13 issues associated with chronic inflammation

Why is inflammation so damaging to the body?
Inflammation is our body’s response to stress.  Everyday we are exposed to some sort of stress.  How we deal with it is really important.  Unless we have a way to get rid of the stress, it will store and present itself later as a symptom in the body.   This could range from depression, headaches, digestive problems or any other type of malfunction or discomfort.

“When the immune system senses one of these dangers, it responds by activating proteins meant to protect cells and tissues. “In a healthy situation, inflammation serves as a good friend to our body,” says Mansour Mohamadzadeh, PhD, director of the Center for Inflammation and Mucosal Immunology at the University of Florida.” “But if immune cells start to overreact, that inflammation can be totally directed against us.” This type of harmful, chronic inflammation can have a number of causes, including a virus or bacteria, an autoimmune disorder, sugary and fatty foods, or the way you handle stress. Here are a few ways it can affect your health, both short-term and long.”

Here are some of the affects of inflammation:

  1. Infection fighter:
    Inflammation is most visible happens when you experience a sprain or strain. Inflammation is an automatic response to an injury or illness.  This is the body’s way of trying to heal the area.   when it’s helping to repair a wound or fight off an illness:  The area swells up, becomes warmer.  This is a sign that the immune system is doing what it is supposed to do when injured.  The immune system starts to send white blood cells and nutrition to the area necessary for healing.  This should only be a temporary thing and this response should go away once the injury or infection is gone.

2.  Emotionally stressful situations:
If you are under large amounts of emotional stress, your sympathetic nervous system “fight or flight” will kick in.  This response increases your adrenaline levels which may be necessary for extra energy in case you need to run or protect yourself.  This is a good thing but chronic stress for long periods of time can cause C-reactive proteins in the body to be elevated for long periods which will lead to many health conditions like heart disease, headaches, multiple myeloma, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, Sjogren’s syndrome, obesity, costochondritis, heart attack, osteomyelitis and many more.

3. It causes autoimmune and digestive issues:
There are many immune cells around the intestines.  There is also healthy bacteria in the gut that helps keep your intestines strong and healthy.  With chronic inflammation, the immune system starts to treat this bacteria as a toxin or invader and begins to react to the bacteria and start fighting it.

This reaction now becomes an autoimmune condition such as Inflammatory Bowel Disease, Crohn’s Disease, Ulcerative Colitis etc.   These conditions can cause diarrhea, abdominal cramps and various types of ulcers.  In many cases areas of the intestine are removed and patients are put on long term prescription medications which then begin to put a stress on the organs to filter out of the system.

4. Heart Issues:
Again, when the body is injured inflammation occurs.  This inflammation affects every part of the body including the blood vessels.  Plaque can accumulate in the arteries leading to chronic inflammation.  Now this attracts white blood cells which start to grow larger with time and can cause blood clots and heart attacks.

5. Obesity:
Bad eating habits will stress the body and cause an inflammatory response.  It is also harder to keep off weight if the organs and body are inflamed.

6. Increased cancer risk:
Chronic inflammation has been shown to increase the risk of lung, esophagus, cervical and digestive cancers and may be involved in other cancers as well.  In a 2014 Harvard University study, it found that obese teenagers with high levels of inflammation had a 63% increased risk of developing colorectal cancer during adulthood compared to their thinner peers.

When the immune system starts to produce inflammation,  regulation then becomes interrupted and cancer cells can begin to grow.

7. Sleep and Fatigue:
In a 2009 study from Case Western Reserve University, people who reported sleeping more or less than average had higher levels of inflammation-related proteins in their blood than those who said they slept about 7.6 hours a night.

8. Lung issues:
If the lungs are irritated and inflamed, fluid will accumulate which will narrow airways making it harder to breathe.  Asthma, Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), emphysema, bronchitis are all affects of long term inflammation issues of the lungs.

9. Your gums can be damaged:
Peridontitis is commonly associated with chronic inflammation.  Bacteria will accumulate and cause edema in the gums.  Gums will begin to recede and the tissue around the teeth will weaken or become damaged.   Brushing your teeth and using floss can help prevent this but if joined with keeping inflammation down will really keep your gums healthy.  Also, a 2010 Harvard University study found that eating anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acids (such as fish or fish oil) may also help.

