Not Sick But Not Well: 5 Warning Signs

Not sick but not well featured image

The phrase 'I'm not sick, but I'm not well' might recall the catchy tune by Harvey Danger, but it also captures a common sentiment many of us feel today.

It’s not uncommon to meet people who don’t have severe health issues yet don't feel completely well either.

Have you ever considered that the minor, nagging symptoms you experience could be an indication that your body isn’t functioning optimally? 

Often, we accept this subdued state of health as ‘normal’ or a side effect of aging, yet these symptoms could be subtle signals of inflammation and a precursor to more serious health issues.

I’m not sick, but I’m not well – Recognizing 5 Warning Signs

What if addressing just a few key areas could significantly boost your overall health and vitality?

Many symptoms, though seemingly unrelated, can actually point to common underlying issues. Here’s how to start recognizing the warning signs.

Digestion: It's More Important Than You Think

Ever notice how a little bloating, irregular bathroom visits, or a bit of stomach pain seems to pop up out of nowhere?

It's easy to brush these off as just the effects of a big meal or a stressful day. But what if these signs are your body's way of hinting at something more?

Listen to Your Gut

Your digestive health is a big deal—it reflects your overall well-being. So when you're facing things like heartburn, gas, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea more often than you'd like, it's time to listen up.

These symptoms might point to common conditions like Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), acid reflux, or food sensitivities.

The Bigger Picture

Your gut does more than just digest food. It's also key to your nutrient absorption, immune function, and even your mood.

Ignoring ongoing digestive issues can lead to bigger problems like nutrient deficiencies, which might affect your energy, skin, and general health.

There's also growing evidence that a troubled gut can contribute to mental health challenges like anxiety and depression.

Taking Action for Better Digestive Health

If simple home remedies aren't cutting it, it might be time to see a specialist. At Planet Naturopath we run tests to pinpoint the problem and suggest dietary changes, lifestyle tweaks, or medications to help you feel better. 

Starting with the basics—eating a fiber-rich diet, drinking plenty of water, and staying active—can do wonders.

I had a parent of one of my clients sitting in on a consultation, based on the test results it was recommended that the child commence a gluten free diet, to make things easier the whole family went gluten free.

….. A month later the dad came back very excited, not so much about his son but the fact that all of his aches and pains that he put down to getting old (he was 55) had all gone away. 

A simple change with big results!

Complex Digestive Issues: Look Deeper

Sometimes, persistent digestive troubles come from more than just stress or diet. Things like parasitic infections, bacterial imbalances, or yeast overgrowths could be the culprits. 

Recognizing signs early and getting the right tests—like the Vibrant Wellness Gut Zoomer or the GI Map test —can lead to effective treatment, such as herbs and probiotic therapy for bacterial issues or antifungals for yeast problems.

Tests to consider

  • Gut Zoomer test or GI Map test
  • Organic acids test
  • Food sensitivity testing

The Power of Prevention

Getting proactive about digestive health can make a huge difference. Simple lifestyle changes, mindful eating, and regular check-ups can prevent minor issues from becoming major ones. 

Remember, taking action early can help keep your digestive system—and you—happier and healthier in the long run.

Fatigue: Don't Ignore the Warning Signs

In a culture that often celebrates pushing our limits, it's easy to dismiss constant fatigue as just another sign of our dedication to getting everything done. 

But if you find yourself perpetually exhausted, this might be more than just a badge of a hard worker—it could be a crucial alert from your body that something is off, needing more than just a day off to fix.

It’s Not Just About Being Sleepy

When fatigue makes every day feel like a mountain to climb, it's not just about lacking sleep or having a long day. This kind of deep, relentless tiredness doesn’t go away with a good night's rest.

It can dull your thinking, dampen your mood, and sap your energy, seriously dragging down your quality of life.

Digging Deeper into Causes of Fatigue

Many health issues could be hiding behind constant tiredness. Conditions like thyroid disorders, which can slow down or rev up your metabolism, are common culprits.

Anemia is another, where your body doesn’t have enough red blood cells to get oxygen where it's needed, leaving you feeling wiped out.

Sleep disorders like sleep apnea disrupt your night so much that you're not refreshed by morning.

Beyond these, fatigue could be waving a red flag for more serious stuff like diabetes, heart disease, or autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis or lupus.

