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Personalised Functional Medicine in Perth: Revolutionising Healthcare

Personalised Functional Medicine in Perth: Revolutionising Healthcare

Perth is a hub for Modern Functional Medicine, led by the Australian Centre for Functional Medicine, which integrates the latest developments in healthcare with standard medical practice, creating a truly personalised Functional Medicine approach to healthcare.

 

Modern Functional Medicine in Perth is a new approach to healthcare, which seeks to understand and target the underlying causes of disease. Through this process, Functional Medicine in Perth creates a partnership between patient and clinician that helps with the design of optimal pathways of treatment.

In Perth, the Australian Centre for Functional Medicine has established a comprehensive patient-centred approach to health. Functional Medicine at this centre considers genetic, biological, microbiological, mental, environmental, and lifestyle factors that may affect a patient’s wellbeing in the short and long term.

All treatments employed by Functional Medicine practitioners at the Australian Centre for Functional Medicine are evidence-based and backed by strong clinical research. This approach guarantees the safety and efficacy of treatments while creating a trusted pathway towards health. Hence, modern Functional Medicine stands as a comprehensive new approach to treat and reverse the effects of chronic disease.

 

Perth demography and health statistics

 

Perth is Australia’s fourth most populated city, hosting over 2 million people, with a significant majority of people with British descent. Perth city was founded in 1829, by Captain James Stirling, and named after the city of Perth, Scotland.

Today, Perth is a multicultural and multiethnic city, characterised by a population with a marked European background. While 30% of Perth’s population claims Australian ancestry, significantly more than half of Perth’s inhabitants claim British, Irish, Scottish, Italian, German or Dutch ancestry, according to the 2016 census.

Health in WA – According to official figures, nearly half of all health problems affecting men and women in WA involve cancers, mental disorders, and cardiovascular diseases. This is followed by musculoskeletal, respiratory, neurological, gastrointestinal and endocrine diseases (excluding injuries).

There is also a significant bias in sex, with men being more affected by disease. For example, statistics show that males in WA experience twice as much health loss from cardiovascular disease, compared to women and nearly 1.5 more health loss due to cancer, gastrointestinal diseases and endocrine disorders than women. The strong European ancestry may also be influencing some of the current health outcomes observed in Perth’s population, as studies have established links between European ancestry and diseases like cancer1.

 

Health care in Australia

 

Healthcare in Australia is based on Medicare, a government scheme that supports medical services, public hospitals and medicines. In Perth, this scheme is supported by more than 30 private and public hospitals to offer health care for a wide variety of ailments.

Common among all hospitals and medical practices in Perth is a disease-centred approach, where patients normally visit a general practitioner, who either prescribes medicines for specific ailments or refers the patient to a specialist. Notably, among all the specialities available in public or private hospitals or medical practices, there is no integrative medicine speciality, which considers all aspects of health to understand their different contributions to a person’s health.

In particular, the standard medical practice has been slow at the acknowledgement and clinical application of recent findings regarding the role of the gut microbiome on health. The gut microbiome is a vast community of microorganisms that populate our body and has been linked to various aspects of our health, most notably with chronic diseases.

In addition, public hospitals and healthcare providers in Perth and more broadly throughout WA, are overwhelmed with the high incidence of chronic diseases, which affect nearly half of all Australians.

 

Chronic diseases in WA

 

Chronic diseases include long-lasting diseases such as genetic disorders, trauma, disability and complex health problems like cancer, heart disease, neurological conditions, and diabetes. They are characterised by having multiple and complex causes, by progressing slowly and co-occurring with other diseases. Also, chronic diseases can affect anyone and at any age, although they tend to affect older adults more frequently.

There are several factors involved in the development and progression of chronic diseases, including intrinsic factors, which cannot be changed. Such factors include age, gender, and genetic background, which includes your family history or ethnic background.

Other factors can be managed to some degree, such as diet, stress, and lifestyle choices (like smoking or drug use), socio-economic status, and your early life background.

