Ginger

via Ginger | NCCIH

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The National Center of Complementary and Integrative Health recently sent out an email about ginger.  I thought this would be a good excuse to get back to my blog.

I frequently recommend using ginger to patients.   There are ginger supplements available in many forms, but its pretty easy to find raw ginger root in the grocery store produce aisle.  I use raw ginger in stir fry or make a “tea” (herbal infusion) with hot water, ginger root and water.

Ginger is a great remedy for motion sickness, Meniere’s Disease,  or morning sickness.  Simply inhaling the spicy scent gives  you instant relief.

I often recommend ginger to help stabilize blood sugars. Ginger has been shown to reduce A1c (blood sugar average) and fasting blood sugars in diabetics.¹

Ginger essential oil  has a much longer shelf life than the root, and its easy to carry when you travel.  One very strong recommendation is that ginger is a “hot” oil, meaning it has a lot of kick.  I strongly recommend diluting essential oil in a carrier oil if your going to use it topically.

 

 

1. The Effects of Ginger on Fasting Blood Sugar, Hemoglobin A1c, Apolipoprotein B, Apolipoprotein A-I and Malondialdehyde in Type 2 Diabetic Patients. (n.d.).

Prostate Cancer Screening and Men’s Health

Photo from wordpress...representation of male patient afte he finds out there will be no prostate exam.
Photo from wordpress…representation of male patient afte he finds out there will be no prostate exam.

I see both male and female patients. Women are accustomed to some sort of yearly exam, typically related to women’s health.

I’ve found over my years of practice that men typically present at the ages of 30, 40, or 50 wondering what is required of their health. Unlike women, the average healthy man may not have a specific need for a physician. It’s not unusual for a male patient to go over 20 years without seeing a physician. After going so long without seeing a physician naturally, they are very nervous about the prospect of meeting a physician and getting a rectal exam immediately.

These medical headlines are extremely helpful. The current recommendations are that for the majority of men, prostate cancer is not recommended.

My approach is education. Every man should be aware of symptoms of prostate enlargement, such as frequent urination or trouble emptying the bladder. Men should also be prepared discuss issues with sexual health, as any issues with having an erection could signal issues with cardiovascular disease. Checking PSA or performing a prostate exam won’t be necessary UNLESS a patient wants to do this. Patients that want a more rigorous screening exam have the option once we discuss the risks and benefits it prostate screening.

Internal Medicine News

KHN Morning Briefing

Kidney Disease and Thyroid Disease-health news update

I received a very interesting email update from Mayo Clinic. Medical research is now showing a clear link between kidney disease and thyroid disease.

Thyroid disease has been commonly associated with critical illness, but as far as I know there has been no clear link between kidney disease and thyroid disease.

The take away from this study is in addition to other checkups, kidney patients need an assessment of their thyroid status.

Asthma and Hay Fever Linked to Increased Risk of Psychiatric Disorders — Neuroscience News Updates and Mind/Body Connection

According to researchers, suffering from asthma or hay fever may put you at an increased risk of developing a psychiatric disorder. The study reports over a 15 year period, 10.8% of people with allergies developed psychiatric disorders, compare to 6.7% of people without allergic diseases.

via Asthma and Hay Fever Linked to Increased Risk of Psychiatric Disorders — Neuroscience News Updates

This article appeared in my feed and I find it very fascinating. I thought I might use this in my own blog as a way to start introducing the logistics of the Mind-Body Connection.

Pathophysiology of Allergies (Allergic Rhinitis)

I see patients with some form of allergies throughout most of the day. This should be no surprise since allergic rhinitis is “the most common chronic disease in the United States, affect[ing]  between 10 and 30% of adults and up to 40% of children”¹.

The symptoms of allergic rhinitis start at Mast Cells;

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Mast Cells are an important part of the immune system that also play a role in allergies.  Mast Cells are equipped with receptors for antigens (a signal to the immune system that an invader is within the body).    Someone that has allergies produces antibodies  (IgE) which function to tag antigens as they enter the body.  An antigen tagged with IgE circulating in the blood stream will land on a mast cell, causing the mast cell to launch its weapons (histamine, cytokines and other inflammatory  chemicals),  These chemicals will land in the nasal passage, sinuses, and lungs leading to allergy symptoms.

