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Traditional laboratory assessment to identify disease states (or pathology) is an essential part of conventional medical practice. It is critical for accurate diagnosis and can direct healthcare practitioners to the most effective treatments . In addition, it helps them avoid agents that may actually produce more damage than healing. 

In the area of alternative or complementary medicine, however, laboratory assessment has taken on a fundamentally different purpose by providing indication of disease-producing processes before disease itself can take hold. In addition to pinpointing such disease states as bacterial, yeast, and parasite infection, a number of the non-invasive functional assessments offered by our preferred provider, Great Smokies Diagnostic Laboratory, evaluate markers present in patients who are at increased risk of developing chronic • and often deadly or debilitating conditions. Functional assessment also provides one of the best tools for identifying the environmental factors, specific aspects of diet and lifestyle, which can be altered to influence the expression of genetic predisposition to "family" diseases • avoiding them altogether or delaying their manifestation by focused, early intervention. 

In addition to promoting optimal health, healthy aging, and productive longevity in general, some of the health conditions which functional assessments can help physicians control include: 

 Cardiovascular Disease  
Helping healthcare providers identify at-risk patients with few or none of the conventional risk factors. (Conventional risk factors account for only about one half of those who actually experience cardiovascular disease) 

Metabolic Dysglycemia, including advanced diabetes detection Pinpointing irregularities in glucose and insulin metabolism years before pathology can be identified.  ( Helps prevent additional consequences such as peripheral vascular disease, blindness, and renal failure) 

Aging-Related Tissue Degeneration
Monitoring the "natural" decline in hormone levels and bone formation as well as the effectiveness of supplementatio

Toxic-Exposure and Nutritional-Deficit Mediated Conditions
Ranging from impaired neurological development, cancers,      and mood disorders to such degenerative diseases as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's

Gastrointestinal Disorders
Revealing causes of irritable and inflammatory bowel disorders, as well as such related systemic complications as chronic inflammation and immune system reactions   


How is functional assessment different from other laboratory tests?

Functional assessments evaluate the body's ability to perform physiologically rather than measuring disease that is already present. A patient may seem to have nothing wrong when tested with usual laboratory assessments, while functional assessments may pinpoint areas of less than optimal health. The "well" body may, in fact, be susceptible to disease processes that optimal health can prevent.

 How can I be confident with this type of assessment?

Great Smokies' innovative tests are conducted according to the highest laboratory standards  and supported by the latest medical literature. The laboratory has a history of anticipating the value of markers that conventional medicine now endorses. But we feel strongly that being at the forefront of modern medicine also requires combining good science with innovative ideas.

What is meant by "non-invasive"?

Because functional medicine focuses on the body in action, we look at tissues that reflect physiological function rather than simply pathology, including blood, urine, saliva, stool, and hair • tissues that can be collected without undue discomfort for the patient.

How do I know my healthcare provider will understand the results of functional testing?

All kinds of practitioners use our testing, from nutritionists and acupuncturists to cardiologists and neurologists. Most of them were not trained in the cutting edge testing we perform. In recognition of that fact, we supply comprehensive educational materials, conduct in-service training, and employ laboratory physicians trained in the different "systems" of healing who consult on test results at no additional cost. 

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