Posts tagged with "Illness"

Pyometra in Pets

Providing a home for a furry friend can bring an abundance of love into the lives of owners. Many pet owners want to provide the best care possible for their dog or cat, but in order to do this, a key factor is remaining educated. Many know that spaying and neutering are common procedures for household animals, but what exactly are these procedures and what are their benefits? What are the risks, such as pyometra, of negating this responsibility?

With the surge of difficulties the pandemic has brought to being a pet owner, staying vigilant and prepared for the animals owners love is essential. With adoption rates of all kinds of cats and dogs exploding during the pandemic, first-time Gen Z and millennial pet owners might find the world of pet care complicated. Low-income families, whether they are new or already pet owners, have already faced additional hardships during the pandemic, with exorbitant fees for pet emergencies being an additional possible challenge.

In cities and neighborhoods where unfixed and stray animals are common occurrences, the risks of pyometra and other health concerns for humans and animals alike are increasing. In Houston alone, there are a million stray dogs. Other cities like Detroit and the Bronx neighborhood of NYC are challenged, while the geographic regions of the South and the West of the United States are where more strays end up in shelters. With millions of animals without a home, unfixed, and challenged with health issues, it is a serious concern for the U.S., especially those who choose to own pets.

Yet there are solutions, in preparedness through pet insurance and applications to nonprofits, as well as cases in which emergency assistance is possible. Veterinarian Dr. Lauren P. Davidson provides 360 Magazine with insights on these ideas as more, with a focus on keeping owners informed and your pet healthy and happy.

Can you break down what exactly is a spay or neuter?

Spay is the term used to refer to the common veterinary surgery that removes the uterus (the womb) and ovaries of a female animal. Medically, this surgery is known as an ovariohysterectomy. This surgery makes the animal incapable of having offspring.

Neuter is the term used to refer to the common veterinary surgery that removes both testicles of a male animal. This surgery results in the inability of the male to impregnate a female.

What are the ramifications of not having your animal fixed sooner rather than later?

First and foremost, by having your dog or cat spayed or neutered, you prevent them from having unwanted puppies/kittens. Additionally, in the female, you prevent uterine infections (also called pyometra) from developing as well ovarian cancer. Furthermore, by removing the ovaries, the main source of hormones that influence the development of mammary (or breast) cancer is removed and there is a great reduction in the risk of developing this type of cancer. As female animals get older, the surgery can also become more complicated due to the size of the animal or if they have already had multiple litters of puppies/kittens.

In males, the chance of testicular cancer is completely removed once the testicles are surgically removed and there is a reduction in the development of prostate disease as well.  Additionally, neutered male animals typically become less aggressive which results in a lower risk of fighting or aggression toward their owners or other animals.

What are the signs of a female dog having pyometra?

Pyometra, or infection of the uterus, only occurs in female animals. The signs of pyometra in non-spayed female animals can often be non-specific, but early warning signs include the animal feeling unwell, such as vomiting, refusal to eat, lethargy, increased thirst, and frequent urination. She may also appear to be uncomfortable because pyometra is a particularly painful condition for dogs while being somewhat less so for cats. Fever can also be observed.  Symptoms of a pyometra usually begin four to eight weeks after the animal is in heat, and include:

  1. Drinking more than usual.
  2. Vomiting
  3. Pus leaking from vulva/vagina.
  4. Bloated abdomen (tummy)
  5. Panting and weakness.
  6. Off food.
  7. Urinating more than usual.
  8. Collapse

How soon should they be admitted into a veterinarian’s care or ER? if not treated, what will happen to a female cat/dog?

If any of these signs are observed and your animal is not spayed, you should seek veterinary care as soon as possible. If vomiting, fever, or lethargy are noted, the condition is usually more urgent and emergency care (ER) should be sought out if you are unable to immediately visit your regular veterinary clinic. If you have any doubts or are concerned, take your animal to the ER. Since many of the signs of pyometra can also be caused by other medical conditions, it is important to get your pet assessed by a veterinarian as soon as possible.

If left untreated, pyometra can cause your animal can go into shock, kidney failure, or develop severe dehydration. Pyometra is a medical emergency that can be fatal if left untreated.

Are there any resources besides the ASPCA that a pet owner can reach out to online? 

There are several resources online, but as with all things, make sure you consult reputable sources such as your veterinary clinic’s website.  However, do not try to diagnose your animal by what you read online.  You are not a veterinarian and diagnosis and treatment of your animal should be left to a veterinary professional.

Since the pandemic, it has been increasingly difficult to procure an appointment with any veterinarian or pet care facility. In this type of event, what should a pet owner do?

Many veterinary clinics hold a certain number of appointments for emergency or urgent care cases.  Call your veterinarian and inform them of what the problem is and they should be able to provide guidance. Alternatively, you can take your pet to your nearest emergency veterinary clinic (ER).  Keep in mind that many clinics, regular and ER veterinary clinics alike, are not allowing owners to come inside due to the COVID pandemic. Please follow the guidance of the clinic and cooperate with these modified practices to keep everyone safe.

Why is pyometra surgery so expensive?

