Canine Osteoarthritis

We probably have heard a lot about Osteoarthritis (OA), but mostly in humans. Sadly this degenerative disease can also affect our furry friends. OA, also known as degenerative joint disease (DJD), is defined as the progressive and permanent long-term deterioration of the cartilage surrounding the joints. It can thicken the joint capsule, form “new” bone around the joint (osteophytosis) and ultimately leading to pain and limb dysfunction. OS is the most common form of arthritis in dogs, affecting approximately a quarter of the population. Majority of OA in a dog occur secondarily to developmental orthopedic disease, such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, patella (knee cap) dislocation, among others. However , OA can occur with no obvious primary causes and can be related to genetic and age. Other factors that can contribute to OA include bodyweight, gender, breed (German Shepards, Labs…) exercise, and diet.

Some of the signs that your dog might have OA are:

  • Stiffness, lameness, or difficulty getting up, going up/downstairs
  • Weight gain
  • Reluctance to run, jump, or play
  • Lethargy
  • Irritability or changes in behavior
  • Pain when petted or touched
  • Loss of muscle mass
  • Difficult positions (trouble urinating, sitting…)

Please be observant of your pet’s behaviour and go to the Vet. OA is a progressive disease and is no known cure. Preventing is the best option : diet, exercise, animal chiropractic and even the use of protective joint supplements, like Glucosamine & Chondroitin.

Animal chiropractors examine and treat areas of biomechanics and the functional nervous system in your pet, it focuses on the preservation and health of the nerves/muscles/bones=neuro-musculo-skeletal system. Animal chiropractors take pos graduate studies in accordance with the AVCA-American Veterinary Chiropractic Association, and take continue education classes. Its a great alternative care for your pets, it DOESN’T substitute your Veterinarian. Along with your Vet, chiropractors can help your furry one feel better and have a happier, healthier life. Always consult with your Vet.

Drones as 1st responders.

 Drones have had numerous uses in the military, defense, tactical, however their use is expanding to personal/recreational, commercial, scientific, agricultural, and other applications, such as surveillance, product deliveries and photography. When I first saw a drone it was used by a friend to take aerial commercial photography. Little I knew at the time that they were used in many industries, like agriculture. According to Wikipedia: “An agricultural drone is an unmanned aerial vehicle applied to farming in order to help increase crop production and monitor crop growth.” That is great!

Well today I was reading an article in the website: healthline.com and saw : “Aerial EMT? Drones May Become First Responders.” Apparently after several try outs, Drones arrived faster than ambulances to an emergency situation, mostly due because they, well fly, and avoid traffic etc. But what will the drone “do”once it gets to the emergency? In the scenario you may be able to use your phone, to get instructions from medical professionals to administer the medication and/or use the equipment provided by the drone and technically be like an EMT until the professionals get there. This technology is not looking to replace first responders, neither will be used in every emergency scenario, but can be useful in different situations that maybe a couple of minutes will be crucial to maintain the person alive until the paramedics get there. The testing conducted by Dr Hanna and his team found that “On average, drones were faster, with a travel velocity of 6.54 mph, compared with 5.04 mph of an ambulance. Unsurprisingly, they also arrived faster to the scene, with an average time to first response of 6.48 minutes compared to 9.54 minutes of an ambulance — arriving about 30 percent faster to emergency situations.” For more info here is the link of the internet article: https://www.healthline.com/health-news/untitled-4#How-a-drone-could-save-a-life

Yes, like most things it can have its pros and cons, like, ok it arrives faster but what if the person receiving the instruction is to nervous or can’t understand what needs to be done, then its really not an advantage. Even so it can represent a solution in many cases until the “real”help arrives and of course they are still doing trials and seeing how to improve the technology. Either way I think, it is a good initiative. Good way to use the technology.

