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Thinning hair, Integrative and Functional Medical Care

Created date

January 4th, 2018

Please note: The following questions were submitted by readers. The answers are intended for your general information and should not replace a doctor’s medical advice.

Q: I am a 75-year-old woman and my hair is thinning. Is this normal or could it be related to my health?

A: As we age our hair tends to thin somewhat, even if you are in good health. Gradual hair loss is normal. Sometimes, however, it could be due to medical conditions (especially diabetes or lupus), poor nutrition, medications, or excessive hairstyling or treatments. Sudden hair loss, or hair falling out in patches or chunks, is not normal and should be evaluated. Talk to your doctor about whether over-the-counter or prescription treatments are appropriate for you, or if hair restoration treatments are a good idea.

Q: What is the difference between an integrative health physician and a functional medicine physician? How do they help their patients?

A. According to the American Board of Integrative Medicine, integrative medicine doctors focus on the relationship between the health care provider and their patients. They believe they and their patients should be partners in medical decisions. They look beyond physical health and take a whole-person approach by considering the mind, body, and spirit’s effects on your health. They may use conventional medical practices but also consider evidence-based alternative approaches when treating patients. They stress health promotion and healthy living practices. 

Similarly, functional medicine physicians work in partnership with their patients, practice whole-person care, and promote wellness. The difference, however, is that functional medicine physicians look beyond the traditional approach of evaluating symptoms, making a diagnosis, and treating disease to focus on the root causes of disease. They strive to understand their patients’ unique genetic, biochemical, and lifestyle factors that may affect their health.

Health and wellness experts practice exclusively at Erickson Living communities all over the U.S. Dr. Cefalu, Medical Director at Seabrook in Tinton Falls, N.J. received his bachelor’s degree in zoology from Rutgers University in Newark, N.J., and his medical degree from the University of Palermo in Palermo, Italy. He completed his internship and residency in internal medicine at Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch, N.J. Board-certified in internal medicine, he joined Seabrook in April 2001.