Dizziness. Falls. Dementia. Even death. What do all these side effects have in common? It’s called “polypharmacy,” which literally means “many drugs.” In our modern age of medical miracles, we’ve come to expect that there’s a drug solution for almost any problem. The fact that we’re the only other country besides New Zealand that allows drug companies to advertise their wares on television merely compounds the problem, as the famous tagline, “ask your doctor about our wonderful drug” accompanies every commercial.
Feeling kind of blah lately? Not as much energy as you had all summer? Not so willing to drag yourself to parties, or even out of bed? What about swimming? Tennis? Volleyball? Can’t think of even one good reason to chase a little white ball around with a stick when they couldn’t keep you off the course all spring and summer?
Maybe you’re depressed. Or maybe you’re just normal. We here at MD 2.0 Jupiter often begin to notice a subtle change in many of our clients around this time of year, even here in Florida, where we don’t have to face the extreme plunges in temperature. Nothing serious, just a little less enthusiasm, a bit less cheerfulness, a little less energy. Carb cravings and changes in sleep patterns are also a part of the syndrome. It doesn’t happen to everyone, but if you’re feeling something less than your usual perky self, rest assured there’s a scientific reason for it.
It has several names: “winter depression,” “seasonality,” “seasonal affective disorder (SAD),” but the fact is, researchers have determined that the shorter days in winter are the chief cause of winter blues. This likely has an ancient-survival connection, as humans learned to restrict activity when food sources were scarce. Of course, that’s not a problem today, but the tendency may still be hardwired into our biology, and people may experience symptoms on a sliding scale from barely noticeable to full-blown clinical depression.
Your body’s circadian clock, which triggers sleep and wake cycles among other bodily regulatory mechanisms, also decrees the output of serotonin, the so-called “mood” hormone. Studies have revealed that the circadian-related output of serotonin drops markedly with the decrease in light during the winter. This has led to fairly successful attempts to boost the winter mood of sufferers with light-box therapy, which employs specially built full-spectrum lamps to alleviate symptoms.
If you feel the “winter blues” are impacting your life, your concierge practitioners at MD 2.0 Jupiter can help you employ the correct light therapy, prescribe such antidepressants as Paxil and Prozac, or recommend cognitive behavioral therapy. Meanwhile, there are steps you can take to mitigate milder cases.
1. Stay active, preferably outdoors
Exposure to early morning light has been shown to be the most effective at reducing symptoms, as has vigorous exercise. An early morning walk or run might be all you need to boost your spirits.
2. Light up your life
If you can’t get outside, at least let the sunshine in as much as possible. Open blinds and drapes first thing in the morning, and keep them open all day.
3. Eat right
Yes, we’re still singing that same ole song, because it’s important. Simple carbs and sugars wreak havoc with your blood sugar, and hence, your mood. Lean meats, fruits, vegetables and complex carbohydrates are what your body needs to keep your brain in top shape.
Meanwhile, be sure to let us know if your low mood begins to interfere with your daily functioning. We can help.
Everyone forgets things from time to time, but with publicity these days so focused on Alzheimer’s, even middle-aged people can worry that forgetting their car keys or their mother’s phone number can signal the onset of dementia, of which Alzheimer’s disease is a subset.
Yet there are many other reasons—usually benign—why people have trouble remembering things. Let’s look at a few.
A top contender is side effects from medications. Sometimes the drugs themselves can include memory impairment as a side effect (statins for cholesterol control and some diabetes drugs, for example); other times it’s the combination of drugs that when taken alone are fine but when taken in combination produce unexpected side effects. The concierge physicians here at MD 2.0 Jupiter are prepared to discuss these concerns with any drug you are taking.
Another possible reason for memory impairment is sleep apnea. Along with many other negative effects, obstructive sleep apnea has been associated with spatial navigational memory, the kind that helps you find objects or addresses. ADHD and minor or “silent” strokes can also cause you to have difficulty remembering things. So can anxiety, depression, an underactive thyroid, and poor nutrition, especially low vitamin B12. As we age, it becomes harder to assimilate B12 from foods, which can lead to fuzzy thinking, confusion, even dementia. Please discuss all these possibilities with us.
Often, though, poor memory is simply attributable to the stress of ordinary, day-to-day life. It even happens to younger people. Look at the parents who leave their children in hot cars. Over 30 infants and children have died that way just this year. How could anybody forget their own child, we wonder. And yet, despite all the warnings, all the tricks to help parents prevent this tragedy, it happens over and over.