Pricing of all surgeries includes the procedure itself, anesthesia, required medications for pain, and other medications and materials that are necessary to support your animal through a successful surgery. Post-operative care and the time and expertise of the veterinarians and veterinary technicians are all considerations in pricing as well.

How long is the recovery time

Typically, sutures or surgical staples may be removed by the veterinary clinic in about two weeks.  During this time, it is very important to keep your animal as calm as possible and limit activity to reduce the risk of disturbing the incision site. Your pet may also have to wear a cone to prevent them from licking the incision site which would delay healing.

Is pyometra surgery easily performed? Are there any known complications? If so, why? What factors can be attributed to surgery complications? Age, overall health, or pre-existing conditions?

No, this surgery is not easily performed. Oftentimes, animals that have pyometra have complicating factors, such as fever, dehydration, and metabolic changes that require fluid support and medication. As with all other surgeries, pre-existing conditions must be identified to ensure the animal can be given anesthesia safely, and even still there is always a mild risk of complication.

In this surgical procedure, the veterinarian is removing the uterus which can be filled with a large amount of pus. Therefore, if not done carefully, a general infection can occur. Animals, especially dogs that have had several litters of puppies or those that have been allowed to have several heat cycles, can have very thickened uterine walls which tend to bleed more and make the surgery more complicated. Likewise, animals, where the infection has lasted for days on end, can have a very fragile uterus which makes it even more challenging for the veterinarian to perform the surgery. Due to the serious nature of this condition, we strongly recommend avoiding this scenario completely by spaying your animal.

Is there any way we can or should better educate pet owners about pyometra?

Generally, the ramifications of not spaying your pet, pyometra being one of them, are reviewed by your veterinarian when you first adopt them. Online information sources are also helpful in educating yourself on this condition and others related to not spaying your pet. Don’t be afraid to ask your veterinarians questions!

Once a female cat or dog has successful surgery, can pyometra reoccur?

This is a great question. In uncomplicated, successful surgeries, pyometra should not occur after spaying.  However, there is a small percentage of animals that may develop what’s called a “stump pyometra”. This usually occurs secondary to the presence of a small amount of ovarian tissue left behind during the original spay procedure. Under the influence of ovarian hormones, the small amount of uterine tissue that may remain at the base of the uterus can subsequently become infected. These cases are rare and can be quite challenging to diagnose.

How important is pet insurance? Are there any programs for low-income pet owners to assist with covering such a surgery?

Pet insurance is a great way to put your mind at ease when emergencies arise. There are many plans available which cover major emergencies, routine visits, and vaccinations as well. Check with your home or auto insurance company first to see what plans are available for pet insurance.  Alternatively, there are pet-specific insurance companies and credit-based plans that clinics often have available if you do not already have an established plan.

There are several low-cost veterinary clinics and not-for-profit organizations across the country that assist with veterinary care costs. An online search of national humane organizations and even breed-specific organizations can lead you to multiple resources. Keep in mind, however, that before applying for aid, you should read the organization’s eligibility guidelines, which are usually available on their website. Also, carefully read the application and provide any necessary documentation that would show you meet the eligibility requirements for assistance. The best-case scenario is to explore these options before an emergency occurs.

Is there anything you wish to add that we haven’t already gone over?

Owning a pet can bring a wealth of joy and happiness to your life! It is a long-term commitment and one that can be quite expensive over time. Pyometra is one medical condition that can be prevented by spaying your pet early on. Take the time to learn as much as you can about pet ownership before you decide to make that commitment and be sure to consult with your local veterinarian to provide the best care for your pet.

About Dr. Lauren Davidson

Dr. Lauren Davidson is a practicing veterinarian and public health professional in the Washington, D.C. area. She has a passion for educating the public on animal care and how it impacts human well-being. A graduate of the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine, Dr. Davidson works in biomedical animal health compliance and has worked with underserved communities across the country to provide veterinary care and education. She enjoys spending time with her two rescues, her dog Betty and cat, Louie.

Women's Month illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Regaining Vaginal Balance with Flower Power

As women, we are always trying to find balance in our lives. We look to balance our time, money, and responsibilities as well as balance our mental, emotional, and physical health. Although, what about finding balance down there? Vaginal health is an important part of a woman’s overall health. When vaginal problems arise, they can affect self-confidence, fertility, sex drive, and put stress on a relationship. There are many factors that can impact vaginal health such as sex, infections or illness, hygiene, hormone levels, or vaginitis (vaginal inflammation). Typical symptoms that warrant a doctor visit include vaginal redness or itching; a change in odor, color, or amount of discharge; vaginal bleeding between periods, after sex, or after menopause; a mass or bulge in your vagina; or pain during intercourse.

To help maintain a healthy vagina, there are some helpful tips: do not scratch if it itches, wear cotton underwear, avoid thongs, use unscented tampons, do not leave tampons in for more than eight hours, practice safe sex, wipe from front to back after using the toilet, avoid products with a lot of fragrance like detergents and soaps, and avoid talc and powders. If you are concerned about symptoms of vaginal irritation or odor, there are over-the-counter products you can take including creams, gels, and vaginal suppositories.

