Medical Assistant

The head-to-toe guide to natural remedies

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Great article in June 2015 Real Simple magazine regarding herbs, minerals and even good that can improve health- often with minimal side effects.

For your brain there is information on butterbur, magnesium, melatonin and rhodiola.  People who supplemented with the butterbur herb reduced migraine frequency by 48% in four months. Rhodiola is an herb native to Eurasia which reduces stress and fatigue, improves mental focus and fights depression.

For your eyes there is information on lutein and zeaxanthin, and omega-3 fatty acids.

For your nose and sinuses there is information again on butterbur, Echinacea and zinc. Butterbur relieves seasonal allergies by shrinking swollen nasal membranes  and blocking the release of histamine, the chemical that triggers sniffles.

For your mouth there is information on vitamin B12 and lemon balm. Applying lemon balm cream to a cold sore right after it surfaces helps it to heal faster.

For your heart there is information on dark chocolate, coenzyme Q10 and garlic. CoQ10 is an antioxidant found in every tissue of the body with its highest concentration in the heart, where it plays a key role in controlling blood pressure.

For your stomach information is included about apples, ginger and peppermint the  latter which is helpful for IBS or chronic stomach pain.

For your skin there is information about arnica, calendula, honey, oatmeal, tamanu oil and tea tree oil. Arnica ointment may help bruises heal fast reducing inflammation and pain. Calendula is a marigold derived extract with antibacterial properties that reduce the risk of infection in open wounds. Tamanu oil is native to the South Pacific Islands and is high in anti-inflammatory fatty acids that may spur the growth of new, healthier tissue.

For your whole body there is information about coconut oil, coffee and curcumin.  The latter is derived from turmeric root which is a primary ingredient of curry powder ad reduces inflammation.

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Redefined

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Between 836,000 and 2.5 million Americans have CFS and an estimated 84 to 91% of people with this illness are not diagnosed.

The Institute of Medicine committee recommends CFS be renamed systemic exertion intolerance disease. New diagnostic criteria has been identified to streamline diagnosis. People with CFS demonstrate three core symptoms:

  1. impaired ability to engage in pre-illness levels of activity for at least six months, with profound fatigue
  2. worsened symptoms after any type of exertion
  3. fatigue that persists even with sleep

To be diagnosed, the patient must also exhibit one of two additional symptoms:

  1. impaired ability to think
  2. inability to remain upright, with symptoms that improve when lying down

CFS tends to begin affecting people between the ages of 40 and 60 years and occurs four times more often in women than men.

CMA Today May-Jun 2015

 

Sleep Soundly

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If having trouble falling asleep, put this plan in place instead.

Set your alarm for bedtime to serve as a visual and auditory clue because maintaining a regular sleep schedule is crucial for mental and physical health.

Avoid social jet lag and stop overscheduling yourself. Many get by with too little sleep during the work week only to try to catch up on the weekend. Try to stick with the same sleep schedule seven days a week.

Have a regular prebedtime ritual: dim lights, read a book, play calming music or do some simple stretching.

Make your bedroom as dark as possible. Light makes your brain think that it must be morning, throwing off your circadian rhythms.

Dress the bed in layers to enable you to toss sheets ad blankets on and off during the night to stay comfortable.

When drowsy but slightly tense you ma want to try aromatherapy.

If you don’t feel tired until way past bedtime you may want to try melatonin.

Realsimple.com May 2015

How to assess your risk for skin cancer

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Your chances of getting skin cancer are based on heredity- what you’re genetically predispositioned toward- as well as your own tanning and burning history.

  1. Have you or any of your first-degree relatives (parents and siblings) had skin cancer? Yes- having a first-degree relative who has had melanoma  increases your risk by 50%, so does a bout with breast cancer.
  2. Have you ever used a tanning bed? Yes- using a tanning bed for the first time before age 36 increases your risk of melanoma by 75%.
  3. Do your have blond  or red hair, light eyes and skin that burns easily? Yes- fair skinned people are at an increased risk for skin cancer.
  4. Did you ever have a blistering sunburn as a child, or have you had more than five painful sunburns during your lifetime? Yes-these factors double your risk of getting melanoma.
  5. Have you ever had any moles that turned out to be cancerous?  Yes- A prior diagnosis increases your risk as does having more than 50 moles.

allyou.com May 2015

Hidden hindrances to health

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Health magazine shares multiple healthy foods that aren’t toxic, but are poisonous to a health-conscious diet:

Dried fruit- Seemingly harmless, dried fruits are normal fruits with water removed. However a cup of dried fruit has five to eight times more calories and sugar than a cup of fresh fruit.

Gluten-free packaged foods often contain cornstarch and brown rice flour as replacements for regular flour and have become more calorically dense. Eat as many whole, natural foods as possible.

Whole wheat bread- Often ground into a fine flour, whole wheat is easy to digest and spikes blood sugar as quickly as processed white bread. Look for 100 percent whole wheat, whole grain or sprouted grain breads.

Tofu is rich in iron, calcium and protein. Tofu sponges up the oil in cooking and the meal can become a fat bomb. Stick to 1 tablespoon of oil when cooking.

