Chronic ailments in men can range from something mild like high blood pressure to something requiring more maintenance, such as diabetes or COPD. As a result, groundbreaking and popular opinions are beginning to turn away from traditional western medicine for help, which is only used to treat symptoms instead of the illness itself.
Functional or integrative medicine combines traditional medicine with alternative medicines and therapies. It dives deeper into the root cause of illness and provides ongoing care to address patient needs. By evaluating a man’s chronic ailment based on choices within his lifestyle and habits, a functional medicine doctor can more appropriately determine what changes need to be made to treat the condition.
Since men are affected more by chronic ailments than women, functional medicine is an effective treatment for fixing their issues, sometimes even eliminating them entirely. Below you will learn more about functional medicine and its role in helping treat chronic illnesses in men.
Why Functional Medicine is Different
Functional medicine’s primary focus is treating the patient as a whole instead of lumping them into a category based on symptoms. The model for holistic medicine aims to develop a relationship between a patient and doctor, so it’s different than just going in for a regular exam or routine check-up.
When a doctor can thoroughly listen to patients and learn about their lifestyle, they can more accurately assess and determine the root of a particular chronic ailment. The functional doctor can then tailor and create therapeutic strategies, exercises, and other treatments.
Factors that Drive Chronic Conditions in Men
Multiple chronic conditions stem from the same contributors that drive them. With men, there are specific behaviors that create risk for these chronic ailments, which include:
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Poor diet
- Hormone imbalance
- Digestive issues
- Stress or anxiety
- Autoimmune disorders
- Blood sugar imbalance
Functional medicine leverages these factors with unique therapies to support managing these conditions. The changes can often result in complete reversal or elimination of the condition altogether.
Managing Chronic Illness with Functional Medicine
Chronic conditions continue to rise for men, and integrative medicine is key in treating and slowing the progress. If you suffer from one of the above problems or know that you need to work on your behaviors, you should strongly consider working with a functional medicine doctor.
For example, if a man suffers from weight gain, acid reflux, and insomnia, the approach to treatment is different than with traditional medicine. A doctor would prescribe acid blockers and a sleep aid and advise the man to get more exercise or eat more healthy foods.
With a functional medicine doctor, they will try to dive deeper into why that these symptoms are happening and what is the cause of them. For example, there could be an autoimmune thyroid which is responsible for fatigue, alteration of acid production in the stomach, and affecting the man’s metabolism.
According to the functional medicine clinic, Rahav Wellness in NYC, the reality of autoimmune and other chronic illnesses is that most of the time, the focus on a patient’s lifestyle and diet are the most important pieces to treating and overcoming them. In addition, functional medicine works with holistic treatments, including acupressure, acupuncture, or massage therapy, to help balance the body’s energies.
Chronic Ailments and Lifestyle Habits
Across the United States, deaths are attributed to specific occurrences of diet and lifestyle each year. For men, there are three significant contributors to the development of preventable chronic illnesses: type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and autoimmune conditions. Many of them result in obesity and even cancer.
Understanding the importance of changes within your lifestyle that can contribute to your overall health is vital to reverse the effects of these ailments. Functional medicine works to help you understand, begin, and maintain these changes within your lifestyle that will significantly improve the outcomes if you are at risk or even diagnosed with these chronic conditions.
Relieving Symptoms vs. Treating Symptoms
Traditional medicine’s goal is only to relieve the symptoms caused by a chronic ailment. For example, joint pain due to a chronic issue or autoimmune problems will continue as soon as your medication wears off. Functional medicine works to treat the problem by examining your daily habits and making changes for an improved and practical improvement.
The prevalence of chronic illness in men is still increasing, and the costs to treat those chronic conditions are becoming more expensive. Navigating chronic disease can be challenging, but integrative medicine is vital to help provide you tools necessary to improve your body’s systems.
Functional medicine is science-based, the same as conventional medicine, and will acknowledge the impact of your lifestyle on the prevention and management of the chronic disease. With the proper management and habits, functional medicine supports men’s central health systems to create well-being and manage these chronic ailments.