Thursday, May 31, 2012

Doctors Die Differently

Like everyone else, medical doctors don’t want to die. But when they know that their situation is hopeless, even though they have access to the most advanced tests and treatments, most doctors resign themselves to their fate and pass away as simply and painlessly as possible. They know enough to forgo the suffering of needless chemotherapy and multiple tubes and wires of life support. They use a living will and make their wishes known to their family. They might use a more gentle approach, as offered by alternative medicine. Most doctors do less for themselves than they prescribe for their patients who are in a terminal state. See May-June issue, pp.68-69

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

We Eat Twice as Much Salt as Recommended

Excess salt increases the risk of hypertension by holding excess fluid in the body. Foods that contain the most salt are white bread, lunch meats, pizza, soups, cheese, pasta, French fries and salty snack foods, such as popcorn and potato chips. Limit these foods for a longer life with less risk of death and disability. See

Thursday, May 24, 2012

10 Most Costly Disorders Among Adults in 2008

The most costly afflictions in U.S. health care in order are heart disease, cancer, mental disorders, trauma-related problems, and osteoarthritis. Next are pulmonary diseases, hypertension, diabetes, back problems and hyperlipidemia. It is not hard to see that the high cost of surgery and prescription drugs are the cause of the expensive health care system we have created. Yet the quality of our health care is lower than most industrialized nations. We need to move toward the safer, more natural approach of integrative medicine, at a much higher rate of speed. See Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Statistical Brief 331, July 2011.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Carotid Artery Plaque Results in Memory Loss Even without Suffering a Stroke

A study was reported at the International Stroke Conference that showed cognitive impairment in patients with significant plaque in at least one carotid artery in the neck, even with no evidence that a stroke had occurred. I suggest that everyone over the age of 50 get a screening ultrasound to look for such blockage. We offer the CardioRisk test, and often, Life Screening holds testing in the community. If plaque is detected, lifestyle measures are suggested, aspirin or fish oil might be prescribed, and we would consider chelation therapy to prevent the loss of brain function. See Family Practice News, March 15, 2012, p. 9.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Statin Drugs Can Cause Diabetes

The FDA now requires statin drug labels to warn of the risk of developing diabetes. The most effective statin, Crestor, probably carries the greatest risk. Many alternative doctors prefer to use red rice yeast instead of the synthetic drugs, because they seem to be similarly effective at lowering cholesterol and reducing inflammation with much fewer side effects. I also like to add cinnamon pills, which not only lower cholesterol but also reduce blood sugar and insulin resistance. See FDA MedWatch program (click here)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Too Much Sitting Increases Your Risk of Death

A study in Circulation showed that people who watch 4 hours of TV a day have an 80% higher risk of dying from heart disease than those who watch to hours or less. There was an associated increase in blood glucose and cholesterol. The findings were the same even if people exercised regularly. The message is to limit your TV watching and spend as much time on your feet during the day. Avoid sitting on a chair as much as you can. See Circulation 2011.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Plavix (clopidogrel) is an Expensive Failure for Treating Patients with Strokes

A major study treating patients who had suffered a stroke with Plavix added to aspirin was halted early because of safety and futility. One aspirin a day did just as well in preventing a second stroke as aspirin plus Plavix, and there were twice as many major hemorrhages when Plavix was added. Plavix is commonly used in the cardiovascular community with little respect for its high cost and risk of side effects. Perhaps this study will help lesson its unwarranted use. See Stroke(click here) 2011;42:227-76.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Anti-Fraud Program is a Double-edged Sword

The federal government recovered $4 billion in “fraudulent” payments through Medicare and Medicaid last year. It is impressive that criminal activity is being found, and that inappropriate payments are being recovered. However, rules for coding and reimbursement for these programs are not always clear. Some patients who clearly need wheel chairs are now not getting them. Doctors who provide alternative medicine that is really helping their patients are being accused of unnecessary treatment, which can carry huge financial penalties or even imprisonment. More and more doctors no longer participate in Medicare because they want to offer treatments that are not usual and customary because these procedures are more effective in their experience. See Family Practice News (click here), March 1, 2012, p. 16.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Younger Women Have Higher Risk of Death with Heart Attacks

Younger women are more likely to have heart attacks without chest pain than younger men. If they have a heart attack, younger women are more likely to die from an acute heart attack. Especially if you are a woman who has a positive family history for heart attacks or strokes or risk factors such as high cholesterol, diabetes, obesity, and smoking, you should get screening tests such as the CardioRisk test that we provide at our offices or an ultra-fast CT scan to detect calcium deposits in coronary arteries. Early disease can be treated with improved lifestyle and perhaps with chelation therapy, which we find to be quite effective. See JAMA 2012;307:813-22.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

FDA Warning About Getting Serious Infections While Taking Acid-reducing Drugs

One of the most common drug classes now in use is PPIs, such as Prilosec, Nexium, Prevacid, and Protonics. These drugs treat excess gastric acid and reflux disease. In the past, they have been linked to nutritional deficiencies and increase risk of fractures. Now the FDA warns the public about getting severe, persistent, watery diarrhea from C. difficile when taking PPI drugs long term. This can be a life-threatening infection. There are a number of natural products that can often help these gastrointestinal problems, such as aloe vera, bentonite, and mucin-containing antacids. Minimize your dependence on PPIs and if you take them, be alert for severe diarrhea. Go to your physician immediately if it occurs. See the FDA MedWatch program.