Autoimmunity has many names and many faces. If you have Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, you are one of millions of women (and a few men) with an autoimmune disorder. Autoimmunity can also manifest in inflammatory erosive arthritis, lupus, renal disease, encephalitis, psoriasis, psoriatic arthritis, Reiter’s syndrome, multiple sclerosis, iritis, scleroderma, dry eyes sicca syndrome, inflammatory bowel disease, coeliac disease, type 1 diabetes and other disorders.
For reasons that remain unclear, the thyroid gland is the most susceptible part of the body to autoimmune attack. Certain viruses such as the Epstein-Barr Virus can trigger thyroiditis, but there are a number of other triggers that are worthwhile investigating in anyone with Hashimoto’s. They include, chronic food intolerance, poor gut health, intestinal dysbiosis (including SIBO), mycotoxin illness, environmental toxicant overload, stress and excessive exposure to solvents and other environmental toxicants.
Most people with underactive Hashimoto’s thyroiditis never go through an illness per se, and in fact, many people get few symptoms apart from an increase in their weight and hardly discernible tiredness. Others, however, feel severe and widespread effects from their autoimmune inflammatory state and remain miserable even after thyroid medication has corrected some of the blood test abnormalities. In these cases, a search for the underlying causes and triggers of the autoimmunity can be revealing. Eliminating and managing the underlying causes then invariably leads to more satisfactory recovery.
Regardless of how your autoimmunity manifests, our comprehensive assessment aims to uncover the contributors, triggers and perpetuators underlying your specific autoimmune problem.
Fatigue & Fibromyalgia
Fibromyalgia is a poorly understood complex chronic pain disorder that is often accompanied by disrupted sleep, severe fatigue, depression, anxiety and general poor health. If you suffer from fibromyalgia, you are likely to have consulted quite a few doctors before actually being diagnosed. It affects 3-10% of the general adult population and is principally characterised by widespread pain that is poorly responsive to simple analgesia.
Although inflammatory, infectious, and autoimmune triggers have all been described, there is no solid clinical study data pointing to any particular cause. It is however becoming increasingly recognised as a disorder with central nervous system pain amplification. At Hale Health Medicine, we fully assess fibromyalgia patients for a history of trauma, hidden inflammation, neuroinflammation (imaging) and gut disorders.
One of the reasons there is ‘central amplification’ of pain is because of limbic system dysfunction. Limbic system dysfunction can occur as a result of trauma, chronic illness and advanced mycotoxin illness. It is important to recognise because limbic system dysfunction and related mood disorders can be managed with a combination of trauma release, LENS neurofeedback and other limbic system retraining programs. It is also important to address and manage the internal and external sources of inflammation and to evaluate and treat environmental toxicants that can perpetuate symptoms.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrom (CFS)
Chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) is one of the most debilitating chronic illnesses that affects almost 1% of the population. It is a complex, chronic condition characterised by unexplained pathological fatigue not relieved with rest or sleep (worse after exertion), cognitive dysfunction, immune dysfunction, generalised pain, autonomic dysfunction, neuroendocrine dysfunctionand psychiatric symptoms.
Because the causes and characteristics of CFS are complex and poorly defined, there is a lack of recognition regarding the diagnostic criteria among medical doctors. Many patients complain of a lack of compassion from care providers, and a few are significantly traumatised by the negative attitude of medical professionals who blame patients for their symptoms, particularly if they don’t ‘respond’ to antidepressant medication.
Some researchers feel it is a primary psychiatric condition requiring psychological therapy and support. Others like Dr. Hale remain convinced that it is a physical body disorder and that it is just a matter of time before researchers characterise the underlying cell and mitochondrial problem and the associated genetic susceptibilities for the disorder. Detailed research projects are taking place at Berkley University with collaborators all over the world.
One of the researchers associated with the Berkley group in Northern California is Dr Robert Naviaux. He and others have described what they have called the ‘cell danger response’ and the ‘cell recovery response’ in chronic fatigue. In related work, he has also shown that curtailing the widespread effects of the ‘cell danger response’ can vastly improve the manifestations of children with autism.
Dr. Hale says, “There has not been a single CFS patient who I’ve run detailed investigations on who hasn’t got a number of abnormalities that can be addressed. Many also have subtle neurological abnormalities on examination and a substantial number have abnormal findings on MRI brain neuroquant evaluations.”
Dr. Hale says, “It is still early days in our clinic and with no two CFS patients being alike, we are continuing to improve both our assessments and our management strategies to help these patients return to 100% health. I have found improving patients’ in-built detoxification pathways, and their immunity via gut health, in addition to using graded exercise programs and incorporating LENS neurofeedback are all important strategies to include if we are aiming for full recovery.”