Finding a reliable cure for a chronic disease is not easy. For the most part, a chronic disease is medically defined as an illness whose symptoms persist for three months or more. There are many types of chronic diseases, most of which are largely associated with aging. This is why treating chronic diseases can be such a pain in itself; it cannot be prevented by a simple medication or vaccination.
Some examples of chronic diseases are arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, asthma, cancer, Alzheimer’s, and Crohn disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 117 million adult Americans suffer from one or more chronic health diseases, wherein both heart disease and cancer accounted for almost 46 percent of all deaths in 2014 alone.
How Functional Medicine Helps
The main hypothesis of functional medicine revolves around the assumption that one cause can give birth to a number of serious conditions, the same way that a single condition can result from a multitude of causes. Unlike conventional medicine, which mainly deals with alleviating the symptoms of a chronic disease, functional medicine seeks to identify and address the disease’s root cause.
It takes a systemic approach to find both the underlying cause and the possible cure. The patient’s genetic history must be considered, as well as lifestyle and interactions with his or her surroundings.
Though often dubbed as an alternative medicine, functional medicine’s individualized, patient-centric approach promotes good working relationships between the practitioner and the patient. It’s also found to be quite successful in bringing forth optimum patient wellness to those who were thought to be hopeless cases.
The Key Principles of Functional Medicine
For one, functional medicine focuses on an individual account, rather than targeting the generic symptoms of chronic diseases. It aims to provide a personalized health-care treatment by assuming that each patient’s biological and chemical makeup play a large part in the possible cause of the disease. Because of the complex nature of human relationships and interactions that may serve as potential triggers or mediators for disease, practitioners of functional medicine need to be careful in interpreting each reaction of the patient’s body to external factors.
Functional medicine is not so much anchored on the thought of finding the possible cure, but instead finding out what exactly causes the condition. The rise of functional medicine in the 21st century only proves that finding the cure is not enough for patients. They want to know which measures can prevent the disease from being triggered.
The Functional Medicine Model, InstituteForFunctionalMedicine.org
Clinical Decision Making—A Functional Medicine Perspective, NationalInstitutesofHealth.gov