The Matrix of Chronic Illness

By Raphael Kellman, M.D., Kellman Center for Functional and Integrative Medicine

The body is a complex collection of interconnected systems, organs, impulses and cells.  All of these parts work together to create our good health but also contribute to and create chronic disease.  Chronic conditions do not occur spontaneously.  No one wakes up one day and suddenly has cancer, autoimmune conditions, Lyme or any of the nameless chronic illnesses patients suffer from.  They are the result of problems in many systems that go undetected,  silently worsening over time.   These multifaceted and overlapping conditions create the matrix that allows disease to blossom.

It is obvious that a body in a weakened state can become susceptible to conditions it would otherwise be able to fight off.   What most people fail to recognize however, is that the same principle governs our ability to heal.  It is very difficult to restore health and balance when many systems are debilitated, especially when those systems are being overlooked.  This explains why patients undergoing treatment for one particular condition find that they do not recover and remain symptomatic.  All of the systems of the body must be properly evaluated and treated together, at the same time, to illicit a true healing response. 

A prime example is Lyme disease. Frequently, patients are treated with 1 antibiotic only to find their “easy to treat” condition does not resolve and becomes chronic.  The entire landscape of the body must be corrected to heal conditions like this. Very often these patients also have low thyroid, digestive issues, microbiome imbalances, concomitant co-infections and a weakened immune system.

Another example is thyroid disease.  All too often patients are minimally tested and the cause of their thyroid imbalance is ignored or never investigated.  A large majority of low thyroid patients have Hashimoto’s Disease which is an autoimmune condition triggering the body to create antibodies that attack healthy thyroid tissue.

There will certainly be intestinal conditions as well including leaky gut, dysbiosis, slow gut motility, intestinal infections, malabsorption issues and interconnected adrenal imbalances. Inflammatory conditions and long-term stress and excessive cortisol can play a role.  Others may have heavy metal toxicity triggering their thyroid issues.  It is not enough to simply throw Synthroid at the condition. We must determine the state of all systems contributing to the imbalance and the best possible ways to support the healing of the entire body.

Whether you suffer from irritable bowel syndrome, chronic depression, MS or a nameless chronic illness, the bottom line is healing can take place.  It is the right of all patients to have the most in-depth, precise testing available that examines every system.  By accurately assessing the many contributing factors and determining a personalized treatment protocol to improve overall function, the body can heal. 

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