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Everything posted by lthomas521

  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
  16. If Canada and Britain have a less than perfect health care system, it's probably because they only spend about half as much per person as we do in the United States, and yet they manage to have a life expectancy a few years longer than that of Americans! If you are British or Canadian and you think that your health care system could stand some improvement, contact your MP and tell him or her not to be so stingy, don't just complain to me about it. If wealthy Canadians had to wait their turn with everyone else for nonemergency care, instead of sneaking over the border to get care at a fee-for-service hospital in the US, waiting times in Canada would magically get solved. I don't think that Michael Moore is infallible. For example, I haven't always agreed with the political candidates he has endorsed. But I have yet to see him make a single error of fact in his movies or television programs. No one has been able to collect a judgement against him for libel, as far as I know. You may not like his opinions, but he is careful about the facts he presents. And the only reason he has been able to tell the truth is that his works have always made money for the people who invested in them. It is bizarre that people in America criticize him for that! As for fear of speaking out about politics, I got my political education in a Latin American country during a political crisis. There is a serious problem with political murder in some Caribbean countries. Colombia currently leads the list, but its president isn't vilified in the US press, probably because the US is providing military aid to the people doing the killing. Although there have been some political murders in Venezuela, many of the deaths have been among Chavez supporters. Chavez was elected and re-elected by a large majority of the population, mainly because he has provided healthcare and education to the desperately poor nonwhite majority. It's called democracy. For many years, Cuba led the world in the number of doctors that they sent abroad to do charity work for the poor. So if Moore has some respect for Cuba and for Chavez, that's why. Moore was raised by nuns, and he thinks that people should actually try to behave the way Jesus told people to. But my question is, to my fellow Americans, what are you going to do about this? I'm doing what I can, but I can't do it by myself. You are the leaders we are waiting for.
  17. In Michael Moore's documentary SICKo, he explains that the health insurance companies in the United States have a serious conflict of interest. One one hand they have a fiduciary responsibility to maximize profits for their shareholders. On the other hand, they are expected to do this by providing health care to sick people. Unfortunately, this is one of those situations where you really can't serve two masters. They only way to maximize your profits is by refusing to provide the care that people need. Moore argues, convincingly in my opinion, that we have to replace the current for-profit system with a not-for-profit single-payer system like those found in all of the other industrialized countries. Currently, there's legislation before Congress, HR 676 (www.healthcare-now.org) that would expand our current Medicare system to cover everyone, with no deductibles and no copays. The coauthor of this legislation is running in the Democratic primaries, and is the only candidate supporting a single-payer system for universal healthcare. I got a copy of SICKo, which just came out on DVD, and I'm going to invite all of my neighbors in to see the movie, and talk with them about what's at stake in the upcoming elections. One of the most disturbing parts of SICKo was the list of disorders that would make you ineligible for buying health insurance. One of them was autonomic nervous system diseases. That means us. For me, it means that either I or my husband has to continue to work full-time at a job that offers benefits. If he gets laid off, and I get too sick to work, we could be royally screwed. Half of the 1.4 million personal bankruptcies in the US each year are due to medical expenses, and three quarters of those people had insurance when they first got sick or injured.
  18. Even if you weren't using it, it hurts to lose it. I had to stand in line to get mine renewed, and I was worried that I might get an attack of orthostatic stupidity, or worse, there at DMV. Would it help to explain that I only have trouble while standing, and that I always sit down to drive? Every month or so, I run a MEDLINE search to see if there's anything new on our conditions. I believe that among us we have several different conditions with overlapping symptoms and signs, but that any month now, there will be an article that will give us a diagnosis or a new treatment. Maybe not for me, but for others. If I had magical powers, I'd conjure up the cure for you today, and I'd wait my turn.
  19. Thiamine and licorice and salt, oh my! And caffeine.
  20. I don't know if there are any differences between brands. There probably aren't. If you think you have a transporter problem, I'd use an allithiamine, such as benfotiamine. My response to thiamine was dramatic. It's frustrating that the doctors I've talked to about it dismiss it as another "health-food" rant. But I'm not that sort of person. I'm actually a natural skeptic and a fan of evidence-based medicine. The only problem with evidence-based medicine is that it deals with groups, not individuals, and there aren't enough of me to make up a large enough group to study statistically.
  21. I'm not doing transdermal, but I take 500 g of thiamine every morning. If I don't take it, I get stupid within a day or two. The B1 has been the most important thing for me. I went from trying to figure out how to go on disability to being practically well within about 2 weeks of starting the B1 supplementation. I felt a dramatic improvement within the first 24 hours. My neighbor put it best: Laurie, you're on your feet, and you're pink! (as opposed to my customary bluish pallor, I suppose) I really wish I could find a doctor who has any interest in the B1 angle. They all think that I must just be some sort of healthfood faddist, which infuriates me. They're the ones who are exhibiting irrational and superstitious thinking....
  22. My thanks go to the National Library of Medicine, funded by me and my fellow U.S. taxpayers (thanks, folks), for compiling MEDLINE and making it free to anyone with Internet access. I would also like to thank the Falls and Syncope Service, Institute for Cellular Medicine, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK, for testing a new drug, ivabradine, specifically in people with POTS: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?D...Pubmed_RVDocSum I'm also grateful for my family and friends, who cut me lots of slack when I'm sick.
  23. My seat cane has been a deliverance. I use it at the peace vigil I go to on Friday evenings. Before I had the cane I had to sit on the sidewalk, even in the rain and snow. I would be hypothermic by the time the hour was up. It's really no fun sitting in the driving rain or the snow on a Friday evening, although you do meet the nicest people at peace vigils.
  24. One day when I wore the tan colored stockings under shorts, an acquaintance of mine did a double-take and then said, "Oh, you're wearing stockings! For a minute there I though you had a prosthetic leg." When I wear the black ones, people think that I'm making some sort of Goth fashion statement. I don't care how they look, although the black ones are slimming, which doesn't really matter much with my skinny legs. What matters to me is the Allegro ones don't aggravate my incurvated toenails, which used to hurt like the blazes with the Jobst hose until I cut the toes of the stockings open.
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