Integrative Medicine

Conditions


Childhood Development


Integrative medicine aims to optimise a child’s development which has been compromised or delayed due to underlying gastro-intestinal, neurological, mitochondrial, methylation, inflammation or toxicity issues. Compromised development in children often manifests as problems with:

  • Sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Behaviour
  • General Development
  • Sensory Integration
  • Speech
  • Motor Development


Chronic Disease


Chronic diseases can persist over long periods and can be aggravated by lifestyle choices and the serious effects that chronic inflammation has on disease. This systemic or “silent” inflammation doesn’t cause you any pain — it lives “under the radar,” quietly lingering for years, where it silently injures your heart, brain and immune system. In fact, the number of diseases linked to chronic inflammation such as heart disease or cancer is staggering.

Integrative medicine is well-suited to the treatment of chronic disease because it focuses on discovering the underlying cause of your of the disease rather than merely treating the symptoms. Treating chronic disease can be a lifelong journey. Integrative medicine does much more than manage your symptoms; it empowers you with the essential tools to create meaningful and lasting change in your life.



Chronic Fatigue


Chronic fatigue syndrome is also described as burnout, or Adrenal Fatigue and is defined as a set of symptoms that include prolonged, overwhelming fatigue that starts upon awakening and lasts throughout the day. Other symptoms may include mood swings, muscle spasms, pain, headache, sleep disturbances, and loss of appetite.



Neurological Disorders


Neurological disorders are diseases of the brain, spinal cord, cranial nerves, peripheral nerves, nerve roots, autonomic nervous system, neuromuscular junction, and muscles.   It may be the result of predisposing factors, such as family history, genetics, infection, a history of environmental exposures, and nutritional toxicities or deficiencies.

These disorders include:

  • Epilepsy
  • Alzheimer disease
  • Dementia
  • Cerebrovascular diseases including stroke, migraine and other headache disorders,
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Neuro-infections
  • Brain tumours
  • Traumatic disorders of the nervous system due to head trauma, and
  • Neurological disorders as a result of malnutrition.

An evaluation and modification of nutritional imbalances, forms the foundation of the integrative approach to treating neurological disorders.



Sleep Disorders


Sleep disorders can be identified as episodes that occur on a regular basis and interfere with your daily life. It may be caused by health problems, stress or other external influences.

  • Depending on the type of sleep disorder, people may have a difficult time falling asleep and may feel extremely tired throughout the day. This has a negative impact on energy, mood, concentration, and overall health.
  • If the sleep disorders are a symptom of another medical or mental health condition it should subside once treatment is obtained for the underlying cause. When sleep disorders aren’t caused by another condition, treatment normally involves a combination of medical treatments and lifestyle changes.
  • The negative effects of sleep disorders can affect your performance at work, your relationships, and impair your ability to perform daily activities.


Emotional Health


Psychiatric disease refers to a wide range of mental health disorders that affect your mood, thinking and behaviour and may include depression, anxiety disorders, Schizophrenia, eating disorders or addictive behaviours. It is characterised by the frequent stress that causes an individual and affects their ability to function normally in everyday life.

  • Integrative Medicine supports a whole body approach to mental health disorders, using various fields of medicine and nutritional sciences.
  • Treatments could include metabolic testing, nutritional therapies, and dietary interventions and is often used in conjunction with traditional medical approaches like psychotherapy and psychiatric medicines.
  • Laboratory tests are used to evaluate and treat underlying biomedical issues, which may include nutritional deficiencies, food allergies, infections, toxicities, and genetic disorders.
  • Therefore, by focusing on an individual’s unique genetic, biochemical, and nutritional status, an individualised treatment plan can be implemented.


Gastro-intestinal Health


Our digestive system is at the forefront of our overall health as it takes in nutrients and eliminates waste products. Digestive concerns are often the result of an impaired immune system, improper food intake and poor nutrient absorption.

Because more than 60% of your immune system resides within the gut, when your gut fails to sort the good from the bad, harmful toxins can enter your bloodstream. By correcting digestive issues, you can protect your immune system and relieve symptoms caused by Autoimmune Disease.

Gastrointestinal conditions can include:

  • Irritable bowel (IBS)
  • Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis
  • Celiac disease
  • Ulcers
  • Gas and bloating
  • Abdominal pain
  • Change in weight
  • Leaky Gut caused by toxins like wheat and industrial seed oils
  • Chronic constipation, diarrhoea, abdominal pain, and/or gas
  • Acid Reflux/GERD (Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease)
  • Food allergies and intestine sensitivities
  • Lactose Intolerance
  • Colon Polyps/Cancer
  • Gallstones like cholesterol and pigment stones
  • Malnutrition and lack of food for a healthy gut

Maintaining proper gut health can affect other body systems and greatly reduce our quality of life.



