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Category Archives: Inflammation
There may ALWAYS be more to it than meets the doc's eyes...KNOW YOUR BODY AND BE YOUR OWN ADVOCATE.....NEVER, NEVER, NEVER GIVE UP IN YOUR SEARCH FOR YOUR GOD-GIVEN RIGHT TO GOOD HEALTH!
I'm a 56 year old woman who has been suffering debilitating pain in the right carotid area, spreading to the entire jawline, facial nerves (in the v3 area of the trigenimal nerve.) At age 44, after a rather damaging accident, I had reconstrucitve surgery on my face including the nose, upper jaw, and lower jaw. Facial bones had to be cut, sawed, then screwed, plated, and sewn back into place. It was close to a one year recovery. However, after approximately 2 months after that massive and painful surgery, I developed pain in my lower right jaw that no amount of meds OR doctors seemed to be able to help.
Unknowing dentists pulled teeth, others scratched their heads, many let me know they believed I was simply an hysterical woman and referred me on (probably to one of their worst enemies!)Yes! I went to all of the right specialists...from the Parker Mahon Facial Pain Center @ Florida State University in Gainsville, to Baylor Hospital in Dallas, to Cedars Sinai Facial Pain Center in Beverly Hills. In between, I sought naturopathic remedies, massage, accupuncture as well as accupressure, an. blue light laser treatments. I even sought out a Cunendero (3rd world country voodoo healer) in Central Mexico. Today I laugh but, as many of you may understand, when dealing with long-term, non-stop, chronic suffering with chronic pain, one can find themselves searching for any answer, medical, naturopathic, or mystical.
Fortunately, Dr. Stephen Graff-Radford, the Director of the Facial Pain Center at Cedars-Sinai gave me a diagnosis of atypical trigeminal neuralgia. Because the prognosis is poor, it has been labeled "the suicide disease" and many choose to end their lives rather than live with the level of pain. At the time I lived in Oklahoma but, in order to follow his treatment plan for me and to be able to take advantage of his expertise in medication trials and cutting-edge procedures, I moved to LA for 8 months. And, while the pain decreased significantly, it never decreased enough for me to be able to return to my profession. To date, I have lost my 15 year career as a graduate level statistics professor, my social life along with many friends who just couldn't reconcile the "but you look fine" with my constant complaints of pain.I am no longer able to scuba dive, snow ski, swim, hike, run, or even walk. The very least of those movements jar my body, causing an exacerbation of the pain in that angle of the jaw.Speaking, smiling, chewing food, kissing my guy (he left due to my medical problems, too!), brushing my teeth, the electrical shocks to my face, the facial muscle spasms, ...all of those are symptoms of trigeminal neuralgia.I've had 5 surgeries over 9 years in 4 states, (one experimental to build a new mandible out of my hip bone to protect the exposed trigeminal nerve.)
Of course, as we doctor hoppers know, doctors like to be correct. I kept insisting that I was (and had for the past 9 years) absolutey positive that I was experiencing multiple problems in that area and that there simply had to be something someone was overlooking. FINALLY, I made the decision to go to Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, AZ. I purposefully gave them very little information other than the suggested diagnosis and a history of the 5 surgeries to the area. NEVER have I been treated with such dignity and respect. The "it's in your head" attitude is non-existent. To date, I have been going to Mayo Clinic for approximately 8 months while the various specialists put forth their theories about the nature of the underlying cause of my jaw/facial/neck/breast, shoulder pain. After 11 years, another few months is nothing when searching for the right diagnosis and resolution. I have undergone more MRI's, more CAT scans, more bone density tests...to rule out various possibilities.
After many tests by many doctors, the Director of Neurosurgery suggested that, given what little could be seen in the MRI & CAT scan (too many metal plates and screws are in the way), his recommendation was to see another physician there and begin Radiofrequency Alblation (RFA) on the V-3, V-2, and occipital nerves. This would SURELY give me some relief from the Trigenimal Neuralgia. The first RFA helped tremendously on the jaw/artery area. The V-2 and occipital nerve RFA's did nothing. BUT....and PRAISE SOMEONE.....
I had a follow up appointment with Dr. Karl Deleuw at Mayo Clinic who suggested that I might be suffering from Carotidynia, a form of Carotid Artery Disease. He immediately placed me on a dose pak of steroids and, within 8 hours of beginning the med regemine, the pain had decreased from a 9/10 to a 3/10 with even an approximate 2 hours during which I forgot about being a chronic pain patient at all!!While I know I have some permanent nerve damage to the trigeminal nerve from a surgery gone bad, I now firmly believe that, yes! I know my own body! and that, if the Carotidynia can be treated properly, I can manage the trigeminal neuralgia issue. Given that, I MIGHT HAVE A CHANCE AT A NORMAL LIFE AGAIN!!
