Link to site

Please enjoy my blog posts below, or CLICK HERE to go to the new Laurel Acupuncture Clinic website. Thank you!

Welcome

Welcome to the website for Jim Chialtas, L.Ac., and Laurel Acupuncture Clinic of Functional Medicine, located in San Diego.

Click on the tabs above to learn more about what Functional Medicine is, and about many of the health concerns I specialize in. Or scroll down for my blog. You might find it helpful to use the labels in the lower right column to find topics that interest you.

In addition to seeing clients privately in my clinic, I also offer many of the same services remotely to US residents. Please feel free to contact me to set up a consultation or appointment. Thank you!

12/9/09

Vascular Disease: A Holistic Endeavor

The term Holistic Medicine refers to the view that the whole body system must be analyzed in order to properly address any one particular concern. Much in the mainstream theory of medicine works to cut the focus of treatment down to the one key factor believed to be the major player in the problem. Millions of dollars are spent finding this one key factor. Eventually someone will indeed find what they believe to be the one key factor. Usually they are the ones that have the bigger budget. But our bodies don't really work in that way. Life is complex. It is a mish mash of millions of contributing factors. We can't just look at health as a coexisting bundle of singular systems. I feel that doing so is missing the point of our wonderful complexity. Indeed we need to take account for the many variables involved in any given system and how they interplay and depend on one another. When it comes to vascular disease, we can't just blame the dreaded cholesterol. Just like every other system in our body the vascular system depends upon many different variables to remain healthy. I hope through this short article to describe other players involved in vascular disease and help the reader gain more information to protect both themselves and the people in their lives.

So what goes into creating vascular disease? The basic story goes like this... Plaque begins to build up in along the artery walls which gets to a critical point and then rips off causing a downstream blockage. This leads to death of the blood starved tissues and you have your heart attack, stroke, pulmonary embolism, peripheral vascular disease, or something of the like. This is not good. Major debility and death often result. For the most part the mainstream focus has been on lowering cholesterol since cholesterol in part makes up the plaque in our arteries. (So does Calcium mind you, but we aren't told to lower Calcium intake now are we?) But one thing that they don't really address is why the plaque is building up in the first place! The key here is inflammation of the arterial wall. If the lining of the arteries are smooth and slippery the cholesterol will slip right on by without bothering anything. I really don't care if you have a total cholesterol of 150 or 250. If you are not inflamed you probably will not develop vascular disease.

So what then leads to inflamed arteries? The process usually begins when there is poor blood sugar balance. This sets in motion a large cascade of inflammatory processes which works to inflame not only the arteries, but the entire body. The once slick and smooth artery soon becomes rough and abrasive. At some point a small tear opens in the lining of the artery and a small pocket is formed. It is here where cholesterol begins to collect and form a plaque. But that's not all. This plaque stays there and as it builds it becomes rancid and subject to oxidative stress (damage from free radicals) which weakens it and makes for a very dangerous condition. It isn't long until that clot, or a piece thereof breaks free and blocks something downstream. The more free radical damage, or oxidative stress you have, the more likely that you will end up intimately aware of the fallout of vascular disease. So that's the short story. Heart disease is still the leading cause of death in the U.S. despite the ever increasing amounts of cholesterol lowering medications. Not much is really being done to address the increasing oxidative stress our bodies are being forced to manage, or the raging blood sugar epidemic we are witnessing in our country. Statin therapy, as much as they want you to believe, does not address the inflammation in any significant way. Much better to stick to good old fish oil and a well balanced blood sugar!

So what then can be done? How should we be managing these vascular health concerns if we decide to rethink our "need" for medication? Well to do it right you need to consider all of the factors involved:
• Blood sugar regulation
• Oxidative stress (or free radical damage)
• Inflammation
• Cholesterol (both total cholesterol and ratios)
• Hormone balance
• Poor diet/lifestyle
• Lack of cardio exercise
• And yeah, there's more

Considering all of these different pathways associated with vascular disease together makes for a much more powerful treatment protocol than treating just one alone as is seen with Statin drug therapy. For this I turn to the practitioner only formula Triplichol from a leading Nutraceutical company called Ortho Molecular Products. Triplichol contains different compounds like pharmaceutical grade fish oil, niacin and plant sterols which work to balance the cholesterol. It contains the compounds Quercetin and Grape Seed Extract to address blood vessel health. And it contains the compounds Resveratrol and Green Tea Extract which are powerful antioxidants to address any oxidative damage. You just don't find that kind of broad spectrum therapy in many other products. Along with proper diet and lifestyle modifications as well as a cardio exercise program I am confident that this approach will blow the doors off of the mainstream therapies. Remember, according to the Centers for Disease Control roughly 52% of the people who die of heart disease die with normal to low cholesterol. A lot is getting missed if you ask me. I think the numbers speak for themselves.

So call me today and ask me more about how I can help you manage your cardiovascular health and avoid the harsh medications aimed solely on lowering only one type of cholesterol. There are certainly a lot of alternatives out there for you and I look forward to helping you understand ALL of your options. Remember, you are in charge of your own health. I urge you to gather all the information that you can and make the most educated decisions possible.