Health Concerns


Our integrative approach to medicine allows us to include our patients in their journey to health.  This means that we do not only treat your symptoms but really listen to your health care needs and goals in order to help you understand the causes of your health concerns so that they can be alleviated in the long term.



Auto Immune Diseases


Our immune systems normally guard our bodies against germs like bacteria and viruses. When it senses these foreign invaders, it sends out an army of fighter cells to attack them.  Normally, the immune system can tell the difference between foreign cells and your own cells.

In an Autoimmune Disease, the immune system mistakes part of your body — like your joints or skin — as foreign. It releases proteins called autoantibodies that attack healthy cells.

Although each Autoimmune Disease has its own symptoms, the early symptoms of many of these diseases are very similar and may include:

  • fatigue
  • achy muscles
  • swelling and redness
  • low-grade fever
  • trouble concentrating
  • numbness and tingling in the hands and feet
  • hair loss
  • skin rashes

Common Auto Immune Diseases


  • Type 1 Diabetes
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)
  • Psoriasis
  • Multiple Sclerosis
  • Lupus
  • Inflammatory Bowel Disease
  • Addison’s Disease
  • Graves’ Disease
  • Sjögren’s Syndrome
  • Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis
  • Myasthenia Gravis
  • Vasculitis
  • Pernicious Anaemia
  • Celiac Disease
Type 1 Diabetes

The pancreas produces the hormone, Insulin, which helps regulate blood sugar levels. In type 1 Diabetes, the immune system attacks and destroys Insulin-producing cells in the pancreas. High blood sugar can damage blood vessels, as well as organs like the heart, kidneys, eyes, and nerves.

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

In Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), the immune system attacks the joints. This attack causes redness, warmth, soreness, and stiffness in the joints.

Psoriasis

Skin cells normally grow and then shed when they’re no longer needed. Psoriasis causes skin cells to multiply too quickly. The extra cells build up and form red, scaly patches called scales or plaques on the skin.

Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) damages the myelin sheath or protective coating that surrounds nerve cells. Damage to the myelin sheath affects the transmission of messages between your brain and body and can lead to symptoms like numbness, weakness, balance issues, and trouble walking. The disease comes in several forms, which progress at different rates.

Lupus

Although doctors in the 1800s first described Lupus as a skin disease because of the rash it produces, it actually affects many organs, including the joints, kidneys, brain, and heart joint pain, fatigue, and rashes are among the most common symptoms.

Inflammatory Bowel Disease

Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) causes inflammation in the lining of the intestines. Each type of IBD affects a different part of the GI tract.

  • Crohn’s Diseasecan inflame any part of the GI tract, from the mouth to the anus.
  • Ulcerative Colitis affects only the lining of the large intestine (colon) and rectum.
Addison’s Disease

Addison’s Disease affects the adrenal glands, which produce the hormones, Cortisol and Aldosterone. Having too little of these hormones can affect the way the body uses and stores carbohydrates and sugar. Symptoms include weakness, fatigue, weight loss, and low blood sugar.

Graves’ Disease

Graves’ Disease attacks the thyroid gland in the neck, causing it to produce too much of its hormones. Thyroid hormones control the body’s energy usage, or metabolism.

Having too much of these hormones causes symptoms like nervousness, a fast heartbeat, heat intolerance, and weight loss. One common symptom of this disease is bulging eyes.

Sjögren’s Syndrome

This condition attacks the joints, as well as glands that provide lubrication to the eyes and mouth. The hallmark symptoms of Sjögren’s syndrome are joint pain, dry eyes, and dry mouth.

Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis

In Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, thyroid hormone production slows. Symptoms include weight gain, sensitivity to cold, fatigue, hair loss, and swelling of the thyroid.

Myasthenia Gravis

Myasthenia Gravis affects nerves that help the brain control the muscles. When these nerves are impaired, signals can’t direct the muscles to move.

The most common symptom is muscle weakness that gets worse with activity and improves with rest. Often muscles that control swallowing and facial movements are involved.

Vasculitis

Vasculitis happens when the immune system attacks blood vessels. The inflammation that results narrows the arteries and veins, allowing less blood to flow through them.

