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Man in business suit gripping chest with red overlay indicating a heart attack or chest pain

More Than 800,000 Americans Suffer From Heart Disease Every Year. Learn The Symptoms Here:

If you knew you could change your lifestyle and diet and avoid heart disease and other things, you should do it.

Laila Ali

Each year, more than 800,000 people in the U.S. die from cardiovascular disease. This figure accounts for a whopping percentage of fatalities, making up one in three deaths. To put it into perspective, cardiovascular disease collectively claims more lives than all cancers, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, or accidents. As many as 2,200 Americans die of cardiovascular disease each day, with one death occurring every 39 seconds.

Cardiovascular disease, the umbrella term referring to all types of diseases affecting the heart or blood vessels, encompasses coronary heart disease and stroke. Alarmingly, more than 10% of Americans have already been diagnosed with heart disease.[1]

Despite these grim statistics, there’s still tremendous hope for today’s adult population: heart attack and stroke are largely preventable. To prevent these diseases effectively, however, you must first be able to recognize the warning signs. Browse through this guide as we review some of the most critical information about the life-saving power of heart disease and stroke prevention.

Heart Disease & Stroke: An Introduction


Cardiovascular disease and heart disease are often used interchangeably. While the conditions share many of the same characteristics, the serious ways in which they affect the body can actually be different. Here is a helpful breakdown to help you remember these key terms.

Cardiovascular Disease

As mentioned above, this catchall refers to all types of diseases of the heart or blood vessels, including clogged arteries (heart disease) which can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and congenital heart defects.

Heart Disease

Any condition affecting the heart’s function and structure is heart disease. While heart disease is a type of cardiovascular disease, and thus all heart diseases are also cardiovascular diseases, not all cardiovascular diseases are a form of heart disease.

Heart disease can encompass many different issues which are often related to atherosclerosis, or the formation of plaque along the artery walls. Heart disease can therefore lead to heart attack or stroke.

Stroke

A stroke occurs when a blood vessel that feeds or is located within the brain becomes blocked or bursts. This starves the brain of blood and oxygen, causing brain cells to die. If too many brain cells die, the effects of a stroke can be permanent, but in cases where enough brain cells survive, injured cells can be repaired and impaired functions may improve.

While understanding the key differences among these conditions is important, cardiovascular diseases as a whole share many of the same causes, risk factors, early warning signs, and prevention tactics. Because of this, and the fact that heart disease and stroke are so closely related, we will focus on the characteristics of heart disease for the remainder of this guide.

Causes of Heart Disease


3D rendering of atherosclerosis, otherwise known as plaque buildup in the arteries. An illustration demonstrating the beginning of a blood clot as the bloodstream is slowed by thickened arterial walls

Atherosclerosis is the most common cause of heart disease.[2] As the plaque thickens along artery walls, it causes the walls to stiffen, which can prevent blood from flowing freely through your arteries to your vital organs and tissues.

Alarmingly, the signs of atherosclerosis may never be outwardly visible – that is, until a plaque ruptures or builds up to the point where blood flow is completely restricted. If you have atherosclerosis in your heart valves, you may develop symptoms such as angina (chest pain). The appearance of this symptom calls for quick action, however, as it often precedes a heart attack. [3]

The plaque development which characterizes atherosclerosis develops slowly over time. While the exact cause of the condition is unknown, experts strongly believe it can result from many different factors, such as:

While atherosclerosis is the most common cause of heart disease, it isn’t the only one. Heart arrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms), congenital heart defects, cardiomyopathy (thickening of the heart muscle), and heart infections can also lead to heart disease. Arrhythmias are caused by many of the same factors as atherosclerosis including high blood pressure, tobacco use, and smoking, but can also be brought on by excessive caffeine or alcohol use, illicit drug use, and stress.

In addition to the primary causes, there are many behaviors and other risk factors which can contribute to your likelihood for developing heart disease.

Heart Disease Risk Factors


What Are Your Risk Factors for Heart Disease?

Common risk factors associated with heart disease include: 

  • Age
  • Gender
  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • Poor Diet
  • Insulin Resistance/Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Smoking
  • Genetic Factors
  • Lack of Exercise
  • Mental Illness

Age

Age plays an important role in raising the risk of heart disease. In men, the risk for heart disease begins to increase at the age of 45. For women, the age is 55. [5] While age-related behavioral factors, such as poor nutrition and sedentary lifestyles, can contribute to heart disease risk, biological changes also factor in. For instance, the blood vessels naturally become less flexible as we age, which makes it more difficult for blood to pass through. 

Gender


For many years, heart disease was perceived to be commonly seen in men. Now, however, it has been established that it is the leading cause of death for both sexes. After the age of 65, men and women share roughly the same risk. With that said, the symptoms of heart disease in diabetic women tend to be less obvious than in their male peers. For example, women may only experience shortness of breath during physical activity, versus men who experience chest pain.[6]

High Blood Pressure


Your blood pressure measures the force of your blood pressing against your blood vessel walls. Having high blood pressure creates added stress on your heart and blood vessels causing them to work harder. High blood pressure also creates friction, which damages the tissues in your arteries, causing bad cholesterol to develop within the tears in the artery walls and prompting atherosclerosis.

High Cholesterol


Unhealthy blood cholesterol levels increase heart disease risk in the ways outlined above. Poor diet is one of the main culprits behind high cholesterol.

Poor Diet

Unhealthy, processed foods including fries, soda, chips, cookies, chocolate, donuts and candy sprawled out on a wooden counter

Saturated fats, commonly found in animal products, can raise your cholesterol levels. In particular, red meat and full-fat dairy could lead to increased cholesterol, but this is oftentimes a result from poor selection of raw materials. For example, grass-fed beef is leaner than grain-fed beef, and both meat and dairy from hormone-free sources are considered healthiest. Of course, genetic factors should be assessed to create a meal plan to support each patient’s unique needs. If an individual’s genetics do not make them susceptible to cholesterol increases, full-fat dairy and red meat typically needn’t be restricted.

On the other hand, commercially baked cookies, crackers, and other processed foods are problematic in that they often contain cholesterol-raising trans fat, and even when they don’t, they can contribute to inflammation, a common culprit behind chronic illness and a suspected causative agent behind heart disease.

Insulin Resistance/Diabetes


In diabetes, the body fails to produce ample insulin or cannot use insulin properly, causing blood sugar levels to spike. Over time, this increased level of blood glucose can damage your blood vessels, along with the nerves controlling your heart. Adults with diabetes face twice the risk of a fatal heart disease or stroke compared to those without.[7]

Limiting poor-quality carbohydrates that have a significant impact on insulin response is critically important to preventing insulin resistance, and subsequently, the development of type 2 diabetes.

It is carbohydrates – and in particular, high-glycemic index carbohydrates – which most substantially increase cardiovascular-related disease by modulating insulin and inflammation and causing a negative impact on the cardiovascular system.

High-glycemic index foods, including white bread, rice, and processed snacks such as breakfast cereals and packaged cakes or cookies, pose an especially concerning threat for patients with excess body fat and exercise limitations. Diets rich in these foods could place an individual at risk for diseases related to inflammation, including heart disease, especially when coupled with a sedentary lifestyle.

Obesity


Adults have a significantly increased risk of developing any form of cardiovascular disease if they are overweight or obese. Specifically, obese or overweight adults between the ages of 40 and 59 have an increased risk ranging from 21-85%, compared to normal weight peers.[8]

The relationship between heart disease and being overweight is complex, but most notably, carrying extra weight creates a ripple effect of damage on the heart as it is associated with hidden inflammation which can impede your heart’s ability to function properly.

Smoking


Smoking damages and constricts blood vessels, and has also been found to raise cholesterol and blood pressure levels. Moreover, it can prevent ample oxygen from reaching the body’s critical organs and tissues, thereby increasing heart disease risk.[9]  

Genetic Factors


Genetics can play a major role in determining risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Unfortunately, most individuals are unaware of specific testing that is available to establish a better understanding of individual risks. For example, Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) is a protein found in your blood that carries cholesterol and triglycerides to the liver, where they are removed from the blood and also impacts additional enzymatic functions that aid in the removal of these lipids.

There are 6 possible genotypes with 2 genotypes carrying a high risk for developing heart disease, 2 carrying intermediate risk, and 2 carrying normal risk. [10] Those with the highest risk genotype experience a 40X greater risk in developing cardiovascular disease than their normal risk counterparts. Not only does knowing your genotype determine your potential risk factors, but it also provides insight as to how effective clinical interventions with prescription drugs and lifestyle modifications can be.

Another inherited risk factor is familial hypercholesterolemia (FH) – a defect that affects how the body recycles low-density lipoprotein (LDL) or “bad” cholesterol. The result is very high LDL levels, above 190mg/dL, and is known to be caused by a mutation in the gene for the LDL cholesterol receptor. According to the results from the 1999-2012 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, roughly 1 in 250 adults have the FH genetic mutation. [11]

Lack of Exercise

Middle-aged man eating pizza and drinking beer while sitting on a couch

A sedentary lifestyle is a major cause of chronic diseases, including heart disease. Studies have even indicated that the increase in risk associated with reduced fitness is comparable to or greater than other clinical factors, such as smoking and diabetes.[12]

Exercise contributes to cardiovascular health in numerous ways. It controls blood pressure, increases “good” HDL cholesterol, improves circulation to prevent clots which can lead to heart attack and stroke, and aids in weight regulation

Mental Illness

Research shows up to 44% of people with heart disease also have major depression, and individuals hospitalized for heart attack are about three times as likely to have depression. While individuals with heart disease often face stress related to health issues, depression itself also appears to be a risk factor for heart disease. While the precise interplay is still unclear, experts believe both inflammatory and lifestyle changes related to depression can impact cardiovascular health.[13]

While calculating your risk for all cardiovascular issues, including heart disease and stroke, is an important foundational step in preventing a deadly cardiac event, it’s also critical to watch for the early signs of heart disease. Identify what to look for in the next section.


Early Signs of Heart Disease


Mature man leaning against treat in park while gripping chest and trying to breathe

Frustratingly, many of the early signs of heart disease mimic those seen in other health issues. Further, some of these symptoms are even ignored as signs of aging or inactivity. Yet, when they are intense or appear out of the blue, it’s worth taking note. Patients should always be mindful of any unfamiliar developments in their health and err on the side of caution, because by the time signs of heart attack manifest it is likely past the point of prevention.

Early signs of heart disease can include unexplained aches or pain. When the blood supply to the heart is blocked, it can cause significant strain and, subsequently, pain in the heart. Yet, this pain isn’t always experienced in the chest. It can also be felt in the arms, shoulders, back, or even the jaw or abdomen. Symptoms that occur with activity but fade with rest are especially important to note, as they can indicate heart issues.

