How to know when you have a chronic illness

????????????????????????????????What does it mean to have a chronic illness? You may have heard that term used, but not know fully what it meant. Today, we’ll talk about some of the symptoms and signs of chronic illness, and discuss when to consult a health care provider to find whole-body and whole-life wellness solutions.

Generally speaking, any disease that is a long-term condition can be categorized as a chronic illness. Heart disease, diabetes, and cancer all qualify as a chronic illness. But chronic illnesses may also be categorized by a cluster of ongoing symptoms of poor health that are unexplained, or seem to go away temporarily and then recur repeatedly.

For example, all of the following can be categorized as chronic illness conditions:

  • Ongoing, unexplained fatigue;
  • Muscle soreness unrelated to activity levels
  • Joint paint;
  • Skin disorders;
  • Mental issues, such as fogginess or memory problems;
  • Symptoms of illness that last for more than a year; and
  • Unresolved health issues that don’t seem to respond to treatment.

What causes chronic illness? The causes can be varied. It may have to do with underlying allergies, infection, lifestyle issues, or other problems. A qualified healthcare provider can help you find the cause and solutions.

So, what can you do if you suspect that you may have a chronic health issue? We recommend that you see a holistic health provider. It is important to treat the whole body as an interconnected system, rather than simply seeking to solve issues that crop up.

Promoting the health of the body takes a complete approach to lifestyle, nutrition, addressing physical activity levels and sleep quality, and looking for any allergies or intolerances. It makes no difference if you treat the symptoms, if you allow ongoing problems like stress, lack of rest, or poor eating habits to cause continued issues overall.

What can you do? We recommend that, if you are concerned about your symptoms, that you visit a doctor and holistic wellness provider that can test you for issues and help you to find appropriate treatment.

If that sounds like the case for you or someone you love, please reach out to us. Visit us online to learn more and feel free to reach out with any questions. We offer holistic wellness solutions.

What is normal during the aging process? You don’t have to feel sick and tired

Elderly woman running with her golder retrieverDo you have concerns about aging? Many people do. But the aging process doesn’t have to be the end of vitality, feeling good, or enjoying good health. In fact, it’s NOT normal to feel sick and tired as we age – despite what popular culture would tell you. An aging adult doesn’t ever have to be “over the hill.”

In fact, aging is just another stage of life. Our bodies change to adapt. In fact, there may even be some advantages. So, what symptoms are often attributed to aging that aren’t part of the normal, healthy aging process? Read on for a list. None of the symptoms below are necessarily caused by aging. Instead, they may be symptoms of underlying health issues.

Fatigue – Tired all of the time? That’s not normal, even when you’re older. Fatigue is a sign of illness. See a doctor, and try examining your lifestyle to see if the fatigue is due to lack of sleep, exercise, chronic stress, poor nutrition, or infection.

Weight gain – A lot of us assume that weight gain is a part of aging. But, it’s not! You might be losing muscle mass, but only if you’re inactive. You can maintain a healthy weight and metabolism with exercise, and good nutrition.

Pain – You don’t have to accept pain as part of the aging process. Achy joints can often be improved with physical activity and therapies, for example. If you’re in pain, see an integrative medicine practitioner.

Memory issues – Did you know that poor memory can be caused by inflammation? We can help you find solutions to fogginess.

Illness – Getting sick is not a part of healthy aging. You can take good care of yourself, and find ways to manage your health and wellbeing. Finding a practitioner that takes a holistic approach is key.

Surprised? Don’t be. All of the issues outlined above can be treated with a holistic, integrative approach. Often, all that is needed are lifestyle changes. You can learn more about how to take better care of your body, and reap the results in increased wellness.

In fact, aging can sometimes lead to wisdom about what does and doesn’t work for you. Perhaps you are finding out more about you personal allergies, intolerances, and other needs. Or, maybe after a lifetime of ignoring stress and other lifestyle factors, you’re finally taking into account what does and doesn’t work for you – and setting healthy boundaries.

When you think about it that way, aging can be a healthy process of gaining self knowledge about how to best care for your body and your life. You can take charge, and even find ways to be in better health than you were when you were younger!

Here are some healthy ways to promote good health as you age, and learn more about what works for you.

  1. Really key-in to how much sleep you need. Most of us have been trained to try to skimp on sleep. Instead, take the time to determine how much you need to feel your best. Good sleep is essential for maintaining good health.
  2. As we age, it becomes important to pay attention to how we feel after meals. Paying attention to feelings of fullness, and recognizing how we feel in the time after we eat, can help us tune in to allergies, imbalances, and other issues we may have pushed through or ignored when we were younger.
  3. Get more exercise. Even just walking helps. Regular physical activity is best for both body and mind. You have to stay engaged to keep moving (so to speak) into your best health at any age.
  4. Manage stress. Aging often brings self knowledge. It’s important now, more than perhaps ever, to draw healthy boundaries and limits. You must prioritize self care.

Also, know your body. Unexplained symptoms should never be ignored. If you are feeling unwell, it’s worth a trip to visit your trusted provider to rule out issues and find holistic solutions.

At Proactive Wellness, we will provide a complete screening and counseling at each step to help facilitate normal, healthy aging at each step of the process. If you have any questions, we will run tests and give you full screenings to rule out any issues and prevent a progressive worsening and risk to your long-term health.

If you have any questions about your health please don’t hesitate to give us a call! Check out our website for more information, as well. We want to partner with you to find solutions that work, and help you to live your most active, healthy life – even as you age.

