Functional Medicine Arrives in Bozeman
Monday Feb. 1st, 2021
What is Functional Medicine? Functional Medicine is an approach to preventative health and chronic disease that is individualized to your story and your body. As a traditional Family Practice doctor, I was taught to listen to your symptoms and figure out which medication would help alleviate those symptoms. As a Functional Medicine doctor, I was taught to listen to your story and help you uncover what could have led to those symptoms and what is contributing to those symptoms lingering or worsening.
If you choose Functional Medicine, then the focus will not be on treating your symptoms, but on what could be imbalanced in your body and what can bring it into balance (and in this, the symptoms may be relieved in a more lasting way). What do you have too much of? Bad food, gut inflammation, estrogen, toxins, stress, etc. What do you not have enough of? Thyroid hormone, vitamin D, self-care, progesterone, exercise, etc. Hippocrates a few thousand years ago said “All disease begins in the gut;” he was onto something because this is where we frequently start.
Functional Medicine gives me a larger tool box than the one I left my Family Practice residency with. In the traditional model, we learn to take a brief medical history, make a diagnosis, and choose the proper medication for that condition. But I no longer believe that pills are the solution for chronic disease. I think traditional medicine is incredible for acute care. For example, if I have a heart attack, I don’t want someone talking to me about how much spinach I eat in a day; I want a cardiac surgeon to open my coronary arteries. If I break my arm playing basketball, I’d rather have a surgeon put my bones back together than to have the doctor ask me what my daily meditation practice looks like. But when I hear stories from patient after patient who has been diagnosed with a chronic disease, about how they went to their doctor and asked if there could be anything in their lifestyle causing or contributing to their chronic disease and they are told no and were shamed for asking, I tend to disagree. Functional Medicine is a logical, natural approach to diagnosis, prescription and healing.
Since many of us are being exposed to the same things, why does one person get sick and another does not? To explain this, the analogy I like to use is that we are all born with a bucket. We fill that bucket with inflammatory things like antibiotics, sugary drinks, too much screen time, French fries, comparing ourselves to others, breathing in toxins, genetically modified foods, unhealthy relationships, infections, medications, etc., and eventually this bucket overflows into disease. We all know people who live into their nineties, drink, smoke, eat red meat daily, never eat vegetables, and never get sick. But we know a two-year-old autistic child or someone who has a two-year-old autistic child. Or a thirty-year-old with cancer. What gives?
Continuing with the metaphor, we are all born with a bucket that is a different size. The size of your bucket is dependent on your genetics, which I call luck. Some of us are lucky and were given a huge bucket and some of us are unlucky and got a smaller one. Some of us with a huge bucket fill it up very quickly, and some of us with a small one never fill it to the top. Yet when this bucket overflows, it can present as “chronic” disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic disease are conditions that last one year or longer, require ongoing medical attention and/or limit activities of daily living. The goal of Functional Medicine is identify what is in your bucket and empty that bucket of inflammatory things and fill it with good food, good bacteria, balanced hormones, self-care, and love.
One question I frequently get when I do health talks is: “I am healthy, so when and why should I see a Functional Medicine doctor?” The answer is NOW! Because it is much easier to make changes to prevent disease while the body is healthy than it is to try to stop the progression of disease or get someone on medications in an attempt to reverse disease. Unfortunately, I have seen very few patients whose bucket has not yet overflowed; instead, what I see in my practice is: Lupus, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Autism, Diabetes, Heart Disease, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Infertility, Depression, Anxiety, High Cholesterol, ADHD, Fatigue, Obesity, Brain Fog, and much more. My patients have been to their primary care provider and multiple specialists; some have even flown around to the best hospitals in the world to seek second, third, fourth, and tenth opinions. They have been told all your labs are “normal,” “it’s all in your head, so take an anti-depressant,” or “try this medication” (even though it comes with a laundry list of undesirable side effects), and “by the way, you will be on that medication until it stops working, then we will add another medication” (with its own list of side effects). In response to asking their doctors if their environment could be hurting them, they have been told “absolutely not.” These patients gave up on medical professionals and got on Dr. Google, read social media posts, scanned blog posts, and watched Netflix documentaries trying to help themselves.
I believe in working together. My job is to help point you in the right direction and give you the tools to heal; your job is to take it one day at a time and make the changes which allow your body to heal.
A typical initial visit lasts about 90 minutes with Dr. Kozlowski and then about 60 minutes with our life coach. Prior to your visit, you will fill out about 40 pages of medical history that Dr. Kozlowski reviews before your visit. Follow up visits can be anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour or longer.
To schedule a visit or if you have any questions please call Yasmine, Dr. Kozlowski’s assistant at 847-626-5758, submit a request on our website: http://www.doc-koz.com, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Appointments are available in person at 333 Haggerty Ln. Bozeman, MT or via telemedicine. Dr. Kozlowski prefers meeting in person, but during this year we have learned that visits can be just as effective via telemedicine as in person.