Mental health is a big player too—depression and anxiety can make you feel perpetually exhausted.

Acknowledging Fatigue: The First Step to Better Health

Admitting that your constant tiredness is not just a normal part of life is key. When fatigue won’t leave you alone, it’s time to consult a health professional.

At Planet Naturopath can help diagnose the issue with blood tests, DUTCH hormone testing and other specialized tests to get to the bottom of your fatigue and start you on the path to recovery.

Reviving Your Energy

Tackling fatigue usually means addressing its root causes with a well-rounded approach. This could involve treating medical conditions, tweaking your diet, getting more active, and syncing up your sleep schedule.

Sometimes, boosting your mental health through therapy or meditation is also necessary to lift the fog of fatigue.

By taking these steps, you can start to reclaim your energy and enjoy better health, proving that fatigue doesn’t have to be your norm.

Tests to consider

  • Advanced blood test with detailed thyroid markers, iron and ferritin, B12 as a starting point
  • DUTCH hormone test for adrenal and sex hormones
  • Organic Acids test

Understanding Unexpected Weight Gain

Sometimes, the number on the scale creeps up without any obvious reason. You haven’t changed what you eat or how much you move, but still, you're gaining weight.

This can be baffling and frustrating, but it’s important to realize it might be your body’s way of signaling that something's amiss.

What Could Be Going On?

Many factors can lead to unexpected weight gain, and they often involve more than just calorie intake:

Hormonal Issues

Problems like an underactive thyroid can slow your metabolism down without you knowing it, causing weight gain.

Conditions like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and insulin resistance can also mess with your hormones and affect your weight.

Medication Side Effects

Some drugs, including certain antidepressants and steroid medications, are well known for adding extra pounds. Always talk to your doctor before stopping or changing prescription medications.

Metabolic Changes

Disorders like metabolic syndrome and changes in how your body processes glucose can also lead to weight gain.

These need a comprehensive approach to manage, often involving diet adjustments and increased physical activity.

Fluid Retention

Not all weight gain is fat. Sometimes, it’s fluid buildup, which can be due to health issues like kidney problems, heart failure, or liver disease.

Taking Action

If you're seeing unexpected changes in your weight, it’s crucial to dig deeper rather than just trying to diet it away.

Start with running some tests—like checking your hormone levels, reviewing your medications, and possibly screening for metabolic issues by wearing a Continuous Glucose Monitor (CGM) for a month.

Beyond Just Losing Weight

Addressing unexpected weight gain is not just about shedding pounds but understanding the root causes behind it.

This might involve working with someone who can help tailor a plan that includes diet, exercise, and possibly medication adjustments.

Moving Forward

Approach weight gain with an open mind and a willingness to explore what your body is telling you.

With the right help and a proactive attitude, you can not only manage your weight but also improve your overall health, uncovering a deeper understanding of your body's needs and how to meet them.

Tests to consider

  • Gut Zoomer test
  • Advanced Thyroid test
  • Insulin, HbA1C, glucose testing 
  • Wearing a CGM for a month

Organic Acids + Gut Zoomer

The Gut Zoomer panel is a great add-on to the OAT test.
It is a detailed analysis of gut health, assessing pathogens, beneficial bacteria, and intestinal health markers for inflammation and absorption.

Stress and Feeling Overwhelmed

It's almost a given in our fast-paced world: stress is everywhere. Yet, while a bit of stress is part of life, being constantly overwhelmed is a sign we need to heed.

Chronic stress isn't just about feeling uptight—it can sneak up on you, affecting your health in ways you might not notice until it's too late.

The Hidden Impacts of Stress

Chronic stress can show up in various ways—headaches, muscle tension, constant tiredness, or even changes in how hungry you feel.

Mentally, it can make you anxious, moody, easily irritated, or make it hard to focus.

Left unchecked, these symptoms can pave the way for more severe issues like heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, or mental health struggles.

What’s Happening Inside

When you're stressed, your body kicks into "fight or flight" mode, releasing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. These are lifesavers in short bursts but harmful if they're always in the bloodstream.

Over time, high cortisol can mess with your sleep, make you gain weight, and weaken your immune system.

