Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Newer Diabetes Drugs Linked to ‘Flesh-Eating’ Genital Infection

Newer Diabetes Drugs Linked to ‘Flesh-Eating’ Genital Infection

News Picture: Newer Diabetes Drugs Linked to 'Flesh-Eating' Genital Infection

Say you have type 2 diabetes and you are taking a newer class of medications to treat your disease — but one day you notice pain, redness and a foul odor in your genital area.

If this happens, new research suggests you need to see your doctor immediately, because you may be suffering from Fournier gangrene. Also known as a “flesh-eating” disease, this infection attacks your genital or anal region and can quickly kill tissue as it spreads rapidly.

Unfortunately, it has become a rare but still possible safety concern for people taking diabetes medications known as SGLT2 inhibitors, according to U.S. Food and Drug Administration scientists.

SGLT2 inhibitors are a newer class of diabetes medications, introduced in 2013. Drugs in this class include canagliflozin (Invokana), dapagliflozin (Farxiga) and empagliflozin (Jardiance).

Fournier gangrene occurred in 55 people taking these drugs between March 2013 and January 2019. For comparison, the researchers looked for cases of Fournier gangrene in people taking other diabetes medications from 1984 to 2019. They found only 19 such cases.

Still, the risk for Fournier gangrene remains very low, the researchers stressed.

“In 2017, an estimated 1.7 million patients received a dispensed prescription for an SGLT2 inhibitor,” said study author Dr. Susan Bersoff-Matcha, a medical officer in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. So, “Fournier gangrene is a rare event,” she said. “While our study shows an association between treatment with SGLT2 inhibitors and Fournier gangrene, we don’t know exactly what the risk is, or if Fournier gangrene can be predicted.”

Broad-spectrum antibiotics and surgery to remove the dead tissue are treatment options, the researchers said.

SGLT2 inhibitors work in the kidneys, allowing excess blood sugar to be removed in the urine, they said.

In addition to lowering blood sugar levels, the drugs may also reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke in some people with type 2 diabetes.

But possible side effects include urinary tract infections and genital infections, such as yeast infections. Kidney problems can also be a concern with this class of medications.

All of the patients with Fournier gangrene identified in this study needed to be hospitalized. Some had several surgeries. Three of the 55 people died from Fournier gangrene.

The average age of the people with Fournier gangrene was 56. Thirty-nine were men. Forty-one cases occurred in the United States. Thirty-one of the 55 cases identified were also taking an additional diabetes medication.

Of those with Fournier gangrene, 21 were using canagliflozin, 16 were using dapagliflozin and 18 were taking empagliflozin, the study said.

Dr. Joel Zonszein, director of the clinical diabetes center at Montefiore Medical Center in New York City, said that while the study was well-done, it cannot prove a cause-and-effect link between the drugs and the disease.

“Infections of the pubic and rectal area are quite common in people with diabetes, they don’t have Fournier’s. Fournier’s is a very aggressive, but extremely rare, disease,” said Zonszein, who wasn’t involved with the study.

When Fournier gangrene does occur, it’s hard to know if it is caused by a medication. He pointed out that a number of clinical trials have been done on SGLT2 inhibitors that have included tens of thousands of people, and there haven’t been any reports of Fournier gangrene.

“I counsel my patients about infections in the genitalia. The main concern is to be aware that they can occur. And, providers need to be more aware of Fournier’s. They have to immediately try to establish the cause of infection and aggressively treat it if they suspect Fournier gangrene,” Zonszein said.

He said a far bigger concern is uncontrolled diabetes and the risk of complications when blood sugar levels aren’t controlled. “The benefits of these medications outweigh the risks,” he said.

In a statement, Boehringer Ingelheim, the company that makes Jardiance (empagliflozin), said the company actively monitors for side effects related to their medications.

“We remain confident in the positive benefit-risk profile of empagliflozin, and empagliflozin-containing products, as outlined in the prescribing information,” the statement from Boehringer Ingelheim said.

The prescribing information of all SGLT2’s was recently changed to reflect the possible risk of Fournier gangrene, as directed by the FDA.

Janssen Pharmaceuticals, maker of Invokana (canagliflozin), and AstraZeneca, maker of Farxiga (dapagliflozin), did not respond to requests for comment.

The findings were published May 6 2019 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Sleep Apnea Linked to Diabetic Eye Disease

Sleep Apnea Linked to Diabetic Eye Disease

News Picture: Sleep Apnea Linked to Diabetic Eye Disease

Severe sleep apnea is a risk factor for diabetic eye disease that can lead to vision loss and blindness, researchers report.

Poor control of diabetes can result in damage to tiny blood vessels at the back of the eye, a condition called diabetic retinopathy. It’s a leading cause of blindness in the United States.

In some cases, tiny bulges protrude from the blood vessels and leak fluid and blood into the retina. This fluid can cause swelling (edema) in an area of the retina that enables clear vision and is called macular edema.

In this study, researchers in Taiwan examined data from 51 patients over eight years at Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Taipei.

They found that patients with diabetic macular edema had a much higher rate (80.6%) of severe sleep apnea than those without the eye condition (45.5%).

The worse the sleep apnea, the more severe the macular edema, according to the study.

The researchers also found that severe sleep apnea was more common patients who required more treatment to control their macular edema. These patients needed at least three medical or laser therapy treatments, according to the study. It was to be presented Monday at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Ophthalmology (AAO), in San Francisco.

“Based on these results, we hope that more medical professionals will approach sleep apnea as a risk factor for diabetic macular edema,” lead researcher Dr. Juifan Chiang said in an AAO news release.

“This could allow for earlier medical intervention so patients can keep more of their vision and preserve their overall health as much as possible,” Chiang added.

People with sleep apnea repeatedly stop and start breathing through the night, disrupting their sleep and causing blood oxygen levels to fall.

