Chronic health issues like gut and hormone imbalances, poor sleep, stubborn weight, and brain fog can seriously impact your quality of life. If you’ve tried conventional medicine without success, functional medicine may be the solution you’ve been searching for. This innovative approach gets to the root cause of health problems instead of just treating the symptoms.
In Lakewood and the Denver area, more and more people are turning to functional medicine doctors to find relief. But not all providers are created equal. It’s important to find one with the right credentials and approach. The good news is that functional medicine offers new hope for those suffering from chronic conditions.
Read on to learn why functional medicine is different, how to choose the right practitioner, and what to expect from the functional medicine approach to testing and treatment. You’ll be empowered to take control of your health and start feeling better.
Why Choose A Functional Medicine Doctor For Chronic Health Conditions?
Functional medicine takes a radically different approach to treating chronic health conditions compared to conventional medicine. Rather than just treating symptoms, functional medicine aims to get to the root cause of disease by taking a holistic, personalized approach.
If you suffer from gut issues, hormonal imbalances, sleep disorders, weight gain, brain fog or other unresolved chronic symptoms, seeing a functional medicine doctor can provide real answers.
Some of the most common chronic conditions that respond well to functional medicine include:
- Digestive disorders like IBS, SIBO, leaky gut syndrome, Crohn’s and colitis
- Thyroid disorders like hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s
- Adrenal dysfunction, anxiety and hormonal imbalances
- Chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia
- Obesity, diabetes and metabolic disorders
- Autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis and chronic fatigue
Advantages Over Traditional Medical Approaches
The functional medicine model offers significant benefits over the standard medical approach of prescribing drugs to suppress symptoms.
- Personalized treatment plans – Functional medicine doctors run advanced lab tests to identify the root causes of your health issues. They then create customized protocols based on your unique biochemistry.
- Focus on prevention – Functional medicine aims to prevent chronic disease by optimizing all your body’s systems through nutrition, supplements, detoxification, stress reduction, and lifestyle changes.
- Patient education – Functional medicine empowers patients to take charge of their own health through diet & lifestyle changes. Doctors collaborate with patients.
- Addresses root causes – Unlike drugs that just temporarily relieve symptoms, functional medicine corrects imbalances that underlie chronic disease.
- Science-based – Functional medicine relies on advanced lab testing and the latest scientific research, and treatment plans are evidence-based.
In summary, functional medicine offers a much more comprehensive approach to chronic health conditions than simply prescribing drugs to treat symptoms. By uncovering & correcting the root imbalances causing disease, functional medicine restores the body to a state of optimal wellness.
Finding The Right Functional Medicine Doctor In Lakewood/CO
Choosing a functional medicine practitioner is an important decision that requires careful evaluation of a provider’s credentials, experience, and approach to patient care. When searching for a functional medicine doctor in Lakewood, Colorado, there are several key factors to look for.
Credentials To Look For
It’s essential that any functional medicine doctor has the proper training certifications. Relevant credentials include:
- Certification in functional medicine from the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM). This indicates completion of IFM’s rigorous training program.
- Certification from the American Board of Functional Medicine or Functional Medicine University. This demonstrates competency in functional medicine principles.
- They should be legally authorized to practice functional and lifestyle medicine in Colorado.
- Membership in the Institute for Functional Medicine, American Academy of Anti-Aging Medicine (A4M) and/or the American Academy of Functional Medicine or similar organizations. This shows commitment to ongoing functional health and wellness education.
Proper credentials ensure your doctor has extensive education in addressing root causes of complex health conditions through nutrition & lifestyle changes as well as a systems biology approach.
Evaluating Potential Providers
When researching functional medicine clinics in Lakewood and Jefferson County, consider factors like experience treating your condition, philosophy of care, and patient reviews. Useful questions to ask during initial consultations include:
- How long have you practiced lifestyle and integrative medicine? Look for 5+ years experience complex cases. Dr. Wanda Bedinghaus, MD at Lakewood’s premier functional medicine clinic has over 30 years of clinical experience.
- What conditions do you most commonly treat? Seek expertise treating your specific health concern. Here at Healing Unleashed, we have deep expertise in digestive disorders, autoimmune disease, hormonal imbalances, metabolic syndrome, obesity & dyslipidemia as well as cognitive (brain fog) & energy issues, stress & chronic pain.
- What tests will you recommend? Functional medicine relies heavily on advanced lab testing. In our clinic, Dr. Bedinghaus is very judicious of what lab tests are really needed based on her 30+ years of clinical expertise.
- How long are initial visits? Initial consults should be 60-90 minutes to thoroughly review health history.
- Do they prescribe medications? Some functional medicine doctors prescribe medications along with lifestyle changes. At Healing Unleashed, we partner with both the patient and their primary care provider to help them address their energy, gut health & metabolic imbalances without chasing the latest diet or exercise craze so they can finally enjoy a well-balanced, productive life looking and feeling their best.
- Do you accept insurance? Many functional medicine clinics operate on a cash-pay model, which is what we follow. However, we are mindful of keeping our transformational care as affordable as possible – so please inquire in our free discovery call about options right for you.
