I was browsing the health and fitness section of MSN this morning when I noticed this title on the front page: "Cholesterol Levels May Not Measure Cardiac Risk." When I read that, I assumed it was some article being sarcastic. Surely no one actually paid for a study that would discredit a multi-billion dollar industry like lowering cholesterol. By golly, that's exactly what someone has done.
Before I get into this, I would just like to state that I and many of my chiropractor colleagues across this nation have been making that statement for a long time. Not in those exact words, but I tell my patients that no one has ever died of high cholesterol. Many people who I treat for peripheral neuropathy are on cholesterol lowering medications because they don't fit into the box that "Mr. Pharmaceutical" has created. Obviously having very high levels of the "bad" cholesterol is not healthy and there are natural ways to lower cholesterol.
These guidelines they keep coming out with to give doctors on who should be on cholesterol meds is almost a joke. Basically, if you are over 40 and have blood they are recommending the meds. Even if you are normal and anyone in your family has suffered from heart disease, then you are likely to receive a script for it for "prevention". Taking medicine is not prevention! Do not be mistaken. All medicine is toxic to our bodies. Prevention is eating healthy, exercising, getting adjusted regularly, drinking water, anything that helps your body achieve optimal health by functioning at it's highest level physically, nutritionally, and emotionally.
If you're thinking, "But what about in emergencies or crisises?" Yes, in those emergency situations medicine is super because it prevents the alternative. That is what medicine was designed for. I'm talking about chronic conditions. If you take medicine for anything you have 2 problems instead of 1. First, you still have the problem you are taking the medication for because it doesn't fix problems, it only covers up symptoms. Second, you get a very long list of side effects to come along with it. Which by the way, will lead to more medication later on down the road.
Back to the article! This is not just some obscure article in an unknown journal. This article is appearing in the current issue of the American Heart Journal. It says that in their nationwide study (not the insurance company) they found that nearly 75% of those individuals treated for heart attacks had cholesterol levels that would suggest they were not at high risk for cardiovascular trouble. It goes on to say that this information might require doctors to reevaluate their current recommendations for prescribing statins.
I just had a scary thought. What if instead of using common sense and saying, "Hey, maybe we were wrong and cholesterol levels aren't as important as we thought," they did the complete opposite and decided that there box to fit people in is even smaller. So instead of recommending cholesterol lowering medications for those with LDL 130 and above, they change their guidelines to say now we think everyone with LDL 100 and above should take it.
I am very interested to see what comes of this. Will it get swept under the rug? Will it lower the amount of statins prescribed? Will guidelines get changed? Will nothing change? Only time will tell. Until then, I'll just keep on caring for my patients and try to make this world a little healthier one body at a time.
Monday, January 5, 2009
Now, today I will teach you about the "Electric Slide." This is a super fun line dance that can be used at almost any party to break the ice and get people on the dance floor. If you aren't a good dancer, that's even better. Learning these few steps can quickly raise your dance floor cred to a higher level.
Just Kidding!!!! Haha
I'm not really going to be teaching you a dance move. I am using this title because today I will be talking about the most important system in our body, the Nervous System. Now that is one thing that chiropractors and RDs (regular doctors) can absolutely agree on. Remember we first talked about how we were designed to be self-healing, self-regulating organisms. Then I taught you that our bodies were also created with an innate intelligence so it knew what to do and when to do it without us telling it to. Now we are moving on to how we are able to express life and how this innate intelligence tells our cells, tissues, and organs what to do.
Now let's all close our eyes and go back to biology class in middle school or high school, depending on how good your memory is, and remember sex ed. class. For most of us, we start out with 1 mama cell and 1 daddy cell which come together and form the baby cell. That baby cell immediately begins to divide. The 1 becomes 2, the 2 becomes 4, the 4 becomes 8, and so on and so on. After a couple of weeks of cellular division, the body is ready to start creating it's systems. The very first system formed during the development of the baby is your central nervous system (CNS). So what's the big deal with that???
Well, it's only THE most important system within the entire however many trillions of cells that make up our body. Your CNS acts as the computer system for the body. In fact, every single cell, tissue, and organ in the body is connected to the CNS. It is estimated that our brain receives and processes about 28 billion messages a day. Now that is a lot of email! My tiny consciousness can't even begin to comprehend sending and receiving that many messages at all, let alone in a single day.
Once your CNS is formed then the rest of your ogan and tissue systems are formed under its control. It is so important that it is the only system almost entirely enclosed in bone. The skull protects the brain, and the vertebrae (spine) protect the spinal cord. I hope you are beginning to get a sense of how important your CNS is to life.
