Tag Archives: Obesity

THE DOCTORS 101 CHRONIC SYMPTOMS & CONDITIONS #45: SLEEP APNEA

Sleep apnea and obesity are bound together as Charles dickens observed in his Pickwick papers. The Pickwickian syndrome is obesity associated with alveolar hypoventilation(insufficient breathing) with an increase in CO2 in the bloodstream which causes narcosis, or SLEEPINESS, in the daytime.

When I went in for my sleep apnea study, I noticed a number of double wide chairs available for the usual clientele there. OBESITY is one of the major risk factors for sleep apnea. Depositions at the base of the tongue and throat interfere with breathing, and causes snoring to the point of tracheal blockage and apnea at night.

Some people with normal “ BMI”, have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea can run in families, occur when you are older, or have a thick neck. So no matter what your weight, if you have daytime sleepiness after an apparently full night of sleep, you should be considered for a sleep study.

A SLEEP STUDY requires that you go into a sleep center overnight, get hooked up to an electroencephalogram machine, oxygen monitor, chest straps, and the like. This is the gold standard for a diagnosis of sleep apnea, but a recording pulse oximeter will let you know a lot less expensively if you have the critical problem, a drop in oxygen saturation. The type of sleep apnea I have been discussing so far is obstructive sleep apnea. Of course there are other types such as central, or complex sleep apnea.

Most sleep apnea responds to nasal CPAP, if you can tolerate it.
My own sleep apnea was diagnosed as moderate, 15% central and 85%  obstructive in type.  I have a stuffy nose which I believe to be the main problem setting me up for sleep apnea, and I could not tolerate the positive nasal CPAP. There is also a dental apparatus that I tried unsuccessfully. I wound up sleeping on my side, and propping myself in that position with pillows .This seems to help me, but I still wake up several times a night, usually at the end of a 90 minute sleep cycle, and with a full bladder.

I sleep through better on days when I have had more physical or mental exercise. Avoiding a full stomach at bedtime is also helpful with both sleep apnea and GERD.

I do use Afrin on the left side of my nose, which is more obstructed. I restrict the use to every third day, although I have heard that you can use it every other day, alternating sides, if you have a stuffy nose that has resisted other treatments .I have also heard that using corticosteroid nasal sprays makes Afrin better tolerated. Be sure to get clearance with your doctor before trying this.

— Dr. C

Read more at Mayo Clinic

DR. C’S JOURNAL: CAUSES & SYMTPOMS OF INSOMNIA

Sleep has many functions, among which are clearing the body of toxins and consolidating memory. The exact amount we need is determined by age, and genetics among another things. From what I’ve read, eight hours is required, plus or minus an hour.

That being said, there are a few  among us who are super sleepers. Going back in history this probably included Mozart and Thomas Edison: They could live healthy, productive lives with as few as three or four hours of sleep. Genetic mutations, including changes to the Orexin Gene receptor account for true super-sleepers.

Familial fatal insomnia is a genetic disease operating through prion proteins, and does not illuminate the problem of insomnia. In most people  there are two major forces which determine the onset of sleep, the circadian rhythm, and sleep pressure.

The TIMING of the sleep varies from morning larks to night owls. These shifts in the circadian rhythm is also genetic, involving many genes, including PER and CRY. Diurnal rhythm can apparently be changed, But with difficulty.

The sleep pressure is caused by the gradual daily accumulation of adenosine in the system, apparently resulting from the stripping away of the phosphate groups from the energy currency, ATP.  This can be assuaged by caffeine containing drinks, such as tea or coffee. Caffeine temporally blocks the effect of adenosine, but when it wears off, you usually go right back to your fatigue state.

INSOMNIA occurs when you do not get as much sleep as you need, and are tired in the daytime. This is a major problem for a lot of people.

Insomnia has many causes. Stress will cause an increase in Cortisone in the bloodstream which interferes with sleep. Caffeinated drinks nicotine and other stimulants can cause you to have difficulty falling asleep, and alcohol will help you fall asleep but will often result in awakening in the middle of the night when the alcohol is metabolized.

Depression, Parkinson’s, chronic pain, gastroesophageal reflux and any other medical conditions can interfere with sleep. Sleep apnea, often associated with overweight and heavy snoring, is a special problem that sometimes needs the help of a sleep specialist.

