- Opioids: Looking at Cause
Darlene Superville of the Associated Press has joined the many journalists nationwide in pointing out the dangers of the opioid epidemic. In her article, she focuses on the economic implications. In 2015, the crisis as it is now being referred, cost 504 billion dollars. This is a far higher estimate than previous estimates.
I want to focus on a few points today in this column. More than 64,000 died from overdoses last year. We as a society are becoming more and more dependent on medications. Medications are needed at times and they have a place, but as we see with the opioid crisis, we, in the health care world, need to look at the cause of problems.
This is a major challenge as our cultural values, marketing efforts, and society in general wants a quick fix to our problems. There is so much money and lobbying involved, this problem will linger for a long period of time. We are now in the, “Oh we have a problem phase.”
A few years ago I felt so strongly about the problem of deaths related to medication, I wrote the book, “Medicines that Kill”. This book was intended to give individuals another source to educate themselves. I still feel the number one cause of death in America is the misuse of medications. The opioid crisis is just more evidence. As this is such a problem, we need to continue to speak out in the media. Individuals need to hear other voices that have no financial interests in the industry.
If you are taking an opioid or other medications, ask yourself if this is treating the cause. Is there anything you can do to address the cause of the symptom or the pain? Thinking along these lines is a good place to start. We cannot depend on others. If we do the cost will be much higher.Read more »
- Are stents the answer?
The New York Times has reported in November 2017 on a new study in the journal Lancet. This study found that while cardiac stents can be lifesaving in opening arteries in patients having a heart attack, the devices are ineffective in relieving chest pain.
Stents are tiny wire cages to open arteries. They are useful when patients are having heart attacks or unstable symptoms, however, they are often deployed when patients have no symptoms just blockages. More than 500,000 had stents placed last year. Stents do carry risk. They are expensive.
This study placed stents in some and had sham procedures in others. The study found no real difference in the groups who all had blockages and symptoms related to these blockages.
Of course, this has raised a bit of controversy in the cardiology world. There have long been questions regarding the effectiveness of stents. A 2007 study led by Dr. Boden and published in the New England Journal of Medicine found stents did not prevent heart attacks or deaths from heart disease. Yet stent procedures continue. Cardiovascular disease is not being cured by stent procedures.
Cardiovascular disease is a diffuse, complicated disease. Stents do damage blood vessels. I tell my patients our goal is to halt or reverse disease and not merely treat a symptom, though this may be necessary in some situations. The sham procedure also raises the question about belief systems in the treatment of disease. The mind plays a large role in the physiology of cardiovascular disease.
Many are now rethinking how they practice. This has just given me more evidence to use in educating and motivating patients to be more proactive and treat the causes of cardiovascular disease. Ask your cardiologist about all treatment options especially if you are not having a heart attack or having active symptoms.Read more »
- Longevity Secrets – Williamsport Retirement Village
Most people determine to live a long and healthy life. How do we do that? Three experts on the subject provide insights and suggestions for assuring that there’s plenty of life in all of our years.Read more »
- Rest for the Weary – Dr James Marcum
We’re exhausted from a hard day at work, slip into our pjs, fall into bed, bring the covers up to our chins, sigh, and then wait. And wait. And wait. Nothing. Dr. James Marcum, founder/director of Heartwise Ministries, helps us find rest for our weary selves.Read more »
- Tech Savvy Parenting – Brian Housman
Today, the average teenager sends 3,339 text messages each month and spends 97 minutes a day playing video games. Add social networking, video watching, and emailing and the results can be damaging to mental and physical health. Brain Housman applies 20 years of experience to helping families make better choices. (www.360family.org)Read more »
- King Broccoli – Dr Michael Greger
- Lessons on Grief – Sharon Brown Keith
There’s something uniquely sad about losing a parent. They may be old and infirmed, but when the moment of separation comes, most people feel a loss unlike any other. Christian author Sharon Brown Keith offers insights and hope from her own painful experience.Read more »
- Media is stressing me out!
Recently Wallet Hub has released their most and least stressed cities.Most stressed:
San Bernardino CA
Sioux Falls SD
Overland Park KS
The stressors in these cities could be commuter stress, unemployment stress (mental), divorce stress (social), poor physical health, pollution etc.
I do not know about you, but the media is stressing me out. With negative stories and a constant bombardment of trivia my epigenetics are changing.
Stress, no matter the source, is not good. Every input affects the body. Inputs from food, lifestyle habits, medical conditions, and even food, change the body. Stress can shorten telomeres causing our DNA to age triggering mutations and malfunctions. Next come symptoms and a trip to the doctor.
Everyone has a genetic hard drive given to us by our parents. The stressors of life make up the software, which changes the hardwiring. We want inputs that improve the hardwiring.
If everyone in your family loses their hearing at age 70 and you are exposed to the stress of excessive noise, your hearing may worsen sooner. The hardwiring is stressed by the noise.
The same can be said for other parts of the body. If your genes are prone to dementia and your brain is stressed by alcohol, lack of sleep, pain, poor nutrition, lack of movement or whatever, the brain may age sooner. Medications may treat symptoms but do not address cause.
The point I want to make is to pay attention to the stressors in your life and limit stress related damage to your DNA. Remembering that all inputs affect the body to some degree.
The body is much more complicated than we can even imagine. The more I learn, the less I know. As technology progresses, the complexities are being uncovered. Don’t forget, too much media can also be a source of stress. Stay balanced. Try to obtain more physical, mental, social, and spiritual rest.Read more »
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