About Kerrin Kuntzman

Kerrin Kuntzman

Kerrin is the office manager at Texas Spine & Wellness. She often blogs about alternative medical care and nutrition. She is an ardent supporter of chiropractic medicine and uses chiropractic treatment not only for herself, but for her pets as well!

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Heart Disease Prevention and Chiropractic Treatment

Heart Disease – the term could spark apprehension in even the most health-conscious and fit person. Not surprising as cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the US. Many different condition fall under the “umbrella” of heart disease, so we’d like to clarify a bit.

What is Heart Disease?

Heart disease prevention
Heart Disease, also known as cardiovascular disease (CVD), is actually a group of diseases involving the heart or related blood vessels. These conditions include angina, heart attack (myocardial infarction), stroke, arterial fibrillation, congenital heart disease, and many others.

The causes for heart disorders are, of course, all the “usual suspects”, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, limited or no exercise, obesity, high cholesterol, poor diet, and excessive alcohol intake. High blood pressure accounts for approximately 13% of deaths related to heart disease, while smoking, lack of exercise, excessive weight and diabetes account for 5% to 9% of heart-related deaths.

Other factors that determine a person’s risk of heart disease are age, gender, and family history. Nonetheless, it is estimated that 90% of cardiovascular disease is preventable.

Naturally, regular exercise and a good, healthy diet top the list of things you can do to keep your heart healthy. But there are many other lifestyle choices and therapies that can help as well. We’ll address those in a few paragraphs, but first let’s learn how you can discover it you’re at risk.

Determining Your Risk for Heart Disease

the causes of heart disease
Most tests for heart disease are non-invasive or require only a small sample of blood. Generally speaking and depending upon what type of condition your doctor believes you might have, a simple physical exam and information about your personal and family history will be all that is required. However, as we age, other tests may become necessary.

Aside from chest x-rays and electrocardiograms (ECG or EKG), other such tests available are…

Holter Monitoring – A Holter monitor is a portable device that is worn for 24 to 72 hours. It is designed to detect heart rhythm irregularities that are not found during a normal EKG.

Echocardiogram – This noninvasive exam is basically an ultrasound of your chest which provides detailed images of your heart’s structure and function.

Cardiac Computerized Tomography (CT) Scan – A CT scan is commonly used to check for heart problems. When you have a cardiac CT scan, an X-ray tube inside a donut-shaped machine will rotate all around your body and collect images of your heart and chest.

Cardiac Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) – For this type of test, you lie on a table inside a long tube-like machine that produces a magnetic field which, in turn, produces images that helps your doctor evaluate the condition of your heart.

A variety of blood tests can also be used to detect the risk of heart disease. They include the following…

A cholesterol test, which measures the fats (lipids) in your blood.

A CRP (C-reactive protein) test, which indicates a sign of inflammation somewhere in the body as a result of injury or infection. A CRP test, along with other blood test results and risk factors can help paint a picture of your overall heart health.

A fibrinogen test, which measures the protein in your body that helps blood clot. However, too much fibrinogen can increase your risk for heart disease because it can lead to clots forming in your arteries, leading to a heart attack or stroke.

Although cardiovascular diseases are prevalent, there are steps you can take to prevent and reduce your risk. Along with improving your eating habits, getting regular exercise, and stop smoking and drinking, you can also benefit from chiropractic treatment.

The Benefits of Chiropractic Treatment in Preventing or Reducing Heart Disease

1. Chiropractic treatment can lower blood pressure – When the 1st vertebra (the Atlas) is properly aligned, many people show a marked improvement in blood pressure.

2. Improves the heart’s nerve function– this is called the autonomic tone, and it impacts almost every part of the body including the heart, gastrointestinal tract, lung kidneys, bladder and sex organs.

3. Decreases chest pain – If the vertebrae in the upper neck, the middle (thoracic) part of the spine, or the ribs are misaligned, it may affect the nerves causing the chest wall to tighten. Dr. Martin Gallagher who is both a D.C. and an M.D. states it this way, “The chest muscles, ribs, heart, lungs, and stomach are controlled directly and indirectly by spinal nerves. Misalignments can interfere with these nerves and cause chest pain similar to cardiovascular angina. We call this spinal angina. Sometimes it may even produce tachycardia and other arrhythmias. Few people know about spinal angina and it is rarely diagnosed by medical doctors.” Chiropractic adjustments are a very effective treatment for this condition.

4. Improves lung function – Evidence indication that chiropractic care can positively impact patients with asthma and emphysema. As reduced lung function is linked to heart failure. improved breathing reducing stress on the cardiovascular system.

