Thursday, April 12, 2012

April's Healthy News You Can Use!

Urinary Tract Infections and Women's Health

By Marianne Marchese, ND

Ten to twenty percent of all women have some kind of urinary discomfort or infection at least once a year. Acute uncomplicated cystitis and recurrent cystitis are two important categories of urinary tract infections in adults. A narrow spectrum of bacteria causes infections in young women with cystitis: Escherichia coli in 80 percent, Staphylococcus saprophyticus in 5 to 15 percent, and occasionally klebsiella species, Proteus mirabilis, or on occasion other microorganisms. Sexual intercourse, diaphragm use and a spermicide, possibly spermicide used alone, delayed post-coital urination, and a history of a recent urinary tract infection, all increase the risk of infection.

Women who present with painful urination usually have either acute cystitis; acute urethritis due to Chlamydia trachomatis, Neisseria gonorrhea, or herpes simplex virus; or vaginitis due to candida or trichomonas. These problems can usually be differentiated on the basis of presenting symptoms, physical exam and urinalysis. A urine culture, vaginal culture and Chlamydia testing may be needed.

Postmenopausal women may also have frequent infections and are often due to residual urine after voiding or the lack of estrogen causing marked changes in the vaginal microflora including loss of lactobacilli and increased colonization by E. coli. These women often benefit from the use of vaginal estrogen cream.

Therapeutic Approach:

For most bladder infections, a naturopathic approach is usually very effective and the infection resolves quickly and without recurrence or complications. The primary goals are to:

1. Enhance internal defenses against the infection by providing immune support.

2. Restore vaginal microflora

3. Promote a proper pH

4. Prevent bacteria from adhering to the bladder epithelium.

Increasing the urinary flow is important and easily accomplished by increasing the quantity of liquids. Water and herbal teas related to the treatment goals are the most logical choices. 64 ounces is the common recommendation.

No natural approach to cystitis would be complete without mention of cranberry. Cranberry juice has been frequently used as a home remedy by women for decades. Several studies have shown that cranberries and cranberry juice are effective in women with active urinary tract infections. In one study, 16 ounces of cranberry juice daily was effective in 73% of individuals with an active infection. Many people still think that the action of cranberry juice is due to acidifying the urine. However, recent studies have shown that cranberry juice reduces the ability of E. coli to adhere to the lining of the bladder and urethra.

One of the most useful herbs for bladder infection is uva ursi (Arctostaphylos uva ursi), also known as bearberry or upland cranberry. The antiseptic, antibacterial and astringent activity of uva ursi is largely due to its arbutin content. Uva ursi is especially active against E. coli as well as having diuretic properties. Uva ursi has also been used with recurrent bladder infections and was very effective in a double-blind study of 57 women. After one year, five of twenty seven women had a recurrence in the placebo group while none of thirty women had a recurrence in the uva ursi group.

Pipsissewa, a Native remedy of the Pacific Northwest, is a traditional remedy for urinary infections. The mildly antimicrobial effects have been attributed to its arbutin content. Other naturopathic remedies include the use of D-Manose, buchu leaf and homeopathy. There are over 20 different homeopathic remedies for UTI’s and need to be individualized to the woman’s symptoms. The most common homeopathic UTI remedy is staphysagria.

Naturopathic treatments for urinary tract infections in women are very safe and effective once other causes of UTI symptoms are ruled out. If treated early and appropriately a urinary tract infection resolves quickly and without complications.

To schedule an appointment with Dr. Marchese call our front desk at 602-493-2273.

Sick Sleep

By Jake Psenka, ND

This last month some research was published which stated that the use of some types of prescription sleep aids were associated with a 3.6-fold increased risk of death. That’s a nearly quadrupling of a person’s risk of dying, and puts the risk of using these medications on par with the risk a regular smoker has of developing lung cancer. One of the most surprising findings of this research was that even modest use, described as using a mere 18 pills PER YEAR, was associated with a nearly 4-fold increase in risk of death. More regular users of these medications had even more exaggerated risk, and it was estimated that 320,000-507,000 people died in the US in 2010 as a result of using these medications.

So what are these drugs? They are the sleep aids that you’ve likely heard of: zolpidem (Ambien), temazepam (Restoril), eszopicolne (Lunesta), zaleplon (Sonata) and others such as benzodiazepines, barbituates, and sedative antihistamines. The drug with the highest mortality risk was Lunesta.

