About Functional Medicine
There has been a dramatic increase in the number of people in our society suffering from chronic, complex diseases. These include hypertension, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, mental illness, autoimmune diseases, and neurological diseases such as autism, Parkinson's, and ALS. Most physicians in this country treat acute problems. If you have a heart attack, stroke, pneumonia, or a broken leg, traditional medical care for your immediate problem is excellent. The drugs, surgery, and intensive care give people the best chance of surviving the mishap and making a good recovery.
Traditional medical care is outdated. This approach breaks down when physicians treat chronic and complex problems that have become very common. People are individuals and have unique genetic and epigenetic histories. Our diets and lifestyle choices are the driving force behind the chronic disease epidemic. Stress is a major factor in disease causation. We live in a very toxic world where our food, water, and air are slowly poisoning us. The root causes of chronic diseases as well as actual solutions are usually not considered by most physicians when caring for patients.
Functional Medicine utilizes a different approach. The patient's diet and lifestyle, family and medical histories, and genetic predispositions are all considered when designing a plan for the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases.
Think of health and disease as being similar to a tree. The various organ systems are represented as the branches and leaves of the tree. If the tree is diseased in its roots, then pruning sick branches will not solve the problem. The Institute of Functional Medicine has prepared a detailed article on the Functional Medicine clinical model. Introduction to Functional Medicine