Chronic Illness by Phillip Wade B. Pharm. Post Grd Diplomas: ND (Adv), DBM (Botanical), D ClinicalNutr, DRM. MATMS. ©

What are chronic illnesses and is it possible to recover from them? ©

So what exactly is a chronic illness?

Is it just chronic fatigue, is it being in permanent pain? Is it some vaguely-defined feeling of fatigue, unwellness, perhaps with painful joints or abdominal discomfort, regular headaches, inability to fall pregnant, loss of taste and/or hunger in the mornings, chronic thirst, constipation, irregular bladder-emptying frpm swollen prostate – any or all of which just seem to worsen year by year – often with blood tests showing that I am normal and everything in my body is just “tickety-boo”? Is it osteoporosis, falling hair? is it long Covid? Is it something else? Or any or all of the above or more? Let us explore the options and prevalence.

Official definitions of chronic conditions according to the Australian Health Survey 2018 were:

  • mental and behavioral conditions – 4.8 million people (20.1%)
  • back problems – 4.0 million people (16.4%)
  • arthritis – 3.6 million people (15.0%)
  • asthma – 2.7 million people (11.2%)
  • diabetes mellitus – 1.2 million people (4.9%)
  • heart, stroke and vascular disease –1.2 million people (4.8%)
  • osteoporosis – 924,000 people (3.8%)
  • chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) – 598,800 people (2.5%)
  • cancer – 432,400 people (1.8%)
  • kidney disease – 237,800 people (1.0%)

“Lies, damn lies and…”

Indeed the 2022 survey showed exactly that figure of 81.4% prevalence of all Long Term Illness Illness in Australia.

Before we go there, the Treasury survey found that 46.6% of all Australians have “one or more” chronic illnesses. So I gather that The Health Survey is into double dipping! Boosting fund allocation perhaps?

Finally a nod to statistitians  – “chronic” actually means “long term” and yet the dear old ABS has two separate categories mentioned – “chronic” (from which the above table is copied) and another called “Long Term”. And the above-listed “chronic” illnesses are hand-picked to give the 46.6% but do not include other illnesses such as prostatitis, infertility or many other illnesses – that possibly account for the 81.4% in their other category of “Long Term Illness”. Crazy coincidence perhaps or just another of life’s mysteries?

Apart from the fact that the above add up to a staggering 81% of the population, is recovery from any or all these possible?

My Wholistic approach to Chronic Illness:

 

 

Some clarification

To answer the primary question though, we need to look at each condition individually, treat for the symptoms individually, and then collectively, and see if we ascertain a predisposing pattern of cause.

And if that is evident then see what can be done about the possible major underlying causes first – as we often find that these may produce several different symptoms that clear up along with the obvious ones.

And if that occurs then we can go deeper and see if the condition improves by addressing the cause(s). And as the client “comes good” then whack them on to a maintanance schedule that comprises “foundation nutrition” and immune support, comprising – but not restricted to – natural immune modulators such as specific pro-resolving mediators of various origins including targeted white blood cell nutrition.

AND I might observe that the clue to all this lies in the fact that – as a vast majority of sufferers have more than one chronic illness going on at once – the possibility of identifiable underlying causes may become a probability – even on standard naturopathic exam and progressive in-clinic testing such as live blood viewing, intracellular fluid measurement, weight, waist, standard urine pattern observation, iridology and periodic measurements of blood glucose level.

And that reinforces my hypotheses at least – and that is that the vast majority of chronic illness may be turned around by addressing the underlying cause and not necessarily the illness itself, except in reducing the symptoms while making the patient comfortable while we go about doing just that – treating the root cause.

At lease that’s what we do in my clinic anyway and – I have to say – to the great delight of my clients.

Firstly let’s de-mystify some of these conditions, diseases and syndromes with an example.

Syndromes versus the undefined.

As some of these specific health breakdowns (called syndromes and diseases) have often been discovered by different researchers with often exotic names, some have been given names after those discoverers such as Addison (adrenal), MA Epstein and YM Barr (Glandular Fever virus, herpes, cold sores) and others by what they result in, such as a name describing porous bones (osteoporosis). Others are Parkinson’s, Lou Gehrig, Paget, Alzheimer’s, Grave’s disease, to name a few. Occasionally the word “syndrome” seems to more poetically fit the discoverer’s surname such a Munchausen and Raynaud. Some even have the condition mentioned in the name, like Hashimoto thyroiditis. Some are named after the gland or organ itself, like swollen thyroid (Goitre) and nerve disease or physical outcomes (Multiple Sclerosis, Motor Neurone Disease, Trigeminal Neuralgia). Some transcend the categories (like EBV potential involvement in Glandular Fever, Cold Sores Herpes and Trigeminal Neuralgia). And there are said to be hundreds of other name derivations, according to the “How Stuff Works” website.

