Conventional medicine teaches silo thinking; diseases are manifested within a single organ system, cared for by specialists treating each issue individually, without looking at the whole person.
Drugs are often prescribed to treat the symptoms, but do not necessarily address the root cause of the problem. It is easier to prescribe a medicine in the factory line of patient care instead of taking the time to educate patients on their modifiable lifestyle factors.
Our analogy in functional medicine is “your genes only load the gun, what pulls the trigger is your environment.” Our population only continues to get sicker, with exponential increases in obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, dementia, chronic pain conditions, fatigue, cognitive issues, infertility and autoimmune disease.
Our current medical system is geared toward population based acute management and not personalized medicine that can make an impact on current symptoms as well as decreasing risk of chronic disease.
What is Functional Medicine?
The Functional Medicine model is an individualized, patient-centered, science-based approach where there is complete collaboration between patients and Dr. Hansell’s functional medicine team. Dr. Hansell addresses the underlying causes of disease to promote optimal wellness by empowering her patients with the knowledge to make changes that will have great impact on their health and longevity. It relies on a detailed understanding of each patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors. This data directs the personalized treatment plans that lead to improved patient outcomes. By addressing root cause, rather than symptoms, this methodology targets the inflammatory processes that contribute to current symptoms and can stop the evolution into chronic disease.
Why do we need Functional Medicine?
Our society is experiencing a sharp increase in the number of people who suffer from complex, chronic diseases. 12% of Americans are metabolically healthy, which means that 88% are not. As of 2020, 42.4% of Americans adults are obese and 1 in 5 American children are as well. These numbers are staggering! It should make us understand the utmost importance of why we need to decrease our systemic inflammation and decrease the possibility of our system being overwhelmed by our body’s own cell danger response. This also explains why the majority of Americans who eat the Standard American Diet, are setting themselves up for obesity, insulin resistance, and altered immune responses that can contribute to chronic diseases (such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer, autoimmune diseases, and dementia).
The system of medicine practiced by most physicians is directed toward acute care under the traditional medicine time constraints, where there is little time to actually address your specific concerns. Patients’ current symptoms are often dismissed if all the labs that their physician checks are normal. There is often less focus on prevention (outside of mandated screening tests and vaccines) and collaboration to optimize health. The acute-care approach to medicine lacks the proper methodology and tools for preventing and treating complex, chronic disease. Medications are prescribed to treat the condition, but no knowledge is given on how to decrease progression or actually reverse disease. The list of medications only gets longer and longer as you get sicker and sicker, not addressing the underlying causes of inflammation. There’s a huge gap between research and the way doctors practice. Most physicians are not adequately trained to assess the underlying causes of complex, chronic disease and to apply strategies supporting nutrition, your microbiome, mindfulness, sleep optimization and functional exercise to both prevent and treat symptoms and disease in their patients. Our treatment plans are evidence-based as Dr. Hansell attends many conferences per year and maintains her Board Certification in Family Medicine to bring the most up-to-date options for health optimization. The goal is to give your body the support it needs to heal itself. Many have depletion of vital nutrients as well as excessive hormonal signalling that does not allow the body to process inflammation properly, leading to dysfunction.
Functional Medicine should be the standard of care, rather than what we are seeing in our country right now. The tides have to change for our entire population to understand that they can be empowered to handle what comes their way and decrease the chronic diseases we are seeing in so many, including our children. The statistics show that 1 in 3 of our children in the US will be diagnosed with diabetes in their lifetime because of their environment. We want to empower our patients to make lifestyle changes to improve the health outcomes of their families for generations to come.
Common problems treated by Dr. Hansell:
- GI issues: IBS, IBD, reflux, constipation, bloating, diarrhea
- Sleep issues
- Brain fog/memory/cognitive issues
- Pain conditions (ie- back, neck, shoulder, generalized joint pain, etc)
- Thyroid issues
- Mental health: depression, anxiety, mood swings, irritability
- Hormonal issues: perimenopause mood changes, libido, hot flashes, cold intolerance
- Neuropathy symptoms
- Fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome
- Menstrual issues: PCOS, irregular cycles, heavy periods
- Inflammatory conditions: Diabetes, Hypertension, Hyperlipidemia, Cardiovascular Disease, Cancer, Neurologic Conditions, Autoimmune Disease
- Weight issues: inability to gain weight or lose weight
- Skin and hair issues: rashes, acne, hair loss
- Exercise optimization
Specialized functional testing offered:
- Blood testing: evaluating lipid particle size, kidney, liver, thyroid, glucose, insulin, vitamins, minerals, hormones, antibody titers, and inflammatory markers.
- Stool Analysis: culture, microscopy and PCR of the microbiome along with assessment of digestive enzyme function and GI inflammation markers.
- Mitochondrial Testing: evaluation of dysfunction along the Electron Transport Chain which facilitates energy production and ability to detoxify.
- Genomic Testing: we can upload your Ancestry or 23 and Me testing to correlate your symptoms and family history based on your genes.
- Hormonal Testing: including stress hormone (cortisol), DHEA, estrogen (including the bad estrogen 4-OH pathway that can lead to DNA mutations), testosterone, and progesterone.
- Organic Acid Testing: including neurotransmitter testing, amino acid testing, vitamin and nutrient status, oxidative stress and mitochondrial dysfunction.
- Mycotoxin Testing: assessment of urinary mycotoxins excreted if exposed to mold.