Inflammation: The Fire Inside

In this May issue we describe other ways to consider utilizing DITI as a preventative screening tool. Thermal imaging alerts you to inflammation in an area of the body so early interventions can be taken.  Ultimately, decreasing inflammation is better for achieving optimal health and potentially preventing illness.

Allopathic medicine has a reactive or “downstream” approach to healthcare.  Waiting for a symptom to present, getting a diagnosis and then a medication to suppress that symptom has little to do with prevention.  Thus, the label of “downstream” medicine is used based on a story often called “The Upstream Story.’  Here is a short synopsis:

Suppose you are standing next to a river, and you see someone drowning as she floats downstream. You jump into the river and pull her ashore. As soon as you’ve done that, you see another person in trouble, again floating downstream, and you rescue him as well. Every time you’ve saved one person, you see another, and another. After you’ve dragged another drowning body out of the river, you’re thoroughly exhausted and you know you don’t have the energy to save one more person, so instead you decide you must go upstream to find out what is causing these people to end up in the river. You want to address this problem at its source. You move upstream, and see a bridge. Upon careful inspection, you find that there is a well-concealed, yet sizeable hole in this bridge that is causing people to fall in. What do you do? You do what makes the most sense – you work to repair the bridge. Primary prevention means “going upstream” to repair the bridge. Too often we just focus on the tangible aftermath of a problem. We just keep pulling people out of the river…” (Read full article)

Thermal imaging is one example of practicing “upstream” care.  Thermography images heat related to inflammation.  It is one way to determine if the chronic inflammation you have been ignoring may be contributing to deleterious effects in your body. 

Inflammation: Good or Bad?

Inflammation is a necessary and protective response to injury, an allergen, or infection that poses a threat to immune health.  The inflammatory response is driven by the release of chemicals that signals the body to launch an attack on the threat.  And then, in perfect synchronicity, the tissues and organs signal the immune system to shut down the assault; the threat is managed and the body is no longer in harm’s way.

While we need “short-term” inflammation, if the immune system does not shut off and the system stays “primed” for attack this leads to chronic inflammation.  Chronic inflammation is the culprit behind all disease, including heart disease, hypertension, stroke, arthritis, gout and cancer, to name a few.  In a reactive medical system, or “downstream” medicine, the doctors are taught to treat the symptoms of the disease, usually with drugs.  But many of these diseases can be reversed WITHOUT drugs when you find the root cause for the inflammation and eliminate it.  Let’s explore different sources of chronic inflammation.

Hidden or Chronic Infections

Chronic bacterial, viral, or yeast infections or parasites contribute to inflammation.  Foreign bodies activate the immune system to fight the invader.
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Root Causes of Inflammation:  You Are What You Eat

Food is probably the most common type of nefarious agent that contributes to inflammation.  Perhaps the one food that has received the most attention lately and contributes to inflammation is, of course, gluten.  Gluten is a protein found in wheat-related grains and is now a clear contributor to systemic inflammation.
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Some clients have even removed ALL grains and sugars from their diet and bake using almond flour, coconut flour, coconut nectar and other grain-free/sugar-free options.  Below is one client who was having trouble with recurrent sinus infections, diminished kidney function, was heading toward diabetes and had no energy.  After making significant changes to her diet, her kidney function is now normal, her A1C is within a healthy range and she has more energy.  Clearly, her sinus infection had resolved.

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Any food that launches an inflammatory attack is considered an allergenic food.  Some common allergenic foods include wheat, soy, dairy, corn and peanuts.  You may notice gut distension or a bloated feeling after eating a certain food and this is a sign that you are sensitive, if not allergic, to that food.  Coffee is considered pro-inflammatory because it triggers the release of excess stress hormone, increasing inflammation.  If decreasing inflammation is a personal goal for you, you may want to consider eliminating coffee from your diet and adding non-caffeinated teas.

In addition, the quality of the food we buy can contribute to inflammation.  Animals traditionally raised feed in open, grassy meadows that then provide us with meats high in omega-3 fats. Cattle that are fed a grain-rich diet (corn) provide us with meat that is laden with omega-6 fatty acids which increases inflammation.  Omega-3 fats are protective and anti-inflammatory in nature.
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Other contaminants in our food supply that contribute to inflammation include insecticides, pesticides and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs).  These chemicals act as foreign invaders to our immune system which activates all defenses to protect itself, thereby activating the immune system and keeping it stimulated causing chronic inflammation.

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Other Contributors to Inflammation:  Stress

Overwhelming life stressors or a combination of multiple major stressors and how you manage these certainly can contribute to inflammation.  Pressure from your boss, difficult times with your spouse and children, illness/death of a loved one, financial struggles or facing a life-threatening health challenge will certainly tax the “Zen” in any of us.  All these stressors, left unchecked, can contribute to inflammation, leading to disease.

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clip_image023Again, inflammation is always the beginning of disease and thermal imaging gives you an opportunity to assess where you may experience high levels of inflammation.  You can then work to address those areas, decrease inflammation and potentially experience better health.  Health is a journey and requires constant attention.  There are no guarantees to good health, but as for us, we like living “upstream.”

Yours in prevention,

Brenda and Lynda