Functional Medicine Practitioners utilize advanced labs that not only identify a single abnormality as an indicator of disease or deficiency – such as serum glucose or potassium – but rather identify the root causes of dysfunction, the reasons for the symptoms, and a pathway by which to address them. Unlike conventional lab testing, these analyses provide insight into imbalances, dysregulated chemical pathways, your unique genetic expression and causes of local and systemic inflammation. The answers provided go far beyond a single organ system or individual marker of disease. We can identify specific nutritional needs, supplement requirements, hormone imbalances, genetic markers that increase risk for disease, enzyme deficiencies, gut imbalance (dysbiosis), food sensitivities, overgrowth of potentially pathogenic organisms (e.g. Parasites, Candida, Bacteria), and, possibly most importantly, we have a direction of how to treat these specifically for the individual.
We need to move beyond the one size fits all approach and relying on inadequate or unreliable information to direct our care. For each symptom there are essentially dozens of potential causes. Simply treating the symptom with a medication does not address the actual cause and will not abate the progression toward disease. It merely masks the dysfunction that is taking place inside of us. It is important to ask for the right test that will provide the best answers. After all, it is not uncommon to undergo thousands of dollars of testing, through conventional labs, in evaluation of distressing symptoms only to be told: “all the tests are normal” and “you are fine” or, worse yet, to be diagnosed with anxiety and placed on a medication for the wrong diagnosis.
If you feel that you are not getting the answers that you are seeking and your condition is either not improving, or possibly worsening, I would suggest that you consider seeing a functional medicine specialist. They are trained to seek out the root causes and to address them, utilizing lifestyle measures and supplementation, using pharmaceutical medications only when needed. You can find one at www.functionalmedicine.org