An Introduction to Functional Medicine Doctor, Dan LaPierrere
Health is wealth.
Have you heard this before? An investment in your health and wellbeing surely has its benefits. But for so many, health only becomes a priority once there’s a problem to be fixed or an issue to be treated, rather than an ongoing relationship to be maintained, nurtured and cultivated through sustained care and attention.
For Dr. Dan LaPerriere, Boulder’s Front Range Functional Medicine doctor, the frustration he felt while working in the conventional medicine system became too much, as he was continuously unable to improve chronic health issues long-term due to lack of time or necessary framework.
Instead of band-aiding chronic health issues, he made it his commitment to support everlasting change and empower his patients through functional medicine.
Functional medicine is an approach to medicine that focuses on health rather than disease. Much of what’s been taught in the United States about health is from a disease-based model, requiring patients to be examined through diagnoses and then treated with prescription medicine.
While medicine can be helpful for some acute illnesses, it usually does not address the underlying cause of chronic problems and perpetuates the need for more powerful medications. For example, many people with Type 2 diabetes do not realize that they can reverse these symptoms and become non-diabetic. There is a common perception that once you have been diagnosed with diabetes you’ll always need medications and insulin, which is not the case; many of LaPerriere’s patients who were once diabetic are now free from diabetes.
After finishing his Family Medicine Residency in 2005, LaPerriere went on to spend 14 months volunteering as a medical director for a clinic in rural Ethiopia before returning to Colorado. The draw to live in an area with cultural opportunity, a progressive attitude, and the great outdoors were enough to land him in Boulder.
When he first discovered functional medicine, he had several patients with complicated Gastrointestinal (GI) issues and had seen an advertisement for a GI Module Course from the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM). Attending this conference opened his eyes to a whole new way of looking at the body and reenergized his passion for medicine.
He saw the importance of shifting the health care narrative from a disease-based model to that of a health-based model. A model that views patients as a complex web of interactions, not a system of separate parts that function independently. [Example: we cannot look at someone with high blood just from a viewpoint of the heart and blood vessels.
Cardiovascular health has many contributing factors such as inflammation, stress, nutrients, gut health, genetics, microbiome, hormones, toxin exposure, and more. LaPerriere’s vast experience of Western and Functional medicine has gifted him with a well-versed understanding of health and wellness, qualifying him to tend to the acute and more emergent needs. In fact, he is one of the few medicinal doctors in Colorado who is a Certified Functional Medicine practitioner through the IFM.
Most recently, he’s thrilled to provide general primary care services to clients for a monthly fee through a new Functional Medicine Direct Primary Care Program using functional medicine principles to improve health. His intent is always to empower people to take control of their health through education and necessary tools so that they can continue reaping the benefits for years to come.