Ask the Doctor: Q&A with a Functional Medicine Specialist

Functional medicine is an approach to healthcare that focuses on identifying and addressing the root causes of disease rather than simply treating symptoms. It emphasizes a thorough understanding of each patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors and uses that data to tailor personalized treatment plans.

As interest in this holistic approach continues to grow, many people have questions about what functional medicine really involves and how it can help them achieve better health. Here, we’ve compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about functional medicine, answered by a specialist in the field.

What is Functional Medicine?

Functional medicine is a science-based, patient-centered approach to healthcare. It involves understanding the origins, prevention, and treatment of complex, chronic diseases. The practitioner uses a systems-oriented approach to probe underlying issues across various bodily systems rather than isolating diseases to a single area of the body.

How Does Functional Medicine Differ From Conventional Medicine?

Functional medicine differs significantly from traditional medicine in its approach and focus. Traditional medicine often works on an acute care model, identifying and treating symptoms mainly through standardized methods such as drugs and surgery.

In contrast, functional medicine focuses on the root causes of diseases by taking into account the complexities of the individual—including genetic makeup, environmental exposures, and lifestyle factors. This method often leads to a more dynamic and tailored treatment plan.

What Conditions Can Functional Medicine Treat?

Functional medicine is particularly effective for chronic conditions that don’t respond well to conventional treatments. These can include, but are not limited to:

  • Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and lupus
  • Digestive disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)and Crohn’s disease
  • Hormonal imbalances, including thyroid disorders and adrenal fatigue
  • Metabolic issues like diabetes, obesity, and heart disease
  • Neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease

What Can I Expect During a Functional Medicine Consultation?

A functional medicine consultation typically begins with a comprehensive evaluation of the patient’s detailed history, including past medical history, lifestyle, stress levels, and dietary habits. This might be followed by advanced testing to assess various health markers. Based on this information, the functional medicine specialist will develop a personalized treatment plan that may include diet and lifestyle changes, supplements, detox programs, or stress-management techniques.

How Long Does It Take to See Results with Functional Medicine?

The time frame to see results in functional medicine can vary widely depending on the individual and the complexity of the condition being treated. Some patients might notice improvements in their symptoms within a few weeks, especially if changes involve diet and lifestyle adjustments. However, more chronic or severe conditions might require months of interventions to see significant changes.

Ready to explore a personalized approach to health care? At Ryze, we offer functional medicine in South Carolina, including comprehensive solutions such as hormone therapy, autoimmune disease treatment, and GI map testing. Discover how our tailored treatments can lead to better health outcomes.