What does a functional medical provider do?
A provider in functional medicine works holistically, considering the full picture of your physical, mental, emotional, and sometimes even spiritual health. They consider factors like diet, genetics, hormonal changes, prescription and over the counter medications, and other lifestyle components.
Our patients and prospective patients often ask us, “How does functional medicine differ from conventional medicine?” Or they wonder why they should choose us over a conventional medical doctor. Conventional medicine is innovative and has made significant progress in preventing, diagnosing, and treating a host of diseases and illnesses. Now, conventional medicine can even map your genes to identify markers for disease and more effectively target treatments to specific patients.
The trouble is people are living longer and feeling worse. Chronic conditions are on the rise. Obesity is now an epidemic. More children are suffering from allergies, asthma, and autism. More patients are showing up with digestive disorders and a host of chronic illnesses, including bowel disease, chronic fatigue, and cancer. Long story short, conventional medicine has not made us any healthier.
Functional and integrative medicine is different because it focuses on health. When you report your symptoms to a conventional doctor, the doctor either prescribes medication or a medical procedure to alleviate your symptoms and, perhaps, eliminate the illness. With functional/integrative medicine, our diagnosis does not stop at the symptom or illness level; we continue to peel away the layers of the onion to identify the source of that illness, which is almost always at the cellular level.
By restoring health instead of merely eliminating illness, we give the body what it needs not only to eliminate the reported illness but also to eliminate other underlying illnesses that may not be showing symptoms and to prevent the onset of future illness.
The ranges used to interpret test results shift the traditional doctor’s focus to determining whether you are sick, rather than gauging how healthy you are. With functional medicine, we work toward bringing levels into ranges that indicate health and vitality.
Prior to treatment, we conduct a thorough examination aimed at identifying the root cause of compromised health. Although our choices vary according to each patient’s physiological portrait, we use a variety of diagnostic tests and procedures, including:
Your list of symptoms.
A physical examination.
Your Functional Medicine Timeline — your medical history from preconception to now.
Conventional labs — yes, we are providers, and we use conventional lab tests to measure levels of hormones, blood sugar, red and white blood cell counts, and so on.
Specialty labs, such as tests to identify nutrient deficiencies and food sensitivities.
Results from the examination and tests provide us with the information we need to make an accurate diagnosis and choose the best treatments. With the test results, we can:
Measure inflammation and begin to identify possible contributing factors.
Develop a clearer understanding of your thyroid function.
Analyze your metabolism.
Personalize supplementation recommendations.