The answer is simple: information overload. Think of your brain as a large room. If that room has only five items in it, when asked to locate your keys in there, it’s a simple task. But if that room has 5,000 items, or 50,000 or 500,000, you’ll eventually find them, but it’ll take quite a bit longer. This is what happens to our brains as we age. When we’re children, we may have five items in our brains. But as we grow older, we’re now storing everything from our high school locker combinations to our Aunt Sally’s banana cake recipe, not to mention everything we learned in school, have read in books and newspapers, and seen on TV. And these days we’re probably also on the Internet, with its constant bombardment of information. We need to remember how to do math, the date of our niece’s baby shower, and user names and 10-digit passwords for all kinds of things. Is it any wonder our brains take a little longer to find and retrieve a single piece of information, even if we think it should be a simple thing?
The rule of thumb is, if you can’t find your keys, it’s probably nothing. If you forget what your keys are for, that’s a red flag. Either way, if you’re worried, please call us.
Diabetes Mellitus or DM is a serious, non-communicable disease that affects a body’s capability to produce insulin, use insulin, or both, to stabilize blood glucose level. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) statistics report, about 29.1 million Americans are suffering from it, where 21 million are diagnosed cases while 8.1 million remain undiagnosed. It is also the 7th cause of death in the US in 2010. A common misconception about the condition states that only people who are 40 years old and up suffer from it. Truth be told, the prevalence of diabetes to people who are less than 30 years old is gradually increasing. In fact, about 1.7 million cases were divulged in 2012.
Diabetes should be managed properly at all times. Unfortunately, if you continue to have an unhealthy diet or if you fail to control your blood-sugar through medications, complications may arise. Here are some medical conditions that you have to face, caused by the uncontrolled glucose:
- Neuropathy – Half of the recorded cases suffer from nerve damage. The condition’s symptoms include tingling and numbing sensation, or stabbing pains, particularly in the hands and feet. This transpires
- Eye Complications – Diabetic patients are susceptible to Glaucoma, Cataracts, and Retinopathy, to name a few.
- Cardiovascular Problems – Including coronary heart disease (CHD) and diabetic cardiomyopathy.
- Kidney – Lack of adequate amount of insulin in your body damages the tiny blood vessel clusters, called glomeruli, inside your kidneys. The damaged filtering system can cause chronic kidney failure which will require kidney transplant or dialysis.
- Foot Infection – Caused by neuropathy, cuts, and blisters on the lower extremities will poorly heal. When the infection reaches the bone, amputation may be required.
Proper Diabetes Management
Once you have learned that you have an abnormally concentrated blood glucose, you have to make sure that you will manage your condition immediately to avoid complications. Visit MD 2.0’s concierge doctors and medical practitioners. We can provide you personalized and comprehensive health care to help you treat this properly. Appropriate medication will be given, depending on your condition. You will either be required to receive oral medicines or insulin shots to stabilize your blood glucose.
You must not rely on these medications. It is important that you maintain a healthy lifestyle, too. First, you have to alter your diet. Eat well by choosing carbs that are packed with fiber as these will not spike your blood sugar. Learn how to balance your diet by portioning your food. It can be hard at first but you will eventually get the hang of it. There are a lot of meal guides available on the internet. Choose the right recipes that will not aggravate your condition and always consult your doctors.
Physical activities must also be done 30 to 60 minutes a day to improve the production and efficiency of the insulin in your body. This will also help enhance weight loss, improve blood circulation, and decreases chances of hypertension. If you want to increase your activities, you need to visit MD 2.0 once again to evaluate the presence of macro- and microvascular complication that could possibly be worsened due to exercise programs.
Proper diabetes management should be executed to keep you healthy at all times. It may be hard at first, but knowing the basics will help you ensure that you can lessen the complications your condition brings. Ask support from your family. Educating them about your condition will also help you live a healthy lifestyle.
In our society, free time is at a premium because let’s face it- most of us don’t have much of it.
Sadly, it is often our health that suffers as a result of our jam-packed lives.
Stress is a killer, and we seem to find it lurks around every corner.
Real healthy living starts with a commitment to making healthy decisions today in preparation for well-being tomorrow. It’s a lifestyle choice that requires dedication to the ideals and application of whole life health principles for body, mind and spirit.
“An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” -Benjamin Franklin
Heart disease. Cancer. Diabetes.
These conditions affect millions of lives every year in the United States. The news of such an illness can be a devastating blow to patients and their loved ones. Fortunately, it is often possible to avoid such heartache when physicians and patients partner in a commitment to preventive health care.