What is it and for whom is it recommended?

In the treatment of chronic and non-chronic diseases, there are various methods that can be beneficial for patients, as long as they are verified and accompany a health professional who can assess progress.

Among the alternatives that have been introduced in recent years, Functional medicine shows that, severelyaims to treat people in an integrated way, searching for the origin of pathology and attacking it in a personal way.

In fact, some doctors have recommended it, mainly for people with chronic diseases, who are looking for an improvement in their quality of life.

However, functional medicine is not as common as a protocol, and many people may not know what it is. This information may be useful for patients to make an informed decision about their treatments.

week Consult Dr. Javier Galves, MD, Internal Medicine Specialist and Certified in Functional Medicine, who explains what this method is, its advantages and disadvantages, and which patients it is addressed to.

Semana: What is functional medicine?

Javier Galves: Functional medicine is a discipline that teaches us as clinicians to look for the root causes of chronic diseases in a personalized and accurate way for each patient.

This allows us to make an intelligent intervention, prioritizing and based on patient lifestyle factors, such as personalized exercise, natural and targeted nutrition, ensuring repair through proper rest and restorative sleep, and correct stress adaptation, among others. The functional physician seeks to restore the proper function and interconnectedness of the body’s systems.

Exercise is a component of functional therapies, as a supplement to improving quality of life in patients with chronic diseases. – Photo: Getty Images

Semana: What are the main advantages and disadvantages of this treatment?

JG: The main advantage of functional medicine is that it is a system for creating health. It sounds obvious, but no, in medicine protocols – which we learn throughout our careers – we are trained to support the patient with medication, which is not synonymous with creating health, but with slowing down the disease process, much more so if lifestyle factors don’t work together.

In functional medicine, there is hope for optimizing health system resources and obtaining truly impressive patient outcomes. Fundamentally adjusting these factors and correcting imbalances in a personal way.

To find the root cause of each patient essentially requires an investment of time. One barrier to its implementation is the standard of care within the current “health” insurance system. It will never be possible to help a patient regain his health in a 15-minute consultation, nor by ignoring his way of life.

And herein lies the main drawback of functional medicine, although it becomes a strength at the same time, because the time we spend allows us to get to know the patient well, in the details and details of the factors in his life that contributed to his loss of health. This time, it is this complete and detailed information that allows us to develop personalized treatment strategies to discover what each patient really needs.

Semana: What is the special effect of this type of medicine on chronic diseases?

JG: The impact of functional medicine on chronic disease is unprecedented. It ranges from allowing the physician to reduce the dose or number of medications by seeing that patients improve standards of monitoring, to even causing chronic disease remission in some cases.

Semana: To whom is functional medicine recommended?

JG: I would recommend it to anyone who wants to achieve the desired state of well-being, but more than that, I would recommend functional medicine to any patient who has chronic diseasessuch as diabetes, high blood pressure, dyslipidemia, asthma, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, autoimmune diseases – Such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, PCOS, dysmenorrhea and Alzheimer’s disease.

Also in those chronic cases named syndromes (symptom clusters) In conventional medicine, there are no drugs that actually modify the course of the disease, such as chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia. In addition, for cases where there are chronic and / or recurrent symptoms without a clear explanation, or that do not fall into the diagnostic category, but reduce and affect the patient’s life, because in functional medicine they can find their root cause and thus conduct a healthy recovery.

Semana: Is this kind of medicine publicly acceptable in the union or are there doctors who don’t share your practice?

JG: This type of medicine has all the scientific validity, and in fact, there is a diploma course in Columbia endorsed by the University Foundation for Health Sciences (FUCS) which provides enough training to handle it he isThe daily challenges of chronic diseases.

Unfortunately, there are colleagues who have taken what appears on social networks as a reference, who believe that functional medicine is a fad and that it has no scientific basis. Medicine is one, and today it bears this “functional” title, but I honestly believe that in a couple of decades all this knowledge will be incorporated into basic training and will be incorporated into the health insurance system of many countries.

Semana: Where was functional medicine born and how can it be applied in Colombia?

JG: Functional medicine was born in the United States nearly 40 years ago, and its founding fathers were Physicians Bland and Jones. There, the Institute for Functional Medicine, a non-profit entity, was leading the training of Fellows in Functional Medicine.

They have also helped establish collaborations at highly reputable institutions, such as the Center for Functional Medicine at Cleveland Clinic, also in the United States. This clinic, pioneering in technology and advancements in medicine, was the first in the world to adopt the functional medicine model and adapt it to the health system, and it showed amazing results in terms of quality of life and resource use.

Some medications can cause increased appetite, fluid retention, or excessive tiredness as a side effect.  Photo: Getty Images.
Functional medicine also seeks to reduce treatments that rely entirely on drugs, which, according to the expert, do not respond to the need for a better life. – Photo: Gettyimages Photo

In Colombia, there are centers such as the Latin American Center for the Advancement of Medicine (CLAM), where the same model as the Cleveland Clinic is applied, even for private patients outside the Colombian insurance system.

This model of care is absolutely amazing because of its results that Today there are developments in the health sector, at the IPS level, that seek to adopt and apply the functional medicine model To improve health outcomes for high-cost diseases.

Semana: Are there studies or clinical trials that can prove the effectiveness of functional medicine?

Jeffrey: Yes, there are several specific studies that show that applying the functional medicine model brings additional benefits to conventional care.

Dr. Drews (2020), at the Cleveland Clinic, 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 than did standard care at the same clinic.

Dr. Bidelchies, also at the Cleveland Clinic in 2019, explained how a group intervention based on functional medicine can help improve quality of life, weight loss, and healthy cognition, even at a lower cost than traditional individual interventions. Later Dr. Bharmal emphasized in societies with limited resources.

Leave a Comment