Shortness of breath is another telling sign of heart problems. While it’s possible for anyone to become winded after exertion, climbing just a few stairs shouldn’t leave you out of breath. Extreme shortness of breath, accompanied by pressure or pain in the chest, dizziness or lightheadedness, extreme fatigue, pain in the regions described above, or extreme fatigue could indicate a heart attack, which demands immediate medical attention.

Additionally, heart palpitations, characterized by irregular or rapid beating, can signify heart issues. While they are often harmless and can occur with anxiety, caffeine, and dehydration, unexplained palpitations occurring while at rest should be investigated by a physician. Note how often they occur and what you’re doing when they happen.

Being mindful of these signs, along with your individual risk factors, can be helpful in preventing heart disease. With that said, the most comprehensive approach to prevention should incorporate the expertise of physicians who employ the next generation of medicine to stop heart disease before it even starts.

How to Prevent Heart Disease


Mature female patients smiling at male physician while looking over results

There are many preventive tactics within your reach, which you can begin implementing right away. Smoking cessation, diet and weight management, exercise, and blood pressure and cholesterol control are among the most powerful lifestyle changes you can make to prevent heart disease.

Yet, a key component of prevention is knowing your individualized risk for heart disease and stroke. Metrics such as blood pressure levels can only tell you so much, and without insights garnered from more advanced, comprehensive laboratory screenings, we only see a small portion of overall heart disease risk.

With its innovative Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention Program, Cenegenics provides life-saving testing, going beyond conventional screening to assess in-depth genetic factors, advanced lipid panels, laboratory markers for plaque formations, and assessments for inflammatory markers which contribute to cardiovascular disease.

By combining the expertise of three cardio-diagnostic leaders and implementing aspects from the nation’s two top laboratories screening for cardiovascular disease, we have developed an industry-leading program to provide the most specific and accurate cardiac health picture currently available.

The findings retrieved from your screenings allow our physicians to offer patient-focused, specific recommendations based on your unique needs. From prescribing nutritional adjustments such as sodium intake and nutraceuticals to tailoring exercise plans to encourage physical fitness that is both effective in reducing disease risks and safe for your current abilities, our clinical team takes an all-encompassing approach to not only supporting your heart health, but also your overall wellness.

And, because our experts remain at the forefront of age management medicine, all of our programs are tailored to accommodate age-related risk factors and concerns, thereby allowing you to minimize the risk of deadly disease and feel great through every decade of life.

If you’re interested in preventing heart disease, stroke, and other chronic illness while becoming the healthiest possible version of yourself, contact a Cenegenics location near you.

Next Steps on How to Prevent Heart Disease

FREE Consultation

Our world class physicians create a personalized plan to help you feel 10+ years younger. You'll be more energetic, lose weight, sleep better, have more libido, and think more clearly. Click below to schedule a free consultation with one of our physicians. It's quick + easy. 

About the Contributor

Rudy Inaba 
Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise

Rudy Inaba is Cenegenics’ Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise. He is a recognized fitness and sports nutrition consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in clinical exercise physiology and lifestyle management. After pursuing his Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rudy joined Cenegenics where he leads 20 clinical locations nationwide in their advancements in kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, and their analyses of industry research & market trending.

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources: 

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.

Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

References

[1] National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NIH). “Know the Differences.” Retrieved from URL: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/sites/default/files/media/docs/Fact_Sheet_Know_Diff_Design.508_pdf.pdf

[2] Mayo Clinic. “Heart Disease.” 22 Mar. 2018. Retrieved from URL: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-disease/symptoms-causes/syc-20353118

[3] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Heart Disease Facts.” 28 Nov. 2017. Retrieved from URL: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm

[4] Mayo Clinic, see above.

[5] NIH. “Coronary Heart Disease.” Retrieved from URL: https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/coronary-heart-disease

[6] Resnick, Art, MD. “How Age and Gender Affect Your Heart.” Kaiser Permanente. 01 Mar. 2014. Retrieved from URL: https://wa.kaiserpermanente.org/healthAndWellness/index.jhtml?item=%2Fcommon%2FhealthAndWellness%2Fconditions%2FheartDisease%2FageAndGender.html

[7] NIH. “Diabetes, Heart Disease, and Stroke.” Feb. 2017. Retrieved from URL: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/preventing-problems/heart-disease-stroke

[8] SS Khan et al. “Association of Body Mass Index With Lifetime Risk of Cardiovascular Disease and Compression of Morbidity.” JAMA Cardiology. 1 Apr. 2018. Retrieved from URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/29490333

[9] NIH, see above.

[10] Apolipoprotein E [PDF]. (n.d.). Cleveland, OH: Cleveland Heart Lab. 

[11] Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH). (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/causes-of-high-cholesterol/familial-hypercholesterolemia-fh

[12] Frank W. Booth, Ph.D., et al. “Lack of exercise is a major cause of chronic diseases.” Comprehensive Physiology. 23 Nov. 2014. Retrieved from URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4241367/

[13] Morris, Nathaniel P. “Mental illness and heart disease are often found in the same patients.” The Washington Post. 18 Feb. 2017. Retreieved from URL: https://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/mental-illness-and-heart-disease-are-often-found-in-the-same-patients/2017/02/17/665e5dd0-ee1d-11e6-9973-c5efb7ccfb0d_story.html?utm_term=.88eb1b2db522

Cardiovascular disease is the number one killer of both men and women worldwide, learn how to identify risk factors such as smoking and chronic inflammation, Cenegenics can help you reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke with the Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention program

Healthy Heart: What is Heart Disease? Preventive Steps and Recognizing Symptoms

Wellness encompasses a healthy body, a sound mind, and a tranquil spirit. Enjoy the journey as you strive for wellness

Laurette Gagnon Beaulieu

What Is A Heart Disease?

Heart disease is a blanket term used to refer to coronary disease. Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a broad term encompassing diseases of the heart and blood vessels, including:

  • Heart attack
  • Coronary artery disease
  • Congestive heart failure and 
  • Stroke

Because CVD is the number-one killer of both men and women worldwide, identifying risk factors and prevention strategies for CVD are important steps toward avoiding health problems.

Preventing Heart Disease


Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention Program banner from Cenegenics

In adults, heart disease causes 25% of all deaths in the United States each year. While some genetic factors can lead many of us to a predisposition toward heart disease, there are several lifestyle choices and patterns of behavior that can greatly increase your risk.

Of the critical risk factors that can contribute to the development of heart disease over the course of your life, the top four are:

  1. High cholesterol
  2. High blood pressure
  3. Smoking
  4. Chronic inflammation

Secondary factors that can impact the health of your blood vessels include:

  1. Obesity
  2. Poor nutrition 
  3. Inactivity
  4. Excessive alcohol intake
  5. Diabetes

If you've already been diagnosed with heart disease, there are many factors you can address to reduce your risk of a heart attack.

Reducing Your Risk of Heart Attack


Arterial damage doesn't mean that you are doomed to a heart attack in the future, but it does mean that preventing heart attack will need to become a focus of your daily habits if you want to improve your coronary future. The American Heart Association offers a thorough checklist of changes after your first heart attack, but there's no reason you can't implement them earlier!

  1. Quit smoking. Contact your physician for any medications you can safely take to help you reduce withdrawal pangs. Build a new habit to replace the time you spent smoking.
  2. Move more. Start small by parking further from the store, or taking one flight of stairs instead of the elevator.
  3. Manage your current illnesses obsessively. Don't let diabetes or high blood pressure get out of control.
  4. Find ways to de-stress. This may mean playing with kittens at the Humane Society or taking a painting class. Feed your inner child!

Stopping Heart Disease


In addition to the four steps listed above, making a change in our diet can reduce your risk of a major cardiac event in the future. Increasing dietary fiber by increasing your consumption of fruit, vegetables, and unrefined whole grains may lessen the risk of future arterial damage and increase your chance of long-term coronary health. While switching to a vegan diet may be too large a jump for some, a Mediterranean-style diet is an easier (and delicious) change.

Get Tested


If you have a family history of heart disease, detailed testing of your current cardiac condition and personal genetic risk are critical, both for yourself and your offspring. By studying your current condition, future risks and corrective options now, you can plan for a future of bountiful health.

Cenegenics offers a Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention Program for current and new clients. Visit Cenegenics.com and sign up for your complimentary consultation.

Next Steps to Preventing Heart Disease


FREE Consultation

Our world class physicians create a personalized plan to help you feel 10+ years younger. You'll be more energetic, lose weight, sleep better, have more libido, and think more clearly. Click below to schedule a free consultation with one of our physicians. It's quick + easy. 

About the Contributor

Rudy Inaba 
Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise

Rudy Inaba is Cenegenics’ Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise. He is a recognized fitness and sports nutrition consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in clinical exercise physiology and lifestyle management. After pursuing his Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rudy joined Cenegenics where he leads 20 clinical locations nationwide in their advancements in kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, and their analyses of industry research & market trending.

Global Health Leader Launches Uniquely Advanced Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention Program, Centered on Next Generation Medicine

LAS VEGAS, NV (PRWEB) JANUARY 24, 2012

Cenegenics® Medical Institute launched a unique Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention Program this month that sets a new benchmark for preventive health, announced the age management medicine global leader. Partnering with three cardio-diagnostic leaders—Panasonic Healthcare Group, Berkeley HeartLab and Cleveland HeartLab™—Cenegenics created the most advanced program, combining the best aspects of the nation’s top laboratories who screen for cardiovascular disease. No other practice does that.

Cardiovascular disease claims more lives ever year than all cancers, diabetes, Alzheimer’s or accidents, per the AHA’s 2011 Heart Disease/Stroke update. Cenegenics is targeting the disease head on with next generation medicine and an innovative program designed by four experts in the field: Dr. Robert D. Willix, Jr., a former cardiovascular surgeon and Cenegenics’ Chief Medical Officer; and three cardiologists, Dr. George Shapiro (Cenegenics New York City), Dr. Cesar Pellerano (Cenegenics Miami) and Dr. Ernst Schwarz (professor of Medicine, UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine).

“Up until now, Cenegenics has focused entirely on age management medicine and proactive health. Our new Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention Program with an advanced screening technology is our first endeavor to not only target an illness, but show how our Cenegenics program can reduce the development of disease,” Willix said.

Cenegenics’ Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention Program is available to everyone, patient or not, and is recommended for a wide age group.

  •     Critical for future health—if you have a family history of heart disease or stroke
  •     Avoid future events—if you’ve had cardiovascular disease or had bypass surgery, heart attack or stroke
  •     Life saving—for everyone regardless of age, from 13 to 60 or older

“Can you prevent premature death, a heart attack or stroke? Yes, but you’ve got to know the warning signs. Cenegenics helps you do that with our unique Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention Program, which includes genetic screening, advanced lipid panels, laboratory markers for plaque formation and assessments for inflammatory markers—a cause of cardiovascular disease leading to tissue damage, organ destruction, shift in the cellular matrix as well as potential blood clots and heart attacks,” Willix said.

