Functional medicine is an individualized treatment based on the idea that the root cause of the disease is often nutritional deficiencies, toxicity, or some disturbance in normal biological function. In fact, functional medicine doctors assume this dysfunction can be addressed by looking at how the body works as a whole instead of focusing on one specific problem area. Also, functional medicine doctors believe that the human body is an interconnected web.
For instance, problems in the digestive tract can often signify a critical imbalance elsewhere. That said, these doctors look at how these imbalances affect the entire body and then find a solution. Indeed, this holistic approach can treat chronic disease, focusing on nutrition and leading a healthier life from the inside out.
How Does Functional Medicine Work?
First, the functional medicine practitioner will thoroughly analyze the medical history and current lifestyle to find the source of any health problems or chronic diseases in a patient. Not only that, but functional practitioners use state-of-the-art diagnostics tests and lab work to get a complete picture of the current health. With that in mind, these doctors want to understand how the body functions through the tests and measurements conducted to identify any imbalances in critical areas.
Once they pinpoint the source of the symptoms, they will develop personalized treatment plans that help improve the function of the body’s essential systems. In fact, many different methods are used by functional medicine practitioners to address these imbalances – including nutrition, exercise, and supplements like vitamins and minerals.
What Benefits Does Functional Medicine Provide?
Functional medicine offers various benefits for anyone who opts for this treatment. For the beginner, providers who practice functional medicine typically get a more well-rounded picture of their patients and can offer more personalized care. Functional medicine providers will support patients throughout their holistic wellness journey.
In addition, patients may work with many different health specialists and general practitioners in many practices. Together, this wellness team can help achieve the health goals.
Also, a functional medicine provider can help treat various chronic health conditions.
What Can Functional Medicine Treat?
The functional medicine approach offers many advantages. The various functional medicines programs are the way to go for many people who have restored their health because of this treatment. The following common conditions are what functional medicine treats:
Autoimmune diseases are conditions when the body starts mistakenly attacking healthy cells, which include:
- Alopecia: which the body starts attacking hair follicles
- Crohn’s disease: occurs in the bowel, causing severe complications.
- Hashimoto’s thyroiditis: which is a chronic thyroid gland inflammation
- Psoriasis: a skin condition that causes itchy, scaly, and red patches on the body.
- Rheumatoid arthritis: a condition in which inflammatory disorder targets the joint
- Ulcerative colitis: colon and rectum are the targets of inflammatory reaction
- Vasculitis: this condition in which the supply to vital organs, affecting blood vessels is cut
Chronic Pain, Inflammation, and Stress
Once an original illness or injury has resolved, chronic pain, inflammation, and stress can last for years. The body continues to display potentially debilitating symptoms that can affect different body areas for a long period. In a usual setting, pain medications are prescribed by traditional doctors, letting the patient regain some normal function for short periods but not figuring out or treating the root causes of the pain, including:
- Back pain
- Chronic fatigue syndrome
- Nerve damage
- Unexplained weight loss or gain
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Inflammatory Bowel Disease
Hormones are chemical messengers to body organs, stimulating certain life processes and retarding others. When hormones are too much or too little, it can cause an imbalance. Below are the common hormonal imbalances, which include:
- Type 2 diabetes.- when the body no longer uses insulin properly to fuel the cells and occurs later in life for adults
- Hashimoto’s disease- when the thyroid gland is too active and speeds up all the normal bodily functions, it results in the presence of thyroid antibodies. This indicates an autoimmune condition.
- Graves’ disease- when the thyroid gland is underactive and unnecessarily slows the body down, which results in the presence of thyroid antibodies and also indicates an autoimmune disease.
- Menopause- when women stop menstruating, a significant hormonal change disrupts the body.
- Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)- the symptoms of this condition are irregular periods, acne, weight gain, and fertility issues.
- Low testosterone (Low T) can cause erectile dysfunction, low libido, unexplained fatigue, and hair loss in some men.
A hormonal imbalance can also cause bone density issues, sleep difficulties, weight gain or loss, mood disorders, etc. That said, those complex conditions require a holistic approach, which is functional medicine.
Thyroid and Adrenal Disorders
Functional medicine is the way for those who are tired of taking medication and have seen multiple doctors without getting the necessary answers. Several reasons may come for scheduling an appointment with a functional medicine doctor, particularly suspecting a thyroid and adrenal disorder. In fact, they fly most often under the radar and can cause symptoms that most people describe as generally not feeling well, including:
- Adrenal insufficiency- can cause different well-being issues that include chronic fatigue, weight loss, weakness, and abdominal pain.
- Congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH)- is a group of genetic disorders that affect the adrenal gland and energy levels.
- Hashimoto’s disease
- Grave’s disease
- Sleep issues
- Mood disorders. They can also explain anxiety, depression, mood swings, irritability, and more, which means they may not be a psychological issue at all.
- Stress. Stress triggers hormonal responses such as releasing cortisol, making the body work harder than it should, and making a person feel unwell.
The Bottom Line
Functional medicine is an approach centered on identifying and addressing the root causes of the patient’s disease. Waco Center for Functional Medicine, PLLC, offers Functional Medicine, which aims to equip and empower patients as they work together to find and treat the root cause of symptoms and diagnoses. Ultimately, they will address many aspects that can affect physically and mentally to make better decisions regarding both food and exercise habits that will lead to optimal wellness.