In last week’s post: “Functional Medicine vs. Conventional Medicine: The Assessment”, we looked at the difference between Functional Medicine’s approach to assessing health vs. the conventional medical approach.
Today, we’ll look at how Functional Medicine differs from conventional medicine in how it addresses your health concerns.
What Happens After the Initial Assessment?
In conventional medicine, if you go into the doctor complaining of a specific ailment like headaches or a lack of energy, your doctor will ask you questions and order lab work and/or tests.
Then you go home and wait (the hardest part).
Once your lab and test results come back, the doctor uses that information to name your disease and prescribes medication to treat it…that is if your lab numbers fall well outside of the “normal” ranges. If they do not, it is either the assumption that “no news is good news”, or a call from a medical assistant that your labs were “fine”.
For chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes, you may also be given some general recommendation on lifestyle changes to help control the disease. Then a follow-up appointment may be scheduled to track progress.
While the disease is named and the unwanted symptoms are dealt with, the cause or the why is never addressed.
Why do I have this named condition?
Functional Medicine addresses your health concerns in a very different way, and is focused less on disease and symptoms and more with root cause resolution.
Once your functional lab work comes back and your initial assessment with your health coach is complete, the process of addressing your health concerns follows a two-fold approach:
Part 1: Uncovering the Root Cause
The first part involves getting to the root cause of your ailment…because an ailment is really just a symptom of something deeper.
Functional Medicine does not view an imbalance in your blood sugar levels, for example, as an isolated malfunctioning of your pancreas which may or may not be genetic or lifestyle-induced.
Rather, the comprehensive functional lab work and initial intake, serve to give us a full picture of everything happening in your body, so we may address that concern at its root cause or causes.
Functional Medicine also does not necessarily subscribe to the “normal” lab ranges being “normal”. We are generally aiming for optimal levels, since the goal is to get your body into an optimal state of health.
So in our world of care, “normal” is not the goal.
Blood sugar issues, for example, do show up as an imbalance in the pancreas and may have genetic and lifestyle components; but are often rooted in a variety of causes such as diet, nutrient deficiencies, genetics, metabolic health, your level of physical activity, your stress levels and your sleep patterns.
It’s been widely shown that sleep deprivation alone, puts one at much greater risk of blood sugar issues[note]https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/diabetes-lack-of-sleep#1[/note]. Yet, this is often overlooked or ignored in a conventional approach.
As you can see, there is a lot more to unraveling the root cause of a named “disease” than just focusing on medicating one isolated organ or symptom(s).
Part 2: Design your individual health plan to address the root cause
Once we’ve gotten a picture of your whole health and figured out the roots of what’s bothering you, your Health Coach will design an individual health plan to move you back to balanced health and optimal lab marker ranges.
What will this look like compared to a conventional medical approach?
First off, at kNew Health we do not prescribe medication. So you will receive no prescriptions.
Rather, we follow the Functional Medicine approach of addressing your issues using proper nutrition, supplementation, lifestyle changes, stress management strategies, movement and other integrative modalities of health creation.
Your kNew Health Coach is well-versed in these modalities, and will help you learn what you need to know to start making big changes in your health.
Second, we’re going to track the heck out of your progress to ensure your program is getting through to the roots of your concerns.
That means using our dedicated online data tracking system to help keep you on track and see how you’re progressing.
Plus you’re never alone. Your kNew Health coach will be available to support you throughout the entire process via unlimited online access. This means you can get your questions answered and the support you need on-demand…not just during a designated appointment.
Access to a Health Coach, like this, has been shown to improve outcomes and reduce the cost of healthcare expenses[note]https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20860506/[/note]. Which is the whole point of our digital Functional Medicine approach…better health, better access, less cost.
While not every Functional Medicine doctor or practitioner operates in exactly this way, the core framework of systematically addressing the root cause using the least invasive measures, is what Functional Medicine is all about.
-The kNew Health Team