The older we get, the more prone we are to chronic disease. Aches and pains, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, autoimmune diseases, heart attacks, cancer...they all seem to be common after the age of 45.
"Chronic inflammation may be the root of all degenerative disease." – Dr. Andrew Weil
The doctors at the EuroMed Foundation in Arizona use a blend of alternative and conventional approaches. Conventional medicine tends to see the human body as a bunch of components – the orthopedic doctor looks at bones, the cardiologist looks at the heart, and so on. We recognize that the body sees itself as a whole entity, and what happens at point A often affects the workings of points B through Z. We look at the body as a whole because health problems rarely occur in isolation.
To learn more about the EuroMed Foundation and holistic cancer treatment in Arizona, click here to request your free personal orientation online. Your questions will be answered either in person or over the phone by one of our physicians.
The Fire Within
When we see patients with chronic disease, we look for the fire within. Inflammation is meant to be a temporary situation to initiate healing. If you slam your finger in the car door, the swelling that follows is the body's way of bringing white blood cells to the scene and triggering an immune system response for healing. But with chronic inflammation, the inflammatory response keeps running and running, like the Energizer Bunny. Instead of protecting us, the response starts to kill us, slowly but surely.
With chronic inflammation, the process starts killing cells our bodies need. Inflammation in a joint can eat away at our cartilage – say hello to arthritis. Unchecked inflammation in the pancreas – say hello to diabetes. Unchecked inflammation in blood vessels – say hello to heart disease and cancer. The older we get, the more prone we are to unchecked inflammation because our body loses the ability to "down-regulate" inflammation with age. This is why, as we grow older, we are at increased risk for all-too-prevalent cancers such as breast cancer and lung cancer. Alternative treatment for these and a wide variety of other types of cancers must address the body's inflammatory response.
Chronic inflammation is the fuel that lights the fire for chronic degenerative diseases, and the root cause of the two greatest killers in America – heart disease and cancer. Pro-inflammatory cytokines are destructive cell-signaling chemicals that light the fires of inflammation. How many are circulating inside you? They can be measured by looking at how much excess C-reactive protein is in the blood.
C-reactive protein is a critical inflammatory marker. If the blood test shows this marker is high, you have an increased risk, for example, of a heart attack. Destabilized arterial plaque can spring loose and block the flow of blood through a coronary artery, resulting in an acute heart attack. A New England Journal of Medicine study showed that people with high levels of C-reactive protein were almost three times as likely to die from a heart attack (Ridker et al. 1997).
Researchers at the 2002 meeting of the Endocrine Society reported that sleep deprivation markedly increases inflammatory cytokines. This finding helps explain why pain flare-up occurs in response to lack of sleep in a variety of disorders.
A growing consensus among scientists is that common disorders such as atherosclerosis, colon cancer, and Alzheimer's disease are all caused in part by a chronic inflammatory syndrome.
Bad Diet and a Toxic World Feed the Fire
The bulk of our immune system comes from our gut – the gastrointestinal (GI) tract. Our gut evolved on a hunter-gatherer diet, yet in a relatively short time, we switched to a processed food diet. Our gut simply has not had time to evolve to handle sugar and refined carbs, hybridized wheat, food dyes and additives, pasteurized and homogenized diary, hormones and steroids in meat – not to mention dose after dose of antibiotics.
Remember how for years the "experts" told us margarine was better than butter? Well, margarine for the most part was made of vegetable oils, something our hunter-gathers forefathers never ate. As we ate margarine, we ingested a lot less of the anti-inflammatory omega-3s, and a lot more of the inflammatory omega-6s.
Remember a couple of decades ago when the "experts" preached a high carbohydrate diet? Pasta, bagels and other highly refined carbs turn into sugar in the body. So everyone's insulin levels went into overdrive, creating inflammation.
Love that fried chicken? Eating food cooked at high temperatures creates "advanced glycation end" products, or AGEs. Glycation is a destructive reaction where a protein molecule binds to a glucose molecule and damaged proteins result. Many age-related diseases such as arterial stiffening, cataract and neurological impairment are at least partially attributable to glycation. These destructive glycation reactions render proteins in the body cross-linked and barely functional. As these degraded proteins accumulate, they cause cells to emit signals that induce the production of inflammatory cytokines.
Ever hold your nose when you go down the laundry detergent isle in the grocery store? Do you wash your clothes in scented detergents that off-gass all day? Wear perfume? Use scented candles and plug-ins? Constant exposure to petro-chemicals and airborne irritants keeps your immune system on overdrive. If your body isn't particularly good at detoxifying, these exposures feed your chronic inflammation.
When your immune system is overwhelmed, more opportunities for inflammation arise. As Jeffrey Bland, Ph.D, said, "Inflammatory stimuli, such as bacterial infection, trauma, ischemic events, stress-related events, toxic exposures, allergens and chronic viral infections activate the inflammatory response."
Welcome to modern life; it is a prescription for chronic inflammation. Left unchecked, it sets the stage for chronic diseases.
Want to get the fire under control? With our holistic approach to cancer treatment in Arizona, we look for a whole potpourri of medical issues - possible hormonal imbalances, infections, etc. We also take time with you to learn about lifestyle issues which may contribute to chronic disease. And we give each of our new patients a magic bullet – a Self-Help Guide written by the doctors of the EuroMed Foundation that separates the marketing hype from the medical realities. The Guide is an invaluable teacher for what makes us sick, what keeps us healthy.
To receive your copy of the guide, and to learn more about healing colon cancer, breast cancer, lung cancer, or other types of cancers with alternative treatment methods, click here to request your free personal orientation to our cancer treatment protocols. Or you can call our office at 602-404-0400 to schedule your orientation with one of our doctors.