INFLAMMATION: The Silent Alarm

Saturday, December 11th, 2010

Note: This article by Pamela Howard, DC, Certified Clinical Thermographer, is the second one on inflammation, a topic that I am realizing is very important in preventing chronic ailments and diseases.  It is reprinted with her permission.

We often attribute aches and pains as being a normal part of getting old, after all, our parents and grandparents had them.  Actually, we are accommodating to those aches and pains rather than listening to our bodies.  Those aches and pains are the body’s subtle way of telling us something needs to be addressed.

The initial phase of those aches and pains is inflammation; the body’s natural way of protecting itself by localizing and getting rid of an irritant in order to repair.  Prolonged inflammation can ultimately affect organs and lead to something more serious.  The types of symptoms that arise depend on the particular organ affected, inflammation in the…

Heart – can cause shortness of breath or fluid retention.

Kidneys – can lead to high blood pressure or kidney failure.

Large intestine – can lead to leaky gut or colitis.

Carotid arteries – can lead to plaque formation, blockage and possible stroke.

Joints – lead to arthritis.

I think you are starting to get the picture.

What triggers inflammation in the body?

  • Stress
  • Food allergies
  • Acidic pH in the cells of the body
  • Injury: Bacteria; Viral
  • Consumption of foods such as simple sugars and corn oil
  • Nutrient-poor processed foods
  • Insufficient phytonutrients such as Omega 3s
  • Vitamin D deficiency (soak up those sun rays!)
  • Depleted immune systems
  • Radiation (X-ray, CT scans, etc.)
  • Oxidative stress

How do we detect it?

There are two tests that can safely detect inflammation: Medical Thermal Imaging and a Blood test for C-Reactive Protein.

1. Medical Thermal Imaging (Thermography) is a safe, non-invasive way to visualize areas of disease, a screening tool well suited for early detection by mapping out areas of inflammation, nerve damage or blood flow problems.  A digital infrared camera specifically calibrated for medical purposes measures the infrared heat emitting from the skin surface in order to detect subtle abnormal temperature asymmetries.  These asymmetries are used as biomarkers to alert your health care provider of areas of concern, sometimes long before signs and symptoms appear.  Best of all there is no radiation involved!

2. C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is a simple yet sensitive blood test which detects a specific protein that increases in the bloodstream when certain inflammatory processes are present thus providing early warning signs for systemic inflammation.  CRP has emerged as a useful predictor of coronary heart disease and other cardiovascular diseases, developing type II diabetes, loss of cognitive ability in seemingly healthy people, Alzheimer’s and depression.

Both screening tools are nonspecific indicators which cannot diagnose a particular disease; however knowing there is a problem and knowing what extent of the body is involved is a start to finding a solution.

What can be done about it?

Work with your health care provider to determine the best process for your individual needs.   You can also help yourself by becoming aware of certain foods, nutrients and botanicals that reduce the inflammatory process – Omega 3’s (fish oil, oil rich seafood such as salmon, tuna, mackerel, and halibut, flax oil, walnuts), Vitamins C & D, Turmeric, Grape Seed Extract, Black Current Seed Oil, Vegetables in the Brassica family (cabbage, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, turnip and mustard) and Fruits such as grapes and mulberries.

First – control stress. Stress is high on the list of causes of inflammation, a good starting point begins with the Endocrine system which is an intricate system of glands producing hormones to regulate the body and affect immune responses.  The endocrine system is made up of the adrenal glands, parathyroid gland, pituitary gland, thyroid, ovaries, pancreas and testes; all of which are interconnected.

The adrenals and thyroid glands are high on the list for support and repair.  The adrenals help us cope with stress and the thyroid regulates body metabolism.  When the adrenals adapt to stress over a prolonged period of time they become exhausted resulting in symptoms of anxiety, depression, difficulty falling asleep, mood swings, CFS, Fibromyalgia and exhaustion. Left unchecked ultimately diminishes their ability to respond to stress.

Poor thyroid functioning can eventually lead to hypothyroid with symptoms of depression, facial puffiness, weight gain, constipation, cold intolerance, CFS, confusion and forgetfulness.  Iodine deficiency is common in thyroid dysfunction.  Work with your health care provider to determine your iodine needs.

Second – support Liver function.  The liver has a huge job to do and fortunately for us, given all the abuse it takes, the liver can regenerate itself with proper nutrients and support.  The liver cleanses and filters the blood; helps regulate blood sugar; metabolizes fats, carbohydrates and proteins; converts T4 to T3 (vital to the thyroid); produces non-essential amino acids and inactivates toxic substances.  Support the liver and bile flow with slightly steamed organic red beets and beet juice in addition to working with your health care provider to determine the best approach for you.

Third – repair the Intestinal Tract. 50% of your immune system is found in the gut. A history of stress, poor diet, use of antibiotics & medications leads to abnormal yeast growth and eventual leakage of food into the blood system triggers a cycle of inflammation throughout the body. Garnet Cheney, MD did research in the 1950s that demonstrated the successful elimination of ulcers and repair of the digestive tract with a quart of fresh raw green cabbage juice a day for 10 days to a month. You can learn more about his work on the web

In conclusion –

Become aware of your body, listen to the signals it gives you, utilize safe screening tools for valuable information and seek assistance from a trained Health Care Professional.  Everyone is different and each body responds to therapies differently, work with your provider, and be open to discuss the changes occurring in your body.  Keep in mind that the body is interconnected.  A breakdown in one area causes a cascade affect to other organs and systems.  Working on the body as a whole is the key to returning to optimal health.

Dr. Pamela Howard, DC, Certified Clinical Thermographer; owner of Advanced Thermal Imaging; provides a safe, non-invasive means of detecting health concerns utilizing Thermography and assists clients with references and resources to empower them in their search for better health.  Dr. Howard is available for public speaking events on wellness issues to groups and organizations.

My Note: Flax is one of the foods mentioned here that I will focus on in the future. IT is a good source of Omega 3s, of which most of us do not get enough in our diets.