Medication

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Your Lifestyle Choices: Are You Preventing Disease – or Inviting It?

Maverick Health and my book, A Nurse Practitioner’s Guide to Smart Health Choices, are all about using your lifestyle behaviors to prevent or control chronic diseases. I’ve been at this for over a decade now and every day I read studies and hear news-bites that only validate what I write about on this blog and talk about in my book.

But until you know what I know and, more importantly, act on what you know all this information is useless. Read this post about a study in Europe that looked at how well people controlled their risk factors after they’d already had a heart attack or serious cardiac event. Hint: reviewers that read the study found its results “ominous”.

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High Blood Pressure Rx – Keeping It Simple

Successful treatment of high blood pressure is difficult to achieve for a couple of reasons. First, health practitioners have many drugs and multiple guidelines from which to choose when making a treatment plan for individual patients. Second, patients do not like taking medications, so often they don’t take them as they should - if they take them at all.

Researchers in Canada looked at this problem to see if they could come up with a simpler and more effective approach that would make it easier for prescribers and easier for patients. They published their findings in the April 2009 issue of Hypertension.

Read this post to see which drugs helped 20% more people reach their BP goals.

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Vitamin D Update – Are 3 out of 4 Americans Really Deficient?

Six months ago, in September 2008, I wrote a post on vitamin D. Since then info keeps pouring in about the apparent benefit of this supplement. This month researchers at the University of Colorado Denver School of Medicine reported that three out of four Americans are deficient in vitamin D. They claim that’s up from about one out two 20 years ago. Some have argued that it might just seem that way because of how vitamin D was measured then and now.

After I researched and wrote that post 6 months ago, I started measuring my patients’ vitamin D levels. I am shocked at the results.

Read this post to see what vitamin D levels are like here in the “Sunshine State” of Florida.

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FDA Warns - Beware Contaminated Weight Loss Products

In late December 2008, the FDA published a warning to consumers about over the counter weight loss products now on the shelves that are contaminated with unapproved drugs and chemicals. If you are considering taking a weight loss supplement, please read this first.

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Jumping JUPITER – Do You Know Your CRP?

One of the biggest splashes in medicine this year came when, in November 2008, the New England Journal of Medicine published the results of a study called JUPITER.

It has the whole medical world talking. This study was done to see if taking a cholesterol-lowering statin drug for primary prevention would help healthy people prevent heart attacks, strokes, heart bypass surgery, hospitalization for chest pain, and death from cardiovascular events. It did.

Read on to see why this study may change national treatment guidelines and what your health provider recommends to reduce your health risks.

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Alcohol and Medications – Are You Making Smart Choices?

The holidays are here and many of us will be attending celebrations where alcohol is served. If you take medications and drink occasionally (or even regularly), you face a dilemma. Should you take your medications when you drink?

What’s the smart choice? You may be surprised at the answer.

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Wishing You a Healthy Flu Season and a Pneumonia Free New Year

It’s that time of year again – the leaves are turning, the weather is cooling off, the holidays are fast approaching - and that means flu season is, too. Yearly flu vaccination starts in September and continues throughout the flu season.

Here’s a tip - late October and early November are the best times to be vaccinated. Read this little primer on a yearly ritual. If you need vaccinated, now’s the time!

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Vitamin D - Let the Sunshine In

I’ve been seeing a lot of headlines lately about vitamin D. I recently read that one of the largest labs in the country reports vitamin D blood testing has risen for the last four years and is already up 90% so far this year. So does vitamin D really prevent disease and death or is it just a lot of hype? I reviewed the literature to learn more about vitamin D - and here is what I learned.

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What Adult Vaccinations Do You Need?

Do you remember your childhood vaccinations – the smell of alcohol that warned of the impending pain of needles? I sure do. I’ve had patients tell me they still get nervous around doctors and nurses and needles, all because of those awful shots. I hate to break this to you – but some of those shots have worn off and there are other vaccinations you need as an adult that you may not have had yet. Don’t get nervous, I can’t give you a shot over the Internet. But please read this post, shore up your courage and go get the vaccinations you need!

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Blood Pressure Meds Don’t Work - Unless You Take Them

High blood pressure is called the “silent killer” because it has no symptoms. I have patients who swear they know when their blood pressure is high, but I remain skeptical. More often than not when I take a BP that’s elevated, the person has no idea and “feels just fine”. I have seen patients in the emergency room with alarming, stroke-range BPs who hadn’t a clue their blood pressure was high. If you are on blood pressure medication - or wonder if you should be - please read this post.

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