About 30 percent of women struggle with vaginal odor, but that does not necessarily mean it is due to being unclean or unhygienic; it is just an imbalance. The vagina is an extraordinary self-cleaning organ but must be acidic to maintain its cleanliness and fight infection. When a woman’s pH levels are imbalanced, this can lead to vaginal issues like odor. What is pH, and why is it so important? The pH is the number that measures how alkaline (the opposite of acidic) something is. When the pH number is seven and under a substance is more acidic, and when the pH number is seven or more it is more alkaline. A healthy vagina has a pH of about four and a half or lower. A particular balance of healthy microbes in the vagina helps keep it acidic to protect against infection. Some of these healthy microbes, bacteria called Lactobacilli, keep the vagina acidic by producing lactic acid and hydrogen peroxide. If the vagina becomes less acidic, then most likely there are not enough healthy microbes to protect it from infection. As estrogen and progesterone levels change, so do the levels of healthy bacteria and the pH of the vagina. Douching can also affect vaginal pH levels, but there are some over-the-counter products that can help bring your vaginal pH back to healthy levels.

Flower Power is a vegan vaginal suppository specially designed to help naturally restore a vagina’s self-cleansing powers. It contains boric acid, an oceanic mineral that has been used for hundreds of years for its acidic, antiviral, and antifungal properties. Boric acid has been recommended by gynecologists for over 100 years, and until now, it was only available with a prescription at a compounding pharmacy. At Flower Power, they believe a natural product like their suppositories should be available to all women from the comfort of home. Flower Power’s capsules are free of fillers, dyes, and flow agents and are cruelty-free and made in the USA. Flower Power co-founder Naomi Moore says, “Unfortunately, many things such as douching, sex, fabrics, exercise, sugar, even detergent can throw off the pH. And, once the vagina’s pH is off, the bad stuff thrives, and it’s difficult for it to rebalance things again.” She adds, “Flower Power helps rapidly bring the vagina’s pH back to its natural levels, so it can continue to be the remarkable germ-fighting machine that it’s designed to be!”

Flower Power vaginal suppositories are easy to use, incredibly fast-acting, and many women see a decrease in odor after one use. They can easily be used overnight by simply inserting the suppository capsule into the vagina before bedtime, and as it dissolves, it starts to work its magic in four to twelve hours. OB-GYN Dr. R. Mabborang says, “Boric acid suppositories, like Flower Power, help restore the vaginal mucosa to more acidic levels. This allows the vagina to help fight microorganisms that can cause itch and odor. Flower Power does it better—their products are made in the USA and utilize vegan capsules – something that is likely far safer for the vaginal flora.” Pharmacist Dr. Amy Asghar says, “We’ve compounded boric acid for patients for years. It’s proven to be safe and incredibly effective with vaginal burning, odor, and itch. Flower Power uses the highest quality ingredients in a vegan capsule, bringing pharmacy quality products to the comfort of home.”

Not only does Flower Power help numerous women balance their vaginal health, but they also take their business to the next step. With every Flower Power purchase, a portion of the profits will be donated to a women’s charity of your choice. Also, if you are not happy with your results, Flower Power offers an easy refund policy. Flower Power’s mission is to help women regain confidence with safe, natural solutions. They are incredibly confident in the remarkable products they make and believe that all women should be open and honest about their vaginas. Flower Power’s vaginal suppositories are incredibly potent and quickly eliminate embarrassing vaginal odor (and excess discharge) leaving you feeling clean and confident. The precise dose of pure boric acid works as a potent antifungal and targets the nasty Candida albicans and the more resistant Candida glabrata yeast strains. Their boric acid is also the finest, most comfortable powder around with absolutely no irritating granular fillers.

Women are raving about this amazing product. Flower Power is giving women the opportunity to take control of their vaginal health from home naturally and effectively. With so many women struggling with vaginal odor and other similar issues, it is reassuring to have a product that truly works and puts women first.

Mina Tocalini, 360 Magazine, Fitness

Understanding Physical Limitations

Five Things Non-Disabled People Should Understand About Those With Physical Limitations

By: Julie Morin, Co-Founder, Envol

Chronic illness has continued to grow in the past decades with six in ten Americans living with at least one chronic disease today, according to the CDC.

Having at least one chronic symptom is considered normal in the modern world of today – and let me tell you, that’s a scary realization. Such symptoms can look and feel different for everyone, ranging from mild occasional discomfort to being physically limited in our ability to participate to everyday activities.

Yet non-disabled people dominate the population and culture in the US, which means our understanding of normal is wholly based around the perimeters for non-disabled ideas and activities.

This is something I know all too well. Two weeks after taking ciprofloxacin – a commonly prescribed antibiotic – for a UTI, I was practicing yoga and, out of nowhere, my leg muscles went into painful paralysis. I couldn’t walk or even move my legs anymore. I had to call for help – it was terrifying – and I was rushed to the hospital in the neurology department. All the tests came back negative, and no one knew what was wrong with me. After two weeks, they said it was probably all just in my head and sent me home.

I spent the next four years in a wheelchair, and after multiple misdiagnoses and unsuccessful medical treatments, I turned to holistic healing. I began working with a French naturopathic physician who informed me that my symptoms aligned with fluoroquinolone toxicity, which is currently not recognized as a diagnosis yet. Still, many cases of fluoroquinolone-associated disability are being reported, and doctors continue to prescribe them today despite the FDA advising against it.

