Tag Archives: Metabolic Syndrome

THE DOCTORS 101 CHRONIC SYMPTOMS And CONDITIONS #23: OLD AGE / GROWING OLD

Old age is an inevitable condition if you are lucky enough to live a long life. Middle aged people say it begins at 70 years of age. According to an Elysium survey of people 40 and older, the average American FEELS old for the first time at age 47 years.

In the distant past, 50 was CONSIDERED to be old. The generally better conditions and Medicine of modern times keeps extending LIFESPAN, if not always HEALTHSPAN. Old age is certainly a Condition, and it is for sure Chronic, thereby qualifying for inclusion, but is it a Disease?

It is not considered a disease by the authorities, and so it doesn’t gather research funds like it should. What exactly IS old age? Being 88 Years old, and a physician, I feel qualified to comment. Old age is a collection of past accidents and sports injuries plus complications of past illnesses engrafted on a gradually deteriorating body.

Where does Obesity and Metabolic syndrome fit in this rubric? The Plague of our time fits in the disease category. It is definitely preventable, although with difficulty. Please search past postings for more information on this topic.

In what way does the body gradually deteriorate? Any organized, non-random high information structure gradually becomes more disordered, and “worn away” with the passage of TIME, the destroyer. Entropy (disorder) gradually increases, in the absence of corrective energy input.

Even rocks and mountains eventually erode, given enough time. One of the most interesting characteristics of life is that it maintains its integrity for an inordinate amount of time, given its complexity and furious dynamism.

Every day our DNA sustains thousands of molecular ruptures from high energy radiation and other stressors. Proofreading and repair mechanisms are employed, at high energy cost, to repair these breaks. This corrective is especially efficient when we are young and vigorous; In our youth, our reproductive years, growth and repair predominate. Gradually, growth ceases, repair mechanisms age, and we become old.

Our Darwinian “warranty” expires. We are left with an aging body, unimportant to evolution. We are long on experience and short on future. But we still have a marvelous metabolism at our disposal, depending on our lifestyle. There are a number of metabolic pathways which affect aging, 2 of which have been more studied.

The mTOR pathway is most attuned to youth, senses nutrients and gears up for ANABOLISM, or growth. If you have not been careful to tailor your food intake to suit your decreasing requirements, your efficient metabolism stores it away for a rainy day, around your belly and in your arteries, a bad effect from an essential mechanism. Antagonistic Pleiotropy is the name for a body mechanism that can be good for one function (or age) and bad for another.

The Sirtuin system is also important in aging, and has a variety of housekeeping functions, including mitochondrial maintenance. It is activated by exercise. The cells of our bodies change with aging. In old tissues, there are less stem cells and other young, functional units. There are more damaged, dysfunctional “zombie” cells that don’t do much but promote inflammation, and hence more inflammatory cells accumulate.

Controlling the mTOR System and promoting the sirtuins help increase apoptosis and get rid of dysfunctional cells, including cancer. DOCTORS SHOULD PRESCRIBE EXERCISE, as well as SLEEP AND DIET, like they do medicine, and maybe we wouldn’t need so many pills. We might also feel better into old age.

–Dr. C.

Disease, Metabolic syndrome, Entropy, DNA, Metabolism, Apoptosis, Zombie cells

THE DOCTORS 101 CHRONIC SYMPTOMS & CONDITIONS 21: PERIPHERAL NEUROPATHY

Peripheral Neuropathy is a common problem, and almost a quarter of the population will eventually suffer from it. It is very common in diabetes and metabolic syndrome, alcoholism, and in cancer therapy.

Even getting older is a risk; almost 10% of individuals 65 years old have some symptoms. There are more than 100 different types of peripheral neuropathy, and often it is just one feature of a primary illness.

Sometimes there is no known cause, such as in 2 of my older friends. I have a diminished vibratory sense in my feet, which causes me no noticeable problem. The longer nerves are more likely to be involved, except for the rare sensory ganglionopathy which is symptomatic of some cancers ( a “paraneoplastic disorder”) , some infections and autoimmune diseases.

When the sensory ganglia are involved, the numbness, tingling or pain can be more central, such as in the face or upper arm. There are 3 types of nerves that can be involved in peripheral neuropathy; Sensory, Motor and autonomic.

The sensory nerves deal with sensations, such as hot, cold, touch, pain, tingling, and numbness. Motor nerve involvement results in weakness or paralysis of an arm, leg or other area under Voluntary control. The autonomic nervous system coordinates activities beyond voluntary control, such as sweating, salivation, food propulsion and heart rate, which can be activated or inhibited.

The symptoms of neuropathy depend upon the type of nerve involved. Balance is a complex ability that can be disturbed by a lack of proper sensory nerve function (Position sense or proprioception) motor weakness, vision or coordination which involve higher centers.

The medical evaluation of peripheral neuropathy begins with a family practitioner or internist who does a detailed history, asking about such things as diet, medications, alcohol consumption, and injuries. Vitamin intake is important, but can be overdone.

