Lupus and Doctors: What is Functional Medicine?

So what's the difference between traditional medicine and functional medicine

The best way I can explain it is to show you through examples. I previously mentioned that my daughter started seeing a functional medicine doctor. We'd landed there after treating a variety of issues separately via traditional medicine but suspected that they might all be related. Our hunch was that inflammation and/or an underlying infection was at play, connecting them all. 

*Symptom: Acid Reflux

Traditional Medicine: Prescribe an antacid, proton pump inhibitor, or other medicines designed to reduce gastric acid. 

Functional Medicine: Discover root cause of the reflux - in this case, an allergy to wheat and dairy.

*Symptom: Acne

Traditional Medicine: Prescribe topical antibiotics, followed by oral antibiotics (three of each, over the course of two years)

Functional Medicine: Discover root cause of acne - in this case, a strep infection in the gut.

*Symptom: Migraines with Aura

Traditional medicine:  Prescribe pain-relieving medication; identify triggers

Functional Medicine: Look for vitamin deficiencies - in this case, a magnesium deficiency. 

Here's a comprehensive definition of FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE:  

Functional medicine is an approach to healthcare that focuses on treating the root causes of illness, rather than just managing symptoms. It considers the interconnectedness of various bodily systems and how they affect health. Practitioners of functional medicine often use a holistic, patient-centered approach, looking at factors such as lifestyle, genetics, and environment. The goal is to address the underlying imbalances and promote overall well-being rather than just alleviating specific ailments.

We have been SO happy with the results so far, but keep in mind the following: 

1) We didn't choose the functional medicine route for these symptoms, specifically. It was a whole host of issues that just weren't adding up. I could add brain fog, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, plus a whole host of other symptoms that caused us to step back and think about another way to approach my daughter's health and wellness. For instance, the cause of her mild to slightly moderate teenage acne was not what led us to seek out functional medicine. That was just a welcomed side discovery, which explained why the acne would seem to return once treatment was stopped for a while. Here's a great article that explains the connection. 

2) Please note that I'm also not promoting one system of medicine over another. I still see a rheumatologist, pulmonologist, and dermatologist to manage my lupus, and Deirdre will continue to see other traditional medicine doctors. We just found this slightly different approach uncovered the answers we'd been looking for, and we are very excited to have a concrete path forward!  

3) Many results of the treatment plan are still pending - meaning while all labs and test results are back, our functional medicine doctor has just provided a treatment plan that we are beginning to implement now. We had the benefit of initiating the dietary changes weeks ago (going DF and GF), and Deirdre can already see a huge difference in how she feels. It's been amazing! 

4) Functional medicine is not typically covered by insurance. And we all know what that means. But so far, paying the out-of-pocket expenses have delivered. Discovering the results alone of the food sensitivity test and seeing such dramatic results were worth it! 

I have SO much more to share - and with Deirdre's blessing, I'll continue to share test results so you can understand more about how functional medicine works. Stay tuned! 


Popular Posts