Beyond An Auto-immune Diagnosis: Ten Things To Look For

Autoimmune diseases, autoimmune diagnosis, autoimmune symptom relief, Dr. Matt Fisel, naturopathic doctor, gut health, stress management, hormonal imbalance


Have you ever felt off, but you just kept pushing through the pain?

You might have experienced symptoms like:

Brain fog, muscle aches, or fatigue.

As time moved on, your symptoms didn’t.

After a battery of tests, you were given a general autoimmune disease diagnosis.

NOW WHAT?

Western medicine tends to give a catchall diagnosis for something that looks and feels like an autoimmune disease. You hear things like mold toxicity or chronic fatigue.

The truth is the immune system is so complex that a diagnosis might feel like a dead end; hopeless. It’s hard for doctors to diagnose…how do they expect you to understand what’s going on in your body?

From a Naturopathic standpoint…I see it as a starting point. Your autoimmune disease is not a life sentence. Working together, it’s a place we can begin to detect and identify where your symptoms are coming from and help you find relief and hopefully some natural solutions.

Here are TEN THINGS WE LOOK AT BEYOND AN AUTOIMMUNE DIAGNOSIS from a naturopathic standpoint:


1. STRESS MANAGEMENT – Ongoing stressors in your lifestyle can cause both mental and physical discomfort. Overwhelm and anxiety can cause inflammation in the brain and then systemically throughout the body. Dr. Fisel looks at root causes of stress in your life and work to alleviate and/ or eliminate them.


2. FOOD SENSITIVITIES – You may be sensitive to certain types of foods and not even be aware of the fact. Dr. Fisel can recommend certain testing or targeted diets to identify and eliminate those foods that don’t agree with your immune system.

3. GUT HEALTH – There is a very important connection between your gut and your brain. What goes on between the two can affect your entire body and how it functions. Often times leaky gut (when your intestinal walls are easily permeated) is a major culprit of autoimmune symptoms. Dr. Fisel can tell you if your gut is adversely affecting your overall wellness.

4. ENVIRONMENTAL TOXINS – You might be living in an older home, or over a land fill, and did not know or realize that pollutants were permeating your environment. Dr. Fisel considers your proximity to heavy metals, mold, pesticides (especially glyphosate), PCBs, cosmetics, and water pollution.

 5. MOVEMENT – Studies show an active lifestyle decreases inflammation in your body. You might not feel like running a marathon, but simple movements can increase your circulation and boost your immune system. Dr. Fisel can suggest ways to add movement into your life.

6. NUTRITION – Paying attention to your food intake is important to a healthy immune system. Avoid processed foods that are chemical laden in favor of anti-inflammatory fruits and vegetables like blueberries, broccoli and avocados. Dr. Fisel also looks at nutritional deficiencies and works to enhance the missing nutrients.

7. MEDICATION TOXICITY – You may not be able to avoid prescribed medications (especially antibiotics), but Dr. Fisel can counter-balance their effects with food or supplements that offer pro-biotics.

8. INFECTIONS – Something to consider is the effect of underlying infection on your body’s immune response. For example, Lyme Disease, Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV), and Candida, among other infections, can trigger autoimmunity. Dr. Fisel can help you determine if you have an undetected infection.

9. HORMONAL IMBALANCE – Changes in the hormonal balance of your body, as seen in menopause, can trigger changes in immune function. Dr. Fisel can help restore balance in your body.

10. GENETICS – Hereditary factors may cause adverse immune responses in your body. Dr. Fisel can help you sift through your genetic history to determine what if anything may be creating problems.

There is hope beyond your autoimmune diagnosis. Dr. Fisel would love to dig deeper into underlying causes to help you discover ways to feel better while living with the reality of your symptoms.

Dr. Fisel is here to offer you hope beyond your auto-immune disease diagnosis and to help you feel relief from your symptoms. Please call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment, today.

NEW PATIENT FREE 15 MINUTE CONSULATION: Dr. Fisel promotes health and healing on all levels, physically, emotionally and spiritually. If you live in the Guilford/ Branford/ New Haven/ Madison/ Clinton area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs Dr. Fisel has to offer, call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule your free 15 minute consultation.

Navigating the Fog?

brain fog, fatigue, natural health, natural medicine for chronic fatigue, Doctor Fisel

After a year, you finally feel safe enough to dine-in at your favorite pasta/ pizza restaurant. You thought the caffeinated soda would pair perfectly with the garlic buttered bread (yes, yes it did).

After all those carbs,
did you forget where you parked the car?

Or…your new baby is finally fast asleep in your arms.

After a sleepless night,
did you realize you had been staring at
the same line in an email for 30 minutes?

It’s time to present the findings of the project you’ve been working on during the pandemic.

After a stressful time at work,
did you lose the words to explain “the thing”
that had taken all of your attention for months?

If you feel like you are walking through your normal daily routine in a haze, you might be experiencing a common symptom described as BRAIN FOG.

