Monthly Archives: June 2015

Inflammation – The villain at the heart of all chronic illness

Why do I call inflammation a villain? Isn’t it a normal and necessary body reaction? Yes – but only in acute situations such as a cut or an infection. In these situations you need the response of inflammation which is the rapid mobilization of the immune system to send white blood cells to the affected location. This fights the bacteria or virus off, and then prompts the injured site to swell to allow time to recover and heal. Without this process, we would never recover from the injury or infection.
However, inflammation’s evil twin, the villain, occurs in chronic conditions. Asthma, many cancers, obesity, Alzheimer’s, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, depression, irritable bowel disease, gout, and all autoimmune conditions have inflammation at the heart causing the various different signs and symptoms of each condition. Each of these illnesses begins from a failure to eliminate an insult to the body which may be some low level continuing irritation of the tissue or an autoimmune reaction to something which is usually supposed to considered normal by you.The body brings inflammation into play, and the symptoms just accelerate causing more inflammation and more symptoms. Then you see your medical doctor and complain of wheezing, forgetfulness, joint pain or digestive problems. Your blood work may show an elevated LDL cholesterol and triglycerides. A medical doctor will prescribe statins, Tylenol or steroid drugs, all designed to decrease your inflammation but not to actually remove what is causing these symptoms in the first place. The only true treatment here is achieved by discovering what is causing the inflammation. Is it a food allergy or sensitivity? Is it damage from lack of antioxidants or essential fats in the diet? Heavy metals? Too much or too little exercise? Hormone imbalance? Genetic factors?
Once the cause is determined, the true treatment can begin. The irritating agent can be removed, the nutritional deficiencies corrected, the food sensitivities detected, the lifestyle altered all to restore normal body function.
Did you know that if you are obese and lose weight that the inflammation in your body will improve? That curing your insomnia will also help? That if you regularly eat ginger, turmeric, fish, green tea and tart cherries you will naturally decrease your inflammation?
Did you know you can actually figure out what factors are causing inflammation in your body? Dr. Wendy Presant- Jahn has twenty years of experience as a “medical detective” and through a detailed case consultation and with access to a vast array of functional testing services can help you figure out what is contributing to your chronic illness. A schedule of the doctor’s appointment availabilities as well as fees can be accessed through the “book online” link below:

Dr. Wendy Presant-Jahn, ND, CFMP
Doctor of Naturopathic Medicine
(306) 543-4880
web site –  www.wendynd.com
book online – http://drwendynd.simplybook.me/sheduler/manage/

Brain Health – Defending Against Dementia

Dementia scares the heck out of me. I am in my 50’s and have seen how this disease has ravaged family members. Every time I forget a detail or misplace an object I wonder if it is beginning – that long slow slide towards senility.

The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s disease, but there are a number of other types of dementia as well.

The classic medical approach has been to slow progression of the disease and treat symptoms, often with serious side effects. Families are sadly told there is no cure or prevention and to make necessary arrangements for care.

Being a baby boomer has its advantages. A whole lot of other people are around my age, including medical researchers, equally interested in preventing and treating dementia. This means that recently studies have been flooding the medical and scientific journals, studies that point to preventing and possibly even curing Alzheimer’s. I find these studies very exciting, because they are not about the latest and greatest pharmaceutical, but rather about diet and lifestyle factors.

I teach others about these factors, and incorporate them into my own brain health program. Here is a peak at some of the best and latest practices for maintaining brain health:

  1. Sleep – the brain needs enough time to “wash” itself each night. Plan on 6-8 hours of sleep. Be sure your room is perfectly dark, or wear a sleep mask and avoid screens after dinner. If you snore or wake frequently, ask your doctor for a referral to a sleep clinic to test for sleep apnea. Problems with short-term memory and difficulty concentrating are often brought on by insufficient sleep.
  2. Prevent the highs and lows of blood sugar – the brain is very sensitive to changes in blood sugar levels, and causing rapid change can inflame and damage delicate neurons. Don’t eat anything after supper until the following morning. This gives your body a little “fast”, and will help normalize the cell response to sugar and insulin. At first this may be difficult. If you experience wakefulness, try just a piece of fruit before bed, and then see if you can wean off even that. Walking for 15 minutes after a big meal will also help normalize blood sugar. Avoid simple carbohydrates such as sugar and white flour, and eat just to a point of barely feeling full.
  3. Exercise at least 4-6 times a week. Do something, even if it is just a short walk or a yoga workout. All exercise is beneficial. Eventually you want to do some “high intensity short duration” training which will have the most impact on your health. Start with walking, then gradually add in short “bursts” of jogging.
  4. Meditation. 15-20 minutes a day of quieting the mind will decrease cortisol levels which will decrease inflammation in the brain and body. You can do meditation as a secular practice, just deep breathing and relaxing the body, or you can do it as part of a faith practice. The important thing is to develop it into a habit.

    Personally, I have the best success at incorporating new habits one at a time. I will pick one thing to focus on for a week, and then add in the next habit the following week, you might like to try the same approach.

    If you would like a more individualized approach to brain health, including specific functional testing, optimizing your diet and incorporating supplements and herbs known for their ability to prevent and heal the brain, let me know and we will set up an appointment. Working together I am confident we can reduce your risk for dementia.