Welcome, returning readers! We’re so glad you’ve return for today’s conclusion of this article series on kidney disease and gum disease . Our plan for today is to conclude with a discussion about what the havoc wreaked by kidney and gum disease looks like in those afflicted with the inflammation which exists with both of these maladies. If you have been following this series, you will likely remember from past installments, we’ve discussed what kidney disease is, what gum disease is, some of the causes of each of them and have touched on the fact that many serious health conditions can stem from gum disease and its associated inflammation. Today, Dr. Scharf wants to pull all of the installments together with a discussion about some of those other serious health conditions and what they can look like as they affect the quality of life and lifestyle of you and those you love. We are hoping that, by reading this article series, you will begin to appreciate the concerns your medical doctor and your dental professional have for taking care of all of the parts of your body. So, let’s get started, shall we?
Are You Aware that Other Diseases Are Lurking at the Door?
Continuing research is showing that the chronic inflammation, which is actually infection trapped in the gums, accompanies gum and periodontal disease and does, in fact, have a profound effect on various other organs. The research also supports the belief that the kidneys are at risk in a similar fashion as the various parts of the cardiovascular system, for example. Recently, a group of researchers from the University of California San Francisco began a study in which they are tracking kidney disease development and progression in those kidney patients who have already been diagnosed with gum disease. They are assessing how the kidney disease progresses in relation to either treatment of the gum disease or leaving the gum disease untreated. Their goal is to find data to support the treatment of gum disease in an effort to control and slow the progression of kidney disease. The preliminaries are very encouraging!
Gum Disease Has An Inflammatory Base
If you have been following this blog for any period of time, then you are well aware that, we have discussed gum disease’s inflammation in previous articles and in previous installments of this series. This inflammation, which is caused by infection trapped in the gums, is at the root of gum disease, and it results from bacterial infections in the oral tissues. The inflammation and bacteria then get into the bloodstream and get transported throughout the body , pulsing through every blood vessel, tendon, muscle, bone and organ in its path. As the bacteria passes through, it leaves a “deposit” in the form of bacterial organisms which attach to cells and flourish everywhere they’re deposited. Inflammation comes to the new sites as the immune system rises to the challenge to fight the infection(s). And, the cycle continues….
Internal Damage Results Throughout the Body
This inflammation results from the normal immune process that occurs when an infection or outside threat is perceived by the body, causing the good bacteria, bad bacteria and white blood cells to battle . The resulting inflammation erodes blood vessels, causes atherosclerosis (narrowing of blood vessels) and other vascular changes throughout the body. Since the entire body requires blood and the cardiovascular system supplies that requirement by pumping blood throughout the body , those vascular changes are taking place within every tissue type in the body as well as every organ, vital or otherwise! What does that look like? Well, let’s take a look:
- Narrowing of the blood vessels which supply the heart, making the heart work harder to push the blood through, i.e. increased blood pressures, elevated or irregular heartbeat rhythms, palpitations, etc
- Inflammation affects the way various cells in various systems do the job they were designed to do, i.e. digestive system, lungs, pancreas, liver, endocrine, etc
- Blood chemistry imbalances which have an effect, for example, on how food is digested, how nutrients are extracted and absorbed. This imbalance in the blood chemistry and increased inflammation helps to cause insulin resistance, overproduction of insulin and peripheral vascular issues which are common to diabetes, for another example
What Does This Look Like to You and To Those You Love?
- it could look like having to take a medication to control your blood pressure, triglycerides, diabetes or heart rate at younger and younger ages
- It might mean that blood sugars will need to be tested routinely to assure things are balanced (ouch!)
- It might mean that routine blood work is also required along with frequent follow up medical appointments with your doctor to assure the medications being given are working as intended (another ouch in the arm AND your pocketbook!)
- Arthritis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Chronic Fatigue syndrome, Fibromyalgia are all diseases in which inflammation is the primary clinical sign and symptom – AND they are all progressive and debilitating. How many people do you know with these problems?
- It might mean skeletal changes which could affect the lifestyle your live (or would like to live)
- It could mean that more and more people battle with eating disorders to avoid obesity and that ever-expanding waistline that is becoming more prevalent every year…or
- The horror of the increasing rates of childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes (normally only an adult disease) with the physical limitations associated with these issues.
Can You See the Pattern Here?
These are just a few of the hundreds of health issues which can stem from chronic inflammation, which, most of the time begins in the mouth. The first step toward avoidance of these problems for you and everyone you love is to address that oral inflammation. Dr. Scharf wants to be your Periodontist in Long Island, and as such, he can help you achieve this goal by identifying and treating that inflammation and any stage of associated gum disease. Call him at (631)-661-6633 or visit him on the web at https://drscharf.com and let him tell you how he can treat gum disease with a laser rather than a scalpel.
Oh, and come back next time for a new interesting topic! See you then!