Now it’s named you’re stuck with it!

To me, the resultant disease status unwittingly assumes an inevitability once it has been given a name. And that this creates at least a mental, locked-in state and the assumption that no recovery can even be countenanced let alone any potential underlying causes investigated or – God forbid – an actual recovery possible.

One  recent, fabulous medical exception occurred where 2 researchers took a punt – they were Aussies of course! – and took a drug they helped develop to combat melanoma and used it to treat glioma – successfully! This is an example of a molecule being re-purposed when someone finds that while it may have been developed for one specific type of cancer (melanoma) it also works on another. The brave medical adventurers were awarded the great honour of being named Australians of the Year – Georgina Long and Richard Scolyer. And boy – do they ever restore one’s faith in – and offer a stunning example to – the medical profession.

So let’s also question a few sacred cows of “disease”.

Why does fatigue seem such a common factor in many of these? Why is pain an issue in some seemingly identical issues and not others?

And in the brain, damage by infection or possibly by environmental factors such as alcohol, solvents or peroxidated fats and/or pesticide contamination may create specific syndromes that have been discovered variously by such luminaries as Korsikoff, Alzheimer and Lewy. And more recently, their prevention and treatment hypothesised by researcher Dale Bredeson and private researcher and practitioner Phillip Wade (published in the ACNEM Journal 2011).

What causes fatigue?

Probably Epstein Barr virus is the most common offender, until proven otherwise (UnPrO). However, a very clever presentation at a Metagenics seminar in Sydney around 2015 showed evidence that mitochindria were basically being destroyed via an electron-microscope image in a CFS patient, while not in a healthy one. And EBV is on my strong suspect list of being able to do just that. At least, when I treat for EBV amongst other approaches, fatigue would retreat in many patients.

If infection plays some role in a specific or general condition, such as in Jimmy Barnes’ heart condition (where arterial fatty build-up and calcification are also present), can it be prevented or treated with a more targeted approach?

(Getty Images).worried woman - dolorous stock pictures, royalty-free photos & images

First the observation

A good example is the lady in the above picture. She is looking distressed rather than depressed. Fatigued rather than just tired. Hopeless and sorrowful rather than anything else.

That is a look that I see depicted in the clinic regularly. No pharmaceutical antidepressant will cure what is ailing her if I am correct. She looks a lot like clients who have painful fatigue, often combined with low appetite and even lower morale. So what could be doing all those things?

Now the differential diagnosis

Again I have not taken this case, however I have seen this picture in those who are suffering from a fatigue state induced by Epstein Barr virus. The Pain? It comes from this virus attacking myelinated nerves, causing them to register pain as well as poor motility. It also may attack white blood cells leading to poor immune defence. It may also attack the liver/gallbladder system, restricting bile flow and causing unspecified abdominal pain. Finally, it may attack the mitochondrial membrene, robbing her of useful ATP production, causing such inability to flex muscles that she sometimes battles to get out of bed.

Nobody can tell her what is wrong – correction a lot of medical people would tell her that it is “just hormones” and give her anything from antidepressants to HRT.

Other examples

Can osteoporosis be prevented, given that would logically be a cause of back problems and joint pain (along with potentially others of course), now that the ABS has proven from the 2014 Australian Health Survey that calcium derficiency is the Number One cause of Osteoporosis)?

Could a preventable cause(s) be responsible for asthma?

And what about COPD? Surely there are some predisposing conditions that could lead to Dyspnoeas or Apnoeas?

And with Aussie/USA functional medicine model, leaky gut ultimately causes liver congestion, allows for un-metabolised toxins and microbes to re-entre the general circulation that then must confront the kidney. The extreme indicator of these being potentially gut inflammation, liver discomfort and an easily detectable, in-clinic kidney distress, varying from minor to major. This can be identified early, the 3 systems treated as a whole, and much disease potentially prevented.

Common underlying causes

As a pharmacist and a natural therapist, it is my finding that the fundamentals of many eventual syndromes or diseases may have several common underlying causes and that these may be overcome in the main when addressed individually and by using ALL the tools that are available – including published but unfashionable ones such as Frequency Specific Microcurrent. Let me stress here that by treating only one or two of these and other causes will not produce the result that we are after. That is a return to Wellness – as opposed to simply an absence of a particular disease symptom. We may at least be able to restrict the wrong sort of immune antibodies from forming in the first place by using an investigative, preventive and/or corrective approach – and even better, address some other underlying causes that we have found to be common in most of these illnesses – infection.