This decline in blood oxygen levels may trigger changes in the body that result in blood vessel damage, putting people with sleep apnea at risk for high blood pressure, heart attack, stroke and type 2 diabetes.

Findings presented at scientific meetings are considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal.

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Fat Collects in Lungs, Raising Asthma Risk

Fat Collects in Lungs, Raising Asthma Risk

News Picture: Fat Collects in Lungs, Raising Asthma Risk

Excess weight is hard on the heart, but new research shows it may also harm your lungs.

The study found that higher amounts of fat collect in the airways of overweight and obese people, which may help explain why they’re more likely to have wheezing and asthma.

This is quite important to investigate whether or not the patient was overweight as an infant or young child.  Those same fat cells will always remain in your lungs.

Also, you remember from other articles that Asthma is a fourth stage allergen.  This means that at the time you were first diagnosed with Asthma, you had already gone through 3 other stages that no one detected what you had.

In the study, the investigators analyzed lung samples donated by 52 people for research after their death. Of those, 16 died of asthma, 21 had asthma but died of other causes, and 15 had no asthma.

The findings showed, for the first time, that fatty tissue accumulates in the walls of airways and that the amount of fat in airways increases with body mass index (an estimate of body fat based on weight and height).

The researchers also found that higher levels of fat change the normal structure of airways, resulting in lung inflammation, according to the report published Oct. 17 in the European Respiratory Journal.

“Being overweight or obese has already been linked to having asthma or having worse asthma symptoms. Researchers have suggested that the link might be explained by the direct pressure of excess weight on the lungs or by a general increase in inflammation created by excess weight,” explained study co-author Peter Noble. He’s an associate professor at the University of Western Australia in Perth.

“This study suggests that another mechanism is also at play. We’ve found that excess fat accumulates in the airway walls where it takes up space and seems to increase inflammation within the lungs,” Noble said in a journal news release.

“We think this is causing a thickening of the airways that limits the flow of air in and out of the lungs, and that could at least partly explain an increase in asthma symptoms,” Noble added.

Thierry Troosters, president of the European Respiratory Society, said, “This is an important finding on the relationship between body weight and respiratory disease because it shows how being overweight or obese might be making symptoms worse for people with asthma.”

Troosters, who was not involved in the study, added, “We need to investigate this finding in more detail and particularly whether this phenomenon can be reversed with weight loss. In the meantime, we should support asthma patients to help them achieve or maintain a healthy weight.”

Asthma can be cured and maintained with food intake, and environmental conditions,

Remember, We Are In This Together!

 

Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

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Foods, Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Heart-Healthy Eggs Benedict Recipe with Asparagus

Heart-Healthy Eggs Benedict Recipe with Asparagus

 

Eggs benedict recipe - Dr. Axe

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 bunch asparagus (16 pieces)
  • 1–2 teaspoons coconut or avocado oil
  • ¼ tomato, sliced
  • ½ avocado, sliced
  • 2 eggs, poached
  • hollandaise sauce  ( recipe below)

 

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a medium-size frying pan over medium heat, add coconut or avocado oil.
  2. Add the asparagus to the frying pan and pan fry until for tender, about 8–10 minutes.
  3. In a small pot, bring 2–3 cups of water to a boil.
  4. Once boiling, gently lower the eggs into the water and allow to boil for 3 minutes. Remove the eggs once finished and set them aside for assembly.
  5. Divide the asparagus on two separate plates and add sliced tomato and avocado on top.
  6. Add the eggs and drizzle on the hollandaise.
  7. Top with chives.

Eggs Benedict is one of those items that you’ll always see on a breakfast or brunch menu. It’s a breakfast classic. But, when prepared with the traditional ingredients, it can be hard on your waistline, heart, brain and digestion.

In my eggs Benedict recipe, I use immune-boosting, heart healthy, anti-inflammatory foods like avocado, asparagus and tomato. This low-carb breakfast is also high in healthy fats that are key for maintaining optimal health. So give this eggs Benedict recipe a try — you’ll never go back to the traditional dish again.

5-Minute Blender Hollandaise Sauce Recipe

Hollandaise sauce recipe - Dr. Axe

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 tablespoon grass-fed butter or ghee
  • 1 egg yolk
  • ¼ teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ tablespoon water

DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter or ghee over medium-low heat.
  2. Add all the ingredients into a high-powered blender until well combined.

 

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Health and Wellness Associates
EHS Telehealth

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Foods, Health and Disease, Rx to Wellness, Uncategorized

Vitamin K2 Foods Benefit Cardiovascular Health

Vitamin K2 Foods Benefit

Cardiovascular Health

 

Vitamin K2 - Dr. Axe

 

Full-fat cheeses, eggs and beef liver might not be the types of foods that come to mind when you think about eating a heart-healthy diet. But, you’d probably be surprised to know that in recent years, one of the most researched nutrients in the field of cardiovascular health has been vitamin K2, found in these very foods.

What are the benefits of vitamin K2? While vitamin K1 has the important role of preventing blood clots and bleeding disorders, K2 works differently.

According to a 2019 study published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences, K2 benefits include helping with nutrient assimilation, growth in infants and children, fertility, brain function, and bone and dental health. Unfortunately many people don’t get enough of this type from their diets.

Something that makes vitamin K unique (both types: K1 and K2) is that it’s not usually taken in supplement form. K2 seems to be much more beneficial when obtained naturally from vitamin K foods.

Unlike vitamin K1, which is mostly found in plant foods like leafy greens, you get K2 from animal-derived foods, like grass-fed meats, raw/fermented cheeses and eggs. It’s also produced by the beneficial bacteria in your gut microbiome.

What Is Vitamin K2?

While we hear the most about vitamin K1 and K2, there are actually a bunch of different compounds that fall into the “vitamin K” category. Vitamin K1 is also known as phylloquinone, while K2 is known as menaquinone.