In Australia, chronic conditions are a leading cause of illness, disability, and death. In WA, official figures show that more than half of all preventable hospitalizations are due to chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, angina, hypertension, or congestive heart failure2. Other worrisome figures involving chronic conditions in WA include2:

  • The number of Western Australians diagnosed with cancer each year: 11,939
  • Preventable hospitalizations due to chronic conditions: 54% of all cases
  • Number of children living in a household exposed to cigarette smoke: 10,477
  • Percentage of overweight or obese adults over the age of 16: 63%
  • Percentage of overweight or obese children under the age of 15: 20%
  • Number of deaths caused by heart disease each year: 1,745
  • Percentage of 16-24-year-old Western Australians with mental health issues: 26%
  • Percentage of adults who do not eat the recommended servings of fruits and veggies: 4%

 

According to WA’s department of health, there are 12 preventable chronic conditions currently causing significant harm and even death among Western Australians. These include:

 

  • coronary heart disease
  • stroke
  • asthma
  • lung and colorectal cancer
  • depression
  • type 2 diabetes
  • arthritis
  • osteoporosis
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)
  • chronic kidney disease
  • oral disease

 

Prevention and treatment of preventable chronic diseases involve significant changes in lifestyle3. There are also different treatments, supplements and medicines that can be employed to reduce symptoms, treat some conditions, and improve the quality of life of people suffering from chronic diseases4-5.

In recent years, the combination of traditional medical treatments with alternative therapies such as the use of botanicals, supplements, and probiotics has resulted in the effective treatment of many chronic conditions. At the heart of this novel approach is a modern new take on Functional Medicine.

 

A Brief History of Functional Medicine

 

Functional Medicine (FM) is a relatively new term that, nevertheless, has been widely criticised, mostly due to bad examples of Functional Medicine practice6,7. Also, it is still widely believed that Functional Medicine is nothing more than a new name for old complementary medicine practices like naturopathy, herbal clinics, natural medicine or homeopathy, among other labels8. Such approaches to health tend to avoid traditional medical treatments and medicines, favouring “natural medicines” to tackle serious diseases.

However, these “natural” approaches not always are backed by clinical research, and the results obtained from such practices remain unproven, at best, and potentially dangerous, if a serious condition is not efficaciously treated6. As a consequence of this lack of clinical evidence demonstrating efficacy, the Australian government removed naturopathy from private health insurance coverage starting in 2019.

In the past decade, efforts have been made to understand the clinical value of naturopathy and other complementary medicine practices, as evidenced by 295 research studies conducted between 2008 and 20139. These studies have focused on understanding the general effects of complementary medicine (27% of funding), nutritional/dietary supplements (23%), and Western herbal medicine (5%)9-11. Further research, however, is needed, which takes a “whole system” approach, evaluating naturopathy as a whole and on patient-centred outcomes9-10, rather than research focused on specific aspects of the treatment9,11. Only in the past two decades, have studies in the United Stated started taking this approach, with promising outcomes12. However, Australia has been lagging in this aspect with only a single “whole-system” study on the effects of naturopathy performed since 201413.

Modern Functional Medicine takes a different approach to health, relying on current research findings and incorporating both standard and complementary medical approaches.

 

Modern Functional Medicine in Perth

 

In recent years, a new and integrative approach has transformed Functional Medicine practice, bringing together standard medical treatments with evidence-based complementary approaches. This modern take on Functional Medicine seeks to understand why a patient is unwell, elucidating the underlying problems affecting different body parts and the body and mind as a whole. To accomplish this complex goal, modern Functional Medicine employs advanced medical testing, analysing traditional health biomarkers in stool, urine, blood, and breath, such as levels of glucose, fats, hormones, vitamins, or minerals.

Functional Medicine also analyses the composition of the gut microbiome, which in recent years has become the focus of intensive research linking it to different health outcomes14-15. Gut microbiome research, for example, has revealed important links between the diet and lifestyle we follow and our health15.

Unlike standard medical practice, modern Functional Medicine has taken the unique approach to quickly integrate data from gut microbiome research into clinical practice.

Today, Functional Medicine in Perth, led by the Australian Centre for Functional Medicine, incorporates a wide range of advanced medical testing, aided by the use of botanical and probiotic supplements as well as standard medical treatments. This comprehensive approach allows practitioners to follow a whole-system approach that identifies all underlying health problems and designs a treatment plan that is effective and thorough.