 

Learn more about Cenegenics’ Heart Disease & Stroke Prevention Program by calling 888.412.8769.

 

Visit Cenegenics’ Facebook Fan page, follow them on Twitter and get patient celebrity blogs, health tips and news on their portal site, CenegenicsPost.

For more information about Cenegenics, please visit them online, where you can register for quick access to the online Cenegenics Healthy Aging Kit: informative Guide to Healthy Aging, Executive Summary and media excerpts.

Physicians can learn more about age management medicine directly by calling Cenegenics: Or visit the Cenegenics physician site to learn more about Cenegenics’ highly regarded, CME-accredited Physician Training & Certification in Age Management Medicine program.

About Cenegenics


Cenegenics® Medical Institute has forged a paradigm shift in medicine, developing a proactive medical approach for optimized health hailed as “next generation medicine” and garnering worldwide media attention. Headquartered in Las Vegas, Cenegenics serves over 20,000 patients globally—2,000 are physicians and their families. Cenegenics has 19 centers with others opening in the near future: Las Vegas, Nevada; Charleston, South Carolina; Boca Raton, Florida; Dallas, Texas; Arlington, Texas; Atlanta, Georgia; Chicago, Illinois; Beverly Hills, California; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Washington, DC; New York City, NY; Tulsa, OK; Jacksonville, FL; Atlantic City, NJ; Houston,TX; Denver, CO; Scottsdale, AZ; Boston, MA. Cenegenics also offers CME-accredited physician training and certification opportunities in age management medicine via the nonprofit Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation (CERF).More from our newsroom

Human body shielded against viruses.

How the Immune System Works to Fight Disease

Think about your immune system as being an army, and it’s fighting infection.

Mikhail Varshavski

The immune system is essential to keeping us alive. Without it, the body would have no defense against viruses, bacteria, parasites, and other harmful agents. When everything is working as it should in the immune system, you won’t even notice it. Yet, when it becomes weakened or can’t fight especially powerful germs, that’s when things go awry.

Luckily, there are many things you can do to boost your immune system. But first, it’s important to understand how all the elements of the immune system work together.

What Is Your Immune System?

There are a few key players in the immune system which work to keep us healthy. These include different cells, organs, tissues, and proteins. Each of the following has an important role in fighting off disease:

  • Skin: Your skin is the primary line of defense against harmful invaders. Skin cells can create special proteins to fight off microbes, and each layer of skin uses unique immune cells to defend against disease.
  • Bone marrow: Within the bone marrow are stem cells. These powerful cells can transform into almost any other cell type. Some become immune cells, which are the body’s next line of defense against infection after the skin.
  • Bloodstream: The bloodstream is the key method of transportation for immune cells. They use the blood to travel throughout the body and look out for any signs of foreign invaders. Doctors also use a patient’s blood to look for changes in white blood cell levels.
  • Thymus: Located in the upper chest, the thymus is a small organ where certain immune cells mature.
  • Lymphatic system: The lymphatic system allows the immune system tissues and bloodstream to communicate. It’s made up of organs, vessels, and tissue. Immune cells meet in the lymph nodes, which are located in several places throughout the body. There, immune cells share information to activate the appropriate immune response.
  • Spleen: The spleen enriches immune cells. If harmful pathogens are present in the blood, immune cells will activate in this key organ, which is located behind the stomach.
  • Mucosal tissue: Within the respiratory tract and intestines, there are specialized immune hubs. There, immune cells patrol and take samples to look for any pathogens. [1]

How Does the Immune System Activate to Fight Disease?

Antibody Immunoglobulin

The main roles of the immune system:

  • Fights the germs that cause disease, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites.
  • Responds to harmful environmental substances.
  • Fights any changes in the body that cause disease.

When the body encounters something that it doesn’t recognize, the immune system responds. These foreign substances are called antigens. Viruses, bacteria, and fungi all have antigens. The first time the body comes into contact with an, special processes begin to fight it. The innate portion of the immune system uses cells such as natural killer cells to attack the invader. Many components of the immune system contain these cells. [2]

Next, the adaptive portion of the immune system creates antibodies. This allows the body to fight any germs which it has already encountered any time they reappear. The same response kicks in when you get a vaccine. Your body receives a small dose of the illness so it can create antibodies.

Naturally, the new illnesses which your body doesn’t yet have antibodies for pose the greatest threat. Yet, there are still ways to keep your immune system healthy so it can work its best.

What Can You Do to Strengthen Your Immune System?

From taking the best possible care of your body to maintaining good hygiene, here are a few simple things you can do to give your immune system the best chance of fighting off disease.

  • Eat well. Like any system in your body, the immune system needs plenty of nutrients to perform its best. Get plenty of lean protein, vegetables, and healthy fats in your diet.
  • Follow a regular sleep schedule. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body’s white blood cell production can suffer. Try to get at least seven hours of quality sleep each night. [3]
  • Exercise. Be sure to get moderate physical activity on most days of the week. This reduces your risk of catching viruses. [4] Avoid too much strenuous exercise if you’re concerned about your immune system, as exhausting the body could make it more prone to infection. [5]
  • Reduce stress. Find healthy coping mechanisms to handle stress. Consider meditating, journaling, practicing yoga, or another outlet to address any worries.
  • Disinfect your spaces. Wipe down surfaces such as doorknobs, countertops, light switches, and other key areas.
  • Maintain strong hygiene. Wash your hands often for at least 20 seconds. Avoid touching your face and stay away from anyone who may be ill.

In Conclusion – Immune Systems are the Body’s Defense Against Disease

The threat of new illnesses can be overwhelming. Yet, your body already has nature’s best defense against disease, the immune system. Plus, there’s still plenty you can do to stay in control of your health. By following the simple tips above, you can give your body the best chance of staying healthy. Here at Cenegenics®, we prime the immune system for peak performance by taking a highly scientific approach to fine-tuning the body at the cellular level.

About the Contributor

Rudy Inaba Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise

Rudy Inaba is Cenegenics’ Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise. He is a recognized fitness and sports nutrition consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in clinical exercise physiology and lifestyle management. After pursuing his Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rudy joined Cenegenics where he leads 20 clinical locations nationwide in their advancements in kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, and their analyses of industry research & market trending.

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources: 

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.

Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

Additional Resources

Understanding Preventive Care: Age Management vs Anti-Aging

Youth is a Feeling – Not a Number

Why Can’t I Sleep? – Clinical Explanations

The Main Causes of High Cholesterol | Road Map to a Heart Attack

The Role of Vitamins and Minerals as Micronutrients

Cenegenics Elite Health Program: Why You Should Consider Age Management Your Next Investment

Causes and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

What Is Age Management Medicine?

References

[1] Overview of the Immune System. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Derived from: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/research/immune-system-overview

[2] How does the immune system work? InformedHealth.org. Derived from:  https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK279364/

[3] Sleep deprivation effect on the immune system mirrors physical stress. National Sleep Foundation. Derived from: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/sleep-deprivation-effect-immune-system-mirrors-physical-stress

[4] Evaluation of immune response after moderate and overtraining exercise in wistar rat. Zahra Gholamnezhad, Abolfazl Khajavi Rad, Mohammad Hossein Boskabady, Mahmoud Hosseini, and Mojtaba Sankian. National Institutes of Health. Derived from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3938879/         

[5] The immune system and overtraining in athletes: clinical implications. AC Hackney and Koltun KJ. National Institute of Health. Derived from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23540172

cholesterol build up in arteries blocking significant blood flow

The Main Causes of High Cholesterol | Road Map to a Heart Attack

Healthy citizens are the greatest asset any country can have.

Winston S. Churchill

High cholesterol is very common in the U.S., but being commonplace doesn’t make it any less serious. While 95 million U.S. adults over the age of 20 are believed to have high cholesterol, it’s possible there are many more undiagnosed cases. [1] Oftentimes, people who have high cholesterol don’t know they have it. This is concerning considering the fact that high cholesterol is associated with serious health issues such as heart attack and stroke.

Despite its widespread nature, there are many things most of us don’t know about cholesterol. From understanding the differences between “good” and “bad” cholesterol to determining what you can do to improve your levels, there’s a lot to learn about this health phenomenon. Luckily, even if you’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol or have a family history of the condition, there are many risk factors within your power to change. Explore what you need to know about high cholesterol below.

What is High Cholesterol?


Cholesterol is a waxy substance naturally produced by the liver. It’s a type of lipid which is crucial to the development of cell membranes, vitamin D, and key hormones. Yet, while it plays a critical role in these functions, having high cholesterol can be dangerous—particularly when there’s too much “bad” cholesterol. Thus, to understand the ways in which cholesterol can impact our health, it’s important to first explore the different types.

Types of Cholesterol

Because cholesterol can’t dissolve or move through blood on its own, it must be attached to proteins to be transported throughout the body successfully. The combination of cholesterol and proteins is referred to as a lipoprotein. There are two main forms of lipoproteins:

  • Low-density lipoprotein (LDL): Also known as the “bad” type of cholesterol, LDL carries particles of cholesterol through the blood. It can also accumulate within the artery walls, causing them to harden and narrow.
  • High-density lipoprotein (HDL): Commonly referred to as the “good” cholesterol, HDL carries excess cholesterol back to the liver. 

If your body has too much LDL, you could face an increased risk for serious health issues. Alarmingly, however, high cholesterol exhibits no symptoms, and the only way to test for high cholesterol is to have a blood draw.

Causes of High Cholesterol


Mature man eating donut while holding a second donut in his hand

The causes of high cholesterol span far and wide. Some contributing factors are within an individual’s control to change, while others are not. For example, while diet, weight, and exercise levels can influence HDL, factors such as age, gender, and genes can also contribute to LDL or HDL levels. Thus, the best way to maintain healthy cholesterol levels and thus support better cardiovascular health, is to focus on the factors within your control to change. Let’s take a closer look at the causes behind high cholesterol.

