Our fields of action
The so-called “defective” cases define a situation in which the consultant feels bad, experiences pain and presents symptoms that do not, however, allow a diagnosis to be made. Usually the tests and biological assessments come back negative, so no disease name can be put on the feeling of the person. The consultation in functional medicine will make it possible to understand the dysfunctions that generate this suffering and to shed light on these situations.
Discomfort, pain is a symptom regularly experienced by consultants without being able to explain its cause and origin. This phenomenon is more and more classic but unfortunately still very poorly handled by conventional medicine.
For many people fatigue is hardly considered as a symptom but it can become chronic and be the demonstration of a real underlying health problem for which it is sometimes difficult to understand the cause.
These situations are widely encountered in functional medicine. They concern people who have one or more well-identified diseases. Usually the consultant has multiple symptoms and accumulates allopathic treatments. Drugs are taken in the long term and it becomes difficult to determine whether the clinical manifestations are due to known diseases or to the deleterious effects induced by the therapy. The consultation in functional medicine will make it possible to prioritize the dysfunctions and to propose corrections which will allow the consultant to feel better and to limit the damage of a heavy therapeutics.
Our ability to digest well and our assimilation system can be easily disrupted by a large number of factors. Taking medication can cause these problems. It is therefore useful to consult an expert in functional medicine to limit the side effects of sometimes heavy treatment.
The skin is our largest organ which is often the marker of our body’s problems. Many chronic manifestations may appear as a result of treatment or side effects. A functional medicine consultation can help limit or avoid its effects and skin symptoms, which can sometimes be extremely uncomfortable or even painful.
These are long-term, progressive diseases for which there are generally well-targeted treatments, but which require long-term treatment and often induce deleterious side effects that add to the initial, often irreversible, problem. Functional medicine takes all its meaning in these particular cases because it makes it possible to stimulate or appease the consultant behind these illnesses and to accompany him/her towards well-being, even in the chronicity of a pathology.
Some examples of autoimmune, chronic and inflammatory diseases:
Multiple sclerosis is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease of the nervous system.
It affects only the central nervous system, which includes the brain in the skull (brain, cerebellum, brain stem and medulla oblongata) and the spinal cord in the spinal canal formed by the spinal column.
It manifests itself through motor, sensory, balance, visual and other disorders that can be responsible for long-term disability.
Multiple sclerosis usually progresses through a variable number of relapses from one person to another. Sometimes it changes continuously.
Diabetes is a chronic disease characterized by an excess of sugar in the blood called hyperglycemia. It is proven if the fasting blood glucose level is equal to or greater than 1.26 g/l or 7 mmol/l of blood in two successive determinations.
The role of insulin
Insulin, manufactured by the pancreas, is permanently present in the blood. Its role is to maintain glycemia around 1 g/l when sugar intake is high: insulin is a hypoglycemic hormone. When the sugar level rises, for example after a meal, the pancreas produces more insulin to bring the blood sugar level back to normal.
Insulin allows the body’s cells to take the sugar that circulates in the blood as they need it (e.g. muscle cells during exercise) and use it to turn it into energy. If necessary, it allows the storage of unused sugar in the liver or fat cells.
If there is not enough insulin or if it is ineffective, sugar builds up in the blood and blood glucose levels rise excessively: this is called hyperglycemia. If left untreated, this hyperglycemia remains too high: it is chronic hyperglycemia that defines diabetes.
There are 2 main types of diabetes:
- Type 1 diabetes, due to a lack of insulin secretion by the pancreas;
- Type 2 diabetes, which is caused by the body’s cells misusing insulin. Its development is very gradual, insidious over many years.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory joint disease that affects several joints. It is manifested by flare-ups of variable duration and periods of lull.
It is an autoimmune disease characterized by the production of autoantibodies directed against the synovial membrane of joints.
Without treatment, the disease gradually affects new joints and causes progressive deformity or destruction of the affected joints (often those of the hands and feet). In some rarer forms of the disease, extra-articular manifestations appear, affecting other organs.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when the thyroid gland produces too many hormones. Excess thyroid hormones lead to dysfunction of the organs sensitive to these hormones. All the manifestations due to these dysfunctions are grouped under the term thyrotoxicosis.