Nearly everyone has trouble sleeping at some time or another. At our office it’s not uncommon to see 5 or 6 people each week with sleep issues. After spending some time talking with people it is generally evident why they have a problem, and the most common reason is stress. The scene generally plays out like this….a tired person goes to bed, they lie down and close their eyes, and just when they start to drift off their mind lands on some particular thought. Then the mind fixates on that thought, and that thought leads to others, and pretty soon the wheels start turining and the person can’t stop the thoughts and the stress caused by them. At this point sleep isn’t coming easy.

The other common cause of insomnia occurs when someone tries to go to sleep right after being exposed to some sort of stress-inducing event or activity. An example would be “waiter dreams.” People who wait tables work in a high-anxiety world, and sometimes those people will dream about their jobs. While I was in medical school I waited tables at a restaurant and would frequently have fitful sleep after working. On more than one occasion I would jolt awake after dreaming of myself in a panic because I had forgot the catsup.

Of course there are other reasons for insomnia, it just seems that stress and anxiety are the most common problems for people struggling with sleep. It’s really not the stress that is the root of the problem either. The real problem is the amount of unchecked stress a person has to deal with everyday. Unchecked stress is stress that has no outlet, or put another way, it is the condition of having stress without having enough techniques in place to adequately compensate for life’s stressors.

Stress compensation techniques can be many different things depending on the person. A person’s anti-stress could be exercise, yoga, art, meditation, or guided imagery it could even be needlepoint. The only requirement is that it has to be something that induces that zen-like state where the mind flows freely and is no longer burdened by the “have to’s” and “gotta do’s” of everyday life. When someone participates in stress compensation their overall anxiety and stress levels are significantly reduced. This can be so effective that those people who do incorporate stress reduction techniques into their lives have much improved sleep. Not to mention that they have a decreased risk of developing several other stress-related illnesses as well.

It is unfortunate that people are often given a medication before they are educated about natural ways, like stress reduction, to improve their sleep. It’s even more unfortunate that sleep medications are habit forming and difficult to stop taking once started. With this new information regarding the danger of taking these drugs many people are going to find themselves in a sort of insomnia limbo- if they don’t sleep they feel terrible, and if they take the medications they are putting themselves at risk.

Thankfully there are options. There are several very good natural sleep aids that can be used in place of medications. Melatonin, valerian root, and chamomile are just a couple of examples of natural products that have worked for many people. Some people might have an imbalance of certain brain chemicals that are causing them to have sleep troubles. Several laboratory tests are now available to help determine if this is an issue. Addressing the high amounts of stress is the first and most important step to resolving poor sleep habits. However, many will find it helpful to take a natural sleep aid while beginning a stress-lowering program. If you are interested in learning more about reducing stress and natural approaches to improving sleep call 602-493-2273 today to schedule an appointment.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

March Healthy News You Can Use

Welcome to the March edition of Longevity Medical Health Center's newsletter. Spring has officially sprung in Arizona- the weather is perfect for getting active outside, and it's also perfect for spring allergies. We have two great articles to share this month on both muscular sprains and strains, as well as the connection between allergies and migraine headache.

Make sure to check the information to the right of this page to see the upcoming lectures for March and April. We have also added several excellent new products to our online medicinary.

Is There An Allergy Migraine Connection?

By Jake Psenka, ND

There is a common theme that resonates throughout many of the most common health problems see in medicine. This factor plays a central in many conditions and influences the presentation of and course of many, many health problems. This factor is inflammation. Inflammation is a term which describes a state in which the body is calling out for help. Inflammation occurs during cold season, and invigorates the immune system to find and eliminate the offending microbe. Inflammation also a major player in the development of lifestyle-related ailments such as metabolic syndrome, heart disease, and cancer. It is well known to anyone who suffers from allergies that one of the best ways to control allergic symptoms is to take an anti-histamine. What might not be as commonly known is that anti-histamines work by inhibiting an inflammatory signal that triggers the release of histamine in the body. Inhibiting histamine leads to eyes that are less itchy, noses that are less runny, and stops sneezes that will knock you off your chair.

