A Dose of Medication Safety


HYB Series PART 2: Are Your Children “Human Petri Dishes?” Consequences of Growing Up Asthmatic

Posted by Dr. Lori Arnold

Heal Yourself Beautiful Human Petri Dishes

HUMAN PETRI DISHES?

I think it is time you got to know me a little better. From the outside, you see a happy and vibrant woman with an infectious, and very toothy smile. I exude the picture of health. If you’ve followed my blogs through my “fitness journey,” you are familiar with some of the health issues that plagued me 2 years ago, prompting me to restore my physical strength and physique. But, that was just a tiny snippet of my story. Through the series I will be posting over the next few weeks you will learn the reason WHY I can personally relate to many of the disheartening stories of illness I hear every day related to medical mishaps and subsequent long-term bodily damage.

 

Like many children, from a very early age I was exposed to an onslaught of pharmaceutical drugs. As most confused, stressed out and fearful parents would do, my parents placed all of their faith and trust in all of the medical diagnoses and treatments I was given – after all, the doctors are the “experts” in medicine. I know my pediatrician was doing his best and with every new prescription written, he hoped he was supplying the “cure” I desperately needed for my symptoms; unfortunately, the treatments piled up. As is the case with many “sickly” young children, I was quickly becoming a HUMAN PETRI DISH for the pharmaceutical industry. Each passing year, drug after drug was prescribed for every new symptom I was experiencing. Maybe it was an oversight, but not once was the safety of these treatments questioned with each new chemical introduction into my frail and tiny body. Was there even a second thought given to the possibility of any long-lasting detrimental side effects that could surface negatively later in life? I don’t have the answers to those questions, and I will never know. Many questions remain unanswered, but in Paul Harvey’s words, “It is time for the Rest Of The Story.”

 

I am a small town North Dakota girl born and raised in very rural farming and ranching communities. When I was 5 years old, my family moved to the southwestern corner of the state to Hettinger, population 1500. If you know North Dakota, at least the way it used to be, farming is THE way of life. Hettinger was, and still is, a one traffic light town with a cautionary flashing signal prompting you to slow your horses down to 25 miles per hour as you are quickly passing through on Highway 12. It was the 1970s, and the cigarette industry did an incredible job of painting a picture that smoking was the “cool and vogue” thing to do. Joe Cool the Camel and the Marlboro Man surfaced, and all the glamorous ads showcased sleek, successful and beautiful young men and women happily puffing on their cigarettes. It sounds so cliché to say it, but it really was the “it-thing” to do. Unfortunately, my parents fell prey to the propaganda and partook in the trend – meaning, they both smoked. During the same time, the dangerous adverse effects from smoking and exposure to secondhand smoke were virtually unknown, and if the tobacco industry was aware of the situation they were covering it up. As a matter of fact, I still remember when smoking was allowed in clinic and hospital waiting rooms. I have a very vivid recollection of waiting for an x-ray, surrounded by many sick patients who were coughing and could barely breath — simultaneously puffing away on their cigarettes, surrounding themselves and others with a hazy smoke plume.

 

The combination of being exposed to a very “allergic” environment and a potential genetic predisposition resulted in a diagnosis of asthma and severe environmental allergies at the age of 6. Soon after diagnosis, my minor shortness of breath quickly morphed into severe bronchial restriction, chest tightening, labored wheezing and excessive coughing. I became a very nervous and anxious child as I was consumed with never-ending fear that I would stop breathing at any moment. Unless you’ve ever experienced an asthma attack, it is difficult comprehend the sensation of your airways slamming shut, and the intense panic, fear and terror you feel as you struggle and gasp for each tiny breath of air. As you would assume, medication is a necessity for this condition. The late 1970s and early 1980s had little to offer in effective medications for severe asthmatics because asthma was not that prevalent; therefore pharmaceutical innovations were not a target in that medical arena. Focus shifted in the late 1980s and early 1990s as we witnessed an unprecedented rise in asthma prevalence. Researchers revealed that asthma was not just a disease that constricted the lungs (bronchoconstriction), but also caused chronic lung inflammation. Basically, asthma is a disease of swelling and tightening of the lungs. Traditional asthma treatment for airway tightening consisted of daily medication like theophylline and albuterol; however, inflammation was only treated with oral steroid bursts to quell acute asthma attacks. The use of inhaled steroids had not become standard practice.

 

My daily regimen included oral theophylline and an albuterol inhaler to treat my airway reactivity and tightening. During hospitalizations, which happened frequently, I would get additional intravenous aminophylline. The medications were atrocious stimulants! My petite body twitched like a Parkinson patient, and my hands shook so intensely I could barely hold a pencil to write. A full night’s sleep was a rare occurrence because of the intense night sweats and terrifying nightmares I suffered. In school, I felt like an outcast and was painfully shy and self-conscious, constantly obsessing that my classmates thought I was a freak. My eyes were bloodshot, I had dark puffy circles around my eyes, and my face was red, irritated and swollen. All of these physical manifestations were just some of the uncomfortable side effects of the drug therapy.

