You’re tired. You feel crappy all the time. You have pain that doesn’t make sense. You’ve seen a number of healthcare practitioners including a couple of specialists who did some testing, but provided no real answers.
Maybe you were told that your health issues are from stress. Or they’re age-appropriate, but on some level you don’t accept that. Someone said it was primarily psychological, but you know there’s more to it than that.
You read on the Internet it might be your thyroid. A friend thinks you could have chronic Lyme disease. The people around you eventually turn a deaf ear, half because they don’t want to hear the complaints and half because they feel powerless to help you. Eventually, you wonder yourself if it’s all in your head.
This blog will take you through a series of steps with the goal of restoring your health to where it should have been all along. The hope also is that this can be done as efficiently as possible incurring as little out of pocket expense as possible. It’s difficult enough to be ill, but frustrations are compounded if you see someone, pay a thousand dollars for tests, get diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease and then, after you go on five supplements and three antibiotics for a year, find out that mold biotoxin illness (a.k.a. CIRS) was your primary issue after all.
Step 1: See your primary care doctor and maybe a specialist or two to assess for some of the common contributors and also to evaluate for the unlikely possibility that you have a serious underlying cause for your chronic health issues. Mainstream practitioners are not generally trained to sort out complex scenarios involving multiple systems, but they are exquisitely well trained to rule out serious health conditions.
Step 2: Avoid wheat, cow milk dairy, alcohol and processed sugar for at least 2 weeks and preferably 4 weeks. You can pursue variations of a Paleo diet, Whole 30, the South Beach Diet or others. For some of you, this alone will be enough to dramatically improve your health. There are innumerable options to clarify which food types are playing the greatest role including food sensitivity testing through labs like KBMO (cost about $250) or going through the process outlined in the book The Plan or by working with a functional nutritionist.
Step 3: Go through a detoxification program. The best I’ve seen is an 8-week program described by Joseph Pizzorno in his book The Toxin Solution. He may be the world’s foremost authority on how toxins affect our health. Cost of the book is about $10.
Step 4: Do an analysis through complexhealthsolutions.com. This algorithm-based machine learning system takes 10-12 minutes to complete with a cost of $29 for the basic analysis. The system makes predictions regarding the most likely root causes for your chronic health issues. It currently assesses for 30 different issues including an underactive thyroid, adrenal problems, low testosterone, mineral deficiencies, CIRS, limbic system dysfunction, mast cell activation, tick-borne infections, heavy metal toxicity, systemic Candida overgrowth, immune dysfunction/imbalance and others. This analysis does not replace the judgment of a qualified practitioner, but is meant to support decision-making regarding which areas should be investigated and addressed.
Step 5: Set up a visit with a practitioner that has an integrative perspective and bring in the complex health solutions analysis for them to review. This person might be a naturopath, a functional medicine provider or other. Preferably, the next aspect of management is objective testing to clarify which issues need attention. Some root causes, however, like limbic system dysfunction, don’t have a test available and others, like chronic parasites, often have falsely negative results. Collaborate with that provider and develop a plan going forward. Follow that plan as closely as possible.
Step 6: Recheck Complex Health Solutions in 3-4 month to check on the overall Illness Score and to see how the rankings have changed. If your overall Illness Score decreases from 45 to 25, progress is obviously being made. If the Score is about the same, then the plan likely needs adjustment.
The majority of you that work through these steps will find success and improve your health. Every health problem or symptom has an underlying cause and this means the answers are out there. Don’t give up.
Andrew Lenhardt, MD