"Treat the disease, you win some, you lose some. Treat the patient, you always win."
~Patch Adams~

Sunday, January 19, 2014

This and that..............

Greetings from sunny and (relatively) mild NC!  That cold snap a couple weeks ago was annoying, but I know it wasn't nearly as bad here as in other parts of the country. I hope everyone is ok.  You are all taking your Vitamin D3 right now, aren't you?  Besides  helping with seasonal affective disorder, it also helps build your immunity.  Here in my area, there is some influenza going around, but I've heard more about bronchitis and upper respiratory infections being prevalent.  Don't forget simple things like frequent handwashing (and then the frequent application of hand cream so your hands don't get too dry......doubly important for me because I am a knitter) and be very careful to not touch your face/eyes/nose when you are out in public.  Touching your face after you have touched a contaminated surface is a very easy way to catch something.

I saw the surgeon on Friday about my arm (fractured in a fall at the gym in August), and new x-rays show that it is continuing to heal.....thank you testosterone and Vitamin D!  The plate in the arm is going to have to come out, but not for at least another 6-12 weeks.  The doctor said he would like the site of the fracture to be "rock solid" healed, then he can just take the plate out, and I won't have to have another (smaller) plate put in, nor will I have to wear a cast on the arm for a period of time. I'm all for that!

The only downside is I have some restrictions on my exercise program right now so as not to stress the right arm.  No upper body exercises with weight machines at the gym, and using the light free weights at home only on the left side.  I need to keep the arm splinted when I am out and about. I can still do lower body machines, recumbent bike, and water aerobics.  I'm going to do a little fitness walking too, not enough to exacerbate the Achilles tendinitis in my right ankle, but enough to help with core strength. I walk with Nordic walking poles to give me a bit of an upper body workout, and also to help with my balance.  I really need to focus on core strength right now, I know it isn't up to par, and when it isn't it makes my back and hip problems worse.

  • Speaking of exercise, interesting article in USAToday about retirees and exercise.  The article makes some good points (whether you are a retiree or just wanting to get into an exercise habit no matter what your age):
  • If you haven't exercised in a long time, check with your doctor about any limitations.  Just common sense.
  • A few sessions with a personal trainer is a good investment. I have worked with a trainer at various times in my life, and as soon as I get this next surgery out of the way and I can get back to upper body workouts, I plan to work with a trainer again to maximize my potential.
  • Check and see what programs are available for "mature" adults at your local gym, either the YMCA or a privately owned workout facility.  Some health insurance providers pay for at least part of a gym membership if ordered by a doctor, and some Medicare plans offer free gym memberships. It's worth looking into.    

Switching gears, this article on RedOrbit.com makes me want to grind my teeth.  A study done in Vancouver, BC supposedly shows that progesterone does not raise the risk of heart disease in recently postmenopausal women.  That's already been well established in other studies.  This article raises the issue of the WHI (Women's Health Initiative) study that was halted in 2002 because the results showed that the use of "hormone replacement therapy" increased the risk of certain health problems.  What the article doesn't tell you is that the HRT used in the WHI study was NOT bioidentical hormone therapy....in fact, far from it.  The drugs used in the study (and they are drugs, not hormones) were Premarin (which is a synthetic form of estrogen made from horse urine------it's only a hormone if you are a horse) and progestin, again, not a hormone but a drug.  The WHI study has been "dead" for nearly 12 years now, it's time for the media and critics of bioidentical hormones to stop using it as an excuse to deride all hormone replacement therapy.

Possibly because it's the start of the new year, I'm seeing articles and video links pop up on my blog advertising compounding pharmacies that offer "hormone consultations" to patients who think they are having health problems related to hormone deficiencies.  The pharmacies offer saliva testing (because by law they cannot order blood tests---only a physician can do that) and then they sit down with the patient, go over the results (usually for a fee), and then refer the patient to a doctor who is willing to prescribe the hormone protocol for the patient.  Be very, very wary of these types of arrangements.  Number one, most physicians proficient in bioidentical hormone replacement therapy will tell you that blood testing is far more accurate than saliva testing.  Secondly, the role of a compounding pharmacist is to fill the prescriptions as directed by your doctor, not to tell a doctor what to prescribe! A doctor (or nurse practitioner) is the only one qualified to review your labs, take a thorough medical history of past and present issues, do an exam and determine your hormonal needs.  I know of instances where pharmacies are contracting with doctors ----- the pharmacy goes over the saliva lab tests, sends the list of recommended hormones to a contracted doctor, who sees the patient once for a very few minutes and just prescribes whatever the compounding pharmacist recommends.  The doctors involved are not hormone experts, if they were, they would be ordering/reviewing lab work, meeting with the patient, and based on the meeting and patient history, prescribing an individualized protocol of bioidentical hormones.  In my next post, I will review and detail ways to find bioidentical hormone care in your geographic area.

I think I hear a heating pad calling me-----my back is giving me fits today.  Time to lay down for a bit, read and perhaps knit......and check my newsfeed (love my iPad for this) to find any other interesting hormone articles to share with you. Until then, have a great week!