Functional Medicine FAQ
Functional Medicine is a systems biology–based approach that focuses on identifying and addressing the root cause of disease. Each symptom or differential diagnosis may be one of many contributing to an individual’s illness.
As the graphic illustrates, a diagnosis can be the result of more than one cause. For example, depression can be caused by many different factors, including inflammation. Likewise, a cause such as inflammation may lead to a number of different diagnoses, including depression. The precise manifestation of each cause depends on the individual’s genes, environment, and lifestyle, and only treatments that address the right cause will have lasting benefit beyond symptom suppression.
Care typically includes comprehensive blood tests, which allow your doctor to identify potential health problems before symptoms begin. You could also have other noninvasive tests to help your doctor identify illness and predict potential problems.
The functional medicine approach focuses on what makes you unique, including your personal history, your individual physiology, your lifestyle habits, your social environment, and much more.
The traditional approach, the one that’s still used by many general practitioners, only takes a few things into account, with a major focus being on family history. Your doctor understands that you’re a complex individual and that you deserve treatment based on that.