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Functional Medicine at Cloud Health

In many situations patients suffer symptoms but no pathological, disease cause can be found so a diagnosis-of-exclusion might be given. Common examples include Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, Unexplained Headaches, Menstrual Disorders, Mood Disorders including anxiety, stress, low mood & depression and Medically Unexplained Symptoms as well as several other clinical presentations. In these situations even though a person might feel far from their usual healthy self they might be told that “all the tests are normal”. This means that no abnormalities have been found by looking through the bio-mechanical, patho-physiological disease models, which is often encapsulated by the Surgical Sieve, a mnemonic like a medical mental checklist of all the different types of disease process that can affect the body;

V

I

T

A

M

I

N

Vascular

Infective

Immune

Traumatic

Toxic

Auto –

Immune

Metabolic

Iatrogenic

Ideopathic

Neoplastic

 

 

A

C

E

 

 

 

 

Acquired

 

Congenital

Endocrine

 

 

In these cases, once the disease causes have been ruled out – and it is important to emphasise here that the Dr giving advice must first review the test results and evidence that excludes pathophysiological causes of a person’s symptoms – then more detailed testing can be considered. This more detailed level of testing can be based on the idea of the Exposome – “a recently introduced concept aimed at explaining the complex exposures we face as humans. It can be viewed as the environmental equivalent of the human genome” (1) and, compared to the bio-mechanical patho-physiological model, it’s a different way of looking at disease.   

Exposome: Image from BMJ Thorax (2)

These more detailed investigations are often considered under the discipline of Functional Medicine tests. Sometimes they are referred to as lifestyle medicine and they seek to uncover imbalances, deficiencies or excesses rather than diseases processes.

For example a person might have all the symptoms and feel exactly the same as someone with low thyroid hormone but have fully normal results on their TFT (Thyroid Function Tests). When we look at the micronutrients the individual levels might all be within the normal range but particular patterns of “high-ish” and “low-ish” results can be corrected just like actual deficiencies or toxic levels (outside the normal range) and furthermore correcting those micronutrient levels can often relieve the symptoms. Iodine and Zinc are required to make Thyroxine and Vitamins B complex, B12 & D as well as Selenium and (to some extent) Co-enzyme Q10 are all needed for Thyroxine to exert its action on the target cells around the body. 

In some of these situations Cloud Health might offer to undertake a range of Functional Medicine tests. Usually these fall into a few groups; Nutritional Investigations (Vitamin Profiles, Fatty Acid Profiles and Essential & Toxic Minerals Profiles), Chronic Infection Investigations (Glandular Fever, Lymes Disease, Cytomegalovirus, Coxsackie and Herpes Family), Gut Biome Investigation and Endocrine Investigations (Pituitary – Adrenal – Gonadal axes and Pituitary-Thyroid).

 

 

Refs:

(1) https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-417217-3.00001-X

(2) http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/thoraxjnl-2013-204949