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  • Writer's pictureMartha Calihan MD

What are modifiable lifestyle factors?

I spent last weekend at the Institute for Functional Medicine Annual International Conference in San Antonio, Texas. I love attending this event each year, both for the content and for the connections. I always feel as if I am with my tribe when we gather, as a group of functional medicine practitioners, to listen, learn and share with each other.

I was reflecting on why I love this approach to medicine so much while I was there and since coming home. It is clear to me that it is the underlying philosophy of functional medicine that I find so compelling. It is about looking to find the underlying factors, the root causes of a person’s symptoms or diagnosis, and then working to correct the imbalances that have occurred because of those root causes. It is more than just matching a disease name with a treatment.

One of the major components of a functional medicine assessment is looking at and really addressing what we call the modifiable lifestyle factors. We have to address these issues oftentimes before we can get to the “meat” of the medical issue. This can include our nutrition, our stress, sleep, relationships and exercise. Each of these areas of focus can be in need of modification, and each one tends to affect the others. It is imperative, when trying to improve one’s health, that each of these areas be looked at carefully and seriously. And this can feel overwhelming; it is hard to change our habits and can be very frustrating.

At IFMC, we have an entire team to help people navigate their journey to improved health. We support our patients through nutrition counseling, personal training, coaching along withour medical providers’ assessment and treatments of a variety of complex medical conditions.

We are excited to be announcing the roll out in the near future of new programs designed to help our patients be better supported by this team as they deal with their medical conditions. I am excited by the opportunity to help people heal with this enhanced support, and look forward to introducing these new programs soon.

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