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UNLOCKING FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE

A HOLISTIC APPROACH TO COMBATTING CHRONIC ILLNESS

Article by Mark Aljon

Chronic illness is on the rise.

Functional medicine represents a new paradigm in effectively treating chronic diseases. It offers a holistic, patient-centered approach to get to the root cause of chronic diseases.

Functional medicine focuses on using food as a key factor to improve health. It highlights the importance of nutrition in preventing and treating health problems. It also addresses nutritional imbalances and supports the body's natural healing processes through targeted dietary interventions. The functional medicine practitioner develops a tailored nutrition plan to reduce inflammation, heal the gut, and restore optimal functioning.

Collaborating with a functional medicine practitioner can truly transform a patient's health, especially those with complex, undiagnosed conditions. By investigating all body systems and looking for root causes, functional medicine doctors can help chronically ill patients regain their vitality and quality of life.

This approach can also prevent chronic disease through optimal lab testing. Checking ideal ranges, not just “normal” reference ranges, allows early identification of hormonal imbalances, inflammation, and nutritional deficiencies before the disease develops. Patients are equipped with nutritional upgrades and lifestyle changes to halt the progression of illness.

Some key principles of functional medicine:

  • Looking beyond symptoms to address underlying causes of illness Practitioners look to identify and treat the root causes of disease, rather than just suppressing symptoms. This involves investigating potential triggers like hormonal imbalances, food sensitivities, toxins, infections, and stress that could be contributing to illness.
  • Viewing the body as an interconnected system rather than individual parts - The functional medicine approach recognizes that the body's systems are all interconnected. For example, the gut and brain interact through the gut-brain axis. So functional medicine looks at the body as a whole system rather than just isolated organs.
  • Focusing on the holistic well-being of the patient - Functional medicine is personalized to each individual's unique biology, lifestyle, and environment. Practitioners aim to enhance overall well-being by optimizing nutrition, promoting detoxification, improving sleep, reducing stress, and supporting healthy relationships.
  • Promoting health through nutrition, lifestyle changes, and addressing environmental/toxic factors - Functional medicine encourages optimal wellness through proper diet, exercise, stress management, and avoiding environmental toxins. Dietary changes to support gut health or remove inflammatory foods may be recommended.
  • Combining alternative and conventional medicine approaches - Functional medicine practitioners may utilize both conventional medical treatments as well as complementary approaches like supplements, herbal medicine, and acupuncture based on the patient's needs. The goal is to get the best outcomes using an integrative approach.

Dr. Ed Soumi, an internal medicine physician in Las Vegas, Nevada, has over 20 years of experience combining traditional and functional medicine. He founded Concierge Medicine of Southern Nevada to provide personalized, holistic care. Dr. Soumi spends extensive time with patients, listening deeply and asking questions to understand their unique health history and needs. He uses specialized nutritional testing and advanced lab panels to assess organs, hormones, inflammation, and nutrient status. Based on these results, Dr. Soumi develops personalized wellness plans utilizing diet, supplements, stress reduction, and detoxification. His integrative approach allows him to find and address the underlying causes of complex chronic illness.

Overall, functional medicine provides a comprehensive and integrative approach to healthcare that goes beyond just treating symptoms, aiming to optimize health and well-being by addressing the root causes of health issues.

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