Peripheral nerve symptoms can actually be caused by excessive B6, pyridoxine. The upper limit is 100 Mg.. A physical exam checks for weakness, sensory problems, reflexes and balance. Blood tests may reveal diabetic, kidney, liver, thyroid or immune problems problems.

A major disorder associated with neuropathy may be revealed and pursued. If nothing turns up, and the neuropathy is significant, referral may be needed to a neurologist, or other appropriate specialist. Many specialized tests and treatments may be needed.

Even with the best of care, a specific “cure” may not be found. Peripheral neuropathy can often be avoided by a healthy lifestyle.

–Dr. C.

Article on Peripheral Neuropathy

THE DOCTORS 101 CHRONIC SYMPTOMS & CONDITIONS #8: GOUT (GOUTY ARTHRITIS)

If you develop severe big toe pain in the middle of the night, and it is so tender that you can’t even stand the pressure of the sheet on it, you may have GOUT, an increasingly common form of ARTHRITIS.

And you would be in famous company: King Henry Vlll, Isaac Newton, and Benjamin Franklin all had Gout. There is even a famous dialogue between Franklin and his Tormentor.

Gout is caused by a buildup of URIC ACID in the bloodstream. This buildup can be caused by eating too much nucleic-acid-containing foods, like meats, “sweetbreads” and shellfish, and drinking too much alcohol, especially beer.

Reduced Clearance of Uric acid in the kidneys may contribute, and may be responsible for some of the familial tendencies of gout. The uric excess acid in the blood stream gets into joint tissues, most famously the big toe, although ankles, knees and other joints may be involved.

When deposited in joint tissues, the uric acid crystals attract inflammatory cells, which secrete their Interleukins and produce all of the symptoms of painful, red and swollen joints.

Risk factors include Obesity, diabetes, and the usual suite of problems of the METABOLIC SYNDROME. Just look at a picture of Henry Vlll with a mug of beer in one hand, and a leg of mutton in the other, and your big toe will start to hurt.

Dietary regulation is one of the best ways of reducing PURINE AND PYRIMIDINE intake and consequently the metabolic BYPRODUCT, Uric Acid, in the circulation.

There are DRUGS, called uricosurics, which will cause the kidneys to Clear more Uric acid, and other drugs, such as thiazide diuretics, which will reduce clearance and excretion of gout’s causative agent.

Yes, UNHEALTHFUL EATING CAN BE PAINFUL.

–DR. C

Dr. C’s Journal: A Little Bit About “Energy & Fatigue”

Sometimes I wake up in the morning with a feeling of RELAXED ENERGY. My mind is clear, I have no fatigue, and believe once more that the world is wonderful, and it’s great to be alive.

I St-re-tch, exercise my hands (I have Osteoarthritis, and they are stiff), take out my Nite guard ( I grind my teeth at night and would otherwise wear them away), take my beta blocker eye drops ( to lower my intraocular pressure) and wash down my Eliquis ( an anticoagulant to prevent stroke from my Atrial Fibrillation) with 16 oz. of water, while thinking about all of the delights awaiting me.

Yes, my body was in better shape 60 years ago; but I had much more responsibility then, and much less discretionary time. All things considered, I like to believe that I am happier now.

The KEY is to stay in GOOD HEALTH. GOOD SLEEP is critical, but it cannot be had by willpower alone. As I have discussed previously, you need a bedtime routine, good SLEEP HYGIENE.

You also need a…….. GOOD DIET. with lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Fatty, spicy foods will stay in your stomach and bother you at night, particularly if you eat Late. I like to finish eating by 5 PM. Late dinner is also likely to produce GERD, and maybe Sleep Apnea.

GOOD EXERCISE is also critical. If you are not tired at the end of the day, it is hard to get good sleep. I always seem to sleep better on the day when I walk the hills for an hour, which is 3 days a week. Try not to exercise within 2 hours of bedtime. Assuming that you have a good base of SLEEP, DIET and EXERCISE, there are other mechanisms that can foul things up. INFLAMMATORY conditions often cause fatigue.

The most common inflammatory diseases are OBESITY, METABOLIC SYNDROME and DIABETES. OBESITY is the defining disease of our EXCESSIVE SOCIETY, where there is too much of everything, and excessive consumption is relentlessly advertised everywhere.

External correction is probably a pipe dream, since there is no will even to Tax Sugar-containing Beverages, the “low hanging fruit” of dietary excess. Internal correction is all that is left, and that takes WILL POWER, also in short supply.

INFECTIOUS DISEASES are a subset of inflammatory conditions. COVID 19 is the poster child of infection, and FATIGUE is one of the hallmarks of the disease. Interleukins, like TNF-alpha, IL-1, andIL-6 are some of the defense factors which cause the fatigue. AUTOIMMUNE Diseases like Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus are also associated with fatigue-producing interleukins.

