Author Archive

What are Noroviruses?

Monday, April 19th, 2010

The noroviruses are a group of viruses which commonly cause vomiting and diarrhea (gastrointestinal symptoms), usually during the winter months in the Northern Hemisphere. Noroviruses often cause outbreaks of illness among people who live in close proximity (i.e. nursing homes, cruise ships). Infection may be passed person-to-person or by the ingestion of contaminated food and water.


  • Sudden onset illness 24 to 48 hours after being exposed
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Abdominal pain/cramping
  • Malaise
  • Headache
  • Low-grade fever
  • Aching muscles

You can reduce your risk of contracting the virus by frequently washing your hands with soap and water or an alcohol-based product. Avoid spending prolonged periods of time in crowded areas during the winter months. Make sure all fruits and vegetables are washed well before eating. Cook all foods thoroughly before eating.

Should you become ill with a gastrointestinal virus (“stomach flu”), get plenty of rest. Try to take sips of fluids frequently, rather than large amounts of fluids less often. You may want to try oral replacement solutions (ORS) if the vomiting and diarrhea are prolonged. There can be purchased from a drugstore. If you become very weak or notice blood in your stool, or do not start to improve within 48 hours, consider a visit to the emergency room.

Source: Norwalk and Noroviruses

Preventing and Treating Gout Naturally

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

Gout is a condition which causes pain, redness and swelling in a joint, usually a toe or foot, although any joint can be affected by gout. Gout is caused when uric acid crystals form in the joint after being deposited from the bloodstream. Uric acid results from the breakdown of purines; therefore, eating foods that are low in purine decreases uric acid in the bloodstream and prevents gout (or so the theory goes).

  • For people attempting to eat a diet which is low in purine, the following tips may be helpful:
  • Cider vinegar is thought to lower uric acid levels
  • Drinking lots of water helps to flush uric acid from the body, as does eating a diet high in fiber
  • Eat foods high in vitamins E and C, supplement with vitamins if your diet is deficient in either of these
  • Avoid: cauliflower, mushrooms, asparagus, red meat, shell fish, poultry, mackerel and sardines, as these foods are high in purine
  • Cherries, blueberries and strawberries are good for gout

Repeated attacks of gout may lead to permanent joint damage, therefore purines should be avoided as much as possible. Medications to treat gout once it has flared are available, but some have unwelcome side effects. Prevention of gout is preferable to treatment of gout.

PreArthos is an all-natural botanical formulation designed to treat joint pain safely, with no side effects.

What is Menorrhagia?

Saturday, April 17th, 2010

Menorrhagia is the technical medical term for heavy menstrual bleeding. Menorrhagia can occur for many reasons, but in the absence of any true pathology menorrhagia is usually due to an anovulatory cycle, or a cycle in which no egg is released. Women in perimenopause are more likely to experience hormonal changes that lead to anovulatory cycles and heavy menstrual bleeding.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Periods that last longer than 7 days
  • Menstrual flow that contains large blood clots
  • Menstrual periods that interfere with your ability to live your life
  • Menstrual flow that requires double protection (i.e. wearing a tampon and a pad)
  • Bleeding that soaks through one menstrual pad per hour (or more) for several hours
  • Signs and symptoms of anemia (fatigue, weakness, shortness of breath with exertion)

Many women experience the occasional heavy period, but if every period is excessively heavy or lasts longer than a week anemia may occur, sometimes necessitating a blood transfusion. Many women do not seek help for menorrhagia, believing that it is normal. If menorrhagia interferes with quality of life or leads to anemia, treatment should be sought.

PreMenora is an all-natural twice-daily botanical formulation designed to relieve the symptoms of perimenopause, including menorrhagia.

Source: Menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding)

Passing of Health Reform Bill Celebrated by ADA

Friday, April 16th, 2010

The ADA (American Diabetes Association) is celebrating the passage of the Health Reform bill, which they see as tearing down the barriers that have stood between diabetics and the health care they deserve. The ADA issued a statement to make clear their elation at the passing of the bill.

It is not only those already diagnosed with diabetes who stand to win from the passage of the bill, states the ADA. The American Diabetes Association sees the bill as a necessary step towards prevention of diabetes for the estimated 57 million people who are living with pre-diabetes, and also for the one-third of America’s youth who will one day be diagnosed with diabetes if the current health climate does not change. In order for health prevention to become reality, citizens need equal access to programs designed to educate them regarding prevention, as well as access to screening and prevention programs designed to detect and treat pre-diabetes before it turns into full-fledged diabetes.

