Celebrating Nurses Week 2017: Five Nurses You Should Know

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Physicians are often thrust into the spotlight for the work they do, and often the notoriety is well deserved. However, there are many extraordinary nurses who have equally and dramatically changed the face of health and healthcare through their tireless efforts to serve their communities and make an impact on the world. With Nurses Week 2017 right around the corner, (May 6-12), we honor and celebrate nurses around the globe. From the battleground to the bedside, from offices to surgical suites, from nursing schools to government boardrooms, nurses make decisions daily that impact lives.

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In the News: White Wine Linked to Rosacea, FDA Increases Warnings for Children Taking Painkillers, Fast Food Found to Have Way More Sodium Than Anticipated

White wine linked to rosacea. The Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology has found that white wine may cause skin inflammation. During a 14-year period of study, the drinking habits of 83,000 women were monitored, and the findings were fascinating. The participants who drank one to three glasses of white wine over a month increased their odds of developing rosacea by 14 percent. When they upped their glasses to five a week, the odds of developing this skin condition jumped to 49 percent. Want to learn more about rosacea? Check out this fact sheet. (W&G)

FDA increases warnings for children taking painkillers. The FDA has announced new warnings for children taking painkillers, stating that no child under 12 should take codeine, and those 18 and younger should not take the painkiller tramadol after some types of surgeries. The organization also states that women breastfeeding should not take either of these medications because the drugs can impact their babies. Drug manufacturers will now have to add these warnings to packaging and labels, so that parents are aware of these contraindications.   (NYT)

Fast food found to have much more sodium than once thought. In a new study published in the journal Appetite, researchers polled fast-food-restaurant-goers about the amount of sodium in what they just ate. In almost all cases, the guesses were six times lower than the actual amount. One reason the guesses were so off is that a lot of people tend to use a minimal amount of salt when seasoning their food, so they assume that restaurants are doing the same. As it turns out, 89 percent of Americans consume more salt than they are supposed to. While the recommended daily amount is 2,300 milligrams (around one teaspoon), most Americans eat 3,600 mg a day. Need help cutting back on salt? Here is the plan for you.  (TIME)

How to Contact Your Local Representative to Request an AED

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On today’s show, Bob Harper described how he almost lost his life when he suffered a massive heart attack at his local gym this past February. Luckily, two doctors were there at the time, and they were able to perform CPR and use an automated external defibrillator (AED) to save his life. Does your local gym have an AED on hand? If not, find your state legislator here and feel free to use the sample letter below, so you can help make the gym a safer place. Together we can make sure that every fitness center is properly equipped to handle these life-threatening emergencies.

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In the News: Prince William and Lady Gaga Tackle Mental Health Issues; Running May Be Contagious; High-Fat, High-Carb Diet Linked to Arthritis

Prince William and Lady Gaga tackle mental health issues. In a video posted on the Royal Family’s official Facebook page, Prince William FaceTimed with Lady Gaga to discuss mental health awareness and stigmas. The two have joined forces to promote the Heads Together charity, which was created by William, Harry, and Kate. Gaga, who has been vocal about her PTSD diagnosis, discussed the importance of speaking up when it comes depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. William added that mental health should be treated like physical health, something we can openly work on and talk about with our peers. If you want to learn more about mental health issues, you can find resources here. (NBC)

Running may be socially contagious. If you have ever found yourself walking on the treadmill next to somebody who is sprinting, only to decide that you must start running too, you are not alone. A new study, conducted by researchers at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, have found that runners influence each other’s workouts, with friends running similar distances and mimicking one another. Gender played a role too, as researchers found that men ran faster when running with male friends, whereas females didn’t display a shift in speed when running with male companions. As Sinal Aral, a professor at M.I.T. stated, “The impacts go beyond correlation to causation. If you run more, it is likely you can cause your friends to run more.” If you’ve just started running, here are eight tips to help you along the way. (NYT)

High-fat, high-carb diet linked to arthritis. In case you need another reason to put down the junk food, researchers in Australia have discovered that a diet loaded with saturated fats is a key factor in the development of arthritis. While many of us associate diets full of fatty foods with heart disease, high cholesterol, and obesity, it turns out they also play a role in bone health as well. Researchers found that simple sugars and saturated fats actually weaken cartilage and affect the bone under the cartilage too. If you’re currently living with arthritis and suffering from joint pain, here is how to alleviate your discomfort(NEWSMAX)

Do You Really Have Fibromyalgia?