  • Diet: Cholesterol comes from two sources. While the liver produces all the cholesterol the body needs, we also take in cholesterol from foods derived from animals. This isn’t to say that eating meat or dairy products is bad for you. Foods with trans fats, however, cause the liver to produce even more cholesterol, which can lead to high cholesterol levels in some individuals. In addition to heavily processed animal products with trans fats, many baked goods can also trigger the liver to produce excess cholesterol. [5] 
  • Exercise Habits: Having a sedentary lifestyle can contribute to high LDL cholesterol. Regular aerobic activity, in particular, can help control LDL and in some cases promote healthy HDL levels. [6]
  • Weight: A large waist circumference and obesity are also associated with high cholesterol. [7]
  • Smoking: Smoking can lower your good HDL cholesterol, but it can compromise cardiovascular health in many other ways. In itself, smoking can increase the buildup of plaque in the blood vessels, damage the cells that line the blood vessels, and cause the vessels to thicken and narrow. [8]
  • Age & Gender: Cholesterol levels tend to rise naturally as we age. Prior to menopause, women’s total cholesterol levels tend to be lower than their male peers. After reaching menopause, however, their LDL cholesterol levels tend to rise, and HDL may also decrease. [9]
  • Hereditary Factors: Genetics play a role in the amount of cholesterol the body produces. High cholesterol can run in families, so individuals with relatives who have high cholesterol should be especially proactive in getting their levels checked.

Dangers of High Cholesterol


mature man gripping chest while sitting on couch in pain, mature man having heart attack on couch at home alone

Having high LDL cholesterol increases the risk for heart disease, the leading cause of death in the U.S. [2] Heart disease refers to a range of conditions which can affect the heart, many of which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Also known as hypercholesterolemia, high LDL increases fatty deposits within the arteries, thereby also increasing the risk of blockages. When cholesterol builds up on the artery walls, it forms what’s known as a cholesterol plaque. This plaque can restrict blood flow, also increasing risk for blood clot. Should a blood clot block the artery in the heart or brain, it can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

The good news is that high cholesterol can be treated with medication and managed through lifestyle modifications. First, however, you must know where you stand. Here is a general scale of LDL cholesterol numbers and what they mean.

  • Less than 100: optimal
  • 100-129: near optimal
  • 130-159: borderline
  • 160-189: high
  • 190 or higher: very high [3]

Keep in mind that in addition to having high LDL, having low HDL (again, the “good” cholesterol) can also put you at risk for heart disease. Thus, this too should be measured, with an ideal score of 60 or more. If HDL is less than 40, it could be considered a risk factor. [4]

The American Heart Association advises every adult over the age of 20 to have their cholesterol tested every four to six years, but these figures will vary based on the factors outlined above and on previous clinical indications.

Should high cholesterol be discovered in your blood test results, there are many ways to begin controlling it.

How to Lower Cholesterol Levels


Mature couple jogging and running outdoors in the city, Mature couple carrying reusable water bottles while jogging through the city

Lifestyle and diet changes are among the most effective ways to prevent and lower LDL. Additionally, if you’re a smoker and haven’t already done so, make a plan to quit. Here, we’ll explore some detailed changes that work well for lowering LDL cholesterol.

Dietary Changes

While there are many wise eating habits you can incorporate into your dietary plan to improve cholesterol levels, the lowest cholesterol levels are found in diets with the highest soluble fibers. [10] Diets high in soluble fiber often align with the typical anti-inflammatory diet, which emphasize foods like kidney beans, Brussels sprouts, and apples. Soluble fiber has the ability to reduce cholesterol absorption in the blood, making it a powerful nutrient for individuals with high LDL cholesterol. [11]

Additionally, eliminating trans fats found in margarine and store-bought, processed snack foods can help to reduce cholesterol. Individuals may also wish to incorporate foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as walnuts, flaxseeds, salmon, and mackerel. While these foods won’t affect LDL cholesterol themselves, they do have other cardiovascular benefits, such as the ability to help reduce blood pressure.

Exercise

Regular physical activity can support better cholesterol by increasing HDL. [12] Generally, most individuals can benefit from 30 minutes of exercise five times per week, or 20 minutes of high-intensity exercise three times a week. With that being said, it’s important for each person to work with an experienced physician who can make exercise recommendations based on the individual’s starting physical health.

Losing weight is another helpful way to control cholesterol, which can often be achieved with a strategic approach to dieting and exercising. Reducing alcohol consumption may also help to control cholesterol levels.

In some cases, medications may be needed in conjunction with the lifestyle and dietary changes described above to control especially high cholesterol levels. Even if medications are needed, maintaining a healthy lifestyle can help keep medication doses as low as possible. 

Understanding Your Risk for High Cholesterol – In Conclusion


Because it exhibits no outward symptoms, high cholesterol is a dangerous threat to health, which can have serious implications if left unaddressed. Its impact on heart health cannot be overstated, and while there are some factors which are beyond an individual’s control to change, many behaviors that influence cholesterol can be modified.

At Cenegenics, your individualized treatment plan begins with a comprehensive lab panel to test for underlying health issues, such as high LDL or low LDL cholesterol. Based on the findings, our clinical team devises tailored roadmaps to help you become healthier and enjoy a better overall quality of life. For instance, while our approach to healthy eating and exercise will certainly help to lower high cholesterol with ongoing compliance, it can also support weight loss, improved cardiovascular health, and reduced risk for disease. With the knowledge that the many measures of health are complex and often interconnected, we treat the entire patient, not just a single symptom or isolated condition.

If you’re interested in controlling your cholesterol and optimizing your wellness overall, contact your nearest Cenegenics location for more information.

Next Steps to Controlling Your Cholesterol

FREE
Consultation

Our world class physicians create a personalized plan to help you feel 10+ years younger. You'll be more energetic, lose weight, sleep better, have more libido, and think more clearly. Click below to schedule a free consultation with one of our physicians. It's quick + easy. 

About the Contributor

Rudy Inaba 
Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise

Rudy Inaba is Cenegenics’ Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise. He is a recognized fitness and sports nutrition consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in clinical exercise physiology and lifestyle management. After pursuing his Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rudy joined Cenegenics where he leads 20 clinical locations nationwide in their advancements in kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, and their analyses of industry research & market trending.

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources: 

Textbook of Age Management Medicine Vol.1

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook of Age Management Medicine Vol.2

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.

Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

References

[1] CDC, “High Cholesterol Facts.” 6 Feb. 2019. Retrieved from URL: https://www.cdc.gov/cholesterol/facts.htm 

[2] CDC; see above.

[3] Cleveland Clinic, “Cholesterol Numbers: What Do They Mean.” 26 July 2017. Retrieved from URL: https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/11920-cholesterol-numbers-what-do-they-mean

[4] Cleveland Clinic, see above.

[5] American Heart Association, “Control Your Cholesterol.” 30 Apr. 2017. Retrieved from URL: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/about-cholesterol

[6] Bhatt, Ami, MD, FACC. “Cholesterol: Understanding HDL vs. LDL.” Harvard Health. 12 Apr. 2018. Retrieved from URL: https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/understanding-cholesterol-hdl-vs-ldl-2018041213608

[7] Bhatt, Ami; see above.

[8] CDC, “Smoking and Heart Disease and Stroke.” 28 Jan. 2019. Retrieved from URL: https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/diseases/heart-disease-stroke.html

[9] Cleveland Clinic; see above.

[10] Leake, Jeffrey Park, M.D., CPT and Greenberg, Todd David, M.D., CSCS. The Textbook of Age Management Medicine: Volume 1. 2015, Leake-Greenberg Ventures. (125)

[11] Mayo Clinic. “Top 5 lifestyle changes to improve your cholesterol.” 11 Aug. 2018. Retrieved from URL: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/high-blood-cholesterol/in-depth/reduce-cholesterol/art-20045935

[12] Mayo Clinic; see above.

Mature male in business suit stretching his back as he sits at desk

The Link Between Chronic Inflammation & Deadly Diseases

Reduce inflammation to treat the root of many issues. If your gut isn't working right it can cause so many other issues.

Dan Millman

Acute inflammation is part of the body’s immune response and is a natural way to defend against harmful stimuli. Without it, wounds and infection wouldn’t be able to heal. Yet, there’s another type of inflammation which occurs on an ongoing basis –chronic inflammation – that has serious health implications.

Chronic inflammation is central to many chronic conditions and ailments – especially those that are more likely to develop with age. Thus, controlling inflammation is integral to maintaining a long, healthy life.

Although we have many bits and pieces of data on inflammation, we have yet to put the complex puzzle together. For instance, while we know inflammatory factors influence our health, we still don’t know the exact degree to which each factor affects us.

What we do know, however, is that inflammation is inextricably linked to disease, and that tools that can help resolve inflammatory issues are invaluable for improving our quality of life. In this guide, we’ll explore some of the critical implications of inflammation, as well as ways to control it.

The Dangers of Chronic Inflammation


Acute inflammation takes place when your body is exposed to toxins, injuries, and infections. The immune system releases inflammatory cells to heal tissue, and blood vessels leak fluid to the affected area. This results in the telltale symptoms of redness, pain, and swelling.

Mature man with beard gripping chest while support himself on mint green wall

Chronic inflammation, on the other hand, is systemic and affects a number of functions throughout the body. It’s characterized by inflammatory cells within the blood vessels, which allow dangerous plaque to accumulate. This spurs a vicious cycle in which the body sends more inflammatory responders (white blood cells) to combat the plaque.

The plaque continues to accumulate, thickening the artery walls and increasing the risk for heart attack or stroke. [1] One inflammatory protein in particular, interleukin-6 receptor, appears to be involved in the development of plaque in the arteries. [2]

Another biomarker of inflammation is high-sensitivity C-reactive protein, or CRP. This protein is produced by the liver when widespread inflammation occurs throughout the body. Large elevations of CRP are commonly related to acute responses in the immune system, but can also indicate disease. In specific, continuous, slightly elevated levels of CRP are commonly associated with chronic inflammatory risk factors.

Thus, it comes as no surprise that chronic inflammation also plays a role in the constituents of what has been termed “metabolic syndrome,” or the constellation of disorders that precedes the formal diagnosis of type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Metabolic syndrome is an intermediary state of one or more conditions which may include obesity, a trend toward insulin resistance, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol.

Chronic Inflammatory Diseases


Beyond cardiovascular issues, inflammation raises concerns as a risk factor for other diseases. For example, in autoimmune conditions such as ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease, the immune cells attack the digestive tract, targeting even the healthy bacteria living in the gut. While experts remain unsure exactly why only certain individuals have this response, it appears to be a result of combined genetic, environmental, and dietary factors. Stress management and taking antibiotics may contribute to risk too.

When it occurs in the joints, inflammation can also cause damaging conditions such as psoriatic arthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Stiffness and pain can occur, and because the conditions are chronic; there is no lasting cure, although lifestyle management techniques may help.

