Tag Archives: lifestyle

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.

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Arm Yourself Against Alzheimer’s

It is difficult to fully comprehend the frustration, fright and devastation that accompanies the loss of memory and function.  Unfortunately this is a reality that 50% of 85 year olds in this country face, with a substantial rise in the number of early onset Alzheimer’s patients as well.

The good news is that more and more research is implicating lifestyle as quite possibly THE determining factor as to whether or not the Alzheimer’s gene is expressed and to what degree.  In spite of a sick care system which profits grotesquely off of the individual becoming resigned to the fact that they are a victim of genetics and bad luck, this is truly empowering information.

The following link is to an article from Dr. Mercola’s website.  Occasionally I may pull bits and pieces of information or references from Dr. Mercola, but in this case I felt enlightened and empowered by the entire post, and in turn, enthused to share.

When it comes to Alzheimer’s, the numbers don’t lie.  The threat is real.  Take a second to ponder how sad, lonely, and hopeless life would become as your brain function declines.  Now get it into your head that when it comes to Alzheimer’s and many other diseases or conditions, you do not have to be a helpless victim resigned to drugs, surgeries and inevitable decline.  But the trick is taking a proactive approach NOW, before the wheels fall off and you resort to panic mode.

You are never too old or young to make changes.

The knowledge and thus the opportunity is before you.

What are you going to do with it?

 

Do yourself a favor and read the following article:

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2014/04/27/diet-alzheimers-disease.aspx

 

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.