Just a note that Periodontal disease doesn’t just affect oral health.   Studies have shown that chronic inflammation in the mouth can lead to heart disease and dementia as well.

10. Losing weight is harder:
Chronic inflammation can influence the body’s ability to produce the hunger signals properly and slow down metabolism.  Without the proper hunger signals, it will make you eat more and burn less calories leading to weight gain or keep your weight the same even though you are working out.

11. Bone damage:

According to a 2009 review study published in the Journal of Endocrinology, chronic inflammation can interfere with normal bone growth.

As stated above inflammation affects the digestive system and can disrupt bone growth because it prevents absorption of Calcium and Vitamin D necessary for growth and strength.  Rheumatoid arthritis is an inflammatory disease and can also lead to weakening of bones because  physical exercise is limited because of pain while performing weight bearing exercises.

12. Skin issues:
Psoriasis, acne and other skin issues can be related to increased inflammation.

13. Depression and anxiety:
Inflammation in the brain may be linked to depression, according to a 2015 study published in JAMA Psychiatry.  Mood swings, not eating, insomnia or loss of sleep are all linked to depression.   Research has shown that people with depression have shown increased levels of inflammation in their blood.

So, knowing all of this there is no wonder why there are green smoothies and other anti-inflammatory products out there.  With inflammation comes stress on the body.  The less stress you have the better your body will function and remain healthy.

6 Foods That Decrease Inflammation

Foods that fight inflammation

Doctors are learning that one of the best ways to decrease inflammation in the body is not through a drug, but in foods.

As you may know, your immune system recognizes and attacks anything that is recognizes as a threat to your body (antigen).  This can be something natural or unnatural.  When it attacks, it involves inflammation.

However, sometimes inflammation lasts days, weeks, even years when the body is irritated with foods that are pesticide ridden or not nutritious.  This is when inflammation occurs, day in and day out, even when you are not threatened by a foreign invader. That’s when inflammation is your enemy. Many major diseases that you hear about including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, depression, and Alzheimer’ have been linked to chronic inflammation.

One of the most powerful tools to decrease inflammation does not come from a drug, but from the grocery store.  There have been many books and research showing that certain foods keep inflammation down in the body.  and now Dr. Frank Hu of Harvard states that “Many experimental studies have shown that components of foods or beverages may have anti-inflammatory effects.”

Choose the right foods, and you may be able to reduce your risk of illness and disease.   Pick the wrong ones, and you could accelerate the inflammation in your body and start the disease process.

So what foods inflame the body?  

  • The “bad” carbohydrates, such as white bread, pastries, pasta (anything the body metabolizes as sugar)
  • French fries and other fried foods
  • Soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages (again…sugar)
  • red meat (burgers, steaks) and processed meat (hot dogs, sausage)
  • margarine, shortening, and lard

Inflammation-promoting foods

So, it should make sense that all of the foods that cause inflammation also are bad for us.

“Some of the foods that have been associated with an increased risk for chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes and heart disease are also associated with excess inflammation,” Dr. Hu says. “It’s not surprising, since inflammation is an important underlying mechanism for the development of these diseases.”

Unhealthy foods also lead to gaining weight as well so people that are obese are also highly inflammed.

Foods that decrease inflammation

Include plenty of these anti-inflammatory foods in your diet:

  • tomatoes
  • olive oil
  • green leafy vegetables, such as spinach, kale, and collards
  • nuts like almonds and walnuts
  • Salmon, mackerel, tuna, and sardines
  • fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries, and oranges. Highly acidic fruits like pineapple and mango should be eaten sparingly.

Anti-inflammation foods

On the flip side are foods and beverages that have been found to reduce the risk of inflammation, and with it, chronic disease, says Dr. Hu. He notes in particular fruits and vegetables such as blueberries, apples, and leafy greens that are high in natural antioxidants and polyphenols, which play a huge role in the prevention of disease.

Studies have also associated nuts with reduced markers of inflammation and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Coffee, which contains polyphenols and other anti-inflammatory compounds, may protect against inflammation, as well but make sure it is organic instead of sprayed with pesticides.