Under the guidance of my naturopathic physician, I created a wellness routine that incorporated a healthy, plant-based diet, meditation, therapeutic movement, rest, and gratitude, and I am now 75% healed and can walk short distances again.

Going from a healthy, vibrant young lady to a handicapped 25 years old just by taking a few pills has not been easy. But what was even harder was how people treated me during this time.

And what I learned during this time is knowledge I feel is essential to share with others:

  • Illness isn’t always visible.

It’s always wise to be careful with assumptions and presuming someone is healthy just because they don’t look sick. There is a lot that can be invisible to the eye and coming from a place of empathy when we simply don’t know enough about a situation or a person, is always a good idea.

  • Dare to talk about it.

Avoiding complex topics because they might be awkward or uncomfortable can make a person living with a chronic illness feel even more lonely and unheard. Talk about what they’re going through, the struggles, the hardship, but also the joy and the little things that they feel grateful for.

  • Not having a diagnosis doesn’t mean nothing is wrong.

So many people go mis- or undiagnosed by the medical profession and many assume that it must mean that there is nothing wrong with them and that they should simply resume their life. Yet the daily struggles and limitations are still there, and they can be very real. Continuing to offer your support and trust even when a clear diagnosis isn’t identified is one of the best way you can support someone you love who is going through a difficult time with their health. This type of support can greatly contribute to our recovery.

  • Avoid suggesting that someone is lucky that they can’t work.

Being unable to work isn’t a privilege – it’s a consequence of chronic illness or physical limitations. Rather, helping that person find their mission and a passion in which they can contribute to the world can often shift their perspective and help them boost their self-esteem.

  • People with physical limitations of disabilities are reminded every day of how life is different for them.

Be the person who finds and enhances similarities and makes them feel like they belong to the same group as healthy and non-disabled people. Invite them to parties, include them in group conversations, activities, etc. In the end, our cells listen to every one of our thoughts and so why not see life as everybody else should: full of possibilities, feeling confident, strong, and powerful beings.

And let’s not forget the power of love and positivity and the positive effects they can have on our health & well-being.

Being in a state of love and gratitude is in fact so important that it is a nourishment in the healing app Envol that my partner and I have created after my recovery.

Envol app is a holistic healing tool with a unique health-score tracking concept + algorithm, backed by science and doctors, that combines all the necessary tools to improve health no matter where people start–whether they’re recovering from a chronic illness or need some extra guidance when dealing with stress or anxiety.

I hope that people never stop believing in the incredible powers of their body. We are more powerful than we think. There is pure magic in us, and if we create the right conditions in our life to let that magic express itself, miracles can happen. Our cells respond to each of our thoughts and beliefs – and it starts with changing ‘I can’t’ into ‘I can.’

About The Author

As someone who’s spent years battling chronic illness, Julie Morin, co-founder of Envol, knows how difficult and pricey it can be to get our health back. She started to wonder about what would happen to our bodies should we give them the opportunity to heal from within. Julie explored that question and when she started walking again after 4 years in a wheelchair, Envol was born: an easy-to-use mobile app to guide and empower people to take control of their health and start feeling better.

Rita Azar, 360 MAGAZINE, travel, illustration

Medjet COVID-19 Air Medical Transport Benefits

Medjet, the industry leading air medical transport and travel security membership program, announced today that it has expanded its transport benefits for COVID-19. Effective today, Medjet members who fall ill from COVID-19, and become hospitalized while traveling globally, may now be transported to a home hospital of their choice. In October of 2020, Medjet was the first program of its kind to add COVID-19 transport benefits, but previously had limited transport services to travel within the US, Canada, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean.

“As more and more countries in Europe, Asia, Africa and South America have opened their borders to travelers, we have increased our COVID-19 transport capabilities. Our members’ safety is always our top priority, and we continually evolve our services based on member needs,” said Mike Hallman, CEO of Medjet.

The expansion of global benefits will not increase Medjet membership prices, and benefits are applicable to both existing and new MedjetAssist and MedjetHorizon memberships as of July 12, 2021.

“While COVID is still a top concern for travelers, our own internal polling (in May) also showed that members were still very concerned with all the other accidents and illnesses that kept us busy pre-COVID. I think there’s now a heightened awareness of vulnerability, overall, while away from home. We hope that being able to get members back from more destinations, even for COVID, gives them the confidence to enjoy traveling again,” said Hallman.

Despite the increased cost of providing transport for a COVID-19 positive member, Medjet will continue to absorb 100% of all costs associated with the transport, and maintain its “no cost caps on transports” policy. A regular air ambulance transport can cost up to $30,000 domestically, and up to $180,000 internationally. Medjet memberships start at $99.

Updates and restrictions surrounding COVID-19 transport benefits can be found here. Full Medjet rules and regulations can be found here.

ABOUT MEDJET

Medjet was the first company in the U.S. to implement the air-medical transport membership concept. Since 1991, Medjet has forged a global network of air medical transport and security response providers to meet traveler health and safety needs. At any given time, Medjet has access to hundreds of air ambulances, commercial medical escorts, and highly trained security and crisis response personnel, ready to launch from both domestic and international locations. The company most notably differentiates from other players in the market through its commitment to arrange air medical transfer, regardless of medical necessity, to the member’s hospital of choice in their home country. It is the preferred program for virtually every major luxury travel consortia (Virtuoso, Signature, Westa), and thousands of organizations including AARP, Morgan Stanley, and the NFL.

