Other Conditions and Chronic Disease
Heavy Metal Toxicity/ Chronic Fatigue/Fibromyalgia/ Chronic Infections/Biotoxin and Mold Related Illness
Many individuals suffer with syndromes for which there are not good explanations or treatments in our Western medical system. These have a huge impact on quality of life, family life, and ability to work. With a functional medicine approach we are able to look at and address many areas that contribute to the symptoms of these syndromes including: lifestyle/dietary influences, nutritional deficiencies, toxic exposures, oxidative stressors, immune system dysregulation, and chronic infections.
■ Heavy metal toxicity
Heavy metal toxicity is present in persons living in the United States. We are surrounded by heavy metals in the soil, in our drinking water, foods, older dental fillings, and in the everyday products we use. If we are exposed to excess amounts of these metals and/or have impaired ability to detoxify these metals high levels of them can build up in the blood and in the organs. Heavy metal toxicity can affect the brain and central nervous system, cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal system, kidney, liver, endocrine glands, and others.
Some examples of heavy metal are the following:
■ Chronic fatigue syndrome
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is a complex disorder defined by severe fatigue with no apparent underlying cause. While the feeling of fatigue will get worse with increased physical or mental exertion, it does not disappear with rest. CFS may sometimes be referred to as systemic exertion intolerance disease (SEID) or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME).
Fibromyalgia, or fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS), is a disorder characterized by widespread pain in the entire body. Other symptoms include:
1. increased sensitivity to pain
3. muscle stiffness
5. problems with mental processes (memory and focus)
7. irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
■ Chronic low grade infections including Lyme disease
There are some infections that stay within our body but which are generally kept in check by the immune system so as not to cause ongoing harm. This is seen for example with the virus that causes chicken pox. It lives dormant in the spinal cord but can surface during periods of increased stress resulting in an outbreak of Shingles.
Viruses such as the Epstein Barr virus that causes mononucleosis, the spirochetal infection that causes Lyme disease and many other infections can lay dormant in out system evading the immune system. These can resurface at a time when there is a dysfunction within the body and cause ongoing an inflammatory response.
■ Mold toxicity
Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome can result from exposure to water damaged buildings. This is a multi-system illness mediated by a persistent innate immune inflammatory response.
Symptoms of mold illness include: fatigue, headache, memory and concentration difficulty, joint pain, tingling, shortness of breath, excess thirst, abdominal pain, and vertigo.
Vulnerability to mold toxicity is present in about 25% of the population. 2% have genes that render them highly susceptible to disabling symptoms from prolonged or recurrent exposure to biotoxins.