So much of medicine is geared toward a disease model, so much so, that optimal living, optimal health and optimal wellness is not considered a standard of care. Often I have patient’s who drag themselves into the office with significant complaints of fatigue, malaise, insomnia, digestive problems, irritability, difficulty in relationships, frustration, poor stamina, low libido etc., etc., etc.. These patient’s will come to the office seeking a consultation, having in hand laboratory results previously obtained from their primary care and/or a specialist with an attach spoken narrative stating “my doctor(s) told me everything was “okay,” and that everything is normal and within range. Therefore the patient expresses, “I’m okay, but if I’m okay why do I not feel okay?” So who in this case is right; the patient who does not feel okay, or the doctor who says all labs are within normal range and therefore “you’re okay.” The answer is…BOTH the patient and the doctor are right. But how is that? How can that be that both are accurate? Well the lens that the doctor is looking through is the lens of “is there a disease present”. This is because most routine laboratory serum tests that are run are looking for a condition equivalent to a disease.
On the patient side, the patient is complaining of symptoms that are not disease based yet. The patient is reporting symptoms and the underlying issues could be deficiencies of micronutrients, antioxidant or minerals, that are not yet or may never be a disease.
The benefit to having access to integrative and functional medicine care is that you allow yourself the opportunity to possibly prevent disease and chronic illness
Many individuals (including doctors) do not realize that the nutritional deficiencies or imbalances cause many of these symptoms and often they are the cornerstone for functional living. If they get to such a point where they are totally absent, the absence could lead to an indicator on routine blood panels; however, deficiencies typically DO NOT show up on routine blood panels. The benefit to having access to integrative and functional medicine care is that you allow yourself the opportunity to possibly prevent disease and chronic illness instead of treating the disease after the diagnosis (tertiary medicine). It gives the control back to the patient and provides insight into what the patient can do ‘here and now’ to work towards an optimal level of health and wellness.