Self Guided Functional Medicine
We are all busy … and recently it has come to my attention, more than ever, that trying to explain the importance of lab testing to clients is tough. Not everyone has a medical degree, 5000 plus patient experience and has spent 22 years learning how to treat chronic health conditions.
Patients often find the information overwhelming and feel that the expense of certain tests hinders their ability to find out what is wrong with them. This is compounded by the conventional medical model, of Name It, Blame It and Tame It. Which is a basic reductionist approach, using pharmaceuticals to treat named conditions with known causes. But the reality could not be further from the truth and the irony is that in most medical conditions, from a conventional prospective, we do not even know the causes of most diseases. And in terms of testing, this is CANada people. Healthcare is a community effort and no cost to the patient!
A quick example; Heart Disease. The cause is cholesterol right? So using statin medications to reduce cholesterol should cure the disease right? The truth is that statin medications have a primary prevention rate (reducing the risk of heart attack and/or stroke) of less and 5% (absolute risk reduction) in men and virtually no reduction of risk in women. Statin medications definitely lower cholesterol though …. but the side effects can include serious damage to muscles and risks of diabetes, along with chronic low grade liver damage. Not good.
The reality, with respect to the causes of heart disease, is that it depends. Food, exercise, toxins, genetics, infections are all potential causes, because heart disease is a result of inflammation in the cardiovascular system. All people have to do to cure heart disease is find out what is causing that inflammation and testing, in most cases, is the way to do it! Further, what is super cool, is that the same model applies for every other chronic disease out there.
I want to give a quick clinical example of diabetes. I am very recently in the process of helping a client completely reverse their type-2 diabetes. This particular client has some damage to their liver, which is actually the organ that is involved in causing type-2 diabetes. This particular client likes wine. The fact is, who doesn’t, but I digress. In this case the wine was resulting in a part of what was damaging the liver. By using blood work, this individual was able to prove to themselves that by cutting out the wine for 1 month their liver was 50% better, and in turn their sugars came down by 75%. Simple case but without the testing … its very hard to mess with a wine drinkers wine intake!
So, the patient I just discussed, from a conventional prospective, would have certainly been put on medication, and further medication and the eventual effects of diabetes would surely cause further degenerative diseases like cancer or heart disease. The point is COST. Cancer and heart disease is a huge cost to our medical system, which in this case could be averted by a $3 test for this particular liver enzyme, along with patient education! Not to mention the quality of life and all the other benefits that a $3 test will be able to give this particular individual.
Now don’t get me wrong, functional medicine is not always as simple as the case above and it certainly helps when you have someone that can interpret your symptoms and test results and guide your treatment but with the information on the internet now a days and the growing support of a functional medicine approach it’s actually easier than ever to find the information you need and cure yourself of virtually any chronic disease.
So here is a simple self help guide to Functional Medicine.
You might need to push your health care provider a little bit to get the testing, but just think of this as part of the challenge to curing yourself. You need this baseline testing to determine what underlying circumstances are affecting your body, even though this may not lead to finding the true cause(s) of that condition yet! If you need, a reason for your doctor, give the example I provided above … examples like that usually help.
#2. Learn about your results from the following site. Lab Tests Online – https://labtestsonline.org/ This site has an amazing amount of information. Although there is a lot of underlying information that blood work can provide which is not available on this site … it is a great start.
#3. Based on your health conditions use google search to try and figure out a dietary/lifestyle approach that is right for your concerns. I use many different dietary approaches in my office, based on the specific needs of my clients. If you have an autoimmune or cardiovascular disease check out the autoimmune paleo diet, if you have stomach or digestive symptoms look at the elimination diet or a low FODMAP or SIBO diet, for cancer read about the ketogenic diet. Although the ideal approach is one that is tailored to the individual, many generic diets out there are a great starting point.
#4. Try to get some form of physical exercise. For people that are naturally bigger and strong, I suggest weights, hiking, swimming, yoga or pilates. For people that are more petite, try Zoomba, Spin Classes, or other aerobic activities.
Don’t take my word for it and do not take this link as boosting. These are really people that have reversed or are in the process of reversing chronic health conditions using functional medicine. Good luck!