High Blood Pressure Risk Factors

July 20th, 2013 by Scott Paglia, L.Ac. No comments »

8445322738_64d7775edf_nSeveral risk factors can result in high blood pressure. These factors are classified as uncontrollable or unmanageable risk factors and controllable or manageable risk factors.

Uncontrollable or Unmanageable Risk Factors

Age – When you age especially when you reach 50 years old and above, your arteries start to lose their flexibility narrowing the blood passageways making it more difficult for blood to pass through causing then the heart to pump harder. Men start to become hypertensive during early middle-age while older women begin to become hypertensive after menopause.

Race – In terms of race, African Americans are the highest risk group for high blood pressure in terms of ethnicity in the United States. They are also the most prone to develop high blood complications like heart attack or stroke. Interestingly, while African Americans have this high propensity for developing high blood pressure and its corresponding complications, native Africans living in Africa do not suffer these kinds of problems.

Heredity – Heredity plays a very huge role in causing high blood pressure in individuals. If you have one or both parents, uncles, nieces or grandparents who have high blood pressure, you are at a high risk in acquiring it as well.

Manageable or Controllable Risk Factors

Kidney disease – The kidney is where glands that regulate blood pressure reside and so when you develop kidney problems these affects those glands making you end up with high blood pressure in the end.

Stress – Stress can be responsible for dozens of health conditions and high blood pressure is one of them. Finding ways to calm and relax yourself is important in living with a healthy heart.

Smoking – Smoking raises a person’s BP level and it can cause complications like atherosclerosis as well.

Low amounts of minerals and vitamins in the body – Having low contents of vitamin D, calcium and potassium will raise your blood pressure. Adequate amounts of vitamins and minerals while normalizing blood pressure also help lower bad cholesterol in the body.

Excess weight or obesity – To be classified as obese, you must have a body mass index (BMI) of over 30. When your BMI is over 30, your blood pressure is likely to be quite high. When you are heavy in weight, your body needs to have more nutrients and oxygen and this tends to put extra pressure on the arterial walls causing your BP to increase.

Sedentary lifestyle – When you live an inactive life, you tend to have excess weight or become obese and start to develop high BP. Excessive intake of salt – Salt is likely to make your body retain fluids that can heighten your BP.

Lowering your intake of salt will lessen fluid retention in your body and lower your blood pressure in the process.

High cholesterol – Having high cholesterol can lead to arterial blockage or make the arteries less flexible and narrower. This is a condition that can lead to a potentially fatal heart attack.

Diabetes – When you develop diabetes, this condition is chronic and will never go away. It can be controlled though by eating the proper foods. Diabetes almost often leads to high blood pressure.

Alcohol drinking – Drinking at least one to two drinks will cause his blood pressure to temporarily increase. Regular consumption of alcohol even if taken moderately will lead to high blood pressure that will be long-term and will require treatment.

Photo credits to Army Medicine

Stress Prevention

July 10th, 2013 by Scott Paglia, L.Ac. No comments »

StressThere are several ways to prevent stress. Some activities can entail passive and active methods that are for the soothing of the nerves. Some of the activities you can do for the prevention of stress include:

  • Listening To Music
  • Writing/painting/drawing
  • Dancing
  • Raising your pet
  • Gardening
  • Exercise

Exercise is highly recommended for stress and for the management of stress. It is one way of helping the body’s own “feel-good” chemicals help the person stay happy, light and relaxed. Exercise greatly increases self-confidence and can turn a bad mood into a good one. It also makes you sleep better and helps improve circulation.

Deep Breathing

Stress makes your heart beat faster and work harder than it should. To calm down your heart rate, you can do some deep breathing to lower your stress level and make you relax. Deep breathing also allows you to breathe in more oxygen in the bloodstream improving the function of your body systems. Breathe in slowly but deeply through your nose and after 10 seconds slowly breathe out using your mouth.

You can prevent stress using complementary and alternative medicine or CAM.

A number of holistic therapies can be utilized for your stress among which include Reiki therapy, Ayurveda, Acupuncture and Tai Chi.

Other Options for stress relaxation include massage therapy and biofeedback to mention just a couple.

Photo credtis to Bhernandez

Anemia – Lifestyle and Home Remedies

July 1st, 2013 by Scott Paglia, L.Ac. No comments »

Some effective home remedies for anemia entail diet modification.

