Good Health Tips

HEALTH TIPS

1. If your are allergic to the poison ivy or poison oak plant take an antihistamine before you go to an area known for these plants to help prevent allergic reactions.  Antihistamines that do not cause drowsniness are Allegra or Fexofenadine and Claritin or Loratadine. It is critical that you shower with a strong soap such as fels naptha ,ivory or a poison ivy soap and laundry all clothing immediately after exposure to the plant and it’s oils. These tips should prevent or lessen the alllergic rash reaction caused by poison ivy or poison oak.

2.  Preventing Dementia – Vitamin D has been found to found to decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease if blood levels of Vitamin D are kept above 50nmol/l. This information was published in a study found in the journal Neurology, August 2014. Please get a Vitamin D level during your next medical visit and let your health care provider know that you need to keep your Vitamin D level at a miniumum of 50.  There are so many reasons to take Vitamin D, please check out my past blog posts for additional information on Vitamin D.

3.  Medicare Part D – Medicare Subscribers, November is the month to renew or change your Medicare Part D insurance. Medicare Part D is the part of medicare that covers prescription costs. Contact your insurance agent or ask your pharmacist for information about which plans fit your prescription needs and your budget.  The changes you make in November will begin on January 1, 2015.

Summer First Aid KIts

It is time to prepare your summer first aid kit.  The following is a list of essential items.

* Sunscreen SPF 30 that is unjder 2 years old.  Suncreen should be applied every hours or more if swimming of sweating profusely.    do not forget to apply sunscreen to the top of the ears, nose and bald heads.  LIpbalm with sunscreen is also great to have on hand.

* Band-aids, antibiotic ointment and instant ice packs

* Poison ivy soap examples are Grandma’s Poison Ivy Soap, Fels-Naptha, Zanfel

* Insect repellent

* Talk to your doctor about emergency supplies of the following: Triamcinolone 0.1% Cream for poison ivy and other rashes caused by allergens.  Silvadene Cream for burns and Epipen for severe allergic or anaphylatic reactions to bee stings.  Doxycycline 100mg a quantity of 2 for deer ticks that have been attached for less than 36 hours.  This preventative dose of doxycycline must be taken within 72 hours of the tick bite.

Medication Side Effects

Every medication has side effects.  Two types of prescription medications that cause problem side effects for many people are the ace inhibitors and the statins.

The most common ace inhibitor is lisinopril.  Side effects that may require a change of medication include constant cough or feeling that the throat needs to be cleared. This worsens at bedtime. The throat may also feel as if it is swollen.

The statins include lipitor ( atorvastatin ), Zocor (simvastatin), Pravachol (pravastatin), mevacor (lovastatin) and crestor. The statin side effect that may require a change of medication is muscle pain.  Arm, leg and back pain occur in up to 10% of those taking statins.  The combination of a statin with the over the counter supplement COQ10 100mg to 200mg daily may alleviate the muscle pain.  If the muscle pain is intolerable a medication change to a different cholesterol lowering agent should be made.

 

Vitamin D Levels

I am a two time breast cancer survivor.  My last round with breast cancer was in November 2014.  Treatment consisted of a lumpectomy and the suggestion of chemo therapy and herceptin.  I declined both drug treatments due to the toxic effects they would have on my heart.  The treatment plan I have chosen involves turning my immune system into a cancer fighting machine.  A critical part of my plan involves maintaining a Vitamin D level of at least 70 ng/ml.  I have been taking 9,000 iu of Vitamin D daily for months and my blood level was only 37 ng/ml.  This information led me to research Vitamin D absorption and I found that to maximize absorption Vitamin D must be taken with a meal that includes fat.  Vitamin D is a fat soluble vitamin.  If you are feeling tired, depressed and constantly fighting colds and flu get your Vitamin D level checked.

Restless Legs Syndrome

Restless Legs Syndrome or RLS is a nervous system disorder that causes the legs and sometimes the arms or torso to feel like they are crawling, have electricity or water running through them. Restless Legs Syndrome affects up to three percent of the population and is more common in women than men. Prescription medications used for treatment include Mirapex, Requip, Gabapentin and Lyrica. Low iron levels may contribute to RLS.  Over the counter supplements that can be helpful are iron supplements depending on iron level, B Vitamins and Magnesium. In addition to supplements, a homeopathic tablet called Hylands Restful Legs has been helpful in many of my Service Drug clients.

 

Prescription Savings Using Coupons

Many brand name prescription manufacturers offer coupons to decrease the cost of their drugs.  The coupons are available online and can be found by searching for coupons for the name of the prescription medication you are taking.  If you have questions about this or are unable to access the coupons find a pharmacy that is willing to help you.    

 

Vitamin D and Cancer Prevention

Vitamin D is an important nutrient for the prevention of many diseases and cancer is one of them.  High levels of Vitamin D of 70 to 100 ng/ml  are needed to fight cancer. To achieve these high levels of Vitamin D a dose of 10,000 iu daily may be required.  Before beginning a Vitamin D supplement have your physician get a blood level to determine your dose.  Please refer to these websites for more information on Vitamin D

http://ucsdnews.ucsd.edu/archive/newsrel/health/02-22VitamanD.asp

http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2013/05/12/vitamin-d-may-prevent-breast-cancer.aspx

A search of Vitamin D and cancer returns enomous amounts of useful information.  Vitamin D is critical in the prevention and reoccurence of breast cancer.

Invokana-New Prescription Drug for Diabetes

Invokana is a new prescription drug for type 2 diabetes.  It has a different mechanism of action than any of the other drugs used to treat type 2  diabetes.  Invokana uses the kidneys to excrete excess glucose.  Side effects are few and the benefits are great. Invokana decreases blood sugar, blood pressure and causes weight loss.  Kidney function must be normal to use Invokana.  A coupon and more information on Invokana can be found at         www.INVOKANACarePath.com

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Vitamin D

Fall is here and soon will come winter.  If you live in Minnesota like I do there are few chances to get sunlight and that means your Vitamin D level may be low.  There is strong evidence to support the fact that low Vitamin D levels worsen rheumatoid arthritis. My suggestion is to take Vitamin D 2,000 IU daily and at your next doctor appointment have your Vitamin D level checked to confirm your correct dose.  A website that may be of interest is http://www.naturalnews.com/042324_rheumatoid_arthritis_vitamin_D_deficiency_sunlight.html

Another nutrient that is helpful for arthritis pain is Curcumin which is found in capsule form.  Curcumin is also known as the spice Tumeric.

If you would like to order these supplements call Service Drug at 1-800-950-4947.

 

 

Birth Control and Blood Clots

Recently my daughter, a nurse complained of excruciating right upper arm pain.  I thought she had been bitten by some sort of insect while at the beach but she insisted it was a blood clot.  Her arm was swollen, red and hot to touch.  The pain was persistent enough that she sought medical care.  The third doctor she saw finally figured out that indeed she had a blood clot in her arm.  Her only risk factor for the clot was estrogen/progesterone birth control pills.  The treatment for her condition is Lovenox injections for a few days to thin the blood quickly and Coumadin or Warfarin tablets for six months to continue to thin the blood so the clot will dissolve.  The danger of blood clots is that they can move from the arm or leg, and end up in the the lungs or brain which can be fatal.  My advice to those who are taking an estrogen/progesterone birth control product is to take an 81mg Aspirin at least 3 times a week if not daily with food to prevent stomach upset.  Aspirin should not be taken without a doctor’s order if you are on blood thinners or have a bleeding disorder.