4 Questions to Ask Your Doctor About Functional Medicine
Functional medicine is a form of alternative medicine that focuses on understanding the prevention, management and root causes of complex chronic disease. Talk to our leading team of healthcare professionals’ today at Fresno Medical Center for more information. Call us or schedule an appointment online! We are conveniently located at 6069 N First Street Suite 103 Fresno, CA 93710, USA.
How is a Functional Medicine different from conventional medicine?
Functional and conventional medicine have many similarities in that they are both practiced by licensed doctors, use evidence-based techniques, order diagnostic tests as needed and can prescribe medication when required. Both conventional and functional doctors will also refer their patients to other specialists if, and when, needed for further testing and treatment. Where the similarities end is in the philosophies and treatment methods that they follow to treat their patients. Functional medicine takes the approach of identifying and then treating the root cause of a disease, instead of treating the current symptoms. Conventional medicine will focus more on treating the symptoms or refer the patient to a separate medical professional based on the symptoms. Functional medicine focuses on treatment based on biology and looks to lifestyle changes or modifications and natural remedies for treatment options, whereas conventional medicine focuses on chemistry and will often use medication in the management of symptoms for many illnesses. Conventional medicine is a benefit in acute conditions such as emergency situations where immediate treatment is needed. Chronic conditions can benefit from the approach of functional medicine as a means of finding the root cause and treating it.
What are the benefits of this treatment?
Functional medicine has many benefits for patients who choose to go this route. One of the main philosophies of functional medicine is to get to the bottom of a patient’s symptoms and find out what the root case is. This means spending significant time getting to know the patient, understanding their symptoms, their lifestyle, habits, diet and any other factors that could play into a chronic condition. By focusing on this information, doctors in functional medicine can pinpoint the cause of the problem and work on a treatment plan to help their patient manage a chronic condition or even become cured of the condition. Without relying heavily on medications to treat symptoms, patients are able to live a healthier life without worrying about side effects of medication or potentially invasive treatment options. Functional medicine also takes an individualized approach to each patient’s care, so every treatment plan is as unique as the patient themselves.
What happens at a functional medicine appointment?
A functional medicine appointment will involve a lot of talking, primarily on your part as the patient. The doctor will ask your questions to get a thorough understanding of your medical, family and personal history to understand who you are and what factors in your life could be impacting your health. They will also ask about any symptoms you are currently feeling, how long you’ve had them, if they get better or worse, and any other details you can provide. They will also most likely want to know about any past or present experience you have with other medical professionals and healthcare providers. The appointment will also most likely involve a physical examination to help the doctor get an understanding of your current health and vital stats. This may also include a request for laboratory testing if applicable to your symptoms or other health concerns. Expect to be at your first appointment for a while, unlike a conventional medicine appointment, a functional medicine appointment can take upwards of one to two hours for the doctor to get a solid grasp of your health.
Do functional medicine doctors take insurance?
Insurance acceptance for functional medicine doctors will be unique to each doctor as well the patient’s insurance plan. Some plans may cover a portion of the fees of a functional medicine doctor while other plans won’t cover any. It is best to check with both the doctor’s offices if they accept insurance and then reach out to your insurance company to determine if your insurance plan covers you for functional medicine doctors’ visits. If not, you will need to pay for your appointments out of pocket. You should also inquire with your insurance company on coverage for treatment plans prescribed by a functional medicine doctor. While functional medicine focuses on a more holistic approach to medical care, there may still be a need for medication or treatments that insurance could potentially cover. Always check with your insurance on coverage prior to starting any medication or treatment if you are worried about it not being covered.
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