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By Dr. David M. Brady

Are you one of tens of millions of individuals silently suffering from widespread pain and fatigue? Have you been diagnosed with fibromyalgia, but recovery seems to elude you? Mass confusion exists over what is truly fibromyalgia and what are the associated syndromes incorrectly diagnosed as fibromyalgia. The common thread of widespread pain and fatigue blurs the lines of distinction, leading to incorrect treatment and poor recovery. Far too often, doctors diagnose a patient with fibromyalgia, when in fact she has a complex set of symptoms with multiple causes. Worse yet, doctors may prescribe a single treatment package, when this one-size-fits-all approach rarely leads to recovery.

Approximately five million people in the United States are suffering from fibromyalgia and an estimated 80 to 90 percent of fibromyalgia patients are women. True diagnosis is difficult, however, when the only diagnostic criteria available is based on subjective questions about someone’s perception of pain. As a result, many individuals are suffering from fibromyalgia but are not properly diagnosed as such, and up to two-thirds of individuals diagnosed with fibromyalgia are suffering from a chameleon condition.

Fibromyalgia is the correct diagnosis only when all other medical and functional conditions have been ruled out. Most physicians, however, do not tackle this arduous task. For this reason, many individuals needlessly suffer from improper diagnosis and treatment.

The mimicry of widespread pain and fatigue syndromes

The presence of widespread pain and fatigue opens the door for a plethora of medical conditions, stemming from a variety of root causes and making it critical for the practitioner to conduct a systematic evaluation before landing on the diagnosis of fibromyalgia.  There are three broad categories of conditions, other than classic fibromyalgia, that are most often the cause of widespread pain and fatigue:

  1. Musculoskeletal problems cause pain that is actually arising from a specific muscle or joint. Examples include myofascial pain syndrome, trigger points or “muscle knots,” and spinal joint problems such disc degeneration and pinched nerves.
  2. Metabolic/Functional problems represent subclinical conditions involving dysfunction of internal organs and individual metabolism, rather than true pathology or disease. Examples include subtle functional hypothyroidism, inefficiency of energy production in the cells due to mitochondrial dysfunction, nutritional deficiencies, chemical and food sensitivities, reactions to medications, and other problems with body metabolism and biochemistry.
  3. Medical problems are caused by the presence of any medical condition or disease such as thyroid disease, diabetes, Lyme disease, and cancer.

Unfortunately, the standard treatment approach for classic fibromyalgia will not help patients whose pain and fatigue are rooted in any of these other three categories.

A typical case of misdiagnosis

Mary’s complex case illustrates the necessity of a systematic evaluation and the ease of misdiagnosis, in the absence of an appropriate evaluation. For decades, Mary experienced terrible digestive issues, including substantial bloating and excessive gas that robbed her of a social life. After her first pregnancy, she also experienced fatigue and achiness, which in turn led to depression and anxiety. Mary made numerous visits to her family physician and a gastroenterologist, getting comprehensive lab work, an endoscopy, and a colonoscopy. To her frustration, the results were all normal. After being referred to a rheumatologist, Mary was diagnosed with fibromyalgia and prescribed the routine medication, Lyrica. After a few months, however, Mary’s symptoms remained unaltered.

