Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis

Atherosclerosis is a slow, gradually progressive disease that is what scientists and doctors call “multifactorial” in nature; that is, the things that kick it off and contribute to it are many and varied. One common denominator with Atherosclerosis is damage to and dysfunction of the lining of arteries called the endothelium. This endothelial damage in Atherosclerosis can, in the presence of hyperlipidemia or high levels of “bad lipids” such as LDL (Oxidized Low Density Lipoprotein) and triglycerides, plus the kind of poor blood sugar regulation and insulin resistance associated with Type 2 or adult on-set diabetes can set the stage for disturbed blood flow. As endothelial cells die neighboring mature endothelial cells proliferate and migrate to heal the wound. This process results in the development of a fibrous build-up called an atheroma. As this grows blood vessels narrow, blood pressure rises, and the sufferer is at greater risk of a stroke or heart attack.

Dr. Steenblock’s Comprehensive Approach to AtherosclerosisAtherosclerosis Treatment

Making sure of the diagnosis

When a doctor sees a patient for the first time he will ask for copies of medical records as part of gathering information and data that, in combination with taking a medical history and doing relevant exams and tests, helps him arrive at a diagnosis (or confirm previously made ones) and  formulate a medical care plan. Dr. Steenblock  does all this, yes, but goes beyond this. How so? He ferrets out previously undetected cause(s) and contributors of a person’s problems. This medical sleuthing or Sherlock Holmes mindset is what helps Dr. Steenblock come up with answers in situations where others have failed. Not surprisingly his track record of “discerning what has escaped other docs” has earned him the moniker “Doctor’s doctor” by his patients and a great many of his colleagues.

How did Dr. Steenblock come to be a “medical sleuth”?

Medical sleuths are not born but made. The truly good ones have agile minds, intense curiosity, critical thinking skills and a sound medical and scientific education.  Dr. Steenblock certainly has all this and more. His native abilities are reflected in a lifetime of accomplishments including spinning new ideas and inventions.  His education and training are a matter of public record: A B.S. degree from Iowa State University in zoology, an M.S. in Biochemistry and Doctor of Osteopathy degree from the College of Osteopathic Medicine and Surgery in Des Moines, Iowa, followed by post-doctoral training that included three years at Case Western Reserve University, one year at the Oregon Health Sciences University and a clinical Rotating Internship at Providence Hospital in Seattle, Washington.  Also — and very integral to doing medical detective work — Dr. Steenblock spent years working in pathology, the science of studying and diagnosing disease.

Estimates vary but it appears around 4% of medical diagnoses are just plain wrong. Dr. Steenblock has run across this many times during his forty-four years of medical practice (40,000+ patients).  Some of these patients had “consensus diagnoses” (a medical diagnosis made by 2 or more doctors) that turned out to be dead wrong.  Needless to say, getting properly diagnosed helped get these folks on the right (as opposed to wrong) road. This is something Dr. Steenblock has in-mind with each and every patient who comes in to see him.

Testing & other assessments: Making sure the bases are covered

As a person’s own bone marrow stem cells play an important role in helping heal up damaged artery walls in atherosclerosis, Dr. Steenblock tests for things that interfere with stem cell mobilization and/or their vitality and activity:

Heavy metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium, arsenic, etc:  With adults, A DMPS* Challenge Test is done in which the patient gets 250 mgs DMPS in 250 milliliters saline by intravenous drip over a two hour period. The patient’s urine is collected for 2-6 hours and sent to Doctor’s Data in Chicago for analysis. Click this link to learn more. This helps determine the presence & levels of toxic and essential elements.

*2,3-dimercapto-1-propanesulfonic acid

Hormone deficiencies as well as excess, e.g., hyperthyroidism, hyperthyroidism, etc: Hormones as well as lack of certain ones can impact stem cells as well as the tissues they engraft in (Hormones can effect tissue changes that can dampen or otherwise impede stem cell activity). Dr. Steenblock prescribes hormone panel tests that measure such hormones as DHEA, IGF-1, HGH, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone and prolactin.