Pic Jared Brashier, Unsplash

3-D-nanopatterned microfluidic chip:detect Cancer

Medical technology its so amazing nowadays! I recently read “Ultrasensitive detection of circulating exosomes with a 3D-nanopatterned microfluidic chip“an article published by nature Biomedical Engineer (Y. Zeng et al.from University of Kansas) This 3-D-nanopatterned microfluidic chip can successfully detect cancer markers in a drop of blood or in a component of the blood called plasma, that otherwise might be undetectable by standard microfluidic systems for biosensing.  Its been called: Lab on a chip.

They state that “Exosomes—a subtype of EVs secreted by mammalian cells with a typical size range of 30–150 nm—have been implicated in many biological processes, including the immune response, tumorigenesis and metastasis.” In tumor associated exosomes, in biofluids, can be very rare during the early stages of disease, that is one of the reasons some type of cancer like Ovarian Cancer are hard to detect in early stages. This novel device, 3-D nanoengineering tool with a herringbone pattern that “combs” for exosomes, push them to come into contact with the surface of the tool’s chip for analysis. Calling the process, “mass transfer.” The team found out that the chip can detect cancer even in a small drop of blood. To develop and test the device, Zeng teamed with tumor-biomarker expert and KU Cancer Center Deputy Director Andrew Godwin, also with graduate student Ashley Tetlow in Godwin’s Biomarker Discovery Lab. The collaborators tested the chip’s design using clinical samples from Ovarian Cancer patients, finding the chip could detect the presence of cancer. Well the article and technology is way more complicated and interesting than what I just wrote, but my point is that: it is amazing how advanced technology have come to the point that a micro chip can potentially save lives! To read the full article: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41551-019-0356-9

Pic: Ibrahim Mora, Unsplash

Toxic Mold

Toxic Mold Syndrome (TMS) is associated with allergic reactions that mimic other diseases. Respiratory symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, watery eyes, and skin irritation are the predominant symptoms. You can also experience, extreme fatigue, joint pain, vertigo/dizziness, itchy eyes/skin, sore throat, weight changes, mood swings, depression, anxiety among others. Mold is also known to cause asthma and life-threatening primary and secondary infections in immune-compromised patients. Mold can cause uncontrolled inflammation and compromise the immune system integrity, it also can damage the hypothalamus in the brain and disrupt the endocrine system too. 

According to Dr. Shoemaker’s (expert in Biotoxicity including TMS), Biotoxin Illness (also called CIRS – Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome) is defined as “an acute and chronic, systemic inflammatory response syndrome (a group of characteristic symptoms) acquired following exposure to the interior environment of a water-damaged building with resident toxigenic organisms, including, but not limited to fungi, bacteria, actinomycetes and mycobacteria as well as inflammagens such as endotoxins, beta glucans, hemolysins, proteinases, mannans and possibly spirocyclic drimanes; as well as volatile organic compounds“. As the illness progresses, you can develop auto-immunities, hormonal imbalances, shortness of breath, chronic fatigue, as well as the cognitive issues brought on by swelling of the frontal lobes, the hippocampus, and the cerebellum in the brain. Scary!   Mold can grow also on numerous food such as cereals, dried fruits, nuts and spices. To get rid of the mold 1st we need to target the source (house, food, cars…) eliminate it from there and of course detox our bodies of this toxicity. It is said that 80% of the population have been exposed to some type of mold, some of us react more than others. Old buildings (houses, churches, schools) usually have some mold hidden, or even in plain sight! If you think you have been exposed and are reacting to mold, consult your Doctor and get tested and treated. Most importantly find the responsible exposure place (work, house…) and get rid of the mold as soon as possible.

