Have you ever had your medical tests come back “normal” but you still don’t feel well? It may be time to address the root cause of your issues instead of just the symptoms. If you are ready to make lifestyle changes to benefit your health, functional medicine could be right for you.
Our current healthcare system does a great job with acute illness, emergencies, and trauma, but we are now faced with more chronic conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and autoimmune disease. Functional medicine uses a unique approach for preventing and managing complex, chronic conditions.
Functional medicine seeks to identify and address the root causes of disease, with a focus on treating the whole person, not just a set of symptoms. This personalized approach combines the latest advanced laboratory testing with a patient’s history, physiology, and lifestyle to develop a tailored plan. Functional Medicine allows providers to focus on prevention and empowers patients to take an active role in their own health.
“I love working with people who want to improve their health without using medications, if possible,” said Dr. Clemma Nash, Functional Medicine Physician at Western Wisconsin Health. “Many of our current health issues are related to inadequate nutrition, food sensitivities, poor sleep, and stress. Improving those can make a huge difference in how you feel.”
How does this approach work?
Functional medicine is a collaborative process between you and your provider that examines not only medical symptoms, but also genetic history, diet, exercise patterns, traumas, lifestyle and any exposures to toxins. Advanced testing is available and your provider will make recommendations unique to you and your symptoms and history. (It is possible there will be out of pocket costs not covered by insurance for testing and/or supplements.) Functional medicine is participatory and individualized. You must be willing and ready to make changes in your lifestyle and diet to achieve optimal results.
An illness can have more than one imbalance that needs to be treated. For example, obesity can be the result of imbalances in inflammation, hormones, gut flora, genetics, diet and exercise or exposure to environmental toxins. Similarly, one imbalance, such as inflammation, can cause many different conditions. Functional medicine studies these complexities and believes restoring balance is essential to restoring health.
Is functional medicine right for you?
If you have visited your provider, been treated and still feel sick you may be a good candidate for a functional medicine approach. You may also benefit if you are on medication that is not effective or has side effects.
Functional medicine can be used for the treatment and possible reversal of many chronic conditions including:
- Cognitive Impairment/Dementia
- Autistic Spectrum
- Chronic Fatigue
- Any autoimmune disease
- Thyroid disease
- Eczema/Skin disorders
- Mold or toxin related illness
- Parkinson’s disease/neurological diseases
- Hormonal issues/menopause/ infertility
- Diabetes/metabolic syndrome
- Weight loss
The ultimate goal of functional medicine is to restore optimal functioning of your physiology and move you towards greater balance and wellness in your life. Your customized care plan may include:
- Therapeutic nutrition/diets
- Lifestyle changes
- Stress management techniques
- Detoxification programs
- Hormone balancing
- Prescription supplements/drugs
“Selected supplements and botanicals are much safer than prescription medications and I use these to help improve imbalances,” said Dr. Nash about her approach to developing a wellness plan. “Sometimes we need to take a deep dive into your physiology and look for toxins, genetic predispositions, and even mold exposures as sources of imbalances, although many people can be helped with simple recommendations and minimal testing. It’s very exciting to help people who have been feeling poorly for so long regain their vitality. Plus, a functional approach is a fantastic way to prevent development of chronic disease by addressing the underlying causes before symptoms develop. If you have a strong family history of heart disease, auto-immune disease, dementia, or diabetes consider coming in for a functional medicine evaluation to help prevent those diseases in the future.”
If you would like to learn more about functional medicine as it relates to cardiovascular health, the community is welcome to join Dr. Clemma Nash, Functional Medicine Physician, for a free informational session on Tuesday, April 18, 2017 from 5:00 – 6:00 pm at the Roberts location. Learn more and register at wwhealth.org or call 715-684-1597.
Functional medicine services are offered by Clemma Nash, MD and Marrie Simpson, PA-C at the Western Wisconsin Health Roberts location. If you wish to schedule an appointment or advanced lipid panel, please call the 24 hour appointment line at 715-684-1111. Learn more at wwhealth.org.