Traditional Medicine Approach

The approach of traditional medicine is to place the majority of focus on acute care, chronic care and urgent care, with little emphasis historically place on prevention or wellness. The process of traditional medicine is to “catch” health issues during the infrequent and, functional medicine providers would say, cursory preventive visits or wait until health problems emerge.

Once health care problems emerge, traditional medicine treats these conditions on an acute basis, where immediate action is needed but not required. A patient, for example, could be seen by their primary care physician for minor chest discomfort. A traditional physician would examine the patient, order labs and possibly refer the patient to cardiology for a more extensive work up. When the immediate health issue is addressed, it can be dismissed. The patient with minor chest discomfort may have a respiratory infection that is resolved through antibiotics.

Other acute conditions may become chronic health conditions, meaning that traditional medicine believes that these conditions can only be managed and not resolved. Instead of being attributed to a respiratory infection, the minor chest discomfort might be linked to elevated cholesterol and the beginning of coronary artery disease. Traditional medicine would prescribe prescription medicine to address this condition, follow the the patient’s status and keep the patient connected to specialist to manage the condition.

Other health issues are of such significance and importance that they have to be addressed on an urgent basis. If the patient with coronary artery disease has a heart attack, traditional medicine would seek immediate intervention to stabilize the patient’s condition, (which is the purpose of emergency rooms). Once the patient is stable, traditional medicine often performs procedures to further address the problem. A stent implant or bypass surgery could be used to help a patient following a heart attack.