Functional Medicine Timeline: How to Think About Your Current Symptoms

Sick ClockIn medical school, 30 years ago, the first two years were all classroom basic science.  We learned how the body worked, from the cellular level (microbiology, biochemistry, histology) to the anatomy from dissection of the actual body (cadaver). We learned physiology, how the body works, from hormones and neurotransmitters to the cell, and its means of communication in the nervous system and how every system and organ of the body worked.  Most of the second year was learning about diseases, when things go wrong.  There was real focus on learning causes of the various conditions we would someday treat as physicians: exactly what goes wrong, the different causes of the condition, and how to treat that condition. 

During the last two years of clinical rotations, actually seeing patients, we would be presented with “the disease” or in many cases a person with multiple medical conditions.  The focus shifted to learning how to treat these various conditions.  If you had high blood pressure, we learned the various high blood pressure medications, and for diabetes it would be how to best regulate ones insulin. There were chemotherapy protocols for cancer, and which antibiotics to use for which infections. Sadly, it seems for most physicians, the training from that time on becomes one of further and further distance from determining the cause of disease to learning to treat disease. 

The disciplines of Integrative Medicine, Functional Medicine, and Naturopaths seem to bring back the best of medicine.  Health is more than the treatment or absence of disease.  Health is the creation of optimal function and physiology, by paying attention to proper nutrition, and avoiding toxins (physical and emotional) from preconception on. I am grateful for the approach used by functional medicine, presented in the timeline approach in the link below.  Think about your own health timeline.  What are your genetic risk factors, stresses and “events”, and when did these happen.  With the help of a skilled Integrative Medicine, Naturopath, or Functional Medicine physician, you can begin your own journey back to optimal health. 

Learn more about your own functional medical timeline here…



Dr. Paul


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