oa South African Family Practice - Functional medicine : how dysfunction leads to disease : review article

Volume 53, Issue 6
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204



Functional medicine is part of integrative medicine. There are three phases in the movement from health to disease. The first phase concerns lifestyle and how poor lifestyle choices move the system into increasing dysfunction. If the changes are rapid and severe then this is called acute disorder, and if slow and persistent then this is called chronic disorder. In the early phase of dysfunction there may be few symptoms and signs but the symptoms and signs rapidly or slowly become more obvious. The symptoms and signs at first are only recording the fact that the system as a whole in under stress and not functioning well. Over time dysfunction may lead to disease. The conventional model of medicine tends to focus its management on treating symptoms or treating the disease if possible. The integrative model pays attention to lifestyle changes, moving the dysfunction back to optimum function and only treating the disease if indicated.

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