Physical stressors including but not limited to hypoxia (low blood and tissue oxygen levels), intermittent hypoxia, nocturnal hypoxemia (serious drops in tissue oxygen levels), chronic persistent hypoxia secondary to COPD (emphysema), metabolic acidosis (happens in poorly controlled diabetes) or other noxious tissue conditions. To detect & measure the extent of these Dr. Steenblock runs tests that measure CO2 blood levels, LDH isoenzymes, lactic acid, pyruvic acid levels, salivary and urine pH. In addition, Dr. Steenblock has patients do a nocturnal oximetry test, EKG, and pulmonary function studies.

Infections: Dr. Steenblock looks for active infections whether bacterial, viral, or mycoplasma in nature in gums, sinuses, organs or other tissues, plus smoldering or hard-to-detect low grade infections especially those caused by certain herpes viruses and retroviruses. Among the tests that Dr. Steenblock utilizes when indicated: A CT of the lungs & sinuses to rule out sinus infections and a CDSA plus parasite test to rule out intestinal infestations. These sorts of infections tend to attract stem cells including those that would ordinarily wind up supporting the body’s own atherosclerosis repair process.

Nutritional status & issues: Poor nutrition, ingestion of unhealthy fats and simple sugars, binge or heavy drinking, consumption of carbonated beverages especially sugar-laden ones, overconsumption of caffeine, etc. can make atherosclerosis worse. In addition, lack of certain nutrients and especially vitamin D deficiency, excess amounts of others such as vitamins K and A can all impede or interfere with stem cells. Generally, Dr. Steenblock does a systematic review of a patient’s diet (This may require the patient keeping a food diary for a period of time. Sometimes specialized testing is done to see if nutritional deficiencies or excesses exist.)

A review of prescription and/or OTC pharmaceuticals and/or illicit drugs: Drug interactions and excessive or wrong drug choices can fuel atherosclerosis as well as have an adverse effect on stem cell growth, proliferation or function. Dr. Steenblock reviews each patient’s past & present drug & supplement use (or has the patient do this with their family doctor) to determine what might be contributing to the atherosclerotic disease process and/or are inimical to stem cells.

A review of herbs, herb-derived compounds, and vitamins: Many herbs, herbal concentrates-extracts and vitamins can negatively impact atherosclerosis as well as influence stem cell growth, proliferation or function.  Patients are asked to provide Dr. Steenblock with a detailed list or record of all the herbs, herbal formulas, teas, vitamins and such they ingest for review.

Assessing the influence of genetics now & down-the-line: Dr. Steenblock makes use of various highly sophisticated tests to help gauge such things as: (1) how a patient is likely to respond to (a) particular medication(s) Dr. Steenblock feels they might benefit from using; and (2) their risk of developing specific chronic diseases in the future. One comprehensive genetics test Dr. Steenblock often has his patients do is 23andme. Persons intending to see Dr. Steenblock are urged to order this test immediately and provide the results to their regular primary care doctor. This kind of testing makes it possible for Dr. Steenblock to personalize many aspects of the care he provides.

In addition to the aforementioned tests Dr. Steenblock makes use of these and deals with any problems that crop up: CBC, ESR, CRP, thyroid panel, uric acid, ammonia (brain cases), EPO if anemia is present, reticulocyte count, iron, TIBC, % saturation, copper, ceruloplasminANA with reflex, and urine organic acids. He has stroke patients do an antiphospholipid panel and alpha 2 macroglobulin test. If vasculitis is present or suspected he orders a haptoglobin assay. In instances in which Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) is known or suspected he has patients tested for levels of brain-natriuretic peptide. Testing fibrinogen, and d-dimer is done on everyone since this reveals how much damage a patient’s inner blood vessel walls currently have and how susceptible he is to having a heart attack or stroke. If these are high, the patient is at great risk and needs to take IMMEDIATE ACTION!

Putting it all together: Charting a personalized course to improvement

Once a patient’s diagnosis is confirmed, modified or even overturned and the results of all tests ordered are in, Dr. Steenblock formulates a treatment plan. The therapeutic regimen he introduces is personalized to help insure the patient gets optimal results and has his greatest shot at making significant clinical improvements.

