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Circulatory System

Your circulatory system plays a central role in health, yet is rarely talked about. Other body systems depend on efficient circulation to deliver nutrients, immune protection and remove wastes from your cells.

Your body’s circulatory system is responsible for delivering nutrients and many other factors to every cell, while removing numerous waste materials. Like a car with a clogged fuel line or exhaust system, you will lurch down the road of life with poor circulation. Poor circulation often underlies the diseases of aging, but usually goes unnoticed. The function of every cell in your body is influenced by the quality of circulation it receives. A cell that is stressed because of poor circulation will function poorly, or not at all. We know a great deal about what creates healthy brain cells for example or heart cells, but what if the nutrients never arrive, or the wastes never removed?

Your circulatory system is comprised of two main systems blood and lymphatic. The more familiar blood system is comprised of the heart, arteries and veins. The other, less familiar system is the lymphatic. The lymphatic system drains the tissues of fluid and moves them back toward the heart, like gutters and storm drains prevent streets from flooding. While a drainage system may not seem flashy, you can imagine how important this is without proper drainage, cells drown in backed up wastes. This causes edema or lymphadenopathy and the attendant pressure, pain, tissue death and swelling. Even a small decrease in efficiency of this system causes stress to the cells. Stressed cells work poorly which translates to poor health.

The second major function of the lymphatic system is immunity. Lymph nodes, like security check points, are stationed along the lymph vessels. Nodes are found throughout the body in strategic locations to intercept and neutralize local infections. For example, nodes in your neck may become enlarged and tender when you get an ear infection.

The lymphatic system has no heart like the blood system, so relies on one way valves and muscles to move fluid through the system. Muscle contractions squeeze the lymphatic vessel and the one way valve assures fluid movement in the right direction.

With this information we see how circulation of the blood and lymph is central to good health, and a little how these systems work. Perhaps now you can guess how to help these systems do their best. Deep breathing and movement are the two major players. Breathing creates a pumping action not only for air, but for blood and lymph. Deep breathing magnifies this effort. Rhythmical deep breathing as during vigorous exercise or breathing exercises is especially effective. Movement requires muscular contraction, which also helps pump blood and lymph back to the heart. This is one of the ways that exercise, breathing, yoga and the like are so good for us. Other good ways to improve circulation are ending your shower with a short blast of cold water, and “dry brushing” your skin.

Antibiotics link to obesity

Doctors have long been wary of children building up a resistance to antibiotics. But a new study has provided another incentive for keeping the prescription pad in the physician’s pocket: the risk of obesity, said USA Today. Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania recently reviewed the health records of 64,580 children, almost 70 percent of whom had been given antibiotics before age 2, receiving an average of 2.3 courses. By age 5, those who had been given only a couple of courses during their early years had the same risk of obesity as those who received none, but kids who were treated with four or more courses were 11 percent more likely to be obese. Furthermore, those who had had multiple courses of more powerful, broad-spectrum antibiotics were 16 percent more likely to gain weight. Penn professor Charles Bailey, who led the study, believes that the antibiotics are killing off natural bacteria in the stomach that help keep weight in check. He admits that the risks of obesity are small and that antibiotics are probably just one of many factors that contribute to weight gain, but he says the link may highlight an important “piece of the puzzle.”

Antibiotic Resistance

By Dr. Andrew Gibler, PharmD & Dr. John Winters N.D.

Today, bacteria exists that cannot be killed by any modern antibiotics. These bugs are “antibiotic resistant,” and growing in number. This is an increasing threat to your health.
An antibiotic is a compound designed to kill or inhibit the growth of susceptible bacteria without causing the patient significant harm. When used prudently, antibiotics are a powerful medical tool that eliminates bacterial infections. However, in time an antibiotic will lose its ability to control bacterial growth, a phenomenon called antibiotic resistance. Any bacterium that can resist an antibiotic has a greater chance of survival than bacteria that are susceptible to it. Those that survive multiply unchecked and pass on the resistance genes.

Although some antibiotic resistance occurs naturally, the high levels currently present are attributed to the overuse and abuse of antibiotics. If large numbers of bacteria are resistant to antibiotics, it will be more difficult to treat infections. When antibiotics fail to work, there are unintended consequences such as extra doctor visits, more expensive antibiotics, lost workdays, extended hospitalization or even death.

Antibiotic resistance is not only a personal issue but also a societal problem – resistant bacteria are transferred person to person just like any other bacteria – in the air, water, or on inanimate objects. In fact, 80-90% of ingested antibiotics pass through the body intact and enter the environment as waste, causing an ecological problem in the soil and water.