‘Ticked Off’: Do you have Lyme disease?

87849470 - closeup of a tick on a finger.Are you dealing with unexplained fatigue, muscle aches, memory loss and mental fogginess, or other unexplained symptoms? The issue could be Lyme disease.

What are the signs and symptoms of Lyme disease? It’s important to know the answer, because left untreated Lyme disease, can cause serious and debilitating illness and disability. Symptoms can mimic those of stroke, painful cases of arthritis, chronic illness, and issues that lead to a loss of proper brain function. But early diagnosis and treatment can reduce the risk, and preserve your health.

Not sure you’re at risk? Chances are, the possibility you might be exposed is greater than you might expect. According to the experts at the Centers for Disease Control, the incidence of confirmed cases of Lyme disease has climbed dramatically in the last few years. A recent study shows that cases increased more than 80% from 2004-2016, from 19,804 to 36,429.

So, what exactly IS Lyme disease? It’s a cluster of symptoms and illness caused by the transmission of a harmful bacteria, Borrelia burgdorferi, through the bite of a black-legged or deer tick.

What are the symptoms? Lyme disease can feel like a summer cold or flu, without the respiratory symptoms. A person might feel fatigue, fever, chills, muscle aches, joint pain, and swollen lymph nodes. Left untreated, symptoms can progress to include:

  • Heart palpitations, or irregular heartbeats;
  • Severe headaches and/or neck stiffness, and sometimes inflammation of the brain and spinal cord;
  • Joint pain and stiffness that feels like severe arthritis, and/or shooting pains;
  • Numbness and/or tingling in the hands and feet;
  • Rashes; and
  • Loss of muscle tone or “drooping” on one side of the face.

Even worse, when left untreated Lyme disease can lead to ongoing health issues that can include mental confusion, sleep disturbances, and severe fatigue.

So, how do you know if you’ve been exposed, or if you have Lyme disease? It can be difficult to tell, primarily because sometimes the first symptoms may show up weeks after you (or your pet) have been bitten. Moreover, ticks can be the size of a poppy seed — which makes them really hard to spot.

If you do develop symptoms, including redness at the bite site that looks like a bullseye, or find a tick on your skin or clothes, you should have your doctor run tests to be sure. Many early cases can be cleared with antibiotics.

How are people exposed? Often people take precautions when they go hiking, camping, hunting, or do other planned outdoor activities. They wear long sleeves, and maybe even bug spray. But experts are finding that most people are exposed to tick bites in their own backyard, while doing yard work, gardening, or just playing outside. Pets are another source of exposure. Often, ticks will hitch a ride on your dog — leaving you vulnerable to bites and transmission of the disease.

Again, it’s possible to contract Lyme disease and not know for months after exposure. It’s worth your health to explore all of the possibilities if you’re experiencing unexplained symptoms.

Be aware, that the accuracy of blood tests can vary based on the timing of your exposure. So, if you haven’t yet developed antibodies in your blood to the infection, the test could come back negative. Ongoing treatment and screening by a trusted medical professional should include follow-ups if you think you’ve been exposed, or may be having symptoms.

For that reason, it’s important to visit medical professionals that take a holistic approach to wellness. Whether or not you find a tick, your doctor should take any symptoms that might be Lyme disease seriously, and offer you follow up screening to rule out the disease and stop further progression when appropriate.

Finally, you can take steps to prevent the illness. While you shouldn’t be afraid to get outdoors, you should certainly take proper common sense precautions. Wear long sleeves and pants, check yourself after spending time outside (even if you’re just out in the backyard) and be sure to keep an eye on your pets.

Also, know your body. Unexplained symptoms should never be ignored. If you are feeling unwell, it’s worth a trip to visit your trusted provider to rule out issues and find holistic solutions.

At Proactive Wellness, we will provide a complete screening and counseling if you think you might have Lyme disease to rule out any issues and prevent a progressive worsening and risk to your long-term health.

Finally, if you have any questions about your health please don’t hesitate to give us a call! Check out our website for more information, as well. We want to partner with you to find solutions that work, and help you to live your most active life.

Do you know the symptoms of mold-related illness?

16311394 - sick woman  flu  woman caught cold  sneezing into tissueAre you having symptoms of illness that you can’t explain? The problem might be related to mold. It’s a common problem. On the milder end of the spectrum, people experience ‘normal’ allergy symptoms related to the season. But in some cases, mold in the home can cause more serious symptoms that can lead to illnesses that can be debilitating.

What are the symptoms of mold-related illness? Read on for a list of the common symptoms experienced by people with a mold sensitivity. Symptoms may include:

  • Repeated respiratory infections and illness. If you have cough that won’t go away, or asthma symptoms, or seem to come down with colds or sinus infections frequently, the problem could be caused by exposure to mold.
  • Headaches, foggy thinking, and mood swings: Mold can trigger symptoms similar to those of chronic inflammation, as the body tries to fight infection and heal itself. This mechanism can lead to cognitive symptoms.
  • Skin issues: Did you know that mold can cause rashes? Exposure can cause redness and rashes that often don’t tip off people that they’re experiencing a mold-related reaction.
  • Dizziness: Mold exposure can, in some cases, cause more serious and confusing symptoms such as dizziness and feelings of vertigo.
  • Vision: Blurry vision, teary or red eyes, and other issues can point to a mold sensitivity and heightened issues that go beyond typical allergy symptoms.