Compared to many other vitamins, the roles and health benefits of vitamin K2 were only recently discovered. What does vitamin K2 help with? It has many functions in the body, but the most important is helping the body to use calcium and preventing calcification of the arteries, which can lead to heart disease. Emerging studies show a lack of this vitamin is also associated with diseases including osteoporosis.

If there’s one thing that we need K2 for, it’s preventing calcium from building up in the wrong locations, specifically in soft tissues. Low intake of vitamin K2 can contribute to plaque building in the arteries, tartar forming on the teeth, and hardening of tissues that causes arthritis symptoms, bursitis, reduced flexibility, stiffness and pain.

Some evidence also suggests that K2 has anti-inflammatory properties and may offer some protection against cancer, including research published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism.

What the difference between vitamin K2 and MK7? K2 is a group of menaquinones compounds, which are abbreviated as “MK.” MK7 is one type of menaquinones that is responsible for many of the benefits attributed to vitamin K2. MK4 has been the focus of many vitamin K2 studies, but other types like MK7 and MK8 also have unique abilities.

Vitamin K2 vs. Vitamin K1

  • There’s some evidence that people tend to get about 10 times more vitamin K1 (or phylloquinone) from their diets than vitamin K2 (menaquinone). Vitamin K1 deficiency is very rare, even said to be “almost nonexistent,” while K2 deficiency is much more common.
  • A growing body of research now demonstrates that vitamins K1 and K2 are not only different forms of the same vitamin, but basically operate like different vitamins all together.
  • Vitamin K1 is more abundant in foods but less bioactive than the vitamin K2. 
  • Vitamin K2 from animal foods is more active in humans. This doesn’t mean that plant foods that provide K1 are unhealthy, just that they are not the best dietary sources of bioavailable vitamin K2.
  • When we eat foods with K1, vitamin K1 mostly makes it to the liver and then the bloodstream once converted. K2, on the other hand, gets distributed to bones and other tissues more easily.
  • Vitamin K1 is very important for supporting blood clotting, but not as good at protecting the bones and teeth as K2.

 

 

Uses

What is vitamin k2 used for? Here are some of the major benefits and uses associated with this vitamin:

1. Helps Regulate Use of Calcium

One of the most important jobs that vitamin K2 has is controlling where calcium accumulates in the body. Vitamin K2 benefits the skeleton, heart, teeth and nervous system by helping regulate use of calcium, especially in the bones, arteries and teeth.

The “calcium paradox” is a common term for the realization by medical professionals that supplementing with calcium can somewhat reduce the risk of osteoporosis but then increases the risk of heart disease. Why does this happen? Vitamin K2 deficiency!

K2 works closely with vitamin D3 to helps inhibit osteoclasts, which are cells responsible for bone resorption.

The Vitamin D and calcium relationship is important, as vitamin D helps transport calcium from the intestines as it digests into the bloodstream. Unfortunately, vitamin D’s job is done at that point. Next, vitamin K2 must activate one of its dependent proteins, osteocalcin. Research shows it then takes calcium out of the bloodstream and deposits it into bones and teeth.

For the best overall health benefits, it’s important to get enough calcium, vitamin D3 and vitamin K. Depending on your age, health and diet, you may need to take a vitamin D3 supplement, and possibly other supplements, too.

Vitamin K2 is essential for the function of several proteins in addition to osteocalcin, which is why it helps with growth and development. For example, it’s involved in the maintenance of structures of the arterial walls, osteoarticular system, teeth and the regulation of cell growth.

2. Protects the Cardiovascular System

Vitamin K2 is one of the best vitamins for men because it offers protection against heart-related problems, including atherosclerosis (stiffening of the arteries), which are the leading causes of death in many developed countries. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, every year more than half of deaths due to heart disease are in men.

A 2015 report published in the Integrative Medicine Clinician’s Journal explains that

Vitamin K2 is associated with the inhibition of arterial calcification and arterial stiffening. An adequate intake of vitamin K2 has been shown to lower the risk of vascular damage because it activates matrix GLA protein (MGP), which inhibits the deposits of calcium on the walls.

The Rotterdam Study, a very large study done in the Netherlands that followed more than 4,800 adult men, found that the highest intake of vitamin K2 was associated with the lowest chances of suffering from aortic calcification. Men who consumed the most K2 were found to have a 52 percent lower risk of severe aortic calcification and a 41 percent lower risk of coronary heart disease.

The men in the study with the highest K2 intake also benefited from a 51 percent lower risk of dying from heart disease, and a 26 percent lower risk of dying from any cause (total mortality).

A 2017 study found that this vitamin was associated with a 12 percent increase in maximal cardiac output and that supplementation seemed to improve cardiovascular function in diseased patients. It seems to do this by restoring mitochondrial function and playing a “key role in production of mitochondrial adenosine triphosphate” (ATP).

3. Supports Bone and Dental Health

For decades, vitamin K was known to be important for blood coagulation — but only recently human studies have uncovered how it support bone health and protect against vascular diseases, too.

According to a 2017 article published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, “K2 may be a useful adjunct for the treatment of osteoporosis, along with vitamin D and calcium.”

Another 2015 meta-analysis supports the hypothesis that “vitamin K2 plays kind of a role in the maintenance and improvement of vertebral bone mineral density and the prevention of fractures in postmenopausal women with osteoporosis.”

K2 benefits the skeletal system by taking calcium and helping usher it into bones and teeth to make them solid and strong. A number of animal and human studies have investigated whether or not vitamin K2 can be useful for helping prevent or treat fractures, osteoporosis and bone loss.

Certain clinical studies have found that K2 slows the rate of bone loss in adults and even helps increase bone mass, plus it may reduce risk of hip fractures and vertebral fractures in older women.