The ADA has stated that they see this health reform bill as a means of giving diabetics a real opportunity to manage their disease and prevent known complications of the disease, such as amputation, blindness and heart disease.

Source: Health Reform Bill Ends The “Just Because You Have Diabetes” Excuse

Statement on U.S. House of Representatives Passing Health Reform Bill

Male Infertility Linked to Prostate Cancer

Thursday, April 15th, 2010

The American Cancer Society has recently de-emphasized screening for prostate cancer, stating that men should be counseled by their doctors regarding their personal risk for prostate cancer, and should make up their own mind about screening based on the most current information and their own risk for the disease. The reason for this laid-back attitude lies in the fact that most prostate cancers are very slow-growing and are not usually immediately life-threatening. Overzealous treatment can result in potentially damaging consequences, such as incontinence and impotence.

However, a new study has discovered a group of men who should not heed advice to relax regarding prostate screening. Researchers tracked down more than 22,000 men who had been diagnosed as infertile and discovered that these men had more than twice the rate of aggressive prostate cancer in comparison to the rest of the fertile male population.

Men who are infertile may be at higher risk for aggressive prostate cancer, and perhaps should be screened earlier than their fertile counterparts. Physicians who treat infertile males should consider testing for the disease earlier and providing this information to their male patients who have been diagnosed with infertility. More studies should be done to clarify the risk of prostate cancer in infertile men.

Source: Infertility linked to prostate cancer

The Dangers of Polypharmacy in the Elderly

Thursday, April 8th, 2010

A new Canadian study sheds light on a growing trend: the prescribing of multiple medications to seniors.

The study showed that almost 2/3 of Canadian senior citizens are taking more than 5 prescription medications; 1/5 of seniors were taking more than 10 medications, and 1/20 of seniors were taking more than 20 medications to treat conditions such as heart disease, arthritis, high blood pressure and Alzheimer’s disease.

Polypharmacy in adults, especially seniors, can be cause for concern due to the fact that there can be significant interactions between drugs. Seeing more than one physician or having prescriptions filled at more than one pharmacy adds to this risk, as doctors and pharmacists may be unaware of other drugs a patient may be taking.

Part of the reason for the study was to examine which drugs were being prescribed the most often and which drugs have fallen out of favor. This is important to policy makers, who will have to determine where funding should be concentrated. What the study revealed was hardly surprising:

  • Statins are the most commonly prescribed (almost 40% of seniors over age 65)
  • Ace-inhibitors used to treat blood pressure are the second most popular (27% of seniors)
  • Proton-pump inhibitors used to treat gastroesophageal reflux disease are third in line (21% of seniors)

The fastest-growing drug classes are those that treat arthritis, COPD and Alzheimer’s.

Drugs that have fallen out of the popularity contest include Cox-2 inhibitors such as Vioxx (which was linked to heart disease) and HRT drugs, which were also linked to heart disease and breast cancer.

Polypharmacy is more common and is therefore a growing danger to seniors. Physicians, pharmacists and caregivers should be certain that medications are prescribed only as needed and reviewed regularly to ascertain whether they are still required.

Source: Study warns about seniors’ prescriptions

Doctors Support New Bill

Wednesday, April 7th, 2010

The new health care legislation reform bill which will be put to a vote March 21, 2010 has gained the support of American doctors and the AMA- perhaps not their unqualified support, but support nevertheless.

Doctors have expressed concern that further debate will only make a bad situation worse, and although the new bill is not exactly as they wish it could be, it is better than the current state of affairs. They expressed their concern that delaying health reform longer will only mean that more patients will lose access to medical care. These patients are often forced to use the emergency room for their medical needs. Primary care is not within their grasp, and prevention is a concept they do not have the luxury of debating. These patients who lack insurance come to the hospital sicker and do not enjoy good health, often dying younger than their counterparts with insurance.

The AMA has taken exception to several proposals in the legislation, such as:

  • Medicare’s proposed 21.2% pay cut that could take place later this year (which may force some doctors to stop accepting Medicare patients in their practices)
  • No support for tort reform, such as placing a cap on damages awarded in malpractice cases
  • Regulations which could ban the ownership of hospitals by doctors (doctors argue that it shouldn’t matter who owns the hospital)

These are just a few of the concerns that the AMA is hoping will be addressed eventually, but for now everyone agrees that some sort of change is needed. The rest can be argued over at a later time (and undoubtedly will be).

