The Patient Experience
The Functional Medicine experience at
Bay Area Functional Medicine (BAFM)
Your body is a truly awesome machine. It functions with little need for attention through many decades of life. But occasionally this normal function hits a roadblock along the way that the self-management systems can’t get around.
This creates a chronic health condition (a dysfunction that does not improve on its own).
Bear in mind that for many attacks and insults, the body’s capacity to repair itself are still intact and the body is able to maintain function. But repeated insults coupled with poor dietary and lifestyle habits can overwhelm the body’s restorative capacity, leaving it without the resources to heal itself.
At SJFM we dig down into your health history to understand where the breakdown in body function may have set in. We use specialized laboratory testing to identify and confirm what body systems are in distress. And then we work with you to restore normal function and full health.
Think of functional medicine doctors as medical detectives.
We sift through all the health clues and information (symptoms, signs and lab markers) and track down the real culprit (which typically leaves a trail of imbalances) that are dragging down your health. To do this takes time and patience, as well as a commitment to follow through with this journey back to health.
So how do we start this process?
Before your first visit
To allow us to develop a picture of your health issues, we ask you to complete some questionnaires and an online medical profile before your first visit.
The questions are grouped in such a way that, based on the pattern of your responses, we are able to pick up on where things may be going wrong which may require additional evaluation.
This preparation on your part will save both of us time and help us quickly and efficiently identify and prioritize the most likely health issues that need further investigation.
Your first visit – The Initial Encounter
Armed with a completed set of questionnaires we are then ready to dig deeper into your health history and start on the exploration to discover the root causes of your chronic health condition.
This will take some time as we put together a health history and possibly timeline of events for you.
We may also map out your problem areas on a Functional Medicine Matrix, which allows us to group your health imbalances by organ system and function in order to see the big picture in a meaningful way.
From this analysis we suggest a range of testing to corroborate our initial suspicions as to where your body is out of normal ‘function’.
The purpose of these lab tests will be explained to you prior to testing. This may include testing previously done through your PCP, but will probably include other blood, saliva, urine, and stool testing outside your usual experience.
This will give us a scientific foundation to:
- Develop the initial program of diet, lifestyle and nutritional changes to address results that are out of range.
- Give us a reference point to monitor progress as our journey back to health together progresses.
The Journey back to Health – Together
And then the journey has started!
Your Initial Evaluation gives a baseline as a reference for the management of your chronic health condition, as we guide you back to a healthy body function.
Follow up visits will allow us to review progress and make adjustments to the program as necessary and follow-up lab tests will show how well we are correcting out-of-range parameters.
If you have been suffering from a chronic health condition for a long time, this will most likely not be a simple, quick fix. It will take time, but the positive changes will encourage you to stay with the program to reach the end of the journey and attain your health goals.