine expert might ask about allergies or history of depression. Functional medicine asks for the whole story instead of just obvious symptoms.
Functional medicine aims to address any and all causes for a condition. Then, those causes are managed using a personalized health plan.
Because functional medicine is so personal, every person’s experience is different. Most often you will work with a team of experts to address any and all issues you’re experiencing.
Functional medicine can be a preventive form of medicine. You don’t have to be sick just to seek help from a functional medicine expert.
Functional medicine can help prevent you from getting sick. For example, functional medicine could help you reduce the likelihood of developing a disease that runs in your family.
What Is The First Appointment Like?
When you make an appointment to see a functional medicine doctor, you will usually need to complete an extensive medical history. You will answer questions about your lifestyle and your environment as well as any current or past medical issues.
By collecting more information about your life and environment, you and your doctor can work together. And together you can address the larger issues that prevent you from living your healthiest life.
During your first appointment, you will meet with a functional medicine specialist to review your medical history. You may also be asked to undergo a few tests and a physical examination.
Some functional medicine practices include a group session with a dietician and a health coach. Functional medicine relies on experts in different areas of health to support you on your journey.
Each visit will be different, but you can expect the doctor to spend more time with you than a traditional doctor’s appointment.
You will talk about lifestyle changes and environmental changes. The doctor will assess your physical, mental, and emotional health challenges. Then, he or she will make recommendations to help.
What Does Functional Medicine Treat?
Functional medicine techniques can be applied to any medical condition. However, for acute medical emergencies, like an asthma attack, you should seek emergency care first.
Functional medicine is most often used to manage and treat chronic illnesses. A few examples of chronic illnesses are diabetes, Crohn’s Disease, and arthritis.
Chronic illnesses are usually caused by more than one thing, such as genetic, lifestyle, and environmental factors. Treating these complex conditions requires more than a short-term prescription. It may take several weeks, months, or years to address the underlying causes of these issues.
Changing your diet, exercise, sleep, or other habits could help manage chronic conditions. Functional medicine can have a longer-term impact on illnesses too.
Don’t Wait to Take Charge of Your Health
So, what is functional medicine? It’s a unique, personalized approach to health and wellbeing. And it could be exactly what you need to start feeling better today.
You deserve to live a happy and healthy life. But countless doctor’s appointments, medications, and expensive treatments are not the answer.
Looking for a new way to take control of your health? Want a new approach to being well? Consider making an appointment with a functional medicine specialist.
You can learn about strategies to help yourself improve your health or keep yourself healthy.
If you’re ready to book an appointment with a functional medicine specialist, request a consultation today.
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