Chronic illness is becoming more and more common in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC, 2018), “One in two adults in the U.S. has a chronic disease, and one in four adults has two or more.” This means that half the U.S. population is suffering from chronic illness. If it wasn’t so prevalent in years past, why is chronic illness becoming such a huge problem today? Let’s explore chronic illness including what it is, examples, symptoms, causes, and how it can be addressed naturally.
What Is Chronic Illness?
Chronic illness is defined differently by different entities. The CDC states the following: “Chronic diseases are defined broadly as conditions that last 1 year or more and require ongoing medical attention or limit activities of daily living or both.” Interestingly not too long ago, the CDC defined it as a condition lasting 3 months or more, so even in recent years the definition has changed within the same organization. Others define chronic illness more generally. Frontiers in Public Health, a journal published in the National Institutes of Health US National Library of Medicine defines chronic disease more broadly:
“Rather than adhering to a specific list of diseases and a specified time period, we advocate for a simpler approach. According to Merriam Webster, “chronic” is something that is “continuing or occurring again and again for a long time.” Using this simpler view, we would exclude something like a broken leg as a chronic condition, but would include recurring lower back pain, or hormone-related migraine headaches, for example.”
Regardless of the definition, many people suffer from chronic illness and may not be finding solutions within the conventional medical community.
Common Examples of Chronic Illness
Some of the most common chronic illness may include, but are not limited to the following:
- Alzheimer’s Disease
- Autism Spectrum Disorders
- Autoimmune Disease
- Celiac Disease
- Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Chronic Migraines
- Gastrointestinal Disorders
- Heart Disease
- Hepatitis (Viral B and C)
- High blood pressure (Hypertension)
- Lyme Disease
- Neurological Disorders
- Schizophrenia and Other Mental Disorders
- Thyroid Disease
Symptoms of Chronic Illness
Symptoms of chronic illness can range from brain fog to general malaise, to chronic fatigue, to cancer. Each person’s body reacts differently to the underlying cause of the chronic condition and the resulting symptoms vary widely. What is important for each patient to know is that there is an underlying cause to their chronic condition, it is real, and conventional medicine may not address the underlying cause but rather the symptoms. The only way to actually eradicate a chronic illness is to find out the root cause and address that.
Here is a list of some of the symptoms of chronic illness:
- Bone/Joint Stiffness
- Brain fog
- Chronic fatigue
- Chronic Pain
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Gastrointestinal reflux disease (GERD)
- Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
- Menstrual cramps
- Overall achiness
- Pelvic pain
- Poor sleep due to pain and other sleep disorders
Causes of Chronic Illness
The CDC identifies the following as risk factors for chronic disease:
- Tobacco Use
- Secondhand Smoke
- Poor Nutrition
- Lack of Physical Activity
- Excessive Alcohol Use
Certainly these factors could cause or contribute to chronic illness. However did you also know that for example, the incidence of Lyme disease increased by 57% from 2003 to 2013, rising to 11.62 new cases per 100,000 people? (CDC, 2015) This statistic is alarming and we are seeing more and more patients who never suspected they could have Lyme disease, coming back positive on their Lyme disease tests.
At LifeWorks Wellness Center we believe that there are three main causes of chronic illness:
- Deficiency: The body needs something it doesn't have. This could be a vitamin or mineral deficiency or other nutritional deficiency.
- Toxicity: The body has something that it shouldn't have. This could be a low grade chronic infection, Lyme disease, chemicals or pesticides present in the body, or heavy metal toxicity.
- Allergy: The body is allergic to something, meaning it has a reaction to something that it should not have. Allergies cause inflammation and inflammation is an underlying cause of disease. Many people don’t realize food allergies are a main cause of chronic illness.
In addition, genetics may play a role in that each of us may be more susceptible to one of the three main causes than others.
Possible Causal Factors in Chronic Disease
Following is a list of possible underlying causes of chronic illness from these three categories that we have identified:
- Autoimmune diseases
- Bacterial infections
- Candida overgrowth
- Epstein Barr Virus
- Excessive sugar consumption
- Food allergies
- Gastrointestinal Disorders
- Heavy metal toxicity
- Hormonal changes
- Lack of quality sleep
- Leaky gut syndrome
- Lyme Disease
- Misalignment of the spine
- Mold, pesticides, and environmental toxins
- Physical or emotional trauma
- Poor nutrition
- Stressful lifestyles
- Thyroid imbalances
- Viral infections
How We Treat Chronic Illness at LifeWorks
We believe that discovering and treating the underlying cause for the chronic condition is the only workable solution. Often the resulting symptoms or disease are caused by a deficiency, toxicity, or allergy.
At LifeWorks Wellness Center one of our doctors meets with you to determine exactly what you suffer from, and then does a thorough examination and testing to determine the underlying cause(s). From there an individualized plan of treatment is developed to move you down the road to healing and better health.
For more information and to schedule an appointment with our expertly trained doctors, call us at our Clearwater clinic at 727-466-6789 or submit an online patient inquiry.
More About Chronic Illness
Most people today realize that their enjoyment and their quality of life largely depends on their own health and well-being. Who doesn’t want to live a healthy, vibrant life? Today we have access to more information than ever before and people are using that information to be more proactive in their diet, exercise and lifestyle choices
Do you suffer from chronic pain? Are you looking for help and don’t know where to turn? Have you gone from doctor to doctor seeking help but were dismissed or given pain pills and other medications to mask your symptoms?
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is recognized by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as a defined clinical condition. CFS usually manifests as extreme tiredness or fatigue which cannot be remedied with sleep. Symptoms often intensify after physical exertion and a person with CFS is usually very inhibited in the activities they can undertake.
Chronic Illness Testimonials
LifeWorks Wellness Center's patient, Kelley, talks about how she lived with chronic pain for years until she was correctly diagnosed with Lyme Disease.
LifeWorks Wellness Center's patient Sue, tells us how she came to LifeWorks to get help with her inflammation.
Within the first month of treatment I was feeling so much better thatI started to do more things.
Craig’s Life Changing Adrenal Fatigue Success Story*
I will start by saying that what I say here is 100% true and honest. I say this because what I am about to say is so dramatic and life changing, the same as getting and being sick for the last number of years had been.
Cassie's Lyme Disease Treatment Success*
I came to Dr. Minkoff after being sick for over 15 years and diagnosed as depressed, chronic fatigue and fibromyalgia.
Successfully Treating & Healing Chronic Health Conditions*
When I first arrived at Lifeworks about a year ago, I was actually in denial regarding my chronic health problems which began over 27 years ago. I was exhausted most of the time, unable to walk more than 5 minutes every other day without crashing, severe food allergies...
Chronic Depression Gone*
I thank God and you for the great help you have given me. You bought joy into my life again.Since May of 2007, I was suffering from chronic depression, loss of weight, lack of hunger, sleeping problems.
Chronic Fatigue/Digestive Issues*
When I came to LifeWorks I had chronic fatigue and digestive issues. I have now been doing treatments for 3 weeks and have seen improvements in both areas.
Doctor’s Videos on Chronic Illness
Dr. David Minkoff talks about Inflammation.
Dr. Springer talks about Environmental Toxins
LifeWorks' Medical Director, Dr. Minkoff talks about cancer prevention.
*Disclaimer: Individual patient results may vary based on a patient's medical history and other factors.