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Medical Error 3rd Leading Cause of Death in US – so remind me, why do we go to doctors?

This breaking news makes an interesting update as it’s not the first time that doctor-caused death has been flagged as a leading cause, JAMA (Journal of American Medical Association) reported this in 2000. The problem, however, is that very often medical intervention is not noted as cause of death because a disease or condition is what is referenced … because of the issue of liability?

The medical professional has an enormous amount of skills and knowledge that it can provide for us in times of need, but have you placed too much responsibility for your health in the hands of your doctor, expecting a magic pill or curative surgery to solve all your health problems?

Think about who you might be asking for help from.

A recent poll conducted in Britain by PureGym and reported in the Times of India found that:

– doctors are one of the most unlikely professions to exercise, almost twenty five per cent of doctors admitted to doing no exercise;

-doctors work and live with the least amount of sleep;

-doctors are often expected to work through a whole day without a sit-down meal.

Also, it’s estimated that one in six doctors are addicted to drugs or alcohol at some point in their career, a UK study found in 2015. (The BMA (British Medical Association) has also called for action to be taken on this.) It is estimated that doctors are three times more like than the rest of us to have cirrhosis of the liver, which is a sign of serious liver damage.

Finally, doctors have a significantly higher suicide rate than the general population – they have been estimated to be more than twice as likely to kill themselves.

For me, health is about feeling alive and vital through a good diet and lifestyle that doesn’t mean boring. After all, you have feed the soul as much as you nourish the body, so a glass of wine or some chips aren’t off the menu!
Being healthy is not about feeling drugged, sluggish and suffering with side effects. Drugs don’t cure, they mask and modulate symptoms. Many chronic conditions, such as Type II diabetes can be reversed with a sound natural health approach. People think that diabetes is just a sugar condition that can be treated with pills, but did you know that diabetes is the leading cause of amputation?

Taking drugs to ‘cure’ a health condition is just like eating sweets all the time when you’re hungry and expecting them to provide the nutrition your body needs. Food for thought?

Wishing you well

xx

Pain All Over. Fibromyalgia – can it be helped?

Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is a condition, not a disease, and there is general consensus that it is a stress related condition without a specifically identifiable cause. However, we have to remember that stress is cumulative over your lifetime and over the years it affects you on physical (eg illness and trauma), mental and emotional (eg relationships, financial, work-related) levels. But, I can’t write a lengthy piece discussing what it is and how it may happen so I’m going to highlight some hormone health areas that are likely to be closely associated and can certainly contribute to the experience of this painful and debilitating condition.

Adrenal Function – it’s all about stress

The experience of stress impacts adrenal function and as we go through life our threshold, or tolerance, may start to diminish. This, in turn, means that our resilience in life is depleted and tension (physical and mental) will start to increase and this process can manifest with the development of depression, anxiety, sleep problems and muscular aches or pain. All of these problems will contribute to the experience of stress (physical, mental and emotional) and all of which will form a downward spiral unless it can be addressed effectively. Please don’t think that I am advocating a solution of anti-depressants and sleeping tablets because I’m not. These drugs do not resolve the issues, they merely mask them but perhaps can sometimes make day-to-day life more tolerable.

I advocate adrenal function support as an essential part of any recovery program and this has to address the underlying dysfunction as well as the stress and its symptoms, depression and anxiety, disturbed sleep and the manifestation of muscular pain.

Thyroid Hormone Form & Function

Another key area is whether the thyroid hormones are at a good level and are able to function effectively. The functional aspect is not one addressed by medicine because medicine views health from the reductionist level of individual biomarkers: hormones, enzymes, proteins, etc and their levels. We have to stand back and view the bigger picture so that we can assess how hormones may be able to function, not just as a level in a test result!

If you have adrenal dysfunction and sex hormone imbalances (FMS is known to impact women much more frequently than men), your thyroid hormones may not be able to convert properly and/or may not be able to connect with tissue effectively. This will essentially produce a functional hypothyroid state that your doctor will not identify through TSH and fT4 testing and levels may well be completely normal. However, low cortisol and/or sex hormones will result in poor tissue responses. In other words your thyroid hormone is unable to connect with its receptors to do its work. What are symptoms of low thyroid function?   … trouble sleeping, fatigue, depression, anxiety, joint and muscle pain, to name a few. The problem of chronic generalised muscular pain being related to thyroid system dysfunction is well documented – there is a journal article as far back as 1959 (1) as well as more recent research in 2008 (2).

