Wednesday, October 7, 2009

October Newsletter and Our Fall Health Festival!

The Fall Health Festival is Here!!

Join us on Saturday, October 24th between 10am and 2pm as Longevity Medical Health Center and Naturopathic Family Care host their Fall Health Festival in celebration of serving Arizona for nearly 25 years. Since 1985, we've been promoting healthy living and preventative medicine. Over the years our clinic has grown considerably, and we now offer more ways to stay healthy than ever before.

Our clinic provides a great variety of services including preventative medicine, women's health, pediatrics, men's health, chiropractic care, massage therapy, sports medicine, acupuncture, weight management, environmental medicine/detox, allergy medicine, homeopathy, IV therapy, alternative/integrative cancer care, and much more!

This will be an excellent chance to meet and talk with all eight of our physicians and staff. We will be providing fun activities for the whole family, including kid activities, raffle prizes and gifts, free chair massage, group acupuncture (You know you want to try!), great food, recipes and demos with "Chef Rachel", and the opportunity to meet your community! There will be many other health-conscious businesses that we have gotten to know over the years who will be happy to talk with you about their services and will demonstrating as well. Additionally, there will be an informal health-related lecture every 30 minutes on a specific health topic given by one of our doctors. These topics include: Allergies, Pediatrics, Thyroid & Hormones, Testosterone/Men’s Health, Back Pain, Homeopathy/Biopuncture, Breast Cancer, Sports and Nutrition.

We invite you to share this opportunity with others and hope to see there!

This month we have 5 fantastic health articles to share:

The Return of the Swine Flu- Dr. Najeeullah
Are Corticosteriods the Answer- Dr. Niechwiadowicz
Mercury Fillings and Pregnancy- Should you be Concerned?- Dr. DiCampli
Active Surveillance for Prostate Cancer Gains Respect
from Conventional Medicine- Dr. Tamburri
Do I have Fibromyalgia- Dr. Kerievsky

The Return of the Swine Flu!

As we’re all aware the H1N1 (swine) flu is scheduled to make a comeback this upcoming flu season. For the most part, this issue is being overblown by the media. With the right education and proper steps you and your family can stay happy and healthy.

So what is the flu? It is a viral infection of the influenza virus. There are 3 types of influenza viruses: A, B, and C. The type A influenza viruses, such as the H1N1 virus and avian flu virus, can be transmitted from animal to human. Epidemics (regional) of this virus type occur most often during winter months and circulate every year for 6-10 wks. Flu pandemics (worldwide) cycle every 25-35 years.

The most common symptoms of the flu are sudden fever, headache, dry cough and body aches. Other symptoms are chills, sneezing, sore throat and a runny nose. The flu is not an easy bug to deal with but it is a self limiting condition whose severity and duration can be decreased by taking the right steps.

How do you stay healthy?
First and foremost: WASH YOUR HANDS! Soap and water is one of your best defenses against the flu. By washing your hands you remove anything you may have picked up from a sick person or, if you are sick, prevent disease from spreading. Hand sanitizers are okay in a pinch but they are not the same as actually washing away any dirt or pathogens you may be carrying. My personal favorite is Citricidal by Bio/Chem.

It is a non-toxic compound derived from the seed and pulp of organically grown grapefruit that works and smells great. To support your immune system, Bio Vegetarian or Acute Immune is a great product that contains immune boosting herbals like garlic cayenne, ginger and grapefruit seed extract as well as Vit. A and C, zinc and bioflavonoids.

What do you do if you do get sick?
If you suspect that you or a family member may have the flu, it is important to see your doctor to rule out other conditions. This is especially important when it comes to the very young and the elderly in order to rule our more serious conditions such as RSV and pneumonia. Diagnosis is a relatively simple procedure where a sample from a nasal swab is taken and sent to a lab to determine if you do indeed have the flu. You can expect a diagnosis confirmation in 1-3 days. In the meantime, do not send sick kids to school and adults should not go to work if the flu is suspected. If you must go in public wear a mask or be sure to sneeze/cough into your elbow and wash your hands frequently.