Medjet memberships are available to residents of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and protect members while traveling 150 miles or more from their primary residence (domestic and international travel benefits).

Doctor, Coronavirus, Health, Vaughn Lowery, 360 Magazine,

Brave New Medicine: A Doctor’s Unconventional Path to Healing Her Autoimmune Illness

By Cynthia Li, MD

DOCTOR-AS-PATIENT MEMOIR REIMAGINES THE ART AND SCIENCE OF HEALING

“In Cynthia Li’s spellbinding book, we encounter the moving story of a physician struggling with her own autoimmune illness. Li’s writing is so intimate — and so exacting — that it cuts like a knife. She raises fundamental questions about the future of medicine, her own future, and about being a doctor and a patient at the same time. The result is a beautiful book that will be read and remembered for years to come.”—Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Emperor of All Maladies

Millions of people worldwide are affected by autoimmune diseases. Some are common, like Hashimoto’s thyroid disease, and others are mysterious conditions like chronic fatigue syndrome (ME/CFS) and dysautonomia. While the latter are gaining attention, patients struggling with these ailments are often dismissed by their doctors, families, and friends. The medical community often refers to them as “difficult patients” because they don’t follow the traditional checkboxes of illness and their symptoms can elude standard testing. When one doctor develops a disabling autoimmune illness and becomes that “difficult patient” herself, the beliefs and methods she once swore by collapse.

Brave New Medicine: A Doctor’s Unconventional Path to Healing Her Autoimmune Illness  takes us on an intimate whirlwind of a journey with Cynthia Li—a doctor who seemingly had it all until her health took an unexpected turn, leading her to question her medical training. Dr. Li’s story is raw, honest, and vulnerable as she describes her descent first into an autoimmune thyroid condition, then mysterious symptoms that leave her housebound with no end in sight. Test after test came back “within normal limits,” baffling her doctors—and herself. Housebound with two young daughters, Dr. Li began a solo odyssey from her living room couch to discover a way to heal.

Dr. Li is forced to dive into the root causes of her illness, and to learn to unlock her body’s innate intelligence and wholeness. Dr. Li relates her story with the insight of a scientist, and the humility and candor of a patient, exploring the emotional and spiritual shifts beyond the physical body. What’s more, she chronicles 15 practical steps on “how to get off the couch,” and expands this list in Part III, so fellow sufferers can find the wisdom and inspiration to begin their personal healing journeys.

“I entered my health challenges as a doctor, and came out a healer,” says Dr. Li.  “I hadn’t known the difference before. I first had to unlearn the idea that chronic diseases are determined by a fixed number or a positive test result, or fulfilling specific criteria. So the body, I realized, isn’t a three-dimensional puzzle to be solved. It’s a living, dynamic ecosystem to be nurtured. At the heart of my healing was learning to embrace my sensitive nature.”

Drawing on cutting-edge science, ancient healing arts, and the power of intuition, Brave New Medicine offers support, validation, and a new perspective for doctors and patients alike. This is the first memoir by a doctor evaluating her own complex illness through the lens of an integrative and root-cause paradigm. While many books are written by laypeople on mysterious illnesses, having a doctor go through this journey, explaining it from the inside-out, embracing the art of intuition—and pairing it with the analytical mind—offers a whole new dimension. Dr. Li explores epigenetics, neuroplasticity, the microbiome, environmental health, and functional medicine along with acupuncture, ancestral cooking, qigong, and grief rituals to get down to the root causes of her illness. In healing herself, she learns she is healing her family, too.

“The simplest step in healing is also the hardest: believing it is possible,” adds Dr. Li.  “An insidious process often happens with chronic disease, when the illness becomes your identity, especially when it’s an all-encompassing, debilitating condition like autoimmunity, chronic fatigue syndrome, or advanced cancer. The key to shifting our beliefs is to step outside of the prognoses and diagnoses long enough to tap into the innate intelligence within our cells. Because the body is where the subconscious lives, and where symptoms are trying to tell us the imbalances that are brewing. This isn’t positive thinking. It’s physiology at its best. By addressing root causes, reducing inflammation, restoring imbalances, and connecting to something greater beyond us, healing happens as a side-effect.

About the Author:

CYNTHIA LI, MD graduated from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, and has practiced internal medicine in settings as diverse as Kaiser Permanente Medical Center, San Francisco General Hospital, St. Anthony Medical Clinic for the homeless, and Doctors Without Borders in rural China. Her own health challenges led her to functional medicine, a paradigm that addresses the root causes of chronic conditions. She currently serves on the faculty of the Healer’s Art Program at the University of California San Francisco School of Medicine, and has a private practice. She lives in Berkeley, CA with her husband and their two daughters.

Connect with Cynthia Li, MD on Facebook @dr.cynthia.li and visit www.cynthialimd.com.

 

Brave New Medicine: A Doctor’s Unconventional Path to Healing Her Autoimmune Illness is available September 1, 2019 in paperback at Amazon and other retailers.