Another hormone area that is worth briefly reviewing is the serotonin pathway. Serotonin is an important neurotransmitter (type of hormone) and Russell has been a dedicated researcher of its relationship with FMS publishing a number of papers. It was in 1992 that he published specifically on low serotonin levels being closely related to increased perception of pain (3).

So, this too makes interesting reading as low serotonin can also contribute to low mood, or depression and anxiety. Good serotonin levels can also be supportive of better sleep quality too! If you go into the evening time of the day feeling more centred and less depressed or anxious, it will contribute to feeling less stressed (stress increases cortisol and keeps the mind active and will suppress the secretion of melatonin, your sleep hormone). Serotonin also converts to melatonin to support better quality sleep. It’s a much more rounded, or systems-based approach to supporting sleep, rather than using a benzo-based drug. A useful, more naturally way of boosting serotonin and melatonin level is to work with 5-HTP, a plant based amino acid that converts to serotonin with results that can be seen within a week if used properly.  (Do not use this if you are on antidepressants.)

In my opinion, having a multi-pronged approach to FMS, that naturally and safely supports your body’s systems, has a much higher chance of success than simply ‘pressing’ individual hormone ‘buttons’ that often, in themselves, will never provide an effective solution.

Wishing you well

allysig

 

 

 

 

References

1 Wilson, J, Walton, JN. Some muscular manifestations of hypothyroidism. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 1959 Nov;22:3204

2 Sbrocchi AM, Chédeville G, Scuccimarri R, Duffy CM, Krishnamoorthy P. Pediatric hypothyroidism presenting with a polymyositislike syndrome and increased creatinine: report of three cases. J Pediatr Endocrinol Metab. 2008 Jan;21(1):8992

3 Russell IJ, Michalek JE, Vipraio GA, et al. Platelet 3H-imipramine uptake receptor density and serum serotonin levels in patients with fibromyalgia/fibrositis syndrome. J Rheumatol 1992;19:104-109. 

You’re not ‘crazy’ it’s your hormones!

 

 

News out today is that in the UK mental health issues such as stress, depression and anxiety are now affecting 25% of us and that three quarters of those affected receive no help.

Mental and emotional health factors are often part of my clinics because hormone health can have a massive impact on how you are able to respond to and deal with stress as well as the experience of ongoing depression or anxiety.  However, it also has to be said that in my experience antidepressant medication is offered and prescribed as readily as antibiotics, i.e. for no real clinical reason and the message about antibiotics is being stressed to GPs.

Talking therapies are also all well and good if there is an underlying need for discussion and understanding of self in relation to past events, but these therapies’ progress can be seriously hampered by tired adrenals (your stress glands), poor thyroid hormone function and/or mood swings and irritability during the menstrual cycle:

– tired adrenals reduce your ability to cope and will impact thyroid hormone function.  (Low thyroid is known to be a cause of depression and anxiety and this is not a factor that your GP can pick up with the limited testing that is the standard.);

– stressed adrenals will also reduce your ability to cope and give you increased irritability, feelings of anxiety, inability to think and remember, as well as interfere with sleep and have you reaching for comfort foods.  This is related to high cortisol (stress hormone), which is known to cause depression and anxiety;

– mood swings and increased irritability premenstrually are due to oestrogen dominance and this is a problem that can be really severe.  PMS can impact the quality of your life so much that it leads to negative feelings and a sense of hopelessness and being out of control that is severely debilitating.

You may not have ‘mental health’ issues, you know, balancing your hormones naturally and sustainably can really help you to avoid a possible lifetime battling your feelings and being dependent on medication that numbs who you really are.  I have worked with people who have lost relationships, jobs and businesses as well as a woman who used her hormone report to prevent being ‘sectioned’ and woman who asked her psychiatrist when she was better and off the drugs, “Why didn’t you tell me it was my hormones?”  

In good health,