Are you familiar with the term “functional medicine” and do you know what constitutes a “functional medicine doctor”? Do you understand this exciting new approach to health and how it is different from traditional medicine? Has your family doctor determined your blood tests are normal and “nothing is wrong”? If you would like to learn more about maintaining your health, energy and vitality, then you need to learn more about functional medicine.
Many people do not understand that true “health” is not merely the absence of disease or even worse, the suppression of symptoms or alternation of body physiology with medication. Dorland’s Medical Dictionary defines health as “a state of optimal physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”. If you want to maintain your health and “age well”, you need to be proactive with diet, nutrition, exercise and even your choice of doctors. Just like a home or car, your body requires ongoing maintenance if you desire to preserve optimum health and performance.
So what is a functional medicine doctor and how do they differ from other doctors? Functional medicine doctors focus on maintaining and restoring normal physiology by identifying the actual “cause” of symptoms or a disease. They typically use different blood and laboratory tests and often use a more narrow range of “normal”. A functional medicine doctor utilizes natural treatments and lifestyle modifications to restore metabolic function, cellular health and vitality so that unnecessary drugs can be avoided and even eliminated in many instances.
Functional medicine is a special branch of medicine that uses a scientific approach of assessing how the complex systems of our bodies interact. Since every person is unique, the goal of functional medicine is to look at individual factors and restore body balance. It requires a therapeutic partnership between patient and practitioner because cooperation is the key to achieving the desired outcome. Does that sound like a better approach than what our current “health care system” provides? Truthfully, our current health care system focuses more on “disease care” than actual health or well-being because pharmaceutical medications do very little or nothing to restore normal health and metabolic function.
So what happens when you visit a functional medicine doctor? Just like all good doctors, your assessment will start with a thorough family and medical history. Next, it is very common to order some combination of blood, saliva, stool or similar laboratory tests. These results allow your functional medicine doctor to answer several critical questions. Do you have any food allergies? How is your digestive system working? Are there signs of toxicity due to excessive stress on the liver or kidneys? Are their hormone imbalances that impact the adrenals, thyroid, pituitary or sex organs? The objective of the initial evaluation is to assess how well the various organs and systems of the body and working and if one area is compensating for another? Only then it is possible to discuss the best treatment approach and how dietary changes, lifestyle modifications and specific vitamins or whole food supplements will restore metabolic balance and health.
In summary, almost everyone can benefit from the advice of a functional medicine doctor because of the emphasis on restoring and optimizing each person’s unique metabolic balance. In particular, anyone with a chronic disease, loss of energy, digestive problems, thyroid disorder, sinus problems or allergies is an excellent candidate for functional medicine treatment. If you would like to learn more about functional medicine doctors in Lakewood, Colorado or Dr. Karen Ksiazek give us a call at (303) 934-3600.