October is Eczema Awareness Month

While all itching skin problems are not eczema, more than 30 million Americans have it. Roughly 10-20% of us develop some form in infancy or childhood. Appearances and location depend on the age of onset. Infants can show skin changes anywhere on the body, however, onset childhood starts at skin folds – elbows, knees, and neck.

Anytime our skin shows signs of being irritated, no matter where or why the medical term is ‘dermatitis’. So why does skin becomes inflamed? Commonly it is a result of allergens and irritants. There are many factors but keeping your skin from becoming dry in the first place helps.

Besides seeking medical care, you need to get to the cause for you. For some, it is a certain food, stress, sweating, extreme temperatures, and even hormonal fluctuations. There are many other possibilities. Read more at https://nationaleczema.org

There are different types of eczema named by what causes it or how it appears. I will only mention the top 2 in this blog.

Atopic dermatitis – most prevalent, redness itching on face, arms, and legs. Eczema usually comes for the first time in childhood than later as adults set off by allergies.

Contact dermatitis -think poison ivy exposure; direct contact with something in your world that you u sensitive to.

Skip Liquid Biopsies For Cancer Detection – Check DNA!

A while back I blogged about a ‘liquid biopsy‘ – a blood test that looked for gene mutations to detect if the ‘on’ or off’  ‘methyl’ groups were attached to DNA to make cells go crazy and generate ‘cancer’ cells. Clever I said, but now there is another approach -a ‘next-gen’ approach -that looks for DNA from dead cancer cells circulating in our blood.

Researchers (Dana-Farber Cancer Institute) looked at ‘free’ DNA in the blood of patients with over 20 types of cancer and some without a cancer diagnosis. Results were astounding – only 0.6% of the results incorrectly indicated cancer was present. Their test correctly ID’ed the organ or tissue of cancer origin in 89% of cases.

How cool and non-invasive is this? Still in development, but pray it soon hits the mainstream with the medical industry recognizing early detection saves not only money but more importantly lives.

 

 

Black Licorice Can Kill

Haloween is the time to stock up on tricks and treats. Most of us go for the latter, enjoying the memories (good and bad) as we stroll down the candy aisle. A caution though avoid black licorice.
The FDA reports “If you’re 40 or older, eating 2 ounces of black licorice a day for at least 2 weeks could land you in the hospital with irregular heart rhythm or arrhythmia.” The culprit is glycyrrhizin, which is the sweetening compound derived from licorice root. It results in potassium levels dropping to potentially dangerous levels causing the heart to skip around into abnormal rhythms (arrhythmias). Low potassium will also affect blood pressure. These adverse effects were noted in those over 40 and reversed by stopping the candy.

Historically in eastern medicine the root has been used as a natural remedy. It has been used as a treatment for heartburn, stomach ulcers, bronchitis, sore throat, cough and some infections caused by viruses, such as hepatitis; but no evidence for its merit is found by the National Institue Medicine (NIH).

Nasal Testosterone

News: Phase III study completed on nasal testosterone. Indications – so far on the label is for males with hypogonadism (small male genitalia) doses (4-8 hours) allows for the maintenance of testicular testosterone production and sperm production. Nasal does not suppress a man’s natural testosterone level but simply adds. I mention this only because of the prevailing winds of ‘machismo’.

Why shouldn’t men take hormones? TV ads health and nutrition stores and online testaments benefits of boosted testosterone. As with any hormone, a blood level is the best beginning point. Many health issues such as  Diabetes HIV, liver/ kidney disease, infection and more can affect one’s level. Dependents on age, both men and women have ‘normal’ levels of testosterone circulating.

Is it needed since viagra is available? This and more queries can be answered by reading such sites as Web MD low testosterone. Do you go to a physician for evaluation of possible symptoms and troubles that result from low testosterone, or do you go to Google and Amazon?

Even Consumer reports evaluate this hormone category.  Online searches for ‘buying testosterone results in TNTC ‘hits’. Nugenix Natural Testosterone Booster is Frank Thomas’s recommendation.

Replacement is so very different than over- ‘enhancing’ what our body makes and needs. Side effects are present read on this at Drugs.com.

Please be responsible find out if your body needs testosterone. Don’t subscribe to ‘more is better’ for the body.

 

Surviving Surgery

Some may have noticed a hiatus in my blogging. I owe you an explanation! August 9th I went ‘under the knife’ for the second time in my life. I have enjoyed good health, over my many years but my back has been talking and recently screaming so much that if I did not have surgical intervention I would shortly be in a wheelchair. After years of trying everything but the knife, I had to accept there was nothing else. I had to be put to sleep for 5 1/2 hours to have rods, pins, and screws support my skeleton, as you see in the image

I was apprehensive is, to put it mildly. I had only been in the hospital once before to have my appendix removed. There were several realizations from this experience and of those a few worthy blogging. I found healthcare continues to stereotype individuals by sex and age. I was trained to always treat the patient not the disease. However, as a patient, I was repeatedly told, ‘at your age expect not to go straight home but to a rehab facility’. I hadn’t had the surgery, yet it was drummed into me to expect rehab. Fortunately, I take whatever doctors say as potentially inaccurate given their breadth and scope of generalizations. I guess that comes from their ‘CYA’ mentality. We all know what that stands for.

