by Lisa Direnzo, DO

Functional Medicine is an approach to medicine that is a systems oriented, research based, individualized practice that engages both patient and physician in a therapeutic partnership. It addresses the underlying, root causes of chronic disease by looking at the impact of a patient’s genetics, environmental exposures, dietary deficits and toxins on the overall health of all the body’s systems. It takes into account lifestyle and stress factors as well.

86% of the cost of healthcare in this country is due to chronic illness. Over 50% of those patients have two or more chronic disease processes. That means that 86% of patients are being treated for their symptoms but are not actually reversing or preventing recurrence of their illness. The goal of functional medicine is to do just that….it is to find the underlying cause of a
condition and correct it. By addressing the root cause you not only can improve symptomatology but help prevent its recurrence.

Functional medicine looks at the body as a whole. It doesn’t just treat an isolated symptom with an isolated medication. It takes into account that one symptom or condition can be caused by a dysfunction in several bodily systems. For example: depression can have many causes. It can be due to nutritional deficiencies, leaky gut, hormonal imbalances, environmental toxins, adrenal dysfunction, or may even be medication induced.

We see a wide array of chronic illness. Typical patients have adrenal dysfunction, adrenal fatigue, chronic fatigue, exhaustion, autoimmune disease, hormonal imbalances, thyroid dysfunction, endometriosis, polycystic ovarian disease, irritable bowel disease, constipation or any combination of the above.

Functional medicine is not a substitute for your primary care physician or specialist. We work in conjunction with them to improve the course of a chronic condition. Very often the root of a chronic condition is an underlying inflammatory process brought about by poor diet, high stress levels, sedentary lifestyle, toxic overload and nutritional deficiencies. And unless those issues are corrected the protocol prescribed by your primary care physician or specialist will not work.

Our process requires taking an extensive history that includes childhood and family history, as well as current medical history, environmental exposure history and symptoms. Having the patient provide an adequate history and timeline is extremely important to detecting underlying causes. Functional medicine also requires time and willingness on the part of the patient to make the necessary dietary and lifestyle changes.

We will provide a protocol unique to each patient that will address the specific diet, supplements, exercise and stress relieving techniques they should employ. In doing so, we optimize each patients individual health. Our goal is to provide the body with the perfect balance of nutritional and lifestyle changes to improve every aspect of its function…from the immune system to cardiovascular system to the gastrointestinal system to the liver to the brain and so on. Every system is interdependent. Our approach is rooted in understanding the human body’s basic physiology.

Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy relies on that same basic physiologic understanding. For years non-bioidentical hormone replacement involved using hormones derived from animals, or that did not function in the same physiologic manner as our own inherent hormones do, or they were administered in doses or cycles foreign to what the body is used to.

We use Bioidentical Hormones…identical to the hormones circulating in your body . They are derived from plant based sources, so they do not carry the same degree of allergic concerns as the nonidentical hormones. These hormones are administered in physiologic doses and perform as your own hormones do.

The dosing is based on the individual’s symptoms and their individual lab work. A detailed history is taken prior to any hormone replacement.

Bioidentical hormones can be administered topically, orally and via pellets. The advantage to pellets is that they are administered once every 5-6 months. The patient does not need to deal with daily dosing or risk transference of the medication to family or pets that can occur with topical applications.

Bioidentical hormone replacement is for both men and women. Menopause is a well known diagnosis for women. Men, similarly, experience a decline in their testosterone. Interestingly the symptoms are very similar for both men and women. Symptoms include but are not limited to: fatigue, weight gain, decrease libido, mood changes, sleep disturbance/insomnia, anxiety,
decrease muscle mass.

Both men and women will most likely spend one third of their lives in this aging hormonal imbalance. The quality of life in this stage of our lives can be dramatically improved with the addition of bioidentical hormone replacement. Not to mention the health benefits of improving cardiovascular and cognitive function overall for years to come.

Learn more about Pure Wellness Functional Medicine’s services here.

Life is about balance. We strive to balance your health and your hormones.