Chronic Health and COVID-19

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Chronic Health and COVID-19

One of the very few bright spots we are seeing in the devastating course of the COVID-19 pandemic is that it reminds us how critical it is that we all understand and address our chronic underlying health issues.  Chronic disease and other underlying health issues disrupt our ability to fight off infection and quickly restore health. 

Fortunately, for the majority of us, there are concrete things we can do to help. For example, removing sugar and highly processed foods, reducing stress, engaging in exercise, and understanding WHY your body is not functioning properly is absolutely the best way to be sure you are healthy and better able to handle not only COVID-19 but all future health challenges. 

The vast majority of people infected with coronavirus recover.  We have heard repeatedly that the most serious illness from COVID-19 is seen in people with one or more underlying health conditions. These include diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, heart disease, and chronic lung conditions.  Many other conditions can cause a person’s immune system to be weakened, including cancer treatment, smoking, bone marrow or organ transplantation, immune deficiencies, and prolonged use of corticosteroids and other immune weakening medications.  

Doctors treating patients have noticed that COVID-19 has 2 phases.  The first is similar to flu-like fever and aches and pains. People who have a more serious illness can move into a second phase where the dry cough progresses to shortness of breath and the collapse of the alveoli, which are the tiny sacs in the lungs that exchange oxygen with the blood. These are the patients who can require ventilators to force air into and out of their lungs.  Tragically, most of the patients who are put on a ventilator never come off. For many, a serious later complication is that the immune system which has ramped up to kill the virus fails to shut back down resulting in fatal damage to the body’s own organs (sepsis).   

Why does this happen in some people but not in others?  We don’t know for sure but this is not something new. Studies show that sepsis causes up to 20% of all deaths worldwide. 

In our practice, we treat many patients that are suffering from auto-immune diseases including, Hashimoto’s hypothyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, MS and others.  Similar to what is happening to many people dying from COVID-19, in these conditions (though not as devastating as sepsis) we also see the immune system failing to shut down, damaging patient’s organs.  

We find that very often the immune system has been triggered by chronic inflammation in the digestive system.  Some people call this leaky gut syndrome. Basically, for a variety of reasons, partially digested food, toxins, and bacteria can leak through the intestinal wall into the blood and the immune system sees this and interprets the particles to be invaders.  Over time, the constantly irritated immune system begins to go overboard and cause the diseases mentioned above. This is called an autoimmune reaction. Healing the digestive tract and addressing other issues that impact your immune system can help keep autoimmunity in check. 

Chiropractors and other holistic healthcare providers have been talking about this for years.  We can help you now to start to turn the corner on the many issues that have been dragging your health in the wrong direction for too long.

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