Some poor habits such as reading in bed, doing work in bed, eating at bedtime, and heavy exercise just before bed can also be a problem.
A regular routine of Preparing for sleep, such as brushing and flossing and taking a warm shower are also helpful; you can get more details by looking up “sleep hygiene”.

A lot of people take a nap, but this can cause some difficulty in going to sleep. Among things you can do to prevent insomnia include living an active life, making your bedroom comfortable for sleep, and using your bedroom ONLY for sex and sleep.

Please refer to the accompanying Mayo clinic article for more organized information.

—Dr. C.

Mayo Clinic articlehttps://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/insomnia/symptoms-causes/syc-20355167


Fungal Infections In The Lungs: Aspergillus

The genius aspergillus is a Fungus extremely common throughout the world. It is in the air almost everywhere, and it’s estimated that most people breathe hundreds of Aspergillus spores into their lungs daily. It affects almost exclusively people with compromised immune systems or with underlying respiratory illness.

COMPROMISED IMMUNITY is often present in people with diabetes, obesity and malnutrition, The very young and very old, Viral infections, particularly AIDS and Covid, cancer, autoimmune diseases, organ transplants, and the list goes on. With the advances in medicine in the past few decades, people are being kept alive longer, often by suppressing their own immunity.

UNDERLYING REPIRATORY ILLNESS is disease such as asthma, cystic fibrosis, sarcoidosis, tuberculosis and COPD.

When I was in an allergy practice, we were always on the alert for allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis in asthmatics who were difficult to control. ABPA at that time was reported mainly in England, which is unsurprising due to the wet British climate: fungi grow especially well where is wet.

Another unusual phenomenon is the Aspergillus fungus ball in the lungs, which is sometimes discovered only by chest x-ray. That such a dense mass of fungi could be tolerated in the lungs without invading the body is a tribute to the immune system‘s efficacy.

Galactomannan is in the cell wall of aspergillus, and can be used as a diagnostic test. PCR can also be used, shades of COVID-19. Of course x-ray, or microscopic study of tissues are also often used.

It is  estimated that aspergillosis accounts for around 600,000 deaths annually. Africa, with its large number of AIDS patients, contributes heavily to this. It’s difficult to know how common it is in the United States, because aspergillus is not a reportable illness. Please check with the following mayo clinic article for more information.

–Dr. C

Mayo Clinic article

INFECTION: OPPORTUNISTIC INVASIVE FUNGI EXPLAINED

Fungi are in the outside air, the inside air, and even the air of isolation units In hospitals. The normal human respiratory tract is able to breathe these fungi in, have them deposited on the mucous membrane surfaces and have no problem. The normal respiratory membranes, with their associated cleansing cilia and normal mucus production are able to sweep the invaders out without sustaining any harm.

Problems arise when the respiratory tract is functionally or structurally abnormal, such as in cystic fibrosis, bronchiectasis and COPD. Immunocompromised conditions have been increasing in frequency with the improvement in medical care in recent years. Intravascular catheters and sensors can provide a resting place for pathogens including fungi, as can cavities, scars and other damage to the lung. The immune system may require suppression to accommodate an organ transplants or ameliorate autoimmune conditions.

Cancers, especially of the hematologic or lymphatic system, such as lymphomas, pose a definite problem. Severe burns and  malnutrition may weaken the immune system, as may Viral infections, especially AIDS, and more recently COVID-19. More subtle immune problems may arise with diabetes, Obesity, or even a lack of sleep and exercise.

These and other conditions give the fungal infections the OPPORTUNITY to invade the body, and a few dozen of the thousands of species of fungi proceed to do just that. Opportunistic fungi often have special features, depending upon the species. Most prefer the respiratory tract, and if they get in to the bloodstream can go to their favored spots.

Aspergillus, and coccidiomycosis , for instance, prefer the lung. Mucormycosis often involves the sinuses and eyes. Blastomycosis can involve bone. Sporothrix is often found infecting the skin.

Symptoms depend upon the area involved. Of course if it’s a respiratory tract, you have coughing, mucus production, sometimes shortness of breath. With the central nervous system you have headache and confusion. You can see the involvement in the skin.

The number of drugs available to fight fungal infection is fairly limited, and currently involves only three different classes. Many fungi are resistant to one or two of these classes, and can be problematic.
However, fungi do not as a rule spread through the air from person to person, and a true epidemic would be unlikely.

