Beyond Fatigue : The Role of Stealth Infections
Apr 02, 2013 08:28AM
By Dr. Jeanne Bangtson, DC
These days our modern lifestyles are often busy and stressful. Many things can affect our energy levels, from how we eat to how we handle stress. Fatigue can be a sign that there’s a vitamin deficiency, or it can be linked to another medical condition such as adrenal fatigue and/or imbalanced hormones.
One severely overlooked cause of fatigue is adrenal fatigue. The adrenal glands are two small glands above the kidneys that are responsible for the production of hormones that are critical to many body functions and systems, like maintaining blood sugar, managing stress and fatigue, regulating the immune system and inflammatory response, normalizing blood pressure, and regulating our fight or flight response system. Treatment of adrenal fatigue is essential to have success in treating any other form or cause of fatigue, even hypothyroid. To have successful thyroid treatment, six weeks of adrenal treatment prior to thyroid support is advised.
Another common cause of fatigue is hypothyroidism. A thorough thyroid evaluation consists of TSH, free T4, free T3, TPO and rT3, and is vital to understanding the true underlying cause of hypothyroidism. Elevated TPO antibodies would be treated significantly different than just a low T4, which is commonly treated with Synthroid or Armour Thyroid. Again, a thorough evaluation of your adrenals and thyroid will help your response to treatment as well as long term success in eliminating your fatigue.
If the above are done properly, why are so many people still so darned fatigued? If their doctors have been thorough and they have followed all instructions, why are they still feeling they can’t get out of bed with zest or finish a day with enthusiasm? New research is showing that it could possibly be related to underlying viral, bacterial, or parasitic stealth infections.
Over the past decade, we as a society have come to understand that we have created "superbugs" from the overuse of antibiotics, and yet we keep finding that the underlying cause of diseases may be bacteria such as h. pylori as in the underlying cause of stomach ulcers.
What is a Stealth Infection?
"Infection" is usually defined by the presence of "objective" signs, such as fever, blood test (high white count), and X-Rays (such as pneumonia). In such a scenario, most would agree that an infection was present and needs treatment with antibiotics.
The "Stealth" level of presence is controversial as it implies that the organism is essentially undetectable by current methodology. The organism is altering bodily function or can invite other organisms to proliferate. Commonly, there are both chronic and recurrent "acute" cycles of symptoms of varying severity. Visits to the doctor will occasionally reveal "objective" findings, but often not of any magnitude or persistence. Due to this, the patient is usually dismissed with a brush off diagnosis or a diagnosis of anxiety or depression or given some minimal medication to treat the symptoms.
What are the categories for these critters?
They are yeasts, bacteria, spirochetes, and parasites, which change the way they look, hide, and attack via various techniques and patterns.
How did they get so "stealth"? Understanding how organisms go stealth is a relatively new and growing science. Some of these concepts are accepted by mainstream medicine and some are not. For example:
Biofilm: A structure which colonies of organisms build around themselves. This structure is constructed of various minerals, compounds, heavy metals, etc. that allow the organisms to hide from detection as well as resist attack by the body and by antibiotics. This is documented well in the film "Why Am I Still Sick?"
Cell Wall Deficient Forms: Certain bacteria and other organisms shed their outer coat so they may not be recognized by the immune system.
Due to its heat and humid climate, Florida is a breeding ground for these stealth viruses, bacterial, and molds/yeasts.
Some Signs and Symptoms of Stealth Infections:
Fatigue – which is unrelenting and has no apparent physical source
Brain Fog/ Dysfunction
Mal-absorption of Nutrients
Hormonal Imbalance – which does not respond to treatment
Chronic Constipation/Recurrent Diarrhea
Treatment of Stealth Infections:
Treatment requires a comprehensive program and must be inclusive of numerous approaches which can include probiotics, digestive support, homeopathic and herbal microbials, pharmaceuticals, biofilm, and pH products. The whole body approach must include detoxification, adrenal and hormone support, balancing, reduction of oxidative stress, structural support, and treating the body as a whole with stress reduction, spiritual and emotional support.
Millennium Health and Wellness uses a team approach to enhance the patient’s progress along with utilization of multiple modalities and medical specialties, from traditional medical approaches to muscle testing (known as Applied Kinesiology) as many of these "stealth infections" are difficult to diagnose through traditional means. End Result: Getting your life back and living a fulfilling life of purpose and passion.
For more information and to make an appointment, contact Millennium Health and Wellness, 10033 9th Street North, Suite 300, St. Petersburg, 727-541-2675. See ad page 4.