What is Functional Medicine?

I'd like to get into "What is functional medicine?" and what it entails. Learn more about this in-depth practice in this edition of Dr. Em's Functional Health Minutes!

 

What is Functional Medicine

Hi, I’m Dr. Emily Parke, owner and founder of Arizona Wellness Medicine. Today I’d like to talk to you about what is functional medicine? Functional medicine is all about finding and treating the root causes of whatever signs and symptoms are going on. It’s that detective work of getting to the bottom of usually the multiple reasons why you’re feeling the way you are. And that takes us a little bit more time to do than is usually given in a traditional medicine visit, so that’s why we actually have very long visits. Your first visit is 90 minutes long, and we get into your whole health and life history. We will be talking about all of your lifestyle factors, so there’s huge roots in functional medicine in nutrition, sleep, exercise and movement, stress management, and toxin reduction. Those five things are the foundations to health, and if we don’t have those in a good place, we cannot expect our health to be in a good place.

So, the functional medicine approach of course gets really deep and into doing personalization for each one of those factors. And then there’s the advanced laboratory testing, so this is more than just your standard blood work. And we even still look at of course standard blood work, but we look at it through a different lens. We’re not just looking for normal ranges, we’re actually looking for optimal ranges. Because if you think about it logically, why would you wait until something’s completely abnormal to do something about it? If you’re heading in a wrong direction of too low or too high, it would be best to correct the course before you actually got a symptom, or a disease, or a diagnosis.

Laboratory Testing

In addition to traditional blood work, we also are trained to look for reasons for symptoms with advanced laboratory testing, using some functional medicine tests, like for example for investigation gut symptoms, we will look at a stool study. We can look at a SIBO breath test. We can look at an organic acids test. We can look at food sensitivities. And then besides the gut, we also of course do deep dives into looking at hormones and all of the hormones, adrenal, thyroid, sex hormones. We do a deep dive in looking into how the immune system in functioning. And we also look at toxins, and these are heavy metal toxins, environmental toxins. And we also have some other advanced tests as well, like micronutrient test to see what’s going on with nutrients on a deeper level, and so on.

So, we have a lot more tools in our toolbox than in traditional medicine, and we really put all of those pieces together. And you will get a personalized plan after every single visit. Not just your very first visit, but every single visit you get a written visit summary that you’re able to access on the patient portal 24/7 that will let you know exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, laboratory testing, when to do it, how to prepare. What I want you doing for nutrition, sleep, exercise and movement, stress management, toxin reduction. And what I want you to do for any nutritional supplements that I prescribe, you’ll know exactly what they’re for and how to take them, when to stop taking them, or if you’re supposed to continue taking them. And we do review all of those things at every single visit as well.

So, I hope this helps describe a little bit about what functional medicine is all about. I’m Dr. Emily Parke.

 

 

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