If you are like many of us, the addition of another concept or term in the medical field can be unwelcome babble in an already confusing part of our lives.
Well, my apology, but I am going to add another term. Please hang with me and it will make sense. This new approach may even save the life of someone you love.
“Functional Medicine” is not a fad. Many of the nation’s foremost healthcare providers such as the Cleveland Clinic and the Cancer Centers of America are outstanding examples of nationally recognized programs utilizing “Functional Medicine” to improve the recovery and long term health of patients.
The place to start the discussion of how medicine should evolve is to answer the question: Why does Functional Medicine matter? The answer lies with the fact that chronic diseases (diseases that linger in our lives) have become more and more prevalent. Auto-immune disease, Asthma, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, COPD are some examples of chronic disease.
The secret to managing chronic disease is looking at the factors that most influence the course of the chronic disease:
Traditional treatment of patients is modeled for treating specific problems such as infections, heart attacks, broken bones, and other afflictions that can be corrected with a heroic swoop down and medical intervention (often a medical miracle). The symptoms and episodes are treated, but the underlying causes are often ignored.
The Functional Medicine Practitioners spend time with patients, consider their histories and look at possible interactions and the influence of genetic, lifestyle nutrition and environmental factors that affect the long-term health of the patient. This is a much more personalized or holistic approach to medicine and general health.
When the general health of a person is managed in functional medicine, the chronic conditions are better managed and acute episodes are reduced. The quality of life is improved in the long run. This approach gives patients the personal power to improve their own health.
Let’s face it. It is easy to give a COPD patient an inhaler and tank of air. It is more meaningful to get them to quit smoking and have the moldy house treated.
When the Functional Medicine Practitioner is concerned about the environmental conditions affecting a patient’s health, environmental professionals test and report the findings to the patient and when appropriate the practitioner. There are environmental specialists experienced at providing the proper testing and results required for the evaluation and interpretation of the medical provider.
Pittsburgh Area Functional Medicine Practitioner Dr. William Cole Describes the Five Principles of Functional Medicine.
1) Functional Medicine views us all as being different; genetically and biochemically unique. This personalized health care treats the individual, not the disease. It supports the normal healing mechanisms of the body, naturally, rather than attacking disease directly.
2) Functional Medicine is deeply science based. The latest research shows us that what happens within us is connected in a complicated network or web of relationships. Understanding those relationships allows us to see deep into the functioning of the body.
3) Your body is intelligent and has the capacity for self-regulation, which expresses itself through a dynamic balance of all your body systems.
4) Your body has the ability to heal and prevent nearly all the diseases of aging.
5) Health is not just the absence of disease, but a state of immense vitality.
Environmental Professionals May Play a Role in Your Long-term Health
Any home, office, school or any other facility can be a hidden source of exposures affecting fundamental health.
Medical Practitioners usually can’t follow you home to explore the set of exposures a patient experiences. Most homeowners are not able to identify and test for most environmental hazards that can affect health
The role environmental professionals play in the Functional Medicine puzzle is identifying and solving the environmental issues that affect both long term and short term health. The testing for the wide range of causes of Sick Building Syndrome is just like CSI investigative work.
Some of the factors that can affect the long-term health of individuals can include
A general screening and assessment for these and other potential environmental risks can provide valuable information that can assist in maintaining patient health. Very often, Functional Medicine Practitioners have tested patients and already identified sensitivities and exposures that are affecting the health of patients before the environmental professional is consulted.
Mold exposures are one of the most common examples of problems identified in patient medical testing. In that example, the goal of the medical practitioner would be to have the environmental professional identify the source of mold and its proper remediation.
The field of Functional Medicine takes a holistic approach to the patient for prevent disease and enable or enhance recovery. The world we live in is a major part of the puzzle that affects our health and the health of those we love.
Nutrition, lifestyle and environment are all important factors in our health. As we continue to consider our overall health, each of these areas will be considered in health care and recovery programs.
You will find links and information about Functional Medicine in the online copy of this article at: www.FunctionalMedicinePractice.info
Download Article as Printed https://goo.gl/QrBbBa
That whole mix is just like a tiny, miniature zoo. You have them growing on and in you and I have them growing in me. Every living being has this microbiome world living on and inside of them.
It is when we have the nasty ones like I mentioned above during a time we have suppressed immune systems that THOSE BAD BUGS displace the benign and beneficial microbes. Using a grass yard analogy, that is like when the dandelions and other “bad weeds” choke out the “good grass.”
When this happens in a hospital. The accepted response is to totally disinfect a contaminated room.
So the question becomes: What happens when we remove all bacteria, viruses, microbes from an environment?
Picture that we remove the plants from our yard, including both the weeds and the grass. Every last living weed, blade of grass, everything……GONE …..stripped from the soil. Nothing is left but bare soil.
It is great news that there are not any weeds in the yard! (maybe)
In the absence of plants, any seed that comes into the yard begins to grow. It the neighbor’s yard has weeds, the yard fills with weeds. In a hospital environment, the microbes that begin to repopulate the clean area can as easily be MRSA, C-diff, or any other “bad” contaminant that is in an adjacent area that was not disinfected.
This is where the studies of useful probiotics enter the picture. If a mix of the benign and beneficial organisms are introduced to the environment they will grow in the hospital instead of the “bad” contaminants. studies are underway that are suggesting that the best long term solution to serious biological contaminants is to disinfect and then introduce good stuff to start growing such as a controlled mix of Probiotics.