So, my fellow chronic pain sufferers, keep the faith in your own knowledge of your own body, don't let the doctors discount what you DO know from an experiental perspective, and seek out different specialists if you can afford to do so. Doctor hopping is sometimes the only way to get to the answers. We seem to forget that our good doctors, while the majority of them are well-intentioned and most sincere, have different skill levels as well as different skill sets and it is, untimately, up to us to advocate for our own health. Please, eleven years is simply too long to live in a constant state of severe pain. TRY MAYO CLINIC. I THINK IT IS TO BE MY PHYSICAL, AS WELL AS EMOTIONAL, SALVATION.
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Inflammation of Carotid artery and neck pain - Undiagnosed ...
Nutrigenomics is the idea that studying diet-gene interactions can help identify the positive or detrimental effects of dietary compounds. For example, nutrigenomics can explain why eating rancid or oxidized omega-fats and refined sugar encourages inflammation and cancer growth.
It is important to understand that a diet rich in omega-3 fats can reduce inflammation in cancer. So can healthy omega-6 fats like gamma linoleic acid (GLA), found in evening primrose, black currant seed, and borage oil. GLA inhibits the action of the cancer gene HER-2/neu, which is overexpressed in 30 percent of all breast cancers, making them particularly lethal.
According to Donnie Yance, clinical master herbalist and certified nutritionist, chronic conditions such as cancer and cardiovascular disease have a strong link with chronic inflammation, which promotes the production of free radicals.
The transcription protein Nuclear Factor-kappa Beta (NfKB) is a major inducer of inflammation. In cancer, a mutation in the tumor suppressor gene PTEN (phosphatase and tensin homologue) is the likely driver that activates NfKB.
Some plant-based phytocompounds can enhance PTEN expression or inhibit PTEN mutation, including quercetin, resveratrol, and various isoflavones often referred to as phytoestrogens. An ever-growing body of evidence suggests that the use of these compounds can and should play an important role in cancer prevention and treatment.
NfKB modulation is an important target for cancer prevention and treatment. NfKB can be modulated by:
NfKB can also be modulated by a number of other plant-based compounds. For more information, please read Donald Yance's full paper linked below.
--- the other 200 posts --- 'Tis the season to discuss phytochemicals. Plants produce a vast array of organic chemicals starting from molecules produced by all organisms, including humans. Essentially all of these phytochemicals are potent adaptations to kill. Phytochemicals kill plant pathogens, bacteria and fungi, as well as insects. Thus, the natural, plant extracts that humans use for flavor enhancers (herbs, spices, and teas), fragrances, recreational/medicinal mind and attitude modifiers (alkaloids, psychopharmaceuticals, etc.), herbal medicines, etc. are present in plants, first and foremost, as antibiotics and insecticides. Humans have evolved to taste (bitter) and smell phytochemicals to avoid their toxicity, and have adapted culturally to exploit the impact of phytochemicals on body and mind. In this seasonal post, I focus on the terpenoids in Frankincense and Myrrh, to explore how plant biochemistry contributed to the gifts of the Magi.
It All Starts with Central Metabolism
The major thesis here is that carbon dioxide is converted by photosynthesis into either sugars used to build the cell wall polysaccharides (soluble fiber) or larger toxic defensive chemicals, e.g. phytoalexins, resins, essential oils or lignin. Phytoalexins, e.g. the natural antibiotic resveratrol in wine, are made from phenylalanine along the same biochemical pathway used to produce lignin. Glyphosate, the herbicide, kills by blocking this unique plant pathway. Essential oils and resins are another group of natural antibiotics produced by converting acetyl CoA into a five carbon unit, IPP, which is then linked into larger and larger (10, 15, 20 carbons) molecules, terpenoids, that can rearrange into multiple ring structures. Only the smallest chemicals in the series evaporate to provide identifiable smells, e.g. Frankincense and Myrrh, while larger forms, e.g. cholesterol or testosterone in animals, are odorless solids.
Acetyl CoA to IPP
For those who enjoy the beauty of biochemistry: The most abundant enzyme on earth is RibisCo (ribulose bisphosphate carboxylase), the plant enzyme that combines carbon dioxide from air with a five-carbon phosphorylated sugar, ribulose bisphosphate, to produce two, three-carbon intermediates of glycolysis that can be converted into glucose or into acetyl CoA, the starting chemical for fatty acids, the mitochondrial TCA cycle, or via mevalonic acid to isopentanyl pyrophosphate (IPP), the building block for terpenoid synthesis.
In brief: Photosynthesis uses the energy from sunlight to convert carbon dioxide into sugars (glucose and fructose). Those sugars can be converted into a five-carbon, molecular building block for terpenoids, IPP. IPP molecules can then be linked together to make increasingly longer chains and those chains can be ultimately twisted into rings to make resins in plants and steroids in humans.
