Dr Felecia Sumner
What is functional medicine?
Functional medicine is a rapidly growing field that aims to provide a personalized approach to healthcare by addressing the root causes of diseases rather than just treating symptoms. It considers the unique genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that contribute to a patient's overall health and well-being.
Patients who have not received satisfactory answers from conventional medicine often turn to functional medicine to get to the root of their health problems. Here's what you need to know about functional medicine and how it can be valuable for patients who have struggled to find answers elsewhere.
What is functional medicine?
Functional medicine is a patient-centered, science-based approach that seeks to identify and address the underlying causes of disease. Functional medicine practitioners believe that many chronic diseases are rooted in imbalances in the body's systems, such as the immune system, hormonal system, and digestive system. By addressing these imbalances, functional medicine can help to restore the body's natural ability to heal itself.
One of the key principles of functional medicine is that each patient is unique, and therefore, requires a personalized approach to their care. Functional medicine practitioners take the time to understand each patient's individual health history, genetic makeup, environmental exposures, and lifestyle factors. This comprehensive approach allows them to identify the root causes of disease and develop personalized treatment plans that address those causes.
What tests and treatments do functional medicine doctors use?
Functional medicine practitioners use a variety of tests and treatments to identify and address the underlying causes of disease. Here are some examples:
Comprehensive blood and urine testing: Functional medicine practitioners use advanced testing to assess a patient's nutritional status, hormone levels, immune function, and other key markers of health.
Genetic testing: Functional medicine practitioners may use genetic testing to identify genetic mutations that may be contributing to a patient's health problems.
Nutritional therapy: Functional medicine practitioners use nutritional therapy to help patients optimize their diet and ensure they are getting the nutrients they need to support their overall health.
Lifestyle modifications: Functional medicine practitioners may recommend lifestyle modifications such as stress reduction techniques, exercise, and sleep hygiene to help patients optimize their health.
Supplements: Functional medicine practitioners may recommend supplements such as vitamins, minerals, and herbal remedies to support a patient's overall health.
Prescription medications: Functional medicine practitioners may prescribe medications when necessary, but they typically aim to use the lowest effective dose for the shortest possible duration.
Functional medicine can be especially valuable for patients who have not received satisfactory answers from conventional medicine. By taking a personalized approach that addresses the root causes of disease, functional medicine practitioners can help patients achieve optimal health and well-being.