K2 can enhance osteocalcin accumulation in the extracellular matrix of osteoblasts inside bones, meaning it promotes bone mineralization. A 2018 review reports that there is also evidence to support the effects of vitamin k2 on differentiation of other mesenchymal stem cells into osteoblasts.

Additionally, it helps maintain the structure of the teeth and jaws. Many traditional cultures included K2 foods in their diets because they believed it could help prevent cavities, tooth decay and plaque formation. This impact was observed in the 1930s by dentist Weston A. Price, who found that the primitive cultures with K2-rich diets had strong, healthy teeth although they’d never been exposed to western dental hygiene.

It turns out that getting plenty of K2 during pregnancy is also important for fetal growth and bone health. During fetal development, having limited osteocalcin proteins activated (which require vitamin K2) equates to undergrowth of the lower third of the facial bone and jaw structure. Some experts believe this is the reason so many children in modern society need braces.

4. May Protect From Cancer

Some research shows that those who have high amounts of K2 in their diet are at lower risk of developing some types of cancers. For example, vitamin K2 may help to protect specifically from leukemia, prostate, lung, and liver cancers.

5. Defends From Rheumatoid Arthritis Damage

In patients with rheumatoid arthritis, supplementing with vitamin K2 has been shown to result in a slowdown of bone mineral density loss and to decrease the amount of RANKL, an inflammatory compound, in the blood of subjects.

This suggests that K2 might be a useful supplement to a rheumatoid arthritis diet.

6. Improves Hormonal Balance

Inside our bones, K2 can be used to produce osteocalcin hormone, which has positive metabolic and hormonal effects.

Fat-soluble vitamins are important for the production of reproductive/sex hormones, including estrogen and testosterone. Because of its hormonal-balancing effects, women with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and postmenopausal women can benefit from getting more K2 in their diets, according to recent studies.

K2 can also helps promote blood sugar balance and insulin sensitivity, which can reduce the risk for metabolic problems like diabetes and obesity. Some research suggests that K2 helps regulate glucose metabolism by modulating osteocalcin and/or proinflammatory pathways.

7. Helps Promote Kidney Health

K2 may benefit the kidneys by helping prevent the formation of calcium accumulation in the wrong places, the underlying cause of kidney stones. It may also do the same for other organs, too, including the gallbladder.

In addition, a lack of K2 and vitamin D has been associated in studies with a higher occurrence of kidney disease.

Foods

What foods are high in vitamin k2? Vitamin K1 is found in mostly vegetables, while K2 is found in mostly animal products or fermented foods.

K2 is a fat-soluble vitamin, so it’s present in animal foods that also contain fat, specifically saturated fat and cholesterol.

Animals help transform vitamin K1 into K2, while humans do not have the necessary enzyme to do this efficiently. This is why we benefit from getting K2 directly from animal-derived foods — and why sticking to grass-fed animal products provides the most K2.

The 20 best vitamin K2 foods include (percentages based on daily value requirement of 120 micrograms):

  1. Natto: 1 ounce: 313 micrograms (261 percent DV)
  2. Beef liver: 1 slice: 72 micrograms (60 percent DV)
  3. Chicken, especially dark meat: 3 ounces: 51 mcg (43 percent DV)
  4. Goose liver pate: 1 tablespoon: 48 micrograms (40 percent DV)
  5. Hard cheeses (such as Gouda, Pecorino Romano, Gruyere, etc.): 1 ounce: 25 micrograms (20 percent DV)
  6. Jarlsberg cheese: 1 slice: 22 micrograms (19 percent DV)
  7. Soft cheeses: 1 ounce: 17 mcg (14 percent DV)
  8. Blue cheese: 1 ounce: 10 micrograms (9 percent DV)
  9. Ground beef: 3 ounces: 8 micrograms (7 percent DV)
  10. Goose meat: 1 cup: 7 micrograms (6 percent DV)
  11. Egg yolk, specifically from grass-fed chickens: 5.8 micrograms (5 percent DV)
  12. Beef kidneys/organ meat: 3 ounces: 5 mcg (4 percent DV)
  13. Duck breast: 3 ounces: 4.7 micrograms (4 percent DV)
  14. Sharp cheddar cheese: 1 ounce: 3.7 micrograms (3 percent DV)
  15. Chicken liver (raw or pan-fried): 1 ounce: 3.6 micrograms (3 percent DV)
  16. Whole milk: 1 cup: 3.2 micrograms (3 percent DV)
  17. Canadian bacon/cured ham: 3 ounces: 3 micrograms (2 percent DV)
  18. Grass-fed butter: 1 tablespoon: 3 micrograms (2 percent DV)
  19. Sour cream: 2 tablespoons: 2.7 micrograms (2 percent DV)
  20. Cream cheese: 2 tablespoons: 2.7 micrograms (2 percent DV)

The more vitamin K1 an animal consumes from its diet, the higher the level of K2 that will be stored in the tissues. This is the reason that “grass-fed” and “pastured-raised” animal products are superior to products that come from factory farm raised animals.

Going back to the fact that vitamin K2 comes in several forms, MK7 is found in the highest concentration in animal foods, while the other types are found in mostly fermented foods. MK4 is the synthetic form of K2.

For those following a vegan diet, K2 can be hard to come by — unless you love natto! This “stinky sock” fermented soy food is an acquired taste and is also the only vegan source of K2. Fortunately, it’s also the richest source (and the food used to make the type of K2 supplement I recommend).

 

Dosage

How much vitamin k2 do you need each day?

The minimum daily requirement of K2 in adults is between 90–120 micrograms per day.

  • Some experts recommend getting about 150 to 400 micrograms daily, ideally from K2 foods as opposed to dietary supplements.
  • Overall it’s recommended to tailor your dosage depending on your current health.  People with a higher risk of heart disease or bone loss (such as older women) may benefit from getting a dose on the higher end of the spectrum (200 micrograms or more).
  • Those looking to maintain their health can get a bit less, especially from supplements, such as around 100 micrograms.

