In the treatment of chronic and non-chronic diseases, there are various methods that can be useful to patients, as long as they are verified and accompanied by a health professional who can evaluate progress.
Among the options presented in recent years, functional medicine appears, which, More likeThe aim is to treat people in an integral way, to seek the origin of a pathology, and to attack it in a personal way.
In fact, some doctors recommend it, mainly for people with chronic conditions, who are looking to improve their quality of life.
However, functional medicine is not as common as protocol, and many people may not know what it is. This information may be useful for patients to make informed decisions about their treatment.
Week Consulted Dr. Xavier Galvis, an expert in internal medicine and certified in functional medicine, who explains what the method involves, its advantages and disadvantages, and the patients to whom it is addressed.
Semana: What is functional medicine?
Javier Galvis: Functional medicine is a system of thought that teaches us, as doctors, to look for the root causes of chronic diseases in a personalized and precise manner for each patient.
This allows us to ensure repair through individualized exercise, natural and targeted nutrition, proper rest and restful sleep, correct adaptation to stress, among others, prioritizing the patient’s lifestyle factors and taking a microscopic approach based on them. allows interference. The functional therapist seeks to restore proper function to body systems and their interrelationships.
Semana: What are the main advantages and disadvantages of this treatment?
JG: The main advantage of functional medicine is that it is a system of creating health. It sounds obvious, but no, in protocol medicine—which we’ve been taught throughout our careers—we are trained to support the patient with drugs, and this is not synonymous with creating health, but rather the disease process. Along with slowing down, there’s more. If lifestyle factors are not worked together.
Functional medicine has the hope of optimizing the resources of the health system and achieving truly impressive results in patients, Mainly modifying these factors and correcting the defects in individual way.
Finding the root cause in each patient primarily requires an investment of time. One obstacle to its implementation is the standard of care within the current “health” insurance system. It will never be possible to help a patient recover or ignore their lifestyle with a 15 minute consultation.
Here lies the main disadvantage of functional medicine, although at the same time it becomes a strength, because the time spent allows us to get to know the patient very well in the detail and subtlety of the factors of his life that contributed to it. Have given. loss of his health. It is this time and it is this complete and detailed information that allows us to create an individualized treatment strategy, to find out exactly what each patient needs.
Semana: What special effect does this type of medicine have on chronic diseases?
JG: The impact of functional medicine on chronic disease is unprecedented. This ranges from allowing the doctor to reduce the dosage or number of drugs, to relapsing chronic diseases in some cases, to even improving monitoring parameters to patients.
SEMANA: For whom is functional medicine recommended?
JG: I recommend it to anyone who wants to achieve a desired state of wellness, but more than that, I recommend functional medicine counseling to any patient chronic diseasessuch as diabetes, high blood pressure, dyslipidemia, asthma, irritable colon, autoimmune diseases -such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis-, polycystic ovary syndrome, dysmenorrhea and Alzheimer’s disease.
Also in chronic conditions that are labeled as syndrome (symptom group) In traditional medicine, for which there are no drugs that actually modify the course of the disease, such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. Also, for cases where there are chronic and/or recurrent symptoms with no clear explanation, or that do not fit the diagnostic category, but that shorten and affect the patient’s life, as in functional medicine they Find your root cause and thus start the process of health recovery.
Semana: Is this type of medicine openly accepted in guilds or are there doctors who don’t share your practice?
JG: This type of medicine has all the scientific validity and, in fact, Columbia has a diploma supported by the University Foundation of Health Sciences (FUCS) that provides enough training to cope.
IThe daily challenges of chronic diseases.
Unfortunately, there are colleagues who take what they see on social networks as context, thinking that functional medicine is a fad and has no scientific basis. Medicine is one, today it has this “functional” nickname, but I believe that, in a few decades, all this knowledge will be integrated into basic training and be included in the health insurance system of many countries.
Semana: Where was functional medicine born and how can it be applied in Colombia?
JG: Functional medicine originated in the United States about 40 years ago, with its founding fathers being Dr. Bland and Jones. There, the Institute for Functional Medicine, a non-profit organization, is leading the training of associates in functional medicine.
He has also helped build collaborations in highly prestigious institutions, such as the Center for Functional Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic, also in the United States. This clinic, a pioneer in technology and advances in medicine, was the first in the world to adopt the functional medicine model and adapt it to the health system, showing amazing results in terms of quality of life and resource use.
In Colombia, there are centers such as the Latin American Center for the Advancement of Medicine (CLAM), which apply a model similar to the Cleveland Clinic, even for private patients outside the Colombian insurance system.
This care model is so attractive because of its results that Today progress is being made in the health sector at the IPS level, which is seeking to adopt and implement the functional medicine model To optimize health outcomes of high-cost diseases.
SEMANA: Are there studies or clinical trials that can demonstrate the effectiveness of functional medicine?
JG: Yes, there are a number of specific studies that show that the use of functional medicine models brings additional benefits to conventional care.
At the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Droz (2020) showed that with a 12-week intervention based on functional medicine principles, patients with rheumatoid arthritis had greater improvements in pain scores and quality of life compared with usual standard care in the same clinic.
For his part, in 2019 also at the Cleveland Clinic, Dr. Beidelshies showed how a group intervention based on functional medicine can help increase quality of life, weight loss and health perception, even at a lower cost than individual interventions. Later confirmed by Dr. Bharmal in communities with limited resources.