Why is the Functional Medicine model important to your health care?
By shifting the traditional disease-centered focus of medical practice to a more patient-centered approach, functional medicine addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.
Functional Medicine practitioners spend extra time with their patients, listening to their histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex, chronic disease. In this way, Functional Medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.
The current system of medicine that most practitioners are using is one of disease-care, diagnosis and treatment of an illness, or a trauma. Unfortunately, this acute-care approach does not provide the physician or the patient with the proper methodology and tools for preventing and treating complex, chronic diseases, such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and autoimmune disorders such as Hashimoto's or rheumatoid arthritis.
The additional training taken by functional medicine providers teaches the assessment of the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease, and also the tools providers can use to empower patients to apply strategies such as nutrition, stress management and physical activity to address and prevent these illnesses in their patients.
Understanding Functional Medicine.
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The information provided on this site is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for advice from your physician or other health care professional or any information contained on or in any product label or packaging. You should not use the information on this site for diagnosis or treatment of any health problem or for prescription of any medication or other treatment. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any diet, exercise or supplementation program, before taking any medication, or if you have or suspect you might have a health problem.
How is Functional Medicine care different from traditional primary care?
Complex, chronic diseases do not happen overnight, like a cold or flu virus. Rather, it is preceded by long-term imbalances and deficiencies in functionality that can be identified and effectively managed. Most imbalances in function can be addressed and some can even be completely restored to optimum function; others can be substantially improved. Changing how the body's systems function can have a major impact your health.
Functional medicine gives a clinician an expanded toolkit, beyond pharmaceuticals (although they may be necessary). Your treatments may include combinations of drugs, botanical medicines, nutritional supplements and therapies, therapeutic diets or detoxification protocols. You will also be given counseling on nutrition, lifestyle, exercise and stress-management techniques.
As a patient, you become an active partner with your Functional Medicine practitioner.
Such a partnership allows you to be in charge of improving your own health and changing the outcome of disease.
~Adapted from The Institute for Functional Medicine, 2016
Jackie Warner, FNP-BC, IFMCP