Tag Archives: doctors

Intent of the Day: Health Focus

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Everything is demanding your focus.
Your job. Your family. Your personal goals.
Your finances. Your relationships. Your new business idea.
Not to give you one more thing to think about, but when was the last time you paused and thought about your own health? Until sci-fi movies catch up with reality, we only get one body to take care of and we don’t always treat it that way.

When was the last time you had a check-up? On a scale of 1-10 would you say your eating and health habits are more likely to build you up or tear you down?
We invite you to join us today in slowing down and letting our health be a focus.

You too? Here are 3 things to consider:  Continue reading

After the Diagnosis: Life with Breast Cancer

breast cancer ribbonAnytime someone uses the world “cancer,” stomachs drop and brows furrow. When the word breast cancer is uttered, minds start racing with worries about the worst-case scenario. Leaving the doctor’s office after being diagnosed with breast cancer is one of the hardest parts, as you are literally taking your first steps toward treatment. Breathe — it’s going to be okay.

Get to Know What You’re Dealing With

If you need to break out a recording device to remember everything the doctor said, then do it. Take time out to research all the terms that he or she used. Research the different stages and start finding answers to common questions so you can be better informed. Once you know the basics, you can start asking your doctor the more advanced questions about the cancer and about your treatment.

Start Building Your Support System

Moving forward, you’re going to want a two-tier support system. The first tier should be a significant other or a parent who can hold your hand the entire time and stand next to you during doctor’s visits. The job of this person isn’t easy; they’ll know everything about breast cancer and all of your specific treatments, and they’ll be the second opinion you seek when you make the hard decisions. They’ll also need to be a hand to hold and shoulder to cry on.

The second tier is made up of your friends and family, who will drop by to brighten your day and ask about your well-being. They’ll bring books to read while you recover, gossip to keep you in the loop, and jokes to make you laugh. They’re like breaths of fresh air in a world of medical jargon and stuffy hospitals.

This is actually one of the hardest steps as you start telling those who are close to you about your breast cancer. It starts to feel real, and you have to say it out loud over and over again.

Find Your Voice and Start Asking Questions

Some doctors and hospitals make a patient feel rushed, especially if the cancer seems minor and easy to treat. This might be good news for you, as you’re not a case that the staff is highly worried about, but it can make a patient feel like their not valued or important.

Don’t let the doctor or nurse leave until you have every possible question and concern addressed. You’re already going through a difficult time in your life; you don’t want to be left in the dark in regard to your treatment plan. Ask what test results mean, look at your chart, and have the doctor give explanations of the treatment process.

Treat Yourself

One of the first things you should do after you’ve been diagnosed with breast cancer is to treat yourself to cupcakes, that purse you’ve had an eye on, a manicure, or whatever else makes you feel good about yourself. The road ahead won’t be easy, so take a little time to make yourself feel good before you have to face it.

Fighting cancer isn’t easy, but that doesn’t mean you can’t beat it. Use it to build strength, not weakness.

photo by: TipsTimes

Better Than Before: A Hypochondriac Discovers von Willebrand Disease

 von Willebrand DiseaseThe worst thing you can tell a hypochondriac such as myself, is that there is another illness out there waiting to be experienced. Case in point: The little-known bleeding disorder, von Willebrand Disease (vWD). While it sounds like something you can only catch from effete German aristocrats, it is, in fact, named after Erik Adolf von Willebrand, a Finnish pediatrician who first discovered it in 1926. And the only reason I am writing about it now, is that it turns out that I know someone who actually suffers from it, and she recently described her symptoms to me. (Note: When innocents start doing this and my husband, The Lawyer, is present, he desperately, tries to stop them before I personally start to manifest the symptoms!) Amazingly, it is remarkably common – if not well understood – and by some estimates, affects as many as 1 in 100 people. A genetic disorder, it is non gender-specific, meaning men and women are afflicted equally. Most cases, though, go undiagnosed because the symptoms tend to be very mild.