Pic: Annie Spratt, Unsplash

Tomato Bisque Recipe

Winter is coming!…or it is already here ha! In the cold days I love having some hearty healthy soup. I will share one of my favorites (you can pair it with an “adult” grilled cheese (not so paleo that unless you do the GF bread and cheese substitute, but then add bacon, ghee, tomatoes…yummy)

-4 tablespoons of grass-fed organic butter or ghee or avocado oil -1 medium white onion, finely chopped

-1 medium carrot, finely chopped

-1 celery rib, finely chopped

-2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

-3 tablespoons chickpea or tapioca or coconut flour

-4 cups chicken broth or veggie broth

-Two 14 1/2-ounce cans diced fire-roasted tomatoes, drained

-3 tablespoons tomato paste

-1/4 cup of can coconut milk or cashew milk

  • 1 teaspoon of coconut sugar, salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter/ghee/avocado oil. Add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic, cover and cook over medium-high heat, stirring, , about 3- 5 minutes. Sprinkle the flour of your choice over the veggies and stir over low heat for 1 minute. Add the broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste and sugar and bring to a boil. Cover partially and cook the soup over moderate heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender, 15-18 minutes.  

Transfer half of the soup to a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Return the puree to the saucepan, add the coconut or cashew milk and cook until the soup is just heated through. Season the soup with salt and pepper and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter/ghee/avocado oil. Enjoy!!

  • I like to also add a little jalapeño if you like spicey food!!
  • Pic Heather Ford Unsplash

Back Braces

Back pain affects everyone no matter if you are young or older. Its one of the most common musculo-skeletal disabilities. Besides proper posture, getting adjusted, massage, exercising, another thing that can benefit either while you recuperate from the back pain or to avoid an injury are back braces.

There are different types of braces. Overall they are medical devices that are designed to support, immobilize and treat muscles, joints, and skeletal problems. Doctor do prescribe them however some basic ones can be bought in pharmacies or other stores. Back braces fall into two major categories: the hard, rigid types and the soft, elastic versions. The rigid design is used to treat more serious conditions like scoliosis, and these braces tend to restrict movement in patients by as much as 50%.  The soft or semi rigid, has elastic backing used to compress the abdominal cavity and the joints and muscles associated with that area.  The compression helps to stabilize and support muscles and allows for a forward motion of the spine. You probably have seen them on people doing more manual work, like movers or construction workers. There are more subcategories, like the braces used only for scoliosis or after a surgery etc However most of them bring about the same benefits.

Some benefits are:

  • Reduce muscle tension and low back pain
  • Spinal support
  • Improve posture to redistribute weight in the spine
  • Make transitional movements, like sitting to standing, more comfortable.
  • Provide a healthy healing environment for spinal structures
  • Assist in recovery after an injury, surgery
  • Increase function during daily activity

Consult with a doctor before using a back brace. A doctor’s evaluation will help determine whether a brace is likely to be beneficial, as well as the type of brace needed and how it should be worn and for how long.

Pic: Casper Nichols Unsplash

Ergonomics?

We all have heard about ergonomics, specially at our work space, but what is it exactly? It is the science of fitting a workplace to the user’s needs, ergonomics aims to increase efficiency and productivity and reduce discomfort. The use of technology, like computers, tablets etc has greatly increased the need for ergonomics. Desks, chairs, monitors, keyboards and lighting all need to be assessed when creating a workspace. We have seen standing desk, or even treadmill desks, aiming to improve the function and help the body instead of been sitting in the same position for 8 + hours. They intend to reduce work related micro injuries like the famous Carpal Tunnel Syndrome. You can access the DCD webpage for more info:ERGONOMICS AND MUSCULOSKELETAL DISORDERS.

To achieve best practice design, Ergonomists use the data and techniques of several disciplines:

  • anthropometry: body sizes, shapes; populations and variations
  • biomechanics: muscles, levers, forces, strength
  • environmental physics: noise, light, heat, cold, radiation, vibration body systems: hearing, vision, sensations
  • applied psychology: skill, learning, errors, differences
  • social psychology: groups, communication, learning, behaviours.

Ergonomics are not only for workspaces, but for now that is what I am writing here. According to OSHA: “Implementing ergonomic solutions can make employees more comfortable and increase productivity. Why is ergonomics important? Ergonomics is important because when you’re doing a job and your body is stressed by an awkward posture, extreme temperature, or repeated movement your musculoskeletal system is affected.