Conditions of Chronic Inflammation

Chronic inflammation contributes to the following damaging conditions: 

  • Psoriatic arthritis

  • Rheumatoid arthritis

  • Stiffness and pain

  • Increased risk of cancer

  • Weakened immune system

  • Breathing issues

  • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD)

  • Infection

  • Asthma

  • Periodontal disease

  • Alzheimer's disease

  • Lupus

  • Depression

Indeed, the potential implications of chronic inflammation span far and wide. A significant amount of research has been conducted exploring the link between inflammation and disease. Although further, more conclusive studies must still be done, here are some of the most noteworthy observations to bear in mind:

  • High levels of inflammation may increase risk of cancer. Specifically, inflammatory diets have been linked to a 63% increase in colorectal cancer risk. When immune cells produce inflammation it impacts the body’s ability to regulate the immune response, allowing diseases like cancer to thrive. [3]
  • When seen in the lungs, inflammation can cause serious breathing issues including chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), infection, and asthma. [4]
  • Inflammation is seen in periodontal disease, which is also thought to be a precursor of heart disease. When inflammation occurs in the mouth, it’s typically a response to bacteria which can be found elsewhere in the body. [5]
  • Inflammation in the brain is believed to contribute to Alzheimer’s disease. Originally, it was believed that inflammation couldn’t affect the brain due to the blood-brain barrier. Now, however, scientists know that immune cells do infiltrate the brain when a person becomes distressed. [6]
  • Chronic inflammation has also been associated with a host of other conditions, including lupus and potentially even depression. [7]

Based on these insights, the case for controlling chronic inflammation is compelling. Yet, to know how to combat it, we must first understand where it comes from.

Where Does Inflammation Come From?

Unfortunately, identifying the precise factors that lead to inflammation and why some people appear to be more sensitive to them than others isn’t so simple. What is clear, however, is that diet appears to be one of the most significant influencers. In particular, inflammatory factors parallel glycemic load and insulin sensitivity. While glycemic load refers to carbohydrates’ impact on the body and blood sugar, insulin sensitivity is a measure of how sensitive the cells are to insulin.

Thus, the National Health Service’s finding that a diet with a high content of processed foods, such as soft drinks, refined grains, and processed meats, is correlated with inflammatory biomarker levels makes perfect sense. Processed foods are typically high in chemical additives, which is why low-inflammation diets prescribe avoidance of them.

It isn’t just food that can elicit an inflammatory response, however. Chronic stress, obesity, smoking, and alcohol are also thought to trigger inflammation. Long-term exposure to irritants, including pollution or industrial chemicals, can also contribute. [8]

With this in mind, we’ll review some effective ways to control inflammation in the next section.

How to Control Inflammation


What Can You Do to Control Inflammation

The body's inflammatory response can be regulated by the following: 

  • Improve diet

  • Quit smoking

  • Manage stress

  • Improve sleep quality

  • Exercise regimen

As mentioned above, not all inflammation is bad, but in the interest of wellness and disease prevention controlling chronic inflammation is essential. This often requires a number of lifestyle adjustments. Primarily, the following factors appear to have the most significant impact on regulating the body’s inflammatory response. 

Diet

Mature woman cutting peppers in home kitchen with colorful vegetables layed out in front of board

Today, there are many variations of low inflammatory diets. In particular, diets low in carbohydrates have shown to significantly reduce inflammation, especially in obese individuals. [9] Additionally, the Mediterranean and DASH diets can help to lower inflammation levels.

Anti-inflammatory foods such as those rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, including nuts and the spices ginger and curry, should be prioritized, while known pro-inflammatory foods including refined and processed foods (especially carbohydrates) should be avoided.

Smoking

Mature man in stripped business suit smoking a cigar

The impact of smoking on immunity is complex, with both harmful inflammatory responses and immune system suppression taking place. [10] The toxic effects of smoking are too far-reaching to list, which is why anyone who hasn’t already done so should develop a plan to quit.

Stress

Mature blonde woman gripping forehead due to headache

The body’s natural fight or flight reaction helped our ancestors respond quickly to threats, and it’s also what helps us perform well under pressure today. Yet, stress also triggers hormonal responses linked to inflammation, which is why chronic stress and inflammation go hand-in-hand. Thus, finding healthy ways to control stress is key in staying healthy and minimizing disease risk.

Sleep

Mature man sleeping in bed with white sheets

Several pro-inflammatory markers are associated with sleep duration, and inflammation can result from even one night of missed sleep. For each hour of sleep deprivation, inflammatory markers increase by 8%. [11] The link between sleep duration and cardiovascular disease may be stronger than we previously thought, so diagnosing and addressing any sleep disorders, such as obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is critically important to long-term health.

Exercise

Mature man and woman jogging in park while listening to music

One of the most critical pieces of the inflammation puzzle, exercise is perhaps the best tool we have alongside diet for reducing chronic inflammation. While fat is an inflammatory organ, muscle is an anti-inflammatory organ. Just 20 minutes of exercise per day can suppress the activation of pro-inflammatory agents in the body. [12] Working out consistently also reduces mortality, CVD, osteoporosis, and breast cancer risk, while also improving cognition.

Understanding and Controlling Chronic Inflammation – In Conclusion


It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by all of the factors contributing to inflammation, and the many serious conditions to which it’s linked. Nonetheless, age management specialists like our clinicians at Cenegenics are committed to taking a comprehensive approach to help you manage your body’s inflammatory response.

With tailored exercise and dietary programs as well as robust blood panels and diagnostics, our experts pinpoint any concerns tied to inflammation and offer detailed, individualized solutions to help you optimize both your current health and long-term wellness.

If you’re interested in exploring how Cenegenics can help you combat chronic inflammation, contact your nearest center today.

Next Steps in Understanding Chronic Inflammation

FREE
Consultation

Our world class physicians create a personalized plan to help you feel 10+ years younger. You'll be more energetic, lose weight, sleep better, have more libido, and think more clearly. Click below to schedule a free consultation with one of our physicians. It's quick + easy. 

About the Contributor

Rudy Inaba 
Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise

Rudy Inaba is Cenegenics’ Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise. He is a recognized fitness and sports nutrition consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in clinical exercise physiology and lifestyle management. After pursuing his Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rudy joined Cenegenics where he leads 20 clinical locations nationwide in their advancements in kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, and their analyses of industry research & market trending.

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources: 

Textbook of Age Management Medicine Vol. 1

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook of Age Management Medicine Vol. 2

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.

Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

References

[1] DiCorleto, Paul, PhD. “Why You Should Pay Attention to Chronic Inflammation.” Cleveland Clinic. 14 Oct. 2014. Retrieved from URL: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/why-you-should-pay-attention-to-chronic-inflammation/

[2] Nadeem Sarwar, et al. “interleukin-6 receptor pathways in coronary heart disease: a collaborative meta-analysis of 82 studies.” The Lancet. 31 Mar. 2012. Retrieved from URL: https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(11)61931-4/fulltext

[3] Fred K. Tabung, MSPH, PhD, et al. “Association of Dietary Inflammatory Potential With Colorectal Cancer Risk in Men and Women.” JAMA Oncology. March 2018. Retrieved from URL: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamaoncology/article-abstract/2669777

[4] MacMillan, Amanda. “13 Ways Inflammation Can Affect Your Health.” Health.com 04 March 2015. Retrieved from URL: https://www.health.com/health/gallery/0,,20898778,00.html?slide=91725#91725

[5] MacMillan, see above.

[6] Cleveland Clinic, see above.

[7] Anft, Michael. “Understanding Inflammation.” Johns Hopkins Health Review. Spring/Summer 2016. Retrieved from URL: https://www.johnshopkinshealthreview.com/issues/spring-summer-2016/articles/understanding-inflammation

[8] Han, Seunggu, MD. “Understanding and Managing Chronic Inflammation.” Healthline. 27 Jul. 2018. Retrieved from URL: https://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-inflammation

[9] Y. Gu, et al. “Very low carbohydrate diet significantly alters the serum metabolic profiles in obese subjects.” Journal of Proteome Research. 6 Dec. 2013. Retrieved from URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24224694

[10] J. Lee, et al. “Cigarette Smoking and Inflammation.” Journal of Dental Research. Feb. 2012. Retrieved from URL: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3261116/

[11] Leake, Jeffrey Park, M.D., CPT and Greenberg, Todd David, M.D., CSCS. The Textbook of Age Management Medicine: Volume 1. Leake-Greenberg Ventures, LLC. 2015. p. 335.

[12] Stoyan Dimitrov, et al. “Inflammation and exercise: Inhibition of monocytic intracellular TNF production by acute exercise via β2-andrenergic activation.” Brain, Behavior, and Immunity. Vol. 61, March 2017. Retrieved from URL: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0889159116305645

Mature man working from contemporary home.

Productive & Healthy Tips when Working from Home

Either you run the day or the day runs you. 

Jim Rohn

If you’re recently working from home, you may be experiencing challenges as you adapt to your new arrangement. After all, you’ve gotten used to your work life and routine. Even if a break from a stressful commute and other daily irritations may be welcome, by now you may also be finding that working from home isn’t as ideal as you thought it might be.

Now more than ever, it’s essential for you to focus on your mental and physical wellbeing. Work can actually be a timely distraction right now, but it’s also important to find balance. You should ensure professional stressors don’t compound any worries you may already be experiencing. To make your time working from home stress-free, the Cenegenics® team shares a few tips below. 

Many of our patients come from demanding fields, and for some of them, remote work is nothing new. Our clinicians are therefore experienced in helping patients strike a meaningful work/life balance and staying healthy by promoting wellness at every age. With stress management, exercise, and nutritional recommendations, our team helps patients reverse their biological age, rebalancing the body to where it was during their 20s and 30s. They take a highly scientific approach to get the body perfectly tuned at the cellular level, thereby setting them up for optimal performance both professionally and physically. See what they recommend for staying healthy and productive while working from home below.

#1. Master Video Calls


While nothing can replace in-person communications, video conferences are the next best thing. Stay in touch with your teams by having regular virtual check-ins. Make sure your home office is equipped with the technology you’ll need, including a desktop or laptop with a microphone and camera. Test out multiple video chat platform in advance to make sure there are no snags when it’s time for an important professional call.

#2. Maintain a Routine

Routines play an important role in mental health: when we’re organized and know what to expect, we’re better able to keep symptoms of conditions like depression, addiction, and bipolar disorder at bay. Plus, people with stable daytime routines have healthier sleep cycles and are better able to resist impulsiveness. [1]

While there may be some hiccups at first, it’s important to establish and maintain a healthy work routine, even when you’re at home. Get out of bed right when your alarm goes off and resist the urge to hit snooze. While you don’t have to put on your business casual clothing, change out of what you slept in to gear yourself up mentally for the day. Set a lunch time, and “clock out” by walking away from your desk when the day is over. While it may feel like you can let projects run into the night while you’re at home, it’s important to give yourself the time to refresh mentally, which brings us to our next point.