Energy Imbalance leading to Allergic Rhinitis

One of my favorite books is by Margaret Ann Lembo’s Chakra Awakening. This is one of the first books I read when I became curious about energy medicine. This is a wonderful starter for anyone who is wanting to learn about the Chakra system, and as well as using  essential oils and crystals as part of their healing routine. I have adapted a chart from her book which summarizes each Chakra’s function, and how imbalances show up. I use this chart personally when I’m working with energy medicine and for myself and find it to be a very handy tool in energy medicine.

Chakra Chart from Margaret Ann Lembo’s Chakra Awakening

Chakra Chart from Mary Ann Lembo (1)

When I first started learning about the Chakra system, I was fascinated with how blockages within a Chakra could contribute to disease. Chakras comes from Ayurveda, and I think of it as anatomical representation of energy centers within the body.

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Media by LordtNIS

Most people suffer allergies in their noses, sinuses, eyes, ears, throat and sometimes chest. Symptoms of allergies are usually runny nose, watery eyes, sore throat, sinus pain and pressure. These organs are within the throat, third eye, and crown chakra. These organ are also associated with psychological dysfunction, such as stress, anxiety, or depression. Additionally, allergies are generated within the body when the immune system becomes overactive. Knowing that these energy centers correlate with our physical and emotional health, it would be expected that a person suffering from allergies is likely at increased risk of a psychological issues.  In particular, if an individual is feeling like they can’t express themselves (blocked throat chakra) they may be particularly prone to allergies.

There are a number of ways to handle allergies.

Over the Counter Medications:

Naturally I’ll have to remind readers to consult with their personal physician if you are suffering from allergies. Most people can tolerate antihistamines such as Claritin, Zyrtec, or Allegra very well. The addition of a nasal steroid such as Fluticasone (Flonase) can also help to control symptoms.

Anyone suffering from severe symptoms, such as a rash or wheezing needs to consult with their physician.

Reiki for Allergies:

If you are already  Reiki  attuned, you can simply treat your sinuses.  Consider treating the neck and chest.  Your Reiki manual  from your attunement is also a good resource for a treatment sequence.

If you are considering seeking Reiki to treat allergies, you may opt for a shorter session, but understanding that a combination of stress and chemical cascades are leading to your  symptoms, you may be due for a full Reiki session.

Essential Oils to use:

Anyone with experience using essential oils to support their health can attest to how wonderful they can be to relieve symptoms.  There is simply no better pleasure than your first whiff of Breath from DoTerra when your suffering from allergies.

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DoTerra offers a wonderful line of products that can be used for allergies, and are good for colds, or to augment your meditation.  The essential oil  comes in a 15ml or a roller bottle, and either one is excellent.  A drop or two on your chest of neck quickly alleviates symptoms.  Consider a patch test on your inner arm before using routinely.  Of course, Breathe is amazing in a diffuser.

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dōTERRA Breathe® Vapor Stick

The vapor stick is neat, clean and ready to go.  You can quickly apply some to you chest or neck to soothe your sinuses.

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The dōTERRA Breathe® Respiratory Drops are my personal favorite cough drops.  You get all of the benefits of the oils without concern of others being affects by your essential oil use.  You will still get the cooling sensation in your sinus passages that is wonderful.

You can find more information on essential oils here.

 

1. Goldman, L., & Schafer, A. I. (2016). Goldman-Cecil medicine. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier/Saunders.

Administration of influenza vaccines to egg allergic recipients: A practice parameter update 2017

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Source: Administration of influenza vaccines to egg allergic recipients: A practice parameter update 2017

Conclusion

There is strong evidence that egg allergic individuals can safely receive IIV or LAIV if the latter vaccine is recommended for use once the concerns regarding efficacy have been resolved. Presence of egg allergy in an individual is not a contraindication to receive IIV or LAIV. Influenza vaccine recipients with egg allergy are at no greater risk for a systemic allergic reaction than those without egg allergy. Precautions, such as choice of a particular vaccine, special observation periods, or restriction of administration to particular medical settings, are not warranted and constitute an unnecessary barrier to immunization. Vaccine providers and screening questionnaires do not need to ask about the egg allergy status of recipients of influenza vaccine(1).

