Dr. Force

One In Five!: A Common Cause For Chronic Illnesses

One in five people seeking healthcare from a family practitioner have this cause for their condition! It is the “elephant in the room” that few doctors see or even know to look for.

Peer-review medical research concludes – 20% of people seeking healthcare in a family practice setting have this as primary cause or significant contributing factor for their illness.

People in this group tend to have multiple illnesses that tend to be poorly diagnosed and typically respond poorly to care – chronic, complex, unresponsive illnesses.

Most doctors don’t know how to look for, find, or treat this cause for so many illnesses and so much suffering.

Symptoms of the Mystery

Common symptoms of this problem include muscle and joint soreness and aching, fatigue, foggy-headedness, feeling gloomy/anxious, waking up tired, intestinal problems, and headaches.

This cause for chronic illness tends to create a complex pattern of long-term and ongoing symptoms that often defy a clear diagnosis and are often diagnosed as migraine headaches, irritable bowel syndrome, depression, and chronic fatigue or fibromyalgia syndromes.

It is common to have on-going and intermittent “stomach” problems with no apparent trigger. The question “What did I eat that caused this?” often goes unanswered. Consulting with your doctor may lead to inconclusive results. Many times your symptoms are assumed to be allergies, but testing doesn’t confirm them.

There are typically symptoms far from the intestinal tract – headaches, irritation in the sinuses, throat and lungs, rashes, and hives.

There can even be psychological/emotional problems such as depression, anxiety, mental exhaustion, attention deficits, hyperactivity, and obsessive behaviors.

Naming the Elephant in the Room

The “elephant” goes by a number of names – multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS), environmental illness/sensitivity, food intolerance/sensitivity, leaky gut syndrome, central sensitization, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia syndrome, and a long list of others.

Beyond these diagnoses, though, is the common cause – chemical intolerance (CI) due to inadequate breakdown of chemicals, both naturally occurring and man-made, in our food and environment. Reactions to perfumes, air fresheners, paint, upholstery, plastics, mold, and new carpet are examples. Food additives, especially artificial colors, flavors, and sweeteners (i.e. MSG, red dye, NutraSweet) commonly trigger reactions in people who have CI. The aldehydes naturally occurring in fermented foods (vinegar, cheese, wine, etc.) and phenolic compounds in vegetables, fruits, and nuts, healthy as they inherently are, can cause suffering for those with CI.

How to solve chemical intolerance? A much too complicated topic for this small space – go to drforce.com/chemical-intolerance for that part of the story.

Reference: Chemical intolerance in primary care settings: prevalence, comorbidity, and outcomes, Annals of family medicine, 2012

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