“A healthy diet is beneficial not only for reducing the risk of chronic diseases, but also for improving mood and overall quality of life,” Dr. Hu says.

I have to agree.  When I am eating my normal diet of salad, fruits, veggies and lean meats…my mood and energy levels are wonderful

References: Harvard Women’s Health Watch

What are Skin Cancer Signs?

Where skin cancer develops

Skin cancer develops primarily on areas of sun-exposed skin, including the scalp, face, lips, ears, neck, chest, arms and hands, and on the legs in women. But it can also form on areas that have very little exposure to the sun like your palms, beneath your fingernails, the spaces between your toes or under your toenails, and your genital area.

Skin cancer affects people of all skin tones, including those with darker complexions. When melanoma occurs in those with dark skin tones, it’s more likely to occur in areas not normally considered to be sun-exposed.

Basal cell carcinoma signs and symptoms
It usually occurs in sun-exposed areas of your body, such as your face, ears or scalp and may appear as:

A pearly or waxy bump

A flat, flesh-colored or brown scar-like lesion

Squamous cell carcinoma signs and symptoms
Most often, squamous cell carcinoma occurs on sun-exposed areas of your body, such as your face, lips, ears and hands. Squamous cell carcinoma may appear as:

A firm, red nodule

A flat lesion with a scaly, crusted surface

Melanoma signs and symptoms
Melanoma can develop anywhere on your body, in otherwise normal skin or in an existing mole that becomes cancerous. Melanoma most often appears on the trunk, head or neck of affected men. In women, this type of cancer most often develops on the lower legs. In both men and women, melanoma can occur on skin that hasn’t been exposed to the sun. Melanoma can affect people of any skin tone. In people with darker skin tones, melanoma tends to occur on the palms or soles, or under the fingernails or toenails.

Melanoma signs include:

A large brownish spot with darker speckles

A mole that changes in color, size or feel or that bleeds

A small lesion with an irregular border and portions that appear red, white, blue or blue-black

Dark lesions on your palms, soles, fingertips or toes, or on mucous membranes lining your mouth, nose, vagina or anus

Signs and symptoms of less common skin cancers
Other, less common types of skin cancer include:

Kaposi sarcoma. This rare form of skin cancer develops in the skin’s blood vessels and causes red or purple patches on the skin or mucous membranes. Kaposi sarcoma mainly occurs in people with weakened immune systems, such as people with AIDS, and in people taking medications that suppress their natural immunity, such as people who’ve undergone organ transplants. Kaposi sarcoma can also occur in older adults of Mediterranean heritage.

Merkel cell carcinoma. Merkel cell carcinoma causes firm, shiny nodules that occur on or just beneath the skin and in hair follicles. Merkel cell carcinoma is usually found on sun-exposed areas on the head, neck, arms and legs.

Sebaceous gland carcinoma. This uncommon and aggressive cancer originates in the oil glands in the skin. Sebaceous gland carcinomas — which usually appear as hard, painless nodules — can develop anywhere, but most occur on the eyelid, where they’re frequently mistaken for other eyelid problems.

When to see a doctor
Make an appointment with your a dermatologist or skin specialist if you notice any changes to your skin that worry you.

References: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/skin-cancer/DS00190/DSECTION=symptoms

Signs of Hyperthyroidism (Overactive Thyroid)

Hyperthyroidism (overactive thyroid) is a condition in which your thyroid gland produces too much of the hormone thyroxine. Hyperthyroidism can significantly accelerate your body’s metabolism, causing sudden weight loss, a rapid or irregular heartbeat, sweating, and nervousness or irritability.

Hyperthyroidism can mimic other health problems, which may make it difficult for your doctor to diagnose. It can also cause a wide variety of signs and symptoms, including:

  • Sudden weight loss, even when your appetite and diet remain normal or even increase
  • Rapid heartbeat (tachycardia) — commonly more than 100 beats a minute — irregular heartbeat (arrhythmia) or pounding of your heart (palpitations)
  • Increased appetite
  • Nervousness, anxiety and irritability
  • Tremor — usually a fine trembling in your hands and fingers
  • Sweating
  • Changes in menstrual patterns
  • Increased sensitivity to heat
  • Changes in bowel patterns, especially more frequent bowel movements
  • An enlarged thyroid gland (goiter), which may appear as a swelling at the base of your neck
  • Fatigue, muscle weakness
  • Difficulty sleeping

Who gets this problem?
Older adults are more likely to have either no signs or symptoms or subtle ones, such as an increased heart rate, heat intolerance and a tendency to become tired during ordinary activities.

