Thursday, August 17, 2017

What Kind of Arthritis Do You Have?

The pattern of joint swelling and pain might be as important as sophisticated testing to distinguish the type of arthritis you have.  Multiple joints are usually involved with rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis, and autoimmune problems.  Autoimmune and rheumatoid arthritis are more likely to be symmetrical and involve the upper body. Lower body involvement points more toward osteoarthritis and gout.  Of course it is also possible to have more than one form of these common diseases.  Your diagnosis is important because the treatment might be different for different conditions.

See Family Practice News, March issue, p. 4.

 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Screening Tests that Make Sense for Senior Citizens

The risk of complications from colonoscopies might outweigh the potential benefits after the age of 75, unless you have a history of polyps previously treated.  Mammograms over the age of 70 and sometimes earlier than that can lead to overtreatment.  Thermographies might be better as a preventive test.  With no previous history of precancerous lesions, pap smears can be discontinued at age 65.  PSA’s have no benefit after the age of 75 and are optional for men before that.  Bone density tests are recommended every five years, beginning at age 65 for women and 70 for men.  One ultrasound per lifetime to screen for abdominal aneurysm is recommended.  I would add CardioRisk tests for arterial plaque, a questionnaire for the risk of falls, and periodic blood tests for vitamin D, CRP sensitive, glucose, Lp(a), and other lipids.

 See AARP Magazine, February/March issue, 2017, p. 24-25.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Sugar Increases the Risk for Heart Disease

The average American consumes 22 tsp of sugar daily.  Recommended maximum intakes are 6 tsp for women and 9 tsp for men.  Excess sugar increases blood pressure, raises your chances of developing diabetes, lowers HDL cholesterol, and raises your risk of dying from heart disease by 38%.  It takes 12,500 steps per day to cancel out two 20 ounce sodas.

See the AARP Magazine, February/March issue, 2017, p. 23.

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Prescription Drug Prices are Outrageously Expensive

In 2013 per capita spending for prescription drugs was $858.  The mean expenditures in 19 other industrialized countries was $400.  That gap has increased even more in the last 3 years.  While increased research costs have accounted for some of the increased prices, gouging by Big Pharma is a much bigger factor in my opinion.  While drug substitution by pharmacists, greater availability of generics, and authorizing Medicare to negotiate prices with drug companies might have some impact, a much wider acceptance of natural remedies that are effective would have much more influence.
 

See Frontlinemed.com  Sept. 15, 2016 issue, p. 32-33.

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Limit Added Sugar Intake to 25 Gm per day for Children

The American Heart Association recommends that added sugar in the diet be limited to 25 Gm per day.  Currently, 2-5 year olds consume 53 Gms of added sugar, 6-11 year olds 79 Gms, and 12-19 year olds 93 Gm.  Evidence links excessive sugar intake to fatigue, weight gain and hyperlipidemia, which are all risk factors for cardiovascular disease in later life.

See  Family Practice News    www.frontlinemedcom.com, Sept. 15, 2016 issue, p. 18.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

FDA Warns Against Combining Opiods and Benzodiazapines

Accidental overdoses of medications are common with this combination of prescribed medications.  Fatalities can result from using such drugs as Valium, Ativan, and Xanax with narcotic pain meds.  Every effort should be made to use herbal preparations, amino acids, lifestyle changes, and relaxation techniques like massage and the Kaufman procedures to avoid this risk.  Periodic attempts to reduce dosages and find alternative combinations that are effective are strongly recommended.

See Frontline Med, Sept. 15, 2016 issue, p. 3.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Tight Blood Sugar Control for Diabetic Patients is Ineffective

All the guidelines for Diabetes from major physician organizations recommend that tight blood sugar control (a HBA1C less than 7) should be a major goal for diabetic patients.  However, an article in the highly respected journal, Circulation, that analyzed all the scientific data concluded that tight glycemic control didn’t prevent 10 out of the 11 micro and macro complications of diabetes, including fatal heart attacks, strokes, retinopathy, kidney disease and all-cause mortality.  The only complication prevented was nonfatal heart attacks.  Perhaps side effects from medications are playing a role.  We should try using such supplements as chromium, cinnamon, berberine, and BergaMet to achieve better control safely.

See Family Practice News at frontlinemedcom.com, Sept. 15, 2016 issue, p. 1,13.