Hyperthyroidism is 5 to 10 times more common in women than in men. It affects between 5 and 20 people out of 1,000 depending on the country.
The three most common causes of hyperthyroidism are:
- Basedow’s disease:
It is an autoimmune disease characterized by the presence of thyrotoxicosis, goiter, abnormal protrusion of the eyes (called exophthalmos) and possibly swelling in the front of the leg. Specific autoantibodies are present in the blood. It affects 2% of women and 0.4% of men in Europe, with a peak in frequency between the ages of 20 and 40. It is the leading cause of hyperthyroidism in young women. It can be associated with other autoimmune diseases;
- multi-nodular toxic goiter:
goiter with several nodules secreting thyroid hormones;
- the toxic adenoma:
presence of a single thyroid nodule but secreting thyroid hormones.
Toxic multinodular goitre and toxic adenoma are the leading cause of hyperthroidism in people over 60 years of age. And they affect women 80-90% of the time.
Ankylosing spondylitis, also known as ankylosing spondyloarthritis, is a chronic inflammatory joint disease characterized by damage to the axial skeleton (spine and sacroiliac joints of the pelvis).
It manifests itself in painful attacks (known as “flare-ups”), alternating with periods of calm (known as “remission”).
After many years, this condition can develop into a stiffening of the affected areas (ankylosis). Thanks to early patient care, this development has become rare today.
Spondyloarthritis is a large group of inflammatory rheumatic conditions. Their symptoms can be similar, affecting not only the spine but also the joints of the limbs. It is sometimes difficult to differentiate between them.
In addition to ankylosing spondylitis (50% of cases), these spondyloarthritis :
- rheumatism related to chronic inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) (Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis);
- psoriasis-related rheumatism;
- reactive arthritis:
- in periodic illness: a hereditary disease characterized by bouts of fever, joint pain and abdominal pain for 2 to 3 days,
- in the Fiessinger-Leroy-Reiter syndrome, which associates joint inflammation with urological, ocular and digestive damage,
- in certain Yersinia (bacterium) digestive infections.
Crohn’s disease (CD) is a chronic inflammation that can affect the walls of the entire digestive tract, from the mouth to the anus. Crohn’s disease most often affects the colon (or “large intestine”) and the terminal part of the small intestine that connects the stomach to the colon.
Together with haemorrhagic rectocolitis, this pathology is one of the diseases known as IBD: chronic inflammatory bowel diseases.
Crohn’s disease is a condition characterized by alternating phases of activity (or “flare-ups”) of varying intensity and phases without symptoms known as remission.
Crohn’s disease can come with it:
- rheumatoid arthritis affecting the joints of the limbs (ankles, knees, wrists…) or the spine (ankylosing spondylitis);
- skin lesions: mouth ulcers, erythema nodosum (walnut-sized, hard, red and painful blisters on the legs and forearms);
- of eye damage: uveitis;
- of biliary tract damage…
Diseases of civilization
These diseases are the consequences of the degradation of our environment and our lifestyles, which are often subject to stress, sedentary lifestyles and poor food hygiene. Under this term are grouped many illnesses such as chronic fatigue, burnout, depression, overweight, degenerative and cardiovascular diseases, which are becoming more and more common, even in younger and younger subjects. Functional medicine is of major interest in the apprehension of these diseases because it makes it possible to enlighten the consultant on the regulations of his organism apart from a particular diagnosis and to be able to limit the aggravating factors by acting as soon as possible.
Some examples of diseases of civilization:
Weight problems today affect all countries and all generations. Obesity is considered to be the scourge of the 21st century because it is a widespread “disease” and the cause of many related health problems.
Despite the many solutions proposed by the medical world and by magazines and websites, nothing seems to stop this epidemic.
A global support, a research of the deep and real causes is often an effective support to help the consultants concretely and durably.
Heart rhythm disorders or arrhythmias are defined by an abnormal heart rate. They do not necessarily represent serious situations, but they should be monitored regularly. Functional medicine can help to limit risk by identifying the problems underlying these risk disorders. This health problem requires a long-term commitment to a healthy lifestyle.