Statin Comes With New Warning

Tuesday, April 6th, 2010

The FDA is warning that Zocor, a statin used to lower cholesterol, may cause muscle damage when taken at higher doses. People of Asian descent may be more at risk if they take niacin in combination with Zocor. The generic name for Zocor is simvistatin.

All statins carry a certain risk of muscle damage, but this risk seems to be higher in people taking 80 mg of Zocor. In the Search study, 1% of people taking 80 mg of Zocor experienced muscle damage, as opposed to 0.02% of people taking lower doses of the drug. Rhabdomyolysis occurred in a very small number of patients taking Zocor at the higher dose. Rhabdomyolysis is the sometimes fatal destruction of muscle tissue, often resulting in kidney damage.

Symptoms of muscle damage may include:

  • Weakness
  • Muscle pain
  • Elevated creatinine kinase enzyme, as determined by blood sampling
  • Fatigue
  • Dark or red urine

All statins carry the risk of muscle damage, and patients taking these drugs should be aware of the above symptoms. Should these symptoms occur, notify your physician immediately.

PreLipid is an all-natural, twice-daily botanical formulation proven to lower cholesterol naturally.

Source: FDA Warns of Zocor Risk to Muscles

Are You Getting Enough Vitamin D?

Monday, April 5th, 2010

Vitamin D is often referred to as the “sunshine vitamin”. It is also well known for increasing the absorption of calcium. Beyond these facts, most people are not aware of what important functions vitamin D plays in the body.

What does vitamin D do?

  • aids the body to use vitamin A and to absorb calcium and phosphorus
  • can be helpful in treating eye infections, such as conjunctivitis
  • can help in preventing colds, especially when taken with vitamins A and C
  • essential for maintaining normal levels of calcium and phosphorus in the body
  • helps build healthy bones and teeth
  • necessary for growth
  • aids in the ability of blood to clot
  • helps to regulate the heartbeat
  • helps to prevent osteoporosis

How do I get it?

There are two main ways to obtain vitamin D: diet and sunlight. Dietary forms of vitamin D are vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) and D2 (ergocalciferol). These two forms of vitamin D are inactive. Absorbed vitamin D must be transformed by the kidneys and liver to the active form of vitamin D. Foods that are high in vitamin D are cod liver oil, oily fish, milk, eggs and cereals.

Most of our vitamin D comes from ultraviolet irradiation (sunlight exposure) of the skin. Sunlight is absorbed through natural oils present on the skin, and is then absorbed into the body. Dietary intakes of vitamin D are only critical when there is little or no skin exposure to ultraviolet light or when the body’s requirements are particularly high, such as in young, growing children or during pregnancy.

Vitamin D has been implicated in the prevention of many disorders, including multiple sclerosis, premature birth, osteoporosis, heart disease, breast cancer and colorectal cancer.

Source: Vitamin D

Is Irritability a Natural Outcome of Menopause?

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

Many women report feeling irritated more easily and more often during perimenopause and menopause. In fact, it is so common that it has become the brunt of many jokes. However, feeling irritable all the time is not funny to the women experiencing this symptom and may often lead to its evil twin, depression.

There are differing schools of thought about what causes irritability in perimenopause and menopause. Hormone fluctuations are thought to play a large role in irritability, much the same as they do during the time before menstruation begins for some women (as in pre-menstrual syndrome). Others believe that concomitant changes in the body during menopause that result in unwanted symptoms (i.e. hot flashes, night sweats, and sleep disturbances) are to blame for a women’s moodiness.

There may be other reasons as well. Perimenopause marks a drastic change in a woman’s body and may lead to lower self-esteem and body issues. Perimenopause may be seen as synonymous with aging. Women who have not accomplished all that they have hoped for may feel as if time is running out, and women who had hoped to have children (or more children) may be faced with the likelihood that they may not accomplish their goal. All of these factors, combined with physical changes, may lead to irritation and feelings of depression for some women.

Women who experience these symptoms should know that they are not alone. Although some women sail through perimenopause and menopause with nary a scrape, others experience all the symptoms in the book (and some that they didn’t know about). The most important thing to remember about menopause is that it doesn’t last forever, and negative feelings will eventually fade away. If feelings of irritability or depression linger and affect a woman’s life negatively, help should be sought.

PreMenora is a twice-daily all natural botanical formulation designed to ease the symptoms of perimenopause.