The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest her or his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.
Twenty-First Century Medicine
We are in the midst of a scientific revolution that is shifting the way we approach healthcare. The current medical model is constructed to treat acute disease, for which it is extremely successful, but it fails to address the growing burden of chronic, lifestyle-related conditions. The United States spends more per person on health care than any other developed country, yet has worse health outcomes and ranks 43rd in life expectancy. Heart disease, cancer, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, digestive disorders, allergies, arthritis and neurological disorders such as dementia, alzheimer’s, autism, depression, Parkinson’s, MS and attention deficit disorder cause endless suffering and drain our financial resources. Chronic diseases now affect one in two Americans and account for 80 percent of our health-care costs. Yet despite a host of new drugs and procedures, the incidence of chronic disease continues to rise, not only in the United States but around the globe as developing countries adopt the worst of our food and culture.
There’s no question that the United States is in a healthcare crisis, and mainstream medicine does not have the answer. Breakthrough discoveries over the last two decades have demonstrated that each disease process is as unique as the patient. While it may be convenient to group together signs and symptoms and call them “diseases”, that isn’t the way to address what’s making us sick. These so-called diseases are due to varied causes and demand treatment approaches as different from one another as are the individuals. A new model of care is needed that will personalize treatment to the individual’s particular genetic makeup, environment, lifestyle and diet. This is what Functional Medicine does.
Grounded in a systems-based understanding of the way the body functions, functional medicine provides the tools we need to change the messages our genes receive so we can shape our own pattern of health. In empowering us to address the chronic illnesses that are the health issue of our time, it is revolutionizing medical practice and changing the face of health care.