I often here about the necessities in life being food, air, water, and shelter, but we can't stop there. Your nervous system is a requirement for life as well. You can survive weeks without food, days without water, and minutes without a heart. However, the instant your brain is dead, so goes you. In coma patients, there is always hope for life until the brain is dead. Once your nervous system goes, that's it. I often wonder why biology classes and the medical community in general does not try to educate the public more on a healthy nervous system. Especially with information we now have from research.
Did you know that your immune system is now considered to be a circulating extension of your nervous sytem? About 50 years ago, doctors said there is no connection between the immune system and the nervous system. In the 70's, they came back with new research and changed their stance to say there MIGHT be a connection between the immune system and the nervous system. Again in the late 80'2 or early 90's, they changed their mind again and said that there IS a connection between the immune system and the nervous system. Finally, around the year 2000 they stated that research shows there is no distinction between where the nervous system ends and the immune system begins because the two are intertwined.
This is what chiropractors have been saying since 1895 when the first patient was adjusted because of hearing loss. Did you catch that I said hearing loss and not neck pain??? If you have a healthy nervous system, then you are giving your body the best chance at being healthy as well. Granted you need more than that as true health comes in a trinity: physical, nutritional, and emotional/psychological. We'll talk about that later.
Everything that makes you who you are is because of the nervous system. All five of your senses and the reaction you make to those senses being stimulated are governed by your CNS. Your thoughts and feelings, the ability to love and laugh, and the ability to wave a finger at someone who just cut you off on the highway is all made possible through the CNS. A poorly functioning nervous system, leads to poorly functioning tissues, which leads to sickness and disease of those tissues, which leads to symptoms.
Here's a big clue to your health and I bet most of you just read through it without even noticing. Your symptoms are always the last to show up, and they only show up after tissue(s) have become damaged or are functioning poorly. I am VERY confused why we choose to govern our health by the presence or absence of symptoms. Maybe because the multibillion dollar pharmaceutical industry only has the ability to patent and affect that. Living this way is like deciding whether or not you are wealthy because you aren't just poor. Or you are filled with joy because you are just not sad. Or you are a 10 because you are just not ugly.
The only reason we have symptoms is because we allow our bodies to lose its ability to function to the point it loses its ability to compensate and has no other choice but to send us a signal to let you know what your are doing ain't working or the stress is more than it can handle. If you stimulate the nervous system and improve its ability to function, then these tissues can start healing. The first sign of the healing process is the reduction or the resolution of the symptoms because functioning of that area is being improved. But the healing doesn't stop there, that's when it is just beginning! The more regularly you work on it, the more "in shape" it becomes, and the higher your potential for health goes up.
There was actually an MD by the name of Henry Windsor who tried to disprove our theory in chiropractic. He wanted to show the world that these crazy quacks didn't know what they were talking about. He decided to get 200 cadavers and perform autopsies on them. First, he found the diseased organ in the body. Second, he found the nerve that was innervating that organ and traced it all the way back to the spine so he could, once and for all, show that the health of the spine had no connection to the diseased organ. Much to his surprise, we were RIGHT! Not only did degeneration of the spines corrolate with the diseased organs, but he also found that the more diseased the spine was, the more the organ was as well.
The earlier you can switch your thinking from "health = # of symptoms" to "health = how well I am functioning," the better off you will be. The number of medications we consume increases each year. If medications helped us get healthy, then wouldn't we be the healthiest nation in the world??? Do some of your own research, and you will find that is very far from the truth. I often here people complain about having to spend $50 or $60 a month on basic vitamins to improve their health. Go ask senior citizens how much they spend on perscriptions every month and doctor bills total. That can easily top $400 to $500 per month.
What about quality of life? Who do you think has a higher quality of life? Someone taking 4 or 5 different vitamins everyday or someone who has to take 4 or 5 medications? Obviously there are some conditions which do require medication. But a vast majority of these chronic conditions could be prevented with attention to a healthy body.
So what's my point??? A healthy body starts with a healthy CNS that tells the cells, tissues, and organs how to work, AND directs any nutrients/vitamins you take where to go.
I realize this post was pretty long, but I have not even begun to scratch the surface on the nervous system, how important it is, what it does for us, and a wider range of other topics that could be addressed in more detail at a later date and time. Today I will leave you with the wise words of a man most people know. His name is Thomas Jefferson. One of his most famous quotes is as follows:
"The doctor of the future will give no medicine but will interest his patients in the care of the human frame, in diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease."