The primary goal of Functional Medicine is to identify and correct subclinical disorders before they manifest in symptoms and illness.
Many sources of stress cause a Chronic Stress Response, the primary cause of illness and disease.
But for many of us this outcome can be prevented.
Using functional laboratory testing to determine the causes of chronic stress and direct therapies aimed at resolving the causes is important to your wellness and longevity. It is also a departure from conventional medicine’s symptom-focused care.
Mainstream healthcare in America is primarily based on the suppression of symptoms. Medical doctors—as well as many “alternative” providers—provide this type of care. Long-term health improvements, which should be the driving force of any healthcare system, are often compromised and sacrificed to a system that thrives on short-term fixes.
An alternative does exist: Functional Medicine.
This discipline incorporates elements of conventional medicine, but emphasizes prevention. Healthcare providers utilizing Functional Medicine (FM) critically analyze the body’s core functional systems for dysfunction. Symptoms are addressed, but only if treatment does not impede an accurate diagnosis and is devoid of harmful side effects.
In contrast to conventional medical providers trained to identify and stifle the symptoms of a disease, practitioners of FM use in-depth patient evaluations and laboratory tests to identify lifestyle factors, as well as hidden physical factors, that drive Chronic Stress. The hidden, unseen physical factors—e.g. radiation, chemicals, heavy metals, parasites—are referred to in medical jargon as subclinical; they occur beneath the surface of clinical observation.
The absence of symptoms does not mean you are in great health.
Integrating certain aspects of Medical Intervention with FM provides the best of care. The divide between these schools of thought is shrinking, thanks to the awareness and actions of health enthusiasts and enlightened medical providers. Simply treating symptoms alone is destined to fall into the annals of medical history along with magic potions and snake oil.
“If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.”
If you are like most people, you approach your health with an “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” attitude.
You may seek professional help only when experiencing intolerable symptoms, or when you’re afraid that they might indicate a serious or life-threatening condition.
You might gratefully accept your doctor’s diagnosis and recommendations for symptomatic care. Indeed, your symptoms may respond favorably to prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, or natural remedies.
This care may seem like a great thing—after all, we all want to feel better. However, danger lies in suppressing symptoms while the underlying cause goes undiagnosed. The fact that you no longer experience any symptoms after treatment does not guarantee that they won’t return. Nor does it mean that the cause of the symptoms has been resolved.