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Getting a Hold of Auto-Immunity

Controlling Auto-Immunity

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Obamacare: How to Soften the Blow

Are you one of the millions of Americans who are feeling negatively affected by the ever evolving heathcare reform? Elevated premiums, ridiculous deductibles, limited network provider selection has patients and providers sick to their stomachs (pun intended).

As promised, change did indeed come, and was definitely needed. And while an abrupt upheaval and reconfigurment of an intact system can be quite unsettling on numerous fronts, only time will tell how the future chapters of this book will be ascribed; for better or for worse.

The question we are left with is: now what? How is one to advantageously navigate this new system in order to reap optimal available benefits, while mitigating the economic blow as much as possible?

Like it or not, it is what it is for the time being. And alas, we are left choices. There is always the option to whine, complain, bitch, moan; even get angry and stressed, which will make healthcare all the more necessary for you.

Unless you plan on getting involved in politics and joining the ranks of policy proposers and lewd lobbyists, then the aforementioned option doesn’t do anyone any good.

Let’s talk about an intelligent strategy here to hopefully save some dollars, sanity and ultimately, your health.

First off you will either need to continue to carry a now inflated health insurance or pay a fine for rolling the dice without. This is still an option and the appropriate alternative varies dependent upon your specific situation. This part appears to be an unavoidable reality at the moment so unless you plan on joining the circus in D.C., you may as well come to terms with your decision and move on.

Let’s now talk about how you can really take control of the situation. Are you infuriated by your seemingly unattainable deductible? Are you disgruntled because you feel you have been forced to change physicians or pay them thousands to join their preferred, VIP patient club?

Well, a simple solution exists to eliminating both of these issues. Stop sitting back complaining while you consume the same diet that perpetuates the need for frequent doctor visits in the first place. Stop sitting altogether. Stop talking about exercise or becoming more active, and get up and do it.

The information, research and evidence implicating lifestyle (diet, exercise, stress, sleep, toxins, etc.) as the main driver of genetic expression (epigenetics) and thus chronic disease (diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, auto-immunity, Alzheimer’s, cancer, etc.) now exists, and is thankfully becoming more mainstream. Ignorance is no longer an excuse. The information, and thus the knowledge and power exists to play a more active role in your health, well being and life than ever once imagined.

You see if you don’t like the current sickcare, excuse me, healthcare system, then take a stand on a personal level and remove yourself from it as much as possible. Stop playing the loud, opinionated, helpless victim who does nothing to help themselves.

No matter where you sit on the spectrum of health, there are basic foundational changes that can be implemented and built upon from there. The stronger that intelligently constructed foundation, the less of a need for all those prescriptions and visits to the specialist.

Thus you have improved two aspects of your relationship with healthcare in that you can now pick a plan that makes emergencies more economical, rather than routine visits to attenuate this new symptom and modify dosage of that med. You have also now enabled yourself to take some space from the this new provider who you didn’t much care for to begin with.

Now I realize everyone’s situation is different, especially when it comes to health. Some people may need plans for frequent specialist visits and access to medications, and that’s all good.  That’s what they’re there for.

However, the majority of the population can do themselves a service and make the effort to take the proactive step towards optimal health, and thus more independence from the system they declaratively loathe.

The seemingly healthy individual can arm themselves with knowledge and begin to cultivate a lifestyle relatively free of issues down the line; true responsible, wellness care.  The boomers and elder set can break some of the lifelong habits and be sure to attentuate the inevitable degeneration as much as possible, leading to a higher quality of life in those golden years.  Even the individual with seemingly hopeless, devestating disease diagnosis can explore all options, and do all they can to stack the remainig deck in their favor.

With the abundance of information out there, getting started can be a daunting, seemingly insurmountable task, but it doesn’t have to be. There exists forward thinking healthcare providers like myself, who are passionate about collaborating with individuals in order to unlock the potential to thrive.

Find one you can develop a relationship with, along with some level of trust. Find one who will take the time to not only listen, but explain the anatomy, physiology, and logic and reason behind each aspect of a plan; ultimately creating a more knowledgable, independent advocate of their own health.

This is what we pride ourselves in doing professionally and personally, and are here to guide all those looking to take their lives into their own hands.

Autoimmunity: Are You One of the 50 Million Plus?

