Join Sarah in today’s podcast as she explores everything ILADS (International Lyme and Associated Diseases Society) with Dr. Amy Offutt. Dr. Offutt is the medical director and co-owner of Heart & Soul Integrative Medicine in Marble Falls, Texas, and is also an ILADS board member.
Dr. Offutt made the shift into integrative medicine in order to better understand and care for patients that were experiencing chronic inflammation, often caused by underlying infections. This path led her to ILADS, where she found an abundance of educational resources along with experienced practitioners to help further her knowledge and better serve her patients. Dr. Offutt recalls her first ILADS conference and the common desire amongst practitioners to be able to help patients heal and become stronger.
“One of my dreams would be to just keep building a bigger and bigger network. So being a member of ILADS is one way that we can build those networks together where, if we’re all on the same team or on the same page we can work together to help patients.”Dr. Amy Offutt
Infection, immune response and inflammation
Dr. Offutt explains that many of her patients have both inflammation and immune dysfunction. She points out that quite often it is the immune response to infection that causes symptoms, rather than simply the infection itself. Immune dysfunction can lead to inflammation, which is often the root cause of symptoms such as arthritis, headaches and chronic pain. In addition to treating underlying infections, Dr. Offutt supports patients with their overall health by exploring lifestyle components such as stress, nutrition, movement patterns and sleep habits.
“So many of the patients that we see have inflammation and immune dysfunction, and sometimes it’s not the actual infection that’s causing so many of the symptoms, it’s the immune system’s response to those infections.”Dr. Amy Offutt
What is ILADS?
ILADS is composed of, and attracts, a wide variety of clinicians and academics who come together with the common goal to help patients. Dr. Offutt appreciates the diversity in backgrounds and experience of other ILADS members and the opportunity for everyone to share expertise, clinical experience and research. She outlines some of the speakers that will be presenting at this year’s ILADS conference on topics such as Bartonella, Babesiosis, PANS and PANDAS. She invites listeners to check out the agenda for this year on the ILADS website.
Dr. Offutt points out that ILADS membership is invaluable for networking and information sharing opportunities amongst members. In addition, ILADS offers a mentorship program where doctors can learn one on one with clinical experts. Sarah refers listeners who may be interested in CanLyme ILADS training grants to the lookingatlyme.ca website, where opportunities will be posted as they become available. Some other areas of interest that will be further explored at this year’s conference are neuropsychiatric consequences of infection and the implications of COVID.
“Implementing a few new things that just make our care a little bit better even than it was before, if that’s what happens after the [ILADS] meeting, I feel like that was a successful thing.”Dr. Amy Offutt
Better outcomes through education: ILADS 2021 Conference
What can be done to see better outcomes in patients with vector-borne illnesses? Dr. Offutt notes that many of the patients with these illnesses have been sick for many years by the time they are diagnosed, making their illness much more challenging to treat. She would like to see earlier diagnosis and treatment, as well as ensuring that patients are treated well enough to prevent relapse. The ILADS conference is a great opportunity for healthcare providers to learn more about vector-borne illnesses. Dr. Offutt hopes to see Canadian healthcare providers at the Conference in Orlando, Florida from October 14th to 17th and invites listeners who are interested in the conference to reach out to ILADS if they have any questions. Thank you Dr. Offutt for sharing your expertise and your experience!
“From vector-borne illnesses, if we were able to recognize them earlier in the course of disease, we could probably prevent a lot more of the chronic heavy cost, heavy suffering illnesses…a lot of us see patients who’ve been sick for ten years or fifteen years, those poor patients have already gotten into a sickness cycle that’s challenging to break out of.”Dr. Amy Offutt