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Episode Info: Functional Medicine: Getting Started Guide One of the most common questions we receive is about how to get started with functional medicine. Whether you are a health care practitioner looking to learn more about functional medicine and how to incorporate it into your practice, or a patient looking for an aligned health care practitioner, we hope to answer a lot of these questions in this episode of Pursuing Health Pearls.   What were doing isnt working Today in the United States, six out of every ten adults has at least one chronic disease, and four out of ten have two or more. Chronic conditions account for seven of every ten deaths in the United States, and together with mental health account for 90% of our $3.5 trillion annual healthcare costs. Our healthcare system has been designed around providing life-saving care for acute problems, but when it comes to chronic disease it is poorly equipped. The current standard approach relies on using primarily pharmaceutical medications to slow the progression of disease and manage symptoms rather than addressing the root causes which are often rooted in lifestyle.   What is functional medicine? Functional medicine is a model that empowers patients and practitioners to work together to address the root causes of disease and promote optimal wellness. This model recognizes the unique genetic makeup and experiences of each individual and uses these along with the latest medical and scientific research to inform personalized treatment plans. This is a model that we have found to be much better suited for addressing chronic diseases from obesity, to type 2 diabetes, autoimmune diseases, mood disorders, and many more.   The foundations of health The functional medicine framework aims first to ensure our bodies have the necessary ingredients to facilitate health, which include: sleep and relaxation, exercise and movement, nutrition, stress management, and meaningful relationships. When these key ingredients are not present or out of balance, the stage is set for disease or dysfunction to creep in. Many times, just improving these factors will result in the resolution of symptoms and disease. Regardless, making sure these things are in place first so that the body has the necessary ingredients for healing is important in order to allow for more advanced testing and/or treatment to be most beneficial. A few examples To illustrate the difference between conventional and functional approaches, lets discuss a few examples. In the conventional system, a cluster of symptoms is diagnosed as a disease, and then the standard-of-care treatment is prescribed. For example, if you have a rash it will likely be given a name based on its appearance (for example, eczema). You will then be prescribed a treatment that has been shown to improve this type of rash (for example, moisturizer or steroid cream). The rash may improve with this treatment, could come back when the treatment is stopped.   On the other hand, a func...
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