Clinical definitions of diseases are black-and-white, but that isn’t how the body works. Chronic illnesses don’t simply appear out of the blue. They tend to progress over time and can often be detected through bloodwork and other tests long before symptoms appear.
The conventional medicine approach will wait until you are “officially” ill—based on discrete clinical definitions of diseases—before treating you. For example, if your blood sugar levels are 5.8 mmol/L or more you would be considered prediabetic, marking the start of your treatment. If your levels are 5.7 mmol/L or less, you would likely be labeled as “normal,” and most conventional doctors would not treat you or address the problem.
Diabetes has a range of unpleasant symptoms, from frequent urination to weight changes to numbness in the extremities. If left unchecked, it can even lead to organ damage. Rather than waiting for these symptoms to appear, my approach is to prevent them from happening in the first place.
It is much easier to treat physical imbalances before they develop into debilitating illness. That is why I focus on identifying which diseases you are most at risk for and helping you avoid them altogether.
Integrative And Functional Medicine
I treat people, not isolated symptoms or diseases. I also leverage a broader range of diagnostic and treatment tools than those used in conventional medicine, taking into consideration diet, lifestyle, and nutrient factors.
Doctors who are not trained in integrative and functional medicine may focus on diagnosing you rather than helping to alleviate your symptoms. For example, if you were to visit a conventional gastrointestinal doctor for symptoms of bloating, diarrhea, and constipation, they may perform a colonoscopy to see whether you meet the clinical definition of any diseases. If not, that doctor may send you on your way without ever addressing your symptoms.
I am board-certified in integrative medicine, so I will focus on helping you feel better, regardless of whatever diagnosis you may or may not have been labeled with. I employ a wide range of treatments, both conventional and alternative, to help you achieve optimal bodily function.
If it turns out that you have a food sensitivity, for example, I can recommend a diet plan to help you replace those foods with alternatives that are easier on your system. If you have a sweet tooth, we can explore the possibility of an overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans, which appears naturally in the body in small amounts but can grow into problems. If your discomfort is caused partly by inflammation, I can recommend dietary changes and herbal supplements to reduce that inflammation.
I subscribe to the philosophy that we must look beyond a person’s physical body and also consider their lifestyle, mental state, and even spiritual health to help them achieve optimal well-being. So in addition to suggesting a new diet, supplements, or exercise, I may also recommend other modalities, such as acupuncture, yoga, or massage therapy.
Practical, Patient-Centered Care
Functional medicine shares many things in common with integrative medicine, but it also has a practical component that prioritizes the functionality of treatments for individual patients. It also takes into account the biochemical individuality of each patient. Many diseases have a genetic component, so I may recommend genetic tests. I may also check for hormonal imbalances or abnormalities in your gut microbiome to further customize your care.
Functional medicine is integral to a preventive mindset. If I know that you have a genetic predisposition for autoimmune disease, for example, I can do much better than simply checking in periodically to see if you are sick. The “wait and see” approach that predominates conventional medicine is like parking your car in a high-crime neighborhood and just going outside once in a while to see if it has been stolen yet. Instead, I’ll work with you to try and prevent your worst-case health scenario from ever happening in the first place.
I promote a patient-centered care environment that respects each patient’s unique needs and preferences. I will carefully review your medical history, conduct thorough testing, and take the time to listen to your concerns and treatment goals. Once I’ve put together a customized treatment plan, I will work with you to find the best way to incorporate it into your life.
Khanh Perrin, MD is a Diplomat the American Board of Integrative and Holistic Medicine, the American Board of Integrative Medicine, and a former Diplomat of the American Board of Internal Medicine. She has studied at the Institute of Functional Medicine, The Academy of Integrative Health & Medicine, the American College of Nutrition, the Temple University School of Medicine, Scripps College, and San Diego State University.