01 Nov 2014

Children Get Chronic Conditions Too

Category: HealthAdmin @ 1:32 am

In the United States, we entered the new millennium with a dubious distinction: The frequency of autoimmune diseases in children is higher than it has ever been in the history of medicine.

http://www.health.thesfile.com/children/children-alarming-health-trends, citing the book, Healthy Child, Healthy World by Christopher Gavigan (Plume, 2009).

I suspect the incidence of autoimmune – and other – chronic health problems is even higher in children than we realize. What we are aware of is bad enough, and increasing at alarming rates, but some of it won’t be diagnosed until the children grow up and find answers themselves. Some children don’t communicate their problems adequately, and some parental concern will be dismissed by doctors as parental worry.

I may have been one of those children with undiagnosed autoimmune diseases. My digestive problems began by the time I was 12 and did not abate for long until I stopped eating wheat when I was 36.

I had symptoms of low thyroid as well, starting in my mid-teenage years, when my hands and feet tended to be cold, my temperature was usually sub-normal and went down more often than up when I had cold or flu, and my energy level was usually low. My fingers would often turn white before I really was aware that I was cold, and my energy drop at the same time did not help my awareness nor my ability to warm up. Oddly, I almost never shivered. For the most part, those symptoms disappeared when I started taking thyroid hormone, once I was hypothyroid enough for conventional medicine to diagnose me as such.

Now that I’m 56, my only complaint about aging is my increasingly far-sighted vision. In most every other way, I feel much better than I did between the ages of 9 and 36.

As a child, I quickly came to a conclusion about how much help I would get from doctors: none. My back pain, which I had complained about when I was 8, led to an X-ray that showed no broken bones but failed to show my scoliosis, which was most likely due to a half-inch difference in my leg lengths and asymmetrical pelvis, none of which were diagnosed at that time. My mother and I were told I had “normal growing pains.”

A new pediatrician finally noticed my scoliosis when I was about 16, but she neglected to ask me if I had back pain. I did, not all the time but at least part of most every day. (It was the reason I often lay down after I got home from school and did much of my homework in bed.) My mother asked if my scoliosis could be from my differing leg lengths. You see, she had known for years that my legs were not the same length, because hers weren’t either, and she hemmed my pants legs different lengths. Interestingly, it did not occur to her back then that “short leg syndrome” might have ramifications for back, knee and hip pain, problems she suffered with also, but (as near as I could tell) starting at an older age than in my case.

I didn’t complain about my digestion. It got worse in high school, so I simply stopped eating breakfast and took raisins to school so that I could make it through my last class before lunch time. I had good reason to doubt my doctor would help. My older brother’s digestive problems were deemed psychological for a couple of years until a nurse correctly guessed that he was lactose intolerant. My mother’s digestion was none too good, either, and I did not think complaining would give me better results than my brother and mother got. Besides, I did not have the self-confidence to fight for myself back then, not to mention the energy. I kept silent.

While we don’t want to encourage children to whine about every little ache and pain, should we worry a little less about their whining and more about their aches and pains? Rather than trying to determine their level of discomfort in order to legitimize or minimize it — an assessment prone to error — I think the solution is to educate ourselves about health and involve our children in learning along with us. That will empower them to create or collaborate toward their own solutions.

I knew that eating Sugar Frosted Flakes and Fruit Loops was making me feel sick every morning when I was 12. Had I known a little more about how sugar acts in the body, I might have sworn off sugar 10 or 15 years before I finally did (meaning no more Pop Tarts and carrot cake when I got home from school). And, having eliminated sugar, I might have started realizing that wheat was giving me trouble in my 20’s instead of when I was 36. Perhaps I would have ceased being underweight, I would have had more energy, and menstruation would have been far less painful. Perhaps.

Perhaps you can help your child avoid years of pain, prevent a future problem or be better prepared when a future health condition arises. In the process, you may help yourself as well.

Speaking of health education, a free webinar about autoimmune problems will be happening online from November 10 to 17, 2014. The older you get, the more likely you are to be diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, especially if you are female. Children get autoimmune diseases too, and in rising numbers – including celiac disease, juvenile arthritis, Type I diabetes, lupus, and scleroderma. Although The Autoimmune Summit is not aimed specifically at children, it is relevant for all ages.

From The Autoimmune Summit promotional material:

Learn how to prevent and reverse autoimmune disease at the world’s first free online summit all about autoimmunity! Nearly 40 experts in the fields of Functional Medicine, nutrition, and autoimmune disease will explain how leaky gut, genetics, and environmental triggers such as toxins, food sensitivities, infections, and stress all play a part in the development of autoimmune disease.

  • Have you, a friend, or family member been diagnosed with an autoimmune disease?
  • Do you have a family history of autoimmunity and want to learn how to prevent it?
  • Or are you a healthcare provider who wants to better treat your autoimmune patients?

If that sounds like you, or you just want to learn more about preventing, treating, and reversing these conditions, The Autoimmune Summit is for you! The information you will learn will put you on the road to better physical, mental, and spiritual health. Plus, it’s FREE and online from November 10-17, 2014.

Join Amy Myers MD, author of The Autoimmune Solution, and educate yourself about more natural ways to treat autoimmunity. Diagnosed with autoimmune hyperthyroidism during medical school, her mission is to help others avoid dangerous conventional treatment and prevent and reverse autoimmune disease naturally!

Register for FREE by clicking here.

The Autoimmune Summit is online and FREE from November 10­-17, 2014!

Here are a few of the incredible presenters:

  • Mark Hyman, MD, A Functional Medicine Approach to Autoimmunity
  • David Brady, DC, ND, The Role of Infections in Autoimmunity
  • Alejandro Junger, MD, How to Detox in the Modern World
  • Jeffrey Smith, GMOs and Their Role in Leaky Gut, Inflammation, and Autoimmunity
  • Sarah Ballantyne, PhD, The Problem with Grains and Legumes in Those with Autoimmunity
  • Stuart Nunnally, DDS, A Biological Dentist’s View of Autoimmunity
  • Jeff Bland, PhD, Why Autoimmune Disease is Not “Being Allergic to Yourself”

With nearly 40 expert presenters sharing their wealth of knowledge, this invaluable (and FREE) resource is intended for you or someone important to your life!

Better yet, if you register today, you’ll have access to the following FREE GIFTS…

Watch the first talk of the summit: Dan Pardi, Sleep is More Important Than You Think. Here’s Why.

  • How your body uses sleep as a time for healing and repair
  • The affect of light and dark on your hormones
  • How adequate sleep increases physical and mental performance
  • Tips to reset your sleep cycle for optimal health and well-being

And, download Dr Myers’ favorite 12 gluten-free and dairy-free recipes! These nutritionist-designed and doctor-approved recipes are simple, delicious, and easy to make.

Come listen to The Autoimmune Summit from November 10-17, 2014! Register for FREE.

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