Staying well hydrated is important at this time. Water helps wash out the toxic metabolites we collect in everyday life and is the medium in which most of body processes take place. You should drink ½ of body weight in ounces of water per day. If you do not like drinking water or find the taste less than exciting, you can add Mountain Peak's Energy Formula to your water. It provides flavor as well as 500mg of vitamin C and a daily multivitamin and mineral supplement per scoop/packet. Another option is chicken soup with vegetables to replace minerals and electrolytes or immune-boosting herbal teas with lemon and honey. If a fever is present, there are herbal preparations such as yarrow and peppermint tea which can offer relief. Aspirin should not be given to children to reduce fever if a viral infection such as the flu is suspected as it can cause Reyes syndrome. It is also important to get plenty of rest to ensure a quick recovery.
Naturopathic treatment options are available whether you are trying to prevent the flu or seek relief from symptoms after you’ve already gotten it. Constitutional hydrotherapy treatments stimulate the production of white blood cells that fight viral and bacterial infections. Wet sheet packs are another hydrotherapy treatment offered by your naturopath that is helpful in stimulating the immune system and reducing fever. Nutritional and hydrochloric acid IVs deliver vitamins, nutrients, and immune boosters that provide the building blocks necessary for the prevention and treatment of flu.

Homeopathy can work miracles when it comes to the flu. There are several options to choose when considering homeopathic treatment. Oscillococcinum is a homeopathic formula specially formulated for treatment of the first signs of flu and is available in most health food stores. The homeopathic flu vaccine, Influenzinum, offers the same protection as the flu shot without the potential side effects and can be used on anyone, from infants to elderly. Influenzinum is available at our in-office pharmacy. There is also the option of constitutional homeopathy for treatment if you become ill. After taking a detailed history of your flu symptoms, a homeopathic remedy that most matches your symptom picture is given. Relief is achieved anywhere from a few hours to a day or so.

For more detailed information on how to protect you and your family this flu season, check out the return of the Flu Prevention lecture at NFC on October 29th at 6pm.

Are Corticosteroids the Answer?
Well that depends on the question… If you’ve had an organ transplant -- yes. If you have life threatening cerebral edema – YES. If you have elbow pain – NO. Corticosteroids are potent anti-inflammatories. Traditional logic says if you have tendonitis (inflammation of a tendon), let’s inject you with an anti-inflammatory. But at what cost? Corticosteroids destroy collagen and connective tissue. Many people state they feel immediate relief from their steroid shot but this can be attributed to the pain killer (usually lidocaine or procaine) in the injection. Usually a tendon becomes inflamed from over use or trauma. A steroid shot will weaken that tendon and predispose it to more inflammation. A better solution is to make that tendon stronger and modify functional movement to avoid over use. The best way to make a tendon or ligament stronger is through prolotherapy. While prolotherapy can be achy for the first few hours of treatment it actually strengthens tendons and ligament and prevents future injuries. Consider your options – a short-term fix that will cause more damage in the long run or a long term solution to the underlying cause. A thorough orthopedic exam, imaging if necessary, will determine if you are a candidate for prolotherapy.

To learn more on this topic and for a complimentary injury/pain review, come see Dr. Marie on Thursday, October 15th at 6:00pm.

Mercury Fillings and Pregnancy- Should you be Concerned?

While most women know that they are not supposed to eat fish such as tuna while pregnant, little emphasis is put on the mercury amalgam fillings that many people have in their mouths. Can this exposure of mercury cause a potential detriment regarding fetal development?

An article written in 2008 for the Journal of Exposure Science and Environmental Epidemiology analyzed the relationship between maternal dental amalgam fillings and potential exposure to fetal development. The study was completed at the Department of Environmental Medicine at Slovak Medical University. Chemical analyses of mercury concentrations were performed on approximately 100 maternal and cord blood samples. This study found that the mercury concentrations of cord blood were less than the EPA reference range of 5.8 microg/l and the level of exposure is not considered to be hazardous for brain development in utero. The conclusion however, did determine that there was a significant association between the amount of maternal mercury amalgams and the increased level of mercury in cord blood samples. Therefore, the less mercury amalgams, the better!