In order to find out more about vWD, I consulted with the specialty-trained clinicians in the Express Scripts Bleeding Disorder Therapeutic Resource Center, offered through Accredo, who have disease-specific expertise. They help patients understand and manage their condition and treatments. In other words, they are good for me to get to know. (Both the experts and the treatments, that is!)

Here is what Leslie Oygar, a clinical nurse liaison in the TRC, tells me:

Von Willebrand factor (vWf) is one of the key components of the process that helps blood clot. It is produced in the bone marrow and the lining of the blood vessels, where it is also stored. In 99% of us, VWf is released into the blood when an injury occurs and works with platelets to start the clotting process, which ultimately stops the bleeding. If the supplies of vWf are inadequate, it can result in uncontrollable, or poorly controlled, bleeding.

There are three types of vWD. Fortunately, a vast majority –roughly 75% – of patients have Type 1. These patients typically experience less severe symptoms. Type 2 is caused by a qualitative dysfunction of the vWf. There’s enough clotting factor but it does not function the way it should. Type 3 is the most serious, and rarest, of vWD. These patients have a a severe deficiency of clotting factors, and experience significant bleeding –including joint bleeding. Type 3 requires treatment with an intravenous clotting factor containing vWF.

Now for the scary part as far as I’m concerned! That would be the actual symptoms. According to Oygar, these can range widely depending on the person’s gender and type of vWD.

“They can be as minor as light bruising or small knots under a bruised area,” Oygar says.

The more alarming ones include bleeding from the gums and prolonged bleeding after a dental extraction, blood in the urine (kidney bleeding) or bleeding in the stomach or intestines. Female patients, as one would imagine, can have additional signs including prolonged or excessively heavy menstrual bleeding, which are in some cases very serious, requiring blood transfusions until it is under control. Postpartum bleeding is of concern as well.

The good news? vWD is treatable, Oygar points out. How? Glad you asked, because Oygar has answers.

• Symptoms of Type I and some forms of Type 2 are often treated with an intranasal spray, Stimate, also offered in injectable form.

• Oral medications, like Aminocaproic acid and tranexamic acid, are available to help prevent the clot formed from breaking down after the bleeding stops. They are often used before and after dental procedures.

• Some other forms of Type 2 and Type 3 may call for an intravenous plasma-derived clotting factor.

For patients with any form of vWD, however, below are six useful medication management tips to help ensure that their condition is well controlled. They are important suggestions to keep on hand on your journey to feeling Better Than Before:

1) Be on the alert: If you have vWD, as with so many conditions, the first step is prevention. Similar to people with hemophilia, obviously avoid activities that can lead to cuts and internal bleeding. Less obvious is food-intake related actions. Sharp-edged foods, such as corn chips, may scratch or pierce the soft tissue inside your mouth and cause bleeding. Chewing gum can lead to biting your tongue. And if you are already bleeding, avoid hot foods and beverages, as they can cause vasodilation, causing bleeding to worsen.

2) Have First-Aid handy: Keep popsicles in the freezer as a first line of care for oral bleeding until medication can be administered as ordered by the hematologist. The ice-cold treat aids in vasoconstriction, which is part of the first stage of coagulation. Ice packs for topical use on other areas of the body should be in the freezer as well.

3) Cover all contingencies: Especially in the case of your children who may have vWD, have a plan and discuss it with the school nurse or teachers, and other caregivers. Ensure that medication is available in the school clinic for any episodes of bleeding.

4) Use as directed: Nasal sprays, injectables and intravenous medications for vWD require a hematologist’s supervision and approval and should be used exactly as prescribed. Over-dosing or under-dosing can be dangerous and potentially fatal. Always consult a hematologist or an appropriate clinician for questions about dosing changes. Missing doses or discontinuing the medication could cause the bleeding to resume.

5) Monitor fluid intake: Over-hydration in patients on a nasal spray or injectable form of medication can cause seriously low sodium levels which could lead to seizures.

