What is Functional Medicine and how is it different from Conventional Medicine?
Functional Medicine is a highly individualized approach to medicine that focuses on identifying the underlying causes of illness, rather than simply treating a list of symptoms. Whereas conventional medicine focuses on treating the symptoms of a disease, Functional Medicine focuses on treating the person who has a disease, taking into account that we are all genetically and biochemically very different. Just because two people have the same problem, does not mean that problem stems from the same place.
So, instead of asking the question “What drug matches up with this illness?” Functional Medicine asks the critical questions that few conventional doctors ask:
- “Why do you have this problem in the first place?”
- “Why has a loss of function occurred?”
- “What steps can we take to restore function?”
Functional Medicine digs deeper, to discover hidden deficiencies and imbalances that are causing chronic health problems. When the root cause of an illness is uncovered, it reveals why a set of symptoms is there to begin with!
Functional Medicine is not a total abandonment of traditional Western medical practices, but uses conventional treatments and prescription medication only when necessary, and as part of a larger treatment plan. Alternative medicine is the primary focus, which emphasizes diet, nutritional supplements, detoxification programs, and stress management techniques.
What conditions does Functional Medicine treat?
Any health condition can greatly benefit from this holistic whole-body approach, particularly one’s that are more complicated; conditions in which there is not one definitive cause or treatment.
Here is an abbreviated list of the health problems Dr. Estes treats:
- Autoimmune Diseases
- Chronic Fatigue and Fatigue of Unknown Origin
- Chronic Pain
- Depression & Anxiety
- Digestive Disorders (IBD, IBS, GERD/Reflux, SIBO, Colitis, Crohns’)
- Eczema, Psoriasis, Atopic Dermatitis
- Environmental & Food Allergies
- Lyme Disease
- Mast Cell Activation Syndrome
- POTS (Postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome)
- Hormone Imbalances
- Mercury & Heavy Metal Toxicity
- Mold Toxicity
- Osteoporosis, Osteopenia
- Thyroid Imbalances
- Weight Management
- Lyme + Other Tick-Borne Infections
- Cognitive Impairment
- Male and Female fertility enhancement
- Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) and Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
- Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome
- Side effects of cancer treatments including chemotherapy and radiation
- Scar tissue treatment
- Erectile dysfunction
- Low libido
- Chronic parasites and recurrent infections
- Low testosterone
- Adrenal Fatigue and Low cortisol
- Low DHEA
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
- Perimenopause and Menopause
- Chronic Viral Recurrence including HSV, HPV, HHV6, Epstein Barr
- Virus and Shingles
- Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome
What to Expect
Initial Functional Medicine consults take approximately 90 minutes, during which time Dr. Estes will thoroughly examine your complete story. This will entail a detailed review of your current symptoms, any medicine and supplements you are taking, recent lab work, and any other diagnostic testing you may have had. Dr. Estes will examine not only you, but also your unique medical history, family history, environment, and lifestyle. The abundance of material that will be exchanged during this consult will provide Dr. Estes with the necessary information to order labs, suggest diagnostic testing, recommend dietary changes and/or nutritional supplements, and create a thorough assessment and plan of action. Some patients find that just by making a few simple changes, they can achieve significant shifts in their health. Other times the story is more complex, and requires more advanced testing to get a deeper look at the whole picture.
Diagnostic testing may include:
- Food Allergy/Sensitivity Testing
- Gluten Sensitivity Testing
- Heavy Metal Testing
- Mold Toxicity Testing
- Genetic Testing
- Gastrointestinal Microbiome Testing
- SIBO Testing
- Testing for Vitamin/Mineral/Amino Acid Deficiencies
- Comprehensive Hormonal Evaluation
- Lyme Disease Testing
Dr. Estes is the doctor people come to when no one else can figure out what is wrong with them, or why poor health is persisting. He devotes his undivided time and attention to put together all the pieces of the puzzle, and to truly get to the bottom of what is going on. The Miami Beach Comprehensive Wellness Center provides each patient with healthcare that is as unique as you are, and treatment plans that are tailor made based on the results of testing and the underlying causes of your illness. Together, Dr. Estes and Dr. Rowe have helped countless patients achieve relief from treatment resistant chronic health problems, and regain their health and vitality.