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  • Jean Jordan

3 Hidden Lifestyle Causes of Chronic Diseases - Unmasked by Asking Questions

Updated: 3 hours ago

putting ill-health under a microscope

There exists a perpetual search for answers - what causes chronic diseases?

I'm not referring to finding or giving a patient a diagnoses but taking time, especially talking and listening to the patient. Then solutions can be unearthed. At times clinicians may not have the training, time or experience and patients don't have the knowledge or understanding. These following stories give an insight into how simple solutions, may trump complicated diagnoses.


Finding the proverbial "needle in a haystack" takes an experienced clinician with knowledge, or awareness of many health modalities.


Personally, training as a naturopath really does make you "a needle seeker". Given our longer consultations of open-ended questions, solutions, or clues to a successful journey may be found.


This article has four different stories about searching for that needle in a haystack that allows clinicians to solve health problems.


Can We Prevent Heart Attacks?

Dr Mimi Guarneri tells the first story. She is an American cardiologist who found continually putting stents into patients following a heart attack was not solving their health diseases.

She has now become an integrative doctor and shares her ideas as much as possible. I can recommend you listen to her online talks.


She's tells the story of a patient. A new patient who came to her after four previous cardiologists left him with a multitude of test results - negative test results - that showed nothing nor indicated what was wrong. But, each clinician prescribed him an additional medication for his high blood pressure.

How to stop high blood pressure with lifestyle changes

Dr Guarneri began taking a full history, as she said she wanted to know:


·      When he got up

·      When he had breakfast

·      What did he eat for breakfast

·      What he did for work

·      What he ate for lunch

·      What he did to relax

·      etc.


With this "deep dive" method, the cause of his uncontrollable high blood pressure was unearthed. Each day he would drink 15 electrolyte drinks each one loaded with sodium. Perhaps you've heard of the connection between high blood pressure and sodium? Needless to say once he stopped these drinks, within a short time his blood pressure returned to normal and he stopped all his medications.


The question must be asked - what were all previous four cardiologists, heart specialists, thinking or what is their philosophy of medicine?

 Do GP'S Have Time for Patients Self Care?

Our local GPs don't have the time in 10 to 15 minutes for a deep dive as mentioned above. But perhaps the food and exercise form could provide useful information when they were dealing with their patients.


Here I say, "could" as I have our long consultations and my client intake form asks for diet information. Though completing a form is not a panacea, as I was to find out.


Why an Injury Failed to Heal?

A client, let's call him David, was making progress in many areas but he had had a fall and had deep skin laceration on his leg. The practice nurse at his medical centre couldn't understand why his wound was healing so slowly? I checked his intake form. He'd recorded meat and vegetables as a general evening meal and a sandwich for lunch.

As often poor wound healing is the result of a lack of specific nutrients I decided to give David a food diary to complete. After just one week it was apparent he ate no vegetables or fruit. His diet consisted of meat and carbohydrates such as potatoes rice or pasta.

Eat fruit and vegetables to prevent chronic diseases

Once David added fruit and vegetables to his diet his injury started to heal.


Do we really understand what we eat or drink and how it's crucial not only to our wellness but to our illness?


How Prevalent Could “overlooked” Causes of Disease be?


My blogs, or rather the subject of my blogs I can only attribute to the universe or what some people may call fate. A chance remark from a friend that chewing gum could help my digestive system sent me online to investigate their suggestion. Where I landed was interesting, yes chewing gum does stimulate the digestive juices. But it was what chewing gum contained that prompted me to write this blog after reading the following studies and jogged my memory about Dr Guarneri's story I'd read years before - finding that needle in a haystack - the cause of illness.


Ongoing Functional Bowel Disorders

These following case studies are from the Department of Gastroenterology in Berlin, written by Juergen Bauditz, about two problematic functional bowel disorders. Problematic due to their duration and many tests couldn't find the cause, as with David in my first story.

Medical tests may not  find the cause of chronic disease

The experience of a 21-year-old woman and a 46-year-old man in these case studies are somewhat similar to Dr Guarneri's patient. Both have long-term problems eight months and one year respectively. They have chronic diarrhoea of up to 10 watery stools per day, abdominal pain and excessive weight loss, 11 kg and 22 kg. After many normal blood and stool tests, numerous doctors and invasive procedures nothing could be found as the cause of their diarrhoea.


How Was This Diarrhoea Weight Loss Problem Solved?


After exhaustive tests with no resolution a "deep dive" into their diets followed. It was found that both of them were chewing sugar free gum with sorbitol one of its ingredients. There are many people who will chew gum without problems that these two people had. So why? What both of these case studies were doing was constantly refreshing the chewing gum, thereby increasing the intake of sorbitol, the artificial sweetener in the gum.


Sorbitol is poorly absorbed, acting as a laxative. A dose of 5 to 20 g may cause digestive symptoms like gas, bloating or abdominal cramps. But as with their patients above 20 to 50 g may cause excessive diarrhoea. A problem with diarrhoea is the inability of our digestive system to utilise the nutrients in the food that we eat.


One idea about sorbitol I may investigate further is its use in medications. Sorbitol is used as an additive in liquid medications even those used for children. Unfortunately, we already know we may need to put up with the side effects of medication; here is the effects of additive substances we are also ingesting when we take our prescribed medications.


 Case Taking to Find The Cause of Chronic Illness



Bauditz and Dr Guarneri both found a final diagnosis or in this case what was the cause of the illness. As Bauditz says the course of their illness was "only established after precise evaluation of eating habits". When clinicians are able to discuss patient's lifestyle and listen to their story there may be able to be uncomplicated, simple to understand actions for what I call self-care. Self-care may make big changes.

At times we may need to remove or reduce something in our lifestyle or in the case of my patient include or improve self-care options.


Therefore, if you are a clinician I would recommend taking a chance on a  "deep dive" and go "needle seeking in the haystack" that is your patient's life and story.


If you are a patient then always offer your story but also ask your clinician what you can do. Do your self-care to improve your health.


Finally I can only say that this, or writing this blog on such a single topic makes me quite excited about the future of self-care and finding solutions to diseases. We can move towards health and wellness with growing and increasing knowledge.




Bauditz J, Norman K, Biering H, Lochs H, Pirlich M. Severe weight loss caused by chewing gum. BMJ. 2008 Jan 12;336(7635):96-7.


The Science of Natural Healing by Dr. Mimi Guarneri, 2012 The Teaching Company

Jean Jordan - Naturopath and Health and Wellness Writer

Want to find simple effective ways to reduce the effects of your chronic disease without increasing your stress and overwhelm? This is where I can help! Ideas can be found in the articles on my website.

You can sign-up to regular updates or spend time using some of the collection of self-help techniques.

Why I Started Natural Pain Solutions.

After over 20 years of having my own pain clinics pain clinics I started natural pain solutions to reach more people, rather than one person at a time. Therefore when I completed my postgraduate pain management studies I wanted to spread the word about holistic self-help techniques that people can use at home. Learn more about me and my ideas



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