Medical Travel Tips for Memorial Day

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer.  According to AAA, more than 41.5 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend by car, plane, or train. Nothing ruins a long-awaited vacation faster than getting sick or being in medical distress.  We turned to Dr. Niket Sonpal, an NYC internist and gastroenterologist for some tips on how to avoid health consequences will traveling.

Avoid Deep Vein Thrombosis

Deep vein Thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs. Deep vein thrombosis can cause leg pain or swelling, but also can occur with no symptoms. For travelers, this can happen on long haul trips where you are not moving. Dr. Sonpal recommends if you are flying or on a train, to move around the cabin to get the blood flowing in your legs. If you are driving, take a break at a rest stop and walk around. Compression socks are also another option to prevent DVT.

Don’t Get Nauseous

People can experience motion sickness on virtually any mode of transportation. To combat this, Dr. Sonpal suggests Dramamine® Non-Drowsy Naturals, Dramamine®’s first non-drowsy formulation. It contains the clinically tested ginger dosage required for preventing and treating motion sickness. Other sources of ginger, including candies, gums, or ginger ale, may not contain a full clinical dose. For someone who is already experiencing nausea while traveling, it is a good idea to keep Emetrol on hand which is an over the counter nausea medication that does not cause drowsiness.

Avoid Bloating on a Plane

If you get gassy on a plane, you’re not alone! Dr. Sonpal explains that, “As the pressure around you decreases, the gas in your belly isn’t constrained as much and it expands. This can make you feel bloated or become distended.” It is essential to avoid foods that cause gas or have salt. Skip the tomato juice in flight and stick with non-carbonated water. Avoid alcohol, cruciferous vegetables, dairy and high sodium snacks such as salted peanuts or pretzels. Foods that are protein packed, magnesium-rich and high in Vitamin C are good options.

Sanitize Your Surfaces

Planes and trains are a breeding ground for illness.  The former is awful due to re-circulated air. Most travelers would be appalled if they really knew how germy their tray tables are! Dr. Sonpal suggests sanitizing wipes for your tray table, seat belt clip and hand rests of your seats on planes and trains. When you exit a restroom on a plane or train and touch the door handles, be sure to use hand sanitizer even if you already washed your hands.

Get Your Shots Before Traveling Abroad!

Before you even book your trip, make sure you’re up to date on your shots. If you’re traveling to an area where you’re at risk for picking up an illness like malaria, you might be prescribed preventative medication. Dr. Sonpal suggests that, “People should use the CDC website for recommended vaccines for travel abroad or see a travel clinic. The health risks posed to Americans vary based on the country they are traveling to.”

Don’t Touch the Ice!

When traveling to a different country, most people are very cautious about only drinking bottled water.  Many folks forget that ice is simply frozen water and put it into their soft drinks or alcoholic beverages. Contrary to what one might think, freezing water does not kill bacteria. The only way to be sure it is safe is if you boiled the water and then froze it.

Avoid Jet Lag

Even a relatively short time change from EST to PST (3 hours) can cause jet lag. With some international travel from the United States, the time difference can be as much as twelve hours. If you’re traveling east, try going to bed one hour earlier each night for a few days before your departure. Dr. Sonpal suggests that, “If you’re traveling east, try going to bed one hour earlier each night for a few days before your departure. Go to bed one hour later for several nights if you’re flying west. If possible, eat meals closer to the time you’ll be eating them at your destination. Set your watch to the new time before you leave. Once you reach your destination, try not to sleep until the local nighttime, no matter how tired you are.”

Essential Medicine/Supplies to Travel

Dr. Sonpal stresses never to check your medication with your baggage, always keep it in your carry on. Have a fresh re-fill on prescription medication with extra doses in case you get stuck at your destination. In addition, here are some essential over the counter meds/supplies to travel with:

Benadryl- For allergic reactions such as insect or bee bites.

Pepto Bismol- For diarrhea

Laxative such as Dulcolax

Anti-biotic ointment such as Neosporin

Common cold/sinus remedies such as Mucinex or Claritin

Pain relievers such as Tylenol or Motrin

Anti- Nausea medication such as Emetrol

Motion Sickness medication such as Dramamine. If you are the driver, be sure to take the non-drowsy version.

Electrolyte tablets for dehydration

Hydrocortisone cream to relieve itching from rashes, bites, poison ivy etc.

Aloe to soothe sunburned skin

Band-Aids

Digital Thermometer

Nasal Spray to prevent clogged ears while flying

Tweezers

Eye Drops

Epi-Pen if you are prone to severe allergic reactions

How to Find a Reliable Physician if you are Traveling Abroad

The US embassy in your destination country (http://www.usembassy.gov/) can help you locate medical services and will notify your family and friends in the event of an emergency. When selecting a doctor, make sure that I he or she can speak your language. The following resources provide lists of doctors and clinics that can care of travelers:

The International Association for Medical Assistance to Travelers (www.iamat.org; membership required, but it is free)

Joint Commission International (www.jointcommissioninternational.org)

The International Society of Travel Medicine (www.istm.org)

Travel Health Online (www.tripprep.com; gets information from various sources so quality is not guaranteed)

CBD: An Alternative to Prescription Drugs?

