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Posts for: November, 2016

By Dr. Doug Williams
November 29, 2016
Category: Frailty
Tags: frailty  

If you are just joining us, we are on a mission to learn about health by exploring the concept of frailty: what goes wrong when the systems of our bodies break down. But more importantly, we are examining what you can do to prevent our body systems from breaking down in the first place and how to support them if things start to go wrong.

Last week we outlined the different windows we are going to be looking through in this series: inflammatory, endocrine, skeletal, neurological and integrative.

Sometimes, the best way to figure out how a complex system (like the body) works is to reverse engineer it. Reverse engineering is a process of taking the end product and breaking it down into its component parts in order to figure out how it works. Recently, I had the privilege of taking my dryer apart. I had no idea how it really worked and if you asked me to build one, I couldn't do it. But, with the help of Youtube, I was able to break it down and replace a number of different parts. Would you want to call me to come fix your dryer? Probably not. But I could most likely carry on a reasonable conversation with you or a repairman about the basics of how it worked. That is what we want to do with your body: give you a framework for how it should operate, then you can, on your own and with the help of various others, get and keep it working as best as possible!

What Your Doctor Typically Sees
In the last blog post, I introduced the journal article that inspired me to begin this series. The best description I have found of how traditional medicine looks at "health" (and frailty) is found in that journal article:
"Most practitioners of medicine have been trained to focus on specific medical diseases when approaching a patient. Frailty (and health) does not fit neatly into that practice pattern, because it is almost never the basis for a "chief complaint", and it's presence is often subtle or asymptomatic. Instead frailty is evident over time through an excess vulnerability to stressors, with reduced ability to maintain or regain homeostasis after a destabilizing event."

Mainline medicine and some of us as chiropractors often look for the disease and not the state of well-being and health of the patient. Now, don't get me wrong, this definitely needs to be considered, However, so many conditions that patients present with initially are not life threatening, but, if left uninterrupted, will become that way. Many patients are satisfied that they are not going to "die" and, since there is no medication to prescribe yet, patients are sent on their way until the condition becomes critical and available for more aggressive medical intervention. This is actually the start of frailty!
Lego Patterns in Health and Disease aka "Fractals"
Fractals are geometric sub-units that resemble larger-scale units. Consider the Mallard duck in the picture - he is made up of repeating small plastic bricks. If you took him apart, you would have numerous bricks that looked very much alike and only varied slightly in color and size. There would be a number of different groups (green ones, brown ones, three blockers, four blockers, etc) with a number of members, but they would all be roughly the same.

Your body is similar - you have millions of different cells that have some very common components, but that can vary slightly from others. Like the Lego duck, they can be put together as units to make an amazing thing: you!

Let's return to the duck for a moment: how many green blocks could you take away before he stopped looking like a duck? If you took away all of the yellow blocks, but left the rest, you might think you saw a duck, but would you? What if our Lego duck suddenly came to life missing half of his yellow blocks? Could he function? How well?
Again, quoting from the Journal of American Geriatric Society:
"Many anatomical structures and physiological processes such as alveoli (building blocks of the respiratory system), neural networks, and bony trabecula have such repeating sub-units and therefore fractal properties.  It was theorized that, in part, a progressive loss of complexity in the fractal architecture of atomic structures and dynamics of physiological processes can characterize both aging and frailty (and I would say health and wellness!). This loss of structural and functional complexity may impair and organism's ability to communicate within and between systems and to adapt to stress."

In short, you don't break down overnight and you don't get healthy overnight. I didn't wake up one morning and say "Holy cow! Where did all my hair go?" No one goes to bed without diabetes and wakes up with it the next day. No one trains for a marathon by running only a mile. Health and Frailty are accomplished, in large, by only one way:


How You were Really Created!

In health care, we are trained to look at the different systems of the body and how they operate, mostly in disease and sometimes health. That, by default, is also how most of us view our bodies. If it isn't throwing up a lot of resistance in the way of pain or dysfunction, we just ignore it! If you want to feel, look and function your best for as long as you can, it is time to start focusing on the body as a whole, the way it operates day to day. You were created to function as a complex and beautiful integrated being; stop taking that for granted! Next week, we will start looking at the individual systems evaluated in frailty and health, starting with the inflammatory.