6) Talk to your clinician: Heavy menstrual bleeding can be dangerous and must be reported to the hematologist or clinician. Let your hematologist know at least 2 weeks prior to surgery or dental work. Be sure to report any symptoms or changes.

As for me, I’ve decided that from now on I probably should stay away from sharp knives; and just to be sure, all cooking utensils! The Lawyer will just have to fend for himself in the kitchen. (Who cares if the odds are 99 to 1 that I don’t have vWD!)

Better than Before: Follow Your Gut (DIY Healthcare Tips)

Health-Tips-1One would think that, as a confirmed hypochondriac, I would run from doctor to doctor trying to get a diagnosis for whatever symptoms, however mild, I happen to have. But even though I work closely with the medical community in my role as a health columnist, I seldom, if ever, visit any of them for personal reasons. The problem is that, as is well-documented, the mere sight of a white coat can increase your blood pressure. And then I could have a stroke!

Through it all, though, I have learned to listen to my gut. (Except, of course, when I have indigestion from kale overload!) And while I do take the advice of the renowned doctors I interview for this column and on my radio show, I am also my own healthcare adviser.  Furthermore, I suggest that my readers research and learn everything there is to know about the disease or condition for which they are currently seeing their physicians.  That’s what being Better Than Before is all about. I am all about DIY healthcare advice – the more you know the more you’re prepared.

To that end, I recently discovered a book by Julia Schopick, Honest Medicine: Effective, Time-Tested, Inexpensive Treatments for Life-Threatening Diseases. In it, she tells of her 15-year journey through the American healthcare system, from the time when her husband, Tim, was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor until his death, fifteen years later. As she puts it, “For me, this journey was a lesson in learning to listen to my gut when listening to doctors isn’t enough. It is now my mission to help others do the same.”

Here’s the back story. In 1990, Julia’s then 40-year-old husband Tim was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor. He underwent surgery, chemotherapy and radiation – the treatments his doctors knew how to perform. But they weren’t able to keep Tim from experiencing the horrible side effects and complications resulting from the protocol.  Tim just wanted to heal so that he could live a longer, happier life.  Taking matters into her own hands, Julia followed her gut and tirelessly researched. Thanks to some pretty amazing treatments she discovered, her husband was soon eating better, taking nutritional supplements and, in general, living a healthier life. Almost immediately, he began to thrive.

Armed with her own success in helping her husband, Julia decided to write a book with true stories about other patients who listened to their guts and found therapies that even their doctors didn’t know about. In it, she chronicles the journey of  nine patients, with  autoimmune and live diseases, childhood epilepsy, and non-healing wounds, to name a few, who found inexpensive, little known therapies that proved miraculous for them.

Below Julia shares seven DIY healthcare tips to help you follow your own instincts for optimum health:

1) When a prescribed treatment isn’t working, you’ll know it. Take action and look for other options.

2). Patient-evidence-based protocols may not have gone through the rigors of Phase 3 clinical trials, but they have been used for many years by thousands of patients to great success. For instance, since the mid-1980’s Low Dose Naltrexone (LDN) has treated autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and Crohn’s disease. And the Ketogenic Diet, around since the 1920s, is offered at prestigious institutions such as Johns Hopkins and the Mayo Clinic to treat childhood epilepsy.

3). Once you’ve found a promising treatment, join online patient groups devoted to it. You’ll benefit from the research and experience of many people who share your particular condition.

4). Learn which websites contain useful information and which do not. Some, affiliated with presumably reputable institutions, may have financial ties to drug companies or other hidden agendas. It takes practice to learn which sites to trust.

5). Discuss the information you’ve found with your doctor. Prepare a packet of credible information—including, if possible, small studies. For example, in the case of LDN, studies have been conducted by prestigious institutions like Penn State, Stanford, and the University of California. These finding are also included in PubMed, which doctors respect.

6). If your doctor won’t listen to you, find a more open-minded doctor who will. Support groups and online patient groups can often recommend qualified physicians who will work with patients using patient-evidence-based treatments.