Five, Ten, Fifteen, Thirty; IPP (5), GPP (10), Sesquiterpenoids (15), Triterpenoids (30)
Terpenoid synthesis begins with IPP, which has five carbons in a branched chain and has a pair of phosphates, pyrophosphate that provide the energy to form chains of 5, 10, 15, etc. In plants, molecules of each of the incremental lengths are produced together and additional enzymes in different species of plants result in mixtures of molecules with different rings and functional groups. The smaller molecules evaporate more readily, so that mixtures are extruded from damaged trees as oils and gradually form resins as the remaining larger molecules predominate and solidify.
Shark Livers and the Horn of Africa
IPP with five carbons, an isoprene, is used to make GPP with ten, a monoterpene. Common monoterpenes are geranol and limonene that make the characteristic odors of geraniums and lemons. Sesquiterpenoids (15 carbons made from three IPPs) include the fragrance of patchouli. Diterpenes, such as sweet steviol, have twenty carbons, which can be chemically twisted into the chemicals that predominate in Myrrh resin, the Balm of Gileade. The triterpenes with 30 carbons can be rearranged with five rings to form steroids, such as cholesterol in animals or Frankincense. Linear squalene, is the major component in shark liver oil and provides the same function as a swim bladder in a boney fish.
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Omega-3 fatty acids are considered essential fatty acids: They are necessary for human health but the body cant make them -- you have to get them through food. Omega-3 fatty acids can be found in fish, such as salmon, tuna, and halibut, other seafood including algae and krill, some plants, and nut oils. Also known as polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), omega-3 fatty acids play a crucial role in brain function, as well as normal growth and development. They have also become popular because they may reduce the risk of heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish (particularly fatty fish such as mackerel, lake trout, herring, sardines, albacore tuna, and salmon) at least 2 times a week.
Research shows that omega-3 fatty acids reduce inflammation and may help lower risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and arthritis. Omega-3 fatty acids are highly concentrated in the brain and appear to be important for cognitive (brain memory and performance) and behavioral function. In fact, infants who do not get enough omega-3 fatty acids from their mothers during pregnancy are at risk for developing vision and nerve problems. Symptoms of omega-3 fatty acid deficiency include fatigue, poor memory, dry skin, heart problems, mood swings or depression, and poor circulation.
It is important to have the proper ratio of omega-3 and omega-6 (another essential fatty acid) in the diet. Omega-3 fatty acids help reduce inflammation, and most omega-6 fatty acids tend to promote inflammation. The typical American diet tends to contain 14 - 25 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3 fatty acids, which many nutritionally oriented physicians consider to be way too high on the omega-6 side.
The Mediterranean diet, on the other hand, has a healthier balance between omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. Many studies have shown that people who follow this diet are less likely to develop heart disease. The Mediterranean diet emphasizes foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids, including whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, fish, olive oil, garlic, as well as moderate wine consumption.
Clinical evidence is strongest for heart disease and problems that contribute to heart disease, but omega-3 fatty acids may also be used for:
People who follow a Mediterranean style diet tend to have higher HDL or good cholesterol levels, which help promote heart health. Inuit Eskimos, who get high amounts of omega-3 fatty acids from eating fatty fish, also tend to have increased HDL cholesterol and decreased triglycerides (fats in the blood). Several studies have shown that fish oil supplements reduce triglyceride levels. Finally, walnuts (which are rich in alpha linolenic acid or ANA, which converts to omega-3s in the body) have been reported to lower total cholesterol and triglycerides in people with high cholesterol levels.
High blood pressure
Several clinical studies suggest that diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids lower blood pressure in people with hypertension. An analysis of 17 clinical studies using fish oil supplements found that taking 3 or more grams of fish oil daily may reduce blood pressure in people with untreated hypertension. Doses this high, however, should only be taken under the direction of a physician.
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Omega-3 fatty acids | University of Maryland Medical Center
by Marcelle Pick, OB/GYN NP
Systemic or chronic inflammation has a domino effect that can seriously undermine your health. So how does it all begin?
Many experts now see inflammation as arising from an immune system response thats out of control. When you catch a cold or sprain your ankle, your immune system switches into gear. Infection or injury trigger a chain of events called the inflammatory cascade. The familiar signs of normal inflammation heat, pain, redness, and swelling are the first signals that your immune system is being called into action. In a delicate balance of give-and-take, inflammation begins when pro-inflammatory hormones in your body call out for your white blood cells to come and clear out infection and damaged tissue. These agents are matched by equally powerful, closely related anti-inflammatory compounds, which move in once the threat is neutralized to begin the healing process.
