Saturday, August 29, 2009

Bladder Infections and other things that make me want to ....

August 29, 2009

One of the more common reasons patient's visit my office is due to bladder infections, otherwise known as cystitis or UTI (urinary tract infection). These infections are much more common in women than in men until later in life and account for over 8 million doctor visits each year.

Symptoms of bladder infections can include:
-Pain or a burning feeling during urination
-A feeling of urgency, or feeling the need to urinate frequently
-An altered appearance of the urine, either bloody (red) or cloudy (containing pus)
-Pain or pressure in the rectum (men) or in the area of the pubic bone (women)
-Passing only a tiny amount of urine even when the urge to urinate is strong

The most common traditional evaluation for these infections include a history and physical exam, along with a urine sample that is tested for signs of an infection.

The most common traditional treatment includes antibiotics to sterilize the bladder contents. While antibiotic treatments usually work, they are not without potential side effects, which can include but are not limited to allergy to the medication, drug interactions, diarrhea and yeast infection.

But what can be done to prevent these infections from occurring in the first place?

-Everyone should drink plenty of water to dilute your urine and help flush out bacteria.
-Avoid coffee, alcohol, and soft drinks containing citrus juices and caffeine until your infection has cleared. They can irritate your bladder and tend to aggravate your frequent or urgent need to urinate.
-Empty your bladder frequently. "Holding in" your urine allows bacteria more time to cause trouble in your bladder before you empty.

For women the following is especially important:
-Wipe from front to back. Doing so after urinating and after a bowel movement helps prevent bacteria in the anal region from spreading to the vagina and urethra.
-Empty your bladder as soon as possible after intercourse. Also, drink a full glass of water to help flush bacteria.
-Avoid potentially irritating feminine products. Using deodorant sprays or other feminine products, such as douches and powders, in the genital area can irritate the urethra.
-Avoid wearing tight clothing such as swimsuits and leotards for long periods.

But if all the above has not worked to prevent an infection, is there something else that can be done without needing antibiotics?

To answer this question, first I must let you know that about 90% of bladder infections are caused by a bacteria called E. Coli.

E Coli causes urinary tract infections by attaching itself to the wall of the bladder. Once stuck, it can reproduce and cause an infection.

So other than antibiotics, is there a way to remove the E. Coli form the bladder wall?

There just happens to be a way to trick the E. Coli into detaching itself from the bladder wall, thereby allowing you to empty your bladder of urine and this pesky bacteria.

This solution is to use a simple sugar called D-Mannose.

This sugar, when ingested, is processed through the body and stored in the bladder. Once in the bladder, D-Mannose makes the bladder wall more difficult for E. Coli to attach to. It is also thought that bacteria enjoy feeding on D-Mannose and detach from the bladder wall to better feed in the urine. The next time you urinate, the E.Coli along with the D-Mannose is flushed out of your bladder.

I have used this treatment in about half a dozen patient's so far with excellent results. Further research has indicated that D-Mannose can be used not only for treatment, but also for prevention of bladder infections.

If you are interested in trying this natural treatment, we now have this nutritional supplement at our office.
Now what would a newsletter be without another opinion on healthcare reform. I would ask that you read the following opinion article linked here. It describes how the present healthcare reform bill WILL ration care, and will attempt to change the healthcare system to a population or community based system, instead of one that focuses on the individual.

In 2008 I terminated my participation with health insurers, and founded the Institute For Medical Wellness to provide patient-centered healthcare. Any system that puts more power to any third party, whether it be government or an insurer, and away from the individual is a system doomed to fail, as this type of government dominated system will put doctors and patient's on opposing sides. We need a more just system that will extend coverage to the uninsured without degrading quality for everyone, while keeping doctor's and patient's united for better health.

My opinion.

Throw the present proposals and bills in the trash.

The two political parties are diametrically opposed on too many aspects contained in the present bills under review.

Why not instead, have both political parties sit down and write a proposal in no more than 2-3 sentences that they both can agree upon.

Yes I said 2-3 sentences, not over 1000 pages!!

Read the 2-3 sentences, then vote!!

