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Cracking the Code on Mystery Illnesses: How to Identify Common Conditions and Prevention


With so much information available at your fingertips, it’s easy to assume that finding answers to your medical symptoms would be simple. However, persistent symptoms like fatigue, brain fog, mood swings, frequent infections, and more can go untreated for years because there is no apparent or obvious cause – leaving conventional medical doctors to simply manage or cover up symptoms. 


However, these symptoms could be a sign of an underlying mystery illness. Several conditions like Lyme disease, Epstein-Barr virus, mold and heavy metal toxicity, and fibromyalgia fall into this category of hidden and mysterious illnesses that often go undiagnosed and can leave you struggling to find answers.  


Hidden health issues require a deeper understanding of the body, its systems and overall health. A functional approach and advanced testing are critical to uncover the truth of what may be causing your hidden illness. 

10 Symptoms Associated with Common Mystery Health Conditions:

  • Fatigue: Being tired all of the time is not normal! Fatigue that does not improve with sleep or rest is a sign something else may be affecting your body’s ability to feel energized.  

  • Joint Pain and Swelling: Frequent or chronic joint pain, stiffness, and swelling, often affecting multiple joints could be a sign of inflammation.  

  • Muscle Weakness: Could be generalized throughout your body or in a particular muscle and accompanied by difficulty in performing routine activities. 

  • Chronic Pain: Any pain that persists for an extended period of time and is not attributed to injury or overexertion could be a problem with your body’s ability to recover.  

  • Cognitive Difficulties: Problems with memory, concentration, and cognitive function, often referred to as “brain fog,” could be a sign your neurotransmitters may be suffering.  

  • Digestive Issues: All diseases begin in the gut! Frequent gastrointestinal symptoms, such as abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation can be a sign of bacterial imbalance.  

  • Skin Problems: Persistent skin issues like rashes, hives, eczema, or skin ulcers that do not respond to traditional treatments can be a sign of an immune system issues.  

  • Unexplained Weight Changes: Weight fluctuations are normal throughout your life, but an unintentional, sudden and drastic change in weight is a big sign something else could be happening with your health.  

  • Sensitivity to Cold or Heat: Hands always cold? Intolerance to temperature extremes, with heightened sensitivity to cold or heat could be the body’s ability to regulate internal temperature and possibly have to do with your hormones.  

  • Mood Disorders: Have you started to experience frequent mood swings, depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns? Especially when you have no added stress or likely cause of these symptoms, they could be a sign of an underlying condition.  


This list of symptoms is a guideline to help you understand what often is dismissed as normal but could really be a mystery illness. If you have questions and want to learn more, schedule a visit with your Forum Health provider 

Learn what you can you do to help prevent mystery illness symptoms and protect yourself from exposure to common causes.

Functional medicine works to identify the root causes of illness by looking at your health as a whole, as compared to individual parts and symptoms. Forum Health providers consider your environment, routines, health history, mental and emotional states, and more when reaching a diagnosis.  


You can find relief for mystery illnesses and learn how to protect yourself from worsening symptoms.  

The Emergence of New Bacterial Strains: Lyme Disease

Did you know there are multiple bacterial strains that have now been associated with Lyme disease infection? Lyme disease is most often transmitted by ticks infected with the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi, of which there are several species and strains.  


It is recommended to wear long-sleeved shirts, pants and closed shoes, and use insect repellant when in tick-infested areas and during summer months. If you have been bitten by a tick and develop a rash or other symptoms like fever, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare provider for treatment.  


Unfortunately, people can be diagnosed with Lyme disease years after infection. Because the nature of the illness is pervasive, and many doctors do not have the knowledge or advanced tests to determine if your symptoms could be caused by Lyme disease. Forum Health providers take a personalized approach to understanding your symptoms and determine if you could be suffering from chronic Lyme disease.  

Environmental Toxins: Mold, Chemicals and Heavy Metals

Several environmental factors can contribute to undiagnosed illnesses including mold, household chemicals, and even fabrics that release toxic substances. When these substances get into the air, water, on your skin or in your food, they can cause a range of health issues.  


Mold spores, especially in damp environments, can trigger respiratory problems and allergic reactions. Similarly, household chemicals and certain fabrics, such as flame retardants or synthetic materials, can emit volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that may lead to headaches, fatigue, and even long-term health complications. 


Heavy metal toxicity from prolonged exposure to pollutants from industrial areas or contaminated water sources can lead to severe health consequences. Likewise, heavy metals like lead, mercury, and arsenic can accumulate in the body over time, causing systemic issues that often go undiagnosed. 


Constant exposure to these substances can weigh down the immune system and prevent you from vibrant health.  


Using more natural fibers in clothing, quality water and air filters, and eating organic and unprocessed foods are good ways to reduce the amount of chemicals you encounter. Maintaining a clean and well-ventilated living environment, reducing exposure to mold and VOCs, and using natural and non-toxic household cleaning products to minimize chemical exposure are all helpful ways to reduce your risk. 

Viral Infections and Long-Lasting Symptoms: Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV)

EBV is a common viral infections primarily transmitted through saliva and can cause infectious mononucleosis, or mono. In some cases, EBV can become chronic with individuals experiencing elevated levels of EBV in the blood and causing more frequent infections with physical symptoms. Long-term, EPV can cause damage to organs, hepatitis, and may be deadly when left untreated.  


Protect yourself from EVB by avoiding contact with infected people, practicing good hygiene, not sharing personal items that involve direct contact with saliva, especially during periods of active infection.  


Prevent symptoms of chronic EBV by maintaining a strong immune system through a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet, regular exercise, and adequate rest. 

Why Advanced Testing and a Functional Medicine Approach is the Key to Unlocking Mystery Illnesses

A functional approach is required to effectively diagnose and treat hidden, mystery illnesses. Conventional diagnostic methods may not always detect these conditions, highlighting the need for more advanced testing that traditional medical providers do not have access to or will not use.   


Specialized tests can help identify specific bacterial strains associated with Lyme-like symptoms, assess heavy metal toxicity levels and analyze environmental toxin exposure, providing a more accurate picture of your health. 

Contact us to learn more about advanced testing with Forum Health.