Avoid any doctor unwilling to thoroughly explain their approach or who makes exaggerated claims about the results they can achieve. Legitimate functional medicine doctors emphasize that results require commitment from patients to make diet and lifestyle changes.
With careful vetting of credentials, philosophy, and patient rapport, you can find an authentic functional medicine provider in Lakewood and Jefferson County, CO to partner with on your health journey. We’d love to invite you into a free discovery call so you can learn more about Lakewood’s premier functional medicine clinic!
The Functional Medicine Approach To Testing And Root Cause Analysis
Functional medicine relies on advanced lab testing to get to the root cause of health issues. Conventional medicine often only looks at obvious symptoms and then prescribes medications to mask those symptoms. Functional medicine digs deeper through comprehensive testing to find hidden root causes.
Why Testing Is Crucial
Lab tests like bloodwork, stool analyses, or hormone panels provide objective data about a patient’s underlying condition. Functional medicine uses this data to create highly customized treatment plans. Without testing, treatment might take longer – although an experienced functional medicine expert like Dr. Wanda Bedinghaus can oftentimes choose the right treatment approach based on clinical experience.
Common root causes found through testing include:
- Nutrient deficiencies: Low levels such as vitamin D, B vitamins, magnesium, zinc can affect immunity, energy & cognition.
- Food sensitivities such as gluten, dairy, soy eggs, and nightshades may cause inflammation, autoimmunity, or digestive issues.
- Toxins – think mold, heavy metals, or environmental chemicals – are frequently associated with chronic diseases.
- Pathogenic infections such as bacteria, viruses, and parasites can be responsible for a host of chronic symptoms.
- Hormone imbalances – including thyroid, reproductive hormones, cortisol & insulin resistance can lead to fatigue, anxiety, weight gain, cardiometabolic issues and more.
Interpreting Results and Creating Treatment Plans
Functional medicine practitioners spend time thoroughly reviewing test results to understand the big picture. They don’t just look at lab reference ranges, but optimal ranges based on clinical experience.
Treatment plans are then tailored to each patient based on test findings. For example:
- Low vitamin D would lead to vitamin D3 supplementation.
- Food sensitivities may result in an elimination diet.
- High insulin and hemoglobin A1c may require specific supplements and nutritional protocols
- SIBO diagnosis would mean antimicrobials plus prokinetics.
Functional medicine eliminates guesswork to provide data-driven, cause-oriented solutions. Through strategic testing & analysis, restoration of health is possible… even if you’ve literally tried everything and were told “your labs are normal”.
Now that we’ve covered the functional medicine approach to root cause analysis, let’s explore common functional medicine treatments protocols.
Functional Medicine Treatments & Protocols
Functional medicine providers take a radically different approach to treating chronic, complex health conditions compared to conventional medicine. Rather than just treating symptoms, functional medicine practitioners aim get to the root cause of disease.
Lifestyle factors like diet, exercise, sleep & stress play a huge role in functional medicine protocols. 95% of functional medicine treatments involve some form of lifestyle modifications.
- Diet: Elimination diets are often used to identify food sensitivities. Anti-inflammatory diets rich in whole foods are emphasized.
- Exercise: Functional medicine doctors may recommend specific exercise plans depending on a patient’s needs such as gentle movement through yoga, walking, etc.
- Sleep: Patients should be educated on proper sleep hygiene. Most adults need 7-9 hours per night, yet rarely experience deep restorative sleep necessary for proper healing.
- Stress management: Meditation, deep breathing, journaling and other tools help patients better cope with stress. High cortisol levels from chronic stress contribute to inflammation and slow the natural healing processes.
Use of Supplements & Medications
In addition to lifestyle changes,functional medicine doctors may recommend nutritional supplements or herbal medicine in certain cases.
- Supplements like fish oil, vitamin D, or probiotics can help correct nutritional deficiencies that are underlying disease. Herbal remedies may also be suggested.
- In close collaboration with a patient’s primary care provider, prescription medications might be recommended for temporary symptom relief while addressing root causes. In a nutshell, functional medicine clinics will combine the best of integrative & functional medicine with conventional treatments.
What To Expect When Working With A Functional Medicine Doctor
Initial Consultation & Follow-Ups
The initial visit with a functional medicine doctor will typically last 60-90 minutes. This allows time for the doctor to take a very thorough history to get to know you as whole person, and not just as a set of symptoms. Expect to answer questions about your health history, family history, lifestyle, diet, sleep patterns, stress levels and more. The doctor will use this information to start piecing together a complex web of factors influencing your health.
Follow-up appointments allow time for any recommended treatments and lifestyle changes to start working. Ongoing communication via telehealth visits and patient portal messages ensures patients stay connected with your doctor between office visits. Expect to see gradual improvement of symptoms over 3-6 months as root causes are resolved.
Communication & Progress Tracking
Functional medicine clinics utilize telehealth, email and patient portals to maximize communication between visits. This facilitates progress tracking and rapid adjustment of protocols when needed. You can send symptom updates such as food logs, sleep logs, and other relevant information for your doctor to review. Your doctor can then provide guidance on troubleshooting & optimizing your treatment plan.