Grave’s Ophthalmopathy:

Sometimes a problem called Graves’ Ophthalmopathy may affect your eyes. In this disorder, your eyeballs protrude beyond their normal protective orbits when tissues and muscles behind your eyes swell. This pushes the eyeballs forward so far that they actually bulge out of their orbits. This can cause the front surface of your eyeballs to become very dry. Signs and symptoms of Graves’ ophthalmopathy include:

  • Protruding eyeballs
  • Red or swollen eyes
  • Excessive tearing or discomfort in one or both eyes
  • Light sensitivity, blurry or double vision, inflammation, or reduced eye movement

What causes Hyperthyroidism?
A number of conditions, including Graves’ disease, toxic adenoma, Plummer’s disease (toxic multinodular goiter) and thyroiditis, can cause hyperthyroidism.

Hyperthyroidism can lead to a number of complications:

  • Heart problems. Some of the most serious complications of hyperthyroidism involve the heart. These include a rapid heart rate, a heart rhythm disorder called atrial fibrillation and congestive heart failure — a condition in which your heart can’t circulate enough blood to meet your body’s needs. These complications are generally reversible with appropriate treatment.
  • Brittle bones. Untreated hyperthyroidism can also lead to weak, brittle bones (osteoporosis). The strength of your bones depends, in part, on the amount of calcium and other minerals they contain. Too much thyroid hormone interferes with your body’s ability to incorporate calcium into your bones.
  • Eye problems. People with Graves’ ophthalmopathy develop eye problems, including bulging, red or swollen eyes, sensitivity to light, and blurring or double vision.
  • Red, swollen skin. In rare cases, people with Graves’ disease develop Graves’ dermopathy, which affects the skin, causing redness and swelling, often on the shins and feet.
  • Thyrotoxic crisis. Hyperthyroidism also places you at risk of thyrotoxic crisis — a sudden intensification of your symptoms, leading to a fever, a rapid pulse and even delirium. If this occurs, seek immediate medical care.
  • How is this diagnosed? A diagnosis can be confirmed with blood tests that measure the levels of thyroxine and TSH in your blood. High levels of thyroxine and low or nonexistent amounts of TSH indicate an overactive thyroid. The amount of TSH is important because it’s the hormone that signals your thyroid gland to produce more thyroxine. These tests are particularly necessary for older adults, who may not have classic symptoms of hyperthyroidism.

How can chiropractic help?
There is evidence that supports certain cases of thyroid disorders can result from the disruption or malfunction of nerves emerging from the brain and spinal cord which control the thyroid gland.  Eliminating improper curvature in the spine resulting in stretching or pinching the nerves that supply signals to the thyroid gland.

What Is The Most Common Skin Cancer?

Basal Cell Carcinoma: It is responsible for 90% of the skin cancer in the united states. Good news: They don’t normally spread to other parts of the body. Bad news: it can damage the tissue around the cancer.

Reasons for developing BCC:

People with fair skin, sun exposure, age. Most of the time the cancer occurs in the area exposed to the sun but in rare cases (20%), they can happen in areas we wouldn’t think (chest, back, scalp). However, the majority BCC occurs on the face.

  • Sun Exposure: According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health, ultraviolet (UV) radiation from the sun is the main reason most individuals get skin cancer. Obviously, the more you are in the sun, the increase of skin cancer rises. Tanning booths also increase the chance of BCC.Note* Some individuals believe that if you have small doses of sun each day without sunblock it can decrease the chance of cancer if your body begins to slowly tolerate the UV. This reasoning comes from the notion that people do not sun tan during most of the year, then spend hours at a time tanning. The skin needs to build up a “tolerance” to UV rays but if done slowly it will not produce a cancer cell.
  • Age: Your risk increases after the age of 50. Protection from the sun should be practiced from childhood to adulthood.
  • If receiving radiation for cancer, you may also be at risk.

What does a BCC look like?