So, what causes mold-related illness? First, it helps to know that mold is often in the air as spores. Most people are healthy enough to breath in a small amount of spores and not experience negative symptoms. But, if you have a sensitivity, are already sick or have a compromised immune system, or are dealing with repeated exposure in a home or other building, then you may be at risk for developing more serious symptoms and illness from mold exposure.

What can you do? We recommend that, if you are concerned about your symptoms, that you visit a doctor and holistic wellness provider that can test you for issues and help you to find appropriate treatment.

If that sounds like the case for you or someone you love, please reach out to us. Visit us online to learn more and feel free to reach out with any questions. We offer holistic wellness solutions and are certified in mold treatment.

The ‘inside story’: are your health issues caused by parasites?

Young couple sharing a digital tablet while relaxing in bedDid you know that parasites are a problem for millions of Americans? According to experts at the Centers for Disease Control, the problem is more common than many people realize. Moreover, many people that pick up a parasite often go undiagnosed, and suffer from illness and symptoms that could be treated or managed.

In fact, it’s a common misconception that parasites are only a problem in underdeveloped or poor countries. Many people (mistakenly) believe that you can’t pick up a parasite if you have access to proper sanitation, running water, and food prepared according to a high quality of safety standards. But, there are still ways to pick up a parasite that might surprise you. What can cause a parasitic infection?

These common risk factors might point to a parasitic infection:

  1. Do you own a cat? What about a cat at a friend’s home, or have you come into contact with a stray? Contact with cat waste, either accidentally or by cleaning a litter box, can expose you to a parasitic infection by Toxoplasmosis. It is estimated that more than 60 million people are chronically infected with toxoplasma gondii. Often, many people don’t hear about the possibility of contracting the parasite until they (or a friend) get pregnant, when an obstetrician orders tests or counsels them to avoid exposure to cat waste.
  2. Do you own a dog? You’re not better off than cat owners. The worms that live in the intestines of dogs (and some cats) carry a parasite called Toxocara. In fact, many Americans have been exposed and carry antibodies in their blood to fight off the infection. But for those that don’t, contracting Toxocara can lead to serious illness and even blindness.
  3. Did you know that some parasites can be contracted through sexual contact? A protozoa called trichomonias is transmitted sexually. It’s a common infection that often is symptomless, but can cause itching and burning, and puts the person at risk of developing additional infections because the body is weakened by trying to keep the parasite at bay.
  4. Eating undercooked meat — or even fruits and vegetables that haven’t been handled properly — can lead to exposure to tapeworms that live in the muscles and brain. Most people know that, but aren’t aware of how common exposure can be.
  5. Have you been hiking or camping lately? What about drinking untreated, unfiltered well or spring water? Contaminated water, taken in while camping or from other untreated sources, can lead to parasitic infections and illness.
  6. Been bitten by a bug lately? It’s well known that mosquitos and ticks can carry illness. But a bug called the triatomine bug can cause an illness called Chagas disease. According to some experts,”[m]ore than 300,000 American are infected with Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease, and more than 300 infected babies are born every year.”

So, how do you know if you have a parasitic infection? The symptoms can seem general, and mimmic symptoms of other illnesses. Think fatigue, fever, nausea, heart and respiratory symptoms, headaches, rashes, and itching. Fairly vague, right? That’s why we recommend that if you have unexplained symptoms that aren’t going away, you ask your holistic wellness provider and doctor to run tests for parasitic infection.

How do we test for parasites? The CDC recommends a few different tests. (You can call us to learn more, or visit the CDC page here.) The list of tests includes blood draws, fecal sample testing, and x-rays.

More than one kind of test may be performed by your health care provider. Among other things, the tests will look for antibodies in your blood serum, evidence in fecal samples of the byproducts of parasites, and x-rays will be used to determine if your organs have developed lesions caused by some parasitic infections.

In some cases, a colonoscopy may be done to more thoroughly screen for a parasite. You health care provider will determine which tests to order, and will often send the samples to a qualified lab for analysis.

It’s important to learn more about the issue, because so many Americans go without proper diagnosis and treatment due to a lack of knowledge and the common misconception that parasites are not an issue here in the United States.

If you think you may have unexplained symptoms and would benefit from a screening, either because you have one of the risk factors identified above, or just a long-term issue that has gone unresolved, please be sure to learn more and ask for a test.

You can take control of your health by learning more, and finding natural ways to promote your health, healing and overall wellness. Don’t hesitate to visit our website to learn more, and reach out with any questions.

Don’t get burned: why long-term antacid use isn’t a good option to treat digestive troubles

8588101_SDo you suffer from occasional heartburn, or have a problem with more serious recurring acid reflux? Or, do you have other digestive issues? If you do, and you’re treating any of the above with over the counter antacids, you may be setting yourself up to ‘get burned’ by side effects and the results of masking underlying health issues.

Pain is our body’s way of telling us there’s a problem. In all cases, it pays to notice the signs, symptoms and signals our body is giving us. Over-the-counter antacids aren’t a good solution for solving acid reflux and other digestive issues, because use can mask symptoms that tell us we need to make lifestyle changes and resolve underlying health problems.

