Cardiomyopathy refers to a weakening of the heart muscle or a change in heart muscle structure which typically results in inadequate heart pumping or other heart function problems. The most common form is dilated cardiomyopathy which involves an enlargement of the heart’s main pumping chamber (left ventricle) secondary to heart muscle damage from coronary artery disease. When this happens the heart can’t adequately pump blood to the body. This can and does lead to heart failure and death.
Can stem cells help this condition? There is a growing body of scientific evidence that suggests that stem cells from a patient’s own bone marrow or blood can produce significant improvements in function in cardiomyopathy. For instance, in Thailand, cardiomyopathy patients who had “Angiogenic Cell Precursors (ACPs)” derived from their own blood injected into their heart muscle experienced impressive benefits. And in a clinical study involving 11 men with cardiomyopathy, researchers found that bone marrow stem cell therapy “decreased the size of the heart 15 percent to 20 percent, surpassing the effect of medications given to treat cardiomyopathy.” Click to read an article on this study.
By the time most people with cardiomyopathy reach Dr. Steenblock they typically have been wrestling with it as well as other chronic health problems for some time. Many take a number of drugs, some of which actually deplete compounds such as CoQ10 that are integral to heart function.
With this in mind, Dr. Steenblock approaches his cardiomyopathy patients with a number of goals in mind:
(1) Determine what is going on in their body including disease processes both pronounced and subtle. To do this he takes and reviews their medical history and prior tests, then does his own exams and testing. Unlike most conventional doctors he looks at players they tend to overlook or dismiss such as heavy metals, GI tract problems such as infections that produce endotoxins that wind up in the patient’s circulation, nighttime (sleeping) oxygen levels, genetic factors, and nutritional, dietary and lifestyle influences including the vitamins, herbs and herbal compounds taken on a regular basis.
In addition, Dr. Steenblock approaches diagnostics with a successful track record in catching missed or faulty diagnoses made my other doctors, something that he has been doing since his days as a pathologist or “medical sleuth”.
(2) Take what is revealed in the patient’s medical history and various exams to formulate a precise, targeted, personalized treatment plan. This includes dealing with excess heavy metals if present, restoring insulin sensitivity (in cardiomyopathy patients with Type 2 diabetes), substituting gentle natural compounds for harsh drugs when possible, addressing hormone imbalances or deficiencies and infections (including subtle or smoldering ones), plus introduction of specific nutritional, dietary, supplement, and lifestyle measures aimed at encouraging a halting of disease progression and then reversal and recovery.
As part of treating cardiomyopathy, Dr. Steenblock also utilizes specific medical devices such as external counterpulsation and Periodic Acceleration Therapy to help strengthen the heart and circulation as well as open up any plaque narrowed arteries and stimulate the growth and healing of the body by the person’s own bone marrow derived stem cells.
As most patients with cardiomyopathy are middle-aged or older, the cache of stem cells in their bone marrow tends to contain lots of senescent cells. Senescent stem cells are no longer able to divide and multiple and therefore have become useless in the healing processes of the body. In fact they actually are responsible, in part, for some of the inflammation that occurs in the older person’s body that can aggravate heart and circulatory problems such as cardiomyopathy. Dr. Steenblock uses injections of the FDA approved stem cell mobilizing drug Neupogen® to purge out these devitalized stem cells which prods the body to make massive numbers of healthy, robust replacements. Dr. Steenblock then harvests this stem cell-rich tissue and gives it back to the patient by intravenous drip, which provides damaged arteries with stem cells that can go in and affect repair and restoration.
With tweaking along the way this program helps halt and reverse cardiomyopathy and makes a recurrence of the condition less likely.
Dr. Steenblock’s Comprehensive Approach to Cardiomyopathy
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 promote the healing of ailing heart muscle in cardiomyopathy, 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.
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
heart muscle 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 cardiomyopathy 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 cardiomyopathy 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 cardiomyopathy 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 cardiomyopathy 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 variou
s 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, ceruloplasmin, ANA with reflex, and urine organic acids. He has cardiomyopathy patients who have also have a 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 cardiomyopathy (such as ischemia):
External counterpulsation: This FDA approved computer-driven machine involves the use of la
rge 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 benefits cardiomyopathy by diminishing ischemia and improving functional capacity and quality of life. In addition, if any of the major blood vessels feeding the heart are narrowed with plaque EECP treatments will open these up resulting in an increase in the amounts of oxygen and nutrients that reach the heart and all the major organs. 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 and improves blood flow including microcirculation to the body’s tissues. In addition, NO mobilizes bone marrow stem cells.
Augmenting nature’s own repair & restoration mechanism: Stem cells
When cardiomyopathy sets in and begins to progress the sufferer’s heart tries to repair d
amaged areas by activating stem cells. Unfortunately, these stem cells are not always up to the job of repair and regeneration. The chemical signals produced by the failing heart muscle 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 heart tissues that would never have had sufficient number of stem cells around to affect repairs and restoration 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.