There are tons of pictures online so you may want to check them out. It usually begins small with a dome shape bump. Blood vessels can be seen. It appears to be shiny or “pearly”, but at times it may look dark. Sometimes it may seem like a mole so it may be necessary to get a biopsy to determine if it is BCC. The texture of such a spot is often shiny and translucent, sometimes referred to as “pearly.”

They grow at a slow pace (months or years).

Treatment:

Good News: There is a very high success rate (90% or more). Removal of the carcinoma is necessary and in most cases there is very little scarring.

Tips on how to decrease your risk:

  • limiting sun exposure and tanning beds
  • avoiding unprotected exposure to the sun during peak radiation times (noon)
  • Hat protection
  • Waterproof or water resistant sunscreen with UVA protection and SPF 30 or higher
  • Visiting a dermatologist if you have a skin discoloration that changes shape or color

With the hot weather approaching, be careful and take care of yourself. Drink lots of water too!

Pain in back of knee may be a Baker’s Cyst

Q: What is a Baker’s Cyst?

A: A Bakers Cyst is a fluid growth that occurs on the back of the knee. It can become hard and very painful.  A Baker’s Cyst can occur in children and adults.

Q: How does it happen?

A: A cyst starts to grow when there is a biomechanical problem adding stress to the joint such as with walking, running, standing and/or posture. It is also called a Popliteal Cyst.  Pulling of the muscles, tendons and ligaments can form swelling and then the cyst will start to form.

Q: What are the symptoms of Baker’s Cysts?

A: Symptoms of Baker’s Cysts can include:

  1. swelling behind the knee which can get to to size of a golf ball
  2. Difficulty and pressure on the joint when bending the knee. This pressure can go all the way down the calf muscle.
  3. Pain and tenderness after exercising

Q: What can be done to help alleviate a baker’s cyst?

A: Rest is the number one way of relieving problems with the cyst. Inflammation will go down and the fluid in the cyst will start to alleviate. Braces can also be worn to reduce the stress on the joint and prevent bad body mechanics which start to build the cyst back up again.

If given time to heal and stress is taken off of the joint, the cyst will get rid of its fluid and disappear.  Did you know that there is a 40% chance that a cyst removed by surgery will reoccur. That is a pretty high percentage!  So, if you can bear it, give it some time to take care of itself instead of opting for invasive surgery.  Once your tissues are cut open, there will be scar tissue left over and it may be hard to recuperate.

It is also important to alleviate the bio-mechanical problem.  It can be caused by uneven leg length, foot problems, tight muscles which add stress to the knee joint, trauma to the knee joint.  Taking care of the cause the cyst occurrence is key.   This will avoid a lot of unnecessary pain and irritation.

SASTM (Sound Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization) What Is It?

Soft tissue mobilization is used to treat a number of problems.  SASTM instruments are designed for treatment of soft tissue disorders.  These remarkable instruments effectively break down fascial restrictions and scar tissue helping your body to heal and create more movement in the body. The ergonomic design of these instruments provides the clinician with the ability to locate restrictions through sound waves. The unique design allows the clinician to treat the affected area with the appropriate amount of pressure, due to square surface of the instruments.

Trauma to soft tissue causes a local inflammatory response.  This initiates reabsorption of inappropriate fibers (scar tissue). During the treatment, the instruments breakdown scar tissue adhesions which may have developed as a result of surgery, immobilization, repeated strain or other mechanisms, are broken down allowing full functional restoration to occur.  This allows your body to move properly and put less stress on your joints.

This form of treatment is beginning to be used by colleges like Stanford to increase their performance.   To find out more about Sound Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization check out this site

Facts About Bunions

Bunions are a malformed bony bump on the outside portion of the big toe.  It becomes enlarged and angles toward the second toe putting pressure on the foot.  This can be very painful.

Symptoms of a bunion:

  • Bump or angulation on the outside of the first toe
  • Swelling, redness and tenderness of the big toe
  • Thickening of the skin on the bottom of your foot under the big toe
  • Corns or calluses
  • Pain of the first toe
  • Restricted movement

Women are more likely to get bunions because of wearing high heels or shoes that don’t fit properly. Improper shoes can cause foot problems because the big toe begins to push on other toes and tissues.  Improper shoes cause improper movement which may not be a problem now but will increase in the future if not managed.

