Acute Inflammation and Chronic Inflammation

I know you have heard the term “inflammation” before. What you may not know is that there are two different kinds of inflammation:  acute and chronic.

  • Acute inflammation happens when you hit your thumb with a hammer
  • Chronic inflammation happens when you eat too much sugar for a year

This Slide Presentation from Hopkins Medicine presents the difference between acute and chronic inflammation very well. The way I’d summarize it for my patients is this:

Acute inflammation hurts, chronic inflammation kills. We use a blood test to determine if our patient is experiencing acute inflammation or chronic.  We then take measures to fix it.  Acute inflammation can often be helped with an adjustment.  Chronic inflammation benefits from dietary changes.

We offer a comprehensive blood panel to assess your inflammation status.  Read more here.


Arterial Disease Linked to Back Pain

Atherosclerosis, the buildup of fatty deposits in your arteries, can lead to high blood pressure, chest pain, heart attack or stroke. Evidence suggests that insufficient blood circulation associated with atherosclerosis may contribute to another serious condition: erosion/degeneration of the discs in your spine.

Speaking of spines, a study published in a journal by the same name investigated whether atherosclerotic lesions in the abdominal aorta were more advanced in patients with low back pain (LBP) vs. those without pain. From 1991-1993, 29 patients (21-58 years of age) were evaluated with a diagnostic procedure called CT discography.

Results showed that 55% of LBP patients had atherosclerotic damage visible on CT scan, compared with only 21% of patients without LBP. This difference was further emphasized when examining a specific group of patients (50 years of age or younger): 48% of LBP patients had aortic damage vs. only 8% of patients without low back pain.

Atherosclerosis is so common that many people assume it’s a normal consequence of aging, but don’t be fooled: overwhelming research suggests that diet and lifestyle can play a major role in preventing this disease. Your chiropractor can provide you with more information on low back pain, atherosclerosis, and how you can avoid both.

Kurunlahti M, Tervonen O, Vanharanta H, et al. Association of atherosclerosis with
low back pain and the degree of disc degeneration. Spine, Vol. 24, No. 20, pp2080-84.

Dr. Craig Anderson

Anger Predicts Coronary Artery Disease

It’s never healthy to keep your stress bottled up inside, but all the evidence suggests that a slow simmer is almost always safer than a raging boil. Anger, especially anger manifested in bouts of uncontrollable rage or fury, can do serious damage – and not just to household items or innocent bystanders.

The results of a study involving 12,986 men and women (45-64 years old at baseline) provide evidence that anger may predict coronary heart disease (CHD). As part of the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities study, participants completed a trait anger scale assessing relative anger/rage; clinical examinations at baseline and follow-up assessed the incidence CHD and associated heart conditions.

High levels of anger contributed to an increased risk of CHD and other coronary events, including acute myocardial infarction (MI) and fatal CHD. Specifically, the investigators noted a three times greater risk for people with the greatest difficulty controlling their anger compared to those with the least difficulty.

The moral to this story: We all get frustrated and angry sometimes, but how we release or “control” our anger can make a big difference. It might mean the difference in staying healthy instead of suffering from heart disease. For more information, talk to your doctor.

Reference: Williams JE, Paton CC, Siegler IC, et al. Anger proneness predicts coronary heart disease risk: prospective analysis from the Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) study. Circulation: Vol. 101, pp2034-39.

Dr. Craig Anderson

Adopting a Dog Lowers Blood Pressure

Another study shows that dogs may very well be man,s best friends. According to the report, owning a dog may prevent hypertension.

As part of the analysis, investigators monitored the blood pressures and stress responses of 60 hypertensive adults who were caring for brain-injured spouses. Half of the subjects adopted dogs. After six months, dog-owners exhibited significantly lower blood pressure rises in response to stress, compared with those who did not own dogs.

Society for Psychophysiological Research October 19, 2000.

Dr. Craig Anderson

Hostility Linked to Heart Disease?

