I am Charles Agbetsoamedo, a 31-year old graduate student at Sherman College of Chiropractic, Spartanburg, SC and I just completed my 3rd year out of 3.5 year of chiropractic doctoral education. I am a native of Ghana, West Africa and on a valid student visa to study in the US. I am the first of three children and I have both my brother and sister back in Ghana. I had all my education in Ghana up to College level where I studied BSc. Physiotherapy (Physical Therapy). I worked for 2-3 years after my undergraduate education as the Physiotherapist in two hospitals in Ghana before deciding to take my doctoral program in chiropractic.
I am one of the top students at Sherman College with a current GPA of 3.913 having completed 68 classes, 3 national board exams, and 752 clinic hours thus far. I have two more national board exams and a few more classes and clinic requirements to meet before graduating. I love my program and I’m very excited to work with my patients in the school clinic to help them improve their health and holistic well being. I went on a chiropractic mission trip in March 2011 with 1 doctor from Virginia, 3 from Canada, 1 from Australia and 2 other students from my school and we gave free chiropractic care to thousands of people over 4 days and also saw “miracle” healings occur in some lives. My trip was sponsored by the doctors in the team and I am very grateful for that opportunity and I look forward to serving more people through chiropractic care. I also assist in the anatomy lab at school and help tutor other students. I love what I do and look forward to successfully completing my program to help many more people.
Lifestyle to promote a healthy heart and holistic well being
By: Charles Agbetsoamedo
Lifestyle diseases, also called diseases of civilization, are a major burden on the healthcare system among which heart diseases are currently ranked number 1 as the leading cause of death and chronic illness in the US.1
The development of heart diseases, except congenital heart diseases, is mainly due to unhealthy lifestyle choices such as tobacco smoking, alcohol abuse, unhealthy eating habits, lack of exercise, and stressful lifestyle. These factors have both direct and indirect effects on the health of one’s heart and total wellbeing of the individual.2, 3
Tobacco smoking has been implicated in causing many diseases including heart disease, cancers, lung disease, peripheral vascular disease, and decreased immune system function. There are about 7,000 chemicals in cigarette smoke including nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, and free radicals that cause inflammatory damage to blood vessel walls and causing cardiovascular diseases.4
Unhealthy eating habits which include diets high in refined sugars, saturated fats, processed foods and other inflammatory foods but low in fruits and vegetables result in health problems including heart disease, liver disease, obesity, strokes, diabetes and cancers. The indiscriminate consumption of these foods plus the lack of antioxidants found in fruits and vegetables causes the body to store most of what is eaten as fat and also causes free radical oxidation of the fats which damages blood vessels and leading to hypertension, heart disease and even stroke and death.5 Even though the body needs cholesterol which the liver produces for proper metabolism of certain vitamins and for making hormones and protecting nerve fibers, it is the oxidation of consumed fats that pose problems to the body and causing heart disease.6 Irregular consumption of meals such as skipping breakfast is also found to put the body into a fat storing mode in an effort to avert starvation. This then leads to obesity which increases the pressure on the heart and causing it to fail eventually.7
Lack of physical exercise and being inactive also result in obesity and an unconditioned heart muscle to meet the demands of the body when under higher demand. Sedentary lifestyle and over-dependent on technology has made so many people lazy and inactive thus causing them to be weak and sickly with poor heart function.8,9
Stress has been blamed to be the major cause of many diseases including heart disease. A stressful lifestyle without any space for relaxation and recreation increases the tendencies of inflammatory processes in the body that cause cardiovascular diseases. Stress also causes major decrease in the body’s immunity against diseases due to changes in the effects of the hormone cortisol which depletes important immune system cells that help fight against diseases.10
To restore and maintain a healthy heart and holistic well being, one must make the decision and effort to make choices that support such objectives. It must actually be a lifestyle, best if cultivated from childhood as there are increasing numbers of obese children now who have higher risks for heart diseases and other debilitating diseases when they grow up.11
To put it simply, the lifestyle of having a healthy heart and holistic well being involves working around those factors which result in heart disease and other chronic diseases and premature death. First of all, it will be great if one avoids smoking tobacco or being around people who do as it could be very difficult to stop once started. If one is already a smoker, efforts should be made to cease smoking by getting help from a smoking cessation program. A similar thing will do for alcohol abuse as it is also addictive and can be difficult to stop once addicted.
Eating healthy meals high in vegetables and fruits and moderate amounts of animal products, polyunsaturated fats and salt while avoiding saturated animal fats and other inflammatory foods help to improve heart health and well being.12,13 It is best to get fresh foods from locally grown farms with little or no chemical processing involved in their production. By this the foods are more natural and make it easier for the body to digest and metabolize. It is also important to avoid refined white sugar and corn syrup and substitute them with honey or molasses.14 Caffeinated beverages should also be avoided although it is believed that moderate consumption may not cause problems if other lifestyle habits are moderate.15 Due to the overly processed food consumption it would also be appropriate to take natural supplements of vitamins, minerals and fish oils to make up for what is lost in food processing.16,17
Physical exercise has been known to improve cardiovascular function, digestion and metabolism, joint health and general strength and endurance. Exercising for at least 30 minutes per day for five days a week gives all achievements.8 Different fuel systems are known to be involved in different types of exercises and the one most directly involved in maintaining heart health, endurance and weight loss and maintenance is the fat burning energy system for aerobic exercises which uses oxygen.18
For all these efforts to have their best effects on optimum heart health and holistic well being, the nervous system must also be kept functioning at its maximum as it coordinates everything. This can be achieved through regular chiropractic care which has been shown to improve hypertension in patients and balance the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems to control stress on body systems including the digestive and immune systems.19 It is has been shown that nerves fire properly in multiples of 5Hz when functioning well, and also people under regular chiropractic care have higher immune cells.20,21,22,23 Thus incorporating all these healthy lifestyle habits will ensure healthy heart and holistic well being.
