Underdiagnosed Health Disorders

Disease risk medical health care concept with a human hand holding microscopic cancer virus and bacteria cells as a metaphor for pathogen protection from contagious disease and illness.

Too many people are going through the motions of daily life ignoring troublesome health symptoms and resigning themselves to feeling subpar. To compound the problem, those who do reach out to their doctors often get dismissed because standard physicals and blood tests don’t check for some increasingly common diseases. Our mission at myWholeLife is to spread information in order to make exceptional health accessible to everyone. With that in mind, we have compiled a list of the top underdiagnosed health disorders – because you can’t address the root cause of an ailment, if you don’t even know it exists.

Lyme Disease

Symptoms: Early signs of Lyme disease include flu-like symptoms and a bull’s-eye shaped rash. If left untreated the infection can spread to any part of the body and cause mild to severe fatigue, headaches, migraines, joint pain, facial paralysis (Bell’s Palsy), limb numbness, muscle pain, impaired muscle movement, sleep issues, cognitive impairments, and depression.

What it Is: Lyme disease is caused by a bacterial infection that is transmitted through tick bites. The symptoms of Lyme disease are extremely diverse, they can show up and disappear intermittently, and sometimes they don’t occur until years after the tick bite occurred. These three factors, in combination with the fact that many doctors don’t ever think to test for it, make Lyme disease one of the most underdiagnosed chronic health conditions in North America. This is unfortunate, because if it is caught early on, a simple course of antibiotics can treat it successfully. In contrast, if Lyme disease is allowed to progress, it can become a chronic disease that requires long-term antibiotic therapy, and irreversible damage can be caused to the nervous system, organs and joints.[1] [2][3]

*To help protect yourself from Lyme disease cover-up in woody and grassy areas and vigilantly check yourself after leaving them; wear a deet-based spray, and tick-proof your yard. For more detailed recommendations http://healthycanadians.gc.ca/diseases-conditions-maladies-affections/disease-maladie/lyme/prevention-eng.php

Hypoglycemia

Symptoms: Symptoms are fleeting and are often dependant on what foods you consume and they may include shakiness, hunger, headaches, blurred vision, irritability, nervousness, confusion, dizziness, light headedness, sweating, inability to concentrate, weakness, irregular or fast heartbeat, intense food cravings, nausea, and in severe cases, fainting.[4]

What it Is: Although it is not technically a disease, hypoglycemia is a common cause of fatigue that occurs when your blood sugar drops too low. Although diabetics and people with metabolic disorder have a higher risk for hypoglycemic episodes, hypoglycemia can actually effect anyone at anytime. In otherwise healthy individuals, hypoglycemia typically strikes a couple hours after too much sugar, alcohol or caffeine is consumed. The reason for this is that these substances cause a rapid rise in blood sugar (especially if they are consumed alone, without fat or fiber to slow down their absorption), and the pancreas responds by releasing a high dose of the blood sugar-regulating hormone insulin; which in turn causes blood sugar to drop too low.

*If you want to learn how to prevent hypoglycemia and balance your blood sugar naturally, check-out our award winning, doctor recommended Blood Sugar App. It provides a list of the top blood sugar balancing foods and supplements, 21 meal and snack recipes, healthy food swap suggestions, and more, all for just $2.99: https://www.mywholelife.ca/bloodsugar/

Food Sensitivities

Symptoms: Symptoms are rarely instant and may occur up to 72 hours after the intolerant food item is consumed. Some of the most common symptoms include bloating, migraines, runny or stuffy nose, clogged ears, puffy eyes, cough, hives, gas, constipation, diarrhea, bad breath, stomach aches, feeling rundown, acne, rapid heartbeat, mood swings, anxiety, depression, brain fog, and intense food cravings.

What it Is: Many people have food sensitivities without realizing it because they can produce a wide-range of symptoms that are not immediate and they can vary from day to day. To make things even more confusing, sometimes a food that you are sensitive or intolerant to won’t produce any noticeable symptoms, and other times it may produce severe symptoms. The reason for this is best explained through the bucket analogy. Imagine your body as a bucket; when you are in good health the bucket is empty. However, a poor night’s sleep, too much stress, poor digestion, constipation, a high intake of foods that you’re intolerant to, exposure to environmental allergies or air pollutants etc., all act as drops in your bucket. When the bucket is not yet full, and you consume a food you’re intolerant to, you may not experience any noticeable symptoms. However, once your bucket is full, even the tiniest morsel of that food can send your bucket overflowing, and full-blown symptoms can manifest. It should be noted that conventional allergy tests don’t identify food sensitivities because they are not caused by IgE antibodies and the gold standard for identifying them is an elimination diet.[5]

* To learn more about sensitivity testing and the elimination diet: https://www.mywholelife.ca/the-challenges-of-conventional-allergy-testing/

Sleep Apnea

Symptoms: Loud or frequent snoring, choking or gasping sounds in sleep; insomnia, nightmares, morning headaches, relentless fatigue, memory loss, irritability, difficulty concentrating, depression, dry mouth (caused by breathing through the mouth at night), mood swings, weight gain and loss of libido.

What it Is: Sleep apnea is a common, chronic disorder where you have one or more pauses in breathing (lasting from a few seconds to a few minutes) while you sleep. This can happen 30 times or more per hour and when it occurs, it tends to pull you out of a deep sleep and move you into a light one. Due to the poor sleep quality that it causes, most sleep apnea sufferers will feel tired during the day, regardless of how many hours they sleep at night. Since blood tests can’t diagnose it, the condition often remains undiagnosed. Although it is most common in male adults (especially those who are overweight), sleep apnea can affect anyone at any age. The easiest way to identify sleep apnea if you sleep with a partner, is to ask them if they hear you choking, snoring loudly or gasping for air during the night.[6] [7] Alternatively, a sleep clinic can provide you with a diagnosis, however it is a bit of an obtrusive process that requires spending the night at the clinic, while attached to monitors.

*You may be able to reverse sleep apnea naturally by obtaining a healthy body weight (excess body weight can reduce airflow in your lungs), exercising regularly, quitting smoking, maintaining regular sleep hours, sleeping on your side and propping your head up.[8] Also, eliminate foods that contain saturated fats and/or sugar; avoid alcohol, caffeine and heavy meals before bed; and consume foods that stimulate the production of serotonin (bananas, avocado, organic yogurt, turkey etc.) as a bedtime snack.[9]

Leaky Gut Syndrome

Symptoms: Digestive issues such as gas, bloating, cramps, diarrhea or constipation; food sensitivities, allergies, aches, pains, arthritis, chronic fatigue, weakened immune system, flushing, skin rashes (caused by excess inflammation), nutritional deficiencies, strong food cravings, weight gain, brain fog, anxiety and depression.

What it Is: Leaky gut syndrome basically means that there are tiny holes in your gut lining that allow undigested food particles, bacteria, viruses and toxic waste products to permeate (through the lining) out of your digestive system where they belong, and into your bloodstream. This confuses your immune system, sending it into a frenzy and can lead to widespread, chronic inflammation and severe nutrient deficiencies. It is theorised that leaky gut syndrome plays a chief role in the development of celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease, irritable bowel syndrome, arthritis, psoriasis, eczema and asthma. Unfortunately, leaky gut syndrome is still considered to be a bit of an unsolved mystery in the medical community and although it is likely a very widespread problem, it’s rarely diagnosed because it’s not taught in medical school. In fact, if you bring it up to a conventional MD they will typically refuse to take the issue seriously. As such, your best bet for diagnosis is a consult with a Naturopathic doctor.[10]

*If leaky gut is identified, remove the following gut inflammation triggers: sugar, milk casein, wheat gluten, alcohol, and NSAIDS. The supplement glutamine may also be beneficial, as it has been found to support the regeneration and repair of the cells that line the intestinal wall.[11][12]

Additional Conditions Worth Considering

Adrenal Fatigue and Hypothyroidism are two additional disorders to consider if you experience chronic fatigue and/or a diverse range of intermittent symptoms; or simply don’t feel quite right. For more information on these two conditions:

(Adrenal Fatigue Article) “The Under-Diagnosed Disorder that May Be Ruining Your Life”

https://www.mywholelife.ca/the-under-diagnosed-disorder-that-may-be-ruining-your-life/

and

(Hypothyroidism Article) “The Butterfly Effect”

https://www.mywholelife.ca/the-butterfly-effect/

References:

[1] http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lyme-disease/basics/symptoms/con-20019701
[2] https://www.lymedisease.org/lyme-basics/lyme-disease/symptoms/
[3] http://www.cdc.gov/lyme/faq/index.html
[4] https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/preventing-diabetes-problems/low-blood-glucose-hypoglycemia
[5] http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/food-allergy/expert-answers/food-allergy/faq-20058538
[6] http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/sleepapnea
[7] http://www.sleepeducation.org/essentials-in-sleep/sleep-apnea/symptoms-risk-factors
[8] http://www.helpguide.org/articles/sleep/sleep-apnea.htm
[9] http://www.apneatreatmentcenter.com/best-diets-for-sleep-apnea-what-you-should-and-should-not-eat/
[10] http://www.nhs.uk/conditions/leaky-gut-syndrome/Pages/Introduction.aspx
[11] JPEN J Parenter Enteral Nutr January 1999 vol. 23 no. 1 7-11
[12] Van der Hulst, von Meyenfeldt, Deutz, Soeters, Brummer, von Kreel, Arends. Glutamine and the preservation of gut integrity. The Lancet, Volume 341, Issue 8857, Pages 1363-1365