Many people who seek medical care do not have a clinically identifiable disease or pathology. Their problems are based in what I call “derangements or blockages in normal physiology” and present as dysfunctions in one or more organ system that left unchecked would ultimately lead to disease and pathology.
Typically these patients come to us having usually been told that everything looks normal based on the standard tests routinely run by their doctor (physical examination, urinalysis, blood tests, etc.).
Functional medicine practitioners know that most of our patients are by no means “normal”, but are a long way from being in a state of optimal health.
So why do we use and rely diagnostic techniques and standard interpretations that are designed to identify disease states and pathology only?
Shouldn’t we use interpretative and diagnostic methods that can help us assess a wide range of problems that are more suggestive of sub-clinical or functional problems?
Many patients fall through the cracks of the current medical paradigm because they are neither sick from a pathological perspective (no tissue changes, no findings on diagnostic testing etc.) nor 100% well. These patients fall into a gray area of medicine and we need a different approach to be able to deal with this.
We are not actually treating disease. We are identifying and treating the underlying cause. Some of the challenging conditions that respond well to Functional Medicine would include:
- Coronary Artery Disease
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome and other gastro-intestinal conditions
- Inflammatory conditions such as Crohn’s disease, Rheumatoid
- Arthritis, Lupus, Ankylosing Spondylitis
- Asthma and chronic sinusitis
- Female hormonal issues such as pre-menstrual syndrome and menopause
- Stress related diseases and conditions of fatigue and lack of energy
- Thyroid and adrenal dysfunctions
It’s important to recognize that a lot of Functional Medicine is about assessing and treating dysfunction long before it manifests as a medical condition.