Medical Providers To Help You Gain Weight In Denver Colorado Got Diabetes or Thyroid Problems? Why Functional Endocrinology May Help

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Got Diabetes or Thyroid Problems? Why Functional Endocrinology May Help

With rates of type 2 diabetes and thyroid problems skyrocketing, many Americans are seeking out health care practitioners who specialize in treating disorders of the endocrine system. Your endocrine system, which includes glands such as your thyroid, adrenals, pituitary gland, and others, produces hormones that affect growth, metabolism, reproduction, and sexual development.

Diabetes and thyroid disorders are two of the most common diseases of the endocrine system. The former, diabetes, occurs when your pancreas does not produce enough insulin, or your body is unable to effectively use the insulin that is produced, leading to problems converting blood sugar into energy properly. The latter, thyroid diseases, can include hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid), hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) and others, and can affect various body processes leading to weight gain, fatigue, emotional problems, problems tolerating cold temperatures and more.

When diagnosed, many with these conditions are referred to an endocrinologist, but you should be aware that a functional endocrinologist is also an option – and can offer you a holistic approach to treatment that you have not yet considered.

Allopathic endocrinology vs. Functional endocrinology

Primary care physicians often refer patients to an endocrinologist if they have a problem with their endocrine system. As The Endocrine Society states, “Endocrinologists are trained to diagnose and treat hormone imbalances and problems by helping to restore the normal balance of hormones in your system.” [1]

However, most endocrinologists are allopathic doctors, who are trained to recognize signs and symptoms of disease. They then typically prescribe medication or surgery to treat those disease symptoms. There are two very important problems with this medical model:

  • It typically does not treat the underlying cause of the symptoms.
  • It often does not help people prevent disease, only treats symptoms after disease is already present.

The practice of functional endocrinology, on the other hand, can help people stay disease-free by recognizing early warning signs and addressing the cause of the disease with the help of lifestyle changes. For example, while your lab tests may appear normal according to an allopathic physician, there are always “optimal” ranges within the normal range. If your results are at the far end of “normal,” it’s often a sign that your body is out of balance and could be on the way to a disease state.

A doctor skilled in functional endocrinology will recognize this and help you make lifestyle changes to bring your system back into balance, with the ultimate goal of disease prevention. prevention rather than treatment.

So what exactly is functional endocrinology?

Take a minute and imagine your overall health as an iceberg. The symptoms or diseases that you feel at the moment? These form the tip of the iceberg. Hovering under the water, and making the giant base of the iceberg, are the underlying causes of those symptoms or diseases, things like chemical exposures, negative emotions, hormonal imbalance, and much more.

Conventional endocrinologists may only address the tip of the iceberg. Functional endocrinologists handle the rest.

To put it simply, Functional Endocrinology is a specialized branch of functional medicine, which is a broad term used to describe this proactive, patient-centered wellness care system. As the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) states: [2]

“Functional medicine is personalized medicine that deals with primary prevention and underlying causes rather than symptoms for serious chronic disease.”

This system of wellness care works on the principle that each person is an individual, therefore “one-size-fits-all” treatments such as synthetic hormones and drugs often may not be appropriate. It also recognizes the science that shows that how well the human body functions is equal to the sum of all its parts. In other words, your endocrine system does not operate in a bubble; it is influenced by, and exerts its own influence on, all the other systems in your body. Your level of health is determined by the entirety of your body’s interconnected systems, rather than by one individual system operating autonomously.

Therefore, a healthcare provider who addresses on my own your endocrine system, as some conventional endocrinologists can do, ignores the rest of the network in which this system functions, and will therefore have a difficult time helping your body to restore well-being and balance at its fundamental levels.

For example, a conventional endocrinologist would probably use thyroid hormones to solve an underactive thyroid, which is only addressing the manifestation (not enough thyroid hormones) of the real underlying disorder or imbalance. But while the synthetic hormones may fix the problem, they will do nothing to address the root cause of the lack of hormones being produced.

This is where functional endocrinology comes in. A practicing doctor functional endocrinology will ask why function has been lost in your thyroid gland, and determine what can be done to restore function. This is not a Band-Aid or patch-job as prescribing synthetic hormones essentially is. Rather, this system seeks to discover the underlying imbalances that are causing your disease state, whether thyroid-related, diabetes or otherwise, and then address them with diet, exercise, nutrients and other natural, restorative modalities, while also removing habits or habitual substances. (such as toxic chemical exposures, etc.) that hinder your healing.

A focus on illness Prevention

One of the aspects that makes functional endocrinology so beneficial is that it helps to identify the subtle warning signs that your body often has underlying systemic imbalances. in front of disease strikes. This allows you to make changes now and prevent yourself from getting sick in the first place.

But even if you already have a condition such as diabetes or hypothyroidism, functional endocrinology will help you discover and address the unique cause of your condition so you can recover naturally and completely. This is what patient-centered, individualized wellness care like functional endocrinology is all about.

As Sir William Osler, one of the founding professors at Johns Hopkins Hospital, who is often referred to as the “father of medicine” and a “pioneer of functional medicine,” said: [3]

“The good doctor treats the disease; the great doctor treats the patient who has the disease.”

References

1. The Endocrine Society, “What is an endocrinologist?”

2. The Institute for Functional Medicine, “What is Functional Medicine?”

3. MedGenMed. 2007; 9(1): 59.

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