 

Like a credit card ad that recites “Don’t Leave Home Without It,” my albuterol inhaler became my “safety blanket” that I always carried with me. I was completely dependent on, or more accurately addicted to, my “rescue” inhaler. I became the “nerdy weakling kid” with the funny-looking fanny pack of asthma tools — inhaler, spacer and peak-flow meter. I topped the list of absenteeism by missing more days of school than any of my classmates due to the multiple hospitalizations, frequent viral and bacterial sinus and lung infections and sometimes just general sick days caused by the malaise I suffered from countless sleepless nights. I became oblivious to of the number of times I was forced to take high dose steroids, like prednisone and Medrol-Dosepaks, to quell the inflammation in my lungs. Some of these steroid “bursts” lasted longer than 30 days. Steroids are wrought with nasty side effects including “moon face,” water retention, increased stimulation with added difficulty concentrating, and dark and puffy eyes. It was exhausting being sick all of the time, for me, my parents and even my doctors. Maybe it was an act of desperation after using up all other options, or to prevent yet another hospital admission, my defeated docs would pen another prescription for additional rounds of antibiotics – whether warranted or not. I can’t fault any of them, as I really do believe they did the best they could with the knowledge and science they had available to them. Like a leaky water faucet, my nose dripped nonstop. I had annoying sneezing fits, where I would sneeze 8 or more times in a row with such intense force I thought I would blow my eyeball out of its socket! Some classmates carried those cute little tissue packs to classes — I carried the industrial family-sized tissue box. I was even tested for cystic fibrosis at 11 years old, due to the increasing severity of asthma symptoms and frequent (4-6 times a year) hospitalizations.

 

I can’t fathom the heartache, pain, stress and financial burden that I must have inflicted on my parents to have to emotionally cope with a sickly child. It must have broken their hearts and made them feel incredibly helpless because they couldn’t alleviate my suffering and make the illness go away. On top of everything else, after school every Monday, Wednesday and Friday my mother had to haul me to the clinic for multiple allergy shots. Even though they rotated injection sites, my arms would still swell into a goose “egg” as my body reacted with an inflammatory cascade from the allergen insult. I cried continuously, begging my mother, “PLEASE don’t make me go back to the clinic for these horrible shots.”

 

My teens ushered in a new set of ailments with the onset of menarche. I soon developed irregular menstruation cycles coupled with intense and painful cramping. Unfortunately, I was also plagued with severe hormonal cystic acne, accompanied with facial inflammation and irritation. Once more, these new health conditions led to subsequent trips back and forth to the clinic. At 16 years old I was placed on oral contraceptives to stabilize my menstrual patterns. I was prescribed Ortho-Tricyclen for the menstrual issues, and gained the additional bonus of reducing the severity and frequency of acne flare-ups.

 

As you can see, before I turned 20, I was subjected to dozens of chemical drug insults. This bombardment eventually became a “snowball effect” that would eventually crash down on me. Why did I go into so much detail? For those of you who have small children, this is a snapshot of the life your child may lead if they continue on a road of multiple courses of drug treatment. Stay tuned for the next part of the series where you will see what happens in the next decades of my life. You will also be walked through how to apply a holistic approach to YOUR health. Using myself as an example, you may be able to better identify your own issues and pinpoint similar situations in order to learn to correct the problem before it gets out of control. Like a detective, you will put on YOUR investigative hat and analyze trends and patterns that can manifest into harmful situations. While utilizing the holistic approach to healing, we will focus on key elements that increase your risk of negative health issues. These areas of interest we will target from a functional medicine perspective we will include: Toxins, Medications, Diet and Nutrition, and Exercise.

Be sure to come back for Heal Yourself Beautiful: Part 3!


Osteoporosis Drugs Can CAUSE Bone Fractures!

Posted by Dr. Lori Arnold

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‎Bisphosphonates‬, ‪drugs that are indicated for Osteoporosis‬ can CAUSE thigh bone fractures. This is the latest news from a recent study showing a new trend that has developed resulting from the use of drugs like Fosamax, Boniva, Actonel, Aredia, Nerixia, Zometa, and known by generic names as well. These drugs are taken to INCREASE bone density.
Studies have found that bisphosphonates decrease fractures in the vertebrae by more than 50% and fractures elsewhere by 40%. But the drugs also cause a small risk of atypical femur fractures. These fractures typically occur with little or no force or trauma, and often are preceded by pain. The vast majority of atypical femur fractures are seen after an average of three years of bisphosphonate use. Treatment of atypical femur fractures should begin with the immediate cessation of bisphosphonates. Calcium and vitamin D supplementation should be maximized. “The current recommended dosing for calcium and vitamin D are under debate and may be too low for the majority of those affected,” the authors write.
Even worse, complete fractures are treated surgically with implanted titanium rods!! Symptomatic, incomplete fractures, indicated by thigh pain and X-rays, may also be treated surgically with titanium rods, in order to prevent complete fractures.
Let me pose THIS question to you… WHY NOT maximize your VITAMIN D levels between 70-90 ng/ml and optimize your calcium to PREVENT this from happening in the first place. Seems logical to me!!

