February 22

Functional Medicine Care Results Surpass Traditional Medical Care

Maximum quality of life should be what we are all striving for with how we live our lives each day. It’s not good enough to simply “be alive” if a quality existence is ruined by health complications. Chronic pain, poor energy, digestive issues and “just not feeling good” are all symptoms that something isn’t right and it’s likely robbing you of being able to fully enjoy your days, months, or even years!

Health problems have never developed due to a “medication deficiency”. Rather, issues most commonly develop when the things we do, or don’t do, each day (i.e. lifestyle habits) are not in line with maintaining a good level of health. Therefore, if our goal is to be truly healthy and medication-free, we need to look at our daily routines and determine if maybe we are shooting ourselves in the foot rather than giving ourselves a chance. 

If that seems to be the case and the health problems are starting to mount, it would be a good idea to look into utilizing functional medicine as a means to getting your health back on track. Functional medicine looks at the body as a whole and focuses on the root causes of disease rather than an isolated set of symptoms. It’s based on the evidence that lifestyle factors – such as nutrition, sleep, exercise, stress levels and relationships – are major contributors to chronic disease. Therefore, making changes in these areas will allow the body to do what it should do naturally: heal itself and be healthy!

A recent study performed at the Cleveland Clinic and published in the Journal of the American Medical Association Network Open demonstrated that functional medicine could do just that, and even better than traditional medicine. The two-year study looked at 1,595 patients treated in Cleveland Clinic’s Center for Functional Medicine and 5,657 patients seen for primary care at a family health center, assessing health-related quality of life using PROMIS (an NIH-validated questionnaire). PROMIS provides a measure of patients’ physical and mental health that can be monitored over time, measuring factors like fatigue, physical function, pain, gastrointestinal issues and emotional well-being.

The results of the study showed that patients who utilized functional medicine care experienced better results and reaped the following benefits:

  • At 6 months, the functional medicine patients showed significantly larger improvements in health than those using traditional medicine
  • 31% of FM patients improved their PROMIS scores by 5 points or more, which is a clinically meaningful change and gives a noticeable effect on daily life. (Compared to only 22% of primary care patients)
  • The overall health improvements of the FM patients were considered “significantly larger” than those who used primary care during a 12-month period.

This comes as no surprise to us as we see these results in our office every day. Patients are improving their lives and getting their bodies truly healthy, which is also enabling them to reduce or eliminate their need for many medications! They are no longer being controlled by health issues; they are the ones in charge of their health, giving them the freedom to live life more as they choose. Doesn’t that sound like a much more ideal quality of life?

If your health issues are growing, your prescription count is increasing, or you just don’t feel as good as you think you should, then it’s time to recruit a functional medicine practice to help you achieve your health goals. What do you have to lose, other than poor health, multiple prescription bottles, and the root causes of your health problems that are keeping you from experiencing an optimal quality of life?…


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