In keeping with the theme of our last post, we will delve into the puzzling and agonizing world of autoimmunity and how it relates to functional medicine.  The first couple of  eye opening paragraphs below were scribed by Dr. Datis Kharrazian and could make a substantial difference in quality of life.

“Autoimmunity has become a growing epidemic and many individuals seeking care in the healthcare system are suffering from autoimmunity.  Autoimmunity is basically the loss of self tolerance, or the inability for the immune system to recognize self-tissue from foreign or pathogenic organisms, leading to an attack upon oneself.”

(I’d be remiss here if I didn’t briefly touch on one of the reasons why our trusty immune system may turn on us and it comes down to what we knowingly put in our bodies. When the food we eat leads to issues within our gut, lending to leaky gut or intestinal permeability, one of our main barrier systems of our bodies becomes compromised and foreign and undigested particles are allowed entry.
Our immune system sees this and does it’s job and attacks.  Problem solved.

The issue arises when the presence of unwanted invaders persists and the immune system must continually attack.  This puts the immune system on hyperactive defense mode and eventually, due to the similarity in structure between certain tissues and certain foods, the up regulated immune system begins to also attack our own tissues.

This can lead to the start of rheumatoid osteoarthritis as the immune system attacks the joints and breaks down cartilage, or diabetes 1 as the pancreas is attacked (studies now illustrating the similarity in structure of the beta cells of the pancreas and the casein proteins found in milk), MS as the protective covering of our central nervous system, myelin is broken down, or hypothyroidism (Hashimotto’s) as the thyroid is attacked (similar protein structure between thyroid tissue and gluten).

While diet is a major player in the development or facilitation of an autoimmune reaction, the list of catalysts goes well beyond that including many other environmental toxins.)

“The loss of self-tolerance and the development of autoimmunity is a major reason why many individuals notice a rapid decline in their health and seek consultation with a healthcare professional.  Unfortunately, autoimmunity leads to a destructive process to various tissues over several years, and early autoimmunity may be easily overlooked in the current healthcare model.

In the current system, autoimmune disease is not diagnosed until the tissue has already been destroyed.  In other words, an individual may have cartilage antibodies for several years and suffer significant pain, but they will probably not be diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis until they have severe joint deformity.
Another person may have subtle autoimmunity to myelin and present with diverse neurological symptoms, but they will not be diagnosed because their MRI does not show enough destruction to be sensitive to MRI findings.  It is now clear that the antibodies to tissues appear years before total destruction is obvious, and during these years, individuals suffer from symptoms associated with the destructive process.”

In the all too common scenario like the one above, a person suffering from the early stages of autoimmunity seeks consultation and since they do not have total tissue destruction, they are not diagnosed with any conditions.  At this point many individuals end up seeking alternative medicine, as conventional models offer them very little support in the early stages.

Functional medicine looks at autoimmunity through a different lens, classifying it into three stages.

1) Silent Autoimmunity: antibodies present, but no symptoms.
2) Autoimmune Reaction: antibodies AND symptoms present, BUT not enough tissue destroyed to be diagnosed as an autoimmune disease.
3) Autoimmune Disease: antibodies present, symptoms may or may not be present, enough tissue destruction to diagnose.

So what can you do with all this empowering information? Well, speak with a healthcare professional who goes beyond the black and white and looks at things from a functional perspective.  A review of history and symptoms will be done along with an exam.  Appropriate  blood work can be ordered and analyzed and if need be tests looking for specific antibodies can also be obtained.

With this information the appropriate nutritional, dietary and lifestyle modifications can be made in order to potentially delay progression or keep symptoms quiet by lessening inflammation, controlling the immune system and addressing any other systems specific to the individual.

Curious?

Want to know more?

Have some specific questions?

Call us anytime (321-848-0987) to explore the liberating possibilities.

Supplement Series: The Good Fats

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ESSENTIAL SUPPLEMENT OF THE MONTH

OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDS (aka Fish Oil)

  • Literally thousands of studies have demonstrated that a deficiency in Omega 3s can contribute to:
    • DEPRESSION
    • MEMORY and CONCENTRATION PROBLEM
    • HEIGHTENED RISK OF ALZHEIMER’s:
    • Our brains are 60% fat, and require an adequate source of the Omega 3 fatty acids: DHA in order to function properly.
    • WEIGHT GAIN
    • CANCER
    • HEART DISEASE
    • ALLERGIES
    • ARTHRITIS
    • DIABETES
    • INFLAMMATION (pain, swelling, etc.)
    • ATHEROSCLEROSIS and BLOOD CLOTS

Ideal to have 1:1 ratio of Omega 3: Omega 6 for better HEALTH and LONGEVITY.