It is known that beyond being incurable, the common feature of genetic diseases is that a number of dysfunctions develop in addition to the disease. Functional medicine will not act on the cause of the problem but on its consequences by making it possible to limit an overload of allopathic treatments which would aggravate the case.
Some examples of genetic diseases:
Sickle cell disease is an inherited genetic disease (autosomal recessive transmission). The disease is transmitted by both parents, it is of course not contagious. To be sick, a child must receive from each parent a mutated allele of the gene that regulates the structure of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in the blood. If he receives only one, he will not develop the disease, but he can transmit it if he has a child with someone in the same situation as him. Two “healthy carriers” then have a one in four chance of having a sick child together.
It is a disease of the blood, especially the haemoglobin. Red blood cells are deformed, have difficulty circulatingin the blood and can sometimes become blocked in the blood vessels.
Neurofibromatosis type 1 (NF1) is also called Von Recklinghausen’s Disease. It is a hereditary anomaly (i.e. transmissible to descendants). It can be transmitted by the father or by the mother (transmission in the autosomal dominant mode). This anomaly can also occur sporadically, i.e. in a child whose parents are not affected (this is known as a de novo mutation). The risk of transmitting this abnormality to your child is 1 in 2.
The gene for neurofibromatosis is located on chromosome 17. It regulates an order transmission channel in the cell: it is a brake on the RAS/RAF/MEK channel. It’s mutated in subjects with NF1, so it malfunctions. So the malfunctioning of this brake is responsible for a poorly controlled proliferation of the cell.
NF1 predisposes patients to the development of tumours that are most often benign.
Cystic fibrosis: a genetic disease that does not only affect the lungs.
Cystic fibrosis is an inherited genetic disease characterized by the thickening of secretions from several organs, mainly the lungs and pancreas, which impairs their function.
It is most often diagnosed in childhood, at birth, in the first few months of life or before the age of 6 years. However, there are later forms of revelation.
The main organs affected are :
- The lungs: Cystic fibrosis causes a thickening of the mucous secretions that cover the bronchial tubes and an obstruction of the small bronchial tubes. It also promotes the occurrence of repeated superinfections.
- The pancreas: Pancreatic juices are no longer sufficiently secreted, leading to poor fat absorption and nutritional disorders. In this sense, cystic fibrosis is also called cystic fibrosis of the pancreas.
- Sweat glands: increased concentration of chloride ion in sweat.
- Sex glands in men: obstruction of the vas deferens (preventing the movement of sperm produced by the testicles).
Other damage may occur during the course of the disease, particularly to the liver and bile ducts.
Cystic fibrosis is a rare chronic disease, the severity of which varies from person to person. It gradually evolves with episodes of aggravation.
Hemochromatosis (also known as genetic hemochromatosis or hereditary hemochromatosis) is a genetic and hereditary disease responsible for excessive absorption of iron from the intestine and its accumulation in the body.
Hemochromatosis is a genetic disease linked to a mutation in one or more genes. These mutations are found in different regions of the world and each corresponds to a more or less severe expression of the disease.
Hereditary hemochromatosis HFE (also known as type I hemochromatosis) is the most common form of the disease. It is linked to a mutation in the HFE gene located on chromosome 6.
Preventive health care
Functional medicine consists of limiting the factors predisposing to ageing and the onset of various pathologies, using the body’s capacity for self-repair. Diseases often develop at low noise levels, over several years, on weakened ground, before being expressed in an individual.
It is therefore very important to preserve one’s health capital and to correct the imbalances of the organization with recommendations adapted to the consultant.
Functional medicine is above all a preventive medicine that is aimed at everyone from a very young age.
With age it is not uncommon to encounter health “problems” that do not prevent us from living our daily lives, but which are a sign of a step-by-step deterioration of our organism. It is then important to take care of these signs to correct their origins and make sure you grow old in good health.
Beyond the stress that is known to interfere with sleep, these difficulties can also be a sign of other changes and deterioration of our body. It is therefore interesting to understand its origin.