 


Can Dementia and Alzheimer’s Be Reversed?

Posted by Dr. Lori Arnold

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A very informative video was posted of an interview Dr. Mark Hyman did at the Cleveland Clinic.  This was such an incredible interview, I wanted to take notes and supply you with the “Cliff Notes” version of this interview, plus a few of my own thoughts sprinkled in.
‪Dementia‬ and ‪Alzheimers‬, could these conditions be REVERSED? How interesting is this concept? THIS is why I have studied ‪FunctionalMedicine‬ for 6 years and have left my “traditional” thinking that there is a medicine for everything. WHAT IF the medicine is the CAUSE of the condition? Dementia and Alzheimers could have several root causes. What should we consider?
1. Are you on a STATIN drug for cholesterol? These meds suppress cholesterol and block the ability of your body to making this critical hormone that is the precursor to ALL of your sex hormones like estrogen, testosterone, and progesterone. Your BRAIN is 60% FAT, therefore, requires good quality fats to work more effectively. Many studies have shown STATIN drugs are directly linked to dementia.
2. Do you have Leaky Gut and Digestive Issues? A malfunctioning gut will deny your brain of critical nutrients, including Vitamin D, and other fat soluble vitamins like Vitamins A, E, and K, as well as water soluble vitamins like Vitamin B12 and all the B Complex Vitamins. All of these nutrients are needed for brain functioning.
3. Do you, or have you, taken a PPI drug like Nexium, Prilosec, Aciphex, etc? These meds stop the production of stomach acid causing a myriad of health issues from bad bacterial overgrowth to the inability to digest dietary proteins and extreme constipation causing you to reabsorb toxins from your food.
4. Have you been exposed to MOLD or mycotoxins? Mold poisoning (which I know firsthand since I had this and reversed it in myself) can cause many symptoms in your body, one major side effect is BRAIN FOG which can look like Dementia!
5. Do you have MERCURY AMALGAMS in your mouth? It has been found in several studies that mercury can leach into your system from amalgams that have been in your mouth for 20-30 years! NEVER let a dentist put these in your mouth… as they are still putting this very toxic heavy metal in fillings today because they are cheap!!!
6. Do you eat a lot of sugar? Dietary factors such as pre diabetes and diabetes can cause dementia, and the medications for diabetes are directly linked to dementia. Adopting a ketogenic diet and eliminating all sources of refined sugar are key to helping with control of erratic blood sugar levels and insulin and leptin resistance.
These are just a few of the top level discussions that are heard during this video. THIS is the approach I take when interviewing my clients in consultations. Epigenetic Hair Testing can help identify heavy metal toxicity, and even point to nutrient deficiencies and potential leaky gut issues. A thorough medication history and medication review by an Integrative Pharmacist is recommended to pinpoint YOUR root cause.

 

Contact me today at DrLori@HealYourselfBeautiful.com to schedule your appointment in person, on the phone or via Skype.

 

YOUR HEALTH IS YOUR GREATEST WEALTH!!!


Amputations Associated With Newer Class of Diabetes Drugs

Posted by Dr. Lori Arnold

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Was the FDA too quick to approve a drug that is now showing DANGEROUS side effects through actual patient reports since the drug has been on the market? The FDA just issued a warning to patients and providers concerning a potential risk of leg and foot amputations associated with the use of the diabetes medication ‪#‎canagliflozin‬, also known as ‪INVOKANA‬ and ‪INVOKAMET‬. This drug belongs to a category of drugs used for TYPE 2 DIABETES know as SGLT2 Inhibitors (Sodium-Glucose Cotransporter-2). The drug was among several SGLT2 inhibitors to receive a label update in December 2015 after the FDA discovered that the class was linked to increased risks of ketoacidosis and urinary tract infections.  This alert was based on results from an ongoing trial, which has found that patients treated with canagliflozin are more likely to require a leg or foot amputation. Toe amputation seemed particularly more likely among canagliflozin patients.

 

Although the FDA acknowledged that further research is needed to determine whether the drug is responsible for this elevated risk, it has nevertheless encouraged patients to seek immediate medical attention if they experience symptoms such as pain or tenderness, sores or ulcers, or infections in their legs or feet. However, the agency added that patients should not stop or change their diabetes medicines without first consulting their prescriber, as doing so may lead to uncontrolled blood sugar levels, blindness, nerve and kidney damage, and heart disease.
Any adverse events observed in patients who use canagliflozin should be to the FDA’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.

 

Diabetes Drug Linked with Increased Risk of Amputations