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  1. The problem with the patch is that the absorption through the skin is somewhat unpredictable, so they had to put a pretty big dose of hormone in the patch, to minimize the risk of breakthrough ovulation and unintended pregnancy. If you want a convenient delivery system but want a lower dose of hormone, you might want to consider the vaginal ring. You can ask the doctor whether an extended dosing regimen might help you lose less blood.
  2. It's like hearing rich people complain about "the servant problem."
  3. The "perplexing" study has important weaknesses. The most important is the "unhealthy user effect." People are more likely to get flu shots if they are at particularly high risk for complications from the flu. This includes the elderly and people with damaged immune systems. Of course, these are the same people who are likely to get sick enough from H1N1 flu to get their H1N1 infection documented. I always get a flu shot if there's enough vaccine to go around. It's nice that it might help prevent me from getting the flu, but I get the flu shot partly to avoid the risk that I might spread the flu to other people. I also take a vitamin D supplement in the winter. I haven't had any winter upper respiratory infections since I started doing that.
  4. Beware of the "antivaccination" arguments you read over the Internet. As the "Pathguy" has shown, antivaccination zealots often lie: http://www.pathguy.com/antiimmu.htm Of course, we wouldn't have to worry so much about new strains of influenza if we'd simply stop growing poultry and swine for food. What's really nuts is that people are growing these animals in huge "factory farms" and even feeding them antiviral drugs. You couldn't come up with a more effective way of developing dangerous new strains of treatment-resistant flu. http://birdflubook.com/
  5. A rash that looks and feels like chicken pox sounds like dermatitis herpetiformis, which could be a sign of celiac disease. http://www.aafp.org/afp/980301ap/pruessn.html Ordinary acne could be aggravated by dairy products, which are a major source of estrogen.
  6. If the norepinephrine levels are highest in the morning, it's probably because that's when the body is trying hardest to compensate for low blood volume. You stop drinking while you are sleeping, but your kidneys don't stop making urine, so your blood volume will tend to be the smallest when you wake up in the morning. The body can try to compensate for low blood volume by secreting more norepinephrine, to increase the heart rate, etc. This is why many of us have been told to start our salt and water loading before we get out of bed in the morning.
  7. I did Epogen, which is another brand of recombinant erythropoietin. Red cell mass went up, but plasma volume went down even further. I had the complete blood count of an Olympic sprinter, but I could barely stand up! Helpful hint: I was working at the time, so I persuaded our company nurse to give me my shots. It's really unpleasant to have to give yourself intramuscular shots when your hands shake badly.
  8. Even before the discovery of insulin, doctors knew that there were at least two types of diabetes. They were originally called diab?te gras and diab?te maigre, which is French for fat diabetes and thin diabetes. Fat diabetes went away if people ate less and exercised more. Thin diabetes was virtually untreatable, and it seemed to have something to do with disease of the pancreas. The patients rapidly wasted away, went into a coma, and died, regardless of the treatment. Eventually, doctors figured out that if you kept all of the sugar and starch out of the diet, the people with thin diabetes could starve to death slowly over a period of maybe a year, instead of dying within a couple of weeks. With their discovery of insulin in the early 1920s, it became clear that thin diabetes, now called type 1 diabetes, resulted from failure of the pancreas to secrete insulin. However, fat diabetes, now called type 2, didn't respond as well to insulin. By the 1960s, when doctors started to be able to measure blood insulin levels, it became clear that people with type 2 diabetes often had abnormally high levels of insulin in the bloodstream to begin with. Their problem wasn't failure to produce insulin, it was refusal of the body to respond to insulin. What could cause this insulin resistance? Lately, a lot of people with no real training in nutrition have been trying to tell us that eating a high-carbohydrate diet causes insulin resistance. Yet if you look around the world, you'll see that the populations who eat a high-carbohydrate diet based on unrefined plant foods are slender and free of type 2 diabetes. By 1927, it was suspected that a high-fat diet was causing insulin resistance. In the early 1930s, a British doctor named H. P. Himsworth ran some experiments in which he produced a surprising degree of glucose intolerance in healthy male volunteers by feeding them a high-fat diet for only a week. As he replaced more and more of the fat in the diet with starch in subsequent weeks, the volunteers' glucose tolerance improved. It was the highest on the diet with the highest amount of carbohydrate tested, 80% of total calories. Clinical studies have shown that people with type 2 diabetes improve rapidly when they eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet based on unrefined plant foods, including some sort of starchy staple. Even people with type 1 diabetes need less insulin and have fewer episodes of hypoglycemia on diets like that. If you are having any sort of health problem that is undiagnosed or that just might have some sort of connection to diet, it makes sense to correct the diet first. Following a strict elimination diet protocol for a few weeks can be a painless and cost-free way to find the root cause of many different illnesses. http://www.drmcdougall.com/med_allergic.html Since so many of us either have celiac disease or are taking drugs that deplete our potassium levels or both, potatoes are our friend. They're cheap, and all you have to do is poke holes in them and stick them in the microwave. Very POTS-friendly. Sweet potatoes work well, too, for people who can't eat potatoes for whatever reason.