Fatigue even has its own flagship disease, CHRONIC FATIGUE SYNDROME. Chronic viral disease has been suspected as the cause of this condition, and inflammatory cytokines may be elevated. This condition, and the similar GULF WAR SYNDROME are still poorly understood. Several CFS patients were sent to me when I was in practice, and I had some success in getting them to exercise regularly, which seemed to help. CANCER is another category of diseases where Fatigue is prominent.

Inflammation plays a role in these diseases, which also drain energy substrates from the Patients body; Cancer cells have a high metabolic requirement. MEDICATIONS, Cancer meds especially, but a variety of other Drugs are associated with FATIGUE. I went through MY MEDICATION LIST. Lo and behold, 3 of them are associated with fatigue.

Finasteride is a relic of my prostate operation, recommended to keep it from growing back. It causes fatigue, probably because of its ANTITESTOSTERONE effect. At least I can still pee, and am not bald. I take METFORMIN because of its fame in prolonging life. Its mechanism is that of interacting with the Sirtuin system, and increasing the inefficiency of mitochondria. Isn’t this surprising?

Like many other things in physiology, you place a stress on the body, and the body responds by improving its performance. If you are fatigued, you exercise. Respecting the body works with drugs as well. If you are drinking a ton of coffee and stop it, after a few weeks you will feel less fatigued.

And when you ARE FATIGUED, you drink a LITTLE coffee, and it wakes you right up. Caffeine works by displacing ADENOSINE, which causes Fatigue as it increases through the morning, peaking at SIESTA (or tea) time,at about 2 PM. OMEPRAZOLE, which I take to prevent HEARTBURN, also is related to fatigue especially if it blocks MAGNESIUM for long enough. DEPRESSION overlaps with fatigue, as does SLEEPINESS, to increase the complexity of the situation.

Many chronic LUNG, KIDNEY and LIVER diseases are associated with fatigue as a secondary concern. STAY HEALTHY!

–Dr. C

PREVENTION: “FORWARD CLINICS” ARE ALL-INCLUSIVE, FLAT-FEE PRIMARY CARE

Forward care is evidence-based, focused on prevention and improvement. Set goals and collaborate for better health.

  1. Connect Your Biometrics Sensors
    • Receive your Sensor Kit
    • Record measurements in the app
    • Review insights together with your doctor
  2. Complete Your Labs at Home
    • Schedule your at-home blood draw with a lab specialist
    • Receive comprehensive results
  3. Create a Personalized Plan During Your Baseline Visit
    • Discuss your health goals and concerns
    • Review your biometrics and lab results
    • Develop a personalized, preventive plan
  4. Answer Questions In-App for Insights on Your Mental Health
    • Answer a short series of questions in-app
    • Receive a measure for anxiety and depression
    • Partner with your doctor on your results
  5. Customize Your Plan Based on Your Genetics
    • Receive your Genetics Kit
    • Review the results with your doctor
    • Update your plan to address your risks
  6. See Your Doctor In Person for a Custom Follow Up Visit
    • Request an in-person visit in the app
    • Review your progress with your doctor
    • Complete a physical exam and diagnostics
  7. Assess Your Skin Cancer Risk
    • Complete a physical exam of your skin
    • Capture high-definition images of any moles or blemishes
    • Discuss your skin health and cancer risks with your doctor
  8. Receive a Message From Your Doctor to Update Your Plan
    • Your doctor will check-in regularly 
    • Update your doctor on progress and goals 
    • Ask questions, anytime from anywhere
  9. Develop Nutrition Goals Based on Recurring Labs
    • Review your latest labs with your doctor
    • Develop a nutrition plan for targeted results
    • Measure progress with future labs

Website

COMMENTARY

Forward Healthcare differs from a conventional primary care clinic in several, generally good ways.

Most importantly, they stress PREVENTATIVE care. Blood tests that monitor diabetes, metabolic syndrome, and anemia are done regularly, since they have a laboratory on premises. They have their own EMR (electronic medical record) platform, and their own telemedicine platform, which are downloaded on the initial visit.

They give out a “sensor kit” consisting of temperature monitor, Pulse-oximetry, and a BP monitor, which wirelessly sends information to medical records.

Telemedicine is available through their own Downloaded platform. Although I get the impression that Telehealth isn’t as central as I would have expected in a technology oriented operation, it is increasingly important.

The monthly membership fee of $149 pays for the above and unlimited Doctor Availability 24/7 without copay.

Concierge Medicine has the monthly/yearly fee and unlimited access, but has a copay. Both will utilize your insurance, and neither treats patients in the hospital or provides referral care.

Government Health care is coming, and with it longer waiting times, shorter Doctor interaction times, and probably less time for Preventative Health Care.

Systems like Forward Health and Concierge Medicine will be the upper tier of a 2-tier system.

Proactive attention to Health in my opinion is essential in the future if we are to have a healthy nation, and not “bankrupt the system”. Telehealth is growing in importance, and offers help in making medical expertise more convenient, widely available and for less cost.

I am happy to see progressive Systems like Forward Health offer a preventative option to the present, broken, reverse-incentivized, fee-for-service System.

—Dr. C.