 

Conventional Medical Practitioners
Australian Centre for Functional Medicine
Other Functional Medicine and Complimentary practitioners
can prescribe medications
can prescribe medications
can prescribe medications
can prescribe medications
Australia's most advanced microbiome testing
Australia's most advanced microbiome testing
Australia's most advanced microbiome testing
Australia's most advanced microbiome testing
Advanced allergy testing against 180 food allergens
Advanced allergy testing against 180 food allergens
Advanced allergy testing against 180 food allergens
Advanced allergy testing against 180 food allergens
Can refer for MRI, Ultrasounds and CT Scans
Can refer for MRI, Ultrasounds and CT Scans
Can refer for MRI, Ultrasounds and CT Scans
Can refer for MRI, Ultrasounds and CT Scans
Accredited by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
Accredited by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
Accredited by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
Accredited by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency
Can prescribe natural supplements
Can prescribe natural supplements
Can prescribe natural supplements
Can prescribe natural supplements
Can diagnose and treat complex health cases
Can diagnose and treat complex health cases
Can diagnose and treat complex health cases
Can diagnose and treat complex health cases

 

Modern Functional Medicine can be considered an evolution in the way medicine is practiced, which aims to fulfil the healthcare needs of the 21st century and the challenges posed by chronic disease, which are now reaching epidemic levels.

At the Australian Centre for Functional Medicine, healthcare has been optimised to incorporate modern clinical testing and standard medical treatments with cutting-edge medical research and evidence-based natural therapies.

The modern Functional Medicine approach to health has the potential to serve as a model for wider implementation into mainstream medical practice, potentially helping to alleviate the pressure that chronic diseases are placing on WA healthcare systems.

 

BECOME A PATIENT OF FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE IN PERTH TODAY

 

 

Following your registration with our centre, we will schedule an initial consultation that can be in person or remotely, through our Telehealth system. During this visit, we will listen to your chief health complaints, evaluate your health and medical history and discuss potential options to move forward, including making diagnostic tests and discussing potential treatments.

 

References

 

  1. Fejerman L, Romieu I, John EM, Lazcano-Ponce E, Huntsman S, Beckman KB, Pérez-Stable EJ, Burchard EG, Ziv E, Torres-Mejía G. European ancestry is positively associated with breast cancer risk in Mexican women. Cancer Epidemiology and Prevention Biomarkers. 2010 Apr 1;19(4):1074-82. Read it!
  2. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2018. Australia’s health 2018. Cat. no. AUS 221. Canberra: AIHW. Read it!
  3. Franzago M, Santurbano D, Vitacolonna E, Stuppia L. Genes and Diet in the Prevention of Chronic Diseases in Future Generations. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2020 Jan;21(7):2633. Read it!
  4. Wimalawansa SJ. Prevention of Chronic Diseases by Maintaining Physiological Concentrations of Vitamin D. J Clin Endocrin Diabe Rese. 2019;1(1):001. Read it!
  5. Bae M, Kim MB, Park YK, Lee JY. Health benefits of fucoxanthin in the prevention of chronic diseases. Biochimica et Biophysica Acta (BBA)-Molecular and Cell Biology of Lipids. 2020 Jan 10:158618. Read it!
  6. Dyer C. Doctor who practised “Functional Medicine” is suspended for nine months. Read it!
  7. Robbins CW, Elder M, Kuhr MA, Hoskinson MS. Response to Functional Medicine Case Study and Editorial. The Permanente journal. 2017;21. Read it!
  8. Luke JW. Functional Medicine: New name, old ideas. Australasian Science. 2017 Jul;38(4):44. Read it!
  9. Ooi SL, McLean L, Pak SC. Naturopathy in Australia: Where are we now? Where are we heading?. Complementary therapies in clinical practice. 2018 Nov 1;33:27-35. Read it!
  10. Wardle J. Diving into the complexity of integrative medical practice. Advances in Integrative Medicine. 2014;2(1):67-8. Read it!
  11. Packer J, Good A, Besch J, Boon S, Bensoussan A. Complementary medicine research projects in Australia: 2008–2013. Advances in Integrative Medicine. 2016 Dec 1;3(3):82-9. Read it!
  12. Oberg EB, Bradley R, Cooley K, Fritz H, Goldenberg JZ, Seely D, Saxton JD, Calabrese C. Estimated effects of whole-system naturopathic medicine in select chronic disease conditions: A systematic review. Alternative & Integrative Medicine. 2015 Apr 24. Read it!
  13. Sarris J, Gadsden S, Schweitzer I. Naturopathic medicine for treating self-reported depression and anxiety: An observational pilot study of naturalistic practice. Advances in Integrative Medicine. 2014 May 1;1(2):87-92. Read it!
  14. Round JL, Mazmanian SK. The gut microbiota shapes intestinal immune responses during health and disease. Nature reviews immunology. 2009 May;9(5):313-23. Read it!
  15. Flint HJ, Scott KP, Louis P, Duncan SH. The role of the gut microbiota in nutrition and health. Nature reviews Gastroenterology & hepatology. 2012 Oct;9(10):577. Read it!