Are You Ready For Functional Medicine?
BEING A FUNCTIONAL MEDICINE PATIENT IS ALL ABOUT YOU!
You likely will find Functional Medicine is NOT the medical care you have been receiving. It is a different approach entirely and when starting the journey, it is important to understand your role as a functional medicine patient.
Allopathic medicine identifies a diagnosis and then gives a medication or offers procedures or surgeries to treat the symptoms or slow down progress of the disease. This only “covers” the symptoms while the underlying disease process continues. Sometimes the medication you just received causes you another symptom and then another medication is given for that “side effect”. Working this way, health care starts to feel more like “sick care” where an individual is expected to progress in the severity of the illness and little if anything is done to seek the underlying cause or better yet prevent the disease from happening in the first place. This is where true preventive health resides.
The diagnosis in the Functional Medicine model is just the beginning! In this new vision of healthcare, we are a team, and the goal is about changing the trajectory of your future health. This involves creating a new framework to think about your health and no longer is the doctor “telling you what to do” but it is about “partnering with your physician on your health journey”. The idea is not to cover up your symptoms by treating with pharmaceuticals that may create new issues or simply cut things out to improve the rest of the system but to evaluate the biochemistry of each individual deeper and support you on help your system work together as optimally as possible.
Foundational to your success is changing your mindset about how patients and physicians interact, making a commitment to the process, and willingness to see nutrition as “medicine”.
– Be aware that these issues have been developing over long periods of time and it will take time to heal. There really is no “quick fix”. Feeling well after doing something for a week doesn’t mean that the underlying problem has resolved and it may take weeks to months, or even years, for your health trajectory to change.
– Sometimes you might “feel fine” but by evaluating now you can prevent those subtleties developing beneath the surface from becoming much more significant issues later. Waiting for that test that “finally” tells you that you have an illness doesn’t seem like healthiest way to live but evaluating something before it causes the illness and doing something now can change your future.
– First you have to commit to yourself that your health is worth taking action and knowing your ‘why’ will help with that commitment.
– Make your visits and follow-ups priority, as these check-ins are key to your success. Your conventional annual or semi-annual doctor visit checking to see if you are “diabetic now” is not how the Functional Medicine model works.
– Share what’s working and what isn’t working as commitments can be adjusted, sometimes you have to step back a bit before stepping forward again.
– You sometimes feel worse before you feel better. Prepare to commit to yourself a minimum of 3-6 months to create good habits, break old ones and create lifelong success with any suggested lifestyle changes.
– A dietary plan is of upmost importance and at the core of improving your health. This is not something you will have to follow forever but will be a key aspect in your initial health plan and these healthy habits are likely to rub off the longer you do follow them.
– Communicate if you are having difficulty with any part of the food plan discussed as often adjustments can be made if necessary.
– Depending on your current level of nutrition, supplements are often suggested and the intention is that many are temporary and utilized for a few months during a protocol.
– If supplements are suggested, be certain you know your sources and that they are actually needed, labs can certainly provide additional insight. Through Fullscript, supplements from vetted companies can be accessed. If seen for a consultation an individual prescription profile will be created based on your personal health evaluation.
WHAT TO EXPECT?
STEP I: Register online or call to schedule an appointment, all patients are billed for the Functional Consult at the time of booking.
STEP II: Once an appointment is scheduled, you will receive an email with a link to the system that I use to organize your history (Living Matrix) and you will be asked to complete a thorough health questionnaire. This is very important to determining the best route of care moving forward.
STEP III: Prior to your appointment, I will review your history, which we will cover in more detail at your initial visit to fill in any necessary or missing information.
STEP IV: Initial visit. We will deep dive into your history and review to insure your health timeline is completed to the best of your knowledge. From this we focus on the areas of greatest concern for you and where your systems need the most support. An initial plan will be developed at this time with some foundational suggestions to get started. For some this may be all that is needed.
STEP V: However, based on the initial discussion, labs may be recommended.
STEP VI: Because functional medicine is so individualized, my work continues. I will review pertinent history, complaints, exposures, and literature to formulate additional suggestions based on our visit.
STEP VII: You will receive through the HIPAA compliant portal the refined prescription recommendations to continue for the next 2-weeks. Depending on the initial visit, this 2-week period could include additional labs, a phone visit with a Functional Nutritionist, any support needed via email/phone or other recommended referrals.
STEP VIII: If any labs are sent or a plan decided upon, in the following weeks another in-person visit would be required to follow up on your progress and any additional concerns. You will receive the brief symptom questionnaire (just the symptom questionnaire!) via email prior to your follow up visit to gauge progress.
STEP IX: The next weeks would be working any program recommendations with email/phone support and potentially another visit via phone with a Functional Nutritionist. Four weeks would be the basic plan to start developing healthy habits.