I have never seen so much incompetence and poor patient care when dealing with the public.
As part of this poor patient care, the blood-test results I review daily are not only void of proper bio-markers associated with an individual’s health issues, they almost don’t even seem relevant.
For example, a patient brings in blood work from his family doctor and says “my doctor says my heart is good . . . my cholesterol is normal.” Sadly, this patient may have significant coronary artery disease with an unstable plaque threatening his existence without really knowing the true health of his heart.
A standard lipid panel tests for cholesterol, LDL, HDL, and triglycerides. What does this tell you about your heart?
This lipid panel is a liver-function test, not a heart test. Yet doctors continue to use it as a diagnostic evaluation for heart health and the risk of heart disease.
When it comes to evaluating someone through blood work to uncover the state of health, or to get clues as to why a health issue exists, blood testing should be very specific.
This goes for heart disease, autoimmune disease, abnormal blood-sugar regulation, hormones, and the biggest driver of all chronic health issues and disease—Inflammation.
We’ve all heard that inflammation is the driving force behind all chronic health issues and disease.
And, it is.
Before I share how to properly test for inflammation, here is a brief explanation of what it is.
What is inflammation?
Under normal circumstances, the inflammatory response created by the immune system is needed to fight foreign invaders and heal injuries. This process is evident when we can feel and see inflammation–when there is pain, redness, and heat such as a sore throat, a cut, a sprained ankle, even a sunburn.
As a defense mechanism in the body, the immune system recognizes pathogens (infections), damaged cells, and other irritants, then releases chemical messengers (cytokines) to recruit the different arms of the immune system to help in the healing process.
When something is irritating or harmful to the body, whether internal (inflammatory foods, infections, leaky gut) or external (injury, sunburn, skin irritant), the body’s response is to activate the immune system to create inflammation to remove the offensive agent.
This type of immune response should be short-lived. However, the body runs into trouble when the immune system runs out of control, creating chronic inflammation. Unmanaged, this type of inflammation can result in cancer, atherosclerosis and coronary artery disease, autoimmune disease, obesity, diabetes, allergies, skin conditions, cognitive issues, and neuro-degenerative diseases . . to name a few.
If you are dealing with an unresolved chronic health issue or a disease, it’s a good idea to get tested for inflammation.
Here are the 4 markers of inflammation you should have tested:
- Hs-CRP (high-sensitivity C-reactive protein)
- Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)
- Interleukin 6
- Tumor necrosis factor (TNF)
If any of these markers are elevated, the next question to ask is, where is the inflammation coming from?
The extent of the inflammation is influenced by diet, physical inactivity, exposure to toxins, too much stress, and your genetics. So, to reduce inflammation, here are some basic rebuild actions (re-actions) to take down inflammation naturally:
- First, eliminate bread and grains containing gluten, animal milk products, and all refined sugar.
- Eat plant-based nutrient-dense foods five times a day. This will assure you eat foods to reduce inflammation and leave little room for inflammatory processed foods.
- Exercise with periods of intensity. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) has been shown to regulate immune function.
- Consider taking nutrients including: curcumin, omega-3 fish oils, alpha lipoic acid, astaxanthin
- Change your perception of stress. The way you perceive stress can change the flood of stress hormones in the blood. Elevated levels of stress hormones can activate white blood cells to create inflammation. When you hear about the damaging effects of stress on your health—think inflammation.
- Reduce contamination. Toxins in our food, water, air, and environment can cause internal inflammation.
- To reduce contamination, eliminate processed and packaged foods, and toxic ingredients including: synthetic salts like monosodium glutamate (MSG), processed sugars, gluten, and partially hydrogenated fats.
- Find and purchase BPA-free canned goods, e.g., the brand Garden of Eden.
- Don’t use plastics in the microwave. Instead, use glass containers to store food and heat up leftovers.
- Use fruit-and-vegetable wash on your produce to wash off pesticides and wax residues.
- Buy wild-caught seafood over farm-raised.
- Buy natural nut milks over animal-based milk products.
- Consider a simple water filtration to eliminate chlorine and excessive fluoride found in your water.
- Minimize alcohol consumption.
- Work with your doctor(s) and a specialist in functional medicine to rebuild your health and reduce or eliminate the use of medications, if you can.
- Get 7-8 hours of sleep. Losing just 2 hours of sleep a night will increase inflammation.
Inflammation is more than just a buzz word tossed around in healthcare clinics.
It is the driving force behind chronic disease. To understand more about inflammation, the health issues it creates, and 5 actions you can take to control inflammation to regain your health check out REBUILD.
To determine if your health issues are driven by inflammation, have your doctor(s) test these 4 bio-markers. If they question it, demand they test them.
Your health is counting on it.