Here are some of the known causes of acid reflux:

  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Taking OTC medications, such as aspirin or ibuprofen, certain blood pressure medications, or blood thinners
  • Hiatal hernia
  • Eating foods that don’t agree with your body (Some people will experience acid reflux after eating tomatoes, chocolate, spicy or fatty foods, as well as onions and garlic)
  • Pregnancy

In each of these cases, our body is trying to tell us something when we experience acid reflux. Maybe we need to change our diet, and remove foods that the body can’t tolerate. Or, maybe we need to lose weight and make healthier lifestyle choices. Perhaps we need to stop taking medications with side effects that tell us the body is experiencing stress caused by a treatment that’s making the condition worse, and not better. Or, in the worst case, we may have an underlying condition such as hernia that needs treatment and attention.

In all cases, it’s best to look at lifestyle to find the most natural, least invasive way to help the body to heal itself. For that reason, your wellness depends on your willingness to pay attention to your symptoms and find a holistic solution.

Additionally, the risks associated with taking antacids go beyond masking symptoms. The antacids can have side effects that can lead to other health problems. How? Antacids generally work in one of a few ways. You can find antacids that are “proton pump inhibitors,” or PPIs, that lower the amount of acid in the stomach; and there are H2 blockers that work by blocking acid production. Both types come with the risk of side effects.

H2 blockers are known to cause headaches, constipation, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting. PPIs are known to have similar side effects, plus they interact negatively with other medications. Used long term, these medications have also been linked to memory loss, bone fractures, pneumonia, and heart and kidney problems.

Why? Because tampering with acid production in the stomach and the proper functioning of the digestive system can lead to problems absorbing nutrients from food, and overgrowth of bad bacteria in the gastrointestinal system (or gut). This can start a cycle of illness that prevents healing, poisons the body as the gut ‘leaks’ poisons into the system, and reduces resistance to other illness and infections.

That’s why we don’t recommend that people use antacids such as Nexium, Prilosec, Zantac and Pepcid to tread acid reflux long term. Many health and holistic practitioners are now sounding the alarm about the issues. And we’re not alone. Even the FDA is now issuing warnings about the problems of PPI use, especially on a long-term basis. They recommend limiting use to no more than six weeks. This is a major reversal, since antacids are one of the most popular drugs used by Americans. Doctors wrote 114 million prescriptions for them last year alone.

But why would you spend weeks taking a drug that could cause dementia and cancer, if you don’t have to? Instead, we recommend that you visit a holistic wellness provider. You need to tune in to the symptoms your body is sending, and look to see if you can find natural solutions.

Ready to learn more? We can provide more information on our website, and by speaking with one of our healthcare providers. We can counsel you on healthy eating and lifestyle choices, and use of targeted supplements such as PEA (palmitoylethanolamide) to treat inflammation in the body.

Whatever you do, please take a little time to review all of your options before making a final decision to treat acid reflux and digestive issues in the body, and the conditions they create. You can take control of your health by learning more, and finding natural ways to promote your health, healing and overall wellness. Don’t hesitate to visit our website to learn more, and reach out with any questions.

Can you tell the difference between the symptoms of natural aging, and cognitive impairment?

42189222 - elderly couple smilling together over natural backgroundAs we age, it’s natural for our bodies to change. But we don’t have to accept that the quality of our health and lives will be diminished. Often, people expect that as we age we’ll have more difficulty learning new things, remembering things, or thinking as quickly and clearly as we used to. Yes, some of that is normal. But do you know the difference between normal, healthy changes and the signs and symptoms of dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other cognitive impairments?

It’s important to be able to tell the difference. There is so much that can be done to treat cognitive impairments and the underlying health issues that lead to foggy thinking, lack of focus, memory issues, and the emotional health issues that come from having health issues that impact the brain.

Here are some common signs of the normal aging process in the brain:

  • Not being able to remember names of acquaintances, or where you parked your car in a lot
  • Occasionally not being able to find the word you want to say, as if it’s ‘on the tip of your tongue’
  • Sometimes not remembering what you went into a room to get or find
  • Forgetting events every once in a while
  • You’re nervous about your memory, but close friends and family aren’t

But here are symptoms of a more serious, underlying problem:

  • A sense of brain fogginess on a regular basis, and an inability to remember things that just happened
  • Not remembering family members’ or close friends’ names
  • Finding yourself somewhere – like a mall, or grocery store – and not being sure how you got there
  • Inability to plan, or solve problems
  • Trouble having conversations
  • Not being aware of a problem, even though your family has mentioned it

It’s important to know the signs, because you can treat underlying health issues to improve brain functioning. How? By managing inflammation with a healthy diet, better sleep, managing stress, and making good lifestyle choices.

If this area is of significant concern to you, then you should consider how the Bredesen protocol may be beneficial. (We’re certified in the Bredesen protocol, and have made healthy brain functioning one of our areas of specialty.)

The earlier you catch a problem, the better your outcome will be. If you’re not sure whether you may have an underlying cognitive issue, or how to manage inflammation in the body, we invite you to reach out to us. Visit online, or book an appointment. We can help!

How to manage inflammation with better nutrition, and why it matters

??????????????????????????????????????Are you dealing chronic health conditions? Do you regularly face mental health issues, such as anxiety or depression, or experience physical ailments? If so, you may need to learn more about inflammation in the body and find ways to get it under control.

Inflammation is the body’s natural response to illness and injury. For example, when you get a cut, scrape or sprain, the body responds with increased blood flow, swelling, pain. These symptoms are a sign that the body is trying to heal itself by ramping up its immune response.

