Since Dr. Mark Hyman opened up the Functional Medicine Institute at the Cleveland Clinic, we are hearing a lot about Functional Medicine. Many of my patients want to know the difference between traditional medicine and functional medicine. Here are some of the principles from the Institute of Functional Medicine that can serve as a guide.
The National Institutes of Health defines conventional medicine as “A system in which medical doctors and other healthcare professionals treat symptoms and diseases using drugs, radiation, or surgery.”
- Conventional medicine is extremely effective for treating acute problems such as heart attacks, broken bones, and physical trauma.
- Unlike Conventional Medicine, Functional Medicine focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease, not just symptom treatment.
- Functional medicine examines every factor involved including symptoms, genes, environment, and lifestyle factors to treat the causes of disease, not just the symptoms.
- At the heart of functional medicine lies the understanding that when the underlying causes are not addressed, problems can progress and worsen. Lifestyle factors (such as diet and stress) often are the consequently lead to irritating, chronic, and painful
- medical conditions.
Functional medicine doctors treat various conditions. Some focus on a niche and others are more broadly trained. Although my expertise lies in cardiometabolic, hormone balance, weight, energy and mood, my patients can have underlying issues that overlap or may be at the root cause, so I have to be well versed in treating gut health and autoimmune conditions as well as toxic exposures. Here are some of the conditions that functional medicine doctors commonly treat.
- Functional Medicine has been proven to help a wide range of conditions including:
- CARDIO METABOLIC CONDITIONS (diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease)
- NEUROLOGICAL AND PSYCHIATRIC CONDITIONS (depression, attention deficit
- disorder, and migraine headaches)
- DIGESTIVE DISORDERS (irritable bowel syndrome, ulcers, chronic pancreatitis, acid
- reflux, and diverticulosis)
- AUTOIMMUNE DISEASES (rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimotos, and celiac disease, among others )
- SKIN DISORDERS (psoriasis, acne, and eczema)
- HORMONAL PROBLEMS (thyroid conditions, chronic fatigue, and menopause)
Some people ask, “What can someone expect when they go to a functional medicine doctor?”
The main goal is to repair and restore the body’s natural ability to heal by restoring system balance.
- Since each of us is different, our care plans are unique. Care plans may include:
- Lifestyle changes such and diet and exercise
- Stress management tools
- Detoxification programs
- Nutritional supplements
- Botanical remedies
- Prescription medications
Your functional medicine doctor will spend more time with you in order to address all of the factors that may be standing in the way of your health and healing. It is a partnership and involves making some lifestyle changes. The rewards are priceless, and the experience is very different. Hence the explosive growth of the field. Find a functional Medicine physician that you can connect with to unleash your health. We welcome you to our practice that provides a caring and compassionate team of experts that enable you to regain, maintain and sustain your health and lifestyle to live your best life.