  • If heavy metals toxicity is an issue a suitable course of chelation therapy is typically prescribed.
  • Hormone problems are dealt with.
  • Infections are treated.
  • Nutritional deficiencies and unique dietary needs are addressed. This typically entails Dr. Steenblock’s prescribing an individualized therapeutic diet and possibly oral or IV nutritional therapies.
  • For patients using prescribed and/or OTC drugs, Dr. Steenblock typically substitutes gentle but effective natural compounds when possible. If drugs are essential, Dr. Steenblock makes sure there are no potential conflicts or interactions between these and any herbs, herbal compounds or vitamins the patient routinely takes (He also looks closely at these herbs, herbal compounds and vitamins to make sure their properties and actions are best suited to maximize patient health and not work to the contrary).

In addition to the aforementioned measures, Dr. Steenblock makes use of a variety of medical devices that benefit people with cardiovascular challenges including those arising from narrowed arteries:

External counterpulsation: This FDA approved computer-driven machine involves the use of large blood pressure kit-like cuffs wrapped about various places on patient’s legs and about his waist which are inflated and deflated between heartbeats. This pushes blood back towards the heart and brain which helps open up narrowed arteries resulting in an increase in the amounts of oxygen and nutrients that reach all the major organs. For patients prone to have angina attacks these EECP treatments often result in fewer, often less severe attacks. Various studies have shown that upwards of eighty percent of those with refractory angina experience significant improvements that last for up to five years after a course of treatment. Many doctors believe these effects make EECP a genuine “natural by-pass”. In addition, EECP treatments help mobilize a patient’s own bone marrow stem cells!

Periodic Acceleration:  Periodic Acceleration Therapy or PAT involves having patients lie on a motorized platform that gently moves back-and-forth. This gets arteries busy producing a chemical (nitric oxide or NO) that opens up blood vessels as well as mobilizes bone marrow stem cells.

Augmenting nature’s own repair & restoration mechanism: Stem cells

When atherosclerosis sets in and begins to progress the sufferer’s arteries try to repair artery wall damaged by activating stem cells. Unfortunately, blood vessel stem cells are not always up to the job of repair and regeneration. The chemical signals produced by the injured blood vessels then attracts circulating bone marrow stem cells. However, as people age their bone marrow not infrequently begins to harbor more and more senescent stem cells.  To offset this Dr. Steenblock found that he could prod patient’s bone marrow to make new, more vital stem cells by giving them injections of the FDA approved stem cell mobilizing drug Neupogen® for five (5) consecutive days. How does this work? The mobilization of vast numbers of mostly senescent (poorly functioning/responsive) stem cells from the marrow triggers natural biological mechanisms that swing into action resulting in the production of replacement stem cells. However, what Dr. Steenblock discovered is that in two weeks time this revved up replacement activity has produced upwards of 10 times more healthy stem cells than were present prior to the Neupogen® injections!

Once a patient’s bone marrow is brimming with robust, healthier stem cells, Dr. Steenblock harvests this and gives it back to patients by intravenous drip.  This turns loose scores more stem cells than would never be mobilized naturally. As a result arterial tissues that would never have had sufficient number of stem cells around to affect repairs and facilitate creation of new blood vessels are amply supplied with these.

How exactly does Dr. Steenblock do a bone harvesting procedure? Dr. Steenblock’s approach to harvesting bone marrow is designed to be as easy and painless as possible. Typically, bone marrow is removed from a thick bone site as the tibia (big bone) in the lower leg or the crest of the hip bone, a process that normally takes about 30-45 minutes. The first step is administrated of a local anesthetic to the area where the extraction will take place. Then, a thin needle is introduced and employed to harvest around 150-200 milliliters (~5-6 oz) of bone marrow. Most patients do not feel the bone marrow being removed.

Is there any evidence pumping bone marrow stem cells into people with cardiovascular problems genuinely helps them? There is. Click to read about a recent University of Texas study that showed how bone marrow stem cells helped stroke patients.

What about the safety of bone marrow aspirate treatments like those Dr. Steenblock does? Clinical research findings show it is. Click to read more.

How you can put Dr. Steenblock to work on your behalf

Call Dr. Steenblock’s Clinic toll free at 1-800-300-1063. If you prefer to communicate using a computer or your Internet-connected cell phone you can send Dr. Steenblock a message by clicking this link and using the on-line form provided.