Tuesday, July 15, 2014

More Bad News on Statins

Dr. Tim Marshall in the AAPS journal reports that there are 900 articles in the medical literature about the side effects of this group of drugs.  Out of every 10,000 people on statins, there are 307 extra patients with cataracts, 23 added patients with kidney failure, and 74 additional patients with liver failure.  The incidence of erectile dysfunction is 10X higher in statin users.  Other adverse events include the onset of diabetes, neuropathies, insomnia, memory loss, confusion, autoimmune problems and muscle disorders.  There are reports that there might be an increased risk of cancer and actually an increased incidence of cardiovascular disease in women, young people, and diabetics.  Red yeast rice is just one of several reasonable, natural alternatives.  Check with an integrative doctor.

See the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, vol. 19, No. 2, Summer, 2014, pp. 4245.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Phytoestrogens and Probiotics to Treat Asthma and Allergy?

A Harvard Study reported by Dr. Jessica Savage showed that phytoestrogens derived from flax seeds and soy products in the diet coupled with adequate amounts of probiotic bacteria in the gut can improve asthma and wheezing in both males and females.  This opens a new avenue for treating allergic problems.  More to come for this exciting development.
See Family Practice News, 3/15/2014, p. 23.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Do You Have Fibromyalgia?

Previous criteria to make the diagnosis of fibromyalgia have included a detailed listing of how many tender areas you have throughout the body out of a possible 18 points.  Dr. Andrew Gross of Univ. of California SF calls this “a complete waste of time”.  Instead, he has the patient fill out a questionnaire.  The most important factors are widespread pain lasting at least 3 months, fatigue, poor sleep, and no other disease causing the symptoms.  Rather than anti-depressants and pain medications, the usual treatment, I immediately check for yeast imbalance, food allergies, and insufficient digestive factors.  Herbal preparations, low dose naltrexone, amino acids, and Kaufman’s pain neutralization techniques can be very effective treatments without side effects.


See Family Practice News, January, 2014, p. 38.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Should You Use Anti-Depressants for PMS?

At a GYN meeting at Univ. of California at SF, Dr. Ellen Haller recommended calcium supplements for PMS, and anti-depressants if the natural approach does not work.  First of all, you want to include a healthy dose of magnesium and probiotics along with calcium.   Sometimes bio-identical hormonal replacement of natural progesterone is needed.  Homeopathic PMS drops can be very effective.  Anti-depressants are rarely needed to get good results.

 See Family Practice News, January, 2014,  p. 34-35.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Women Are at Risk of Heart Attacks and Strokes

A New York survey reported at the American Heart Association meeting in Dallas revealed that only 28% of 1013 women correctly identified heart disease as the number one killer of women.  Many of them considered an OB/GYN doctor to be their primary care physician.  All women, but especially those with any family history of heart disease or strokes or ones who smoke, should have a cholesterol panel.  Other good screening tests include a Calcium score CT scan, a carotid artery screen, and a Max Pulse test.  The former is available at many hospitals and the later two at our office.  If risk is identified, much can be done to prevent a cardiovascular event, which can be devastating.
See Family Practice News, January, 2014, p. 6-7

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Beta Blockers Losing Their Luster

The CAFÉ study showed that beta blockers have more side effects than benefits to the heart when used to control blood pressure.  They result in less protection of the kidneys, less avoidance of left ventricular hypertrophy, more insulin resistance, reduced exercise tolerance, weight gain, and more problems with withdrawal than other BP meds.  There was some benefit for these drugs to prevent strokes.  Many patients come to me for natural alternatives to BP meds.  My first choices are an herbal preparation with Rauwolfia in it and magnesium.  They are usually quite effective without side effects.

See Family Practice News, March 1, 2014, p. 26-27.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Nuts to the Diet

The 2013 American Heart Association diet recommendations advocate eating more fruits and veggies, whole grains, legumes, fish, poultry, and especially nuts because they contain good fats and protein.  Foods to avoid include sugar, sodium and red meat.  My impression of the evidence is that lean red meat is not bad to eat in moderation.  Otherwise, I can live with the recommendations, except for the fact that many people have low-grade food allergies that they are not aware of.  You can be allergic to healthy foods, including nuts.  Gluten is a common problem.  Generally speaking, the diet should be individualized.  An Elisa blood test for food allergies is a good place to start.

See J. Am. Coll. Cardiol., Jan 28, 2014.