Dietary Supplements to Improve Cardiovascular Health

Although pharmaceutical companies would like you to believe that statins are the only way to reduce cholesterol levels, this simply is not the case. As we’ve discussed in other articles, there are many foods and supplements that can aid in cholesterol reduction without the use of statins. Today we’d like to introduce you to two more favorites: Standard Process’ Cyruta Plus and Cardio – C

Cyruta Plus – This powerful whole food complex can help cholesterol transport and supports healthy healthy peripheral circulation. Some people liken it to a rotor rooter for the arteries..

Cardio-C – This nutritional supplement was formulated based upon chemical and nutritional findings of Linus Pauling. It’s a fine-powder dietary supplement that you take 1-3 times per day

Linus Pauling, an eminent American chemist, biochemist, and the world’s only two-time unshared Nobel Prize laureate believed that too little vitamin C in the body can elevate cholesterol levels, including the Lp(a) variant which causes narrowing of the blood vessels. Upon learning that Lp(a) binds to strands of lysine protruding from weak and damaged blood vessels, Pauling invented a high-lysine / high-vitamin C unified therapy
Cardio-C is a tasty drink mix, and has no fillers. It’s easy to dissolve and is very easy to take.

We stock these two supplements along with many other professional grade supplements in our clinic.

Image of man meditating for stress
Lastly we need to consider our hectic lifestyles and the ways they may contribute to heart disease. Rarely do we find time to rest and relax, but such downtime is essential for our nervous systems. Take time to play by indulging in a favorite hobby, such as knitting, crochet, coloring in an adult coloring book. Recently Dr. Mixon began playing the ukulele! If music from the Hawaiian islands isn’t your style, guitar might be.

Meditation has also been shown to lower stress levels. You don’t have to take a class, you don’t have to be a pro. The key is consistency and to take time to still the mind. Don’t let your harried lifestyle push aside much needed relaxation.

If you’d like to schedule a chiropractic appointment with our clinic you can contact us through our website, or call us at at 972.840.2520. We are an integrated medical clinic and offer the services of two chiropractors a nurse practitioner, massage therapy and exercise rehab. We can help you bring your life back into balance!

7 Immune Boosting Foods You Need This Season

The first cases of flu are already making the rounds here in Dallas, Texas. So, it’s time to remind our family and friends of the natural ways to improve the immune system, your body’s first line of defense against nasty bugs and viruses.

While the hospital and ER room are a vital resource for health emergencies, the old saying “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” comes to mind. We can lower our chance of ending up in the doctor’s office or emergency room with a severe cold or the flu by keeping our immune systems strong.

Here are 7 foods and herbs that deserve to take a place in your “natural” medicine cabinet.

Garlic

This is one of the most readily available immune system boosters. For centuries, garlic has been used as a natural medicine. Garlic has sulfur compounds that act as antibacterial and antiviral agents.

Garlic, when taken as a tea sweetened with honey, is an excellent treatment for respiratory infections, colds, cough, and influenza. You can sweeten “garlic tea” with real honey, which also acts a throat soother. To try this recipe, simply add one crushed glove of garlic to a cup of hot water. Squeeze in the juice of half a fresh lemon and a teaspoon of raw, unfiltered honey and your home remedy for coughs and cold is ready to drink.

If having “garlicky” breath isn’t appealing, there are also natural garlic supplements. Kyolic brand products are one of our favorites because they are “de-odorized”.

Echinacea

immune boosting tea
Echinacea is a natural flowering herb that has been used in natural medicine for centuries. Chinese herbalists often recommend this herb for its immune-boosting properties. At the first signs of a cold or flu, try drinking echinacea tea.

Many herb teas will include additional immune-system boosting herbs and spices, such as licorice, cinnamon, cloves, and ginger. For best results you should continue to take echinacea tea for a few days after your recovery.

Echinacea is also available in a tincture form and in a variety of immune support supplements. Tinctures can be taken in water. Don’t be surprised if you feel a slightly unusual sensation after swallowing. This is echinacea’s trademark “tingle’.

Vitamin C

Early sailors would spend months at sea without any fresh fruit. These sailors often suffered from scurvy, a very serious nutritional deficiency caused by a lack of vitamin C. The condition left them with bleeding gums and a shortage of energy. Fortunately, most of us don’t face anything this severe, however, since our bodies are unable to produce vitamin C on their own, it’s critical we get an adequate supply through food or supplements.  Surprisingly, you don’t need to rely on citrus fruit to supply your daily serving of Vitamin C. Green and red bell peppers, broccoli and kale all contain more vitamin C per serving than an orange! By ensuring an abundant intake of vitamin C, you’re supplying your body with strong antioxidants that can strengthen your body’s natural defenses.