#3. Take Breaks


When there’s little separation between your home space and your work space, it’s easy to get stuck in “work mode” around the clock. Yet, this approach is unhealthy and can actually backfire on your work and mental health. Research shows that overworked employees experience chronic stress, which has been linked to everything from irritability to digestive problems and trouble sleeping. [2]

Over time, chronic stress can also have serious long-term implications on health, including an elevated risk for:  

Breaks during your workday at home may not come as naturally as they would in the office. At work, you might need to get up from your desk to touch base with a colleague, but at home, you could easily find yourself going hours without moving from your desk. Being sedentary presents its own health problems, such as poor blood circulation and increased inflammation. [4] Thus, it’s critically important to take frequent breaks. Set an alarm or reminder on your phone to stand up every hour. Take this time to get up and stretch, walk to refill your glass of water, or even do a few jumping jacks. Don’t forget to take a lunch break, either.

#4. Eat a Healthy Breakfast, Lunch, & Snacks

A set of plated salads. Rustic style. Top view.

You probably had an eating routines before you started working from home, but now that you’re not rushing out the door, you may be able to dedicate a bit more time to your meals and snacks. The food choices we make have significant effects on health, mood, and cognitive performance. [5]

Of course, it can be challenging to come up with healthy breakfast options. Here are a few tips to help:

  • Purchase frozen veggies, like spinach, which you can blend into a smoothie or throw into an omelet.
  • Stock up on plain Greek yogurt and top it off with fresh or frozen fruit instead of choosing sugary varieties.
  • Think outside the box by eating nontraditional breakfast foods in the morning. Breakfast salads and soups can still satisfy your appetite; there’s no reason your first meal has to fall under the traditional “breakfast” category. Instead, aim for nutritional value by incorporating protein, healthy fats, and vegetables.

Don’t overlook the importance of lunch, either. While you may not be able to have your go-to salad from your favorite restaurant, you can still make healthy choices at home. Cook up some frozen chicken at the beginning of the week and reheat it with a side of greens for a quick and easy weekday lunch. Or, prep a big batch of wholesome chili to last you through most of the week. 

Although it takes a little more effort to make healthy snacks the health benefits are ample. Whole foods (fruits & vegetables), animal and vegetarian/vegan protein, and combination snacks are often the most efficient for curbing appetite, maintaining energy, and helping to sustain a regular metabolic rate. Our Cenegenics® physician and clinical team work to provide custom tailored nutritional plans. They help make adjustments based on your lifestyle demands and they help you to effectively utilize your time.

#5. Make Time for Exercise

When you’re not physically going into an office, your daily activity is likely to drop. You won’t be walking to and from your car or taking the stairs, for instance. The good news is that without a daily commute, you might have more time for exercise than you normally would. You might even be able to fit a workout in during your lunch break.

Regular exercise helps to:

For these reasons, you should be aiming for about 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity, such as brisk walks, each day, or shorter bursts of high-intensity interval training. You can also mix up the two to keep things fresh. Fortunately, even when you can’t get to a gym, there are still plenty of heart-pounding workouts you can do at home. Cenegenics® clinical team is always available with support and suggestions.   

#6. Set a “No Interruptions” Time

You’re probably finding yourself with a whole new crew of “coworkers”, your spouse, children, and pets. To ensure your ability to concentrate, it’s important to set boundaries during work time. It may take some fine-tuning to establish a schedule that works for the whole family, but make sure that anyone who needs it can have uninterrupted periods of time dedicated exclusively to work.

#7. Find Ways to Decompress

Switching out of work mode generally takes some time, so give yourself a little bit of a buffer between ending your work day and interacting with family. Take this time to jot down your priorities for tomorrow, go for a quick walk, or even do a short round of yoga. 

#8. Save Household Projects for Later

Working in your home environment may have you crossing paths with piles of laundry, a cluttered closet, or other reminders of everything that needs to get done around the house throughout the day. The weekday hours should be reserved for home projects. Again, the importance of maintaining a regular schedule cannot be overstated.    

#9. Resist the Urge to Scroll Endlessly

Since you’re not physically at work, you may find yourself giving in to distractions a bit more easily. As we mentioned above, breaks are certainly important for your physical and mental health, and they can allow you to come back to work refreshed and ready to go. Yet, your breaks shouldn’t consist of scrolling through the news or social media endlessly. The National Alliance on Mental Illness recommends approaching news consumption mindfully. [7] Limit your sources for updates to trusted authorities and try to consume only need-to-know news instead of clicking on every headline.

Staying Productive While Working From Home – In Conclusion

While it’s everyone’s priority to simply get through these challenging times, now is also a good opportunity to focus on your physical and mental health. Cenegenics® patients, including a high population of doctors and their families, trust in our physicians to help them feel dramatically better within 30 to 60 days on the program, and thus better equipped physically and mentally to manage any challenges life presents. We’ve pioneered the medical specialty of age management medicine to help our patients navigate optimal wellness at every stage of life, and one of our doctors even wrote the book on the subject, which is now used to teach other doctors. Don’t just take our word for it, though—visit the Cenegenics® reviews page to find out why so many satisfied patients continue to stay on the program and feel their best.

If you’re ready to find out more about what to expect on the program, learn about the Elite Health Evaluation, or inquire about Cenegenics®’ cost, contact your nearest location to set up a free consultation.

Next Steps – Learn about more Healthy Lifestyle Tips

FREE
Consultation

Our world class physicians create a personalized plan to help you feel 10+ years younger. You'll be more energetic, lose weight, sleep better, have more libido, and think more clearly. Click below to schedule a free consultation with one of our physicians. It's quick + easy. 

About the Contributor

Rudy Inaba 
Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise

Rudy Inaba is Cenegenics’ Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise. He is a recognized fitness and sports nutrition consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in clinical exercise physiology and lifestyle management. After pursuing his Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rudy joined Cenegenics where he leads 20 clinical locations nationwide in their advancements in kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, and their analyses of industry research & market trending.

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources: 

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.

Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

References

[1] The Power of Routines in Your Mental Health. Plata, Mariana. Psychology Today. Derived from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-gen-y-psy/201810/the-power-routines-in-your-mental-health

[2] New Study Shows Correlation Between Employee Engagement And The Long-Lost Lunch Break. Kohll, Alan. Forbes. Derived from: https://www.forbes.com/sites/alankohll/2018/05/29/new-study-shows-correlation-between-employee-engagement-and-the-long-lost-lunch-break/#16c03fd04efc

[3] Health consequences. Medical News Today. Derived from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323324#health-consequences

[4] Health Risks of an Inactive Lifestyle. U.S. National Library of Medicine. Derived from: https://medlineplus.gov/healthrisksofaninactivelifestyle.html

[5] Breakfast: The most important meal of the day? Spence, Charles. Science Direct. Derived from: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1878450X17300045

[6] Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity. Mayo Clinic. Derived from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389

[7] Coronavirus: Mental Health Coping Strategies. Ponte, Katherine BA, JD, MBA, CPRP. National Alliance on Mental Health. Derived from: https://www.nami.org/Blogs/NAMI-Blog/March-2020/Coronavirus-Mental-Health-Coping-Strategies

Managing Stress and the Immune System

It’s not the load that breaks you down, it’s the way you carry it. 

Lou Holtz

Medical experts have long suspected an important link between the immune system and stress. In recent decades, their suspicions have been confirmed through research. The body’s stress response, while meant to protect us in the face of danger, can actually wreak havoc on our ability to fight off illness and can even contribute to disease over a prolonged basis.

Fortunately, Cenegenics is here to help. While it’s not always easy to keep worries at bay — especially during uncertain times — we’ve pioneered the medical specialty of age management and are well-suited to help patients develop healthy coping mechanisms that will benefit their immune system. Discover our insights for tackling stress to improve immunity below.

The Link between the Immune System and Stress

When we experience stress, the brain sends defense signals to the endocrine system. In response, it releases a surge of hormones to prepare the body for fighting an emergency. On a short-term basis, this function serves us well: it allows us to react quickly and appropriately in dangerous or high-stakes situations.

Yet, this response also suppresses our immunity. It releases cortisol, which in turn decreases white blood cells and natural killer cells (special cells which fight tumors and viruses), leading to an increased rate of infection and tissue damage. Slight dips in immunity from time to time aren’t cause for concern, but when stress persists over a continual basis, its effects become cumulative and can significantly impact the immune system. [1]

Stress responses affect the body on many levels. For one, they impact the digestive system: adrenaline spikes caused by stress can create stomach ulcers, for instance. The stress response also increases the heart rate, straining the circulatory system and ultimately raising blood pressure. Over time, the elevated heart rate can result in an accelerated buildup of cholesterol, leaving individuals more susceptible to cardiovascular problems. [2] Clearly, stress and the immune system go hand-in-hand, and increased or prolonged exposure to stressors can have a domino effect on the body’s ability to fight illness.

While chronic stress is indeed dangerous, the harmful effects of stress can even manifest over a short period of time. In studying medical students, researchers have found that immunity dropped for students during a three-day span of exams. Not only did the students have fewer natural killer cells, but they nearly stopped producing immunity-boosting gamma interferon. T-cells, which fight infections, also showed a diminished response. [3]

It therefore should come as no surprise that stress is linked to a number of serious health conditions, including:

In fact, some experts believe stress could be responsible for up to 90% of illness and serious disease. [4] Left unaddressed, high stress causes sustained levels of inflammation, which has been linked to the progression of many immune system disorders including:

  • Fibromyalgia
  • Lupus
  • Psoriasis
  • Arthritis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease [5]

Fortunately, there are ways to control stress, and thus, its effects on the immune system.

What Can You Do to Control Stress?

Businessman meditating in lotus pose

Since stress and the immune system will always be inextricably tied, the best way to prevent stressors from compromising immunity is to find healthy de-stressors. Here are a few practices to implement into your routine.

  • Meditate: Even if you’ve never tried it before, setting brief periods of time aside for mindfulness can help minimize stress and anxiety. According to research, 10 to 15-minute sessions of meditation practiced three to four times per week can reduce cortisol levels and inflammation, while also preventing chromosomal breakdowns linked to cancer and premature aging. [6]
  • Yoga: Another simple yet powerful stress-relieving practice, yoga reduces the levels of stress hormones in the body and eases the nervous system. It often incorporates deep breathing, which can actually improve your body’s ability to resist infections. Inverted poses, such as downward facing dog and shoulder stands, help to filter toxins from the body by circulating fluid through the lymphatic system. [7]
  • Social support: Research indicates people with strong social connections have better health overall and are better able to resist infections and diseases. [8] In studies, college students without established friendship circles showed higher levels of the stress hormone cortisol than their peers, and researchers identified a weakened immune response caused by loneliness. [9] Staying socially active, even if it’s just via FaceTime or phone calls, can help mitigate stress and its effects.

