resourcesABOUT MT AUTHOR GUIDELINES CLASSIFIEDS EDITORIAL CALENDAR MEDIA GUIDE MASSAGE MART SCHOOLS & EDUCATION FEEDBACK
An Emerging Partnership Model
Maryland University of Integrative Health (MUIH) has educated integrative health and wellness practitioners for the last 40 years, originally as an acupuncture clinic and school. The institution's transformative, relationship-centered programs integrate traditional wisdom with contemporary science
Acupuncture Muscle Trigger Point and Oriental Medicine Sports Therapy
It is difficult to ascertain the internal condition of professional basketball player Lebron James during game one of the 2014 NBA finals, in which he developed debilitating muscle cramps that led to his premature removal from the game.
The Pertinent Negative
We all have to perform evaluations on patients. Most of us don't like doing it – exams take time, and worse it takes even more time after the evaluation to put together a narrative summary of the findings. Sometimes, this process becomes downright tedious.
Tai Chi Documentary Premier
First Run Features recently announced the world theatrical premiere of Barry Strugatz's documentary The Professor: Tai Chi's Journey West, which premiered last month at the Laemmle Music Hall in Los Angeles.
Multivitamin Supplement May Reduce Breast Cancer Recurrence
There is a great deal of controversy regarding the value of multiple vitamin supplements in cancer prevention.
What's New in Phytonutrition: Mangifera Indica, "The King of Fruits"
One hundred percent pure Indian green mango fruit (mangifera indica), harvested at a special degree of ripeness for efficacy and taste, can now be concentrated as a phytonutrient nutraceutical powder.
Believe it or not, an estimated one-third of your patients have eaten some form of fast food within 24 hours of their appointment with you.
A Long-Overdue Win for Oregon Medicaid Patients - and the Implications for Other States
Beginning July 1, 2016, Oregon Medicaid patients with spinal pain (cervical, thoracic, lumbar, pelvic) who are determined to be low risk based on a biopsychosocial assessment tool (STarT Back – Keele University) can receive four chiropractic visits per episode.
Insuring Quality Control in Herb Importation: An Interview with Wilson Lau
Wilson Lau is the vice president of Nuherbs, a Chinese herb importation company based in San Leandro, California. Before joining Nuherbs, he trained as a lawyer specializing in FDA law.
Acupuncture's Impact on the World
For several years, I have been hearing about the town of Rothenburg, Germany. It seemed just a dot on a map until I arrived. It is the home of the TCM Kongress which began in 1968. It has been held annually for 47 years and it has only missed one year.
AOM Hospital-Based Practice: A Future Reality?
The natural evolution of health care on the planet is integrative health. We may have some challenges ahead, but based on my research, all indicators are pointing in a positive direction. There seems to be an evolving consciousness among our patient population that is "getting it."
Three Tips to Help You Analyze the Acupuncture Case Studies of the NCCAOM Exam
Confirm the answer quickly by the elimination method. Case study:
After two treatments for back pain, a patient presents for a third
session complaining of rapid breathing and wheezing that is made worse
during cold weather.
Beating the Odds: Interview With Para-Powerlifter Adeline Dumapong-Ancheta
Since October 2015, the FICS Foundation, the charitable organization affiliated with the International Federation of Sports Chiropractic (FICS), has been supporting disabled athletes internationally.
How to Stay Sane During the Elections: Understanding Through the Lens of Chinese Medicine
In Chinese Medicine philosophy, everything consists of Yin and Yang. The law of polar opposites – one cannot exist without its opposite.
Introducing the Acupuncture Today Digital Edition
In response to the changing habits of our readers, Acupuncture Today will introduce a digital edition of the publication (in addition to our print edition) beginning with the August 2016 issue.
Treating Hip & Groin Pain With Abdominal Release of Upper Lumbar Nerve Impingements
Have you encountered patients with groin and hip pain you can't seem to solve? You know it's not a worn-out hip; you suspect the pain is somehow connected to the spine. But somehow, you just can't help them break through.
Increasing the Value of Spine Care: CMS Approves New Low Back Pain Registry
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved the Spine IQ Low Back Pain Registry as a qualified clinical data registry for the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) in 2016.
Chronic Pain: Become Part of the Solution
I have lectured to more than 7,000 chiropractic physicians over the past five years regarding the chronic pain and opioid epidemic in this country.
What You Say Isn't Always What Patients Hear
A few years ago, my aunt Edna (name changed for the purpose of this story) suffered a stroke. After a short hospital stay, she was transferred to a nursing home for rehabilitation. When she arrived at the nursing home, Edna requested a private room.
Sit or Stand? Analyzing a Mixed Message
I'm more than a bit confused. At my age, that seems to be a rather common occurrence. However, today more than ever, I'm getting a mixed message.
An MD Who Understands the Opioid Epidemic
Doctors of chiropractic have an important role to play in ending the opioid epidemic and dealing with chronic pain by conservative means (see our top story in this issue) – but who's to blame for opioid dependence and abuse in the first place?
Adventures with the San Jiao
Those of us who have been in practice for several decades relish the way meridians and points reveal new diagnostic clues and new insights. I love to encourage my students to see this as an adventure that goes way beyond the textbooks.
