About 133 million Americans suffer from a chronic condition. Remarkably, about 81 million of them are challenged by multiple conditions. If you count yourself among these patients trying to manage chronic illness, you’re all too aware of the frustration often involved in both the diagnosis and treatment of your conditions.
All you want to do is to get some relief, but the treatment process is frequently focused on relieving symptoms and not really addressing why the condition happens in the first place. All too often, you go through a vicious cycle of your doctor prescribing different medications until finding one that helps. At some point, your body no longer responds to the drug, so you get a new one. And so it goes.
Isn’t there a better way? Think functional medicine, says board-certified family medicine physician Natalie Branton, DO, of Cardio Metabolic Institute. Dr. Branton is committed to disease prevention and completed specialized training in functional medicine. In this blog, she shares her insights on functional medicine and the role nontraditional treatment modalities play in optimizing your health.
Unpacking this topic means doing a deep dive into exactly what functional medicine is and how it compares to other modes of care that you may be more familiar with, such as holistic care and integrative medicine.
You’ve probably heard of the term holistic care, which means that instead of looking at a patient as a sum of their parts and treating individual concerns, the provider considers the whole person — mind, body, and spirit. This holistic approach is a mode of care included in the integrative medicine treatment model.
Our integrative medicine treatments here at Cardio Metabolic Institute include acupuncture, osteopathic manipulative therapy or OMT, cupping, and gua sha (scraping). These treatments can complement conventional medicine and integrative therapies or can be used on their own.
Like integrative medicine, functional medicine takes a holistic approach, but it takes things one step further. The goal of functional medicine is to treat or optimize health by addressing the root cause of illnesses.
Functional medicine is based on the premise that once you know the cause of a disease or illness, you have the ability to obtain wellness or prevent disease in the first place through making lifestyle changes.
Because the same illness can manifest differently from patient to patient, functional medicine providers are hyper focused on finding out all the aspects of a patient’s life so they can create an effective, highly personalized treatment plan to prevent and treat illness.
A functional medicine practitioner looks at things like the patient’s medical history and genetic makeup as well as their physiology and how they live. Practitioners consider internal factors such as mind, body, and spirit components of their patient’s life as well as external factors like physical and social environment.
This functional evaluation provides a thorough picture of the patient that can be used not only to discover the root cause of a particular condition. This data also sheds light on how an illness or disease may have root causes that ultimately can manifest in many symptoms and illnesses. The data can also be used to effectively track the progress of a treatment plan.
Because a functional medicine treatment plan is geared toward addressing offending root causes, it can include a wide range of treatment modalities such as nutritional counseling and stress management. In addition to traditional medications, a functional medicine treatment plan may include herbal or botanical supplements, vitamins, and detox programs, if needed.
If you’re suffering from multiple health issues and want to learn if functional medicine can help you, contact Cardio Metabolic Institute in Somerset, Monroe Township, Edison, or East Brunswick, New Jersey, for a functional medicine evaluation. Click the “Book online” button, or call us today.