I have been a Family Nurse Practitioner for 15+ years. Prior to that, as a nurse in the ER and ICU, I saw debilitating chronic illnesses that were not appropriately controlled, and many of my patients were desperate for good primary care. I became a Nurse Practitioner so that I could help prevent the consequences of chronic disease and help my patients not only stay out of ER’s and ICU’s, but to live a life filled with health and joy into their 80’s, 90’s and beyond.
With advanced training through the Institute of Functional Medicine, my goal is not only to control chronic illness, but to prevent it in the first place and many times we can REVERSE chronic disease. Functional medicine looks for the root cause of the patient’s problem/ symptom or disease. So for instance, if a patient comes in with fatigue, pain, depression, irritability, headaches, nerve symptoms, or any other symptom we go back upstream, identify the triggers and perpetrators of those symptoms, and treat those issues.
Functional medicine is evidence based and safe. In fact, it identifies trends in the research and implements them into practice a lot faster than traditional medicine to help people live healthier lives.
Typically, treatment involves lifestyle changes such diet changes, nutrient evaluation and supplementation when there are nutritional deficits (there almost always are), stress reduction (stress damages our bodies), movement, plus sleep deficits and digestive problems are all identified and treated.
Sometimes, patients require a deeper dive into finding the root cause of their disease such as identifying and treating chronic infections (think dental and gut infections) that cause inflammation, or they have a toxic overload from their environment and can’t clear out the toxins making them sick (mold, heavy metals, chemicals and plastics). Often their symptoms are related to food sensitivities that have gone years or decades un-identified. Many patients have chronic inflammation (Metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, elevated cholesterol, etc.) which contributes to their many symptoms. Immune health issues can cause asthma, eczema, autoimmune diseases, allergies and chronic sinus issues. Even depression, bipolar disorder, anxiety and chronic fatigue, cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s disease are often significantly improved with a functional approach. Past trauma and stressors play a big role in our ability to be healthy. I work closely with our in-house Psychiatric and therapy team members when my patients need extra support. Sometimes, a specialist is needed to treat a major issue. Often, I refer to dieticians trained in functional nutrition and health coaches trained by the Institute for Functional Medicine. We all have a role to play to help you gain your health back.
Functional Medicine isn’t a quick cure. It often takes years to create chronic disease and it can take a year or more to reverse many diseases. Some diseases have a genetic component or may have caused cellular, glandular, or DNA damage and may not be reversed, but can be improved.
I often find that within 4-12 weeks, patients are getting significant symptom relief which can last for a lifetime by following the lifestyle plan. Motivation and willingness to make changes is the key to success. My goal is to make people so well, they stop needing to come in to see us.
Here are a few resources if you would like to learn more about the many benefits of functional medicine.
Reversal of Cognitive Decline with Dr. Dale Bredesen:
|Specialty||Family Nurse Practitioner|
|Training||University of Colorado – Anschutz Campus|
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