In this issue: Sleep Issues
by Dr. Reba Eagles, D.O.M.
Functional Medicine is a way of treating poor health that is much less concerned with what you call a set of symptoms and much more concerned with WHY you have them. It takes a deeper look at a patient, beyond just the symptom, to find out why it is there. It is essential to get to the underlying cause in order to understand why you are feeling the way you do. Once we understand the cause, the treatment is then designed to address that CAUSE and help provide total resolution rather than just giving you something to make the symptom(s) go away (most often temporarily).
The Center for Disease Control reported that 76% of all doctor visits in this country in 2018 resulted in a prescription medication. When all those patients went home and took the pharmaceuticals, did they heal? For the most part, prescription medication is designed to mask or suppress symptoms, and when you stop taking them, the symptoms return.
We have been taught to expect to experience more and more symptoms as we age because it is common to do so. Common has become synonymous with normal. While it is common to experience more symptoms as we age it is not normal. Normal is a person that is active and at choice with their activity level. Normal is the elders that live in their homes and care for themselves until their 90s and beyond. Symptoms at any age are an indication something in your body isn’t working and it is time to find what that is.
Most conditions patients complain of are chronic; pain, diabetes, fatigue, insomnia, and even depression are chronic conditions that require more investigation in order to correct and really change the course of a patient’s life.
Say, for example, a person has insomnia. There are lots of “natural” remedies to help a person sleep. If you ask Dr. Google about it, you will get over 76 million results, a descriptive box that says it cannot be cured and testing isn’t necessary. If you are lucky and stumble upon something that actually does help you sleep, what happens if you don’t take it? (NOTE: If you do suffer from insomnia PLEASE do not rely on Benadryl. It suppresses the neurotransmitter associated with memory and is now being associated with dementia.)
Testing really is necessary to determine WHY you cannot sleep. If, for example, you have had a great deal of stress in your life, your stress hormone, cortisol, may be overabundant in your body late in the day when levels are supposed to be low. Cortisol regulates daytime activity, therefore interrupting sleep. High blood sugar causes your body to be in a constant state of stress, making it difficult to relax and obtain restful sleep. Low blood sugar causes your body to signal you need to eat and makes it difficult to stay asleep. The COMT gene breaks down neurotransmitter levels in the brain that can prevent sleep. If there are mutations in this gene it may not work as well, and it will be difficult to relax and sleep.
Finding out which of these applies to you helps the practitioner prescribe the correct treatment right from the beginning. This eliminates the guesswork that often accompanies a symptom diagnosis.
At Original Medicine, our goal is to do the correct and complete testing to diagnose you holistically. Then our treatment is directed to the underlying cause. We also teach you how to make lifestyle changes, so you learn how to care for your healthy body going forward. If you are over having someone say, “here, try this” or, “Oh, that didn’t work? Here, try this”, then Functional medicine is probably right for you.