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Chronic Illness

SWFL Integrative Medicine

Board Certified Gynecologists & Integrative Medicine Specialists located in Fort Myers, FL

Chronic conditions vary in their severity and duration, and they’re very often disruptive and can cause a significant reduction in quality of life. Highly experienced physician Heather Auld, MD, at SWFL Integrative Medicine in Fort Myers, Florida, has considerable expertise in diagnosing and treating chronic illnesses of all types. To find out more or schedule a consultation, call SWFL Integrative Medicine today or book an appointment online.

Chronic Illness Q&A

What is a chronic illness?

A chronic illness is a health problem that lasts for many months and often years. Chronic disease takes many forms, all of which need careful management to ensure patients enjoy the best possible quality of life. Although many chronic illnesses are currently incurable, managing their symptoms effectively can affect both the quality and quantity of your time, frequently extending your life. 

Constant discomfort or frequent flare-ups of pain are common symptoms of many chronic illnesses. Living with a chronic health problem can be severely disabling, affecting your physical and mental health. Certain chronic illnesses are also life-threatening.

What types of chronic illnesses are there?

There are many different types of chronic illnesses. Among the most common chronic illnesses in the United States are:

  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)
  • Inflammatory bowel disorder (IBD)
  • Food sensitivity and allergies
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Thyroid disorders
  • Diabetes
  • Metabolic syndrome
  • Insomnia
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Arthritis
  • Cancer

It’s vital to have an accurate diagnosis of your chronic health problem to ensure you receive the correct treatment.

How are chronic illnesses diagnosed?

Diagnosing a chronic illness requires a thorough physical exam, a review of your medical history, and a detailed description of your symptoms. Your provider at SWFL Integrative Medicine might also need to get samples to analyze substances such as your blood, urine, and stool, depending on the nature of your symptoms.

Your provider can also run specialized tests for a variety of specific conditions. For example, they can do breath testing for SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) and probiotic testing to look at the balance of microorganisms in your digestive system.

Testing for hormone imbalances could include looking at cortisol levels to identify renal fatigue or thyroid hormone to detect an underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism) or overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism).

How are chronic illnesses treated?

Treatment for your chronic illness depends on your diagnosis. Your provider at SWFL Integrative Medicine can advise you on the most appropriate forms of therapy for your condition and create a treatment plan for you. The SWFL Integrative Medicine team uses conventional medicine, alternative medicine, or a combination of the two to achieve the best results for you.

As an integrative practice, the first step is to identify any issues with your lifestyle that could be causing your chronic illness or making it worse. That could include smoking or excessive alcohol consumption, but also factors like chronic stress, poor diet, lack of good quality sleep, and insufficient exercise.

Your nutritional health has a significant influence on your chronic illness, so adjusting your diet and introducing appropriate supplements can be a big help. You might also benefit from taking certain herbal remedies or medical cannabis.

To learn more about how to deal with chronic illnesses, call SWFL Integrative Medicine today or book an appointment online.