February, 2005, Vol. 05, Issue 02
An Obscure Side-Effect of Obesity
By John Upledger, DO, OMM
The sad passing in December of future NFL hall-of-famer Reggie White illuminates an obscure side-effect of obesity that also gives us some fascinating insight into the human body. White, who died at 43, topped out at weights exceeding 290 in the course of his career.While the results of his death weren't conclusive at the time of this writing, the coroner cited sleep apnea as having played a possible role.
Not to be confused with central sleep apnea secondary to brain dysfunction, White's type of sleep apnea is most common among men of large body mass. Like snoring, this sleep apnea is often secondary to the fatty enlargement of tissues in the nasal air passages at the back and upper areas of the throat. These patterns are generally characterized by gasping inhalations followed by long pauses during which there is little or no exchange of air via the airways into the bronchi and lungs.
Let's dig into the subject a little deeper and see what's behind all this. Involuntary respiration is controlled by nerve cells/neurons in the medulla oblongata located in the skull just above the upper end of the spinal cord. These nerve cells get their instructions from the pons, which is higher in the brain. The pons gets its information from several other brain centers then sorts out all the little details to develop regulations for breathing. I suspect some of the pons' incoming messages originate in the fat-enlarged tissues of the nose and mouth airways. These messages may then cause the pons to periodically hold back normal rhythmical inhalations.
Taken to the extreme, respiratory arrhythmias secondary to abnormally fatty tissues can take sleep apnea to the point that increased back pressure in the lungs can produce some degree of right-sided heart failure. The result is cyanosis, a bluish discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes that first appears in nail beds and lips. The discoloration comes from a reduced level of oxygen in the blood secondary to the compromised breathing that began with snoring and sleep apnea.
Now let's look at a molecule called "nitric oxide" (NO). This gaseous substance is attracted to lipid (fat) molecules. It is moderately reactive compared to inert gases such as helium, neon and argon, which do not react with other atoms, ions or molecules. What nitric oxide does within our bodies is remarkable. It has a great deal to do with the flow of blood through our vascular systems. With every heartbeat, a puff of nitric oxide gas is released from the endothelial cells where a great deal of it is stored. Endothelial cells line all our blood vessels, including arteries, veins, arterioles, venules and capillaries. So nitric oxide is released in some amount in every blood vessel.
The process by which nitric oxide causes blood vessel relaxation and dilation is somewhat complicated. It goes something like this: The puff of nitric oxide that's released from the endothelial cells of the blood vessels goes directly to the red blood cells (RBCs) where the nitric oxide molecules become attached to hemoglobin (Hb). The nitric oxide remains attached to the hemoglobin as assessments are made regarding how much oxygen is available to the body for its cellular needs.
Low oxygen levels cause more nitric oxide to be released from the hemoglobin. Higher oxygen levels cause hemoglobin to retain a higher percentage of nitric oxide. That makes good sense. When oxygen is low, nitric oxide causes blood vessels to dilate and deliver more blood to the tissues to increase the amount of oxygen getting to the cells. Incidentally, as cells take in available oxygen, most of it goes to intracellular mitochondria. There are thousands of mitochondrial organelles in the cytoplasm of each cell. The mitochondria make the energy that's required by every cell.
Back to our nitric oxide molecule travels. As nitric oxide is released by the hemoglobin, it emerges from the RBC after combining with the amino acid "cysteine" to form S-nitrosothial. In this form, nitric oxide will not be reattached by the hemoglobin as it travels through RBC cytoplasm. The nitric oxide is ushered out of the cell by specific proteins attached to the RBC membrane. It then enters the blood serum and the endothelial cells where the molecules are stored as nitric oxide. When it's time for the blood vessel to dilate, the nitric oxide goes to the smooth muscles in the blood vessel walls and causes the muscles to relax. This relaxation allows the blood vessels to dilate and pass more blood at a lowered blood pressure.
What does all this have to do with obesity? It was recently discovered that our paranasal sinuses produce a lot of nitric oxide. When nitric oxide is inhaled through the nasal airway, it gets into the lungs and increases the amount of oxygen that gets into the blood that is circulating through the lungs. The clearer the nasal passages, the more nitric oxide will be inhaled into the lung tissue. Hence, the more efficiently the oxygen will be absorbed via the lungs into the body vasculature, which then delivers the oxygen to all body cells.
Obesity often causes sleep apnea and snoring, which indicates a blockage of nasal airways. The nitric oxide delivery to the lungs then is reduced, as is oxygen absorbed through the lungs. Lowered oxygen levels in the body signal that the tissues need more blood to supply the oxygen. The physiological response is to raise the blood pressure to increase blood flow and improve oxygen supplies to tissues. Hence, high blood pressure occurs because nitric oxide isn't getting into the lungs effectively.
Hopefully, the passing of Reggie White will wake others up to a lesser-known but potentially deadly side effect of obesity.
Click here for previous articles by John Upledger, DO, OMM.
Join the conversation
Comments are encouraged, but you must follow our User Agreementcomments powered by Disqus
Keep it civil and stay on topic. No profanity, vulgar, racist or hateful comments or personal attacks. Anyone who chooses to exercise poor judgement will be blocked. By posting your comment, you agree to allow MPA Media the right to republish your name and comment in additional MPA Media publications without any notification or payment.