In order to understand the definition of "Functional Endocrinology" we must first define the term endocrinology.
The definition of endocrinology is the branch of medicine dealing with the endocrine glands and their hormones. What is the distinction between general endocrinology and functional endocrinology. General clinical endocrinology bases its therapy on identifying organs that are deficient or nonfunctioning and uses some type of a pharmaceutical agent or hormone to replace, suppress, or support the dysfunctional endocrine system. General clinical endocrinology seems appropriate for certain genetic disorders and disease patterns that seriously alter hormone production or function.
On the other hand, functional endocrinology identifies alterations in the endocrine systems that are not in a disease state at the point of diagnosis. Many of these alterations if not treated at the early signs of dysfunction may lead to pathology down the road. Functional endocrine disorders are typically ignored in the outdated disease-based Allopathic model.
People that suffer from functional endocrine disorders are not diagnosed with disease and therefore are left untreated in the standard medical care model until manifestations of disease become present. These patients typically suffer from wide ranges of symptoms from fatigue to serious cases of depression. It is almost as if people are being to told to go home and wait for their condition to get worse before anything can be done. Functional endocrine disorders also increase risk for many disorders if not treated. In the traditional healthcare model, patients that present with elevated blood pressure or cholesterol will be placed on pharmaceutical agents to alter the secondary changes that may take place from insulin resistance.
In the functional endocrine model, factors that change metabolism altering physiological response will be evaluated first. An example of this is managing the primary concern of insulin resistance and looking for concomitant improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol values. In order to practice functional endocrinology, the clinician must understand the depth of human physiology and metabolism. Memorizing signs and symptoms of a disease state and supplying the magic agent to manage the condition is pharmaceutical endocrinology, not functional endocrinology. Functional endocrinology involves understanding and supporting a complex series of vicious cycles that feed each other.
The role of the astute clinician is to identify these patterns and provide support and counseling to unlock these vicious cycles. It is not uncommon for a clinician practicing functional endocrinology to optimize gastrointestinal function as a therapy to reduce cardiovascular markers and risk.
Following your consultation and examination recommendations will be made for specific testing to assess your current health status. From the results if testing, specific products can be recommended to correct imbalances and improve symptoms. This can include nutritional products, herbal, and various homeopathic formulations.