It will be great if you get a standing desk etc but if for now it is not possible there are other ways you can improve your work space. For example changing the mouse side (it takes some coordination if you do it with the left hand ha!) also changing monitor position once in a while, getting some lumbar support for your chair. Using books or some desk adapters to add height to your monitor, standing and doing some walking, maybe using a yoga ball (careful with balance, it also helps with abs) stretching a couple of times. There are plenty of exercises, videos and ideas in the internet you can browse. Also nowadays more places are bringing more ergonomics desk, chairs, keyboards and at reasonable prices (one of my coworkers found an awesome ergonomic keyboard at the Thrift Store…new!)

Clipart-pic

Orthopedic Devices

Orthopedic devices play a crucial role in enhancing the life of patients that need them, providing pain relief, improving mobility, among other of those suffering from musculoskeletal disorders.The global orthopedic devices market size was valued at $36.1 billion in 2017 and it is anticipated to expand. High prevalence of orthopedic conditions such as degenerative bone disease coupled with rising geriatric population also the number accidents (car, falls, etc). Sadly nowadays also the early onset of musculoskeletal conditions triggered by obesity and sedentary lifestyle are expected to boost the growth. 

An orthopedic implant is a medical device manufactured to give support and or replace a missing joint or bone. From simple braces to prosthetic implants. According to an article from Medical Devices Journal:  The USA devotes roughly $200 billion (6%) of annual national health expenditures to medical devices. sStudies have shown that thanks to new technology in this field surgeons have new opportunities to reduce hospital readmissions and improve the quality of patient care.

Orthopedic surgeries that incorporate robotics are less invasive and offer reproducible precision, resulting in shorter hospital stays and faster recovery times. It is now estimated that up to 80% of orthopedic procedures are amenable to the outpatient setting and many orthopedic practices.The shortened recovery and associated disability with less invasive and more stable and rigid fixation have allowed patients to be more functional sooner, and reduced the morbidity of some of the previous approaches. 

Orthopedic devices have allowed thousands of people around the world to live a “normal” life. Been able to walk without crutches, less pain…from the non athletic to professional athletes like: Aimee Muller, veterans like soldier Scott Schroeder, Olivia Jackson an actress and stunt performer, Model and pop star Victoria Modesta. List goes on and on. Something that decades ago (losing a limb) will deteriorate your life forever and for some would crush goals (like an athlete) now it’s so advanced that let you do all the things in life you would do with all your limbs…some will even say that even better!

Pic:  Lance Grandahl 

Joints

Joints are where one bone connects with another. They are the space that
allow for proper movement and function. When the joints move properly, your muscles and ligaments function at an optimal level. This affords you proper function and no pain. When the joints do not work properly, the muscles and ligaments cannot function properly either. They will tend to either shorten or elongate, depending on the joint problem. When this occurs, they leak toxins that irritate local tissues and nerves.

Osteo Arthritis (OA) most common joint disorder: results from breakdown of joint cartilage and underlying bone. The most common symptoms are joint pain and stiffness. Degenerative Joint Disease (DJD) you might develop small bone spurs, can become enlarged, achy, stiff and numb. OA is the most common type of arthritis, and the percentage of people who have it grows higher with age. An estimated 27 million Americans age 25 and
older have osteoarthritis. OA most often occurs in the hands (at the ends of the fingers and thumbs), spine (neck and lower back), knees, and hips.

The tissues involved most are the cartilage and underlying subchondral bone. The cartilage is the smooth white material that forms over the ends of the bones and forms the moving surface of the joint on both sides.
Cartilage is tough, elastic, very durable, and comprised of collagen and water molecules. Cartilage does not have a blood supply and receives its oxygen and nutrition from the surrounding joint fluid by diffusion. When
we move a joint, the pressure across the joint expresses fluid and waste products out of the cartilage cells, and when the pressure is relieved, the fluid diffuses back, together with oxygen and nutrients. Over many years and with activity and use of a joint, the cartilage may become frayed, injured, torn, and may even wear away entirely. When this occurs, the bone surface on one side of the joint tends to rub or glide against the bone on the opposite side of the joint, providing a less elastic joint surface, and generating higher contact pressures at the end of the bone.The bone then become hardened and ‘sclerotic’.