1. Donna L. Hoyert, Ph.D. and Jiaquan Xu, M.D. Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2011, National Vital Statistics Reports Oct 10, 2012: 61(6):6 http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr61/nvsr61_06.pdf
2. Nash IS. Clinical Practice Guidelines in Cardiovascular Disease. In: Fuster V, ed. et al. Hurst's The Heart. 12th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008 http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heart-disease/DS01120/DSECTION=causes
3. James Wayne Warnica, MD. Overview of Coronary Artery Disease, The Merck Manual for Health Professionals (Online) June 2010 http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/cardiovascular_disorders/
4. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Annual Smoking-Attributable Mortality, Years of Potential Life Lost, and Productivity Losses—United States, 2000–2004. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 2008;57(45):1226–8 http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/health_effects/effects_cig_smoking/
5. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. Alcohol’s Effects on the Body. http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/alcohols-effects-body
6. Mason W. Freeman, M.D., Christine Junge. Understanding Cholesterol: The Good, the Bad, and the Necessary. The Harvard Medical School Guide to Lowering Your Cholesterol. 2005. http://www.health.harvard.edu/newsweek/Understanding_Cholesterol.htm
7. Greenwood JL, et al. Preventing or improving obesity by addressing specific eating patterns. Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine. 2008;21:135.
8. Mike Adams. Sedentary lifestyle causes more deaths than smoking, says study NaturalNews.com July 28, 2004. http://www.naturalnews.com/001547.html
9. New York State Department of Health. Physical Inactivity and Cardiovascular Disease August 1999. http://www.health.ny.gov/diseases/chronic/cvd.htm
10. Sheldon Cohen, Denise Janicki-Deverts, William J. Doyle, Gregory E. Miller, Ellen Frank, Bruce S. Rabin, and Ronald B. Turner. Chronic stress, glucocorticoid receptor resistance, inflammation, and disease risk. PNAS, April 2, 2012
11. Ogden CL, Carroll MD, Curtin LR, Lamb MM, Flegal KM. Prevalence of high body mass index in US children and adolescents, 2007–2008. Journal of the American Medical Association 2010;303(3):242–249.
12. Jeanie Lerche Davis, Kathleen M. Zelman, MPH, RD, LD. 25 Top Heart-Healthy Foods. http://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/features/25-top-heart-healthy-foods
13. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Heart Healthy Foods: Shopping List November 14, 2012. http://healthfinder.gov/HealthTopics/Category/health-conditions-and-diseases/heart-health/heart-healthy-foods-shopping-list
14. Ludwig, D. Technology, Diet, and the Burden of Chronic Disease. JAMA (April 6, 2011)305;13:1352-53.
15. Leonard TK, Watson RR, Mohs ME. The effects of caffeine on various body systems: a review, Journal of American Diet Associstion 1987 Aug; 87(8):1048-53.
16. Office of Dietary Supplements, National Institutes of Health. Vitamin and Mineral Supplements Fact Sheets. http://ods.od.nih.gov/factsheets/list-VitaminsMinerals/
17. Fletcher RH, et al. Vitamin supplementation in disease prevention. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html
18. Wilmore, J.H. and Costill, D.L. Physiology of Sport and Exercise: 3rd Edition. 2005. Human Kinetics Publishing.
19. Bakris G, Dickholtz M, Meyer PM, Kravitz G, Avery E, Miller M, Brown J, Woodfield C, Bell B. Atlas Vertebra Realignment and Achievement of Arterial Pressure
Goal in Hypertensive Patients: A Pilot Study, Journal of Human Hypertension 2007 (May); 21 (5): 347–352
20. B. I. Khodorov. Nerve Impulse. The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). http://encyclopedia2.thefreedictionary.com/Nerve+Impulse
21. T. J. Biscoe, m. J. Purves and s. R. Sampson. The frequency of nerve impulses in single carotid body chemoreceptor afferent fibres recorded in vivo with intact circulation. Journal of Physiology 1970 (208):121-131
22. Brennan PC, et al. Enhanced Phagocytic Cell Respiratory Burst Induced by Spinal Manipulation: Potential Role of Substance P
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics 1991 (Sep); 14 (7): 399–408.
23. Selano JL. The Effects of Specific Upper Cervical Adjustments on the CD4 Counts of HIV Positive Patients Chiropractic Research Journal 1994; 3 (1): 32–39