“Leaky Gut”

According to Gerard Mullen, Ian Brighthope and others such as Dr Lindsay Wing, much of the beginning of “rogue” antibody formation can be found in problems associated with damaged gut mucous membrane, whose “barrier” of mucus covering a single layer of epithelial cells may become compromised, leading to exhaustion by over-challenge of the protective “safety net” of immune cell-laden lymph circulation leading to food allergy of particulates penetrating this layer, subsequent rogue antibody formation, and subsequent inflammatory response to foods. And if this is corrected then inflammatory problems of many types may benefit – including irritable bowel, unexplained diarrhoea, (grade 5 case studies available), Crohns, IBD, the immune cells potentially ultimately attacking self – as in a classic auto-immune disease such as classic Type 1 diabetes or Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Grave’s Disease and Coeliac. It may be helpful to use as long-term maintenance, a composite product developed in our lab, called simply Wade’s Smoothi or another called Supasmoothi.

Epstein Barr Virus

Another possible underlying cause of loss of such glandular and also general nerve – and organ – function is infection often occurring in early years and laying dormant. This aetiology may also be associated with severe fatigue. and an example may be viral infection that is most often associated with Epstein Barr virus.[i]

Occasionally I find a client who has a memory of teenage glandular fever with or without pronounced fatigue, will experience fatigue later on as an adult or older teen. Trigger causes of the fatigue onset may vary but are often related to generally poor immunity, energy and the sudden growth spurt. We use our process of eliminating underlying causes as above as a general roadmap for naturopathic treatment.

And yes – we use  herbal medicine and electronic homoeopathy (FSM) for immediate relief of symptoms and go exploring and possibly needing to treat for leaky gut and undernutrition, for which we use our Smoothi and Winter Mix, as above, if called for. And if a teenager, we remember to treat their poor skin, using a special technique that I picked up with the help of Christine Cooke and her late mother, breakthrough skin researcher, Olivia, working in my office I grandiously called the Sydney Acne Care Centre, located within their skin treatment salon.

And another consideration is sinus infection. This may be picked up randomly or for example from regular experiencing of nocturnal reflux, the residue of which may finish up in the sinuses or middle ears ear via Eustachian tube infiltration. As bacteria or candida may ferment in this residue, so middle ear and brain infection may result, leading to brain dyscrasias featuring as personality disorders, bipolar, anxiety or depression, or even streptococcus or other microbes may circulate into the body and create infections that may be harboured in cartilaginous or connective tissue such as in throat, heart valves, joints etc or even in kidneys, labelled variously as rheumatic fever or similar. And of course the pancreas.

Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) – either from MVAs, sports collisions or shell-shock.

Of course the brain may also be damaged by impact or explosions, leading to loss of physical or mental function. A good example is shell-shock that is now recognised as resulting from a type of brain trauma caused by a nearby shell blast. A good example of this is revealed in memoirs of the late, great Spike Milligan where it was revealed that he got caught by a close mortar shell explosion. After he was patched up he was moved to a psychiatric ward that was full of young men who would of had similar experiences.

The resultant brain damage caused him to have a severe attack of depression when he was exposed to any type of stress at all.

He described his brain of “just going down” on such occasions (from what he said, I gleaned this was from either eustress or distress). Any functional medicine practitioner can immediately identify that this may be an injury to some part of the Limbic system – potentially the amygdala and/or the hippocampus – puls potentially the pituitary and hypothalamus. Lets face it – an explosion compresses the whole brain, especially more so from one side mor than the other, with the fluid-filled ventricles. So how can the brain be damaged internally by external pressure? Easy/ The compressible soft tissue is suddenly jammed up agaist the non-compressible fluid and nearby structures become crushed and may bleed. This may obviously cause damage to those structures. See Professor Dave on the hyperlink to gain a picture of this.

What methods are available to understand such occurrences before end-stage symptoms appear? And what can we do to help?

Of course modern examples are rife with the discovery that repeated head-trauma impacts from body contact sports may cause that same type of depression disorder. Nowadays it has its own name – CTE or Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy.

What I have learnt is that where chronic issues of ill health are concerned, you need to put all possibilities on the table such as the above examples and others, and deal with what concurrent illnesses have developed in your body – perhaps sometimes as a result of the first one and sometimes that you may have another infection or similar that becomes manifest with the major insult?

It is often surprising how easy it is to deal with some of those issues if you look around the world of functional medicine.

Perhaps only in this way can any chronic issue comprising several different causative factors be dealth with for the main illness be shifted, and then other associated conditions be able to self-rectify as normal homoeostasis kicks in.

Type 2 Diabetes.

This may be a good example of a condition that is often associated with “starter” conditions and hence may be considered a complex illness.

To start with it is well accepted these days that this may be a “dietary” disease. But this may be too simple an explanation.

Allow me to give you hear my report of findings of a new client who has present with classic pre-diabetes (Blood Glucose Level (BGL) of 6.3mm/litre ten minutes after a snack and that may typically advance to a BGL of over 7 mm/l of glucose within 90 minutes.

This person had associated conditions of fatigue, daytime drowsiness, joint pain,

[i] http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/symptoms/complications_of_epstein_barr_mononucleosis/dia-betes.htm

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