Functional Medicine Gets to the Cause

Karen, can you tell me a bit about you and your practice?

I’m originally from Gainesville but have lived in Las Vegas, Whitesboro, McKinney and now Wylie, with my husband Jesse who is also our company’s operations manager.

I’ve practiced family/primary care since 2009. In 2015, I opened my clinic in Sherman. We provide a hybrid of family practice and functional medicine. This past December, we opened our McKinney office which is exclusively a functional medicine practice.

Why would someone be interested in functional medicine?

Functional medicine is for anyone with a chronic disease—whether diabetes, fibromyalgia, asthma/allergies, rheumatoid arthritis, chronic fatigue or other. Functional medicine’s goal is to identify the root cause of the illness and address it rather than just treating symptoms.

We look at the whole person, not just a particular body system. Many patients look to functional medicine for resolution and remission after they’ve completed multiple treatments through conventional medicine.

Can you give examples of chronic disease you’ve treated with functional medicine?

A female patient with rheumatoid arthritis was treated after discovering multiple food sensitivities. Eliminating those foods, her inflammation and pain have resolved—without prescription medication.

Another female patient with lifelong asthma, allergies and eczema discovered she had severe food allergies not explored by her specialists. Within six months, she healed her system well enough to start eating some of those foods again with no flares.

Another notable case was a female patient with severe fatigue, unable to work, but when we isolated her GI issues with a stool test, she was able to go back to work and be productive again.

What can a patient expect from the functional medicine treatment approach?

Functional medicine aims to find the root cause of an illness. We take a collaborative approach with our patients in achieving this goal. We ask our patients to complete a comprehensive health history prior to their first appointment. If available, we ask them to provide previous medical records.

I use that data to create a tentative testing, diet and supplementation plan. During the patient’s first visit, often lasting 90 minutes for thorough examination and explanation, I explain how the elements of the health history fit together. After initial testing, there is a follow-up appointment where we have a detailed review of the test results. In each subsequent visit, we work toward our goal of root cause resolution.

You mentioned science and related data. Can you explain that more?

I suppose there are many ways to practice functional medicine, just like there are many ways to practice conventional medicine. I believe data and science should support a treatment plan. The data can come from testing blood, saliva, urine, stool samples and reviewing validated questionnaires.

To aid with understanding and successfully completing their treatment plan, each patient receives a personalized functional wellness plan in notebook form which contains elements of their plan such as test results, nutrition, sleep, stress, exercise, supplementation and medication. The notebook is updated during each visit.

How does a person know if functional medicine is right for them?

Typically, I look for two things in a potential patient. First, do they have a chronic health condition? Second, we assess whether the person shows a willingness to look at his/her lifestyle and commit to making the required changes.

How does one become a patient and get started with a treatment plan?

Please visit our website, FindInnovativeHealthcare.com, and click on “McKinney practice.” Call the listed number or submit an inquiry. Our office manager, Sharilynn, will answer any questions.