This is just one example of why it is important to do preconception ‘house keeping’ prior to starting a family. It is a great opportunity to assess your health and make some improvements necessary for providing the most advantageous environment for fetal growth and development. Preconception counseling is the first step to designing an individualized plan and starting on the road to optimal well-being.

Join Dr. Jesika DiCampli at our Fall Festival to meet with her and discuss many similar topics like these!

Active Surveillance for Prostate Cancer
Gains Respect from Conventional Medicine

An astonishing peer reviewed journal regarding prostate cancer management was just published this week in the prestigious Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA).
Titled Outcomes of Localized Prostate Cancer Following Conservative Management (Grace L. Lu-Yao; Peter C. Albertsen; Dirk F. Moore; et al. JAMA. 2009;302(11):1202-1209) its primary finding is that patients who follow 'conservative management' (AKA Active Surveillance or Watchful Waiting) of clinically localized prostate cancer diagnosed from 1992 to 2002 have had better outcomes among patients diagnosed in the 1970's to 1980's. This is important because more patients, such as the majority who now frequent Longevity Health Center, are opting out of surgery for the modern Active Surveillance approach. Some of the researchers' explanation is that this improvement is due to better screening (PSA blood test) yielding an additional yield time in early diagnosis, cancer grade migration detection, and also advances in medical care.
Paraphrasing, their conclusion speaks for itself; "The results of our study demonstrated that 10-year cancer specific survival with conservative management (Active Surveillance) has now increased from about 83% to 87% in the pre-PSA to about 94% in the PSA era, which is now beyond the approximate 90% 10-year cancer-specific survival rate for a similar population of men treated with prostatectomy in the pre-PSA or early PSA era such as those aged 66-74 years with moderately differentiated cancer."

The reader may be unclear between the terms Watchful Waiting (WW) and Active Surveillance (AS), both of which are under the umbrella of 'conservative management'. Both are strategies for a man to parlay surgery or radiation for a non metastatic prostate cancer. What differentiates them however is that AS (chosen by most current naturopathic patients), is much more proactive in its monitoring by utilizing PSA velocity, PSA density, %fPSA, genetic molecular urine tests, personal genetic history, and even Color Doppler imaging of the gland itself to monitor the slightest change in cancer status. WW is typically the non surgical default termed by urologists when they simply test the PSA every 6 months. Unfortunately promising studies as this recent example do not yet differentiate the difference between WW and AS. Longevity Medical will keep you the Reader abreast of any new studies to this effect.

Join Dr. Tamburri at our Fall Health Festival on Saturday, October 24th from 10am - 2pm. He will be presenting a brief lecture on Men's Health, as well available for Q & A throughout the event.

Do I have Fibromyalgia?
I have had many patients come to me over the years for treatment either with the diagnosis of fibromyalgia or with a history of chronic pain. Many patients either assume they are correctly diagnosed as having fibromyalgia or wonder if they have the syndrome.

What exactly is fibromyalgia and why is there still such a mystery surrounding the syndrome?
According to the journal American Family Physician, fibromyalgia is “an idiopathic, chronic, nonarticular pain syndrome with generalized tender points. It is a multisystem disease characterized by sleep disturbance, fatigue, headache, morning stiffness, paresthesias, and anxiety.” To get a clearer picture on whether you have fibromyalgia, there should be a set of criteria that is screened before you make the diagnosis:

Have you had chronic pain that is widespread for at least 3 months?
Do you have pain on both sides of your body above and below the waist?
Do you have pain along your spine, neck and trunk?
Do you have pain in at least 11 of the designated 18 tender points that have been established for diagnosing fibromyalgia?
Have you been tested with a pain measuring device on these points to establish that these areas are tender? Was the correct amount of pressure applied?
Have you been properly screened for other metabolic tests such as blood work, hormone levels, sleep studies and other tests to rule out other conditions?

The good news is that if you have fibromyalgia, there are many treatments that can help. New medications such as Lyrica and Savella are now on the market and can be discussed at our office as a treatment option. There are also many natural options to consider when treating fibromyalgia such as massage therapy, trigger point injections, acupuncture, etc.

Join Dr. Ross Kerievsky for his upcoming talk on Wednesday, November 4th at 6pm for more detailed information on fibromyalgia diagnosis and treatment.