Yogurt and Probiotics

The bacteria located in our gut is absolutely essential for effective and healthy digestion. The good gut flora breaks down the food for assimilation into our system.

Unfortunately, even a single dose of a powerful antibiotic can kill all the bacteria in our gut, both good and bad. To ensure proper and healthy digestion, it’s important to add good probiotics to your diet.

Probiotics or live active cultures, can dramatically increase white blood cells, which are part of the immune system’s “attack team”. The white blood cells search and destroy bad bacteria and viruses.

You can get probiotics by eating a daily serving of yogurt or kefir. If you’re choosing yogurt from a grocery store, avoid those with a high amount of sugar. One of the best ways to receive a therapeutic dose of probiotics is to buy a high-quality supplement.

Green Tea

picture of immune-boosting green tea.
The benefits of green tea in protecting our bodies and boosting the immune system are well documented. Green tea contains an important contains theanine, an important amino acid helpful in fighting illness. Teas are also a good source of antioxidants, which are another critical component of our immune systems. One added benefit of L-theanine is its ability to calm frazzled nerves.

Protein

Protein contains zinc, which the body uses to fight off infections. Zinc is also necessary for that critical immune system agent — white blood cells.

Pharmacies and drug stores will often have an entire row reserved solely for this important mineral supplement. Even a mild zinc deficiency reduces our immune protection.

High quality protein mixes added to milk or milk substitutes can add a substantial boost to your diet. Better yet, add the protein blend to a smoothie made with fruits and vegetables. For vegetarians, look for protein powders derived from peas.

Healthy Oils

Our bodies require healthy fats to function optimally. Without getting into too many technical details, health-conscious consumers should focus on heart healthy oils, such as olive oil and coconut oil. These two oils provide excellent sources of omega 3 fats. Avoid the “cooked” oils such as canola, safflower, vegetable, etc. These oils interfere with cell metabolism of sugar compounds, which can increase your odds of contracting diabetes. Many of these oils have also been produced from genetically modified foods.

Also check out the fatty fish sources of omega-3’s, such as sardines and herring. To boost your heart health, consider supplementing your diet with a professional grade fish oil.

Summing up

As you experiment with adding these natural immune-boosting foods to your diet, remember to avoid foods that may slow down your efforts. Drinking too much alcohol, as well as a diet high-sugar diet can be very detrimental to your overall health.

Keep your immune system healthy and happy, and your body will sail through the year without a sneeze or a sniffle!

Garland chiropractor, Dr. Mixon and the staff of Texas Spine & Wellness take a holistic approach to health. In addition to the treatment of neck and back, and joint pain issues, we also offer bioidentical hormone replacement therapy and nutritional programs.  We stock a wide range of professional grade supplements at the clinic. If you would like more information about our chiropractic care or if we can help you with your nutritional needs, please give us a call at 972-840-2520.

Our Garland chiropractic office is centrally located and is easily accessible by Dallas, Richardson, Mesquite, Rowlett and Rockwall residents.

Are You Suffering with Joint Pain? Ease it with Collagen

Are your joints feeling a little stiff? Not moving with the easy fluidity you had in the past? Is it difficult to squat or run, or to simply toss a ball or pick up a child? You’re not alone. Studies indicate between 50 to 75 million people now suffer from painful swollen joints — and the number is increasing.

joint pain and collagen

It’s not that we don’t expect bouts with pain. Accidents and illness occur every day. It’s an obstacle course called ”Life.” Unfortunately, swollen joints are no longer unusual. And that kind of inflammation is associated with several types of disease: gout, fibromyalgia, lupus, and, of course, arthritis. In particular, rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis are two of the most damaging. An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) inflames joints throughout the body. Osteoarthritis (OA) is specifically a physical condition resulting from the wear and tear on the joints. It’s literally a degenerative disease. Because everyone uses every joint every day, this has become the most common reason for swollen joints. It’s an aspect of aging that many can’t escape!

Texas Spine & Wellness understands joint pain treatment and is focused on helping clients achieve, if not a pain-free life, a manageable level that allows a more normal mobility. It can be done with a program of proper diet, exercise, and supplements. We recommend Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate because we’ve found it delivers the best results to ease joint pain and discomfort.

Let’s look more closely at joint pain and at collagen supplements when taken to  reduce inflammation.

How does arthritis attack the joints?

