Why Functional Medicine Is More Important Than Ever (Part 1)

By Amy Myers MD; amymyersmd.com

Chronic health conditions affect about 50% of all American adults.1 To find out if you are one of them take this quiz. It’s important to find out because chronic disease is on the rise throughout the world. In fact, it’s our nation’s leading cause of death and disability.2

Many people with chronic diseases are on the autoimmune spectrum. This spectrum stretches from the low end with symptoms like acne or constipation, to the middle with inflammatory conditions, fatigue, or joint pain, to the far end with full-blown autoimmune conditions such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis.

Sadly, our current healthcare system is offering us very little to combat chronic illness including autoimmune conditions.

Instead, doctors give prescriptions that can come with a wide array of side effects. Sometimes these are even worse than the problems we have in the first place. It’s time to seek real solutions that can improve and influence our long-term health. Fortunately, functional medicine offers many!

I am both a medical doctor and a functional medicine practitioner. My own health crisis — the thyroid disease known as Grave’s disease — led me on a path of discovery to find a better way to treat autoimmune and chronic disease. That path ultimately led me to my mission: Empowering the world to achieve optimal health℠.

Let’s look more closely at what functional medicine is and how it can help with the global chronic illness crisis.

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional Medicine is a biology-based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. It views the body as one integrated system, not a collection of independent organs divided up by medical specialties. It treats the whole person, not just the symptoms of disease. This is because each symptom may be just one aspect of an individual’s illness.

In functional medicine, we begin with a detailed history from preconception to the present. Functional medicine also looks at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors. It takes into account the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.3

Conventional medicine, on the other hand, looks at each organ or body system separately. It generally treats illness by masking symptoms with prescriptions, rather than getting to the root cause and healing the body as a whole. With that in mind, let’s take a closer look at what’s gone wrong with conventional medicine.

The Shortcomings of Conventional Medicine

Conventional medicine focuses on acute care. Think of the diagnosis and treatment of trauma or illness that needs urgent attention, such as appendicitis or a broken leg. Physicians apply specific, prescribed treatments such as drugs or surgery that aim to treat the immediate problem or symptom.

Believe me, as a former emergency room physician, I’m not knocking conventional medicine’s role in acute and urgent care. It’s absolutely necessary in certain situations, yet it’s not appropriate for chronic illness.

In the last century in the US, advances in nutrition, public hygiene, and medical care have increased life expectancy by approximately 30 years. Thus, rather than focusing on communicable diseases such as polio or smallpox, public health researchers have been able to turn their attention to chronic illness.

In 1988, the CDC established the National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.4 Yet even with the investment of time and funds, conventional medicine has not come close to understanding the factors that can influence complex chronic disease. Conventional medicine is no longer improving our overall health.

In fact, clinical research can take as long as 50 years to make its way into conventional medical practice. This is a long time to wait for a solution.

If you are seeking an experienced board-certified integrative functional family medicine physician Dr. Gregory Fryer M.D. is currently accepting new clients. Click HERE to complete a contact form and an elite health and wellness team member will be delighted to serve you or call at 931-221-0902. We are looking forward to serving you.

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