For more information, and technical references, go to the link in the paragraph below.
According to the EPA, 1 out of 10 children have Asthma. Just imagine what that means to every one of their families. Picture the mothers. fathers and others flinching as a child struggles and gasps for air.
A child never gets back the missed ball games or other special occasions during a chronic episode. They will always remember the doctor visits, the very scary nights in the hospital.
There is overwhelming stress and anxiety for everyone when an Acute Asthma attack occurs. Ironically, that stress can add to the severity of the attack.That stress is deeply emotional and too often very financial.
In the past, we centered our attention to providing the proper Asthma medication for our children. Isn’t it time that we trade reaching for an inhaler for doing things to AVOID having that attack!
Even one avoided Asthma attach can be a victory. With a change in how we approach this affliction, we can have many more than 1 victory
A “Functional Medical” provider and a growing number of other medical practitioners have programs that consider the whole person and their individual lifestyles and environments.
These professionals can help patients and caregivers to reduce the underlying conditions that will elevate a chronic disease such as Asthma to an acute attack.
Some of those factors are diet, weight and exercise. Other factors to consider relate to nutrition and sleep patterns.Then, there is one more very important and too often ignored factor. That is the indoor air environment
The step by step way to improve the home to avoid asthma attacks is our separate video that I hope you will take time to view. It has great suggestions you may not have thought about.
The poets describe our lives as going “from our first breath to our last”. We breath day and night, in good times and bad times. We can skip eating for a day. We can’t stop breathing and remain alive for more than minutes. That makes the indoor environment a 24-7-365 kind of issue.
In our care for asthmatic children and adults, we must look at the underlying conditions that harbor mold and allergens and take positive action to minimize those exposures.
We then need to test the air we breathe for trigger molds and allergens.
If we find elevated mold and allergens, we need to take action to protect our loved ones by eliminating those airborne triggers. First by removing the conditions that contribute to the elevated levels and then by eliminating those nasty culprits we breathe in thousands of times a day.
Treatment should be conducted using a “Green” treatment product that is applied by professionals sensitive to the issues surrounding indoor air quality and its effect on general health. We need to take care to avoid making the indoor environment worse by having unprofessional treatment using harsh chemicals.
After testing and treatment for mold and allergens when needed, we should reduce all of the other environmental triggers in the home.
It is a daunting task to remove all of the triggers and allergens in all of a home (or a business, store, office or any building for that matter.
What can be more manageable is to create an area of low allergens in the home. Bedroom areas are ideal for this as this is a place where people spend a lot of time breathing deeply.
Here are a couple of tips to get that process started
The bottom line is that respiratory health is an around the clock issue that deserves our attention. We need to take every precaution we can to reduce the exposures to ourselves and our loved ones.
We also need work with professionals that understand the important stake that their role plays in your health, and have the resources and skills to correct your problems.
Sick Building Syndrome is real, it is personal and in many instances, it can be devastating to a person, family, friends and employers.
SBS is widely misunderstood, often by well-meaning or misinformed people. It is often disbelieved and the victims of this serious affliction are often left without help and may even be ridiculed for their illness.
There was a time that the link between smoking cigarettes and lung cancer was considered pure fiction created by greedy attorneys. Asbestos was considered the miracle fiber that made schools and hospitals safe from fire. It took time and education to get past those education barriers to providing the necessary help for the victims of those environmental issues.
Now is the time and here is the place to start that process of getting help and advice for victims of Sick Building Syndrome.
This is an important mission for us. It is not lost on us that environmental work is not just a job, a healthy home can be life changing for the clients we serve and their loved ones.
If you are like many of us, the addition of another term in the medical field can just be babble and one more thing in a confusing, but major part of our lives. Over 20% of the US economy is dedicated to health care.
The place to start the discussion is to answer the question: Why does Functional Medicine matter? The answer lies with the fact that chronic disease (diseases that linger in our lives) has become more and more prevalent. Auto-immune disease, Asthma, diabetes, arthritis, cancer, COPD are some examples of chronic disease.
The traditional treatment of patients is geared for treating problems such as infections, heart attacks, broken bones, and other afflictions that can be corrected with a heroic swoop down and medical intervention (often a medical miracle) to correct the specific problem.
Functional Medicine Practitioners address the whole person using systems to work in partnership with the patient for the best long term health outcome.
If you are like me, your first reaction to that sentence would be “of course, isn’t that what everybody does?” That is because it makes sense when we hear that said. The traditional model is disease centered. In other words, if you get sick, the isolated set of symptoms are treated as a single point of concern.
The Functional Medicine Practitioners spend time with patients, consider their histories and look at possible interactions and the influence of genetic, lifestyle and environmental factors that affect the long-term health of the patient. This is a much more personalized or holistic approach to medicine and
When the general health of a person is managed, the chronic conditions are better managed and acute episodes are reduced and quality of life is improved. Additionally, proactive and predictive management of health improves overall quality of life. It gives patients the personal power to improve their own health.
We are fans of Functional Medicine for good reason. This type of practice usually improves the health and well-being of patients. We have seen this happen as we work on the environmental with many of these practitioners.
When the Functional Medicine Practitioner is concerned about the environmental conditions affecting a patient’s health, we test and report the finding to the practitioner. We are experienced at providing the proper testing and results for the evaluation of the medical provider.
The role we play in the Functional Medicine puzzle is identifying and solving the environmental issues that affect both long term and short term health.