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving!

Yours in Health,

Doug Williams, D.C.
Care Chiropractic
Lafayette, Indiana 

By Dr. Doug Williams
November 14, 2016
Category: Frailty
Tags: frailty  

We have just started a new blog series on Health and Frailty. In it, we will be working through material found in a journal article from The American Geriatrics Society. I came across this article several years ago when I sought to understand the body as it aged and how to help it age better. What I found surprised me. Not only was there a lot of interest in the subject, but a lot of ground work has already been done. Something I did not expect to find was that most, if not all, of the material described was applicable to all age groups, young and old alike. These issues impact all of us. Everyone can benefit from understanding what systems govern your body in health and frailty, and how to support them over a lifetime.

Key Systems

  • Inflammatory
  • Endocrine (Hormone)
  • Skeletal
  • Neurological
  • Integrative

​First, we will paint a picture of what it looks like when these systems start to have problems working together as a whole (this is what you will recognize as frailty).

Next, we will look at what each individual system looks like when functioning correctly and when compromised.

Finally (and this is the best part), we will be looking at how you can improve each of these systems at any age!
This blog series will be more technical than previous ones, but if you are willing to put in the time to understand how your body works and how to support it, you will not be disappointed. Investing in your health at any age will allow you to live and experience life to its fullest!

Doug Williams, D.C.
Care Chiropractic
Lafayette, Indiana

By Dr. Doug Williams
November 08, 2016
Category: Frailty
Tags: frailty  

When I was 21, I thought I was anything but frail. I was ready to take on the world and, often times, to my own detriment, did. At 52, I am still ready to take on the world, but hey, give me a few minutes, I need to warm-up first!

Today marks the start of a new blog series. Over the next few months, we are going to be exploring an area of health care science termed "Frailty." One definition of the word frail is: weak or delicate, easily damaged or broken, fragile or insubstantial.

Consider the following people in the pictures below:


Would you consider these people frail?  Why or why not?

What about these guys?


Each one of the individuals depicted above have varying levels of frailty and various systems that are both strong and weak.

Frailty is probably one of those things best described as: "I don't know what it is, but I will know it when I see it!"

On some level, we are all frail - young, old, or anywhere in between. It takes various forms, and ebbs and flows through the seasons of our lives. The reality is, that's part of being human. I personally believe God builds that into our creation to help us to see our need for Him and for each other. Regardless of your metaphysical view point, frailty and weakness is a reality for all of us!

Doc, why are you covering this material?
All blogs are really written for the interest and benefit of the author first. As an author, you hope that the things you write and teach ultimately end up helping others along their life's journey, or at least get them to use your products or services!

At 52, I don't consider myself old. However, my kids might, while a few of my patients and friends would think I am just a young guy! I have been around long enough to recognize a few things that put me on this journey:
  • I have begun to see some of the inevitable "cracks" in my own body.
  • My wife and I have recently lost a parent to a debilitating disease and, while blessed with three others still living, I recognize the inevitability of time's demands on our human framework.
  • I have seen enough patients over the last 25 years to understand that how you live your life at any age is going to impact you later down the road.
It is the last bullet point that has motivated me to explore this topic in depth. As I review the research on health, performance, aging and, specifically, frailty, I have found that we can impact our current health status at any age. Whether we are talking about physical, mental, emotional or spiritual, there are things you can do that directly impact how you experience life, whether for the better or worse.

The technical information we will be going over (including how to improve things) regarding your physical being will be grounded in my professional training and clinical experience. From time to time, I may also give some insights on mental, emotional or spiritual matters, which will be coming from my experience as another human just trying to make it in this world.

I am looking forward to discovering and sharing with you new ways and ideas on how to regain and retain health over a lifetime. I hope you stay with me - I think it will be worth your time!

Yours in Health, 

Doug Williams, D.C.
Care Chiropractic 
Lafayette, Indiana

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.

Psalm 139:13-14