Eventually, Mary was referred to me. From her answers on my fibromyalgia questionnaire, it was evident to me that she had many symptoms associated with fibromyalgia but that she lacked the classic history of high stress or trauma, in either her childhood or current life, that are generally found in classic fibromyalgia cases. A physical exam revealed many muscle trigger points, muscle spasms, and localized areas of pain, but lacked a widespread hyper-perception of pain to normal stimuli. After reviewing lab work from a functional perspective, several areas of concern were identified. The entire evaluation indicated Mary was suffering from a combination of functional/metabolic imbalances, musculoskeletal problems, and autoimmune issues that accounted for her pain and fatigue.

After addressing the metabolic/functional, musculoskeletal, and medical root problems, Mary regained full health and a productive life, which would have been impossible if she had accepted her original diagnosis and continued with the medication. Because Mary had been misdiagnosed with fibromyalgia, her treatment yielded poor results.

The root of classic fibromyalgia

So what sets fibromyalgia apart from its camouflaging conditions? The simple answer is the central nervous system. Classic fibromyalgia involves a hyper-responsive nervous system that accentuates pain in response to normal stimuli. Studies are showing strong correlations between physical and/or emotional trauma, particularly during childhood, and the development of fibromyalgia. Some people develop fibromyalgia after a severe car accident, work related injury, serious surgical procedures, physical or emotional abuse, or after witnessing a horrific event. These traumatic events derail the central nervous system and may lead to a heightened and prolonged pain response to normal stimuli, such as bright lights, sounds, changes in temperature, moderate pressure on the skin or muscles, household chemicals, etc.

Many fibromyalgia patients have extraordinary amounts of stress in their lives or have experienced intensely emotional events in the past. The stress and emotional trauma disrupts the brain’s ability to process pain appropriately. Therefore, widespread pain and fatigue in the presence of stress and trauma, but in the absence of a metabolic, functional, or musculoskeletal problem, often points to classic fibromyalgia.

Do you have classic fibromyalgia?

So do you think you might have classic fibromyalgia? Remember, fibromyalgia is the correct diagnosis only when all other medical, musculoskeletal, and metabolic/functional conditions have been ruled out. Fibromyalgia is a real problem with a real solution, when diagnosed correctly.

Take this short quiz and find out whether you may be experiencing fibromyalgia. If you score over 13 after adding your scores from sections 1, 2, and 3, and you answer “yes” to section 4, and “no” to section 5, you may have classic fibromyalgia.

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Source: 2011 Modification of the American College of Rheumatology Diagnostic Criteria for Fibromyalgia.

Dr. David Brady, a foremost authority on properly diagnosing and treating fibromyalgia, has been featured in top popular media including ELLE and NPR; has published in leading peer-reviewed medical journals including Open Journal of Rheumatology and Autoimmune Disease and Integrative Medicine: A Clinician’s Journal; has published chapters on fibromyalgia in definitive medical textbooks including Advancing Medicine with Food and Nutrients and Integrative Gastroenterology; and has presented at prestigious medical conferences including the Annual Symposium of Functional Medicine and the Integrative Healthcare Symposium. In private practice at Whole Body Medicine in Fairfield, CT, Dr. Brady additionally is the VP of Health Sciences and the Director of the Human Nutrition Institute at the University of Bridgeport, as well as the Chief Medical Officer of Designs for Health, Inc. and of Diagnostic Solutions Laboratory, LLC. Having witnessed his own mother suffer through the wringer of the medical system, Dr. Brady is uniquely passionate not only as a doctor but also as a patient advocate, ensuring that patients receive compassionate care and meaningful results. For more information, visit FibroFix.com and DrDavidBrady.com.