In the modern world, our first approach to treating an illness is to find the most suitable pharmaceutical drug, which we typically get either over-the-counter or on prescription. However, while these medicines are normally effective, they can unlock a whole new box of issues, including dependency and side effects.

Becoming reliant on medication can be mentally unsettling, and nasty side effects like nausea and dizziness typically require further treatment, leaving patients on a cocktail of pharmaceutical-grade drugs before they know it.

In the case of opioid painkillers, dependency may even be life-threatening, with the risk of overdose frighteningly high. In 2016, abuse of prescription opioid painkillers and recreational opiates accounted for more than 40,000 US lives, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

This cycle of illness, drugs, side effects and more drugs is wearing thin with many, and combined with the new wave of medical cannabis science, a clear divide has formed between those who favor prescription drugs, and those who’d rather take natural, plant-based medicines.

From a historical perspective, medicinal cannabis use makes perfect sense, with the herb being used for millennia across the world, but particularly in Africa and Asia.

Technological advancements have greatly developed our knowledge of cannabis, and scientists now know which compounds are responsible for various effects. For example, the psychoactive “high” mostly comes from a therapeutic cannabinoid called tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). However, numerous other cannabinoids have medicinal properties, sans the hallucinogenic effects.

Cannabidiol (CBD) is the most studied and seemingly most useful non-intoxicating cannabinoid, and the market for CBD products has exploded in the 2010s, thanks in part to the relaxation of laws surrounding non-psychoactive hemp.

CBD over opioids
Opioid-based painkillers like Tramadol are now regularly prescribed for chronic pain, with stronger synthetic drugs such as fentanyl available on prescription for the most extreme discomfort. These drugs are designed to interact with opioid receptors in the opioid system. The pain relief from these drugs is substantial, however sustained use leads to increased tolerance, stronger doses and addiction.

However, CBD may be helpful for chronic patients, and also those who have ended up dependent on opioids, as the cannabinoid seems to exhibit anti-addiction properties by interfering with pleasure-reward mechanisms.

By elevating concentrations of anandamide in the body, CBD is promoting a neurotransmitter that works to ease both physical and mental pain. How CBD tackles addiction is less clear, but some evidence indicates that CBD is active in the opioid system.

Not all pain is the same – for example, some chronic pain is persistent and always at a similar intensity, whereas the worst effects of inflammatory and neuropathic pain tend to come from flare-ups.

For internal neuropathic pain, CBD vape oil and e-liquid treatment is ideal, because the relief comes very quickly. Meanwhile, lingering pain is economically and perhaps more efficiently managed by orally-consumed CBD products (e.g. capsules, edibles, coffee).

Experimenting with gels, creams and balms infused with cannabis or CBD is a novel method of coping with localized pain. These ensure that the cannabinoid receptors in the affected area are directly activated.

If you’re unsure where to start searching for the right CBD product and form for your pain or you simply can’t decide with the long list of options, you can click here to learn more.

CBD: the new anti-inflammatory drug?
Immune system response is still not well that understood, and this has made it difficult to control. Researchers have struggled to find ways of influencing inflammation, but studies into the endocannabinoid system have found that immune system response is accessible via cannabinoid receptor 2 (CB2). Endocannabinoids look to signal a stoppage in inflammation, after a wound has fully healed or an infection is neutralized.

This discovery may be crucial, as the current leading class of anti-inflammatories (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs) are known to cause concerning side effects, including stomach ulcers.

The best CBD product for inflammation depends, unsurprisingly on the type of inflammation. Internal conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), which could be exacerbated by endocannabinoid deficiency, respond well to both CBD vape juice and CBD edibles, or even tincture oils.

For osteoarthritis, a form of inflammation which affects the joints, CBD creams and other topicals are likely to produce better results.

CBD’s promise as an antidepressant
Cannabinoid research is providing genuine hope for antidepressant researchers, after decades of stagnation in medication development. The current situation with depression medicine is far from ideal, with selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) slow to show benefits – for up to 40 percent of patients, these drugs may not even work at all. And then there are the side effects to contend with, which range from drowsiness to impotence. Depersonalization and derealization have also been anecdotally reported with SSRIs.

However, a glut of promising studies on CBD and the brain have found that the ECS could be important in correcting off-balance brain chemistry. The CB1 receptor modulates many variables, mood being one, and the bond between anandamide and this receptor is important for good mental wellbeing. Factors outside of the ECS also affect mood, but the potency of anandamide as an antidepressant makes the link with the CB1 receptor an essential one.

Some of the most exciting research on cannabinoids has been on their neuroprotective and neurogenesis properties. Studies on the hippocampus and the prefrontal cortex and cannabinoid treatments, which are associated with depression, have demonstrated that CBD is able to repair these regions of the brain, by restoring neuronal circuitry and helping to form new brain cells.

A 2018 study on rats carried out in Brazil showed that CBD was effective from the first treatment and for up to seven days after the last dose at blocking synaptic proteins which damage neuronal circuitry in the prefrontal cortex. Meanwhile, CBD-initiated neurogenesis in the hippocampus helps to regrow the brains of adult rats with depression. These results have not yet been replicated in humans, but rats are used for such studies because their brains are similar to humans. General memories and our autobiographical memory are stored in the hippocampus.