Before the procedure, I was more than mildly apprehensive. I was preoccupied with the likelihood of experiencing ‘anesthesia awareness’. I was totally honest with my anesthesia friend who said that was then not now-apparently the drugs now are totally different, you can imagine my sigh of relief. The procedure was ‘guessed’ to last over five hours.  Would my body or part of it react negatively to being ‘under so long’?  Would I be able to talk without hoarseness by Thanksgiving? Honestly, I never thought about how much better I would be at walking and functioning, how I would be able to sit on any chair, no longer have to wear special shoes, be able to go up and down stairs.  So yes,  I went under with all of these apprehensions, but with the support of medical and non-medical friends, I’m finding my life much better post-procedure.

Another realization that I never thought about, although many have experienced this, was the ‘sticker shock’. Fortunately, after 5 1/2 days, I was home,  did not require rehab, had only one narcotic pill, no intravenous treatment, no antibiotics, no x-rays after surgery, no breathing treatments, and of course I never got a bath nor sponged. You might guess – my bill was pennies shy of a quarter of a million dollars.

 

Now on the other side and supported with titanium rods – I am back!

 

 

Eat Less – Live Longer

If you eat less it is intuitive that your health will be better and you may live longer. Now a recent report has documented that adults under 50 with no heart disease nor diabetes, who restricted their calories by only 12% over 2 years had impressive health outcomes.

Individuals, aka calorie restrictors, saw significant improvements in multiple cardiovascular risk factors from where they were at the beginning of 2 yr. study:

Blood pressure increases as we age, that is why you see above an increase in the control groups BP numbers

  • • Systolic BP: +2.15 mm Hg (control) vs -2.20 mm Hg (calorie restriction)
  •  Diastolic BP: +1.55 mm Hg vs -3.40 mm Hg

 

Those partaking in the study also noted a 10% in body weight, mostly body fat.

The lipid profile also was found to be affected:

 

  • LDL-cholesterol: +0.03 mmol/L vs -0.23 mmol/L
  •  Total cholesterol to HDL-cholesterol ratio: -0.047 vs -0.532
  • Triglycerides: -0.03 mmol/L vs -0.27 mmol/L

Surveillance Needed

While pharmaceuticals are considered unsafe until proven safe, OTC ‘supplements’ are considered safe for use until proven not so. Do you know anyone who does not take supplements? Today, supplements sales amount to a multi-billion-dollar industry. Essentially, this industry has managed to go unregulated.

There is no entity overseeing, setting standards of purity or handling, as the FDA does for pharmaceuticals. So no one knows what standards for safety and efficacy, supplements meet. Under the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA), supplements such as dietary supplements were placed in the same category as food, which allowed supplement manufacturers to play by a very different set of rules. Please use sites such as consumerLab.com to review available and tested for accuracy supplements. There is a minimal annual fee, but I think it has been well worth it for my personal use.

FYI: Utah is known as the silicon valley of the supplement industry.

Polyps, Cancer & Yogurt

Yogurt is recommended by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans as part of fat-free and low-fat dairy intake,

A new study has found that men who consumed at least two weekly servings of yogurt had lower rates of polyps compared with those who consumed no yogurt. Some intestinal tract polyps can become cancer over time.

Men’s risk reduction for conventional polyps was 19%, and 26% for polyps with higher malignant potential. However, in women, NO association was found – puzzling

This study considered and ruled out associated independent of calcium and non-yogurt dairy intake; The cancer reduction was stronger for colon polyps than rectal polyps, at 18% versus 5%.

Interestingly, no significant changes in gut microbial community composition (normal flora of our digestive tract) and diversity was found during yogurt consumption.

 

My Bottom Line

Yogurt, especially fat-free or low fat, is a healthy food and good for you.

A Child to ER Every 2 Hours

You might be guessing what type of situation sends a child to an ER every 2 hours. Falls, abuse, fever, cold? Regretfully while avoidable, it is from exposure to beauty products in the home. Cosmetics shampoo and other personal care products can be toxic to children. Nearly 65,000 children younger than age 5 received ED care for cosmetic-related injuries from 2002 to 2016 -hence the stat 2/hr. in the USA.

Almost everything in your bathroom that can clean and improve your looks contains possible toxins. At top list is nail polish remover. Not only nail products but also hair and skin products can pause risk.

You might ask it smells so bad and probably tastes worst how can child swallow it.

3 of 5 cases are infants and toddlers under 2 years old -no surprise everything goes into their mouths. While most medications are in childproof containers, beauty products are not.