Normally, that’s a good thing. But when it gets out of hand, the same system that promotes healing can create the conditions for chronic pain, sickness, and mental health issues as the body stays on high alert mode, and eventually starts to attack itself.

In general, this cycle of an out of control inflammatory response is what causes immune system problems, such as those that lead to arthritis, psoriasis, and allergies, just to name a few examples. Other signs that the body is dealing with chronic inflammation include mental fogginess, digestive issues, undefined aches and pains, and lack of energy.

So, what causes chronic inflammation? In part, the cause can be traced in some people to poor dietary choices, unhealthy behaviors, and poor environmental conditions. Eating processed foods, not getting enough sleep, a lack of exercise, and air pollution can all contribute to chronic inflammation for people susceptible or vulnerable to those conditions.

Another cause is chronic stress. When a person is stressed by poor work conditions, difficult relationships or other issues, the body produces hormones that ramp up circulation and change metabolism. In small doses, this gives the body energy and the mind focused to face challenges. But when stress is long term, those changes in the body create a toxic environment that prevent rest and healing. When the body and mind can’t rest and heal, that inflammation can cause additional health issues that exacerbate and cause mental health problems. (Think anxiety and depression.)

But one solution for ailments of the body and mind is to manage inflammation is to choose a healthier diet. You can choose foods that are more likely to heal the body than aggravate your condition. It helps to include more fruits and vegetables, fresh food, whole ingredients without chemical additives, organic food, and to control sugar, fat, and watch for allergies.

Adding organic and natural foods that have been shown to fight inflammation makes a difference, too.  There are foods that are well known to promote better health by reducing inflammation in the body. You’ll want to make choices based on your individual needs, but these are generally good options:

  • Curcumin. Found in the spice Turmeric, the yellow pigment curcumin has been found to be as effective as some over-the-counter medications, such as Ibuprofen.
  • Green Tea. Contains healthy compounds. The green tea is less processed, and is better for you than black or herbal teas.
  • Garlic. This powerful root provides wonderful flavor, but it’s also tremendously helpful in the body. Garlic has a blood thinning effect, and promotes good circulation, plus many more positive benefits.
  • Capsaicin. Found chili peppers, the same compound that gives heat and flavor to the pepper can help to control inflammation in the body.
  • White Willow Bark. Have you heard of white willow bark? It has a similar effect as aspirin, and has been used for its anti-inflammatory properties since Roman and Egyptian times.
  • Cinnamon. This spice comes from tree bark. In addition to being anti-inflammatory, it’s also high in antioxidant, and has lipid-lowering properties.
  • Ginger. A host of research studies have shown that ginger has a better anti-inflammatory effect than many non-steroidal drugs. Ginger is a root commonly used to flavor desserts, add warmth to sauces, added to teas, and even candied as a treat.

Please take a little time to review all of your options before making a final decision to treat inflammation in the body, and the conditions it creates. You can take control of your health by learning more, and finding natural ways to promote your health, healing and overall wellness. Don’t hesitate to visit our website to learn more, and reach out with any questions.

Combating Alzheimer’s with Brain Health Optimization and the Bredesen Protocol

47499705 - 3d medical background with male head with brain and dna strands If you’ve ever misplaced your keys, had trouble recalling a name or fact, or forgotten important information, like where you parked while out shopping, you can understand the fear and frustration that comes with temporary memory loss. Yet millions of Americans experience far more serious memory challenges in the form of Alzheimer’s disease, which is responsible for up to 80 percent of dementia cases.

Numbers like these demonstrate not only why Alzheimer’s is recognized as one of the world’s most burdensome diseases, but also why finding research-based, proven methods to improve brain health is increasingly critical.

And there is hope.

Dr. Dale Bredesen is recognized internationally for his ground-breaking research into ways to not only treat Alzheimer’s more effectively, but potentially prevent and even reverse the disease. Dr. Bredesen and his team from the Buck Institute for Research on Aging developed the Reversal of Cognitive Decline, or ReCODE. The science behind ReCODE comes through the examination of the pathogens of Alzheimer’s and the implementation of multiple strategies that seek not only to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer’s, but also address specific health issues that lead to Alzheimer’s. The results of their studies are very promising.

Proactive Wellness Center’s founder and director, Dr. Lynese Lawson, D.O., is certified through the Institute of Functional Medicine to use ReCODE, also known as the Bredesen Protocol, in the treatment of Mild Cognitive Impairment and Alzheimer’s. Through extensive research, she determined that the Bredesen Protocol provides the best evidence-based approach to Alzheimer’s diagnosis and treatment. This protocol is a core piece of our Brain Health Optimization Program (BHOP).

What is the Brain Health Optimization Program?

As an overview, our Brain Health Optimization and Treatment program includes:

  • Initial Consultation: You’ll be scheduled for a two-hour consultation at our Tyson’s office with your Bredesen-Protocol doctor to review test results from your cognitive evaluation.
  • Physical examination: Your doctor will perform a physical evaluation that will be used in determining your personalized treatment plan. This evaluation is typically conducted during the same visit as your two-hour consultation.
  • Baseline cognitive: Like the physical exam, this is typically during the two-hour consultation.
  • Additional consultation: A 90-minute appointment with your Bredesen-Protocol doctor, which can be conducted in-office or via tele-video, occurs on a date separate from your initial consultation and will cover the remaining tests that were not covered in the initial visit. Your doctor will also review the core elements of your personalized treatment plan and present the results of our evaluation in a personalized “cognoscopy.”