Anger and hostility aren’t the same, although they often conjure up one familiar, unpleasant image. Picture the face of the driver you’ve accidentally cut offon the freeway – very angry, very hostile. While anger is a feeling or emotion,hostility is actually a character and personality trait involving anger, cynicism,mistrust of others, and overt and repressed aggression.

Hostility (and anger) do little to contribute to health and wellness, but increasing evidence suggests that the opposite mechanism may take effect. Case in point comes from a study in the May 17, 2000 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association. Hostility questionnaires administered to 374 men and women (18-30 years old at baseline) provided data on hostility (over a five-year period), and CT scans taken at year 10 examinations assessed the presence of detectable coronary artery calcification – heart disease.

Subjects with above-average hostility scores had more than two times the risk of coronary artery damage compared to less hostile subjects, and five-year changes in hostility were also related with incidence of the disease. The authors conclude that “a high hostility level may predispose young adults to coronary artery calcification.”

So don’t get mad, get healthy! Your doctor can tell you more about the risk factors for heart disease and help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Iribarren C, Sidney S, Bild DE, et al. Association of hostility with coronary

artery calcification in young adults. Journal of the American Medical Association,
May 17, 2000: Vol. 283, No. 19, pp2546-51.

Dr. Craig Anderson

High Blood Pressure Linked to Bone Loss?

The authors in a study that appeared in the September 18th issue of the Lancet note that bone loss, often related to calcium deficiencies, is a primary cause of fractures in postmenopausal women and the elderly, and that problems with our ability to metabolize calcium has been linked to high blood pressure. They use this background data to explore the potential relationship between bone loss and high blood pressure in 3,676 elderly Caucasian women.

By comparing initial measurements of blood pressure and bone mineral density (BMD) with BMD measurements taken 3-5 years later, the authors discovered that rates of bone loss increased with increasing blood pressure. These findings were maintained even after taking other variables into consideration, including age, weight, smoking and regular use of hormone replacement therapy (all of which can influence bone loss).

Ask your chiropractor for more information on keeping your blood pressure low, your
bone density high, and maintaining your health and wellness for a lifetime!

Cappuccio FP, Meilahn E, Zmuda JM, et al. High blood pressure and bone mineral loss
in elderly white women: a prospective study. The Lancet, Vol. 354, pp971-75.

Dr. Craig Anderson

A Healthy Heart May be A Laugh Away

Here,s a fun way to help patients prevent heart disease: tell them a joke. A life abundant with chuckles may ward off cardiovascular disorders, according to a study presented at the American Heart Association.

When confronted with a variety of humorous situations, a cohort of 150 people with heart disease were 40% less likely to laugh, compared to a group of 150 of their peers without heart disease.

“The old saying that laughter is the best medicine, definitely appears to be true when it comes to protecting your heart, noted Michael Miller, MD, FACC, director of the Center for Preventive Cardiology at the University of Maryland Medical Center. “We don’t know yet why laughing protects the heart, but we know that mental stress is associated with impairment of the endothelium, the protective barrier lining our blood vessels. This can cause a series of inflammatory reactions that lead to fat and cholesterol build-up in the coronary arteries and ultimately to a heart attack, “We could perhaps read something humorous or watch a funny video and try to find ways to take ourselves less seriously, Dr. Miller explained. “The recommendation for a healthy heart may one day be exercise, eat
right and laugh a few times a day.

American Heart Association

Dr. Craig Anderson

Your Posture is your health

“Posture and normal physiology and function are interrelated. Abnormal posture is evident in patients with chronic pain-related conditions including backache, earache, and stress-related illnesses.” AJPM 1994;4:36-39

In this article from the January 1994 issue of the American Journal of Pain Management, the authors state that the significant influence of posture on health is not addressed by most physicians. I would add, that unfortunately, postural correction is not part of main stream chiropractic practice as yet either. However, as the authors go on to state, “posture affects and moderates every physiologic function from breathing to hormonal production. Spinal pain, headache, mood, blood pressure, pulse and lung capacity are among the functions most easily influenced by posture.”

Obviously, the proper assessment, analysis, and if possible correction of abnormal posture is an extremely important component of modern health care.

Dr. Craig Anderson