Coping With Chronic Illness During COVID-19

As we move through this pandemic, I’ve noticed that chronic disease has been getting far less attention than “the virus.” I get it.

Right now, it’s likely that your primary goal is to stay healthy so that you don’t catch COVID-19.

Maybe you have a parent you are concerned about, or are starting to notice some symptoms (unrelated to COVID ) in yourself that are bothering you. Or maybe you have noticed that you are putting on weight and aging a little faster than you would like.

You suspect that it has something to do with the recent tolls life is taking on you this year, and you want to be proactive and do all you can to make sure that you stay healthy.

This blog isn’t about public health precautions, which you can find just about anywhere on the internet.

I want to address chronic dis-ease, precursors, and root causes, as well as ways to mitigate these other potentially deadly conditions.

Although I am not making any claims to “cure” an advanced chronic illness, I DO believe that anything is possible and that we don’t give our bodies enough credit for their inner wisdom.

Something to think about..

Chronic Disease starts with “not feeling so great.”

Chronic disease is defined as any disease that lasts more than 6 months. Some of the more common (and deadly) diseases include:

• Heart and cardiovascular disease (which is still the #1 killer in our culture)

• Cancer

• Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

• Liver and kidney disease

• Digestive disorders (Ulcerative Colitis, Stomach ulcers, IBS, and much more)

• Type 2 Diabetes

• Autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto’s thyroiditis

• Alzheimer’s (this one is particularly frightening)

• Depression

The list goes on.

To quote a recent article in the Lancet:  “People particularly tend to focus their full attention on the threat, (COVID-19) thereby causing tunnel vision that makes it easy to neglect a multitude of less salient considerations.”

While I’m not diminishing the seriousness of the virus, I believe that it is equally important to address chronic conditions for the following reasons:

1. It’s simply a statistical fact that more people die from chronic disease than any other cause (1)

2. The majority of COVID-19 deaths are associated with having a pre-existing chronic condition (2)

3. The screening, diagnosis, and treatment for these conditions has been disrupted due to COVID-19 (3)

This isn’t about politics or subjective thoughts about the novel virus. It simply means that there is an urgent need to address ALL aspects of health, including chronic diseases AND their underlying causes.

Fortunately, there is a LOT you can do to help prevent chronic conditions from becoming more deep-seated and serious.

Disclaimer: None of the information I’m giving you here is intended to be medical advice. If you have a serious condition, please book an appointment with me so we can talk, or talk to your health care provider.

Chronic illness is serious business.

I still believe that anything is possible, and that all healing comes from the heart.

I believe that the body has an innate intelligence and that we need to trust and actively listen to this intelligence rather than try to override it, especially in the early stages of dis-ease.

Even in the face of extreme circumstances, we can’t afford to forget about the obvious.. the body’s natural tendency to heal. I believe that taking care of ourselves needs to be the primary goal.

Ok.. let’s dig a little deeper and talk about the root causes of the kinds of chronic diseases that are at least partially preventable.

Stage one: The precursors to full-blown disease.

This includes things that actually DO show up in lab testing, but often get missed in routine exams. (Especially in more traditional medical settings)

• Inflammation. This shows up in lab tests as the most common inflammatory markers:   C reactive protein (CRP), erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and plasma viscosity. Chronic inflammation is not only VERY aging (you can see it it someone’s face) it is linked to the vast majority of chronic dis-eases.

• Blood sugar dysregulation and changes in cell structure and function due to too much refined carbohydrates in the diet. The most common tests include A1C, fasting blood glucose, and the postprandial glucose (PPG) test. Sugar contributes to inflammation, a very specific aging process (advanced glycation end products) (4) and weight gain. Of course, left unchecked, the result can be Type 2 diabetes.

• The beginning stages of autoimmune diseases. Usually, this involves testing for various antibodies present in the blood.

• Oxidative damage in the cells.

• Vitamin D, magnesium, and other nutrient deficiencies that are linked to chronic conditions and even dis-ease. It’s a good idea to determine at least your Vitamin D level, since so many are deficient, and studies are showing a link between this deficiency and COVID-19. (5)

• Hormone imbalances: Excess cortisol, estrogen dominance, hypothyroidism and  “adrenal fatigue”

.. and more. If this doesn’t motivate you.. Just know that these precursors can make you look 10 years older.

