At a typical appointment with a family physician, the doctor evaluates the patient’s symptoms, performs an exam, delivers the diagnosis, and prescribes medications. This approach serves a purpose, but it’s limited because it only treats the symptoms. Functional medicine is different because it treats the whole person. A provider such as Dr. Briones, who serves Mt. Kisco and the surrounding Westchester County, can apply the functional medicine approach to weight loss, adrenal fatigue, depressive disorders, and cardiovascular disease.
Adrenal fatigue, also known as adrenal insufficiency, is an imbalance of hormones. Your adrenal glands are located on top of your kidneys. They produce hormones like cortisol, which regulates metabolism, and adrenaline, which regulates stress responses. Adrenal fatigue occurs when the adrenal glands decrease their production of hormones. The result can be a group of vague, frustrating symptoms like fatigue, sleep disturbances, body aches, nervousness, and digestive problems.
Cardiovascular disease is another health problem that is treatable by functional medicine practitioners. Cardiovascular disease isn’t actually one specific disease. Rather, it’s a group of conditions that affect the vascular system and/or the heart. Cardiovascular diseases include heart arrhythmias, which are abnormal heart rhythms and rates, and heart failure, which occurs when the heart can’t pump enough blood. Patients with cardiovascular diseases often benefit from a combined approach to treatment, including dietary modifications, exercise, and stress management.
Depressive disorders primarily involve the mind, but mind and body are inextricably interlinked. A person’s overall health can significantly influence the development and the treatment of depressive symptoms. Functional medicine doctors know that dietary factors in particular are associated with depression. A diet high in refined carbohydrates causes frequent energy crashes and low moods. Too much caffeine causes anxiety and poor sleep. Excessive alcohol consumption can cause panic attacks, clinical depression, and anxiety. Food even influences gut health, which influences brain health. This is because the microorganisms in the gastrointestinal system produce neurochemicals that influence neurologic functions like mood. Functional medicine doctors take all of these factors into account when designing an effective and holistic treatment plan. By treating the whole person instead of the symptoms, the doctor can help the patient enjoy better quality of life.