7). We are accustomed to being passive regarding our health—especially when faced with a serious medical condition. Don’t be discouraged — tune in to your inner voice.

At the end of the day, listening to your gut could truly save your life. Or at least make you Better than Before!

The Power of Intention: A Little Touch of Cancer

 1. Prevent Digestive System CancersBy Betsy Horn

When I started studying acting with Robert Lewis, co-founder of Actor’s Studio, one of the first things he said was that in rehearsing a play, you have to figure out what is your intention.  The same thing, I learned, is important in life.  What are we doing, what do we want, and why?

We’re told by our parents, mother usually, that our health is our greatest gift, that without that, you won’t be able to have the life you want.  It almost goes without saying that for much of our lives, we take our health for granted; it’s something we don’t think about when we are young.  We are invulnerable, untouchable.  Yet we are not, especially in today’s world.

Until I was 60, I had taken my health for granted.  First, my mother’s great mantra was that her greatest gift to her children was perfect health, “wonderful genes.”  How she knew that in the 50s remains a mystery to me. But I went along with it, until one day in May, over a decade ago, I went for an annual ultrasound to monitor a pesky ovarian cyst which hadn’t bothered me too much for over seven years, but having been told to check it annually, I did so – and got the shock of my life! Suspected ovarian cancer, and not only that, “aggressive ovarian cancer.”  I knew little about ovarian cancer but soon found out it was one of the most lethal and difficult to diagnose of all the female cancers, known as “the whispering disease” because the symptoms are so subtle, a paradox, as the disease is so very dangerous.

As my doctor told me this, although he was gentle, he was also straightforward, I collapsed inside.  I remember saying to myself, (the mind can have so many messages almost simultaneously), “Now, stand up straight and show you are OK.”  I remember pulling back my head and lifting it and looking at the doctor as if bewildered.  Tears were forming as I thought, “It’s a beautiful day outside and I have come in touch with my mortality.  How is this possible?”

Back in my car, in a cavernous garage, dark and empty, I railed, first at my mother, for the perfect genes which turned out not to be and then just at my frustration.  I had done so much work on myself and now this.  But I am fairly pragmatic and while driving back to New York City from New Haven, I regulated myself fairly quickly and started making mental lists. In times of dire circumstances, a good list can come in handy.  From then on, I did everything to stay healthy and prepare for surgery.  I bought a wonderful book by Bernie Siegal, Love, Medicine and Miracles which I highly recommend.

It turns out that my intention was strong and already forming as a plan for my survival. I would find out everything I could from reliable sources, go to the therapists I already knew, including my GP and do everything anyone smart told me to do as preparation. My intention was to survive and beat it but then to get as healthy as I possibly and follow whatever regime, diet, exercise, meditation and all of those to stay grounded, calm and alive.  So far, it’s worked.

***
Betsy Horn’s book, A Little Touch of Cancer and How it Made Me Well one woman’s travels through ovarian cancer, is now available on www.betsyhorn.com through a direct link to Amazon.  

Finding the Cure for Chronic Disease

shutterstock-24-4b441131808-original-webA question I am often asked is, “Where can I find a doctor like you—someone who practices Functional Medicine?”

One in every two people in America has a chronic illness such as heart disease, diabetes, autoimmune disease, arthritis, depression, ADD, memory loss, hormonal imbalances, digestive disorders, migraines, allergies, asthma, or skin problems such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis.

Millions more have FLC (feel like crap) and suffer from fatigue, sluggishness, insomnia, or a general lack of vitality.

Despite the advances in conventional medical care over the last 50 years, this suffering continues without relief because of our symptom-focused, organ-focused, and disease-focused medical model.

Yes, the single biggest medical advance of our lifetimes is something most people have never heard of before, and it is the future of medicine.

We don’t want band-aids for our symptoms. We want to get to the root cause. We don’t want to be treated as a body part—we want to be understood as a whole person.

What many people are looking for is Functional Medicine…they just don’t know it. Functional Medicine is, put simply, the science of creating health.

