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Measuring Risk of Disease

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Measuring Risk of Disease

Our perceptions of the world and the environment in which we live are sending us to early grave...

More on this in a minute.

There was a time when people roamed the Earth and they needed to constantly be on the lookout. If you happen to have young kids there’s a solid chance that in the past couple of years you have watched a movie called “The Croods”.

If not, it's about a family of ancient cave dwellers who have yet to discover fire. Every time they leave the cave, they are worried about being attacked by predators and in constant worry over where their next meal will come from.

They had every right to be cautious. Poisonous snakes, saber toothed tigers, and giant bears (as if regular sized bears aren’t frightening enough). The continuation of the family genes and ultimately the species relied on a certain amount of paranoia.

There was such a prevailing fear that to this day it is still hardwired into our genes.

This is to say that our default setting is to assume that danger could be right around every corner, when in reality, more often than not in modern day America, we are far removed from that danger.

Few places left on this gorgeous Earth are truly wild, yet we go out of our way to manufacture fear on a routine basis.

Despite what social media, mass media, the commercial industry (particularly the pharmaceutical industry) and our very own governmental organizations would have you believe, fear and loathing should be at an all time low, but because we already have a built in bias for fear, and because we have a hard time prying our eyes away from our smart phones and TV’s we live in a perpetual state of fear that eventually "locks" our brain and our body into fight or flight physiology. Once this occurs, we open ourselves up to all types of chronic disease, a weakened immune system, disregulation of hormones and a brain that reacts slower and less effectively.

Here’s where I can go one of two ways: 1.) I can dive heavily into the research talking about how the hippocampus and amygdala in the brain has a built in system for remembering fearful events and how this affects the prefrontal cortex, hindering our ability to think clearly, negatively affecting our hormones, and how it throws our autonomic nervous system into a state of disarray leading to cancer, cardiac disease, diabetes, stroke, anxiety, PTSD, depression and a plethora of other less than ideal chronic diseases leading to an early death while destroying our purpose in life, or 2.) I could take this information  and let you know that there are ways of reversing this damage?

I’ll go with option 2 (for those interested in option 1, here is a link to one of the best heart rate variability studies out there).

For decades, scientists have struggled to define stress. Because they couldn’t define it, they couldn’t accurately measure it. Because they couldn’t accurately measure it, they couldn’t effectively treat it. Those days are pretty much gone.

There is a device that measures heart rate variability which subsequently measures stress. Here's how it works: It takes readings from the heart via a pulse from a peripheral artery and then measures the minor variations in terms of milliseconds between each pulse. It then takes this information and determines how much or how little sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous control your heart is under.

The heart has dual innervation, partially under sympathetic control and partially under parasympathetic control.

Sympathetic control takes seconds to affect the inter-beat variance. Parasympathetic control takes only milliseconds. As a result, the Pulse Wave Profiler (the device we use to measure heart rate variability) can detect your dominant nervous innervation to the heart and also to what degree you are “locked” into a state of sympathetic or parasympathetic physiology. As with almost all things in this world, balance is the key! The farther you are away from having balance (meaning low heart rate variability), the closer you are to hearing that you have a disease there is no cure for.

So what the heck do you do if you have low variations in heart rate? Glad I asked.

  1. You have to cut off the source of your fears and threats and begin to change your perception! If that means giving up watching the news and scrolling through Facebook for hours on end, so be it. Maybe you need to quit watching those shows that put your state of internal physiology into panic, or you might need to ditch that abusive relationship or quit the job you despise going to everyday. At least this way you’ll have your health long enough to find new ones. Whatever your major stressors might be, the time is now to make them go away.
  2. You have to start moving to the point of sweating. If you haven’t done this in a long time, go slow and build up. This has to be done 3 times per week for at least 20 minutes. If you are capable, I recommend high intensity interval training (HIIT). This is getting long so if you are unsure of what I mean, this link provides not only some useful info about HIIT, but also a video demonstration that requires no equipment (Now what’s your excuse?). This type of movement will balance out the levels of serotonin, glucagon, insulin, cortisol, epinephrine and norepinephrine, while increasing levels of human growth hormone and insulin-like growth factor.
  3. You need to have a free and clear nervous system capable of adaptation. Find a chiropractor in your area who does heart rate variability testing. If they do more than that, great! Static electromyography, thermography, range of motion and heart rate variability are always tested in our office and are excellent tools for assessing your starting point as well as progression.
  4. Meditate. Quiet your brain at least once per day for about 15 to 20 minutes and do nothing but listen to your breath go in and out. Your mind will wander and won’t know what to do at first. That’s okay. It will eventually shut up. In the meantime, pay no attention to it and focus in on the breaths. Incorporate this with yoga or Thai Chi and you will greatly decrease the amount of time it takes to get your health back!

This is not an all inclusive list by any means but will help get you on your way. You should also understand that in order to get your health back, you will never find a microwavable version. There is no miracle cure for any type of lifestyle disease and simply covering up the symptoms does not equal a cure. If you have any questions feel free to comment and I will do my best to answer in a timely manner.

