HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - There is a new doctor in town with a new way of looking at old problems. Her name is Dr. Claudia Karam with Hattiesburg Clinic, and the unique approach is called Functional and Integrative Medicine.
Karam said this new treatment is about working with the patient, an approach she is passionate about.
"We are very privileged as physicians to be able to have patients trust us and confide in us with their health," Karam said.
It's that perspective that led Karam to her practice. She said she became an MD in 2005. At the end of her physical medicine rehabilitation training, she became fascinated with the effects of nutrition on health.
"That kind of led to functional medicine, and after learning and being able to see the results in my patients, I really had to practice in that way," she said.
Karam said functional and integrative medicine is a new branch of medicine that looks at each patient as a unique individual, analyzing them from birth to present date.
"Which means that we are looking at the body as one connected system," Karam said. "So, that means that a process that is affecting your heart, and at the same time your gut and your joint, can very much be related."
Functional medicine treats a vast list of chronic issues, from Alzheimer's Disease, autoimmune diseases, to heart health. Karam detailed her latest successful case. The patient dealt with gastrointestinal issues, reflux, irritable bowel syndrome and psoriasis for years.
"She'd seen several rheumatologists in the past. She was even put on different steroid creams and psoriatic medication," Karam added.
Karam looked at the patient's entire system, made changes to her diet, lifestyle and her gut health.
"We tried to bring her gut issues back kind of in balance, and that had an effect on her skin, even though we never actually treated her skin," Karam said.
Karam said part of functional medicine is creating a timeline of your health from birth and filling out a questionnaire about the patient's health before and after treatment to track progress.
"All these different issues were related," Karam said. "When we used the functional medicine approach, all her numbers went down. That was just with one visit," Karam said.
She said functional medicine is proactive.
"A lot of my time spent with them [patients] is about education, because I feel like an educated patient is an empowered patient," Karam said. "Where now they have the knowledge and they understand kind of how some of the things that they may be able to do can impact their health."
Karam noted she collaborates with her patients' primary care physicians and specialist to make sure everything is tied in to help the patient.
If you would like to see the list of what functional medicine treats and to learn more about the approach and Dr. Karam, visit hattiesburgclinic.com.