Many people are searching for Functional Medicine doctors because they’re unsatisfied with what conventional medicine offers. They’re unhappy with the way conventional doctors think about their health. They’re discouraged by the focus conventional medicine places on just suppressing symptoms.

Functional Medicine creates an entirely different paradigm: medicine grounded in finding causes, not by treating symptoms. It’s medicine that addresses more than justwhere the issue is in your body (I call this medicine by geography) but how the issue manifests across core mechanisms throughout your body.  We begin by asking: what is the underlying mechanism… and how can we address the root cause?

The name it, blame it, and tame it game

Let’s say you go to your conventional doctor complaining of joint pain, a rash, headache, reflux, a runny nose, and congestion, your doctor will say, “Wait! I can only deal with one problem today, let me just take care of your reflux. He or she may then refer you to an allergist for your runny nose, a neurologist for your headache, and a dermatologist for your rash. Before long, you may find that you have a different doctor for every inch of your body.

This way of thinking about disease is completely wrong: it’s based on a diagnostic system that focuses on where the issue is located in your body—the geography—and the symptoms. We classify all of these discreet diseases and then we try to treat each one separately with a drug. We call this the name it, blame it, and tame it game in medicine.

For example, someone goes to see a doctor complaining of sadness, hopelessness, helplessness, low mood, no energy, poor appetite and poor sleep. Their doctor tells them they have depression, and prescribes an antidepressant. Guess what? Depression is not the cause of those symptoms; it’s the name we give to that collection of symptoms, and the antidepressant will do nothing to address the underlying cause. Depression is not a Prozac deficiency.

This way of treating patients is completely wrong. It’s the past. The future of medicine is understanding how your body functions, how it becomes imbalanced, and how to correct that balance. The future of medicine is looking at patterns and connecting everything together.

Connecting the dots

If the person we just discussed came in to see me, I would first ask, “What could be causing all of these symptoms?” The possibilities are many, but a cause can very often be found. It could be that you’re eating gluten, you have autoimmune antibodies against your thyroid and therefore have low thyroid function. It could be that you’ve been taking an acid blocker for 10 years and you have low B12 levels because your stomach can’t absorb the B12 when you don’t have stomach acid. That could be the cause of your depression.

It could be caused by the fact that you live in a northern climate and have a vitamin D deficiency. It may be because you’ve taken antibiotics that have disturbed the normal gut bacteria—the microbiome—which affect your neurotransmitters. It could be because you love sushi and eat it all the time that your eating habits have given you mercury poisoning. It might be because you hate fish and have an omega-3 deficiency, which also causes depression. Or, it could be because you love sugar and eat Cinnabons all day, that habit has led to insulin resistance and pre-diabetes, and this is the cause of your depression.

The diagnosis and treatment of each of those is quite different, even though they produce exactly the same symptoms. One disease can have many causes and one cause can create many diseases.

For example, one cause—let’s say gluten sensitivity—it can trigger all sorts of problems like osteoporosis, anemia, depression, irritable bowel, autoimmune diseases, cancer, or diabetes. You have to think about root causes. You have to think about underlying interconnected systems in your body to find the right solution: that’s the beauty of Functional Medicine. Once you’ve discovered the underlying causes, you take out the bad stuff and you put in the good stuff. When provided the right kind of medicine—your body has an amazing capacity to heal.

The future starts now

Many of you want to find a doctor who can think this way. Where do you look? The best way is to go to the website for the Institute of Functional Medicine (IFM) at www.functionalmedicine.org. Once there, enter your zip code and you’ll be shown a list of physicians in your area who have been trained to guide you according to the Functional Medicine approach.

The IFM trains physicians all over the world and offers a certification in Functional Medicine for graduating physicians. We are also now working with one of the top medical institutions in the world to create a Functional Medicine institute that will bring this to the world in a very big way, through education, research, and clinical care. Stay tuned: this is the future of medicine.

I encourage you to find a Functional Medicine practitioner who can help you address the root cause of your problems. You will fix the things that really bother you and, in the process, create good health. That’s the beauty of Functional Medicine.

