Are You Inflamed?
If you have low grade inflammation chances are your body is not as healthy as it once was. Although you may feel something is wrong, all of your blood tests come back normal and your doctor tells you you’re fine. Frustrating!
Under normal circumstances inflammation can be good. It’s the normal response of your immune system to infection or injury and when the insult is over the inflammation should turn off. In chronic disease it’s a different story. Inflammation may exist at low levels in your body and your immune system may not be able to shut it off. This will have detrimental effects on your health.
Researchers now believe that inflammation is associated with, and may be the cause of most chronic diseases.
(Berkeley Wellness Letter, January 2008)
In 2010 researchers at Thomas Jefferson University reported they could definitively show that inflammation in the breast is significant to the development and progression of breast cancer. (Liu, et al. 2010)
One of the things we assess on every new patient is inflammation status. We combine inflammatory testing with oxidative stress testing because they usually appear together and go hand-in-hand in destroying your cells.
How to measure inflammation:
A simple blood test called hs-CRP is one of the best indicators to measure inflammatory status in the body. The level should be less than 1.0. Anything higher indicates that there’s some degree of inflammation going on inside of your body and this is contributing to cellular dysfunction and/or destruction.
Oxidative stress levels are also very important and this can be done through blood or urine. We use a urine test because it’s less invasive and can be repeated more frequently at a significantly lower cost than a blood test. When oxidative stress is high in the body it means that your cells are being damaged by free-radicals due to antioxidant deficiency. In the chronically ill, the body can’t keep up with its own glutathione, superoxide dismutase and catalase production and cells end up being destroyed leading to chronic degenerative disease in the body.
High oxidative stress levels also play a role in cognitive decline. Journal of the American Geriatrics Society (2000, 48(10):1285-1291)
Essentially, if you’re not looking at both inflammation and oxidation you’ll never have a complete picture of what’s really happening inside of your body and you’ll continue to feel ill.
Fibrinogen is an important contributor to blood clotting, often rises in reaction to inflammation. If inflammation levels are high, it may be wise to check fibrinogen levels. The Life Extension Foundation (www.lef.org) advises that optimal fibrinogen levels should range between 215 and 300 milligrams per deciliter of blood. Bringing levels into normal range has the added benefit of keeping the blood flowing more smoothly, making it more difficult for cancers or biofilms to develop.
There are a number of nutritional strategies to lower inflammation levels. Most mainstream docs tend to go with NSAIDs, steroid medication or immune suppressing drugs. Prednisone seems to be high on the list.
In our office we use both natural medicine and nutritional strategies to lower inflammation, oxidation and fibrinogen levels.
This kind of inflammation takes time to build up and may go relatively unnoticed for some time. But the cumulative effect it can have on your health is significant. Simple tests now can make all the difference in managing your health later.
If inflammation and oxidative stress are the culprits of your health complaints, Dr. Picard is here to help you manage them. His expertise is in managing chronic disease naturally, and his interest is in helping you feel your best, now and in the years to come.