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Tuesday, October 22, 2013

ULCERATIVE COLITIS : C. DIFF INFECTION (CLOSTRIDIUM DIFFICILE)








Explaining how I got to this place is like a good detective novel with a happy ending for the story's protagonist.

I was under a dermatologist's care as an adolescent. I had very bad acne breakouts. I mean, huge zits like volcanoes on my face and shoulders. Mostly on my face, occasionally on my back. It was bad.

My parents took me to a dermatologist in our area, a good one, recommended by my other zithead friends, and I began treatment. With, of course, ANTIBIOTICS.

And, guess what? My zits cleared up! Of course, they did.

I was on a daily regimen of tetracycline, a broad-spectrum ANTIBIOTIC, until my doctor switched me over to Aureomycin. Naturally, I trusted my parents and my doctor and all of my friends who were seeing the same doctor. It was great to see my pimples disappear.

I was on ANTIBIOTIC treatment for close to two years, until I graduated high school. My zits leveled off and I tried to watch what I was eating. I was only 18 at the time, what did I know?

In hindsight, my immune system was always in a compromised state because of the zit prescription. I didn't feel ill effects because my body was young, perhaps the daily dose of ANTIBIOTICS was mild, but for some reason symptoms didn't emerge until I was 29.

My breakdown was evolutionary and then suddenly I was very ill. My immune system was hit so hard for so long, the good bacteria eventually just couldn't replenish itself back to health (and, remember, I was still eating 'Dead Food', not good). As a result, the good bacteria got crowded out by the bad bacteria, which were now like bacterial zombies running amok up and down Colon Alley. What did I expect? I was feeding my zombies 'Dead Food.' You are what you eat, they say. Turns out, the bad guys love 'Dead Food.'

The bad bacteria has a name: CLOSTRIDIUM DIFFCILE, also referred to as "C. difficile" or "C. diff." or "CDF/cdf". This C diff,, is a really bad bacteria, resulting in an estimated 250,000 hospitalizations and 14,000 deaths in the U.S. each year.

C. diff, is known for causing ANTIBIOTIC-ASSOCIATED diarrhea. This happens when the good bacteria is crowded out after a treatment of antibiotics designed to kill the bad guys, leaving some bad guys behind who then go on to become resistant to further treatment. As I mentioned, the good guys just can't reproduce fast enough or in large enough populations to replenish themselves.

It should be noted, it has been said that C. difficile itself is NOT drug-resistant. What happens in a patient's gut is that ANTIBIOTICS kill beneficial bacteria, crating an opportunity for C. difficile to infect a patient.

How bad? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that C. difficile kills 14,000 people each year in the U.S. alone. The standard treatment? You guessed it, rounds of ANTIBIOTICS. The problem: C. diff doesn't respond well to them.

But there's hope on the horizon for an ALTERNATIVE TREATMENT for battling C. diff in the gut.

Are you ready?

A Fecal Transplant. That's correct. As in the word feces, or poop: A FECAL TRANSPLANT.


WHAT IS A FECAL TRANSPLANT ?

I'm glad you assked (pun intended, of course). And when I tell you, you're going to say "Eeeoowyuck!". Be thankful you don't have to drink it. And if anyone feels the way I felt, they might secretly think: "Eeeew-where do I find out about this?"

Here's how a FECAL TRANSPLANT works: First, in a doctor's setting, a patient is clinically diagnosed with a C. diff infection. Upon diagnosis, the patient's doctor places a medical order for healthy stool from a healthy donor. The patient returns for a follow-up visit and the administration of the fecal transplant procedure. Before the procedure begins, the doctor mixes the healthy donor stool with saline (salt water). Finally, with foreplay over, the doctor inserts a tube into the patient's rectum and sends the healthy bacteria from the healthy donor stool through the tube into the C. diff patient's infected areas, bathing them in good, healthy bacteria. The healthy bacteria in the donor stool provides an army of the good guys to once again crowd out the bad bacteria, enabling a healthy microbiome to grow and flourish. The good bacteria, the good flora, are now back in gut control, preventing C. difficile from recurring.

