Understanding Functional Medicine

There are many different types of medicine, which can be confusing when you’re battling a chronic illness, as you just want answers, and relief. While modern medicine has made some incredible advances, many of them have been in managing the symptoms without addressing you as a patient or the underlying cause of your medical problem. Functional medicine puts those issues at the fore.

At Magnolia Medical Center, our team is multidisciplinary by design, because we believe there are several ways to approach illness and disease. One of our areas of expertise is functional medicine, and we explain this approach here.

Defining functional medicine

To help you better understand functional medicine, we’re going to take a definition from The Institute of Functional Medicine, which states, “Functional Medicine is a systems biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. Each symptom or differential diagnosis may be one of many contributing to an individual’s illness.”

In other words, we believe that one condition can have many causes, and one cause can lead to many conditions.

To illustrate this point, let’s take a look at inflammation in your body, which is created by your immune system. This inflammation can lead to or exacerbate conditions such as arthritis, cancer, diabetes, depression, and heart disease.

Now let’s flip this and look at one condition, such as cancer. This disease can have many causes, such as genetics, environment, and exposure to toxins.

What to expect during your functional medicine assessment

Your functional medicine appointment starts with a comprehensive assessment of everything related to your health, including your:

  • Current symptoms
  • Medical history
  • Mental health
  • Diet
  • Environment
  • Lifestyle
  • Stress level

By gathering all of this information, we get a much broader picture of your life and health, not just your chronic disease. This allows us to connect some dots that may not be evident when just looking at your symptoms alone.

From this initial assessment, we begin our hunt for contributing factors by performing a series of tests, which might include evaluating your:

  • Gut health
  • Liver function
  • Glucose levels
  • Hormone levels
  • Genetics
  • Micronutrient status
  • Food sensitivities
  • Heavy metal levels

By tackling all of these areas, we can unearth problems that may seem unrelated, but when combined, can play a significant role in the evolution of your chronic disease.

Treating your medical issues through functional medicine

Once we have a better idea about your overall health, we can make improvements in each of the areas where we find problems. Every treatment plan is individualized, but functional medicine treatments often include one or more of the following:

  • Dietary changes
  • Lifestyle modifications (quitting smoking, exercising more)
  • Hormone replacement therapies
  • Detoxification programs
  • Supplements and nutraceuticals
  • Prescription medications
  • Stress management techniques

Using this broader approach to your health, we can often better manage your chronic disease and improve your quality of life.

If you’d like to learn more about functional medicine and how it can improve your health, contact our office in Murfreesboro, Tennessee, to schedule your assessment.

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