Of course, to understand the benefits that the Bredesen Protocol and BHOP offer to Alzheimer’s and cognitive impaired patients, it’s important to first understand how to recognize what Alzheimer’s is and what it isn’t.

Recognizing Alzheimer’s Disease

There are many factors that distinguish forgetfulness from something more serious. To help differentiate between Alzheimer’s and the normal aging process, we’ve created a basic list of indicators. For a more comprehensive list as well as a deep-dive into how lifestyle, genetics, head trauma history toxin exposure and more may contribute to the development of Alzheimers, visit our web page dedicated to Bredesen-Protocol strategies to improve brain health and reverse cognitive decline.

  • Vision challenges: Deteriorating eyesight is common as we age, but for those with Alzheimer’s, spacial relationships, distance and contract become a challenge.
  • Memory loss: If you go to the store without grabbing your shopping list, it’s easy to forget one or two items but remember them later. However, with Alzheimer’s, people frequently forget key dates of life events such as birthdays and anniversaries. They also are more likely to ask for the same piece of information multiple times. The memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disrupts daily life
  • Conversation difficulties: As we age, we may find that we have shortness of breath when we speak or walk. And almost everyone can get tongue-tied during conversations from time to time. People with Alzheimer’s, however, are more likely to misuse words, repeat the same story during a single conversation, demonstrate difficulty recalling words or even find it hard to follow conversations.
  • Familiar tasks: For those with Alzheimer’s, familiar tasks, such as driving to or from home, can suddenly become unfamiliar. This leads to disorientation and difficulty following directions. Those with normal age-related memory loss are better able to retrace their steps upon getting lost.
  • Mood and personality changes: We are all prone to frustration when things aren’t done the way we are used to or prefer. This is a normal part of life. But for individuals with Alzheimer’s, pronounced changes in personality and mood, as well as social withdrawal, are often evident.

If you see these symptoms or others related to cognitive decline in your loved one (or yourself), they may be a candidate for the Brain Health Optimization Program. Together, we can help those we care about lead quality lives. A cognitive evaluation with Proactive Wellness Centers is the first step toward better brain health. To establish a baseline for treatment, we combine our age-normalized cognitive evaluation with the renowned Montreal Cognitive Assessment.

Once you receive the results of the neurological assessment and are ready to begin working with Dr. Lawson, you’ll be advised of the recommended next steps. We’re excited to make Brain Health Optimization Program and the Bredesen ReCODE Protocol available to you.

How Do You Choose to Live?

If asked, you would say that you live a good life. You’re comfortable in your home and job. You even get to take vacations once or twice a year.  But you can’t seem to shake the feeling that something is wrong inside.  You just don’t feel your best and you have been to the conventional doctor and been told that “everything is all right”.

When it comes to healthcare, you have two primary choices: Either trust your healthcare to the conventional allopathic medical system where the focus is on disease management, pharmaceutical medications and surgery, or opt for the new paradigm in healthcare, frequently called Complementary and Alternative Medicine (CAM) or just Integrative Medicine.  The choice is yours and the question is which way do you choose to live?  Read on to learn more about the two choices.

The System That Fails Many People: Conventional Allopathic Medicine

Do you find yourself being a bit more irritable than you know yourself to be?  Or, maybe you are experiencing perimenopause and you have some up and down days and maybe even a hot flash here or there.  Your doctor probably just told you that this is just part of the “normal” aging process.  Do you find yourself a little short of breath when you walk up the stairs? Or do you have overwhelming fatigue and have been to multiple doctors, even the ones at the world-renowned clinics, but have been told that nothing is wrong or even worse, you have been misdiagnosed. You may have even been prescribed an anti-depressant!  Or, has the life been zapped from you with constant muscle and joint pain and once again no diagnosis has proven to lead to helpful treatment?

Conventional allopathic medicine is pretty good with treating single system well-defined illnesses where there is a known drug or surgical solution that works.  But where the illnesses are multi-system, multi-symptom and not fitting one of the established disease patterns, you may feel lost and without hope.  Or maybe you are healthy and just searching for a doctor to help you optimize your health so you can stay that way.

Conventional allopathic medicine would have us believe that our bodies are meant to breakdown once we hit the 50s and 60s. While accepting this idea may be good for your short-term finances— it isn’t the way to live if you want to be running around with your grandkids when you’re in your 70’s and 80s. Keep reading to see how Mary, a 75-year-old tutor, maintains a part-time job, exercises a few hours per week and keeps up with her grandkids on the playground every Saturday.

Mary was born in the summer of 1943 when the minimum wage was just $0.30 an hour and the life expectancy was 68 years for females and 61 years for males. She grew up in a small Eastern Tennessee town known for its whiskey and bluegrass music. Now, like most Americans, she grew up with the notion of, “if it ain’t’ broke don’t fix it.” But when it comes to healthcare in the 21st century, this approach is not the best way to approach your body if you want the golden years of the 60s – 80s to truly be golden.  The reality is that conventional allopathic medicine isn’t the answer either.  You have to empower yourself to take care of your health using all that modern medicine and science has to offer.

The following illustration and commentary explain why conventional allopathic medicine doesn’t work for many patients.