In reverse engineering (visual acknowledged), a FECAL TRANSPLANT is exactly like getting a shot of probiotics, only up the rear. Supplementing with good probiotics taken orally in capsule form have, I believe, helped me keep my immune system strong and healthy. It's part of my daily regimen along with eating more plants, fruits, and veggies, the PREBIOTICS (food for) my PROBIOTICS (the good gut bacteria).

There's a Dr. Colleen Kelly, a gastroenterologist at Brown University, who is doing this FECAL TRANSPLANT RESEARCH.

Be reminded: Do your own homework.

In severe cases, C. difficile can cause PSEUDOMEMBRANOUS COLITIS, a severe inflammation of the colon. It is often, but not always, caused by the bacterium CLOSTRIDIUM DIFFICILE. Because of this, the informal name C. difficile colitis or just C. diff, is also commonly used.


MORE FOOD FOR THE ZOMBIES

Processed, dead food. We consume too much nutritionally vacant, ground and boiled to death, 'Dead Food.' Here are some of those items that I love, love, LOVE: Salt, sugar, fat, processed grains, pasteurized dairy and processed meat delights.

Including all those edible, tasty items exemplified to perfection in our fast food choices: burgers, bread, fried chicken, more bread, french fries, bad oils, more bread, salt, sugar, cookies, cakes, saturated fats, pizza, ice cream, cupcakes, even orange juice, all Dead and nutritionally questionable calories - yum! - and, let's not forget our loss-leader: soda! Only a $1, any size, S M L XL XXL making the consumer... XXXL !

Methinks these are some of the contributing factors to a nutritionally deficient human being as well as one with a compromised immune system. It's just been battered and beaten up for so long, it just has to break down under the weight of having to provide nutrients to a starving body. It's been like sifting the dessert for a carrot or an apple. A lot of energy for nothing. And now, total exhaustion. That was me.

A body's immune system, as well as arterial and venal pathways, by maintaining an unhealthy level of both FREE RADICAL formation and CHRONIC INFLAMMATION which together simply encourage a further accumulation of FREE RADICALS and INFLAMMATION intensification.

After prolonged CHRONIC INFLAMMATION, arterial and venal pathways become overly stressed and venal and arterial walls begin to shred from the inside. If you're experiencing an autoimmune disease, you are, by definition, experiencing CHRONIC INFLAMMATION.


As you can see, CHRONIC INFLAMMATION may feel like a local phenomenon (as the case with me, my brutalized ass), but it has serious systemic consequences.

For example, CHRONIC INFLAMMATION can cause the walls of our arterial and venal pathways, the veins and arteries and capillaries that carry nutrients to all our cells, to shred cellular sheets. And then our good friend cholesterol shows up to help.

Cholesterol, essential for a healthy human brain among many other important functions, collects around the shreds, attempting to patch them up, much like you'd patch a street pothole. Cholesterol is kind of sludgy ends up accumulating in the inflamed pathways, around the shreds, leading to potential blockages.

More fun is in store when CHOLESTEROL LOWERING MEDICATIONS, such as STATINS, are prescribed. By chemically reducing the amount of blood cholesterol, you're not addressing the systemic inflammation. Make sense?

STATINS are taken for a condition in which inflammation is the cause of the cholesterol buildup, not the cholesterol itself. Addressing the source of the problem, INFLAMMATION, is primarily food choices.  That's when consistently following an ANTI-INFLAMMATORY food choice sequence will help moderate or eliminate the need for STATIN medication.

Want to see your doctor freak out? If you're on STATINS, ask your doctor how you can wean yourself off of them with food choices and exercise. Watch his reaction. The doctor of a friend of mine said she'd have to be on STATINS for the rest of her life. That her condition was genetic. He scared her, too. Now she's afraid to get off of them. He told her she'd die if she went off of them.

I told her to ALWAYS follow her doctor's advice. And that's exactly what she's doing.