A Closer Look at the Recent News on Coconut Oil

 

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This week coconut oil filled the news with headlines like “Worse Than Lard: Researchers Warn Against Trendy Use of Coconut Oil” and “Coconut oil isn’t healthy.  It’s never been healthy.” If you watch what you eat—and you probably do if you are reading this blog—you may be confused, because according to a survey conducted by the AHA, 72% of people think coconut oil is healthy.  So what is the truth?

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5 Tips for Fitness Beginners

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By: George & Jamie Hess of @NYCfitfam

Summer is here, and headlines everywhere are screaming at us to be prepared.

“Summer Slim Down!,” they shout.

“Get Beach Body Ready!,” they command.

“Learn How to Pick Your Most Flattering Bikini,” they instruct, assuming you feel anywhere near comfortable enough to don a two-piece.

It’s an easy time to feel overwhelmed, especially if you’re an exercise beginner. It’s also easy to feel frustrated by the washboard abs we see all over social media, leading to a feeling of defeat before you’ve even begun.

Fitness should be about how you feel from the inside out. Beauty is about how you show up in the world, and when you feel good, you look beautiful. Summer is the perfect time to start a fitness routine as a beginner because it’s lovely outside, but most beginners need some guidance and motivation to take that first step.

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What You Need to Know About Heart Failure

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Some 6.5 million Americans are living with heart failure, and nearly a million new cases are diagnosed each year. Despite its prevalence, heart failure symptoms are largely under-recognized, in part because people don’t understand the condition. Find out more about heart failure, and the warnings signs you should be mindful of here.

What is heart failure?

Heart failure is a serious, chronic condition in which the heart muscle is weakened and cannot pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen. Heart failure does not mean that your heart has stopped or is about to stop working. It means that your heart is not able to pump blood the way it should. Heart failure is sometimes described as having a weak heart.

Heart failure is also associated with a lower five-year survival rate following hospital discharge than some cancers (e.g., breast cancer in women and bowel cancer in men). Read more  »

Nutrients You Need to Support Bone Health

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Written By Austin Winegar, AsktheScientists.com

Even though a variety of nutrients support and maintain bone health, calcium usually gets the most attention. Calcium is essential, but the health of your bones don’t depend on it alone. In fact, magnesium and vitamin D help your body absorb calcium better so it can actually use what you’re taking in. The combination of magnesium and calcium also provides benefits to the body beyond bone health—supporting your heart, muscles, healthy energy metabolism, and more.

Let’s take a look at each of these important nutrients.

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Melanoma Awareness Month: Top Prevention Tips

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Written by: Dr. Zeena Al-Dujaili

On average, one American dies from melanoma every hour. This disease claims the lives of 10,000 Americans every year, but when it is caught early, survival rates can be more than 90 percent. Although the risk of melanoma increases with age, it is also the most common cancer in young women in their 20s and 30s. Melanoma is a cancer of the skin that results from blistering sunburns in childhood and regular, unprotected sun exposure. Melanoma accounts for only about 1% of skin cancers, but results in a large majority of skin cancer-related deaths, according to the American Cancer Society.

May is Melanoma Awareness Month, so, this is the perfect time to go over the key points in detecting and preventing melanoma.

It is important that you have a dermatologist check your skin once a year and that you perform monthly self–skin checks. Make sure to check for a funny-looking spot or a change in your skin. When performing a skin check, it is useful to follow the ABCDEs of mole evaluation, looking for Asymmetry, Border irregularity, Color variation, change in Diameter larger than 6mm, and Evolution or change in appearance. Melanoma is most likely to present itself on the backs of men and the legs of women, but it can also occur in non-sun-exposed areas, such as the scalp, on the bottoms of the feet or in the eye.

Those with fair skin and a family history of melanoma are most at risk for the disease. It is important to protect yourself by wearing sunscreen with SPF 30 or higher, sunglasses, and protective clothing. Also, avoiding peak sun hours (10 AM–2 PM) and UV tanning beds is important in the prevention of melanoma. Studies have demonstrated that women younger than 30 are six times more likely to develop melanoma if they tan indoors. Research has also demonstrated that even people who do not burn after indoor tanning or sun exposure are at an increased risk of melanoma if they tan indoors. While you can’t turn back time, you can take preventative measures from here on out and help spread the message for raising melanoma awareness.

Dr. Zeena Al-Dujaili received her medical degree at Tulane University School of Medicine where she was elected to the national medical honor society, Alpha Omega Alpha. Following medical school, Dr. Al-Dujaili completed a dermatology residency at Tulane University. Dr. Al-Dujaili then completed a fellowship in Mohs surgery, lasers, liposuction and vein treatments. She also has extensive training and experience in cosmetic dermatology — including neurotoxins, injectable fillers, and chemical peels. A board-certified dermatologist, she is licensed in New Jersey, New York, and Louisiana. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology, American Society of Dermatologic Surgery and American College of Mohs Surgery.

The Treatments That Helped Me Combat Hair Loss

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Elisabeth is a 13-time Emmy-winner, a critically acclaimed personal finance author and a 20-year consumer advocate for programs such as Good Morning America and The Dr. Oz Show.

Connect with her via Twitter @ElisabethLeamy and on her website, Leamy.com.

Knowing The Root Cause of Thinning Hair Could Be The Key

When the Dr. Oz Show asked me to go undercover and see what hair restoration clinics are promising hopeful patients,  it was personal. You see, in about 2008, I noticed that my own hair was thinning drastically. I’ve included a photo of my once lustrous, bouncy hair below and I admit, I took pride in it. The real tip-off was how I had to move from large ponytail elastics to small ones. Eventually, even those started slipping off. I had diffuse hair loss, with thinning all over my head, and only a hint of the “wide part” that some women struggle with. Nevertheless, I was depressed — and embarrassed — and had to live out my personal loss on national television as I was a correspondent for Good Morning America at the time.
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What You Need to Know About Melanoma

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Written by: Dr. Neil Sadick

Melanoma is the deadliest of skin cancers, mostly because it can spread very quickly and attack organs such as the brain and lungs. The rates of melanoma have been rising for the last 30 years, and despite considerable scientific and clinical breakthroughs in treatment, dermatologists will stress that an ounce of prevention is always better than a pound of cure.

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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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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.

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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