A few quick reads for you from my news feed this week:
Suzy Cohen is a pharmacist who writes a syndicated column. Last week, a reader asked about erectile dysfunction, and I thought her answer was worth sharing with you. I particularly like the first line of the second paragraph of the answer, comparing giving a man Cialis/Viagra for erectile dysfunction instead of finding out if he is hormonally deficient to jump starting a battery every time a car won't start to replacing the battery outright. Brilliant, and the analogy can be applied to so many other health problems. As I wrote in an earlier post, Brisdelle, which is a reformulation of the antidepressant Paxil, is being marketed to women for hot flashes. Ladies, we have hormonal deficiencies that need to be addressed, not Paxil deficiencies!
On nearly the same topic (giving drugs when hormonal balance is more likely the answer)---I'm sure most of you have seen the news reports about new guidelines for giving statins (cholesterol lowering) drugs to more patients. Often, high cholesterol levels are due to thyroid imbalance, and yet I am constantly astonished at the number of patients who tell me they have NEVER had their thyroid levels checked, or who only have ever had a TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) blood test. A normal TSH is not necessarily indicative of normal thyroid, a complete panel of blood work should always include T4 and T3 levels. Even among the women that I know who are taking thyroid medication, they are only taking medication for the T4 thyroid. Very few doctors (unless they are hormone specialists and/or practicing age management medicine) even check the T3 levels. Dr. Carr does a thyroid panel on me several times a year to make sure I am taking the right dose of my T4 med (I was using Levoxyl until it was no longer available, I then swiched to Synthroid and had to up the dose as it is not as effective for me) and T3 (I have that compounded, and I take it twice a day......will be taking second dose as soon as I finish this post!)
I had a wonderful day yesterday going to my first college basketball game! So much fun, I understand enough about the game to follow it, and it was simply a wonderful day with a great friend and a new experience for me. I was driving home from Charlotte about 5 pm when I realized how early it gets dark. No matter what, we are not getting enough sunlight exposure this time of year (even on the days when the sun is fully out!) and so getting adequate Vitamin D is vital. From early October to at least mid March, I increase my dose of Vitamin D from 5000 IUs daily to 10,000 IUs daily, and it generally keeps me in the optimal range of 70-100 ng/ml (blood work test). Are you taking enough Vitamin D? The paltry amount in a multi-vitamin won't cut it (usually less than 400 IUs), and it is nearly impossible to get it from food. As always, check with your doctor, and if you haven't had your level tested, insist on it at your next visit.
Hope everyone is having a good weekend......today is kind of an "in" day for me (although I ran to the grocery store earlier this morning). I'm catching up on laundry, resting my back, and this afternoon I am going to either dig into a new book or pick up my knitting for a while. Breathe deep, enjoy your day and have a good week!