Functional Medicine Approach to Chronic Illness

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I have been working in the Western Medicine field for the past 25 years. During my formal training as a Pharmacist, I remember hearing the mantra We don’t know what causes this illness, but we know how to treat it. It became ingrained in my mind to focus on “the treatment” while the causes of disease were rarely discussed. It wasn’t until I was faced with my own health issues did I start asking Why am I sick, and What is causing it, and How can I fix it? I set out on a journey to find the answers to those questions before I ever heard of the term, Functional Medicine.

A Functional Medicine Practitioner addresses the underlying causes of disease using a systematic approach. This type of approach requires time and patience, as the practitioner must delve into the patient’s history and create a dialogue that unveils information that provides clues to the underlying causes. An individual’s lifestyle and behavior habits, combined with theirĀ  mental, emotional, and spiritual balance are major contributors that impact health. Once a Clinician gathers information, the first step is to develop a systematic plan that is designed to remove triggers and modify behavior patterns. Performing a physical exam in conjunction with utilizing functional labs can help identify physiological imbalances that can be addressed with diet and supplementation. We now have easy access to genetic testing which allows us to use a bio-individualized nutritional approach by understanding how genetic polymorphisms in the metabolic pathways impact patient health.