  • The waiting room shown above is a typical site for a busy family practice office.
  • Primary Care Physicians (PCPs) typically have patient loads of over 2,000 patients and see as many as 35-40 patients in a day. With those numbers, it is easy to see why there is no time to discuss complex symptom histories needed to diagnose and treat complex chronic disease.
  • Visits with conventional PCPs last between 5 -23 minutes with the average somewhere between 15-17 minutes according to multiple recently reported studies and reports.
  • Most of these doctors are doing what is “allowed” within the confines of insurance-based medicine where with very few exceptions, the focus is on disease management rather than prevention.
  • Consider that excepting well-baby care, mammograms, colonoscopies, periodic physicals once you are beyond a specified age and a very short list of other items, conventional medicine does NOT pay for prevention. You have to be sick to visit the doctor and for him/her to get paid.
  • Most of these doctors are operating from the “standard of care” manual that is outdated and does not include emerging approaches to prevention and disease management.
  • Even if they were to get trained in these emerging approaches, they can’t deviate from the “standard of care” without risk of losing reimbursement

Mary’s wake up call

On December 12th, 1983 when she was just 40 years old, Mary’s older sister Joann, died. She had a sudden heart attack.  This unfortunate event in Mary’s life caused her to wake up to the fact that she needed to take care of her body.  Joann was not a smoker nor an alcoholic, she got her regular checkups and was told that “all was fine” other than being a little overweight. In fact, Mary had recently spoken to Joann and when Mary asked about her health (because she was overweight), Joann said “My doctor said that I am fine as my total lipid panel is 198 (“normal”).  Over the years, Mary’s sister Joann had become more and more overweight. Every time she would go over to her house, she would be eating fast food. Her job exposed her to harmful chemicals and she never worked out. She was diagnosed with hypertension at the young age of 32, and although she took her daily pill for high blood pressure, her lifestyle continued to wreak havoc on her body.

This was Mary’s wake-up call. Her sister’s body had been giving her all kinds of signs that something was wrong. But sadly, she ignored every one of them. Fortunately, Mary made a decision from that day forward to live a long healthy life.

Conventional medicine is cheaper in the short run but what about the long term?

What if I told you that you didn’t have to suffer from declining health as Joann did? And all it takes is more of an investment upfront rather than later when it’s too late?

Sure, conventional allopathic medicine may be cheaper now. But what happens 10, 20, 30 years from now when you’re staring at a skilled nursing home bill? Following the traditional ways of healthcare will ultimately catch up with you and cost you more in the long run when there are expensive surgeries, costly monthly prescriptions, and skilled nursing facility costs.

Before Mary decided to invest in herself, it was a completely foreign idea to her. Like most of us, she grew up with the ingrained idea from the very beginning that when you get really sick, then you see a doctor. Otherwise get your periodic checkups, pay your $10-$20 copay and all will be fine until it isn’t.  Then there are pills and surgery to fix things if you develop a disease.

Mindless Suffering Ends Here with Complementary and Alternative Medicine

Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) is the medical approach that focuses on the optimal functioning of your body and your organs. It focuses on understanding the root cause of disease then implementing strategies to optimize your body in order to avoid disease and proceed gracefully through the so called “golden years”.  Physicians that practice this way typically refer to themselves as practicing “integrative” and/or “functional” medicine.

CAM practitioners use very advanced lab testing (some of which is not covered by insurance) and advanced imaging that together with traditional markers gives a more complete and accurate picture of the biological age and health status of the patient.  These markers include genetics, advanced lipid markers that go well beyond the conventional standard lipid panel, volumetric imaging of the brain, chemical, heavy metals and environmental toxin exposure testing including mold and Lyme disease testing and much more.  For example, had Mary’s physician looked beyond the standard lipid panel, he/she might have seen that while her overall cholesterol numbers were fine, that she had lots of very small dense LDL particles and that her LPPLA2 (inflammation marker) was through the roof and her Cardio CRP was also elevated.  All of those markers are readily available with an advanced lipid panel.  They might also have done some non-invasive imaging such as a Carotid Intima Media Thickness (CIMT) ultrasound and found that she had dangerous plaque in her arteries.  If found early, they could then have implemented interventions to help Joann avoid having that massive heart attack that killed her.  Remember that about 50% of patients that die from a first-time heart attack patients don’t even make it to the hospital according to the CDC.

Even the world-renowned Mayo Clinic has adopted CAM as a viable treatment approach and has a wing dedicated to alternative treatments.  According to an article written by the Mayo Clinic, approximately 30% of adults report having used CAM.  Read here for more:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/consumer-health/in-depth/alternative-medicine/art-20045267.

Also, due to the increasing popularity of CAM approaches, there is now a new federal organization under the National Institute for Health (NIH), called the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH).  This organization is the Federal Government’s lead agency for scientific research on complementary and integrative health approaches whose mission is to define through rigorous scientific investigation, the usefulness and safety of complementary and integrative health interventions and their roles in improving health and health care.

The benefits of choosing complementary and alternative medicine over conventional allopathic medicine  look something like this.