  1. Administration of influenza vaccines to egg allergic recipients: A practice parameter update 2017
    Greenhawt, Matthew et al.
    Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology , Volume 120 , Issue 1 , 49 – 52

I received this medical update from Epocrates.

Patients will need to discuss recommendations concerning vaccination recommendations with you physician or provider.

, it seems that we can assure patients that its okay to proceed with influenza vaccination even if patients have an egg allergy, they can still proceed with vaccination.

 

 

Loneliness in Seniors

For some elderly women in Japan, prison offers companionship and a life free from worry.

via Elderly Japanese Women Are Turning to Crime to Find Companionship in Prison — Longreads

I am new to WordPress, but I am so happy I joined.  I’m finding the most relevant information through other bloggers.  This article came up on my feed.  I was absolutely fascinated with this topic.  I started reading this article and couldn’t stop.  Basically the author is reporting on how lonely living conditions are driving some elderly women to commit crimes in order to be incarcerated.  These women feel more connection and well being while incarcerated.

I did a quick article search and found research article an article on Pubmed that summarizes that loneliness leads to increased use of health care.

As a physician, I treat primarily geriatric age, or patients older than 65.  As I’m working through a busy day, I’m aware of a lack of social support.  I am very aware of  my sickest patients seeming to have the least amount of social support.

I am aware of how being lonely affects my patients health.  Typically, the human life toward the end is marked by more losses than gains.  Loss of career, spouses, siblings, and friends all while being surrounded  by a culture that is fascinated with all things youth related.

I won’t pretend to have an instant answer, but here are some of my observations and how I help seniors cope:

Social Media

For all its blessings, it can have many negatives.  Some say that social media may be driving us apart.  I notice in my senior patients, they often have a cell phone, but their life experience has not lead them to show much curiosity in any social media.  They will complain that none of their family reaches out to them, not realizing that within a few simple steps, they can connect with all of their younger relatives for free.  If you have an older relative, offer to give them a tutorial in Facebook or Instagram.  Its a great way to bond, and often opens up a world they did not feel they could be apart of.

 

Senior Centers

Many cities and counties have some sort of senior center, but often no one knows to look.  Younger family members are often so but they don’t realize there’e resources available to older relatives.  Here are a few links locally:

Oklahoma City Senior Programs

Midwest City Senior Center

US Department of Health and Human Services

 

I’m often encouraging my patients that you can help your brain with aging with challenges.  Taking on a new hobby or a class in something you’ve never done stimulates new neural connections and increases overall health.

This is a difficult topic.  We all want to age, and maybe we’ll find a better way to do this at some point.

 

 

Consult from Dr.Google

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Patients frequently want to be proactive and research what’s going on with their bodies.  Of course, I’m not readily available, as are most physicians typically not available to answer instant questions (although my practice does have a patient portal that makes it fairly easy to ask questions).  So in comes Dr. Google.  Of course, I am not criticizing search engines at all…I’m hoping to find readers   through a search engine.

The issue becomes your symptoms may be serious, and the information that comes back to you may not be relevant, helpful, or could be harmful.  I don’t know right away who published this information.  Did they study medicine?  Are they trying to sell you something?

I’ll admit, I am willing to listen to the differential diagnosis generated by Dr. Google, but not for very long.  Patient visits are already too short, and I don’t want to waste valuable time sifting through symtpoms generated by Dr. Google.  Furthermore, I don’t want you as the patient to be worried about something that may not be a threat.

I often ask my patients if they are feeling the need to look up health information to be mindful of the source.  To be on the safe side, there are a few websites that I always refer patients because the information is non-commercial (there won’t be a drug company trying to sell you a medication) and the information is vetted.

Medline Plus

This website provides safe information concerning conditions and medications for you and your entire family.

Consumer Lab

One of my favorite references for herbal supplements.  I routinely consult this for information on herbal supplements.

I use Google just as everyone else does, but often during a visit, I don’t have the luxury of telling patients why I can’t use Dr. Google’s recommendations while I’m taking care of my patients.

 

Just as a reminder, these substitutes are not replacment for emergency situations or questions, so if you are having an emergency you should still go to the ER or call 911.