If you’ve ever walked out of a doctor’s appointment with a prescription in your hand but an uneasiness in your mind because you feel like you didn’t get the whole story about your health, you’re a good candidate for functional medicine.The American medical system essentially works piecemeal. You have a primary care doctor, sure, but you also have a cardiologist for your heart, a neurologist for your brain, a gasteroenterologist for your gut, an opthamologist for your eyes – the list goes on and on. The point is that with our current healthcare system, it’s not easy for one doctor to have a full picture of their patients’ health.
Here’s where physicians such as Robert Watson at WellCentric Health in Reno come in. Dr. Watson practices what is called functional medicine. These kinds of doctors don’t listen to your symptoms and quickly give you a prescription for the drug that best relieves those symptoms.
Doctors who practice functional medicine instead focus more on the root cause of an issue than the end symptoms. They don’t want to just make the symptoms disappear – they want to keep them from ever coming back.
Nutrition and dietary support
To cover all the ways our nutrition can impact our immune system could be a book in itself. Our diets influence our microbiome, the integrity and function of our gut lining, and the function of the cells that comprise our immune systems. Our diets can provide the elements essential for immune function pathways or elements that essentially poison those same pathways.
Adhering to general, healthy, nutrition principles, will be all you really need to do, diet-wise, to support your immune system. Get several servings of fruits and vegetables per day. “Eat the rainbow.” Buy organic (at least for the “dirty dozen”) to avoid the toxin exposure and for the better nutrient content of the food. Insist on grass-fed, grass-finished, free-range, and wild-caught meats. Again, they’ll provide greater nutritive value and fewer toxins and contaminants.
What is functional medicine?
Functional medicine looks at each patient as a unique individual. While your symptoms might be similar to other patients, the causes may be completely different – and there may be multiple causes. This means the treatments should be individualized as well.
You are not a collection of unrelated systems – you are a whole, unique person. Understanding the complex network of interactions that make up the human body is at the heart of functional medicine.
What conditions does functional medicine treat?
Most people want to know what kinds of conditions functional medicine treats well. The actual answer is all of them (remember, the body is a collection of interrelated systems), but here are a few conditions that seem to respond particularly well:
- Cardiometabolic conditions – these include diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, and weight issues.
- Autoimmune and inflammatory diseases – these include problems like rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, and celiac diseases.
- Digestive disorders – these include ulcers, pancreatitis, diverticulosis, irritable bowel syndrome, and acid reflux.
- Hormone and fertility issues – these include thyroid issues, chronic fatigue, menopause, and fertility struggles.
- Neurological and psychiatric conditions – these include migraines, attention deficit disorder, depression, and mental health.
In each of these cases, functional health doctors will connect the dots to treat you in the best way possible for your whole body – not just the one area that hurts. They will put together a personalized plan to address your issues as a whole. Treatment options include diet and lifestyle changes, exercise programs, stress management, detox programs, prescription drugs, and nutritional supplements.
These treatment plans are designed to address the imbalances causing the problems that yielded the symptoms. Once your body is in balance, the symptoms should decrease. And the preventative aspects of your plan should keep you in better health in the future as well.
Call Dr. Watson at WellCentric Health in Reno for more information and to set up an appointment to see how functional medicine can help improve your life.