Originally posted on my website DrHyman.com

Are You Sick and Tired? Maybe It’s Your Thyroid

If you feel cold and tired all the time, there’s a good chance your thyroid is to blame, because one out of five women and one out of ten men have thyroid problems. That’s 30 million women and 15 million men. And half of them suffer needlessly because their doctors completely miss the diagnosis or don’t treat it properly.

You don’t have to suffer. Are you tired and sluggish? Do you have trouble getting going in the morning? Are you constipated? Do you have dry skin, dry, coarse hair, or hair loss? If the outer third of your eyebrows are thinning that could mean low thyroid function. Or maybe you have depression, high cholesterol, low sex drive, fluid retention, poor memory, and trouble concentrating.

All of these symptoms are potentially related to low thyroid function or what we call hypothyroidism. And because they can be vague and subtle, they’re easy to miss. But these symptoms can negatively affect your quality of life. But when you correct your thyroid function, you can get rid of these symptoms. You can actually get your life back and feel better.

One of my patients is a 73-year-old woman who was tired and a little depressed, had a little fluid retention, was constipated, and had trouble with memory. She had been to another doctor who said, “What do you expect? You’re 73.” Well, you know what? That’s not what 73 has to feel like. 73 can feel like 53 or 43 if you’re tuned up.

Get to the root cause

My job as a Functional Medicine doctor is to be a medical detective, to investigate and address the root causes of problems—not just the symptoms—and help people fix the underlying problems that CAUSE their symptoms and recreate balance in the whole system.

So, how do you find out the root cause of low thyroid function? What do you do about it? Can you reverse it? And what should you do if you have it? Well, if you fix the cause, you often can heal your thyroid. So, first, let’s take a look at the causes of this condition.

There are many causes of low thyroid function, but the most common one is environmental toxins.

For example, plastics, pesticides, thallates in plastic bottles, BPA (bis-phenol A) in cans, parabens in sunblock and make-up, chemicals in our food and water: all of these things interfere with our thyroid function, which acts like the yellow canary in the coalmine that died when the air went bad. When our environment becomes overloaded with toxic substances, the thyroid is the first to go down.

What you are eating can also mess up your thyroid. Gluten is one of the biggest causes of low thyroid function, because it causes an autoimmune reaction against the thyroid. We call this Hashimoto’s disease. It is fixable. If you get rid of gluten, you can heal it.

Nutritional deficiencies may also be causing the problem. Iodine, vitamin D, selenium, zinc, omega-3 fats, and vitamin A are all important for optimal thyroid function. You have to have optimal nutrient levels for your thyroid to work properly. For example, you can’t make thyroid hormone without iodine. You can’t convert the inactive to the active form of thyroid without selenium, and the thyroid can’t work on your cells without vitamin D and vitamin A.

Another big cause of thyroid dysfunction is heavy metals, such as mercury and lead.

People who eat a lot of fish, who have a lot of fillings in their mouth, or who have had a lot of vaccines that contain Thimerosal may develop problems with their thyroid.

Get tested

So, how can you know for sure that you have this problem? Well, first, you have to do the right tests. Most doctors do not do the right thyroid tests, and I strongly encourage you to demand your rights as a patient and ask for them. What are they?

It’s the TSH, or thyroid-stimulating hormone test, and the free T3 and free T4 tests. It’s very important to get the free levels of both the free T4 and free T3 hormones.

Next, you should also always check your TPO (thyroid peroxidase) and anti-thyroglobulin antibodies. These are an indication of an autoimmune reaction against your thyroid.

Also, check for celiac or gluten antibodies or anti-gliadin antibodies, because these also can indicate a gluten problem that can trigger thyroid problems.

You also might need to get heavy metal testing, because high levels of mercury and lead can trigger thyroid issues, too. Go to www.functionalmedicine.org to find a doctor near you who can test for metals and help you fix your thyroid.

