In last week’s blog post, I discussed the new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists titled “The $11 Trillion Dollar Reward: How Simple Dietary Changes Can Save Lives and Money, and How We Get There.” The study revealed that if Americans ate one more serving of fruit or vegetables each day more than 30,000 deaths from cardiovascular disease could be prevented, and more than $5 billion in annual medical costs could be saved.
The report also predicts that healthcare costs from the treatment cardiovascular disease – most of which are preventable – will soar to $818 billion by 2030. I’ll give you a second to climb back onto your chair.
Obviously, a change in our country’s healthcare culture is not only necessary, but urgent. With that in mind, I wanted to explain what I feel is the future of healthcare – functional medicine, an approach to healthcare focused on disease prevention rather than treating symptoms after someone is already sick.
The functional medicine movement is gaining steam, thanks in large part to the educational efforts of the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM). I’m a proud member of this organization, employing its methods in my own practice. I’m happy to provide the following information, which is based on the IFM’s educational efforts, with their permission.
What is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine is personalized medicine that deals with primary prevention and underlying causes instead of symptoms for serious chronic disease. This science-based field of healthcare is grounded in the following principles:
- Biochemical individuality. This states that variations in metabolic function can result from genetic and environmental differences among individuals.
- Patient-centered medicine. This emphasizes patient care, not disease care. As Sir William Osler said, “It is more important to know what patient has the disease than to know what disease the patient has.
- Dynamic balance of internal and external factors. This involves how our bodies are affected – physically, nutritionally and psychologically – by the environment in which we live.
- Web-like interconnections of physiological factors. Research now supports the view that the human body functions as an orchestrated network of interconnected systems, not individual systems that function independently without affecting each other. For example, we know that immunological dysfunctions can promote cardiovascular disease, and dietary imbalances can cause hormonal disturbances.
- Health as positive vitality. In other words, health is not just the absence of a disease.
- Promotion of organ reserve as the means to enhance the health span. More than a longer life span that simply involves a period of time, an enhanced health span focuses on living as many quality years as possible.
The goal of functional medicine is to correct imbalances that are at the root of various diseases. These imbalances can develop in response to how the body, mind and spirit process things like diet, nutrients, exercise and trauma. Improving balance helps us restore our functionality and health.
This is the year of the family – not just our immediate family, but our American family. The best way that we as a country can take back our health is to embrace functional medicine and focus on the prevention of disease instead of waiting until we’re sick and treating the symptoms. We need to adopt this approach to healthcare so our children and grandchildren have a reliable, functioning healthcare system to take care of them.
Have you ever been examined by a doctor who practices functional medicine? If you have any questions about functional medicine, please contact us at Natural Healthcare Center.
Dr. James Proodian is an accomplished chiropractic physician and health educator who founded Proodian Healthcare Family of Companies to help people feel better, function better, and live longer. His expertise for the past two decades has been in physical rehabilitation, and he has successfully established himself as a spinal specialist. In his practice, he advocates the science of functional medicine, which takes an integrative approach to treating patients by addressing their physical, nutritional, and psychological needs. Alarmed by the escalation of complex, chronic illness in our country, Dr. Proodian has been speaking to companies and organizations through his “Wellness at Work” program since 1994, motivating thousands of people to make positive lifestyle choices and lead healthier, more productive lives. He can be heard weekly on his radio program, “Proodian Healthcare By Design,” on Tandem Radio.