OHP: Complex Chronic Medical Conditions
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Complex Chronic Medical Conditions

Optimal Health Physicians (OHP) provides treatment for Complex Chronic Medical Conditions including Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. Click on the titles below to read about each.

A chronic inflammatory disease is a medical condition which is characterized by persistent inflammation. A number of diseases fall into this category, and a great deal of research has been conducted to learn more about such diseases and how they work. In many cases, a genetic component has been identified which can put people at risk of developing particular inflammatory diseases, and in some cases, multiple genes can be involved.

Patients develop a chronic inflammatory disease because the immune system has an inappropriate response to something it has been exposed to. In some cases, this means that the patient develops an autoimmune disease, in which the immune system starts to attack the body because it has become confused. In other instances, the patient experiences chronic inflammation in response to certain foods or environmental factors such as smoke. The inflammation can wax and wane, but it remains persistent and it often resists treatment.

Chronic inflammation can cause considerable damage to the tissues of the body, and it can lead to a variety of problems, depending on where it is located. Some researchers, for example, have noted that chronic inflammatory disease in the liver and digestive tract can cause changes in the brain which lead to fatigue and personality changes. These diseases can also interfere with the function of various organs, and in many cases, the inflammation can spread across the body.

People with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) often feel so tired that they can't do even half of their normal daily activities. And the feeling doesn't go away, even with more rest. Twice as many women as men are diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome. And it is more common in people over age 40. It may last a month, a couple of years, or many years. Sometimes symptoms come and go.

Although researchers aren't sure what causes CFS, there are ways to manage symptoms so you can still do the things you enjoy.

Signs and Symptoms

  • Severe fatigue that comes on suddenly, especially after you've had the flu Low grade fever (100.4 °F) and chills
  • Sore throat and swollen lymph glands in the neck or armpits
  • Muscle and joint aches, without any swelling
  • Headaches
  • Sleep that doesn't feel refreshing
  • Feeling like you are in a fog and not being able to concentrate or remember Mood changes

What Causes It?

The cause of chronic fatigue syndrome is unknown, but a virus or an immune system reaction may be responsible. Risk factors include extreme stress or anxiety, flu-like illness that doesn't completely go away, poor eating habits, and psychological conditions, such as obsessive compulsive disorder, neuroticism, and perfectionism. Depression can make the condition worse and make it last longer.

Dysfunction in a few key systems seems to be the common denominator with fibromyalgia. Areas involved include the cellular energy producing mitochondria, the “all controlling” part of the brain called the hypothalamus, and the immune system.

Defects in the mitochondria powerhouses lead to the lack of energy, fatigue, muscle shortening and pain. Abnormal control signals from the hypothalamus leads to disrupted sleep, which then causes a lack of important healing hormones, physical rest and tissue repair. Further changes in the autonomic nervous system are related to the abnormal pain signaling. The immune system changes lead to altered balance of immune pathways that result in excess inflammatory chemicals called cytokines.

We are finding that these dysfunctional systems are caused by a combination of conditions from genetic defects in metabolic and detoxification pathways, to external stressors such as infections, toxic chemicals, or heavy metal accumulation in the body. Poor nutrition and stress are two very important lifestyle issues that play a role.