Understanding Functional Medicine
What is Functional Medicine?
Have you ever had a headache? Did you take a pain reliever to get rid of it? Maybe that’s all it took, and you felt fine after.
But what if your headache came back every day? Would you want to keep popping pain relievers, or would you want to figure out why you’re getting a daily headache and take steps to fix it? Functional medicine looks for the root cause of your illness so you can actually improve your health, not just stop the symptoms.
Functional medicine addresses what triggered your illness, looking at factors such as nutrition, stress, toxins, allergens, and genetics.
We lead busy lives and that makes it easy to fall into bad habits. Your functional medicine provider looks at your medical history and your lifestyle to create a customized plan of care to improve your health that may include nutrition, sleep, exercise, and lowering your stress levels.
Functional Medicine and Autoimmune Disorders
There are more than 80 different autoimmune disorders, and they affect nearly 24 million Americans every day. Traditional medicine focuses on managing the symptoms and stopping the attacks. While this is important and can provide much-needed relief, it should not be considered the only option.
Functional medicine goes beyond treating the symptoms and looks for the cause of the disease. Diseases do not happen in a vacuum. One condition may have many causes, and one cause may lead to many conditions.
An autoimmune disorder happens when your body mistakenly attacks itself. Functional medicine looks at why your body is in an abnormal state of hyperimmunity. If we can figure that out, we can take steps to get the body functioning normally again, eliminating symptoms and possibly even reversing the autoimmune disorder.
Functional Medicine and Hormones
Hormones are chemical messengers that travel through your blood and tell your tissues and organs what to do. They affect many major body processes including your metabolism, growth, and fertility. So if your hormones become imbalanced, it can cause a whole host of issues.
A hormonal imbalance can lead to diabetes, weight changes, or infertility, among many other problems. Functional medicine looks at all of your symptoms and your lifestyle to determine the root cause of these problems. If a hormonal imbalance is to blame, you can take steps toward a healthier lifestyle that will reset your hormones and get them back in balance.
Diet is the first step to getting your hormones back in balance. Certain foods are known to trigger hormonal imbalances. Too much sugar can increase your levels of insulin, estrogen, and testosterone. Dairy and gluten can trigger inflammation and hormonal imbalances. A functional medicine approach will eliminate these trigger foods from your diet and replace them with fresh, whole, unprocessed foods.
That's why I regularly recommend the Mediterranean and Paleo Diets to clients in order to keep inflammation at bay.
Functional Medicine Asks “Why?”
The foundation of functional medicine is that it asks, “Why?” Why do you feel so bad? What is causing your symptoms? Instead of focusing on medication to improve your symptoms, functional medicine focuses on lifestyle changes that will improve your health and often reverse illness. It is the key to true health.
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To your health,
The content on heartroothealth.com is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or another qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.