Diet for anemia

  • Liver – Eating around 4 to 6 ounces of liver per day is recommended to replenish your depleted red blood cells. Liver is the most iron-rich food you can possibly eat.
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Prune juice
  • Rice bran
  • Pinto beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Parsley – This vegetable is rich in vitamin C and iron. Try to vary your presentation like serving parsley in fritters, salads, tabbouleh and pesto.
  • Blackstrap molasses – This also referred to as pregnancy tea and is rich in minerals, B vitamins and iron. It can also be used as a natural and gentle laxative.
  • Spirulina – This is a type of algae that is used to treat macrocytic and microcytic
  • anemias. Spirulina is also a very good source of protein.
  • Brewers yeast – Eating this can supply you with adequate B vitamins and iron. Eat this together with rice crackers and with a little olive.
  • Korengo or kelp – These sea products are rich in iron content; however, if you suffer from hyperthyroidism, eating this product is not recommended.

Oxalic acid is a product that impairs iron absorption in the body and so avoiding or limiting the eating of foods and drinking of fluids having this ingredient is required for anemic patients particularly if they are eating foods rich in iron. Foods rich in oxalic acid include swiss chard, spinach, sorrel, soda, rhubarb, kale, cocoa, chocolate, cashews and almonds. If you are vegan (pure vegetarian) you need to supplement your diet with vitamin Vit B12.

Coffee and tea actually impairs the function of the body to absorb iron and so it’s best to avoid these beverages. Dairy foods likewise retard iron absorption and so stay away from dairy foods if you’re eating iron rich foods.

Supplements for anemia

To add more iron in your body if you think the foods you eat is not enough for your iron needs, you can consider the supplementations like ferrous glycinate, ferrous glycerate, ferrous succinate and ferrous fumerate. Ferrous sulfate can cause bad effects like constipation and stomach pain and is poorly absorbed by the body compared to the other aforementioned iron supplements.

Vitamin C – At the least you need to take in half a gram of vit C tablets a day

Cyanocobalamine or vit B12 – About 1,000 IU a week 2X a day for about a month is good to supply the body with adequate vit B12. Foods rich in cyanocobalamine include: • Cheese

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Organ meats

Folic acid – Grains and green leafy vegetables are perfect sources of folic acid.

Omega-6 essential and Omega-3 fatty acids – Taking about 1,000 – 1,500 IU of these prevents you from incurring problems like sickle-cell anemia and enhance the clotting function of the blood.

Herbs to Fight Anemia

Herbal therapies to address anemia can include:

  • Yellowdock
  • Burdock
  • Dandelion leaf or root
  • Alfalfa
  • Ashwaganda
  • St. Mary’s thistle
  • Barberry
  • Gentian
  • Nettle

If you suffer from mild anemia, these herbs can raise the level of your hemoglobin.

Homeopathy for anemia

Homeopathic approaches will first consider the type of constitution of the person. By constitution we mean the person’s psychological, emotional and physical makeup. After appraising, the homeopath can determine the best treatment approach for the person.

  • Calcarea phosphorica – This is especially effective for anemic children suffering from fatigue, cool extremities, poor digestion and nighttime bone aches
  • Ferrum phosphoricum – This is for addressing iron deficiency

Lifestyle Considerations

  • Shunning alcohol and drugs that can disrupt the function of your gastrointestinal system is one way you can avoid developing anemia.
  • Drink adequate amounts of water prevent dehydration and the likelihood for sickle cell problems.
  • Keep you body refreshed during extreme cold and hot temperatures since exposure to these extremes can enhance the likelihood of sickle cell problems.
  • Your body is prone to sickle cell problem when you’re subjected to too much stress so you need to reduce stress all the time.

Brief Information on Bellingham Acupuncture

June 14th, 2010 by Scott Paglia LAc No comments »

Acupuncture in Bellingham is the practice in traditional Chinese method of promoting the body’s natural healing process and encouraging the body to improve functioning. This technique is done by inserting needles and applying electrical or heat stimulation at specific acupuncture points.

How Acupuncture Works

According to classical Chinese explanation, there are channels of energy that run in regular patterns through the body and over its surface. These channels are known as meridians and they are like rivers flowing inside the body to nourish and cleanse tissues. Any obstruction in the movement of these energy pathways is like a dam that backs up in others.

By needling the acupuncture points, the meridians can be influenced since acupuncture basically unblocks the obstruction at the dams and restore the regular flow of the energy through the meridians. In other words, acupuncture can therefore help the body’s internal organs to fix the imbalances in absorption, digestion and energy production activities. Aside from that, it improves the circulation of the energy of the meridians.

Modern science explains that needling involved in acupuncture stimulates the nervous system to release the chemicals in the brain, muscles and spinal cord. These released chemicals will then either change the experience of pain or they can trigger the release of other chemicals and hormones that influence the internal regulating system of the body.

