These are words that patients use generally as they try what they are reading on the internet or see on television. Doing a cleanse is a great thing to do with our daily barrage of chemicals, bad food-like substances, and bad habits. Avoiding toxicity is a high priority, but it is virtually impossible to avoid all toxicity. Giving the body additional help to detoxify and “clean up” are great ways to renew energy, feel better,
Sleep is a must for all of us to be healthy, especially if we are not well and need to heal. Adults need an average of 8 hours of sleep and kids need even more. While we sleep our growth hormone (which helps us heal from our day’s bodily insult and work) pulses. During this time, our melatonin (which has immune system benefits, anti-cancer, and anti-oxidant properties) also pulses. It is no surprise that those who are chronically sleep deprived suffer from more chronic illness, more cancer, and more inflammatory conditions. Sleep apnea has become more widely diagnosed in the past several years because of an increased awareness of its existence. This condition will cut years off of the lifespan and significantly decreases quality of life. We work closely with our patients to find some combination of strategies that promote quality sleep. Magnesium is one of our favorite recommendations to improve sleep, but it may not be enough. Balancing hormones, correcting nutritional deficiencies, treating infections, decreasing inflammation, among other strategies help adults and kids to find more restorative and restful sleep.
This follows closely with getting your mind back. The mood is a very important part of having a good quality of life. An anxious mood can cause people to avoid connecting with others, avoid traveling, and avoid doing things that they would otherwise love to do. A depressed mood can ruin relationships, cause lack of motivation, loss of enthusiasm, and result in feeling isolated and lonely. Suicide is the end point for some who don’t find ways to alleviate severe anxiety or severe depression (or other diagnosed mental conditions which relate to the mood). Dr. Offutt’s first conversation with someone who shares such concerns includes education about being who you are and not a diagnosis. For example, some patients will come in and say “I am bipolar”. She will say, “no, you are a human being who has been told by someone that you are bipolar” and start looking for that underlying cause. Chronic infection, chronic toxicity, chronic significant nutritional deficiencies among other deeply rooted causes must first be investigated. Our conventional medical practice has gotten way too lax about prescribing medications for these symptoms without looking for underlying causes first. As the world of medicine has evolved, doctors are trained and required to spend less time with patients (be more efficient) and to address each symptom with a prescription. Patients have come to expect this type of care as well. If this is the type of care that you are seeking, there are plenty of doctors out there with this training. However, if you want to avoid medication or decrease your overall medication burden, look at alternatives, and work on these issues using an Integrative Medicine approach, we would love to partner with you. We will not judge you if you are on these medications. We find that the doctors that prescribe them and the patients who take them neither one really understand that there are alternatives that can be quite effective.
In our great country, we are seeing growing numbers of patients who have been diagnosed with diseases such as dementia, strokes, ADHD, autism, brain tumors, Parkinson’s disease, MS, and the list goes on. One thing that all of these diseases have in common is brain inflammation. This inflammation is multifactorial and we work with each patient to look for underlying causes of these problems. Toxicities, nutritional deficiencies, heavy metals, high blood sugar, infection, overmedication and other factors can each play a significant role in causing these diseases. We can use detoxification strategies, medical ozone therapies, stem cells, IV nutrition, and other interventions to improve these conditions. Treatment is more likely to be effective if the conditions are caught and treated earlier. One of Dr. Offutt’s favorite things to do is to help people get off of mind-altering medications who are motivated to do so. Many people do not realize when certain medications are prescribed, such as Adderall, Ritalin, Prozac, Zoloft, Celexa, Lexapro, Xanax, Ativan, Klonopin, opioids and other mind altering medications, these can be very habit forming. Discontinuing these can be difficult, but staying on them for years is detrimental to the delicate balance of neurotransmitters that help us be alert, keep our memory active and healthy, have motivation, and focus and concentration. It is never too late to consider working on this and Dr. Offutt has several success stories of patients who have been able to reduce their medication burdens significantly to be healthier, more vital, and have a better quality of life.
This is a big part of what Dr. Offutt does as she evaluates patients. In the state of Texas, some doctors are trained to believe that diseases such as Lyme Disease do not exist. In fact, Dr. Offutt was trained this way early in her medical career. If a patient presented to her and said that he/she thought Lyme disease had been contracted, she politely repeated what she was initially taught in her medical training. She would inform the patient that Lyme disease did not exist in the state of Texas so it had to be something else. She always felt defeated as these patients left the appointment, though, because what they had was a mystery. This was a significant part of what prompted her to go back to school. It was one of her professors at George Washington University that first introduced the concept that patients with chronic illness and chronic inflammation should be checked for Lyme disease, among other chronic infectious agents. This was intriguing because it seemed that the numbers of patients presenting with fibromyalgia, autoimmunity, and arthritis were steadily increasing. He suggested that infection must be considered as a potential cause. She started checking for it and found it to be much more prevalent than she had been taught. A lack of education still exists in Texas for practicing physicians regarding Lyme disease. ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society) focuses on educating physicians and other healthcare providers about the presence of this problem. Dr. Offutt attends their annual meetings and is a member as this organization has helped her to learn much more about Borreliosis and associated diseases. Of interest, in 2013, a study was published in International Journal of Parasitology by a group including an author who is a professor at Texas A & M School of Veterinary Medicine. The study demonstrates that 4.7% of the samples tested from 1,493 deer between 2001 and 2015 tested positive for the organism. These originated in two eco-regions of Texas (Edwards Plateau and the South Texas Plains). This was the first longitudinal study to demonstrate fluctuation in sero-reactivity of white-tailed dirt B. burgdorferi sense strict antigens in the southern United States. Testing for this disease is suboptimal in humans which further perpetuates the debate, but clinically, there is no doubt that humans in Texas are suffering from this infection. The difference is that we are much less likely to catch it in the acute phase because we are trained NOT to consider it as an acute diagnosis. Therefore, we have some patients who suffer for years before getting the right diagnosis, when the disease becomes more difficult to treat. We enjoy helping patients who have gotten lost in the midst of this problem to get back on track with a diagnosis and a plan for therapy. It can take years to treat a chronic case, but as long as we are making steady progress, we persevere. We are inspired by our resilient patients who fight to regain health.