Tuna salad- Canned tuna, a hearty source of protein, doesn’t put a dent in calorie counts. But once mayo is added, calories and grams of fat pile on. Substitute mayo with Greek yogurt which offers a fraction of the calories and fat with an addition protein boost.

CMA Today May-Jun 2015

Make Over Your Refrigerator…

If you fill your home with these 15 ingredients, every time you reach for a snack- or cook up a meal- your only option is a healthy one.

  1. avocado- 20% of daily fiber in 1/2 C serving
  2. black beans- boast antioxidants and magnesium which help maintain nerve and muscle function
  3. blueberries- packed with fiber and one of the top antioxidants
  4. broccoli- a vitamin C gold mine
  5. chard- supercharged with nutrients like calcium, B vitamins, and beta carotene
  6. eggs- whites offer protein with minimal calories; yolks are awash with vitamins A and B12
  7. kale- vitamin C, beta carotene, calcium and antioxidants
  8. kiwi- twice amount of vitamin C as and orange and twice the potassium as a banana
  9. lentils- protein powerhouse, flush with folate
  10. oatmeal- hold cholesterol in check, help fight heart disease, keep you full, soluble fiber
  11. quinoa- complete plant based protein (all amino acids)
  12. sardines- excellent source of protein, vitamins B12, D, calcium and omega-3 fatty acids
  13. sweet potato- the darker the color, the richer the tuber is in antioxidant beta carotene
  14. walnuts- rich source of omega-3 fatty acids which lower the bad cholesterol and raise the good
  15. wild salmon- omega-3 fatty acids improve mood  and help your skin glow

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center

How to be healthier… in 24 hours

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  1. Wake up happy by energizing every morning: let in the sun and stretch, look at something you love, scent your shower, edit your closet.
  2. Take a walk that triggers a mood boost that last for two hours: boost the benefits by heading outside or get creative indoors, use a pedometer. Don’t have a foot-wear fail, go too slowly, or carry weights.
  3. The most powerful way to fight cancer is to prevent  it: educate yourself about your cancer history. Women who are at risk for types of cancer may need to get screened more frequently and at a younger age. Really quit smoking whether it is electronic cigarettes, hookahs and cigars. A social smoker is still a smoker. Other than sunscreen by taking added precautions and taking time to apply sunscreen 30 minutes prior to exposure can greatly curb  your chances of getting sunburns and skin cancer. Being overweight or obese is linked to several cancers including breast and uterine cancers. Aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly and include strength training twice a week.
  4. Your grocery list matters- antioxidants and vitamins matter
  5. All males and females should be vaccinated with HPV vaccine around age 11 or 12. The vaccine may prevent infection from the strains that cause more than 90% of cervical, anal and oropharyngeal cancers.
  6. Beat stress- take 60 seconds each day to focus on your quality of life.

Realsimple.com May 2014

 

20-Second Brain Health Test

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Japanese researchers wanted a simple, low-cost test for brain health.

Their solution: Ask patients to balance on one leg for at least 20 seconds. A study of about 1,400 adults, average age 67,, found that those who couldn’t were more likely to have had silent strokes that damaged tiny blood vessels in the brain, affecting balance, memory and skills.

AARP Bulletin/Real Possibilities march 2015

Drugs and Dementia

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A study published in JAMA Internal Medicine links heavy use if certain antidepressants or antihistamines for more than three years with a higher risk of  Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Some people are in the habit of taking Tylenol PM or Benadryl to help them sleep. Probably should ask your provider if you should cut back. The increased risk isn’t proven to be caused by the drugs, but is certainly worth looking into.

aarp.org/bulletin April 2015

May is National Osteoporosis Month!

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Osteoporosis Facts

By National Osteoporosis Foundation

Osteoporosis is a disease that causes bones to lose mass, become fragile and to break more easily.  It is a serious public health problem in the United States and affects more than 54 million people, causing over 2 million fractures of the vertebrae, hips or wrists each year. Osteoporosis is often called a silent disease because you can’t feel your bones getting weaker. Breaking a bone is often the first sign that you have osteoporosis or you may notice that you are getting shorter or your upper back is curving forward.

Are you at Risk?

Uncontrollable Risk Factors

  • Being over age 50.
  • Being female.
  • Menopause.
  • Family history of osteoporosis.
  • Low body weight/being small and thin.
  • Broken bones or height loss.

Controllable Risk Factors or What can you do to protect your bones?

  • Get enough calcium and vitamin D and eat a well balanced diet.
  • Engage in regular exercise.
  • Eat foods that are good for bone health, such as fruits and vegetables.
  • Avoid smoking and limit alcohol to 2-3 drinks per day.
  • Talk to your provider about your bone health and whether you need to take a bone density test.

Fast Facts about Osteoporosis

  • Peak Bone Mass (PBM) is acquired by the late teens or early twenties. Children and adolescents who have higher PBM reduce their risk of osteoporosis later in life.
  • 80% of those affected by osteoporosis are women. 20% of those are men.
  • While osteoporosis is often thought of as an older person’s disease, it can strike at any age.
  • Approximately one in two women over age 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis.
  • Up to one in four men over age 50 will break a bone due to osteoporosis.

Talk to your provider today about your bone health!

 

Information provided by the National Osteoporosis Foundation at http://nof.org/