Another condition that is worsened by increased inflammation is migraine headaches. Recently, a group of researchers investigated the effect that specific sublingual immunotherapy had on migraine sufferers. These researchers first identified respiratory allergies in the group being studied and then compounded a sublingual allergy serum based on each individual’s allergic profile. Study participants were then administered their sublingual allergy serum and asked not to take any form of migraine medicine. The participants were then asked questioned to determine the effect their serum had on the occurrence and severity of migraines. When the study was completed the researchers reported that there was a decline in the patient’s inflammation levels, and there was also that they believed treatment of allergies may have a place in the management of migraines.

I found this study really interesting because of the way that it illustrated that two seemingly unrelated health problems have a common thread running between them. Patients are often looking for ways to manage their allergies, especially during the springtime, which is right around the corner. Over the past two years we have been offering patient-specific sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) in the office, and have received fantastic reviews from the grand majority of patients using it. With this new research the use of SLIT might be considered in patients with persistent migraines, and especially if allergies are part of the overall symptom picture. For more information regarding on our patient-specific SLIT formulation click here.

Prolozone for Damaged Joints, A Non-Surgical Solution for Injured Joints & Chronic Pain.

By Andrea Purcell, NMD

Body Wear & Tear As We Age:
As we age, trauma from injuries accumulates in the connective tissue of our bodies, specifically, the ligaments, tendons and joints. As one joint becomes injured it affects the surrounding joints and then multiple joints frequently become involved. A good way to think about the joints is like the tires on a car, tires need to be rotated, checked for air, and replaced when they get worn down. This is exactly what happens to our joints. The goal with prolozone therapy is to keep the joint functioning as long as possible without having to replace it. In this example, we are working with the healing ability of the body to get as much mileage out of the joint as possible.

Additionally, as we age declining hormone levels can exacerbate the damaged areas, due to a decrease in muscle mass and less elasticity inside the joint. This places additional stress on the joints causing pain syndromes that reflect a lifetime of repeated injury and internal joint breakdown.

Low back Pain:

Low back pain is often caused by repetitive strain of the ligaments of the lumbar spine and the sacroiliac joint; this is one of the most common injuries that people sustain. An unstable sacroiliac joint affects the entire spine and aggravates most back pain including sciatica. Prolozone is extremely effective at healing back pain caused by sacroiliac injuries.

There are two main areas that require assessment in low back pain and both may be involved.

1) Sacroiliac ligaments are the most frequent cause of unresolved chronic low back pain in patients. Prolozone is very effective is stabilizing low back pain from the sacroiliac ligaments.

2) Lumbar spine and disk injuries. These require careful assessment as pain may be from several areas.

Note from Dr. Purcell:
*Pain syndromes can be corrected with naturopathic medicine, proper hormone restoration, exercise and prolozone.
*Prolozone is effective at eliminating back pain, and healing injuries.

*Prolozone repairs the stretched and unstable ligaments and damaged connective tissue.

When the ligament strength is restored, the muscles relax; this decreases pain and increases range of motion. Then specific exercises need to be performed to stabilize the joint.

Patients often have MRI's and X-rays and we ask that you bring your reports to your visit. If you have films or CD's bring them also. Reports indicate if spinal degeneration, herniated disks, joint damage and arthritic changes are mild, moderate or severe. We assess these carefully looking for the significant areas that can be treated effectively.

Conditions successfully treated:

Low back
Cartilage injuries
Knee pain
Shoulder injuries
Tennis elbow
Upper back pain
Ankle sprains
Torn meniscus

-Be Healthy, Happy & Holistic

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Greetings and Happy Valentine's Day!

It's been a great beginning of the new year so far, and we're sure that February will be no different! The big news this month is that Dr. Shahrzad Orona is having her 10 year anniversary at the clinic this month! If you see her in the clinic wish her a happy anniversary!

We're also proud to say that our doctors and staff are keeping up with their New Year's resolutions. This past weekend our team competed in the Super Spartan Race held in Chandler. While we didn't take first place, we did all make it though the finish line of this 8.5 mile obstacle course race. More importantly, having a team and being signed up for this event helped to keep us motivated and stay on track with our exercise goals.

Speaking of exercise, we've expanded on our weight loss program and are now offering additional physical training options in the office. If you've been trying to start an exercise routine but need some help getting started, this is something you should take advantage of. Call today for more information.

Are you ready for allergy season?