Developing an ongoing collaborative relationship with your functional medicine doctor is key. You are partners working toward the common goal of restoring your health by addressing root causes. This process typically takes several months with regular follow-ups to monitor progress and make adjustments along the way. An average of 75% improvement in symptoms is achievable when consistently applying the protocols.
In first 2 months, you can expect your doctor to order comprehensive, specialized lab tests to help pinpoint issues, if clinically needed. After addressing these root causes, you will continue follow-ups to ensure health remains optimized. Ongoing partnership with a functional medicine doctor empowers you take control of your health.
How To Take Control Of Your Health With Functional Medicine
Active Participation In Care
When it comes to your health, being engaged and an active participant is key. Functional medicine emphasizes collaboration between doctor & patient so you can be involved in the decision-making process. This allows you to have a voice in determining the right treatment plan for your unique needs.
Rather than being a passive recipient of care, functional medicine encourages you to make positive lifestyle changes. For example, your doctor may recommend dietary adjustments, sleep hygiene techniques, stress management, and increased physical activity. Adopting these new healthy habits allows you to take control and be proactive about achieving optimal wellness.
Being actively involved also means tracking symptoms, asking questions, sharing feedback and communicating openly with the functional medicine practitioner. This level of participation provides valuable insight how your body is responding to treatment protocols over time.
93% of functional medicine patients state that having equal partnership with their doctor was imperative in managing chronic complex health conditions successfully.
Adherence To Treatment Protocols
Once you and your functional medicine doctor design a personalized treatment plan, it is crucial to adhere fully. This may involve specialized diets, nutritional supplements, exercise regimens, stress reduction techniques as well as other lifestyle interventions.
Strictly following this protocol is the only way to accurately gauge the effectiveness.
For example, if you follow an anti-inflammatory diet but you cheat frequently, inflammation may persist. Or if don’t take prescribed supplements consistently, nutritional deficiencies could linger.
Over 80% of patients see better outcomes when protocols are followed exactly as directed over a period of at least 3 months.
Being disciplined and diligent about treatment plans enables your body to heal & thrive. Partnering with a functional medicine provider provides accountability and support needed to stay on track. When adhering to customized protocols, you give your body the best chance to regaining balance & overcoming chronic complex health conditions for good.
Frequently Asked Questions About Functional Medicine Doctor Lakewood,CO
What Is Functional Medicine?
Functional medicine is a holistic approach to healthcare that focuses on identifying and addressing the root causes of diseases or health conditions. It aims to treat the whole person rather than just managing symptoms.
How Does Functional Medicine Differ From Conventional Medicine?
Conventional medicine often focuses on treating symptoms with medications, while functional medicine seeks to identify and address the underlying causes of health issues. Functional medicine doctors take into account a patient’s lifestyle, genetics, environment, and unique biochemistry when creating personalized treatment plans.
What Can I Expect During My First Visit To A Functional Medicine Doctor In Lakewood, CO?
During your initial visit, the functional medicine doctor will conduct a comprehensive evaluation of your medical and health history, lifestyle factors, current symptoms, and any previous treatments you have undergone. They may also order specialized tests to gather more information about your health status.
Can I Use My Insurance To Cover Visits To A Functional Medicine Doctor?
Insurance coverage for visits to a functional medicine doctor varies depending on your specific insurance plan. Some plans may offer partial coverage for certain services or procedures. It is recommended to contact your insurance provider directly for detailed information about coverage options. At Healing Unleashed, we will provide you with a superbill that can be submitted to your insurance.
How Long Do Appointments With A Functional Medicine Doctor Typically Last?
Appointments with a functional medicine doctor usually last longer than traditional primary care visits. Initial consultations can range from 60-90 minutes or more, allowing ample time for thorough assessments and discussions. Follow-up appointments may be shorter but still allow enough time for effective communication.
What Conditions Can Be Treated By A Functional Medicine Doctor In Jefferson County?
Functional Medicine doctors can address various chronic conditions such as autoimmune disorders, hormonal imbalances, digestive issues, weight gain, metabolic disorders and chronic fatigue syndrome.
Are Functional Medicine Treatments Evidence-Based?
Functional medicine draws from both conventional medical knowledge and emerging research in integrative approaches. Treatments recommended by functional medicine doctors are typically based on scientific evidence and clinical experience. However, it is important to note that the field of functional medicine is continually evolving as new research emerges.
How Long Does It Take To See Results With Functional Medicine Treatments?
The timeline for seeing results with functional medicine treatments varies depending on the individual and their specific condition. Some patients may experience improvements within a few weeks or months, while others may require longer-term treatment plans for more complex health issues. This is why we offer free discovery calls at Healing Unleashed, so we can thoroughly answer your questions.
How Can I Find A Reputable Functional Medicine Doctor In Jefferson County, CO?
To find a reputable functional medicine doctor in Jefferson County, CO, you can start by asking for recommendations from your primary care physician or trusted healthcare professionals. As Lakewood’s premier functional medicine clinic, we love to connect with health seekers looking to address their energy, gut health & metabolic imbalances without chasing the latest diet or exercise craze so they can finally enjoy a well-balanced, productive life looking and feeling their best.