How about these four for starters:

1) End pre-existing conditions- Have the government start a high-risk pool for everyone with pre-existing conditions. Once individuals have health insurance, if they have a pre-existing condition, the government high risk insurance pool will cover those pre-existing conditions for one year, and after one year the private health insurer will again be responsible. This would bring some of the uninsured back to being insured.

2) Allow employers to give tax free money to employees to buy their own coverage. Employers can offer a company plan, but employees may group together with whoever they want to form their own group. This puts the individual in control of their own healthcare, without destroying employer participation. And this makes insurance portable, as it is owned by the individual.

3) Increase competition by allowing individuals and groups to purchase insurance coverage across state lines. If a policy in Nebraska costs $200/month and a policy in New Jersey costs $500/month, let people purchase the Nebraska policy. I do not know the actual rates for either state, but I have seen insurance rates differ dramatically between states.

4) Allow individuals the same tax benefits for healthcare that corporations have.

If we can start with areas we agree, it will be easier to find solutions to those we do not!!

To Good Health!!!

Steven Horvitz, D.O.
Board Certified Family Practice
Founder of The Institute For Medical Wellness
128 Borton Landing Road, Suite Two
Moorestown, NJ 08057
Phone 856-231-0590
Fax 856-294-0311

To view previous newsletters

Friday, August 21, 2009

Swine Flu - Should we be worried?

August 21, 2009

Swine Flu- Should we be worried?

The Swine Flu, now known as the H1N1 flu has already hit our area, and so far has been no worse than the normal seasonal flu. This may be due to the outbreak beginning in the spring, as the weather was warming up. The flu is always at its peak in the winter months, so a springtime start to a flu helps to slow its spread. There are different theories on why the winter months are worse for the flu. One theory I believe has to do with Vitamin D and our immune system. Vitamin D, which our bodies manufacture in response to strong sunlight, is at it highest level during the summer months and at its lowest level during the winter months. Higher Vitamin D levels have been shown to enhance our immune systems abilities to fight off infections, including influenza. So flu's generally hit when our Vitamin D levels are at our lowest level, in the winter months.

There are many questions yet to be answered about this potential outbreak.

1) Is this flu similar or different to the 1918 version?

Some scientists believe the H1N1 flu is similar to a 1918 flu outbreak that killed 50-100 million people worldwide. But, if you ask 5 experts on this subject, you will probably get 7 different answers. What we do know, is that the virulence of the H1N1 flu may be higher than seasonal flu as it is much more capable of reproducing in lung tissue, and thus responsible for the increased hospitalization rates due to pneumonia.

I am waiting on data from the southern hemisphere, where the winter season should be more conducive for the H1N1 virus. If the flu is causing widespread hospitalizations and deaths, moreso than the normal "flu", then I will take it a bit more seriously. Until then, I am cautiously waiting for more true data that I can analyze.

2) Is the government hysteria over this flu warranted and are they giving any recommendations to decrease its spread?

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control), has issued guidelines for businesses and employers to respond to the anticipated 2009-2010 flu season and can be found here. These guidelines deal with workplace recommenddations to reduce the spread of the H1N1 flu. Again, I am waiting on data from the southern hemisphere, where the winter season should be more conducive for the H1N1 virus. If the flu is causing widespread hospitalizations and deaths, moreso than the normal "flu", then I will take it a bit more seriously. Until then, I am cautiously waiting for more true data that I can analyze.

Never letting a potential crisis go to waste, our government has contracted with pharmaceutical companies to ramp up production of an H1N1 vaccine.

I recently came across a quote from the late Robert Novac, which sums up my views on government involvement in healthcare issues.

"Always love your country — but never trust your government!"

There are many more questions I must answer before advising on the need for the H1N1 vaccine, including:

3) Is the vaccine safe?

This question has not been answered because it has not been thoroughly tested. The swine flu vaccine of 1976, caused more problems than the flu did. The British government, aware of those issues, recently wrote a letter to neurologists to be on alert for Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), a rare nerve disorder which could be triggered by the vaccine. The 1976 swine flu vaccine caused an eight-fold increase in Guillain-Barre cases in the United States, which at its worst can cause respiratory failure and even death. More information about this government letter can be found here.

4) Is the vaccine effective?