-In Health,

Dr. Andrew R. Burns

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Trigeminal Neuralgia

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Trigeminal Neuralgia

Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) is often regarded as one of the most painful diseases known to man. It is characterized by electric-like shocks to the face and can be unrelenting. The disease itself is not life-threatening but due to the levels of pain, sufferers of this condition will often take their own life, giving the condition the nickname ‘the suicide disease’.

Traditionally TN is treated by analgesics as powerful as morphine and are typically accompanied by anti-depressants. In some instances surgery is performed to cut the sensory portion of the trigeminal nerve and despite sectioning the pain can persist giving credence to the idea that the issue does not in fact lie in the peripheral nerves, but rather in the trigeminal ganglion located in the brain stem.

The brain stem is the portion of your spinal cord that immediately exits the skull and continues down through the first 3 cervical vertebrae. If a misalignment between any of these bones is present, cord distortion and even mechanical pressure can place undue stress on the neurons and their nuclei causing a whole host of issues including TN.

Unfortunately for many people suffering from TN, most medical doctors are unaware of the effectiveness chiropractic has had in alleviating what we believe is the ultimate cause of TN. Analgesics and surgery seek to limit the pain, while our focus is on structural restoration of the spine to as near normal as possible. A wonderful side effect of proper alignment for many people has been the resolution of TN symptomatology.

In Health,

Dr. Burns

 

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Probiotics

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Probiotics

Probiotics

Did you know that the vast majority (roughly 80%) of your immune system comes from your guts?

It’s true! And your immune system not only protects you from foreign invaders like viruses and bacteria but also works around the clock to fight off cells that could become cancerous. In fact, there is an up and coming profession focusing solely on cancer immunosurveillance!

Because of this, it is impossible to address the health of an individual without discussion on how well the guts are functioning, yet in today’s quick fix world, where we believe the cover-up of symptoms and the management of risk factors is an acceptable form of health care, few providers take the time to ask patients about digestion and bowel movements.

By the way, if your bowels move once a week, that is an excellent indicator your immune system is not up to snuff.

Gastrointestinal Tract (GI Tract)

Your GI tract starts at your mouth, goes through your esophagus, into the stomach, down to the small intestines, into the large intestines, down to the rectum and out through the anus. Thusly, it is vitally important that the right kind of foods are being passed through here!

The Gut Flora

Your body is a haven for bacteria and you need these little fellas to thrive! Bacteria actually outnumber the amount of cells in your body, and most of them live in your guts. This collectively is known as your gut flora.

These guys have a vital role to play in keeping you healthy. They not only help you break down the food you eat, but they act as the Marine Corp of the immune system. First to fight so to speak when we ingest something we probably shouldn’t have.

Keeping these guys alive and well is a tall task with our modernized diets.

Low level antibiotics

Anti- means against. Bio- means life. Against life…

When we consume dairy products from cows that were treated with antibiotics, we hurt our gut flora. The same is true for any meat that is consumed from animals that were given antibiotics. We can even find antibiotics in our fruits and vegetables due to the manure used to fertilize the growing plants. It is also found in trace amounts in the water we drink. You must make a conscious effort to avoid this! Your purchases have power. The more people demanding raw dairy, grass fed beef, and animal products produced without antibiotics, the more companies will have to change their practices.

Probiotics

Pro- means for. Bio- life. For life…

When we take probiotics we are reinforcing the troops needed to defend our body from invaders. We are pumping up the surveillance needed to patrol cancerous cells. We are boosting our own ability to digest food and create the necessary compounds for production and use of energy!

So there are a few actionable steps you can take to help restore order in your guts and improve energy levels and the overall functioning of your immune system:

  1. Limit the amount of low level antibiotics you consume. As a side note, low levels and/or antibiotics that are not taken properly (ie. not finishing the prescription) is setting yourself up for the creation of super bugs. Hospitals are breeding grounds for these types of infections. MRSA is a big one you may have heard of. What happens is the pathological bacteria build up a resistance to the medication and it takes larger, stronger doses to them kill them. These bacteria are fast adapters!
  2. Consume more foods that contain beneficial bacteria. Good sources of probiotics that you can get in your diet without supplementation are things like sauerkraut, kefir (great in smoothies), raw (or unpasteurized) dairy, probiotic yogurt, and kombucha.
  3. Supplementation of probiotics. There are a ton of companies producing probiotics these days and not all are created equal. LabDoor.com tested 30 of the best sellers and the results can be found here. We personally carry the Standard Process Prosynbiotics, which is a mixture of 4 strains of bacteria and two prebiotics. Prebiotics are an indigestible fiber used to help harbor the proper environment for the growth of beneficial bacteria, creating a symbiotic relationship.

Your immune system needs proper support. What you consume on a daily basis either helps or hurts 80% of your ability to fend off pathogens and cancerous cells. Please choose your diet and supplements wisely!

In Health

Dr. Andrew R. Burns

 

 

 

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