—Dr. C.

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

INFOGRAPHIC: ’12 DEMENTIA RISK FACTORS’ (THE LANCET)

Executive summary

The number of older people, including those living with dementia, is rising, as younger age mortality declines. However, the age-specific incidence of dementia has fallen in many countries, probably because of improvements in education, nutrition, health care, and lifestyle changes.

Overall, a growing body of evidence supports the nine potentially modifiable risk factors for dementia modelled by the 2017 Lancet Commission on dementia prevention, intervention, and care: less education, hypertension, hearing impairment, smoking, obesity, depression, physical inactivity, diabetes, and low social contact.

We now add three more risk factors for dementia with newer, convincing evidence. These factors are excessive alcohol consumption, traumatic brain injury, and air pollution. We have completed new reviews and meta-analyses and incorporated these into an updated 12 risk factor life-course model of dementia prevention. Together the 12 modifiable risk factors account for around 40% of worldwide dementias, which consequently could theoretically be prevented or delayed.

The potential for prevention is high and might be higher in low-income and middle-income countries (LMIC) where more dementias occur. Our new life-course model and evidence synthesis has paramount worldwide policy implications. It is never too early and never too late in the life course for dementia prevention. Early-life (younger than 45 years) risks, such as less education, affect cognitive reserve; midlife (45–65 years), and later-life (older than 65 years) risk factors influence reserve and triggering of neuropathological developments.

Culture, poverty, and inequality are key drivers of the need for change. Individuals who are most deprived need these changes the most and will derive the highest benefit.

Read full Dementia Study and Report

COMMENTARY:

Lancet’s 2017 Metanalysis mentions 9 Dementia risk factors. The 2020 Paper adds 3 additional factors. TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY, ALCOHOLISM, and AIR POLLUTION.

The inclusion of Trauma, with a 3% weighting, may be due to the increased awareness of TBE stemming from football injuries. The preventable 12 Factors are still in the minority. 60% of the factors are not preventable, since they are Genetically determined.

LESS EDUCATION, HEARING LOSS and SOCIAL ISOLATION, 3 of the original 9 factors,all lead to less brain stimulation, and can be unified under the idea of COGNITIVE RESERVE. If a person starts with less Cognition, it is reasonable to think he would be Demented sooner.

Together, less education, hearing loss, and social isolation account for almost Half of the correctable conditions. SMOKING is one of those things which impact almost every human disorder. It is amazing that cigarettes are still manufactured. In fact, their use is actually Increasing,especially the Far East, where they probably account for much of the escalating problem with Dementia in that region.

Our favorite causes, Sleep, Diet, and Exercise, apparently play only a minor role in Dementia. Sleep is completely dismissed in this report. The fact that both Sleeping less than the Ideal 7-8 hours, and more than that amount is thought to correlate with health problems is probably the main reason for the omission.

My own opinion is that people who are in poor health may need more sleep, and therefore sleep longer. My own sleep is interrupted 3-5 times per night, so it is not surprising that I need an hour extra to feel rested. Any less than 9-10 hours, and I need a nap, which in my opinion is a sign of insufficient nighttime sleep. Poor sleep may be a factor in metabolic syndrome, often leading to DIABETES, OBESITY, and HYPERTENSION, which are factors in Dementia, mentioned in the article as bit players.

PHYSICAL INACTIVITY is mentioned as a minor factor in Dementia, but exercise, studied as a treatment of dementia, was found to improve only strength. Diet is not mentioned, but does contribute to OBESITY, which is a minor factor. Dementia is a great emotional and economic burden, afflicting many otherwise happy families with misfortune.

The Lancet metanalysis is admirable. But don’t forget the healthy lifestyle emphasizing Sleep Diet and Exercise; and exercise includes cognitive exercise. Anything we can do to avoid dementia is worthwhile. –

–Dr.C.

Medical Videos: ‘Fatty Liver Disease’ Affects One-Third Of U.S. Population

Fatty liver disease is an increasingly common condition that currently affects a third of the population. The most common cause of the disease is obesity. Extra fat in your body from weight gain accumulates in your liver, causing it to swell. Eventually, the cells in your liver will be so overburdened that they die. New cells grow to replace them, but those cells also contain fat. As liver cells continue to die off and regrow rapidly, it causes scarring of the tissue surrounding the organ.