Take action

So, once you’ve found that you have this issue, follow these steps, so you can begin to treat yourself.

Clean up your diet. Get rid of the sources of pesticides and chemicals. Filter your water. Eat organic when possible. Eat safe fish. Minimize your exposure.

Eat foods that support your thyroid. These include vitamin D-rich foods like mushrooms, sardines, and herring; vitamin A-containing foods like green leafy vegetables and carrots; iodine-rich foods like seaweed, fish, and shellfish; and zinc-rich foods like pumpkin seeds and oysters.

Thyroid replacement may be needed for some people. But this is very controversial. Some doctors recommend only T4 and some recommend a combination of T4 and T3. I think, when you look at the scientific evidence, it’s clear that people do better when you combine the inactive T4 with the active T3 hormone. And that’s what we do at The UltraWellness Center. We give combinations, either in the form of Armour Thyroid, Nature Thyroid, or just combinations of T3 and T4.

Take thyroid supportive supplements. I recommend a combination supplement for my patients called Thyrosol, which contains kelp for iodine, zinc, vitamin D, vitamin A, and selenium.

This is all described in my UltraThyroid Solution. I go through everything in step-by-step detail. It’s a 7-step, goof-proof plan for fixing your thyroid. I encourage you to check it out. Learn what you need to do, and fix your thyroid, because you don’t have to feel tired and crummy all the time. There is a way out.

Originally posted on my website, DrHyman.com

photo by: adria.richards

6 Steps to Healthy Cholesterol

Contrary to conventional wisdom, cholesterol is not the enemy.

The question on the lips of many Americans these days is, “How do I lower my cholesterol?” We’ve all been told that the secret to living a long, healthy, heart-disease free life is lowering your cholesterol. And believing that a low cholesterol count is the best way to prevent heart disease, doctors often prescribe medications like statins to keep these levels low. But these drugs can introduce a whole host of problems and may not even work.

The truth is, your body needs cholesterol in order to function properly. So, it’s not about having lower cholesterol; it’s about having the right type of cholesterol.

The important questions we should ask are:

  • How do I get the right type of cholesterol?
  • How do I lower my triglycerides and raise my good cholesterol or HDL?
  • What’s the best way to prevent heart disease without drugs?

Originally posted on DrHyman.com

Lynne McTaggart Stands Up to the Attack on Alternative Medicine

Meditation

Many Intent readers know and admire Lynne McTaggart, the internationally known author of several bestselling books, including The Intention Experiment, The Field, The Bond, and What Doctors Don’t Tell You.

What many may not know, without reading the British tabloids last week, is that the Rupert Murdoch-owned Times UK published an article featuring representatives from an organization which called for the banning of McTaggart’s magazine, What Doctors Don’t Tell You, (WDDTY). Members of this organization phoned British magazine stockers and agents demanding they remove WDDTY from their shelves.

In today’s world, with irate people, charges and counter-charges, many things we once took for granted come under attack. But a health magazine? Health information? Why?

The Times charged that a story in McTaggart’s 25-year old print and on-line WDDTY health news magazine, claims that homeopathy cures cancer. But that homeopathy story has never seen print. It will be published next month. Instead of waiting to see what the story actually said, based on a two-sentence teaser announcement, the Times slammed McTaggart’s magazine.

“You have no idea yet what we’re going to write about, so how can you say we’re going to write that homeopathy ‘cures’ cancer?” asked McTaggart, who delves into the attack on WDDTY.

Within days of the Times’ story, McTaggart recounts that the coverage exploded in other television and other media outlets with headlines blaring, “Warning that claims in alternative health mag could prove fatal.”

This sensationalized attack on alternative and integrative medicine—and those who practice it, use it, and seek information about it ran roughshod over time-honored traditions of honest reporting.

“Not one of the newspapers, radio shows or television stations bothered to contact us, even to solicit a comment – which is Journalism 101 when you intend to run a story on someone, pro or con. It’s also apparent from the information published in The Times and in all the media following that not one journalist or broadcaster has read one single word we’ve written,” says McTaggart.

