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What Is Functional Medicine?

In medical school back in the dinosaur days (i.e. when I attended medical school in the late 1970s) all of the courses and curriculum were geared toward diagnosing and treating disease states.  There was pretty much zero focus on disease prevention.  We did not have any educational sessions on weight management, nutrition, exercise, how to help people stop smoking or any other instruction on how to prevent diseases before they developed.

Fast forward to current times. I have spoken to several recent medical school graduates and they have expressed frustration that even to this day, their education did not focus much on disease prevention.  From the business side of medicine, insurance companies and other third party payors do not “recognize” to any great degree time spent by doctors/NPs/Pas on preventative services.  They will pay for hospitalizations, lab testing, radiology tests and other diagnostic/treatment services, but very little if any for prevention.

So what has transpired:  An ever-growing discipline called “FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE”.  The functional medicine model of care offers a patient-centered approach to chronic disease management. It seeks to answer the question, “Why are you ill?” so you can receive personalized, effective care for your needs. Functional medicine providers spend time listening to you and gathering your medical history.

Rather than an organ systems-based approach, Functional Medicine addresses core physiological processes that cross anatomical boundaries including: assimilation of nutrients, cellular defense and repair, structural integrity, cellular communication and transport mechanisms, energy production, and biotransformation.

Most “Functional Medicine” Doctors/NPs/PAs are trained in primary care medicine and often go on for further training in Functional Medicine.

For people that “mainstream medicine” is failing, i.e. those patients that are not getting much help for the symptoms they are experiencing, seeing a Functional Medicine practice may be a good step.  Checking for hormonal imbalances, neurochemical changes and other physiological issues and then intervening with these in a responsible manner may very well help a person feel much better on many fronts.

I am proud to announce that I will soon become Medical Director of a new Functional Medicine Practice run by Jaime McCoy, PA-C in the Williamsburg Drug Company, Jamestown Road.  Jaime has vast experience in the Functional Medicine field and we will be offering in addition to weight loss services, male and female hormone replacement, thyroid balancing and numerous other services that may be of great help in allowing patients to feel and look much healthier, younger and find/treat the true causes as to why the person is not feeling well.

Please be on the lookout for more details.  I am very excited to be a part of this new quest to help people look/feel their very best.

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