Is it beneficial to take vitamin K dietary supplements?

If you take a supplement that contains vitamin K, the chances are very likely that it’s vitamin K1 but not K2.

While some newer K2 supplements are now available, the type of supplement matters greatly.

  • MK4, the form of K2 found in many vitamin K supplements, is a synthetic K2 with a short half-life. This means that to get the full benefit of it, you have to take it multiple times throughout the day.
  • Often, an MK4 serving size is thousands of micrograms to counteract the half-life of the compound. However, MK7 derived from natto has a much longer half-life and can be taken in more reasonable doses like those listed above.

Remember that vitamin K works with other fat-soluble vitamins, like vitamins A and D, so the best way to obtain these nutrients is to eat foods that provide many different vitamins — like eggs and raw, full-fat dairy products.

Particularly for those at risk of osteoporosis, calcium should also be a nutrient you aim to eat a lot of while increasing your K2 intake.

Deficiency Symptoms

What happens if you get too little vitamin K?

Symptoms of vitamin K2 deficiency can include:

  • Blood vessel and heart-related problems, like arterial calcification and high blood pressure
  • Poor bone metabolism and possibly higher risk for bone loss and hip fractures
  • Kidney and gallstones
  • Cavities and other dental issues tied to tooth decay
  • Symptoms of inflammatory bowel disease, like bloody stool, indigestion and diarrhea
  • Poor blood sugar balance and higher risk for blood sugar issues and diabetes
  • Metabolic problems
  • Higher chance of having morning sickness in pregnant women
  • Spider veins/varicose veins

Among adults living in industrialized nations, deficiency in this vitamin is considered to be rare. However, newborn babies and infants are much more susceptible to deficiency due to how their digestive systems lack the ability to produce K2.

Adults are at a greater risk of developing vitamin K2 deficiency if they suffer from any of these health conditions:

  • Diseases that affect the digestive tract, including types of inflammatory bowel disease like Crohn’s disease, ulcerative colitis or celiac disease
  • Malnutrition, due to calorie restriction or poverty
  • Excessive alcohol consumption/alcoholism
  • Use of drugs that block K2 absorption, which can include antacids, blood thinners, antibiotics, aspirin, cancer treatment drugs, seizure medication and high cholesterol drugs — cholesterol-lowering statin drugs and certain osteoporosis drugs inhibit the conversion of K2, which can greatly lower levels
  • Prolonged vomiting and/or diarrhea

Risks and Side Effects

Is too much vitamin K2 bad for you? While it’s rare to experience side effects or vitamin k2 toxicity from getting high amounts from food alone, you might develop symptoms if you take high doses of vitamin K supplements.

However, for most people even high doses of this vitamin, such as 15 milligrams three times a day, have been shown to generally be safe.

Are there potential drug interactions to worry about? If you’re someone who takes the drug Coumadin, a potential side effect associated with taking too much vitamin K is increasing your risk for heart-related problems.

Too much vitamin K can also also contribute to complications in people with blood clotting disorders.

Look for a supplement that specifically lists menaquinone if you plan to supplement. Because vitamin K supplements can interact with many medications, talk to your doctor if you plan to take a vitamin K supplement and are taking any daily medications.

Final Thoughts

  • Vitamin K2 (also called menaquinone) is a fat-soluble vitamin that helps with calcium metabolism, bone and dental health, heart health, and hormone balance.
  • Vitamin K1 is found in mostly green vegetables, while vitamin K2 (the more bioavailable form) is found in mostly animal products or fermented foods.
  • Benefits of getting more vitamin K2 from your diet include: helping to reduce your risk for calcification of the arteries, atherosclerosis, cavities, tooth decay, kidney problems, and hormonal imbalances.
  • This vitamin seems to be much more beneficial when obtained naturally from foods high in vitamin K2, rather than supplements. Consuming raw, fermented cheeses and other full-fat dairy products is the best way to get adequate amounts. Eggs, liver and dark meats are other good sources.

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Subtle Signs You May Have Clogged Arteries

How common are clogged arteries?

 

coronary artery angiography ,Coronary artery disease , left coronary angiographyEach year in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 735,000 people suffer a heart attack and 610,000 people die of coronary heart disease (CHD). That’s one in four deaths. Preventing heart disease in patients is a physician’s main goal, but early detection is the next best thing. This can lead to changes in lifestyle and medical therapies that can delay or deny the onset of a heart attack; almost 80 percent of heart disease is preventable with lifestyle changes. Many of my patients are shocked to learn about the following clues to underlying clogged arteries and heart disease.

 

Erectile dysfunction (ED)

 

Closeup shot of male waist with hand in pocket dressed in black pants, belt, grey shirt, black tie and watch with brown watch strap. Formal wear.

 

Men have a built-in warning system for silent CHD. When achieving an erection is difficult or impossible, it can be a sign of clogged arteries in the pelvis that presents before a heart attack hits. There are, on average, three to five years between the onset of ED and the finding of CHD, which is plenty of time to detect and work on preventing heart issues. If you and your partner are worried about sexual performance, it’s smart to look for and treat the root causes of diseased arteries before automatically turning to a blue pill.

 

Calf pain when you walk

 

7 Silent Signs You May Have Clogged Arteries

This is known as claudication (from the Latin for “to limp”). Atherosclerosis can block leg arteries, particularly in smokers, before CHD is diagnosed. This symptom requires an evaluation without delay. Your doctor will examine the pulses in your legs and perform simple measurements of leg blood pressure and blood flow to confirm a diagnosis of poor circulation. It is crucial that heart disease be diagnosed as early as possible because there are many dietary and medical treatments that can help reverse the problem. I advise my patients to eat more plant-based foods and fewer animal products and to start a walking program. Their calf pain completely resolved within weeks and has not recurred for years. Anyone with any of the above signs of silent CHD should know his or her numbers (blood pressure, cholesterol, and fasting glucose). Ask your doctor if you should be checked for heart disease with an EKG, a coronary calcium CT imaging, or an exercise stress testing.