Acute inflammation that ebbs and flows as needed signifies a well-balanced immune system. But symptoms of inflammation that dont recede are telling you that the on switch to your immune system is stuck. Its poised on high alert even when you arent in imminent danger. In some cases, what started as a healthy mechanism, like building scar tissue or swelling, just wont shut off.
Are you walking around on simmer? Just yesterday I saw Nancy, a patient who has been with me for years. When she first came to see me, her triglycerides were sky-high (in the 400s!), her cholesterol was elevated, and she was overweight, unhappy and stressed. Her face was flushed and chapped, her lips were dry, and she seemed fluttery and agitated. On the surface she looked like a heart disease candidate, but when I probed deeper I saw a woman on fire from the inside out.
Currently there is no definitive test for inflammation the best that conventional medicine can do is measure blood levels of C-reactive protein (a pro-inflammatory marker) and the irritating amino acid called homocysteine. I use the high-sensitivity CRP test now available at most labs. Anything above 1 mg/dL with this test is too high in my book. With the older tests a reading of between 25 mg/dL was considered normal. (If youve been tested, be sure to ask your doctor for the results). Newer ways to assess risk early on for future inflammatory disease include markers such as the apolipoprotein B to A1 ratio (ApoB/ApoA-1). This and other tests are in experimental use and only available through a few labs.
When I first ran Nancys tests, I was surprised to see that her CRP levels were normal (this was before the high-sensitivity CRP test was widely available as it is today). This was good news for her heart, since elevated CRP and cholesterol increase your risk of heart disease threefold. But her homocysteine levels were high and all of her other symptoms pointed to inflammation. I prescribed an anti-inflammation diet, essential fatty acids, other anti-inflammatory supplements, and a daily exercise regime (for more information, read our article Reducing Inflammation The Natural Approach.) When Nancy next came in, her triglycerides were down by 200 points, her skin was clear, and her mood was much better. Later tests revealed her cholesterol had gone down, too.
A year went by, and as Nancy entered a stressful period in her life, she again began snacking on unhealthy food and going for days without exercise. Her cholesterol crept back up and she started having irritable bowel symptoms. After a brief pep talk, she got back on track and today shes feeling great. When I saw her yesterday she looked like a different person. Her blood tests all looked good and her inflammation was back under control. Nancys fires are well-tended now, and I feel confident she knows what to do if they start to flare up again.
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Causes Of Inflammation | Women to Women
Inflammation (Latin, inflammatio) is part of the complex biological response of body tissues to harmful stimuli, such as pathogens, damaged cells, or irritants.
Inflammation is a protective response that involves immune cells, blood vessels, and molecular mediators. The purpose of inflammation is to eliminate the initial cause of cell injury, clear out necrotic cells and tissues damaged from the original insult and the inflammatory process, and to initiate tissue repair.
The classical signs of acute inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation is a generic response, and therefore it is considered as a mechanism of innate immunity, as compared to adaptive immunity, which is specific for each pathogen.
Inflammation is tightly regulated by the body. Too little inflammation could lead to progressive tissue destruction by the harmful stimulus (e.g. bacteria) and compromise the survival of the organism. In contrast, chronic inflammation may lead to a host of diseases, such as hay fever, periodontitis, atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and even cancer (e.g., gallbladder carcinoma). Inflammation is therefore normally closely regulated by the body.
Inflammation can be classified as either acute or chronic. Acute inflammation is the initial response of the body to harmful stimuli and is achieved by the increased movement of plasma and leukocytes (especially granulocytes) from the blood into the injured tissues. A series of biochemical events propagates and matures the inflammatory response, involving the local vascular system, the immune system, and various cells within the injured tissue. Prolonged inflammation, known as chronic inflammation, leads to a progressive shift in the type of cells present at the site of inflammation and is characterized by simultaneous destruction and healing of the tissue from the inflammatory process.
Inflammation is not a synonym for infection. Infection describes the interaction between the action of microbial invasion and the reaction of the body's inflammatory defensive response the two components are considered together when discussing an infection, and the word is used to imply a microbial invasive cause for the observed inflammatory reaction. Inflammation on the other hand describes purely the body's immunovascular response, whatever the cause may be. But because of how often the two are correlated, words ending in the suffix -itis (which refers to inflammation) are sometimes informally described as referring to infection. For example, the word urethritis strictly means only "urethral inflammation", but clinical health care providers usually discuss urethritis as a urethral infection because urethral microbial invasion is the most common cause of urethritis.
It is useful to differentiate inflammation and infection as there are many pathological situations where inflammation is not driven by microbial invasion - for example, atherosclerosis, type III hypersensitivity, trauma, ischaemia. There are also pathological situations where microbial invasion does not result in classic inflammatory response -- for example, parasitosis, eosinophilia.
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Inflammation - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia