Treatment targets can be divided broadly into symptoms, intermediate causes, and primary causes.
Most medical treatments are aimed at relieving your symptoms, i.e., reducing your weight, your blood sugar, or your cholesterol. If you want to get well, you will need to think about the pros and cons of different treatment targets.
There are lots of doctors trained to treat symptoms, and your present doctor is probably as good the next one. There is one thing you need to know, however, about treating symptoms. Even when they have been treated successfully, they tend to come back. This requires some explanation.
Symptoms are almost always symptoms of something--they are the consequences of underlying problems. If the underlying problems get worse, then the symptoms get worse. If the underlying problems are infections, then the symptoms will get worse as the infections get worse.
Our infectious burden gets larger as we get older. Consequently, the medicines that relieved our symptoms last year won't work as well this year. We can summarize this phenomenon as follows: The treatments we apply to the symptoms of an illness lose their effectiveness as the cause of the illness gets worse.
For example, our blood pressure tends to rise as we get older. If we exercise, lose a little weight, or take blood pressure medicine, our blood pressure drops for a few months or years. Our blood pressure always goes back up, however, because our infectious burden is always increasing.
When our blood pressure goes up again, we take more medicine, or we switch to a stronger medicine. But no matter how aggressively we treat it, our blood pressure will continue to rise as long as our infectious burden continues to get worse. Eventually we will get to a point where no safe, reasonable treatment will control our blood pressure. Our blood pressure won't stay down until we eliminate the things that are driving it up: infections and stress.
When dealing with any chronic illness, whether it is arthritis, obesity, or whatever, remember this rule:
The treatments we apply to the symptoms of an illness lose their
effectiveness as the cause of the illness gets worse.
Reducing your infectious burden may take a long time, so you will need to continue to have your symptoms monitored and treated.
Treating intermediate causes
Inflammation, hypercortisolism, insulin resistance, and metabolic syndrome are usually intermediate causes. Treating an intermediate cause can often eliminate, at least for a while, several symptoms.
Treating inflammation, for example, will make us feel better almost immediately. Unfortunately, many anti-inflammatory drugs allow infections to get worse. As the infections get worse, inflammation and symptoms come back, or new symptoms develop. Still, the right anti-inflammatory drug in the right dose can do wonders, for a while.
There are drugs that lower cortisol levels. They help us lose weight and they help the immune system kill germs. Unfortunately, they allow inflammation, pain, and fever to get worse. They are so dangerous that they are almost never used.
The famous low-carb diets seem to work by reducing insulin resistance, and reducing insulin resistance can do a lot more for you than reduce your weight. Reducing insulin resistance does not reduce cortisol levels, however, so low-carb diets will only have a limited and transient effect on our health and weight.
Mild exercise can kill germs and reduce inflammation, cortisol, and insulin resistance. All of these things will have beneficial effects on our health. Unfortunately, exercise can't kill enough germs, so our infectious burden will continue to grow as we age. If we keep increasing the amount of exercise we are doing, at some point it stops being mild and it starts to raise cortisol levels and suppress the immune system.
No matter how much or how little exercise we do, our inflammation, cortisol, and insulin resistance will continue to get worse as our infectious burden increases. Eventually our weight, blood sugar, and blood pressure will go up again. This is one of the reasons why only one person in twenty can lose weight and keep it off.
The art of treating intermediate causes is not very advanced yet.
Treating primary causes
If you believe that the infection-stress model is accurate, then stress and infections are obvious targets for treatment; eliminating them would eliminate all of the symptoms that flow from them.
Unfortunately, obvious targets are not always practical targets because chronic infections and stress are very hard to diagnose and treat. For example, most doctors know that stress causes or exacerbates many illnesses. Stress, however, is amazingly difficult to treat. Reducing stress, like eating less or exercising more, requires you to change your behavior, and treatments that depend on patients changing their behavior usually fail.
Treating chronic, low-level infections is also difficult. The middle-path germs that cause them are hard to identify and harder to kill. Eradicating Chlamydophila pneumoniae, for example, requires long, complicated protocols like the ones described at www.cpnhelp.org. It's hard to find doctors who know how to implement such protocols, and your insurance company may not pay for the treatments.
It may be years before we can eradicate chronic stress and infections, so we need to stay alive and as healthy while we wait. Consequently, we must continue to have our symptoms and intermediate causes treated while we try to get well.
As I've said several times, there are no safe, effective, and proven ways to permanently lose weight, cure diabetes, or cure heart disease. I hope the information here and in The Potbelly Syndrome will help you muddle through until better treatments become available.
www.potbellysyndrome.com is owned and maintained by Russell Farris, and the information contained here is based upon the research and personal and professional experiences of Russell Farris. It is not intended as a substitute for consulting with your physician or other health care provider. Any attempt to diagnose and treat an illness should be done under the direction of a health care professional.
Russell Farris does not advocate the use of any particular health care protocol but believes the information in this website should be available to the public. Russell Farris is not responsible for any adverse effects or consequences resulting from the use of the suggestions, preparations, or procedures discussed in this website. Should the reader have any questions concerning the appropriateness of any procedures or preparation mentioned, the website owner strongly suggests consulting a professional health care advisor.