Increasingly, doctors and researchers at the forefront of medicine and functional health are finding that most, it not all, of the major degenerative conditions of old age - heart disease, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease - all have a common cause, and it's not the inevitable outcome of old age or mechanical problems or "wear and tear", as commonly proposed, as though the body were a piece of worn-out machinery.
The cause of all these diseases is purely chronic, low-grade INFLAMMATION.
According to Stanford University professor of immunology and rheumatology William Robinson this association first came to light with arthritis. The studies he carried out showed that osteoarthritic joint tissues contain larger than usual numbers of inflammatory cells. These, he found, were the central driver of the progression of this disease and escalates the attack against the joint itself.
With heart disease, even conservative groups like the American Heart Association (AMA) now acknowledge the devastating role of inflammation. Studies have shown that men with the highest levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in their blood - a major marker of inflammation - are more than twice as likely to have the condition.
There is new evidence by Dr. Patrick Kingsley, a British integrative doctor, that after treating thousands of diabetic patients he discovered that inflammation was the common culprit.
Ordinarily, inflammation is not a bad thing. Some of the signs are heat, swelling, redness and pain. this is an attempt by the body's immune system to heal an injury, insult, allergy or infection by increasing the flow of healing nutrients to flush away harmful pathogens and invaders.
However, when it has to do with degenerative conditions, inflammation is a healing response that has gotten out of control. Chronic conditions such as joint pain, heart disease and diabetes are an inflammatory warning sign that the body is struggling to maintain health in the face of an overwhelming assault of some sort of stressor.
In the case of diabetes, usually some food-provoked inflammation that not only inhibits normal healing, but also contributes to the cycle of a continually worsening situation.
Dr. John Mansfield, author of Arthritis: The Allergy Connection, after successfully treating thousands of arthritis patients, maintains that most forms of arthritis are "environmentally induced" by an intolerance to certain foods or environmental chemicals, and that 90% of patients can be improved or fully cured just by making certain lifestyle changes.
Dr. Kingsley discovered similar results when treating diabetes. His own casebook and experience confirm that what causes high glycemic reactions in diabetics is not simply large doses of sugar, but "individualized idiosyncratic reactions to a food." This is very interesting because it confirms that diabetes is very unique to the individual and there is not a cookie cutter approach to diabetes or any other chronic inflammatory situation.
The solution is to find the source of inflammation - it is usually one or more foods or food groups - and people are often able to drastically lower their need for insulin. This is exactly the path we follow at Sharnowski Center for Functional Health. Find the root cause of the problem, or inflammation and eliminate that stressor. That, in conjunction with the appropriate nutrient application, simple lifestyle modifications and sometimes, the right exercise or movement program for you will assure you a great outcome.
For my first official blog post I have offered you the seemingly impossible: a simple means of locating the source of your inflammation and, consequently, your condition. With just a little effort and persistence you can transform your health and you may perform your own small miracle and drastically reduce your insulin or drugs.
When you think if inflammation it is usually considered a bad thing. Take a fever for instance, it has a bad rap. Or, swelling around a splinter in your finger, a runny nose, watery eyes, and even joint pain.
The function of inflammation is to signal there is tissue damage and trigger the local and systemic (body) factors to initiate the appropriate defense and repair process. That is very important to understand - the appropriate defense and repair process! Inflammation, then, is a very good thing.
However, inflammation is a primitive response and is usually excessive in magnitude for it's function in soft tissue injury. A good example is a sprained ankle. A few years ago, I had a young lady patient in the clinic who played volleyball at a Division 1 school and had tried out for the US National Team. She came to my office after turning her ankle and both her and her parents were very concerned. The playoffs were coming up and her ankle was 5 times it's normal size. It looked terrible! The bodies inflammatory response was so excessive it made it look, and feel, much worse than what it was.
After a relatively short time (10 days) of addressing the inflammation by giving the proper anti-inflammatory agents and enzymes, at the right time and in the correct combination, we returned her to full range of motion and pain less function so she could return to competition.
Another example is a fever. Fevers are generally a good thing because the bodies immune system is sounding the alarm and your defenses are coming to the rescue to, here it is again, begin the defend and repair process. Think twice about trying to reduce a fever too quickly, it is the bodies natural defense to solve and inflammation problem. I usually load people up on a special Calcium Lactate, which is the most easily absorbed calcium there is and a non-saturated fatty acid. Fever and inflammation is a calcium deficiency.
As I stated earlier, inflammation is a primitive response usually excessive in magnitude for its function in soft tissue issues. Excessive inflammation produces pain, spasm, and edema (swelling) and it may delay healing and lead to chronic adverse tissue changes if not mediated.
Prolonged, extended, or chronic edema tells your body to deposit something called "fibrinogen" into the tissue spaces. This thickens tissues, creates tissue adhesions or scarring, and decreases normal blood flow. Untreated this may take many months to resolve.
Take a look at the graph at the top of this blog and look at all the situations that are attributed to chronic inflammation. Inflammation is a good thing in healing the body and getting the appropriate nutrients to the needed areas, but chronic inflammation is the root cause to just about every disease and health compromising state there is.
Do yourself a favor and resolve your chronic inflammation issues as soon as possible. Feel free to call my office, or email, with your questions and we can get you on the right track to get rid of your devastating chronic inflammation.
This is my first blog post and I want to start it off by starting at the beginning. We are just a few weeks into the new year and I am sure everyone has their goals in place, or are finalizing them! One of my biggest goals, for a long while now, has been to start this blog full of interesting, informative, and entertaining material.
I will blog about things I like or think are important and I will write about currents events and hot topics. I want to incorporate guest bloggers as well so be on the look out for great information from other contributors. Also, I would like to post things you are interested in as well so, if you have any idea on topics shoot me your ideas.
Thank you so much for coming on this journey with me.
Well, I guess I can mark off another goal on my New Year "to do" list! Let's go!
Dr. Don Sharnowski is a functional medicine practitioner, lecturer, teacher, sought after speaker, and founder of Sharnowski Center for Functional Health in Overland Park, Kansas. His practice is a functional nutrition based practice that utilizes many forms of testing techniques and treatment options.