Of course, there are several other ways to minimize stress, including regular exercise, which can further boost the body’s immune system. Regular physical fitness can flush bacteria from the airways, reducing the risk of illness, and generate positive changes in antibodies and white blood cell levels. [10] Similarly, getting ample sleep and following a healthy diet can produce immune-boosting effects which could help to alleviate health-related worries, even if they don’t necessarily lead to immediate reductions in stress.

Importance of Stress Management – In Conclusion

Combatting stress should be a priority for all individuals, not only for its effects on mental health but to control its impact on our physical wellbeing, too. Here at Cenegenics, we not only recommend healthy practices for coping with stress, but we also prime the immune system for peak performance by taking a highly scientific approach to fine-tuning the body at the cellular level. Patients in our program have an advantage when it comes to avoiding and fighting off illness: their biological clock has been reversed and their body has been rebalanced to where it was in their 20s and 30s. As a result, they feel better within 30 to 60 days of starting the program — just see what they have to say on our Cenegenics review page.

We’re the “doctor’s doctor,” with 25% of our patient base comprising physicians and their family members. If you’re ready to see why so many experts trust us with their wellness, want to inquire about Cenegenics’ cost, or simply have questions about the program, don’t hesitate to contact your nearest location today.

Next Steps – Reinforce your Immune Health

FREEConsultation

Our world class physicians create a personalized plan to help you feel 10+ years younger. You’ll be more energetic, lose weight, sleep better, have more libido, and think more clearly. Click below to schedule a free consultation with one of our physicians. It’s quick + easy.

About the Contributor

Rudy Inaba Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise

Rudy Inaba is Cenegenics’ Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise. He is a recognized fitness and sports nutrition consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in clinical exercise physiology and lifestyle management. After pursuing his Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rudy joined Cenegenics where he leads 20 clinical locations nationwide in their advancements in kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, and their analyses of industry research & market trending.

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources:

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.

Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

Additional Resources

Understanding Preventive Care: Age Management vs Anti-Aging

Youth is a Feeling – Not a Number

Why Can’t I Sleep? – Clinical Explanations

The Main Causes of High Cholesterol | Road Map to a Heart Attack

The Role of Vitamins and Minerals as Micronutrients

Cenegenics Elite Health Program: Why You Should Consider Age Management Your Next Investment

Causes and Symptoms of Anxiety Disorders

What Is Age Management Medicine?

References

[1] How Stress Affects the Immune System. Goliszek, Andrew Ph.D. Psychology Today. Derived from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/how-the-mind-heals-the-body/201411/how-stress-affects-the-immune-system

[2] Stress, Illness and the Immune System. McLeod, Saul. Simply Psychology. Derived from: https://www.simplypsychology.org/stress-immune.html

[3] See above. Derived from: https://www.simplypsychology.org/stress-immune.html

[4] See above. Derived from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/how-the-mind-heals-the-body/201411/how-stress-affects-the-immune-system

[5] What Happens When Your Immune System Gets Stressed Out? Cleveland Clinic. Derived from: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-happens-when-your-immune-system-gets-stressed-out/

[6] See above. Derived from: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-happens-when-your-immune-system-gets-stressed-out/

[7] See above. Derived from: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-happens-when-your-immune-system-gets-stressed-out/

[8] See above. Derived from: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/how-the-mind-heals-the-body/201411/how-stress-affects-the-immune-system

[9] Stress Weakens the Immune System. American Psychological Association. Derived from: https://www.apa.org/research/action/immune

[10] Exercise and immunity. U.S. National Library of Medicine, Medline Plus. Derived from: https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/007165.htm

Doctor holding in hand Immune System

Immune System: An In-Depth Look into the Key Components

“Optimal functioning of the immune system, it turns out, is dependent upon feeling good.”           

Marcey Shapiro

Your immune system is your body’s natural defense against illness, and it also kicks in to lead charge over the healing process when you become injured. While we are born with many natural tools that support immune function, we can also strengthen it with tactics such as strategic lifestyle habits.

As the team which has pioneered the medical specialty of age management medicine, Cenegenics is committed to helping patients do everything they can to stay protected against serious illness. For this reason, we take a highly scientific approach to perfectly tuning the body at the cellular level, optimizing overall functioning, including the immune system. Find out more about how your immune system works below and what you can do to make it even stronger.

How Does the Immune System Work?


The core role of the immune system is to prevent against or control infections. It can differentiate among healthy cells and those that pose a threat with the ability to recognize danger-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). These cells may be dangerous due to infection or other types of damage, such as cancer. Infections, including viruses, also release signals called pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs), which the immune system recognizes as well.

At the first sign of these issues, the immune system responds to combat the illness or other damage-causing agents. If it can’t activate properly, issues like infection occur. Yet, issues also develop if the immune system is activated when it shouldn’t be, as seen in conditions such as autoimmune disorders and allergies. The immune system must therefore function optimally to maintain health. [1]

Key Components of the Immune System


The immune system is complex and far-reaching, encompassing many different cell types which each have a specific role. With that being said, every immune cell originates from precursors in bone marrow and ultimately develops into a mature cell through changes which take place throughout the body. Here are the key players in the body’s immunity:

  • Skin: The first barrier against harmful agents, skin cells create antimicrobial proteins. Each layer of skin has its own specific set of immune cells.
  • Bone marrow: Stem cells, the powerful cells which can give rise to various cell types, are found within the bone marrow. The common myeloid progenitor stem cell can transform into innate immune cells, which act as the first-line response system against infection. Common lymphoid progenitor stem cells, on the other hand, give rise to adaptive immune cells, including B cells and T cells, which create responses to microbes which the body has encountered in the past.
  • Bloodstream: Immune cells travel via the bloodstream, staying on the lookout for issues. Physicians use blood drawings to look for white blood cells (immune cells), which can provide insights into overall immune system health.
  • Thymus: A small, specialized organ located in the upper chest, the thymus is the maturation site for T cells.
  • Lymphatic system: A system through which tissues and the bloodstream communicate, the lymphatic system features lymphoid organs, vessels, and tissues. Immune cells flow through the lymphatic system to meet in the lymph nodes, which have multiple locations throughout the body. In this central hub, immune cells share information, such as the recognition of a microbe, which can trigger a response of activation and replication.
  • Spleen: The spleen enriches immune cells, and if pathogens are present in the blood, they will activate in this key organ, which is located behind the stomach.
  • Mucosal tissue: Mucosal tissue in areas such as the respiratory tract and intestines house specialized immune hubs. The gut, for example, is home to Peyer’s patches, where immune cells assess samples to look for pathogens. [2]

What Can Affect Your Immune System?


In certain individuals, the immune system doesn’t work properly due to an immune system disorder. There are several factors that can impact immune system functionality, including:

  • Primary immune deficiency: a person is born with a weakened immune system
  • Acquired immune deficiency: a person gets a disease that weakens the immune system, such as HIV or hepatitis C [3]
  • Allergic reaction: an individual’s immune system overreacts, as seen in food and seasonal allergies
  • Autoimmune disease: the immune system turns against someone, as seen in rheumatoid arthritis [4]

Under normal circumstances, the immune system responds to issues like injuries and illness through acute inflammation. The blood vessels dilate, resulting in redness and swelling, so that white blood cells can swarm the affected area and promote healing. The damaged tissue releases cytokines, or emergency signals, which recruit immune cells, hormones, and nutrients to address the issue. As healing takes place, the acute inflammation fades.

Yet, if inflammation lasts too long or occurs when it’s not needed, chronic inflammation ensues. Also known as persistent, low-grade inflammation, chronic inflammation may have long-term effects throughout the whole body. It results in a consistent, low levels of inflammation which are detected by increases in system markers in the blood. Systemic inflammation has been linked to heart disease, stroke, and autoimmune conditions such as lupus. [5]

Aside from medical issues that prevent the immune system from working as it should, there are several other factors that impact immune system functionality and potentially trigger chronic inflammation, such as:

  • Stress: Researchers suspect chronic stress, spurring from issues such as relationships and work, can take its toll on the immune system, potentially contributing to issues like heart disease over time.
  • Diet: Like other systems in your body, the immune system requires sound nutrition to function well. Experts have witnessed altered immune system responses in test subjects with micronutrient deficiencies, suggesting an important link between diet and immune system health. This link appears to be particularly strong in older adults. [6]
  • Sedentary lifestyle: Neglecting physical activity and sitting too much can impede your body’s ability to fight infection. Inactivity has been shown to impair the immune system and lead to inflammation and chronic illness. [7]
  • Alcohol: Excessive drinking can impair the immune system’s ability to respond to pathogens. A major metabolite of alcohol, acetaldehyde, appears to impact the lungs’ ciliary function, leaving individuals more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections. [8]
  • Nicotine: Smoking both traditional and e-cigarettes increases cortisol levels and restricts the formation and response of B and T cells. [9]

Fortunately, just as there are many lifestyle factors that can impede immunity, there are also ways you can adjust your habits to boost your immune system.

Strengthen Your Immune System


Futuristic immune system protection with glowing low polygonal shield, virus and bacteria cells.

While your body already has lines of defense in place to ward off illness, you can still strengthen the immune system with the following simple practices.

  • Get ample sleep. Lack of sleep interferes with the production of white blood cells, so aim for at least 7 hours per night. [10]
  • Eat a nutritious diet. Give your body the nutrients it needs by incorporating plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean protein, and healthy fats into your meals.
  • Perform moderate, regular exercise. Strenuous exercise practiced on an ongoing basis can exhaust the body, leaving it more susceptible to infection. [11] Instead, stick with consistent, moderate physical activity, which reduces your risk of catching viruses. [12]
  • Find healthy stress management practices. Develop relaxation techniques, such as taking a walk, meditating, or journaling, to alleviate cortisol-inducing stress. 
  • Practice good hygiene. One of the simplest but most effective ways to control germs is washing your hands frequently, including before meals. Avoid touching your face whenever possible.
  • Regularly disinfect household objects. Wipe down key surface areas such as doorknobs, countertops and tables, and remote controls.
  • Consider supplements. There are a number of key nutrients which support optimal immune system functionality, including C, D, and E, vitamins, among others. Introducing a nutraceutical regimen into your routine at the discretion of a trusted physician could help to strengthen your immune function.
  • Limit alcohol. If you drink, do so only in moderation.

Understanding the Importance of a Healthy Immune System - In Conclusion


Optimal immune function is critically important to keeping you protected against everything from the common cold to serious illness. Cenegenics patients have the unique advantages of working closely with their physician and clinical teams to improve biomarkers that influence immunity, including those related to chronic inflammation, insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular and pulmonary function, and more.