Practioners that do not specialize in the management and function of extremities may not know that bunion formation can be caused by several dysfunctions of the foot.  Bad body mechanics may go unnoticed.  Improper walking or standing puts added stress on the foot and prevents toes from moving and gliding the way they should.  Bones that are stuck prevent the toes from functioning normally and the foot, ankle, knees and hips begin to pay the price.   Many people have been told there is nothing that can be done to change or manage this problem except tape the toe, put a divider between the big toe and second toe or have surgery where part of the toe is shaved off.  This is just a short term solution and will result in further destruction of the foot.

At Precise Moves Chiropractic we specialize in extremities and can help you relieve foot problems and help you walk and stand better resulting in less pain and stress on your foot.

Give our Redwood City Chiropractic office a call today to start your journey to long term health!

Knee “Baker’s Cyst” Does Not Require Surgery

Q: What is a Baker’s Cyst?

A: A Bakers Cyst is a fluid growth that occurs on the back of the knee. It can become hard and very painful.

Q: How does it happen?

A: This cyst starts to grow when there is a biomechanical problem adding stress to the joint such as with walking, running, standing and/or posture. It is also called a Popliteal Cyst.

Q: What are the symptoms of Baker’s Cysts?

A: Symptoms of Baker’s Cysts can include:

  1. swelling behind the knee which can get to to size of a golf ball
  2. Difficulty and pressure on the joint when bending the knee. This pressure can go all the way down the calf muscle.
  3. Pain and tenderness after exercising

Q: What can be done to help alleviate a baker’s cyst?

A: Rest is the number one way of relieving problems with the cyst. Inflammation will go down and the fluid in the cyst will start to alleviate. Braces can also be worn to reduce the stress on the joint and prevent bad body mechanics which start to build the cyst back up again.

If given time to heal and stress is taken off of the joint, the cyst will get rid of its fluid and disappear.

Did you know that there is a 40% chance that a cyst removed by surgery will reoccur. That is a pretty high percentage!

Q: So, what can chiropractic do?

A: Chiropractors are trained to find abnormal movement in the body and re-align your joints to get rid of bad posture and extra stress on your joints. Understanding proper body mechanics and training your body to move properly will help alleviate any additional cysts in the future!

Call 650.353.1133 for an appointment today to have an exam. We are located in the peninsula and are easy accessible via car and caltrain.

During your exam, I will not only look at your spinal issues but will also check your extremities and soft tissue concerns. I can help you with a wide array of problems that occur in the whole body!

Athletes: I can increase your mobility, results and prevent injuries!

Natural Remedies For Canker Sores

Ever have a canker sore? Here are a few natural ways to reduce pain and help heal your canker sore without synthetic medication or surgery:

  • Tannin
    Tannin is found in Black tea
  • Mouth wash
    Mix together 2 ounces of hydrogen peroxide, 2 teaspoonfuls of salt and 1 teaspoonful of baking soda and swirl it around your mouth for about 1 minute. Spit it out. Don’t swallow.
  • Aloe Vera
    Aloe Vera juice a few times a day will help make the sore less painful
  • Onion
    Apply a raw onion to the canker sore
  • Papaya
    Suck on some papaya
  • Plum Juice
    2 table spoons of plum juice and soak a cotton ball in the fluid. Compress it over your sore for a few minutes
  • Soda
    A cupful of warm soda and a pinch of salt
  • Grapefruit Seed
    Extract of grapefruit seed is a disinfectant and after a few applications, it should be gone!

Cold Sore diet suggestions

Here is advice for a Cold Sore Diet:

Avoid: Acidic and salty foods. Chocolates, peanuts, grains, peas, seeds, oatmeal and whole-wheat are high in arginine, These are restricted. Avoid tea and coffee.

Do Eat: A vitamin enriched diet. Your diet must include vitamin A, C, E, Zinc, and iron.  Garlic is highly recommended in your diet. Eat fresh food with high antioxidants  and high complex carbohydrates. Avoid processed food. Eat lots of fruits and green leafy vegetables.

– Dr. Amie B. Gregory, DC
Redwood City CA Chiropractor