Tight jaw

 

woman with cheek pain or chin pain.Acute pain in a woman Salivary gland . Female holding hand to spot of nape-aches. Concept photo with read spot indicating location of the pain.

This symptom of clogged arteries occurs more often in women, but men should be aware of it, too. According to the Harvard Medical School, aches and pains in the jaw and neck are common symptoms of angina, which is the discomfort that results from poor blood flow to part of the heart. The pain occurs because the vagus nerve (the main nerve that carries pain signals from the heart) is in constant contact with the neck, jaw, head, and left arm. Visit your doctor to find out if your jaw pain is the result of something benign, such are teeth grinding, or if it’s something you’ll want to monitor with caution.

 

Lower back pain

 

Pain in back. Cropped image of young African man touching his back

Your lower back pain might not be a simple sign of aging muscles. According to the Physicians Community for Responsible Medicine, the lower back is also often one of the first parts of the body to accumulate plaque. You’ll feel pain because the reduced blood flow to the area can weaken the disks that cushion the vertebrae.

 

Smoking habit

 

7 Silent Signs You May Have Clogged Arteries

The chemicals in tobacco damage the structure and function of your blood vessels and damage the function of your heart. This damage increases your risk of atherosclerosis, according to the National Heart, Blood, and Lung Institute. One of the best things you can do to decrease your risk of CHD is to quit. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers help for quitting smoking.

 

Joel K. Kahn, MD.

 

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Magnesium and Heart Disease

 

Magnesium and heart health are linked.

 

For years, the medical industry thought cholesterol was the most important factor in heart disease.

But that idea is being flipped on its head…

A decade-long study looking at cardiovascular disease found that low magnesium contributed more to heart disease than cholesterol or saturated fat. That’s amazing!

The simple act of taking a high quality magnesium supplement can help prevent heart problems better than obsessing about cholesterol levels.

More and more doctors are turning to magnesium as the first line of defense to protect the heart.

It makes sense! Magnesium…

  • Regulates heart rhythm (preventing arrhythmia)
  • Wards off angina (the intense chest pain caused by arteries having spasms)
  • Keeps electrical signals firing properly
  •  And reduces high blood pressure

Supplementing is even more important as you age, since older people have a harder time absorbing magnesium, they store less of it in their bones, and lose more of it in their urine.

It can be difficult to get enough magnesium through food alone. That’s why most doctors recommend supplementing…

In all my studying, I’ve found your heart deserves all the help it can get.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. Prevention is possible.

And magnesium is one of the best ways to keep your heart beating pain-free.

Like any medication, you have to make sure the right magnesium and the amount you take is right for you.  Also magnesium can not be taken alone.

Contact us, and we can help you figure this out for YOU!

Remember we are in this together,

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Plastic Tea Bags : Plastic in Your Body

 

Billions of ‘Microplastics’ in Your Tea From Each Plastic Teabag

News Picture: Billions of 'Microplastics' in Your Tea From Each Plastic Teabag: Study

A new study warns that even your soothing cup of tea might serve up some invisible health hazards.

Some tea companies are replacing traditional paper teabags with plastic ones, but the new bags may be adding billions of tiny bits of plastic to your beverage, a team from Canada reports.

“We show that steeping a single plastic teabag at brewing temperature [205 degrees Fahrenheit] releases approximately 11.6 billion microplastics and 3.1 billion nanoplastics into a single cup of the beverage,” concluded a team led by Nathalie Tufenkji. She’s a professor of chemical engineering at McGill University in Montreal.

The global proliferation of microplastics — bits of plastic so small they are often invisible to the naked eye — have made headlines recently, having been found in large numbers in ocean and tap water, seafood and even human poop.

“In the past few years, there has been a steadily increasing body of scientific literature demonstrating that not only are microplastics permeating the broader environment, they are entering our bodies, as well,” noted Dr. Kenneth Spaeth, chief of occupational and environmental medicine at Northwell Health in Great Neck, N.Y. He wasn’t involved in the new research.

Spaeth stressed that there’s just too little data on whether or not microplastics pose a threat to human health. However, “based on the molecular composition of microplastics, there is reason to have real concern about the potential health effects,” he said, “since they contain a variety of components known to harm human health — including hormone-disrupting chemicals, as well as human carcinogens.”

In the new study, the Montreal team noted that the heat of brewed tea can cause plastic tea bags to break down into bits of plastic that are thousands of times smaller than the diameter of a human hair. That means you can’t see, taste or feel them in your mouth.

Investigating further, the researchers removed the tea from plastic teabags sourced from four different manufacturers. They then washed out the empty bags and placed them in hot water.

Using a powerful electron microscope, Tufenkji’s team found that a single bag released close to 12 billion microplastic particles, and more than 3 billion of the [even smaller] nanoplastic particles, into the water.

These levels were thousands of times greater than seen in other foods, they noted.

In a separate experiment, the researchers fed varying doses of these particles to very tiny animals — water fleas. Although the fleas lived, they did exhibit some physical and behavioral abnormalities after being fed the microplastics, the researchers report Sept. 25 in the journal Environmental Science & Technology.

Still, more research must be done to see if microplastics have health effects on humans, the McGill researchers said.

Spaeth said the new study “raises the specter that human exposure to microplastics is not just a result of the widespread contamination of the broader environment, but that our use of plastics in consumer products is notably adding to our microplastics exposure.”     Steven Reinberg

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Health and Disease, Uncategorized

Most Heart Attacks are Caused by Hospital Employees

In-Hospital Cardiac Arrests May Be a ‘Major Public Health Problem’

News Picture: In-Hospital Cardiac Arrests May Be a 'Major Public Health Problem'

– Many more U.S. hospital patients suffer cardiac arrestthan previously thought, a new study reveals.

Cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating. It differs from a heart attack, in which blood flow to the heart is blocked.

This new analysis concluded that there are about 38% more adult cases and 18% more cases in children each year than estimated in a 2011 report.

“Our findings illustrate a concerning trend in U.S. hospitals, and show that cardiac arrest is a major public health problem,” said study co-author Dr. Lars Andersen, an associate professor at Aarhus University in Denmark.

The findings stem from American Hospital Association survey data. They were published July 9 in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

“Previous incidence estimates may no longer reflect the current public health burden of cardiac arrest in hospitalized patients across the U.S.,” Andersen said in a journal news release. He oversaw the study as a visiting researcher at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

Using recent U.S. hospital data, Andersen’s team estimated there are about 292,000 adult in-hospital cardiac arrests and 15,200 child in-hospital events each year.

That’s up from the 2011 estimates of 211,000 adult cases and 6,000 in children.

“Unfortunately, the data does not provide an explanation for the increase in adult in-hospital cardiac arrest, but it is likely due to many factors and may reflect an increase in actual events or in the reporting of cases over time,” Andersen said.

For example, the investigators believe the hike in pediatric cases is likely due to expanded reporting.

Andersen noted that life-support training programs tend to emphasize out-of-hospital resuscitation. The new findings suggest these programs should be expanded to include potential in-hospital responders, he said.

“It is also important to note that end-of-life discussions and decisions are crucial in order to avoid attempts at resuscitation in patients where it is likely futile or against a patient’s wishes,” Andersen said.

— Robert Preidt

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HFMD: Hand Foot and Mouth Disease

What is hand, foot, and mouth (HFMD) disease?

Hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD) is a viral infection characterized by fever and a typical rash most frequently seen on the palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and inside the mouth. It should not be confused with foot (hoof) and mouth disease that affects cattle, sheep, and swine.

Picture of Verruca Vulgaris After Treatment

What causes hand, foot, and mouth disease?

HFMD is one of several infectious diseases caused by different members of the enterovirus family of viruses. The most common cause is Coxsackievirus A16; less frequently enterovirus 71 is the infectious agent. The clinical manifestations of routine HFMD are the same regardless of the responsible virus. However, patients infected with enterovirus 71 are more likely to experience rare complications (for example, viral meningitis or cardiac muscle involvement).

What are the risk factors for hand, foot and mouth disease?

Risk factors for developing HFMD include

  • summer and fall seasons,
  • toddler age range,
  • high-risk exposure location (such as daycare and preschool) and close contact (for example, family home) locations,
  • ineffective hygiene — infrequent soap and water hand-washing or not wearing disposable gloves when changing stool-containing diapers, and
  • a compromised immune system.

Picture of characteristic rash and blisters of hand, foot, and mouth disease

Is hand, foot, and mouth disease contagious? How does HFMD spread?

HFMD is spread person to person by direct contact with the infecting virus (either Coxsackievirus A16 or less commonly enterovirus 71). These viruses are most commonly found in the nasal and throat regions but also in the blister fluid or stool of infected individuals. The virus can survive on inanimate surfaces such as desktops, faucets, etc. It can then be transferred by touching contaminated surfaces and then touching your nose, mouth, or eyes before washing your hands. Likewise, changing diapers from an infected infant without wearing gloves or hand-washing can transmit disease. Water contaminated with the virus can also transmit the infection. Women who are infected shortly prior to delivery may pass on the infection to their infant. The baby will generally have a mild illness but should be monitored closely since in rare cases they could develop a more severe infection or experience complications. Infected individuals are most contagious during the first week of their illness. HFMD cannot be contracted from pets or animals.

The viruses that cause HFMD may remain in the person’s respiratory or intestinal tract for several weeks to months after all symptoms have resolved. It is possible, therefore, to transmit the infection even though the formerly ill individual has completely recovered. Some individuals (most commonly adults) may exhibit no symptoms or signs during their infection but may unwittingly transmit the illness to those (commonly infants and children) who are not immune.

Picture of Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease in Mouth (2 of 2)

What is the contagious period for hand, foot, and mouth disease?

Once exposed to the virus, those who develop symptoms and signs will do so within 1-3 days. They are most contagious during the first week of the illness. However, the virus may continue to be shed for one to three weeks in respiratory secretions (saliva and/or nasal mucous) and in the stool for two to eight weeks after the primary infection.

What is the incubation period for hand, foot, and mouth disease?

HFMD is moderately contagious and spreads from person to person. It cannot be spread by animals. Usually, the virus is passed via oral secretions (nasal discharge and saliva, etc.) or via stool. There is a short 1- to 3-day incubation period between exposure and development of initial symptoms (fever and malaise). A person is most contagious during the first week of illness.

Picture of characteristic mouth sores of hand, foot, and mouth disease

Can adults get hand, foot, and mouth disease?

An adult who was never exposed to the viruses that cause HFMD as a child could develop the characteristic symptoms and physical signs (vesicular rash with the characteristic distribution) if infected by the virus. Interestingly, the majority of adults exposed to enteroviruses will remain without symptoms. Unfortunately, an infected person is still contagious even though he lacks objective physical findings.

What are the symptoms and signs of hand, foot, and mouth disease?

HFMD is most commonly an illness of the summer and fall seasons.

  • Initial symptoms of a low-grade fever (101 F-102 F) and malaise are followed within 1 or 2 days by a characteristic skin rash.
  • Small (2 mm-3 mm) red spots that quickly develop into small blisters (vesicles) appear on the palms, soles, and oral cavity.
    • The gums, tongue, and inner cheek are most commonly involved in the mouth.
    • The foot lesions may also involve the lower calf region and rarely may appear on the buttocks.
    • Oral lesions are commonly associated with a sore throat, uncomfortable eating and drinking, and as a result, a diminished appetite. It is very rare for an infected child to become dehydrated due to oral discomfort.
  • It is estimated that approximately 50% of those infected with this enterovirus never develop symptoms. Symptoms are much more common in infants, toddlers, and young children. Older children, teens, and adults are more likely to incur no symptoms.