Administering long-term antibiotics to promote growth in animals for consumption hurts the matter as well.

Bacteria exist on skin, in the mouth, intestines, on food and doorknobs- you get the picture. Before you douse your world in bleach, be assured that many bacteria are essential to life and that your body knows the difference between the “good” and “bad” bacteria . Naturally occurring intestinal bacteria are crucial to our health; they make vitamins we wouldn’t get otherwise and they create an environment that promotes health and discourages disease in many ways. Fully one -half to two thirds of our immune system is stationed in our intestines, so keep your gut as healthy as possible.
As you may have guessed there are many ways of addressing bacterial infection. The body can usually handle the challenge, in deed it does every day. Every time you eat, drink, breath, or touch something, your body must identify and destroy pathogenic bacteria. A healthy body has many ways of staying disease free. Here are some ways you can help your body fight illness:

  • Drink plenty of pure water
  • Enjoy a whole foods diet comprising a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, chicken, meats and good fats. There is much more we know about the effects of what you eat and drink on your health.
  • Take a high quality multiple vitamin-mineral supplement. Research and experience show that vitamins and minerals promote health in many ways. Especially important to the immune system are vitamins D,A,E, and Zinc. Fruits vegetables and herbs contain many phytonutrients known to help.
  • Whole foods contain antioxidants, flavanoids, and many other healthy parts we are still learning about. There are also many natural ways of staying healthy.
  • Herbal medicines, certain supplements, water therapy, and homeopathic are useful.

Some plant medicines used are goldenseal, echinacea, ginger, garlic and many others, depending upon the circumstances. We know these plants have antimicrobial properties from thousands of years of use and from more recent scientific studies. These medicinal plants don’t affect the body’s helpful bacteria and many will also kill pathogenic viruses, yeast and protozoa as well.

Many colds, sinusitis, chronic ear infections, sore throats and other illnesses are not bacterial infections and won’t be improved with antibiotics.

Naturopathic thinking suggest we not only kill the bacteria but more importantly improve the persons health in certain ways. Anything that will improve immune system function, or increase any of your body’s defense mechanisms will help you regain health. There’s a long list of non-antibiotic treatment for infections that you can use with or instead of antibiotics. Typically, non-drug treatments for infection work and you can still resort to antibiotics if necessary.

So how can antibiotics be used appropriately? Here are some basic points to remember:

The basic rule is to avoid using antibiotics unnecessarily. Patients who implore physicians to treat viral diseases like the common cold or flu with antibiotics are not doing themselves any favors.
Prescriptions are written to cover the time needed to help your body fight all the harmful bacteria. It is your personal and social responsibility to take your antibiotics until the bottle is empty. Otherwise, selection occurs for the bacteria that are resistant, infection restarts, and you become part of the antibiotic problem.
The physician should use targeted, “narrow-spectrum” antibiotics using susceptibility testing whenever possible. In addition, the most common antibiotics should first be utilized. This will decrease prescribing of more exotic antibiotics, which serve as a second line of defence.
Advocate eliminating the widespread use of antibiotics in animal feeds and agriculture.
Dr. Andrew Gibler earned a Bachelor of Science from Oregon State University in 2003 and a doctorate of pharmacy from Oregon Health & Science University in 2007 Dr. Gibler currently practices pharmacy at Red Cross United Drug.

Dr. John Winters grew up in Portland, Oregon. He earned a Bachelor of Science from Lewis and Clark College and then worked as an EMT/ Paramedic for 10years. Dr. Winters then attended the National College of Naturopathic Medicine and graduated with a medical degree in 1990. After completing a one and a half year residency in Winnipeg, Manitoba, he moved to La Grande and began his practice in 1992.

 

Keep Moving

In our grandparents’ day, it was common for each person to walk a lot each day as they carried out their daily activities. Today we have become quite sedentary and spend a lot more time sitting and standing and much less time moving. We therefore need to make a conscious effort to keep moving. The average person now only takes 2,000 steps per day. For the sake of our health, we should be taking 10,000 to 20,000 steps per day. A pedometer is an inexpensive tool that lets us track how active we are. It clips onto your belt, pant or skirt top. Wear it all day and you will know how many steps you are taking. Set a goal to add 500 steps a day. When you have achieved that on a regular basis, up your goal number of steps per day by another 500 steps. Keep going in this fashion until you reach the optimum level of at least 10,000 steps per day. You can do this simply by taking the stairs instead of the elevator, parking further away from work and walking that much further back to your car, walking around the block one more time, etc.