  9. The human body normally can build and maintain proper bone even on surprisingly low-calcium diets. Problems with osteoporosis usually result from something that disrupts the body's normal metabolism. The most common cause of osteoporosis is a diet high in animal protein and phosphorus (both of which create a high renal acid load) and low in potassium and magnesium (which decrease the renal acid load). Although calcium is an alkaline earth metal and would therefore decrease the renal acid load, calcium supplements can suppress the production of parathyroid hormone and therefore prevent the activation of vitamin D by the kidney. That would explain why calcium supplements don't actually help prevent osteoporosis. In fact, the populations with the highest risk of osteoporosis have the highest calcium intake. That why dairy products cause osteoporosis. Other causes of osteoporosis include medications (especially catabolic steroids like prednisone) and a high salt intake. The dietary goal in managing osteoporosis is generally to keep the potential renal acid load of the diet as low as possible. This means avoiding foods from animals and instead eating as much fruit and veg as possible. People with severe problems with osteoporosis are sometimes advised to base their diet on potatoes or sweet potatoes instead of grains, because potatoes have a net alkalinizing effect, whereas grains have moderate acidifying effect. Depending on your skin color and latitude, vitamin D supplements may be needed.
  10. Caldwell Esselstyn, MD, argues that atherosclerosis can be reversed if you keep your LDL below 150 mg/dL or your total cholesterol below about 150 mg/dL. It's easy if you eat a low-fat vegan diet. www.heartattackproof.com
  11. The three most important steps in managing any illness are diagnosis, diagnosis, and diagnosis. Are you sure that he has POTS, and not some sort of other condition that is causing tachycardia, syncope, and mood disturbance, like maybe pheochromocytoma? Most of the people with POTS are female. If a man has a bad case of POTS, he should get a very thorough diagnostic workup.
  12. My doctor said that my tremor as well as my pallor was probably a sign of low blood volume. Sure enough, my blood volume was very low.
  13. I had a really bad experience at Mayo in the summer of 2002. My advice: make sure that you go to the Autonomic Lab. Accept no substitutes. They diverted me from the Autonomic Lab, gave me a once over lightly, and pronounced me nuts. Then I went to Mt. Sinai in New York City, where they put me on a tilt table and said that I had florid POTS. Go figure. If your doctor wants you to go to a tertiary referral center, make sure that he or she can talk to an intelligent life form over there before you make your appointment.
  14. Homeopathy is quackery. http://saveyourself.ca/articles/shorts/200...compels-you.php
  15. The following is a statement from the California Nurses Association, posted on the Web site of Physicians for a National Healthcare Plan Top 10 Reasons For Enacting a Single Payer Healthcare System 1. Everybody in, nobody out. Universal means access to healthcare for everyone, period ? the desire of 81% of all Californians, as reported in a January, 2007 Field Poll. 2. Portability. Even if you are unemployed, or lose or change your job, your health coverage goes with you. 3. Uniform benefits. No Cadillac plans for the wealthy and Moped plans for everyone else, with high deductibles, limited services, caps on payments for care, and no protection in the event of a catastrophe. One level of comprehensive care no matter what size your wallet. 4. Prevention. By removing financial roadblocks, a single payer system encourages preventive care that lowers an individual?s ultimate cost and pain and suffering when problems are neglected, and societal cost in the overutilization of emergency rooms or the spread of communicable diseases. 5. Choice of physician. Most private plans restrict what doctors, other caregivers, or hospital you can use. Under a single payer system, patients have a choice, and the provider is assured a fair reimbursement. 6. Ending insurance industry interference with care. Caregivers and patients regain the autonomy to make decisions on what?s best for a patient?s health, not what?s dictated by the billing department or the bean counters. No denial of coverage due to pre-existing conditions or cancellation of policies for ?unreported? minor health problems. 7. Reducing administrative waste. One third of every health care dollar in California goes for paperwork, such as denying care, and profits, compared to about 3% under Medicare, a single-payer, universal system. 8. Cost savings. A single payer system would produce the savings needed to cover everyone, largely by using existing resources without the waste. Taiwan, shifting from a U.S. healthcare model, adopted a single-payer system in 1995, boosting health coverage from 57% to 97% with little if any increase in overall healthcare spending. 9. Common sense budgeting. The public system sets fair reimbursements applied equally to all providers while assuring all comprehensive and appropriate health care is delivered, and uses its clout to negotiate volume discounts for prescription drugs and medical equipment. 10. Public oversight. The public sets the policies and administers the system, not high priced CEOs meeting in secret and making decisions based on what inflates their compensation packages or stock wealth or company profits. http://www.pnhp.org/ http://www.calnurses.org
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