Unfortunately due to our lifestyles and dietary choices, the ratio favors Omega 6s, which tilts the scale in favor of a PRO-INFLAMMATORY environment and all of the conditions listed above.

Food sources of Omega 3s are inferior due to toxic accumulations in wild fish, the pro-inflammatory Omega 6 rich diet fed to farmed fish, and the additional step required to convert the ALA found in plants (flax, chia, hemp, etc.) to the desired Omega 3s (EPA and DHA).

That’s why REGULAR SUPPLEMENTATION with a good source of OMEGA 3 FATTY ACIDs is imperative to HEALTH, WELLNESS and LONGEVITY.   

At Clarke Chiropractic and Wellness we encourage all to obtain our nutrients from whole food sources.  However, we also recognize a few supplements that appear to be so beneficial that supplementation may be advantageous.

We carry and recommend that most patients regularly supplement with Omega 3 Fatty Acids.  However, this is always based on the patient’s individual condition and health status.  You should never start or stop any supplements and/or medications without consulting with your trusted healthcare professional first.

If you are interested in confirming whether or not you are a candidate for some Omega 3s or any type of supplements in your life, feel free to give us a call (321-848-0987) and we’ll sift through what you need and don’t need.

Live Life.

Some Thoughts on Depression, Pain and Stroke

We’ll take it easy on you with this week’s post as we head into another weekend.  Sometimes I have to repeatedly re-read some of the facts and figures during my constant investigation of the ever growing and changing research.  These are a few of those “double take” paragraphs that I have compiled and felt compelled to share.  Take it in, embrace the empowerment and make the necessary changes.

DEPRESSION – INFLAMMATORY DIET LINK

For 12 years, researchers tracked the diet habits and health outcomes of more than 43,000 women — none of whom had depression at the start of the study period. Here’s what they found: Women who sipped soft drinks, ate fatty red meat, or consumed refined grains (like pasta, white bread, crackers, or chips) daily were 29 to 41% more likely to be diagnosed or treated for depression than those who stuck to a healthier diet. Blood tests revealed that women who ate the above foods also tested significantly higher for three biomarkers of inflammation.

http://www.prevention.com/mind-body/emotional-health/certain-foods-linked-inflammation-and-depression?cm_mmc=MSN-_-PVN_News-_-Pass%20The%20Pasta–And%20The%20Prozac-_-Pass%20The%20Pasta–And%20The%20Prozac%20SL

GOT PAIN?  PATIENT BEWARE

Back pain accounts for more than $100 billion in annual U.S. healthcare costs and is the second leading cause of physician visits and hospitalizations.

What Happens When Physicians Don’t Know How to Treat Pain?

They resort to the only treatment they know: prescription drugs to treat inflammation, arthritis, back pain, stress, and autoimmunity. And now we’re facing another epidemic on top of chronic pain: prescription drug abuse.

The latter has been called the fastest-growing drug problem in the US by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as the number of deaths from opioid painkillers like hydrocodone and oxycodone rose nearly four-fold between 1999 and 2009.  Pain medications were involved in 14,800 overdose deaths in 2008.

The overdoses now kill more people than cocaine and heroin combined. As USA Today recently reported, more US states are now taking action to try and stop this growing problem.

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/10/10/states-prescription-drug-painkiller-abuse/2961389/

STROKE: MORE EVIDENCE TO GET UP, MOVE AND NOT BE A STATISTIC

The American Heart Association reports 800,000 Americans suffer from stroke each year. Stroke is the leading cause of disability in the US and the fourth leading cause of death. Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable, because for the most part, strokes are the result of unhealthy lifestyle choices.

Recent research published in the journal Stroke found that, if you’re inactive, you have a 20 percent higher risk for having a stroke or mini-stroke (transient ischemic attack) than people who exercise enough to break a sweat at least four times a week.

The study involved more than 27,000 Americans for an average of 5.7 years, male and female, Caucasian and African-American.  It included a larger proportion of people from the “Stroke Belt” states, where stroke rates are higher (Virginia, Tennessee, the Carolinas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Georgia, Florida, Arkansas, and Alabama).

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23868271?dopt=Abstract

Get out there and move! Have a great weekend.