In the News: Golden Gate Bridge Will Have Suicide Barrier, Trans Fat Bans Lower Disease Rates, Dairy-Free Diet Potentially Dangerous

Golden Gate Bridge will have a suicide barrier. Over the last 80 years, around 1,500 people have committed suicide on the famous Golden Gate Bridge. Just last year, 39 people jumped off the bridge and 184 potential jumpers were stopped by bridge patrol officers. After much discussion, it has been decided that a barrier will be created to prevent further deaths. Slated for completion in 2021, a net will be built 20 feet below the bridge, extending 20 feet out over the water. The hope is that this net will catch and save jumpers from their demise, and also reduce the number of jumpers altogether. If you think a loved one may be at risk of suicide, here are the warning signs to look out for. (HUFFPO)

Trans fat bans linked to lowered heart attack rates. Recent findings show that restricting trans fats in foods have already had a positive impact on heart health. The FDA will continue restricting these fats in the coming years, with the hope that this ban will be in place nationwide by 2018. Fortunately, cardiovascular disease has been on the decline over the last few years, and the hope is that this ban will continue preventing heart attacks and strokes in millions of Americans. If you want to make extra sure you’re not eating hidden trans fats, check out this gallery to learn more. (NYT)

Dairy-free diet potentially dangerous. The National Osteoporosis Society has found that one-fifth of young adults under the age of 25 are eliminating or reducing dairy in their diets. In recent years, going gluten-free and dairy-free has become increasingly popular; however, studies have found that only a small percentage of the population actually has a lactose or gluten intolerance. Researchers suspect that internet influencers are behind the growing trend, since so many readers and viewers take their diet and health advice to heart. However, the best way to ensure you’re following a diet that’s safe and suitable for your unique needs is to speak to a physician first. Not eating enough dairy can cause bone brittleness and may lead to osteoporosis down the road. However, if you are lactose intolerant, you can still eat plenty of other foods rich in calcium and vitamin D. Check out this guide to dairy to find out more. (BBC)

In the News: Tips to Treat Jellyfish Stings, J.Lo Shares Diet Details, New App Helps Kids Feel Less Afraid of Hospitals

Doctor shares tips for jellyfish sting relief. If you’ve ever been stung by a jellyfish, you know how much it hurts. The important thing to remember when dealing with these stings is the importance of swift action. Dr. Rag, a contributing medical editor at Health shares the following tips: First, remove the stingers as soon as possible, then wash the affected area with vinegar or a baking soda/ocean water mix to remove the venom. Once that’s done, take a pain reliever and use a heating pad to dull the ache from the sting. Lastly, keep an eye out for any strange symptoms, like nausea, dizziness, hives, etc. If those symptoms are exhibited, rush to the hospital for medical attention right away. Learn more about summer safety tips with Dr. Oz’s handy guide. (HEALTH)

Jennifer Lopez shares her diet routine with the world. If you, like so many of us, are wondering how J.Lo has managed to stay so fit, glowing, and youthful all these years, we now have a glimpse behind the curtain. At 47, Lopez could easily pass for 27, and that’s thanks to a varied and exciting workout regimen and a diet that excludes processed food, caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes. If you think she gets that fresh-off-the-beach tan by being a slave to the sun, you’re wrong. Lopez wears tons of sunscreen and tries to avoid the sun whenever she can. If you want to learn more about staying youthful, check out Dr. Oz’s list of his favorite superfoods. (ELLE)

New app helps kids feel comfortable at the hospital. Since it’s no shocker that kids tend to feel nervous about going to the hospital, one company has come up with a solution to that all-too-common problem. Toca Boca has created a gaming app called Toca Life: Hospital that lets kids experience hospital life and even perform various tasks. With the use of friendly cartoon figures and bright colors, this game eases children into the hospital experience, letting them explore at their own pace. (HUFFPO)

Farm to Hospital: How the Way We Farm Makes Us Sick

Written by: Ron Weiss, MD

Given the recent turn of events, it is unclear whether the Affordable Care Act really has been given a reprieve, or whether millions still risk losing their current health insurance benefits. Regardless, it is critical for the politicians in Washington to understand that the primary cause of America’s health care crisis is not a lack of health insurance. It is not rising drug costs or insufficient access to primary care medicine. It is federal agriculture policy.

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