Functional medicine is similar to bringing your car in for service when there is a problem. A mechanic will perform various diagnostic tests to determine the cause of your problem, looking under the hood, checking valves, and fluid levels. What would you think if the mechanic simply walked around the perimeter of your car and did nothing else to determine the problem? How accurate would the assessment of the true problem be?
Many times a doctor does just that with us. We make an appointment due to a symptom we are experiencing like a fever, coughing, rash, or sore throat. The doctor “walks around our perimeter” by taking vitals, asking a few questions, making a diagnosis, then prescribing antibiotics, if necessary. Problem solved. However, shouldn’t seeing a doctor be more like how our car is treated at the mechanic?
Functional medicine is much like the approach a mechanic takes. The doctor looking to identify and correct the root cause, or the underlying mechanisms, of the problem. The result is that symptoms improve and the disease process is halted or reversed. Overall health is improved, as well.
Three factors are involved in the development of disease:
- Antecedents are precursors that set the stage for illness. These can include asthma, antibiotics, previous injuries, irritable bowel syndrome, and childhood stress.
- Triggers are what sets off an illness such as a virus, suffering a loss, and a lack of exercise.
- Mediators are what contributes to an illness such as low hormone levels, inflammation, stress, and poor nutrition.
The goal of functional medicine is to look at the entire patient picture and including as many facts and data as possible. This information allows for the development of clear road map for treatment by the doctor. The goal is to ensure good health is recovered, not simply masked.
At DCW, we take a functional medicine approach to each and every patient we treat. Because success should mean resolving a person’s health problems once and for all, shouldn’t it?