Functional Medicine is a form of medicine that allows practitioners to approach patient care with a holistic approach. With a functional medicine approach, the practitioner and the patient work together in order to devise a treatment plan that will reduce or eliminate the patient’s current health problems and prevent new ones from surfacing in the future. Some of the therapies offered with functional medicine include bio-identical hormone replacement therapy, detoxification, nutritional recommendations, exercise plans, and natural medicine.
Commonly, conventional medicine treats separate symptoms relative to their individual body parts. Patients with insomnia are typically given sleeping medication, and people suffering from anxiety or depression are given medications for anxiety and depression. While this traditional model may make sense for some health scenarios, it does not always work very well when the patient presents with multiple symptoms. This is because the side effects of all the medications can actually be more debilitating than the symptoms that they originally had. It also only works to mask symptoms instead of getting to the root cause of an issue.
What is Functional Medicine?
With functional medicine, instead of looking at individual symptoms and assuming that they are associated with different parts of the body, functional medicine looks at symptoms in order to see what bodily systems may be affected. For example, aging men and women with a group of symptoms such as insomnia, hot flashes, low libido, thinning bones, and muscle atrophy may have a problem with their endocrine system. Westside Los Angeles Functional Medicine specialists will not assign medications for each individual symptom but will look at the symptoms a whole to discover the root cause of them. In the case of an endocrine imbalance, physicians may use bio-identical hormone replacement therapy to supplement deficient hormones, which can improve libido, increase bone strength, reduce hot flashes, increase muscle strength, and improve sleep. In getting to the root of an issue, several symptoms can be eliminated or reduced.
This form of medicine looks at organ systems that may be malfunctioning and causing groups of symptoms to appear. Because the body is connected, sometimes symptoms are interrelated and can occur in groups relative to the system that is out of balance. Many conditions can be traced to one part of the body that is out of balance or has an issue. Some examples of conditions that present with groups of different symptoms but can be traced to one common imbalance include menopause, adrenal fatigue, andropause, perimenopause, and chronic fatigue syndrome, and thyroid disorders. While these conditions present with several different kinds of symptoms in different parts of the body, they can be traced back to endocrine imbalances. When the physician balances this system, all related symptoms may disappear.
Los Angeles Functional Medicine doctors will listen to their patients and consider many aspects of their lives before developing a treatment plan. Practitioners will give their patients the time and attention that they need to accurately explain their history and individual issues. Seeking to find the cause of a chronic and complex disease and working to resolve it is another part of functional medicine. Patient-centered care is important to functional medicine practitioners, and they can prevent the advancement of the disease process, while promoting overall wellness in the patient.
Practitioners are up to date with the latest laboratory testing methods, and they will implement the latest scientifically based medical advancements as a part of their patients care plan. Functional medicine is integrative, and it takes the best of conventional, alternative, and holistic medicine in order to help patients improve their overall health and achieve optimal levels of wellness. Many patients that have undergone functional medicine have improved their health and alleviated existing health conditions.