Read more

THE DOCTORS 101 CHRONIC SYMPTOMS & CONDITIONS #15: VISCERAL (BELLY) FAT

ABDOMINAL (VISCERAL) FAT KILLS. The following post tells you how, and suggests what you might do to prevent this scourge, which is gradually becoming an epidemic in America.

OBESITY is an energy imbalance problem. MORE CALORIES ARE CONSUMED THAN ARE NEEDED AND CAN BE UTILIZED. A Good quality Diet, with lots of natural (rather than processed) foods, especially vegetables and fruits, have lots of FIBER that takes up space and makes you feel full.

Fiber also feeds the MICROBIOME. If the foods are DIVERSE, the microbiome will also be diverse and help utilize the calories you eat. A healthy Microbiome also contributes to your health by manufacturing neurotransmitters, vitamins, and other factors that are just starting to be appreciated. Diet QUALITY, as well as quantity, is important.

EXERCISE is critical for more than utilizing calories. It increases ADIPONECTIN which guides fat to fat stores where they belong, rather than to the liver, and IRISIN which favors the production of BROWN FAT, thus utilizing energy. The opposite of exercise, the SEDENTARY LIFESTYLE, is now considered a disease system in itself.

Lack of SLEEP favors obesity in a number of ways; at the very least, you can’t eat while asleep. Abdominal fat contains INFLAMMATORY cells which go directly to the Liver via the hepatic portal system to cause metabolic disruption. Insulin sensitivity falls, blood sugar, LDL and triglycerides rise. DIABETES and the METABOLIC SYNDROME result.

The excessive weight also causes back, hip and knee problems which contribute to the 10% increase in overall medical costs due to Obesity.

We have no photographs, abdominal, navel-level girth measurements, CTs, BMIs or death certificates to prove it, but it is highly unlikely that Paleolithic Humans suffered from excessive abdominal fat. They had no refrigerators, deliciously packaged snacks, sugary, fructose-containing soft drinks and candy, nor did they have cave-lighting to extend their daylight eating hours and disrupt their diurnal rhythm.

They had to walk or run long distances to obtain their meagre food supplies, which tired them out so that they most likely had a good night’s sleep. SLEEP, DIET and EXERCISE are built into our Metabolism by Darwinian Evolution. Paleolithic humans didn’t live long lives and succumb to cancer and heart disease.

They died most often by violence, which made Blood clotting a survival benefit, rather than the Risk factor for stroke and heart attacks that coagulation is to us now. It is not all our fault that OBESITY is steadily increasing over the last few decades.

CAPITALISM is driven to provide us with ever increasingly available and tasty food. Both consumers and purveyors scream when even the most logical political check on OVEREATING is legislated: Taxing of sugary, fructose-containing, nutritionless soft drinks was tried in Philadelphia to a chorus of complaints. To my knowledge the tax has survived, reduced sugary drink consumption, and was helpful in reducing the weight of Philadelphia residents. Not many cities were brave enough to follow suit.

GENETIC Influences can also conspire against weight control. The FTO gene, while relatively infrequent does have an influence, as shown in twin studies. And there seems to be a SET POINT in weight that makes it difficult to take off the pounds and keep them off. 2 years after almost all diets, the weight has returned. Eating HABITS, once established are hard to change.

BARIATRIC SURGERY has been shown to help Obesity, as well as Metabolic syndrome and Diabetes .I hope it will survive the test of time. Weight gain is easier to PREVENT than it is to treat. Somehow, society must get to the children, and keep them from gaining weight in the first place. Even children are now becoming obese.

INTERMITTENT FASTING can help contain Obesity. My own version is TIME-RESTRICTED EATING. I limit my eating to 6 hours a day, from Noon (usually 1PM) until 6PM. This has resulted in a modest weight loss from 142 pounds to 137 pounds. My son lost some 30 pounds in a 30 day, 1000 calorie “crash” diet to fend off advised Back Surgery. He exercised a lot of SELF CONTROL both to lose the weight, and to keep it off.

Unfortunately, Self Control is in short supply in our present SOCIETY OF EXCESS. Good luck in your quest, if you choose to embark on weight reduction. And good luck with your health if you don’t. I recommend “the secret life of fat” by Sylvia Tara in either case. Also, search for intermittent fasting in DWWR.

–Dr. C.