Some researchers suggest arthritis may result from a “confusion” that occurs in the immune system after the body has suffered an infection due to a bacteria or virus. The immune system suddenly begins to attack joints, an attack that can expand to other parts of the body. OA can flare up when an affected joint is injured or suffers some trauma. However, because RA is degenerative and associated with the immune system, only immune system changes can result in a flare-up.

As to why joints swell, there are two causes: the joint lining itself swells, or the amount of fluid in the joint increases. Swelling is a very active process. As white blood cells (also called inflammatory cells) and blood enter the joint, proteins are discharged into the soft tissues surrounding the area between the joints and the bones. Proteins are actually inflammatory molecules. Of course, that additional blood flow swells the joint and—doing what blood is intended to do—adds warmth. All those inflammatory materials increase the collection of fluids in and around the joint, and the swelling also increases. Initial swelling encourages more swelling. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy! The end result is damaged bone and cartilage.

How is life affected?

If you have, or have had, inflamed joints, you well know mornings are the worst time for stiffness. You’ve been in bed all night and when you try to bounce up out of bed—wow! You feel like a mannequin. If the stiffness lasts more than an hour, it’s likely inflammatory arthritis. Along with the stiffness is a dull ache you can’t shake, although, thankfully, not all stiffness is accompanied by pain. If you’re stiff after exercising, it’s more likely OA, which indicates the joints are beginning to fail. But you can also feel stiff after resting, such as when you sit after walking or sit just to relax after a long day. It takes some of the pleasure out of simple relaxation. An analogy often used to describe how stiffening joints feel, is to say the sensation is like gelatin setting, a process of gradual firming.

It’s an unpleasant condition for anyone, especially because it can affect any joint in your body: shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands and fingers, hips, knees, ankles, and feet. Even the jaw can be affected. It affects how you move, how you feel, and your mood. After all, how can you be upbeat when your mobility is limited and, in many cases, you ache as well?

Collagen: what is it and how can it help?

Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate
Collagen is a protein that makes up about a quarter of our body mass, which means It’s the most abundant protein within our bodies. It’s also the major component of our connective tissues, a part of the structure in our skin and bones, our hair and nails, and our tendons and ligaments. There’s a singular amino acid blend in collagen that contributes to joint health, muscle growth, and the glow that comes when we feel relatively healthy.

Nutritional supplements made from collagen are derived from animal materials such as beef, pork, or fish bones and skin. It’s processed to make digestion easier. All those amino acids of which it’s comprised are instrumental in building joint cartilage, and it’s believed to have  anti-inflammatory properties. By stimulating the production of joint collagen, Collagen Hydrolysate supplements can ease OA symptoms. And collagen is generally well tolerated, with no major side-effects.

Which brings us to Great Lakes Hydrolyzed Collagen protein powder or gelatin supplement and why Texas Spine & Wellness recommends it as your best selection to bring relief to swollen joints. Beef hydrolyzed collagen combines a unique assemblage of 20 amino acids, concentrated in high enough levels to not only promote bone healing, but to provide joint care beyond what other proteins have to offer. It’s designed with a low molecular weight so digestion is easy, and, because of the hydrolization, assimilation is fast, with better hydration in connective tissues. Enrichment of the body’s proteins begins within minutes after taking it.

There are many additional benefits from collagen. Nitrogen balance is one. Nitrogen is believed to be an anti-aging product that supports collagen loss and damage to cartilage that comes with aging. It’s good for all those parts mentioned above: skin, hair, and nails on the outside, and bones, tendons and ligaments on the inside.

We guarantee the quality of this product, which is produced under very strict sanitary conditions, meeting standards established by the U.S. Pharmacopeia. The National Formulary regulates the Pharmacopeia. Having been rigorously tested for pH, strength, moisture and viscosity, Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate can be immediately introduced into various recipes to provide that needed collagen boost

Don’t let stiff joints change your life!

Aching joints and stiffness are often unavoidable due to aging, illness, or injury. But it’s not a condition you have to live with. You do have choices!  A selective diet and the right exercise suited to your age and overall condition are the first steps toward healthier joints. The next step is a supplement created purposefully to attack the issue, such as Great Lakes Collagen Hydrolysate. If you would like to purchase a can for yourself you can purchase it here. The big step after that? Set up regular checkups with your primary doctor and chiropractor, and follow their advice for a healthy life style plan. As a chiropractor in Garland, TX , Dr. Mixon specializes in the treatment of joint pain.

Healthy joints are necessary for a comfortable but active life. Visit Texas Spine & Wellness. We want to help you achieve and maintain the healthy joints you were born with!