Here are some recommendation to maintain your joints healthy:

-Stay hydrated: joints act like a cushioning, lubrication, shock absorption… Keep in mind, they are like a sponge. For the sponge to be “full” an “cushiony,” it needs to be filled with water.

-Healthy lifestyle: eat a balance diet, choose anti inflammatory foods, avoid process foods.

-Visit your chiropractor regularly!!!! Will help with your posture, giving movement to the joints, help body function, nervous system, at its maximum capacity without pain or discomfort.

-Exercise: As little as 30 minutes 3-5 days a week, helps joints stay limber and strengthens the muscles that support and stabilize. Movement is life!

–Healthy weight: Extra pounds put additional pressure on weight-bearing
joints, such as the hips and knees, which will accelerate the degeneration
phases.

FACTS

-Knee surgery: takes 3-6 months for rehab, no guarantee, high percentage of fail, 50% will need more surgery, average cost is $55,000

-Shoulder surgery: 6-12 months rehab, risk of infection is 4/100, cost $5,300-22,000

Let’s try to stay healthy and avoid those!

Pic: Scott Broome

Why Try Functional Medicine?

For some people this may be the 1st time reading about Functional Medicine, although it has existed for decades and have had great results. Lost of people have try it when is their last resource and often mentioned “I wish I knew about this before”The difference between conventional medicine and functional medicine is that in functional medicine the body is
look/study/treat as a whole, not in different parts or systems. Sadly, physicians are often trained to diagnose by symptoms, NOT by their underlying causes.

With Functional Medicine Practitioners (FMP) you have access to functional lab testing, which allows them to be able to have a greater understanding of where the imbalances are occurring in your body, instead of just guessing according to symptoms or only looking at one lab marker (like
TSH for Thyroid but don’t see T3, Free T3, T4, Free T4 etc).

FMP they don’t just deal with symptoms. The functional laboratory testing and experience allows them to understand why a body is out of balance and what needs to be done for the body through diet, exercise, stress management, chiropractic, proper sleep and supplementation to help bring
your body back into balance. They help you to change your lifestyle in a way that promotes optimal health.

They will tailor a plan according to who you are as an individual, what is the problem, and what your body needs are. There are plenty of different dietary theories to choose from, exercise plans to participate in and ways to reduce stress. There is no cookie cutter, “one size fits all” approach when
it comes to getting healthy. We are all unique individuals and have different needs. A FMP will tailor a plan to YOU! Of course there are certain things that everyone will benefit, but your body, your case, is not treated as the same for the person next door.

A FMP makes health changes safer for you. With all of the questionable fad diets and supplements out there, backed by millions of dollars of slick marketing, it can be easy to get sucked into ways of trying to help yourself get healthy that are really not so healthy! A functional health coach will help
you to find the ways to gently nourish and support your body’s return to health in ways that are safe for you. And they will work with your primary provider if necessary to ensure your best results. A FMP is also a teacher, they have extensive training, have also knowledge of foods that can help
your body, exercises that are optimal for you, stress management techniques that will reduce stress so that your body can heal and nutrients that you need to rebalance and restore your body to optimal health. They can help to guide you and answer questions that you may have so that you don’t become so overwhelmed with all of the information available online. They will educate you so that you can ultimately make the best choices to support your health. They will work with you as a team and make you accountable too. Sooo, you are also responsible of the good results you can obtain.

If you are looking for a natural way of taking care of your most valuable asset, your health, and you want to work as a team with a customize program…you should try Functional Medicine.

Pic: Loius Reed