Tuesday, December 30, 2008

NSAID’s Liver Damage Has Risen Dramatically

Common non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as Motrin, Alieve and Ibuprofen now cause seven times more serious hepatotoxicity than they did 10 years ago. Speculation about the cause includes that many more patients are taking with these drugs and statins to lower their cholesterol. NSAID’s have previously been linked to ulcers, heart attacks and kidney disease. Tylenol and natural pain relievers like glucosamine are much safer. Be especially careful if you are taking a NSAID along with any drug that also might affect the liver. Ask your doctor or pharmacist to be sure.

See (click here) Family Practice News, October 15, 2008, P. 24.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Depression is Common after a Heart Attack

Virtually all patients who have had a heart attack should be evaluated for depression. This problem is often missed, and may have a profound effect on the quality of life and how long a patient lives after suffering a heart attack. Depression can be treated with medications, nutritional supplements, neurotransmitters, acupuncture, acupressure, B12 shots at home, biofeedback. Some medications are contraindicated because they can cause arrhythmias, but others are perfectly safe. If in doubt, please talk with your doctor about depression after a heart attack. It can make a big difference.

American Heart Association and Family Practice News, October 15, 2008, p. 18

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Vitamin C Reduces Hip Fractures by 50%!

The long-term Framingham Study recently uncovered that the incidence of hip fractures is almost 50% lower in patients who take more than 300mg per day of vitamin C compared to those who take less than 100mg. This is a dramatic new finding. Vitamin C should by taken along with 5000 iu of Vitamin D, at least 1000mg of calcium and 500mg of magnesium daily, along with regular exercise, for a basic program to prevent hip fractures, which is one of the leading causes of death in elderly patients.

Framingham Study, American Society for Bone and Mineral Research, and Family Practice News, October 15, 2008, p. 10

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Resistant Hypertension

As many as 30% of patients with hypertension have uncontrolled hypertension. Guidelines for this problem were recently published in Hypertension 2008;51:1403-19. This is extremely important because high blood pressure leads to heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease, congestive heart failure and other problems. The guidelines include a thorough physical exam and some basic lab tests. We also believe that an ICD test for cardiac output and vascular resistance helps define how serious the problem is. Lifestyle changes are recommended, including weight loss, low salt diet, reduced alcohol consumption, and exercise. Adding or increasing various kinds of water pills is often helpful. At COHA, we also recommend adding or switching to an herbal product called Natural Blood Pressure Relief, which is often extremely helpful.

See Hypertension (subscription required) and Family Practice News, October 15, 2008, page 9

Friday, December 12, 2008

FDA Warns Manufacturers of 5 Drugs used for Attention Deficit

The FDA issued official warnings to the makers of Adderal, XR, Concerta, Focalin XR, Methylin and Strattera because of making false claims for effectiveness and downplaying risks. Some of the offending ads, claimed that the drugs can reduce the negative consequences of ADHD, including anxiety, substance abuse, car accidents, injuries and abnormal sexual behavior. Other claims implied that the drugs improve hobbies and interests outside of school. There is no evidence to support any of these claims. Occasionally such drugs can improve attention span, but first I would suggest looking at food allergies, yeast imbalance and nutritional therapies. It is usually better and much safer to find the cause of such problems than to cover up the symptoms with a drug.

Links FDA.gov - American Academemy of Environmental Medicine - Defeat Autism Now - Celebration of Health Association

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Mental Health Gets More Coverage from Health Insurance

After a 12 year struggle, Congress finally passed the Paul Wellstone and Pete Domenci Mental Health Policy and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, which goes into effect in October, 2009. Basically, this act will require health insurance policies to cover treatment for mental illness as well as physical illness. Medications are first line for most physicians. At COHA, we offer many more choices, including balancing neurotransmitters, nutritional supplements, herbals, homeopathics, acupuncture and acupressure, Reiki, biofeedback, electrical stim and other modalities. Massage therapy can also be very helpful.

Click here to find YOUR Congressperson or check out American Psychiatric Association

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Subclinical Thyroid Abnormalities Increase Mortality

Dr. Jose Augusto Sgarbi of Brazil reported at the American Thyroid Association meeting this fall that subclinical thyroid disease increases all-cause mortality (especially from cardiovascular disease). “Subclinical” is defined as normal thyroid hormones but either high or low TSH, which is a feedback hormone from the pituitary gland. Previously, there was a controversy about whether these conditions should be treated. At COHA, we go one step further. Even in patients with normal TSH, if they have clear symptoms of low thyroid and their thyroid thermography is hypometabollic (low function), we will treat with a small dose of natural thyroid hormone to boost thyroid function. Not only, do patients almost always feel better, but we might be extending their lives as well. Further research is needed. Ask to take our thyroid symptom questionnaire if you suspect that you have low thyroid function.

American Thyroid Association and to Family Practice News, October 15, 2008 (membership required).

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

“Free” Drug Samples Increase the Cost of Care in the Long Run

A study by Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center showed that physicians were 3 times more likely to prescribe generic drugs for their patients after drug samples were removed from their offices. This resulted in major savings for their patients. Once the samples ran out for patients that received them from doctors whose policy was to distribute them, the recipients usually continued the brand name drugs, which were significantly more expensive. We no longer have drug samples in our office. We expect that our patients are reaping the benefits.

Dr. David Miller at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center click here for the study