Pernicious Anaemia

This condition affects a protein called intrinsic factor that helps the intestines absorb vitamin B-12 from food. Without this vitamin, the body can’t make enough red blood cells.

Celiac Disease

People with Celiac Disease can’t eat foods containing gluten — a protein found in wheat, rye, and other grain products. When gluten is in the intestine, the immune system attacks it and causes inflammation.

Acknowledging that the human body functions as a complete unit with each organ system influencing and impacting another, an integrative approach to autoimmunity includes looking at all aspects of a person’s health. In the case of autoimmunity where the body is mistakenly attacking itself, discovering how to best support the body can take time and often requires the use of special laboratory testing to identify triggers (i.e. infections, food sensitivities) and treatments that will maximise healing and minimise further destruction.



Immune Disorders


An immune disorder is a disfunction of the immune system causing you to be more susceptible to ear infections, Pneumonia, Bronchitis, Sinusitis or skin infections. Immuno-deficient patients may also develop abscesses of their internal organs, autoimmune or rheumatologic and gastrointestinal problems.

Your immune system includes the following organs:

  • gut
  • spleen
  • tonsils
  • bone marrow
  • lymph nodes
  • Anything that weakens your immune system can lead to a secondary immunodeficiency disorder. For example, exposure to bodily fluids infected with HIV, or removing the spleen can be causes. Spleen removal may be necessary because of conditions like Cirrhosis of the liver, sickle cell anaemia, or trauma to the spleen.
  • Ageing also weakens your immune system. As you age, some of the organs that produce white blood cells shrink and produce fewer of them.
  • Proteins are important for your immunity. Not enough protein in your diet can weaken your immune system.
  • Your body also produces proteins when you sleep that helps it to fight infection. For this reason, lack of sleep reduces your immune defences.
  • Cancers and chemotherapy drugs can also reduce your immunity.


Connective Tissue Disease


Connective tissue disease refers to a group of disorders involving the protein-rich tissue that supports organs and other parts of the body. Examples of connective tissue are fat, bone, and cartilage. These disorders often involve the joints, muscles, and skin, but they can also involve other organs and organ systems, including the eyes, heart, lungs, kidneys, gastrointestinal tract, and blood vessels. There are more than 200 disorders that affect the connective tissue. Causes and specific symptoms vary by the different types.



Infections


A minor infection, such a cold or flu, usually resolves quickly and does not necessitate medical intervention.  However, individuals who are suffering from repeated episodes of infections such as chronic sinusitis, chronic Rhinitis, chronic non-healing wounds and recurrent episodes of diarrhoea may have a chronic infection.

Signs that may suggest testing for a chronic Infection:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Brain fog
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Gas, bloating, constipation or diarrhoea
  • Excessive appetite
  • Burning or itching anus
  • Dry, scaly, itchy skin
  • Difficulty gaining or losing weight
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Chronic allergies
  • Undiagnosed neurological symptoms
  • Undiagnosed cardiac symptoms


Metabolic Health


Metabolic health refers to ones’ metabolism, which includes the whole range of biochemical processes that occur within us relating to the build-up and breakdown of substances. The term “metabolic” is often used to refer specifically to the breakdown of food and its transformation into energy.  Metabolic diseases include Type 2 Diabetes (Insulin Resistance), Thyroid problems, Phenylketonuria (PKU) and Pyroluria.



Preventative Medicine


The aim of preventive medicine is the absence of disease, either by preventing the occurrence of a disease or by halting a disease and resulting complications after its onset. Disease is affected by environmental factors, genetic predisposition, disease agents, and lifestyle choices. Health, disease, and disability are dynamic processes which begin before individuals realize they are affected. Preventative medicine relies on anticipatory actions that can be categorized as primal, primary, secondary, and tertiary prevention.



Risk Assessment


A through risk profile can be drawn up for each patient through evaluation of their family history and DNA testing.

This includes risks to develop osteoporosis, cholesterol, cancer, diabetes or cardio-vascular disease


Need more information?

Get in touch with us if you have any questions.

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Dr Louise Lindenberg runs an integrated medical practice in Durbanville, Cape Town. She incorporates dietary intervention, supplementation, nutrition, phytotherapy/herbal medicine, and allopathic medicine in a holistic health care environment. Her passion is working with children on the Autistic Spectrum, including Autism, PDD, ADD, ADHD and behavioural problems.

Copyright by Dr L Lindenberg 2018. All rights reserved.