In the rush to a deadline, perhaps the pile-on of reporters misinterpreted headlines and photos. It’s also likely that encouraged by a pharma-funded group called Sense Against Science, they willfully ignored the science that WDDTY presents.

On the WDDTY Facebook page, McTaggart, points out that the “vitamin C article never claimed that vitamin C cures AIDS. It simply quoted a study by Dr. Robert Cathcart showing a favourable response when he used it against HIV.”

This is not the first attempt to censor health information or WDDTY by the well-funded British organization, Sense Against Science, which according to its website is funded by the British Pharmaceutical Society, along with a who’s who of UK pharmaceutical and medical societies.

McTaggart further explores Singh’s background and aims in a recent blog.

Nevertheless, the public has a right to a full range of health information, not only the information, treatment approach, philosophy and science offered by one health brand or industry.

“The real story here is that the Times is allowing themselves to be the patsy of an industry backed organization by attacking a magazine that is responsibly and critically examining that industry. The job of the media, the Fourth Estate is to be the guardians of the public interest…The Times seems to be suggesting that their role is to ‘protect’ the public by censoring information that departs from standard medical line,” adds McTaggart,

Critiques of both integrative medicine and what McTaggart has called “frontier science,” are nothing new, but the virulence of the new breed of paid spokespeople, may be. Through her books, and through WDDT’s health reportage, McTaggart is one of many reporters popularizing a more expanded reach for science. By covering her work in The Lost Symbol, author Dan Brown has helped this new trend in science to reach way beyond the choir. But some vested interests feel threatened.

“Those who control or suppress access to such information say they do it to protect an ‘ignorant’ public. Don’t be fooled.  People who hide information disrespect the public and act against its interest in taking responsible personal action. Don’t trust the censors,” says James S. Turner, Board Chair of  Citizens for Health, a membership based health advocacy organization

In the current media climate, in which publishers, foundations and think tanks have ties to and funding from a range of industries, people can all too readily get confused by the ensuing misinformation, particularly when a sponsored think tank’s PR agenda gets picked up by news organizations.

In this controversy, what’s at stake is safeguarding the people’s right to make their own health care decisions and access a full range of approaches that promote and maintain health, prevent disease, and address symptoms or illness, when they arise. To do that, the public clearly needs a broad and inclusive range of health information.

McTaggart assesses the implications of the Times’ coverage within the current media climate, and asks: Are we going to allow ever increasing suppression of alternative forms of health and healing when establishment, drug-based medicine is so woefully inadequate by any standard (only 12 per cent of is proven, says the British Medical Association); corrupt (three-quarters of all drug research is PR dressed up as research); and damaging (correctly prescribed drugs are one of the leading causes of death in the West, vying with deaths from heart disease or cancer)?

McTaggart hopes that “this will become a rallying call to stand united against the larger issue and begin demanding our right to choose our own system of health care.”

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Subscriptions to both online and internationally available print versions of What Doctors Don’t Tell You are available  here.

People can sign up for Citizens for Health’s Freedom of the Health Press Project to safeguard rights to get all health information.

7 Old-Time Ads That Would Cause Riots Today

Before tobacco companies were legally mandated to disclose the connection between cigarettes and cancer - it was probably a winning strategy to be the most popular death stick with doctors!When there are campaigns in the US to ban literary classics and relegate women to second class citizenship it can be hard to tell how much progress we’ve made over the years.

But can you imagine a time when it was okay to send all of your friends cartons of cigarettes for Christmas? How about feed your baby coca-cola in their morning bottle? Women are still fighting for the right to make decisions about their own bodies, but what about a time when wives were only considered important for their ability to put dinner on the table?

Check out these real ads from the past that would cause certain outrage today. Some of them are ironic, some illegal and others infuriating. We still have a long way to go with some of the issues these ads raise, but sometimes it’s good to see how far we’ve come already.

What do you think of these? Which is the most surprising to you? Tell us in comments below! 

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