These same precursors may also make us more vulnerable to viruses like COVID-19, according to some studies. (6) Of course, we are going to need more robust studies, but again.. the general concept is that taking proactive care of our health is always a good idea.

Although these conditions are not considered dangerous, they are the “waiting room” for dis-ease. They also happen to suck, making you tired, more prone to illness, less excited about life, and cause you to age faster.

You may experience:

• Fatigue
• A desire to sleep after eating
• Weight gain (the kind that is very difficult to lose)
• Brain fog
• Anxiety
• Depression
• Sleep disruption
• Hair loss
• Signs of aging
• Unexplained aches and pains
• Inability to handle even small amounts of stress
• Generally feeling “like shit.”
• Overall low functioning

This is the SHORT list.

Stage 1 sounds the FIRST alarm bell or indicator light that lets you know something isn’t right.

Instead of pressing the SNOOZE button, it’s much easier to address these issues NOW, instead of waiting for them to develop into full-blown dis-ease.

The good news is that this stage is the most easy to reverse via simple lifestyle changes, like getting enough sleep, exercise, and vitamin D, eating high-quality and nutrient-dense foods, and reducing stress by cultivating meaning in life. (I know, easier said than done.. I’ll tell you about my own struggle in a future blog)

Using the Heart Technique, I help patients discover not only these conditions, but go even further in order to discover the things that may be causing them. Sometimes it’s not always what we think!

Stage Two: Chronic Conditions (That make us feel like shit)

There are chronic conditions that are easy to ignore, but put many of us at risk. At the very least, they significantly reduce quality of life.

This is the “second alarm” that many choose to press the “snooze button” on. 

Examples include:

Digestive issues, extreme and unrelenting fatigue, chronic pain,  skin conditions, obesity, anxiety, early stages of dementia, some types of serious depression, and premature aging.

Again, I use the Heart Technique to unravel the mystery behind these conditions and help get my patients back on the road to health again.

Stage Three: Full-Blown Chronic Dis-ease.

This stage includes diseases such as cancer, heart and liver disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, autoimmune diseases such as Hashimoto’s, and Type 2 diabetes.

These conditions are known, but equally devastating.

Diabetes, as an example, can cause loss of life and limb, yet it’s not on the forefront of our collective consciousness at the moment.

I’ll tell you more about what’s possible.. during our first visit.

Stage Four: Serious, life-threatening situations

Now the alarm can no longer be ignored. 

A stroke that leaves one unable to speak. Diabetes that results in an amputated limb. A frightening cancer diagnosis. Dementia that robs us of our human connection with others. A suicide.

These are diseases that we are already familiar with, so they may not seem as urgent. Yet they claim so many lives.

Of course, it goes without saying that if you are experiencing a life-threatening emergency, you want to see your doctor or get emergency care, not a chiropractor.

My compassion goes out to anyone who is suffering from ANY disease.

Again, I firmly believe that anything is possible when it comes to healing. 

I feel a strong connection to anyone that visits my clinic. I’m as open and honest to them as I would be to a friend.

Even if we were all to consciously declare that only thing that matters right now is fighting COVID-19, it’s still true that by paying attention to our overall health, we are taking steps towards protecting ourselves from this novel virus.

I wrote another blog about this.

My message from the heart isn’t about fear. Nor is it about promoting ANY kind of “cure.” 

 It’s about creating a FOUNDATION of health that will give us our best shot at living a long life, while also being able to enjoy it.

From my heart..

Dr. Joel

Do you need help with chronic pain in Lansing?

Or maybe you are just tired of feeling like crap. I know there is so much you want to do during  your time on this planet and that you need to be healthy to do those things.

I’m here for you..  Whether it is physical (neck pain, back pain, recovering from an auto accident, and more) chronic conditions, or emotional trauma of any kind, I’ll help your body heal itself.

I’ve worked with and successfully treated many patients in various stages of every chronic condition I mentioned above, helping them live their best life.

Call us at (517) 372-1381 to book an appointment, or schedule a telehealth/remote appointment by clicking the orange button below.

Your Lansing chiropractor, Dr Joel

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