Stimulating the body’s natural healing abilities and promoting the emotional and physical well-being of an individual will result to an improved energy and biochemical balance produced by acupuncture.

The Difference of Medical Acupuncture

Acupuncture is considered to be a very old medical art and there are many approaches to practicing and learning it. The term used to describe acupuncture performed by a trained doctor or licensed in Western doctor who underwent acupuncture training as a specialty practice is called medical acupuncture. to treat an illness, such a doctor can use one or the other approach or a combination of both.

The Scope of Medical Acupuncture

Medical acupuncture is a medical system that influences three areas of health care specifically the promotion of well-being and health, prevention off illness and treatment of a variety of medical conditions. A lot may think that acupuncture is associated with pain management but in the hands of well-trained acupuncturists, it can give off much broader applications. As the only treatment, acupuncture can be effective and it can also be used as a support or in conjunction to other medical treatments even if it a medical or surgical disorder. The World Health Organization recognized that acupuncture can be used in treating a wide range of medical problems. For digestive disorders, it can treat gastritis and hyperactivity, constipation, spastic colon and diarrhea. For respiratory disorders would include disorders such as sinusitis, bronchitis, sore throat, asthma and recurrent chest infections. Neurological problems would include headaches, neck pain, facial tics, frozen shoulder, rib neuritis, tennis elbow, and various forms of tendinitis, sciatica, low back pain and osteoarthritis. Lastly would be problems of the reproductive, urinary and menstrual systems.

Attitude and Health

February 16th, 2010 by Scott Paglia LAc No comments »

Hello Folks,

Today’s blog is for practitioner and patient alike. We are going to discuss the effects of a positive attitude on health and treatment outcomes.

For many of us going to get medical help is a chore. Something we do when all else has failed. We try to beat the game and the house always wins. We can make ourselves feel better and say historically we are a trauma based medical system and if it isn’t broke don’t fix it. Well is this working? If you believe in healthiest nations indicators it’s time to take another look at our system. We were ranked, last year, in the high 80’s far as the World Health Organization is concerned. We started out at 3.  Now seriously, is what we are doing working? However, the model itself is not the topic of this blog, but rather those within the model. Us.

If you think the model can be improved upon, please keep reading. If not, I assume you are already surfing. So lets go. . .

The Women’s Health Initiative, with over 100,000 women in the study, shows clearly that optimists suffer a full 30 percent less heart disease and an incredible 14% decrease in deaths from any cause. Not bad huh. While its delightful to be the pessimist it may a self-fulfilling prophecy.  The mayo clinic did a similar study. A full 30% difference in health outcomes between the two groups.  The Gallup Agency has done countless studies as well. Employees who focus on strengths did far better than those trying to shore up weaknesses. Now look folks you can drag me to 500 meetings to learn how to by a sycophant and at the end of that tenure of shame I am still going to voice my opinion and fight for what I believe to be right and true. You can’t take the key elements out of a person. So save your money. Focus on your strength and take a look, to quote the Pogues, on the sunny side of the street.

Most positive/optimistic people I have come into contact have a couple of things in common. So if you are a patient or practitioner keep an eye out on this it will save you time. The first thing they believe in is themselves. They believe their body has the capacity to heal. The second thing they believe in is the modality of medicine we are practicing.  They believe what we have to offer can make them a lot better. These are our patients. We love them because they are already on board. There is no begging to come back, haggling over progress, etc. Our patients are here and as long as we are improving their health they stay. All day I long I move from room to room and ask the same questions. How are you? Better. Good! It’s easy. So now, as a patient if you are dragging through the day and are not happy with your type of care, get some help you believe in. You don’t have to be a convert, just believe in the ability to change. If you are a practitioner slogging through the day at your clinic it’s probably because either you or your patients don’t believe in the quality of care being delivered. So get to it. Optimists out!

Immunity, Conclusion of Top 5

December 22nd, 2009 by Scott Paglia LAc No comments »

Well happy holidays to one and to all. This is our last installment of our top 5 ways to boost immunity. Coincidentally they have a lot in common this time of year:  stress and spend time with loved ones.

Stress has many deleterious effects on the human body. A New England Journal of Medicine article studied the effects of stress on the immune system.  People who were under greater stress were 3x more likely to develop a cold after direct exposure to the rhinovirus – and they say good jobs are hard to find! It makes sense when you think about it, most of us get sick after a stressful event. During the stress I think the adrenal system can shore up any weaknesses. As the stressor leaves, we are more susceptible to opportunistic infections.