When does hand, foot, and mouth disease usually occur?

In the temperate northern hemisphere, summer and fall are the most frequent seasons for community epidemics of HFMD. The illness is year-round in the tropics. While anyone exposed to the viral causes of HFMD may develop disease, not everyone infected will develop symptoms and signs

Picture of Verruca Vulgaris

How long does hand, foot, and mouth disease last?

The total duration of illness from HFMD is approximately 5-7 days. One to three days after viral invasion of the patient, the first symptoms become evident. These include fever, reduced appetite, sore throat, and a general sense of feeling ill (malaise). One to two days later, the characteristic painful mouth sores develop. The final stage of the illness is manifested by small, tender red spots which progress to blisters in the mouth, palms of the hands, soles of the feet, and less frequently on the arms and legs, as well as the buttock and genital areas.

What is the course of hand, foot, and mouth disease?

The illness is characteristically self-limited and is usually resolved within a week, particularly when due to its most common cause, Coxsackievirus A16. In those outbreaks due to enterovirus 71, the illness may be more severe with complications such as infection of the heart muscle and/or viral meningitis and encephalitis and paralytic disease. As a rule, HFMD is generally a mild and self-limited illness.

Picture of Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease in Mouth (1 of 2)

Why haven’t we heard more about hand, foot, and mouth disease?

Recognition of hand, foot, and mouth disease is relatively recent (when contrasted with mumps, measles, and chickenpox, for example). HFMD was first reported in 1956 in Australia. By the early 1960s, it had emerged as a common childhood illness around the world.

How do health care professionals diagnose hand, foot, and mouth disease?

Usually, the diagnosis of HFMD is made on a combination of clinical history and characteristic physical findings. Laboratory confirmation is rarely necessary unless severe complications develop.

Picture of Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease on Foot

What is the treatment for hand, foot, and mouth disease?

Treatment of HFMD is directed toward symptomatic relief of fever and sore throat. Antibiotics are not indicated in the treatment of this viral disease. Intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) has been tried as a therapy for severely ill patients or immunocompromised older patients with variable success.

Picture of Verruca Plana

What are complications of hand, foot, and mouth disease?

Complications of HFMD are relatively rare. The more common cause of HFMD (Coxsackievirus A16) is less likely to cause complications when compared with enterovirus-71.

Complications include the following:

  1. “Aseptic” (also called “viral”) meningitis (rare): Symptoms of meningitis are moderate-severe headache, discomfort when bending the head forward (classically tested by trying to touch the chin to the chest), and nausea and vomiting. Meningitis is an infection of the tissues and spinal fluid that surrounds the brain and the spinal cord. The diagnosis is confirmed by a lumbar puncture (also known as a “spinal tap”). Depending upon severity of the patient’s symptoms, they may need to be hospitalized.
  2. Encephalitis (brain infection): Encephalitis is much less common but more ominous when compared with meningitis and requires hospitalization for close monitoring. Other rare neurologic complications include paralysis, Guillain-Barré syndrome, transverse myelitis, and cerebellar ataxia. Transient and permanent impairment can both occur.
  3. Occasionally, the virus may infect the heart muscle fibers and thus compromise the heart’s blood-pumping capabilities.
  4. Young infants may very rarely become dehydrated due to refusal to take oral fluids as a consequence of mouth pain.
  5. In very rare circumstances, the skin vesicles may develop a secondary bacterial infection. A short course of antibiotics are used to treat the secondary infection.

How does hand, foot, and mouth disease affect pregnancy and the baby?

Commonly, HFMD is an illness of children less than 10 years of age; adults generally were exposed during childhood and maintain a natural immunity. Information regarding fetal exposure to HFMD during pregnancy is limited. No solid evidence exists that maternal enterovirus infection is associated with complications such as spontaneous abortion or congenital defects. However, should a baby be born to a mother with active HFMD symptoms and signs, the risk of neonatal infection is high. While such newborns often have a mild illness, a newborn infant is highly vulnerable and may develop an overwhelming and potentially fatal infection involving vital organs such as liver, heart, and brain, which could be fatal.

Picture of Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease on Hand (1 of 2)

When can children with hand, foot, and mouth disease return to school?

Children may return to school once without fever for 24 hours (usually day three or four of the disease).

What is the prognosis of hand, foot, and mouth disease?

The prognosis for routine HFMD is excellent. A patient’s symptoms are bothersome but not debilitating. Medications designed to reduce fever and/or pain relievers are helpful, such as acetaminophen(Tylenol) or ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin). Young children often find that cool/soft foods (ice cream, smoothies, etc.) provide some pain relief and are psychologically helpful as “special treats.” An individual assessment is required for those unique individuals who develop complications (such as meningitis). As would be anticipated, those with an immunocompromised status are more likely to develop either a more serious infection or an illness of a more intense nature than those with a normally functioning immune system.

Picture of Hand-Foot-and-Mouth Disease on Hand (2 of 2)

Is it possible to prevent hand, foot, and mouth disease?

There is no vaccine to prevent HFMD. Routine hygiene (soap and water washing of the hands) is a primary strategy to limit transmission of the virus. Cleaning a child’s toys (especially those which would be placed into the mouth or drooled upon) is important. Avoidance of direct saliva exposure (kissing, sharing eating utensils, etc.) is also very helpful to limit transmission. Since transmission of the virus is also possible via stool, wearing disposable gloves during changing of diapers (especially in a preschool or day care setting) is also beneficial.

 

 

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