What is Functional Family Medicine?
Family Medicine is a medical specialty that encompasses the treatment of all ages, both sexes, and each organ system and disease entity. Its scope of practice includes, but is not limited to, outpatient adult and geriatric medicine, pediatrics, gynecology, minor office procedures, and common orthopedic issues. It provides continuing, comprehensive health care to individuals and families, the cornerstone of which is the patient-doctor relationship.
Functional Medicine builds on these concepts and provides a new framework for thinking about and managing chronic disease. Currently, the burden of chronic disease is growing at astounding rates in the U.S. and other industrialized nations. And yet, 80% of all chronic medical conditions primarily develop as result of the impact of poor lifestyle and negative environmental factors on our genes.
Functional Family Medicine physicians understand and apply the knowledge that our health emerges from a complex web of interactions between body-systems, lifestyle and environmental factors, genetic and epigenetic influences, social relationships, and the mental-emotional-spirit state over a lifetime.
Therefore, we seek to correct upstream dysfunctions and imbalances, rather than merely “Band-Aid” downstream effects.
HOW IS FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE DIFFERENT THAN
Conventional Medicine primarily focuses on answering two questions…
1) What disease embodies the presenting signs and symptoms?
2) What drug should be used to treat it?
Conventional Medicine assumes that the same treatment will be effective in all persons with the same disease state. Its goal is disease-management. In other words, your disease state is “controlled” by a medication because your symptoms are relieved or your labs are now within normal range. But, alas, you still have the disease.
Functional Medicine, on the other hand, asks very two different questions…
1) Why are these signs/symptoms occurring in this particular patient at this particular time?
2) How can we help the body repair, restore, and rebalance itself to a better state of health?
Functional Medicine recognizes that a person’s “matrix” of bodily interactions and “timeline” of health events are unique and require an individualized and comprehensive approach to treatment. Though medications are frequently necessary, unavoidable, and even lifesaving in the acute medical conditions, in the setting of treating chronic diseases, they play a secondary role by managing symptoms and controlling lab values. Functional Medicine physicians will prescribe medications when appropriate, but prefer to use a combination of lifestyle modifications, pharmaceutical-grade supplements, and nutrition as their primary “prescriptions."