A Pharmacist’s Perspective on the Increasing Need for Functional Medicine
By Donna Barsky, PharmD
Throughout the decades of modern medicine, more and more medications have been developed to treat a large number of diseases and maladies. The more medications available, the harder it is to keep up with what medication is best for the patient. That is why most medical schools have developed a standard protocol for diagnosis. Unfortunately, these protocols do not always address the person as a whole or the underlying issue.
Therefore, if a patient is experiencing symptoms such as weight gain, insomnia or mood changes, that patient will be treated with medication X. They will then perhaps be given additional laboratory tests and be treated with yet another medication. This diagnosis has very little to do with what’s causing the issue, but everything to do with how to patch the problem and create a false sense of security. It rarely gets totally to the source of the problem. A new approach to diagnosing disease states and symptoms was greatly needed.
Our goal as functional medicine healthcare providers is to understand and fulfill the healthcare needs of patients from a “functional” perspective in concert with the patient’s physician. Functional medicine examines the underlying cause of a disease or set of symptoms and addresses the whole person, not just an isolated set of symptoms.
Functional medicine’s core principles involve spending time with patients, listening to histories and looking at the interactions among genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors that can influence long-term health and complex chronic disease states. In this way, functional medicine supports the unique expression of health and vitality for each individual.
As a result of stressful environmental factors, the ever-depleting nutritional value of foods, and the “one size fits all” medication approach, our society is experiencing a sharp rise of negative effects on their bodies such as nutritional depletions, auto-immune disorders, obesity, diabetes, fatigue, allergies, heart disease, cancer and mental illness, just to name a few. Because of this, there is a great need to make changes in how we approach healthcare and the medicines we put into our bodies.
Not only are countless practitioners embracing the rapidly growing demand for functional medicine and alternative treatment options, but there is an ever-evolving wave of patients who are no longer accepting the “patch it up and keep going” approach. These patients want to focus on the underlying cause of their condition, not just covering up the symptoms with medications that can have negative side effects. By focusing on the underlying cause of symptoms, more personalized and holistic (whole body) solutions can be prescribed.
We have found the best course of action in helping a patient to achieve optimal wellness is by partnering with their physicians to provide a personalized, preventative health plan that can consist of pharmaceutical-grade nutritionals, customized compounds and metabolic support systems. The professionals at Texas Star Pharmacy offer consultations and lab assessments for hormones, adrenal and thyroid function, food allergies, sleep balance, fertility, weight management and more. We provide a detailed report outlining recommendations for prescriptions and supplements to correct any imbalances. The ultimate goal of these programs is to work in concert with the patient and physician in achieving overall optimal health for the patient.
These are different times with a need for a personalized and a “functional” approach to an individual’s health and we, like the rest of the medical industry, have found it necessary to change the way we do business.
If you find that you need to approach your health in a different way, please give us a call and make an appointment with our Certified Clinical Nutritionist, Christina, and become part of our Texas Star Health Initiative. Let us help you find your path to health and wellness.