Functional Medicine

Atlanta Functional Medicine

Functional medicine is a science based medical model that combines ancient wisdom with cutting edge testing and treatment options. It considers the human body to be an interconnected whole. Disturbances in one part of the whole affect all other parts. Treatment options normally consist of dietary and lifestyle modifications combined with nutritional supplementation. Questionnaires, laboratory testing, and health history are used to determine appropriate treatment.

Functional medicine strongly supports the “test don’t guess” philosophy regarding treatment. Your treatments will be guided by science, not by the latest “fads and ads” that bombard our inboxes and mailboxes. To schedule an appointment please click here. For a more detailed description of functional medicine please read the information below.

Functional medicine is personalized medicine that deals with prevention and underlying causes instead of symptoms. It is a science-based field of health care that is grounded in the following principles:

  • Biochemical individuality – many factors make each of us unique including our genetics, our environment, our attitudes and lifestyles, etc. This individuality requires customized treatment plans, not “protocols” based on a diagnosis or symptom.
  • Patient-centered medicine emphasizes “patient care” rather than “disease care,” following the wisdom that “It is more important to know what patient has the disease than to know what disease the patient has.”
  • Dynamic balance of internal and external factors (much like Chinese Medicine).
  • Web-like interconnections of physiological factors – an abundance of research now supports the view that the human body functions as a network of interconnected systems (like an orchestra), rather than individual systems functioning independently and without affect on each other. For example, we now know that immune problems can promote cardiovascular disease, that dietary imbalances can cause hormonal disturbances, and that environmental exposures can play a role in neurologic syndromes such as Parkinson’s disease.
  • Health measured as vitality – not merely the absence of disease.
  • Strengthening internal organs and their many functions is a primary means to enhance health span.

Functional medicine is based on looking at a variety of core clinical imbalances that underlie numerous disease conditions. Those imbalances arise as environmental inputs such as diet, nutrients (including air and water), exercise, and trauma. They are processed by one’s body, mind, and spirit through a unique set of genetics, attitudes, and beliefs. The fundamental physiological processes include communication, both outside and inside the cell; bioenergetics, or the transformation of food into energy; replication, repair, and maintenance of structural integrity, from the cellular to the whole body level; elimination of waste; protection and defense; and transport and circulation. The core clinical imbalances that arise from malfunctions within this complex system include:

  • Hormonal and neurotransmitter (brain) imbalances
  • Oxidative stress (anti-oxidant imbalances and free radical damage)
  • Energy production problems (Mitochondropathy)
  • Detoxification imbalances
  • Immune imbalances
  • Inflammatory imbalances
  • Digestive, absorptive, and microbiological imbalances
  • Structural imbalances from cellular membrane function to the musculoskeletal system

Imbalances such as these are the precursors to the signs and symptoms by which we detect and label (diagnose) organ system disease. Improving balance – in the patient’s environmental inputs and in the body’s fundamental physiological processes – is the precursor to restoring health and it involves much more than treating the symptoms. Functional medicine is dedicated to improving the management of complex, chronic disease by intervening at multiple levels to address these core clinical imbalances and to restore each patient’s functionality and health. Functional medicine is not a unique and separate body of knowledge. It is research based and grounded in scientific principles and information widely available in medicine today. All medicine at its core should be functional medicine.

Text provided by Tim Sharpe.