Chronic Illness Therapy In Functional Medicine
Six in ten adults in the United States are living with at least one chronic illness. What’s more is the prevalence of chronic diseases such as autoimmunity and diabetes are expected to continue to rise in the coming years. With such alarming statistics, it’s crucial that we get to the bottom of it and begin taking a more holistic approach to healthcare.
Functional medicine focuses on identifying and addressing the root causes of disease such as hormone imbalances, chronic stress, and nutrient deficiencies. By approaching patient care in a holistic way, a functional medicine doctor can successfully treat, manage, and sometimes even reverse many chronic illnesses. That means finally getting your life back after years, maybe even decades, of debilitating symptoms! Chronic illness therapy can be complex, so working with a skilled physician is key to developing a treatment plan that is right for you.
Functional Medicine and Chronic Illness
Rather than treating patients as a series of isolated parts as a conventional doctor would, functional medicine doctors address patients as one whole unit. This is particularly beneficial when treating chronic illnesses, because in many cases these conditions involve several different systems in the body. This typically results in complex treatments, and in many cases goes beyond the scope of what conventional medicine can offer. Conventional medicine often relies on prescription medications that quickly mask the symptoms in an attempt to improve the patient’s quality of life. Unfortunately, these medications don’t address the root cause of the symptoms or offer an opportunity for true healing. For example, a patient presenting with acid reflux would most likely be given an acid blocker to manage their symptoms and make them more comfortable, and their doctor may recommend they avoid spicy foods or lying down after eating. However, once the patient stops taking the acid blocker, their symptoms will come back again. This is because the medication is not meant to treat or heal the driving force behind the acid reflux.
Functional medicine doctors begin the treatment process by asking, “why are these symptoms occurring in the first place?” There are a myriad of root causes for acid reflux including high cortisol levels due to chronic stress, magnesium deficiency, eating too quickly, not thoroughly chewing food, hypothyroidism, and overgrowth of gut bacteria. Functional medicine doctors want to uncover the source of the symptoms, and treat them to eliminate those symptoms once and for all.
Most chronic illnesses are driven by diet and lifestyle habits, so most functional medicine doctors will suggest diet and lifestyle interventions and supplements to address nutrient deficiencies first and foremost. Pharmaceuticals and invasive procedures are only used when absolutely necessary, or if the initial interventions are unsuccessful.
Contributing Factors to Chronic Illness
Most chronic conditions have several contributing factors that create a “perfect storm”. Although genetics do play a small role, a patient’s behavior typically contributes much more to their risk factors than their genetic predisposition does. Some of the most common contributing factors to chronic illness include:
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Hormone dysfunction
- Immune system dysfunction
- Chronic stress
- Blood sugar imbalance
- Gut infections or imbalances
- Poor diet
- Lack of exercise
- Food sensitivities
In many cases, patients find that their symptoms are significantly improved, if not eliminated, after addressing these factors. Rather than mask their symptoms, these lifestyle interventions actually work to heal their chronic illness at the source.
How Functional Medicine Treats Chronic Illnesses
With so many contributing factors, treating a patient with one or more chronic illnesses is usually a complex process. That’s why at Five Journeys, we offer a wide selection of chronic illness therapy options to treat even the most complex cases.
The ultimate goal of functional medicine is to try to restore body functions back to how they were before a disease or condition developed. If you are living with one or more chronic illnesses, you are dealing with a variety of imbalances across multiple systems that must be restored before healing can be achieved. Rather than diving straight into expensive medications, risky surgeries, or invasive procedures, functional medicine takes a safe, non-invasive approach first to address each patient’s unique root causes. This approach helps to preserve patient health and longevity, avoid harmful or uncomfortable side effects, and save patients money in the long run.
Many of the most common chronic illnesses that run rampant today can be successfully managed or ever reversed using functional medicine. We work to alleviate symptoms, heal the body, and improve the patient’s quality of life.
In addition to treating existing conditions, the functional medicine approach also prevents the likelihood of developing additional illnesses in the future. When a patient’s overall health is improved, it creates an environment that is inhospitable for disease.
At Five Journeys, we utilize functional medicine techniques and chronic illness therapies that are tailored to each individual patient. We never use a cookie-cutter approach, and believe that your treatment should be just as unique as you are. We offer a wide range of services and treatment options including IV therapy, nutrition counseling, and functional medicine to treat a variety of chronic illnesses including gut health issues, hormonal imbalances, autoimmune disorders, thyroid dysfunction, and more! To find out how we can help you reclaim your health, schedule a consultation today!