What is Functional Medicine? - TLC The Littleton Clinic

What is Functional Medicine?

When patients ask us what kind of medicine Dr. Hopp practices, we are often met with one question in particular: what exactly is functional medicine?

Functional medicine is a proactive, collaborative, science-based model of medicine that seeks to identify the root cause of symptoms.


Much of traditional medicine is reactive in nature. That is to say, many times a symptom is identified, and that symptom is treated (often with medications). Functional medicine practitioners work to act proactively looking at the big picture of disease, identifying the root causes of symptoms and working preventatively to stop chronic sickness before it becomes worse.

One of the primary focuses of functional medicine is looking at the root cause of disease and treating accordingly. One example is hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure. Many patients will go to the doctor, their blood pressure will be elevated, and then medication will be prescribed to help control this. Over years, the dose may be increased to respond to persistently elevated blood pressure readings.

The symptom is treated, but what about what is causing the symptom? What is this person eating on a daily basis? Are they exercising? How about stress? Could there be a contribution to this condition by some sort of nutritional deficiency? There is more to the story that needs to be gathered and addressed. When we ask you to start your story at the beginning, we mean it! Yes, your health as a baby, child and adolescent matters for you today – it’s important to look at the big picture.

When treating patients, we go beyond the “this for that” mentality. If you have “that” condition, it’s not as simple as prescribing “this” medication. Many medications can be helpful and may be necessary for various health concerns. But, medications are prescribed in the context of a larger treatment plan that may include lifestyle adjustments and supplements.


Functional medicine requires an in-depth approach that includes both doctor and patient as co-creators in health! Some issues are complicated and demand a certain level of effort from everyone involved. The journey to better health requires a partnership. We will work to craft an individualized treatment plan to treat your specific health concerns, and in turn we ask you to work hard and assume a level of responsibility towards health as well. Click here to read more about our commitment to “Embracing the Challenge.”


As The Institute for Functional Medicine says, “Functional medicine practitioners are early adopters of innovative knowledge and practices.” The treatment methods used are on the cutting-edge and are scientifically-based. Many years can pass between the discovery and implementation of medical advances. Functional Medicine practitioners can help to “reduce that gap by using solid scientific foundation to translate breakthroughs in scientific understanding into clinical practice in real-time.” (from ifm.org)

The Benefits

A systems-based, systematic and personalized approach to your health not only is effective, but it saves money too! As healthcare costs are increasing and patient outcomes are ultimately becoming worse, there is a clear problem that exists. Functional medicine may be part of the answer. By identifying the root cause of disease and treating accordingly, it saves you money from expensive hospital visits, medications that might not be helpful, or other costly long-term medical interventions.

We believe in what we do, and think it can help you too. If you think functional medicine may be right for you, please call our front desk to schedule an appointment at 720-351-2411.

Learn more about functional medicine at the website for the Institute for Functional Medicine (IFM) at www.ifm.org.