Brain fog is a term that’s used to explain slow thinking, difficulty focusing, confusion, lack of concentration, forgetfulness, or a haziness in thought processes (SOURCE).

In times when stress levels are higher than normal (we’re looking at you this past year COVID-19), when sleep routines are off, when recovering from a viral/ bacterial infection, or when comfort foods seem like a “quick fix” – those are the times when the brain feels the least clear. And we are here to help!

ASK YOURSELF THESE QUESTIONS TO UNDERSTAND WHY YOUR BRAIN MIGHT FEEL FOGGY:

1.AM I MOVING ENOUGH? Especially during this time, a sedentary lifestyle has become more prevalent. If you notice your brain isn’t processing at normal capacity, think about how much you move in a day. Incorporating more movement can help alleviate brain fog.

TIP: Try the cat/ cow yoga pose as a simple first step towards clarity. (WATCH)

2. AM I EATING NOURISHING FOODS? Inflammation in the body can cause systemic inflammation in the brain which adds to brain fog. Therefore, it is important to nourish your body with foods that reduce inflammation if you want to alleviate the symptom.

TIP: Eat leafy greens, almonds, salmon, strawberries, olive oil (SOURCE); Avoid: alcohol, cheese/ dairy and processed foods that contain: MSG, Aspartame, and/ or sodium (SOURCE).

3. AM I GETTING ENOUGH RESTFUL SLEEP? Especially for those that have little ones in the house, getting a restful night of sleep can be challenging. It would make sense that you might feel foggy the next day if you’ve gotten less than 7 hours of sleep in the night.

TIP: Develop healthy sleep hygiene habits: turn off screens at least one hour before bed, turn off harsh overhead lighting, take a warm bath or shower, and place a few drops of lavender on your pillow.

Like so many people who experience brain fog, maybe you’ve felt a little off but didn’t know WHY. Or… you’ve felt a little off, but you didn’t know HOW to fix it.

The naturopathic approach starts with “WHY” you are feeling the way you do so we can address “HOW” you’re feeling. Keep in mind, alleviating brain fog is not a one size fits all solution. We can help you as you start to navigate the process!

Dr. Fisel provides a comprehensive and integrative assessment with natural therapeutic solutions for those suffering from symptoms like BRAIN FOG.

Please contact Dr. Fisel, ND if you have questions about integrative solutions for your health care needs. Dr. Fisel promotes health and healing on all levels, physically, emotionally and spiritually. If you live in the Guilford/ Branford/ New Haven/ Madison/ Clinton area and would like to learn more about the innovative programs Dr. Fisel has to offer, please call (203) 453-0122 or CLICK HERE to schedule an appointment.

Are Annual Exams Really Necessary?

I hear it at least every week, if not more. “My doctor gave me a clean bill of health.” OK. So maybe the annual battery of tests and exams didn’t reveal any serious underlying diseases, but that hardly equates to being healthy. Unfortunately, we’ve become so accustomed to physical exams, even the insurance companies consider them “preventive care.” The chief cited rationale is that the annual offers a regular opportunity to address risk factors and health or life concerns. There may be some truth to this, but both insurance companies and doctors could be doing so much more to provide preventive care for patients. [Read more…]

Is It Really IBS?

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) affects one in five adult Americans, and is responsible for up to 40% of referrals to gastroenterologists. While there are legitimate criteria used to diagnose IBS (alternating constipation and diarrhea, bloating, abdominal pain), the term is generally used to label patients who don’t have Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis, or other underlying “organic” diseases. Once patients have been labeled with having IBS, they are often given one or more medications to treat the symptoms, usually with little to no relief.

Fortunately for IBS sufferers, a multitude of underlying factors may be the real cause of digestive symptoms, making the likelihood of recovery much more promising. One condition in particular that’s often overlooked is small intestinal bacterial overgrowth (SIBO). This is an abnormal colonization of bacteria within the small intestine by bacteria that are normally found in the colon, mouth, or pharynx. When left untreated, SIBO is not only mistaken with IBS, but has been linked to fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue syndrome as well. The cause of SIBO isn’t always clear, but patients who are at higher risk include those with chronic constipation, achlorhydria, diabetes, scleroderma, diverticulosis, and adhesions from prior surgeries.

Up to 78% of patients who are diagnosed with IBS may in fact be experiencing SIBO. Testing for this condition is performed by blowing into a tube that measures gases given off by the excessive amount of bacteria that are present in the small intestine. While these tests are typically offered by gastroenterologists, there are several commercial laboratories that offer test kits for home use, which are then mailed back to the laboratory for analysis. If diagnosed, SIBO can be treated initially with specialized antibiotics. Once the offending bacteria are successfully eradicated, measures should then be taken to improve the intestinal environment (probiotics, digestive enzymes, etc.), which should help to prevent recurrence.

A diagnosis of IBS does not mean all hope is lost. Explore the possibility of SIBO, and seek out a naturopath or other alternative practitioner who can focus on how the digestive tract functions, rather than just looking for a disease.