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What is a Functional Medicine Doctor?

Every single day, millions of people around the world seek the help of a medical professional in detecting, diagnosing, and treating the many health issues that threaten an individual’s quality of life. These medical professionals play an enormous role in preserving that individual’s health.

While many people will find relief from their health issues after going to their family or primary doctor, other people might not receive the diagnosis or treatment they need. Traditional medicine helps millions of people every day, but it’s not perfect and isn’t going to help every patient.

Don’t worry, this isn’t the end of the road for those patients. Alternative medicine practices have started to redefine how patients are treated and it’s revolutionizing the healthcare industry in a positive way. In fact, some people call these methods the future of the healthcare industry.

Read more: Functional medicine explained by Dr. Hagmeyer

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So, what is a functional medicine doctor?

A functional medicine doctor is a customized, tailored, patient-centered, science-based approach to healthcare. It’s a form of alternative medicine and utilizes a holistic approach to treating patients. The doctor takes into account each individual’s unique health needs.

Where primary doctors generally treat symptoms, functional medicine doctors treat the root, underlying cause of the disease by analyzing and monitoring the patient’s genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors. With a more detailed and focused approach, patients can find relief.

By getting a full picture of your family medical history, your personal medical history, hormonal changes, diet and exercise routines, medications, and much more, your functional medicine doctor can start to formulate a treatment plan that helps heal the patient, not just the symptoms.

Read more: What makes a great functional medicine doctor?

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What Education Does a Functional Medicine Doctor Have?

Contrary to popular belief, functional medicine doctors are real doctors that receive traditional medical school training. What makes them a functional medicine doctor is how they treat patients and their overall approach, not so much the certifications and licenses that they obtain.

With that said, most functional medicine doctors obtain certifications from trusted and respected organizations, such as The Institute for Functional Medicine. While these certifications do help build credibility within the functional medicine space, it doesn’t improve their legal status.

Functional medicine doctors take their practice seriously and often have the same end goal as a primary doctor – to treat their patients in the safest and most effective way. The two might disagree on how to treat the patient, but the patient’s health will always be the No. 1 priority.

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What Is the GOTOIT Framework in Functional Medicine?

The GOTOIT framework is a unique tool that, while not adopted by all functional medicine doctors, does give outsiders a broad idea of the functional medicine approach. It’s often used as a teaching tool to help functional medicine doctors find and treat the underlying causes of disease.

‘GOTOIT’ is an acronym that stands for Gather, Organize, Tell, Order, Initiate, and Track. It’s a process that helps the doctor establish a relationship with the patient, identify problem areas and triggers, detect the root cause of the problem, create a treatment plan, and monitor it long-term.

Let’s take a closer look at each step in the GOTOIT framework:

  • Gather – the doctor gathers information about the patient through exams, medical history, forms, questionnaires, and consultation.
  • Organize – the doctor organizes all the information, including their symptoms, signs, a timeline, and case history.
  • Tell – the doctor retells the patient’s story back to the patient to ensure accuracy and full understanding of the problem at hand.
  • Order – the doctor takes into account the patient’s mental, emotional, and spiritual health in prioritizing the next steps in the process.
  • Initiate – based on the doctor’s observations, further examination and testing is done to zero in on the root cause of the problem.
  • Track – the doctor tracks and monitors the patient’s progress throughout the process and tweaks the treatment plan accordingly.

As you can see, a functional medicine doctor takes a detailed, thorough, and comprehensive look at the individual as a whole. They aren’t only concerned with relieving the patient of symptoms, but also preventing those symptoms and issues from reoccurring in the future.

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What Can a Functional Medicine Doctor Do for You?

Functional medicine practitioners aren’t always a patient’s first option when seeking help for a health problem, but that doesn’t mean you can’t trust them with your health issues. In fact, they often specialize in chronic diseases that conventional doctors have a hard time diagnosing or treating.

Some of the conditions that functional medicine physicians specialize in include ADD, ADHD, arthritis, joint pain, Alzheimers, autoimmune disease, CFS, Crohn’s disease, depression, anxiety, diabetes, fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s disease, IBS, SIBO, and weight management.

A functional medicine doctor will work side-by-side, one-on-one with you to discuss your symptoms, your lifestyle, and your history to better determine a treatment plan suited to your individual health needs. It’ll be unlike any other doctor visit you’ve ever had – it’ll be better!

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When Should You Seek Help From a Functional Medicine Doctor?

You should schedule an appointment with a functional medicine doctor if you start to experience symptoms that deplete your quality of life. It’s becoming an increasingly popular option for those that aren’t seeing the results they were hoping for from their traditional primary or family doctor.

With that said, you don’t need to be suffering from a condition to visit with a functional medicine doctor. Much like any other doctor, functional medicine doctors want to prevent disease just as much as they want to treat it. Of course, that requires regular visits to properly monitor health.

Contact Dr. Hagmeyer to Learn More Today!

If you’re interested in learning more about how functional medicine can help you or would like to schedule a free 15-minute consultation with a functional medicine doctor, contact Dr. Hagmeyer today. He specializes in functional medicine and has helped a variety of patients find relief.

Whether you’ve already been diagnosed with a condition, believe you might be suffering from a condition, or simply want to prevent disease as you grow older, Dr. Hagmeyer is dedicated to giving you the attention you need. Together, we’ll help you look, feel, and act your absolute best.

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