By improving these metrics, incorporating the lifestyle factors mentioned above, and utilizing nutraceuticals that include, but are not limited to, Vitamin D3, Vitamin E, Vitamin B6, zinc, and Vitamin C, Cenegenics strengthens patients’ immune function to prepare them for seasonal and other illnesses.

Within just 30 to 60 days on our program, patients begin to feel dramatically better. Their biological age is rebalanced to where it was in their 20s and 30s, and they become better equipped to fight off illness both now and into the future. In fact, so many people trust our ability to optimize their wellness that a quarter of our patient base is made up of doctors and their family members. One of our doctors has even written the textbook on age management which other physicians now study. See what all of our patients have to say about their experience with the program by visiting the Cenegenics reviews page, or call your nearest location to discuss our exclusive Elite Health Evaluation, Cenegenics cost, and benefits of the program.

Next Steps – Reinforce your Immune Health

FREE
Consultation

Our world class physicians create a personalized plan to help you feel 10+ years younger. You'll be more energetic, lose weight, sleep better, have more libido, and think more clearly. Click below to schedule a free consultation with one of our physicians. It's quick + easy. 

About the Contributor

Rudy Inaba 
Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise

Rudy Inaba is Cenegenics’ Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise. He is a recognized fitness and sports nutrition consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in clinical exercise physiology and lifestyle management. After pursuing his Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rudy joined Cenegenics where he leads 20 clinical locations nationwide in their advancements in kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, and their analyses of industry research & market trending.

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources: 

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.

Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

References

[1] Overview of the Immune System. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Derived from: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/research/immune-system-overview

[2] See above. Derived from: https://www.niaid.nih.gov/research/immune-system-overview

[3] The Many Causes Of Immune Deficiency. German Society for Immunology. Derived from: https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090914111540.htm

[4] Immune System Disorders. University of Rochester Medical Center Rochester, NY. Derived from:  https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentID=123&ContentTypeID=134

[5] What Is Inflammation? Szalay, Jessie. LiveScience. Derived from: https://www.livescience.com/52344-inflammation.html

[6] How to boost your immune system. Harvard Medical School. Derived from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system  

[7] Sedentary Behavior and Adiposity-Associated Inflammation The Multi-Ethnic Study of Atherosclerosis. A. Allison, Matthew MD, MPH, Jensky, Nicole E. PhD, Marshall, Simon J., PhD, Bertoni, Alain G. , MD, MPH, and Cushman, Mary MD. National Institute of Medicine. Derived from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3244676/

[8] 9 Surprising Ways You’re Weakening Your Immune System. Dallas, Mary Elizabeth and Marcellin, Lindsey MD, MPH. Everyday Health. Derived from: https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/9-surprising-ways-youre-weakening-your-immune-system/

[9] See above. Derived from: https://www.everydayhealth.com/news/9-surprising-ways-youre-weakening-your-immune-system/

[10] Sleep deprivation effect on the immune system mirrors physical stress. National Sleep Foundation. Derived from: https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/sleep-deprivation-effect-immune-system-mirrors-physical-stress

[11] The immune system and overtraining in athletes: clinical implications. AC Hackney and Koltun KJ. National Institute of Health. Derived from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23540172

[12] Evaluation of immune response after moderate and overtraining exercise in wistar rat. Zahra Gholamnezhad, Abolfazl Khajavi Rad, Mohammad Hossein Boskabady, Mahmoud Hosseini, and Mojtaba Sankian. National Institutes of Health. Derived from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3938879/    

red-haired middle aged woman smiling into camera

Menopause: Symptoms, Complications, and What You Can Do

They say that age is all in your mind.  The trick is keeping it from creeping down into your body.

Anonymous

Hot flashes, insomnia, and mood changes: chances are, if you’re a woman in her 40s or 50s, you’ve recognized these symptoms as the telltale signs of menopause. Of course, there are many other, seldom talked-about symptoms which can also disrupt your routine, from diminishing libido to cognitive changes and a decline in mental acuity. All of these factors can significantly impact your quality of life. Unfortunately, in many cases, women simply push through and deal with the discomfort.

With Cenegenics, that doesn’t have to be the case. We’re the pioneers behind the medical specialty of age management; in fact, one of our physicians even wrote the book on it, which other doctors use to study optimal health through aging. We’re therefore exceptionally well-versed in the aging processes — including menopause. Fortunately, this also means we know how to control its frustrating symptoms. Discover more about what menopause is and the symptoms it causes below.

What Is Menopause?


Menopause is the natural end to a woman’s menstrual cycles. By medical standards, a woman is considered to have “hit menopause” once she’s gone 12 months without any periods. Yet, there can be months or even years leading up to this timeframe (called perimenopause), during which you experience a litany of uncomfortable symptoms. The average age for menopause in the U.S. is 52, but it can occur any time during a woman’s 40s or 50s. [1]

Menopause occurs as a result of the natural decrease of reproductive hormones by the ovaries. In specific, estrogen and progesterone production declines, resulting in a loss of fertility and variations in menstrual periods. Undergoing a hysterectomy can also prompt menopause, especially if the ovaries are removed in addition to the uterus (considered a total hysterectomy). In such cases, the symptoms of menopause may be severe, as hormonal changes are brought on abruptly instead of over the course of years. [2]

In a way, the frustrating part about menopause is that it isn’t considered a disease or disorder; rather, it’s a natural process. Yet, its symptoms can feel very much like that of a chronic disease, stretching on for seven to 14 years. [3] In our opinion, that’s far too long to live uncomfortably — especially with the body-wide symptoms that can accompany menopause, described below.

The Symptoms of Menopause


Menopause can impact women and their heath including mental, physical, and emotional levels, leading to symptoms such as:

  • Irregular menstruation
  • Vaginal dryness and discomfort
  • Hot flashes
  • Diminished sex drive
  • Weight gain, especially in the abdominal area
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia
  • Racing heart
  • Increased urination
  • Breast tenderness or soreness
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Cognitive challenges, including difficulty with memory or concentration
  • Changes in hair color, volume, and texture
  • Hot flashes
  • Dry skin
  • Joint stiffness and pain [4]

What Are Potential Complications of Menopause?


In addition to the symptoms described above, there are some potential complications associated with menopause. Following the cessation of menstrual periods, a woman’s risk for some medical conditions increases, including:

  • Osteoporosis: Women’s bones tend to be thinner and smaller than men’s. During the onset of menopause, the decrease in estrogen levels can lead to bone loss, as the hormone protects bone tissue. Roughly one in two women over 50 will experience a fracture due to osteoporosis, and an estimated 80% of the people who experience the condition are women. [5]
  • Cardiovascular disease: Decreases in estrogen levels is also linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, the leading cause of death in both women and men. [6] Estrogen is believed to aid in blood vessel flexibility, allowing them to support proper blood flow. When production of this important hormone drops, the risk of heart attacks goes up. [7]

    While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) may not be prescribed for women specifically for improving cardiovascular health, it is a powerful benefit of treatment. Research published in the BMJ indicates a significant reduction in heart failure, myocardial infarction, and overall mortality following HRT after menopause. [8]

  • Urinary incontinence: With the decrease in key reproductive hormones also comes the loss of elasticity in the pelvic floor. The tissue in the vagina and urethra may weaken, leading to urinary incontinence and increased urinary tract infections. Pelvic floor exercises may reduce some of these symptoms; or, HRT may help alleviate the vaginal changes tied to incontinence. [9]

Quality of Life During and After Menopause – In Conclusion


middle aged woman jogging and smiling into distance

The long list of symptoms and potential complications above only provides a glimpse of what menopause is really like. For anyone who’s living it, the discomfort can become difficult to bear. While menopause is a natural process, you shouldn’t have to live with the discomfort of its symptoms.

Cenegenics is here to help. We specialize in the health, wellness, and hormone imbalances and help your body reverse its biological clock to rebalance your levels and restore the energy, cognitive function, and physical wellbeing you had in your 20s or 30s.

We take a highly scientific approach to get your body perfectly tuned at a cellular level, taking into consideration your unique needs based on specific biomarkers and making tailored recommendations to promote ideal function. Some aspects of our program include lifestyle factors such as nutrition and exercise, as well as prescriptions for nutraceuticals or HRT when clinically indicated.

Browse through our Cenegenics reviews and you’ll quickly see that we have a proven track record of helping patients navigate the changes that come with age. In fact, we’re the “doctor’s doctor,” trusted by the physicians and their families who make up a quarter of our patient base. Most patients feel better within 30 to 60 days of starting our program.

If you’re ready to see how we can improve your life during and after menopause, don’t hesitate to contact us for more information about Cenegenics cost and the included Elite Health evaluation, or with any other questions you may have about getting started.

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About the Contributor

Rudy Inaba 
Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise

Rudy Inaba is Cenegenics’ Global Director of Nutrition & Exercise. He is a recognized fitness and sports nutrition consultant with nearly 15 years of experience in clinical exercise physiology and lifestyle management. After pursuing his Master of Science in Clinical Exercise Physiology at the University of Nevada Las Vegas, Rudy joined Cenegenics where he leads 20 clinical locations nationwide in their advancements in kinesiology, nutritional biochemistry, and their analyses of industry research & market trending.

Key Resources

This guide was produced with contributions from the following key resources: 

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 1: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

The Cenegenics Education and Research Foundation  

The Textbook of Age Management Medicine Volume 2: Mastering Healthy Aging Nutrition, Exercise and Hormone Replacement Therapy

Click to purchase

Textbook Authors:

Jeffrey Park Leake, M.D., CPT

Dr. Jeffrey Park Leake is a Partner and Director of Education at Cenegenics Elite Health specializing in age management and wellness. Having trained hundreds of physicians worldwide, Dr. Leake is also the Director of Education for the Clinical Strategies for Healthy Aging course at AMM Educational Foundation.

Todd David Greenberg, M.D., CSCS

Dr. Todd Greenberg is a practicing physician with a broad range of expertise, including wellness, exercise, sports injuries, and MRI of sports injuries. He is a Radiology Clinical Associate Professor at the University of Washington.

References

[1] Menopause. Mayo Clinic. Derived from: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20353397?page=0&citems=10

[2] See above.

[3] What Is Menopause? National Institute of Aging. Derived from: https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-menopause

[4] Complications. Derived from: https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause#complications

[5] What Women Need to Know. National Osteoporosis Foundation. Derived from: https://www.nof.org/preventing-fractures/general-facts/what-women-need-to-know/

[6] See above.   

[7] Menopause and Heart Disease. Derived from: https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/consumer-healthcare/what-is-cardiovascular-disease/menopause-and-heart-disease

[8] Effect of hormone replacement therapy on cardiovascular events in recently postmenopausal women: randomised trial. Derived from: https://www.bmj.com/content/345/bmj.e6409

[9] See above.

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