Want to find out about the best natural ways to kiss this allergies goodbye? We're having a free lecture and talking all about allergies on Wednesday, March 7th at 6:00pm.

We have a couple of article to share this month. Dr. Andrea Purcell has posted an interview she recently completed regarding positive health effects of healthy eating. Dr. Jake Psenka reviews the American Cancer Society's latest publication on cancer prevention strategies.

Interview with Dr. Purcell - Upcoming Lecture on Food Pharmacy

Q: Why is it so important for us to take responsibility for our health?

A: Because no one is going to do it for us. We have control of what is on our fork everyday, our fork is powerful.

Q: Do you believe that we have the ability to change our health by what we put into our bodies every day.

A: Absolutely, AND that means that we can prevent disease.

Q: What exactly do you mean by that?

A: What we eat either brings us closer to or farther away from disease. If we change our food choices we change our health. It is so important to know what to choose. Nutritional education is lacking.

Q: Do you have a motto and what is it?

A: Yes, I do, Health begins on the inside and shines through to the outside. There is nothing that we can superficially apply that takes the place of nourishing vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that come from food. These items found in fruits and vegetables decrease inflammation, are detoxifying, and enhance elasticity throughout the body.

Q: Are you saying that eating healthy keeps us young?

A: Yes, it enhances the quality of our cell membranes keeping them healthy and strong and less susceptible to damage. Really what food provides is so amazing, that once we become aware of it we want to eat that way all the time.

Q: You have a lecture coming up at your office on Wednesday February 15th at 6pm?

A: Yes, a lecture on Food Pharmacy. Basically, how to use food as medicine. My goal is for people to have the nutritional knowledge to consciously choose foods that they know will prevent disease. I encourage everyone to come out, we’re going to learn a lot and have some fun.

Cancer Prevention by Jake Psenka, ND

The American Cancer Society published their guidelines on nutrition and physical activity for cancer prevention this month. I typically like these guidelines, however they haven’t seemed to change much in recent memory. I’m pretty sure that most people have heard the message that eating right, exercising consistently, and maintaining a healthy body weight are all proven to reduce the risk of developing cancer. Of course these guidelines are not only good for preventing cancer, but when followed they significantly reduce the incidence of other chronic diseases such as diabetes and heart disease as well. Unfortunately, these guidelines often receive the same attention as do speed limit signs….they only become really important once the red lights are flashing.

Over the years I have found that many people want to adopt a healthier lifestyle, but not many actually do. There are certainly many potential roadblocks to making a lifestyle change, but I encounter one with far more frequency than others. It seems that while everyone knows about healthy diets and exercise, fewer people actually know how to implement one. Many people are uninformed about what a healthy diet is, or how and when to exercise correctly, or what is actually considered overweight. This is exactly why I spend a good deal of time with all of my patients discussing the details of a healthy lifestyle. People need to know what constitutes a healthy diet, as well as how to start eating one. I’ve found that specific directions work wonders. The same should be said about exercise. Get advice from an exercise professional. Most importantly get a support system. This is especially important for exercise; if your buddy is waiting for you at the gym you’re less likely to convince yourself not to go. I’ve also found that one person in a family looking to make changes has a tough road ahead of them. Make it a family affair. Involve the kids and give them healthy habits for a lifetime.

As for measuring obesity, the best thing to do is to get a BMI calculated at your next doctor’s appointment. The BMI, or Body Mass Index, is a standardized body measurement tool. It is possible to calculate your own BMI by dividing your weight in kilograms divided by your height in meters, squared. A BMI measurement between 18.5 and 25 is ideal. A lower BMI indicates being underweight, and greater than 25 indicates being overweight. The BMI is easy and inexpensive to get (we often do them for free at our monthly lectures) and, because it is easy to perform, can be used routinely to measure the effectiveness of a weight loss program.

One of the major omissions that the new guidelines fail to mention is the importance of anxiety, or rather the importance of minimizing it. Over the past nine years I have routinely asked people who have received a diagnosis of cancer why they think they got it. The most common answer---stress. While this observation isn’t strong enough to be published in a leading medical journal, it does tell us one thing for certain: there are a whole lot of people out there with too much stress, and they feel it is making them sick. Now, with that being said we all have anxiety, and there doesn’t seem to be much chance of totally eliminating it from our lives. What we can do is compensate for it. Do something you enjoy everyday. TV probably isn’t the best choice.

