When typical treatments fail, holistic care calls for a simpler approach to find health

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Andrea Knutter had a slew of health problems over the last few years. Conventional treatments weren't working for her.

"I would see my regular doctor, and he would prescribe medication and send me on my way," she said. "And I didn't feel like it was addressing the underlying reason for what was going on there."

Knutter went to Premier Integrative Health in the River Market with a list of health concerns about five months ago.

Dr. Bradley Dyer and his team, which includes a nutritionist and a health coach, made a total mind and body plan for her. Dyer got into holistic medicine when he was practicing conventional medicine at a hospital.

"What I was seeing was a lot of the people who were coming in were coming in for the same things over and over again," Dyer said. "And the medications may help them get out of the hospital and even improve their numbers -- but it didn't really change the trajectory of their disease."

Dyer focuses on getting to the root cause of a health problem.

"I tell patients, our goal isn't to treat a disease. It's to create health," Dyer said.

Dyer treats patients who come to him with things like digestive diseases, autoimmune disorders and endocrine problems. He runs tests to learn what's really going on.

"Bacterial pathogens, parasites or yeast -- that`s a big driver of chronic inflammation, depression and anxiety, eczema and all sorts of things," Dyer said. "We really look at the gut. We see what's going on with micronutrients and adrenals and hormones. We really want to paint this road map so we can see what is missing."

The health coach at Premier Integrative Health works with people about clearing "junk" from their households.

"I tell all of our patients: Get rid of all your plastic Tupperware, especially don't microwave in it and switch to glass," Dyer said. "Minimize plastic water bottle use. Use glass or stainless steel if possible. Have a good air filter and water filter in your home."

Chemicals found in plastics and many household and personal care items can disrupt the endocrine system and ultimately the overall function of the body, according to Dr. Megan Schlick, who practices holistic care at AdventHealth Shawnee Mission.

When she meets with patients, she runs through a medical symptoms questionnaire, puts together a course of action and determines products to ditch, like plastic, especially BPA.

"Those chemicals have very similar biochemical structures to hormones in our body so they can sit on hormone receptors so they can wreak havoc, down regulate, up regulate, cause problems when they`re not supposed to be there," Schlick said.

When the endocrine system is disrupted, the body can't do what it's suppose to be doing, and the effects can be severe, according to Dyer.

"It can do so many things," Dyer said. "It decreases the ability to manage blood sugar. It increases inflammation. It can cause endocrine disruption to where people will get thyroid diseases like Hashimoto's or Graves, even things like infertility, chronic fatigue, all of those can be tied back to endocrine disrupters."

many holistic and integrative care doctors recommend the app, "Healthy Living." It lists environmentally friendly brands that work without harmful chemicals.

Patient Andrea Knutter is in the process of changing out cosmetics and household products now, in addition to the other changes she's made like diet, meditation and working on her breathing.

"The biggest improvement has been in my pain levels," Knutter said. "I've had plantar fasciitis for about four years, and that was really excruciating daily walking and doing any kind of exercise. And now I'm pain-free."

She feels so well and wants to encourage others to adopt lifestyle changes, too.

"If you're not feeling good, to keep looking for answers and keep digging," Knutter said.

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