The only CBD products that aren’t suitable for managing depression are topicals, as the cannabinoids remain in the skin, and do not reach the brain.

MagnaReady × Stylish Options × Disabilities

There are over 50 million adults in the United States with a disability or health condition that limits their mobility in some way.

As we age tasks that used to be simple that we could complete without thinking twice about it become more challenging. Just turn on late night or early morning television and you will see dozens of informercials for gadgets that make it easier to hear, read, open jars, you get the idea. Until recently though, no one had come up with a practical way to make it easier for arthritic hands, someone who is missing an arm or fingers, or someone with another type of limitation to their mobility to grip and maneuver buttons into buttonholes.

There are those loop gadgets you can use to snag the button and pull it through a buttonhole, but those are not necessarily a time-saver and can still be very hard for some people to use. Unfortunately, it took a diagnosis or Parkinson’s disease to create an alternative option. Maura Horton created her patented magnetic closures for clothing after her husband, who was a college football coach, started to struggle with the buttons on his dress shirts. Because his job required him to travel with the team, Maura could not always be there to help Don. Instead of buttons, she thought why not magnets that would essentially be able to button his shirt for him?

It took some time to research and find the right type of magnets and perfect the design, but eventually Maura was able to create a dress shirt that looked no different to the unknowing eye, but that could restore independence to someone with upper body mobility challenges. Now, the patented MagnaReady magnetic closure technology is used in pants, polos, long sleeve dress shirts and short sleeve camp shirts, creating clothing options that are an intelligent and stylish choice for seniors or people with mobility difficulties of any age.

360 Magazine, MagnaReady360 Magazine, MagnaReady360 Magazine, MagnaReady

Dairy Queen Celebrates Spring

Dairy Queen Celebrates First Day of Spring With Free Cone Day on March 20

 

Participating locations will collect donations to Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals

 

WHO: Participating non-mall Dairy Queen and DQ Grill & Chill  locations throughout the United States 

 

WHAT: Will celebrate Free Cone Day on the first day of Spring. Fans will receive a FREE small vanilla soft-serve cone with the signature curl on top (limit one per customer while supplies last).

 

At participating locations, donations will be collected for Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, which raises funds to help save and improve the lives of kids treated at 170 children’s hospitals across the U.S. and Canada.

 

Last year, more than $300,000 was raised during Free Cone Day.

 

WHEN: All day on Tuesday, March 20

 

WHERE: To find a participating location, contact information for Dairy Queen locations can be found HERE.

 
ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

For more information about the Dairy Queen system, visit www.DairyQueen.com. Connect with the DQ system on Twitter using #LOVEmyDQ. Visit the DQ Facebook fan page, which has more than 11 million friends and become a friend.


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About IDQ:
International Dairy Queen Inc., (IDQ), based in Minneapolis, Minnesota, is the parent company of American Dairy Queen Corporation. Through its subsidiaries, IDQ develops, licenses and services a system of more than 6,800 locations in the United States, Canada and more than 25 other countries. IDQ is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (Berkshire) which is led by Warren Buffet, the legendary investor and CEO of Berkshire. For more information visit DairyQueen.com.
About Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals:
Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals® raises funds and awareness for 170 member hospitals that provide 32 million treatments each year to kids across the U.S. and Canada. Donations stay local to fund critical treatments and healthcare services, pediatric medical equipment and charitable care. Since 1983, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals has raised more than $5 billion, most of it $1 at a time through the charity’s Miracle Balloon icon. Its various fundraising partners and programs support the nonprofit’s mission to save and improve the lives of as many children as possible. Find out why children’s hospitals need community support, identify your member hospital and learn how you can Put Your Money Where the Miracles Are, at CMNHospitals.org and facebook.com/CMNHospitals.

Brits x Eyes Health Check

Over 18 Million Brits Do Not Consider Eyes As Part of Their Routine Health Check :

New research released by Vision Express to mark World Glaucoma Week reveals over a third of Brits (35%) do not consider having an eye test as part of a routine body ‘MOT’ health check. Worryingly, 1 out of 5 people would choose sight as their least valued sense, with over 1 in 12 Brits (8%) admitting that they have never had their eyes tested.

 

Research shows that 18-24 year olds are the least likely to get their eyes tested, with two in five (40%) saying they do not get them tested at all. This compares to only a quarter (25%) of 66-70 year olds. 1 in 3 Brits who don’t consider eyes as part of their health MOT check only get their eyes tested when they are advised by a doctor and almost a fifth (19%) stated that an eye test is not important.

 

Even if you don’t think you’ve got any problems with your eyes, you should still get them tested every two years. The research also reveals that 3.6 million Brits (7%) had their eyes tested as long as over six years ago.

 

As World Glaucoma Week puts the condition at the top of the health agenda, research conducted by the National Eye Health Research Centre (NERC) unveils a worrying landscape for glaucoma over the next 30 years. It is estimated that the condition may affect 3.2million in the UK in 2050, but unless detection rates are improved, only 1.28million will have been diagnosed and be receiving the treatments they urgently need.

 

To know more about World Glaucoma Week, watch video here.