If you were thinking about trying to adopt a healthier lifestyle in 2012, whether by eating better, exercising more, or loosing weight, and are finding yourself having a rocky start please consider our office a resource. All of the docs here are well educated on lifestyle medicine and how to start off on the right foot and stick with it. Don’t let another year pass you by, it’s never too late to start. One thing the new guidelines do mention is that the benefits can be realized even if a health plan is started later in life.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Welcome to 2012!

Where oh where did 2011 go? It seems like it arrived one day and then was nearly over the next. Despite being so seemingly quick, 2011 was a pretty good year. We were very fortunate to have two excellent physicians, Dr. Retz and Dr. Purcell, join our office and both are now accepting new patients. We also continued to receive great feedback from our patients regarding the level of care they received at the clinic. Everyone at the clinic appreciates this feedback because we all aim to offer our patients with the highest quality medical care available. We will continue to do our best to help keep you healthy and happy in 2012.

The beginning of a new year is always a time of resolutions, and undoubtedly many people have vowed that this will be their year to get active and healthy. We feel the same way, and because we not only talk the talk, but walk the walk, several of us have committed to an 8-mile obstacle course race, named the Spartan Race. Dr. DiCampli, Dr. Marchese, Dr. Retz, Dr. Psenka, and our medic Mark Powell have all signed up. If you see one of these brave people make sure to cheer them on!

We have some events happening at the clinic in the next two months which may be helpful in reaching those resolution goals. On January 19th at 6:00pm Dr. Marchese will be hosting a talk on her famous 21 day detox. This is an excellent chance to come and learn the best way to go on a detox from an expert in the field.

Dr. Purcell author of the cookbook Feed Your Cells, is hosting a talk on February 15th. Dr. Purcell will be discussing how to prepare meals that will nourish your body and prevent disease. Below is a short article by Dr. Purcell explaining her thoughts on cellular nutrition.

If losing some weight and toning up your muscles in on your agenda for 2012, then our newest program at LMHC is for you. We have come up with a personalized diet and exercise program which teaches people how to eat for health and how to exercise safely and efficiently. Our program provides dietary guidance based on each person's individual metabolic needs. Learning how much to eat and when to eat is just as important as learning what to eat. It is just as important to know how to exercise correctly. Knowing how to exercise to achieve specific results without causing harm or excessive strain can make or break a new exercise routine. Weekly check-ins and in office exercise sessions help to keep participants on track. If dropping some weight, gaining strength, improving self esteem, and learning how to maintain these things far into the future, then this is the program you want to choose. Need one more reason to sign up? This six week program is 30% off until February 1. Call the office today to get started.

Feeding Your Cells

By Dr. Andrea Purcell

Have you ever thought about eating as feeding your cells?

Well that’s exactly what we are doing every single time we eat. When we eat we provide our body with healthy fats, clean proteins, complex carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and minimal sugars. This allows for our bodies to run efficiently, cleanly, converting the food to energy, and eliminating the waste products.

Medical nutrition is the foundation of natural integrative medicine.

What we eat can either bring us closer to health or closer to disease based on what we choose.

Prevention through nutrition is incredibly powerful for decreasing inflammation in the body, hormone balancing and proper body weight control.

Being an advocate of natural medicine is so satisfying because when people regain their health, they have better, more fulfilling lives.

For years I have been assisting my patients with food plans, shopping lists, nutrition and dietary advice, and for years my patients have been asking me to recommend cookbooks for them.

The problem I encountered with most cookbooks is that they are slanted in a particular direction, for example, many of the recipes in vegetarian cookbooks rely heavily on dairy and refined carbohydrates. Today many gluten free cookbooks are gluten free but contain unhealthy sugar, oils, and more refined carbohydrates. As you can see this led to frustration for both my patients and myself.

After 10 years of private practice I decided to write my own cookbook. It is a gluten free guide to healthy eating.

It contains simple whole food recipes, and it gives easy kitchen tips for food preparation.

It is geared towards everyday people who want to use food to prevent disease. The focus is foods that are nourishing and anti-inflammatory. The goal is to help feed your body at a cellular level. Eating this way decreases body inflammation and promotes health.

So go ahead and start Feeding Your Cells, your body will thank you!