Rethinking Your "Diagnosis"
If you find yourself reading this, it is likely you or a loved one have been given a "diagnosis". Your new label, straight from the Merk Manual, comes along with a fancy ICD code, treatment protocols, and of course, standard drugs. The suggested pharmaceuticals will indeed change year to year, depending on the newest fad for that particular genre. And, lthough it has historically been the norm for most folks to say “Yes, Doctor, I understand, I have this condition and I will take XYZ drugs every day and come back and see you in 2-3 months,” times they are a changin.’ Slowly but surely, patients are realizing the cost vs benefit of taking pharmaceuticals with all their nasty side-effects. Finally (and most importantly), individuals are demanding more information…..like WHY did I get this? WHERE did this come from? HOW can I accept this new identity of mine and WHAT are these drugs actually doing?
Let’s take the most common example, of a diagnosis being handed out at an alarming rate: Irritable Bowel Syndrome. This ‘umbrella’ term is so big it will catch any and all symptoms and patterns; you got intestinal spasms and gas? Don’t worry, they gotcha covered. K58.0 is your new code.
But what IS “Irritable Bowel Syndrome?” What makes it a syndrome? What is the ROOT of this syndrome? How can most Western doctors continuously ignore the word dysbiosis and not even care what’s behind it?
I want to bring to focus auto-immune conditions because a) they are on the rise and b) IBS and leaky gut are often some of the first red flags to arise from a soon to be diagnosed ‘auto-immune’ disease.
Why is it so hard for mainstream medicine to believe that chronic infection is what leads to ‘leaky gut’ and immune dysfunction? Is it so outlandish to think that these infections could express themselves differently patient to patient? Meaning, the same infection potentially manifesting as one ‘auto-immune’ condition in Jane, and an entirely different ‘auto-immune’ condition in Joe. I mean, let’s even say for arguments sake that pathogenic bacteria, viruses, fungi, yeast and parasites don’t initiate disease……they most certainly exacerbate it! To hell and back. A medical professional who denies looking at this given current science, in my opinion, is doing harm, (last I checked all of us licensed medical practitioners takes an oath against doing harm).
Don’t get me wrong- of course, age, genetics, and environment (exposure to chemicals or solvents) all play a part in this perfect storm. Disease does not come from just one factor and one factor alone. And let’s not leave out the ‘hygiene hypothesis,’ pointing out that our lack of exposure to germs due to over-sanitization could contribute to our immune systems becoming deficient. Interestingly enough, women get auto-immune diseases at a rate of 2:1 with men, and some ‘auto-immune’ conditions are more common among certain ethnic groups.
Bacteria, fungi, yeast and protozoa can invade different parts of the body, damaging tissue, impairing collagen production (leading to increased inflammation) and killing nerve cells in a process called ‘apoptosis.’ The inflammatoy downward spiral that occurs from infection can be completely unwarranted, unexpected, and downright devestaing.
The following are just a handful of examples of inflammatory auto-immune diseases with a proven infectious component:
Crohn’s Disease, potentially Ulcerative Colitis: Mycobacterium Avium Paratuburculosis (MAP)
Ankylosing Spondylitis: Klebsiella Pneumonia
Myocarditis: Coxsackievirus B (CVB), CB3, CVM, Chlamydia
Tourette's syndrome: Streptococcus Pyogenes (Group A)
Chagas Disease: Trypanosoma Cruzi (protozoan parasite)
Rheumatoid Arthritis: Borrelia Burgdorfeii, EBV, Hep C, E- coli, mycobacteria
Diabetes Type 1: Cytomegalovirus (CMV), coxsackievirus B4, mumps virus, rubella virus
Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS): Campylobacter jejun, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, EBV, CMV, Campylobacter bacteria
Multiple Sclerosis: Epstein- Barr virus (EBV), measles virus, mycobacterium
Masthenia Gravis: Hep C virus, herpes simplex virus
Of course, the link between auto-immune conditions and infection is much stronger where there is only one or two associated pathogens. I might go as far as to speculate that one of the reasons Western science is weak in their dedication to this topic is because with some diseases there have been many associated infectious pathogens identified, and this really complicates things. However, this goes back to what I stated earlier – that the same infection could express itself differently from person to person. In my opinion, this is Orthodox medicine’s greatest weakness; failure to see each patient as individual, it’s inability to explore each person’s disease pattern, outside of their cookie-cutter design. I just can't swallow this approach. Individuality and Root Cause of disease should be pillars of any and all medical system. Period.
With over 80 documented auto-immune diseases resulting in a modern day epidemic, one would think that main stream medicine would investigate the infectious correlation deeply. Of course, the ones listed above are most widely accepted, with the exception of a few, such as MAP being the cause of Crohn’s Disease etc. With Crohn’s Disease, it is important to note, it has been well established that one must have a genetic mutation to contract the Mycobacterium. The genetic markers and mutations that lend themselves to increased susceptibility of disease should be one of the greatest areas of focus in science right now, given the insane rate of disease in the US and beyond. Sadly, it is not.
Lastly, if the actual cause of an individual’s illness was explored and addressed properly, within the parameters of Eastern AND Western Functional medicine, then a large degree of disease would simply disappear. However, this…..would never sit well with big-pharma. And would further enrage the lobbyists and politicians, and so on, and so on. The milk industry has had lawyers standing by for years, ready and waiting. They are well aware of the infectious bacteria stewing in their product. I can almost hear them chuckling at the fact that pasteurization leaves a lot to be desired. But, that’s a different blog………
If you or someone you love is facing a diagnosis that, more than likely, got coined in the 1960’s when immunology became a fad and auto-immune labels began getting spoon fed to the public, my hope for you is to look deeper. Labels are interesting, they are necessary to provide a framework and, let's not leave out……just plain scary. You deserve to know what’s behind this. What if there’s more? There’s always more. Did you know that science even still only has the ability to see less than 5% of existing microbes? 5%!!! As new technology unfolds, so do more advanced microscopes. Every year science discovers more. Don’t let a diagnosis limit your options. Your identity is limitless.
Karen Mullins DOM
Mycoplasma and other intracellular bacterial infections in rheumatic diseases: comorbid condition or cause? by Prof. Garth L. Nicolson, Open Journal of Tropical Medicine 2017; 1: 016-017.