 

 

The specific advantages of using Complementary and Alternative Medicine over Conventional approaches are:

  • A healthcare model that empowers you to take charge of your health
  • A healthcare model that leverages the current body of emerging clinical evidence, where conventional medicine relies mostly on what was taught in medical school 30 years ago.
  • Initial visits regularly last 1.5 – 2 hours so that there is sufficient time for the practitioner to understand your medical history at a detailed level including possible environmental exposures, familial history, personal disease history, symptom etiology along with your health goals and treatment preferences.
  • Significantly more detailed laboratory analysis focused on achieving optimal levels rather than being within laboratory reference ranges. In many cases the laboratory reference range is a statistical range that 80-85% of the population fits into.  CAM-based physicians operate from “optimal” ranges rather than these laboratory reference ranges and they use a much broader array of tests since they can use both insurance-based tests as well as tests that insurance routinely don’t cover.
  • You get personalized precision care plans since practitioners are armed with a detailed history and more detailed laboratory analysis. This is a big one if you’re tired of the “one size fits all” model that most conventional doctors follow today that has led nowhere after several years of trying to determine what is wrong.
  • A focus on the root cause of an illness rather than just treating the symptoms. This approach leads to true healing rather than just masking symptoms.
  • A focus on preventing chronic illness rather than the wait and hope approach of managing the disease once it has manifested
  • Practitioners have a bigger toolbox full of treatment options. CAMS physicians use medications, nutritional supplements, herbal remedies, homeopathics  and nutrition/lifestyle as part of a total solution. Conventional practitioners pretty much just use medications and surgeries including many “band aid” medications that may do more harm than good and many surgeries that don’t resolve the issue. For example, many patients suffering from menopause symptoms that present with mild depression end up getting prescribed anti-depressants.  Also, many patients presenting with MARCoNS (Multiple Antibiotic Resistant Coagulase Negative Staphylococci) from mold exposure end up having sinus surgeries that almost never resolve the MARCoNS.
  • The “total cost” of electing this model of healthcare is significantly lower than the cost of conventional care, if you factor in the costs of the expensive medications and surgeries, the cost of lost time from work and the impact on your mental health for going for years without getting treated effectively. In the short run, there are some out of pocket costs that you will need to pay to get this kind of treatment but in the long run, you will likely live a healthier life in the golden years.

The Choice that Mary Made

Mary started listening to her body. She went through specific tests designed to figure out the status of her body from a perspective of optimizing her health.  She had many tests done that were outside of insurance but these tests revealed subclinical deficiencies in nutrition, gut health, cardiovascular health and brain health.  It should be clear that these deficiencies would never have been detected by a physician working in the conventional allopathic model .   Then, working with her physician, they created a plan to optimize her suboptimal areas through clinical interventions, lifestyle changes, dietary changes and exercise – all geared towards preventing chronic illness. Investing in her health was the best choice she could have made.  Looking at the picture above, we can see that Mary made the right choice.

When you first start out on this journey of preventing illness and being proactive there can be some resistance either from within, someone close to you or even your conventional doctor. This is completely normal. But in order to enjoy the long-lasting benefits of integrative, functional and preventative care, you must push through this.  Through integrative and functional medicine, you can not only prevent many chronic diseases, but if you do get one, it can be treated in a way that brings about real and lasting healing.

At Proactive Wellness, we have seen patients come to us with chronic illness that hadn’t been focusing on optimizing their health.  Many of them are significantly debilitated, unable to work and therefore leading a very compromised life.  However, we have also seen some of our long-time patients who worked year in and out on optimizing their health become victim of a tick bite and develop Lyme disease or become exposed to a moldy building at work and develop mold illness/CIRS.  There is, however, a marked difference between the two cases. The optimized patient is not debilitated, is highly functional and able to continue with life while getting treated.  We have seen these scenarios repeated many times over the years and it is very clear that when patients have optimized their bodies, they are much more able to withstand a disease and persevere through it without debilitation.

We are pleased to offer a wide variety of treatments to help you starting with our Wellness/Optimization/Prevention programs and continuing through our chronic disease treatment programs including Lyme Disease, CIRS/Mold illness, parasitic infections, viral infections such as Epstein Barr, gastrointestinal illness including Crohn’s disease, intestinal permeability and others.  To get a precise diagnosis, we leverage leading-edge genetic testing and advanced lab testing using some of the best testing facilities in the world.  This allows us to deliver personalized, precision diagnosis and treatment.  Some of the specific programs we offer include bioidentical hormone replacement therapy (BHRT), heart attack, and stroke prevention, the Bredesen protocol to prevent and reverse cognitive decline related to Alzheimer’s and related diseases, advanced detoxification/binding/chelation programs, and IV Nutritional Therapy.

We are excited to be a part of this movement that is bringing real change to healthcare.  We are pleased to see and hear how these treatments are transformative for people that feel as though they got their life back.  In closing, we will share one true short story of a patient who came to our practice when he was 49 years old.  For his 50th birthday, he had hoped to climb Mt Kilimanjaro.  When he presented to us, he was 80 pounds overweight, had numerous lab that were outside of the optimal range and had little hope of climbing 19,000 feet to the mountain top although that had been his dream for over a decade.  But we were able to create a personalized clinical plan for him that ultimately helped him to lose 80 pounds and make significant improvement in multiple markers in a little less than 9 months, and he went on to climb the mountain and achieve his personal goal.  Just before he left, he asked us to make a banner for him and we are so pleased to have been a part of this with him.

The choice is yours.  How do you choose to live? Will you be a Mary or a Joann? Without your health, you have nothing! Investing in yourself can make a significant difference with how you age, not only for your present and future happiness, but also for your loved ones. If you don’t take care of your body then you may not be able to enjoy the golden years in the way that you had hoped. Living long is one thing, but living a long and healthy life is what most of us want.   Are you ready to climb your personal mountain?

Click here to find out more about our clinical team and what we do to help you get back your health and take charge of your life.