Breaking Free from Stress

Recognizing the signs of stress is the first step to managing it. Here’s how you can keep stress under control and improve your overall well-being:

Mindfulness and Relaxation

Techniques like meditation, deep breathing, and yoga aren’t just trends—they’re proven tools to lower stress and enhance mental health.

Get Moving

Exercise isn’t only good for your body. It also releases endorphins, natural mood lifters that also combat stress. Exercise has been shown to be more effective than medication.

Professional Help

If stress is overwhelming, sometimes talking to a therapist or counselor can help. They offer strategies to tackle stress directly and help find its deeper roots.

Lifestyle Tweaks to Keep Stress at Bay

Simple changes can make a big difference in handling stress. Make sure you’re getting enough sleep, eating well, and setting achievable goals.

It’s also vital to know what triggers your stress so you can avoid or manage these situations better. Build a supportive network of friends and family to lean on, and steer clear of negative coping habits like smoking or drinking too much.

Tests to consider

  • DUTCH hormone test
  • Gut Zoomer Test
  • Advanced blood test for micronutrients

Sleep Quality: More Than Just Hours Spent Asleep

Good sleep is crucial, not just for feeling rested, but as a pillar of overall health. It’s not merely about how long you sleep, but how well you sleep.

Disrupted or non-restorative sleep can deeply impact your physical health, mental clarity, and emotional balance.

Why Sleep Matters

During sleep, your body is busy repairing muscles, clearing toxins from the brain, and bolstering the immune system.

Poor sleep can lead to mood swings, increased stress responsiveness, cognitive impairments, and even chronic conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure.

Spotting the Signs of Poor Sleep

It's vital to recognize the signs of poor sleep, which include trouble falling asleep, frequent wake-ups, waking too early, and feeling tired after a full night's sleep. Each of these can indicate underlying problems that deserve attention.

Common Culprits and Effective Solutions

Several factors can disturb your sleep, such as stress, lifestyle habits, and environmental issues.

However, underlying health conditions like sleep apnea and mouth breathing are also significant contributors.

Sleep Apnea

Often undiagnosed, this condition where breathing stops intermittently during the night can severely fragment sleep.

If you snore loudly or feel exhausted during the day despite sufficient hours in bed, consider getting evaluated for sleep apnea.

Mouth Breathing

Breathing through your mouth instead of your nose during sleep can reduce the quality of your rest.

Nasal breathing helps to produce nitric oxide, a vital gas for various bodily functions, including improving oxygen absorption.

Mouth breathers miss out on these benefits, which can lead to poorer sleep and health outcomes.

Enhancing Sleep Quality

Improving your sleep involves several straightforward strategies:

  • Optimize Your Environment: Keep your bedroom cool, quiet, and dark. Invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows to support a good night’s sleep.
  • Establish a Routine: Stick to a consistent sleep schedule. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day sets your body’s internal clock to expect rest.
  • Be Mindful of Diet and Activities: Avoid caffeine and heavy meals before bedtime. Reducing blue light exposure from screens in the evening can also help.
  • Relaxation Practices: Engage in calming activities like deep breathing, meditation, or gentle yoga to wind down before bed.
  • Seek Professional Guidance: If sleep issues persist, consulting with a healthcare provider or a sleep specialist is crucial. They can offer tailored advice and treatment, especially for conditions like sleep apnea and insomnia.

By addressing these factors and seeking the right help, you can transform your sleep from restless to restorative, making a significant difference in your health and well-being.

Conclusion: Listening to What Your Body Tells You

Our bodies often tell us more than we realize. From digestive issues and unexpected weight gain to overwhelming stress and poor sleep, these subtle signs shouldn't be ignored as mere nuisances or inevitable parts of getting older. Instead, they're crucial indicators of our health that deserve our full attention.

This article focuses on the importance of tuning into our bodies and recognizing how physical symptoms are often intertwined with our mental and emotional health. 

Start with comprehensive pathology testing, go beyond the standard CBC and CMP blood test that your doctor does and check for vitamins and mineral deficiencies - especially vitamin D, ferritin/ iron, folate, B12 plus zinc and copper.

*also consider checking your hormone levels each year to monitor changes over time.

Consider doing an advanced stool test to assess gut health, poor digestion can affect the absorption of nutrients and the elimination of toxins.

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