Spend time with loved ones. I know it’s almost like a national anthem, oh I do poorly over the holidays or oh god we’re meeting as a family. Eeegads. Well get off of the misery train, you don’t have to ride it if you don’t want. Enjoy the people around you for what they are.  If you have differences with them you can rest assure they have them with you. So relax.  Be merry.  And get over it. Happy holidays and see you all in 2010.

Immunity and Exercise

December 11th, 2009 by Scott Paglia LAc No comments »

Exercise, the kryptonite of all couch potatoes, is a valued ally in the quest for health. Why?  Because exercise increases the flow of blood through the body. If the circulation of blood is increased then the body has a more readily available supply of what it needs.  Which means you will be able to do what you need to, when you need to do it.

The Cleveland Clinic has done a study on this very fact. Here’s what they found.  Even relatively low levels of aerobic exercise can protect your immune system.

Yes, even in collective blog land I can her the sigh. So if you are sitting there thinking, I can’t do 1 hour a day. Get over it. Anyone can do this program.  So lets get at it.

Just 20-30 minutes of brisk walking 5 days per week turns out to be the  ideal training program for maintaining a healthy immune response.

So close down the home entertainment system, the internet and, yes, the cell phone and get out there.  Now.

Immunity and Sleep

December 11th, 2009 by Scott Paglia LAc No comments »

OK, so lets tackle sleep first.

A study in the Archives of Internal Medicine,  shows that poor sleep and the susceptibility to colds go hand in hand.  Marvel concept, huh. The study followed 153 men and women for two weeks and kept track of both the duration and quality of sleep. They then exposed all of the participants to the rhinovirus, or the common cold. Who are these people? And they say there are a lack of good jobs. The results:  Those who slept on average less than 7 hours a night were 3 times more likely to get sick compared to those who averaged at least 8 hours. The verdict? When you are tired, SLEEP.

A few years ago one of my teachers said. I had a humbling weekend. Why? I will tell you. I verified that my dog is smarter than I am. As I sat there feeling tired from a rough night I saw my dog curl up in the corner. He sleeps when he’s tired. I hope to learn to do the same someday. If you can’t sleep, come in here and lets see if we can help. Do we have a deal?

Top 5 ways to Improve Immunity

December 4th, 2009 by Scott Paglia LAc No comments »

Hello All,

While we scramble for cover under a constant barrage of viral and opportunistic infections it might be good to do a chapter review. What can we do to boost our immune system? Well here it goes, the top 5 things you can do at home: 

1) Get enough sleep

2) Eat the right food, see prior blog

3) Exercise

4) Reduce Stress

5) Spend time with loved ones.


Stay tuned for more detailed information on each of these 5 tactics to boost immunity.

Recipes for Immunity

November 10th, 2009 by Scott Paglia LAc No comments »

As cold and flu season heads our way it’s time to think about what type of protection do we need. For me, it’s going to start with food. Real food. Not food from boxes or cans or cryogenically sealed vacuum bags. 

According to the NeiJing SuWen, one of the oldest medical books in world history, health care starts with food, first. Only after a disease progresses do we administer herbs and acupuncture – the original preventative medicine.

OK, so what to do now, you say?  I looked up best immune boosting foods on the Internet and came up with Vitamin C,  Vitamin D and a few others.

Since when have vitamins become food? Give me a break already.

Yep, I was at my favorite restaurant over the weekend and you wouldn’t believe the cut of Vit. D I had. Oh man it was braised, with chanterelle mushrooms and paired with liquid calcium and magnesium. Unbelievable! 

While there are great profit margins in supplements I would rather look first to mother nature and the great foods she offers.

Let’s start with a take  chicken soup. I’ve added minor changes to the old-time favorite, but not many. Also the ingredients are commonly found in your local store or co op.

Bon appetit and remember the infamous battle cry of Micael Pollan: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.



Super Shitake Mushroom Soup

Serves 4

1 onion, chopped
1/2 lb. shitakes, sliced with stems removed
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 Tbl olive oil
6 chicken thighs, chopped & skinned
12 cups chicken stock

4oz. dried mushrooms
1 Tbl. fish sauce
2 Tbl. fresh oregano


  1. Place sliced shitake caps in a stock pot. Cook for a few minutes, until the shitakes wilt.
  2. Add olive oil, onion & garlic and saute until onions are translucent, usually about 10 minutes at medium heat, stirring often
  3. Add chicken thighs and cook for 4-6 minutes
  4. Add chicken stock, dried mushrooms and water and simmer for 15 minutes. 
  5. OK I can hear it already out there. Who makes chicken stock these days? If you don’t you should. I you won’t then take three boxes of organic stock and add to the recipe, for a total of 12 cups. Sorry Michael. 
  6. Add fish sauce and fresh oregano and serve hotshitake chicken soup