In recent years, patients have become more complex, and those with multiple chronic conditions are increasing. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and obesity are among the most common, costly, and preventable of all health problems in the United States.1
As an IFM-trained clinician, you are aware that most chronic diseases are linked to modifiable risk factors including poor nutrition, physical inactivity, and stress.2 Yet despite the effectiveness of a multifactorial approach that addresses these factors, many clinicians are not equipped to utilize such methods. IFM encourages Functional Medicine practitioners to direct their colleagues who may not be aware of Functional Medicine to our newly redesigned, free introductory course, “Introduction to Functional Medicine.”
The course explains how Functional Medicine takes clinicians beyond the standard of care by providing them with additional tools necessary to treat chronic conditions, in part through sustainable lifestyle changes. It shows how Functional Medicine steers clear of “one size fits all” for individualized care, and instead uses in-depth analysis of the underlying causes of disease for each patient to design optimal treatments. As you know, every patient manifests imbalances and problems in a unique way, and figuring out the root cause is a lot like detective work. In “Introduction to Functional Medicine,” clinicians can learn more about the tools and strategies involved in the Functional Medicine approach, including:
- How to collect and interpret a thorough clinical history using the Functional Medicine Timeline with antecedents, triggers, and mediators.
- Differentiating between and selecting tests for food allergy, food intolerance, and food sensitivity.
- Recognizing the many potential causes of depression.
- Applying a multifactorial analysis of depression symptoms in a particular case.
- Synthesizing information using the Functional Medicine Matrix to identify root causes and appropriate interventions.
While much of the conventional treatment for chronic disease is aimed at relieving pain or symptoms through medications, Functional Medicine offers an alternative to symptom suppression—by addressing the underlying mechanisms that cause disease. IFM encourages Functional Medicine clinicians to help educate their colleagues who are new to the approach by directing them to the new, free “Introduction to Functional Medicine” online course. Up to 1.5 CME credits can be earned.
- National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. Chronic disease overview. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/chronicdisease/overview/index.htm. Updated June 28, 2017. Accessed March 28, 2018.
- Freese J, Klement R, Ruiz-Nunez B, Schwarz S, Lotzerich H. The sedentary (r)evolution: have we lost our metabolic flexibility? F1000Res. 2018;6:1787. doi:12688/f1000research.12724.2.
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