Again, this question has not been answered because it has not been thoroughly tested.

5) Are there side effects, and if so what are they?

Again, this question has not been answered because it has not been thoroughly tested.

The World Health Organization, has posted some information on their website as it relates to side effects. One part in particular concerns me, and the quote is as shown:

"Since new technologies are involved in the production of some pandemic vaccines, which have not yet been extensively evaluated for their safety in certain population groups, it is very important to implement post-marketing surveillance of the highest possible quality. In addition, rapid sharing of the results of immunogenicity and post-marketing safety and effectiveness studies among the international community will be essential for allowing countries to make necessary adjustments to their vaccination policies."

Does the word guinea pig strike a chord?

6) Does the vaccine benefit my patients?

Again, this question has not been answered because it has not been thoroughly tested. I am not anti-vaccines, nor am I anti-pharmaceutical companies. I do my best to research each vaccine and company and make my own independent opinion. However there are some physicians who do not like flu vaccines. To present an anti-vaccine physicians opinion, please visit the following website.

7) Are we to ASSUME that this flu season will be better or worse than in previous years?

Have you ever heard the saying, never assume anything, or you could make an -ass- out of -u- and -me-.

8) Do we trust the pharmaceutical companies to produce a safe and effectice vaccine on short notice?

I'll leave you to decide if you have faith in the pharmaceutical companies. I have received the seasonal flu vaccine each of the past fifteen years, and other than some male pattern baldness, have not had any adverse effects. But this is not the seasonal flu vaccine. This is a new vaccine that is being rushed to market. And to increase production in a quick fashion, the vaccine manufacturers are using experimental additives. More on the additives can be found here. This sounds an awful lot like Congress and the Senate trying to rush through health reform without thinking about the consequences. My solution is to first give this new vaccine to all of our elected officials and politicians. Why not use them as the guinea pigs for once?

I prefer to practice medicine on facts, not on fear or emotion. A little extra time spent talking, researching and thinking, can prevent and even cure many problems. So are there other
ways to protect yourself from the flu or from its complications, until we find out more about the swine flu vaccination?

Steps to enhance your immune system such as stress reduction and an increase in exercise may be beneficial.

Many flu related deaths are caused by a secondary pneumonia infection. Recent evidence has shown that decreased stomach acid, resulting from the use of prescription acid reducers, may increase your risk of pneumonia. Please talk to your physician if you are on one of these medications.

Earlier in this newsletter, I wrote about a benefit of Vitamin D. I have been testing vitamin D levels for many years now, and have found the optimal range for good health and hopefully flu prevention is a Vitamin D3 level of greater than 50 ng/ml. If you have not yet had your Vitamin D level tested, please call our office to schedule. If your Vitamin D level is sub-optimal, summertime sun exposure is a cheap and effective way to increase your levels. It only takes about one hour of daily summertime sun exposure to produce Vitamin D.

If you are unable to get adequate summertime sun exposure, my office sells a Vitamin D3 supplement that is cheap and effective. Call for more details.

In conclusion, it is a personal decision about whether to get a swine flu vaccine. At this point I am not recommending them, although I do recommend the seasonal flu vaccine. Hopefully my shipment of seasonal flu vaccine will arrive and be ready in October. I'll be sure to send out an email alerting everyone when they arrive.

I would also like to thank everyone who has forwarded my newsletters to friends and family. We are adding more readers with every edition.

Let me also wish everyone an enjoyable end to the summer, and to getting as much natural Vitamin D production as you can.

To Good Health!

Steven Horvitz, D.O.
Board Certified Family Practice
Founder of The Institute For Medical Wellness
128 Borton Landing Road, Suite Two
Moorestown, NJ 08057
Phone 856-231-0590
Fax 856-294-0311

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Fish Oil supplements as a potential cure for global warming ???

August 1, 2009

Fish Oil supplements as a potential cure for global warming ???

I know it sounds far fetched, and I also know there is a lot of debate on whether global warming exists.

And hey, why does it look like Al Gore wearing a clip on his nose?

Please keep reading and humor me for a second....

Let's for a moment or two assume that global warming does exist.

While our politicians debate about global warming, and different options to reduce emissions that contribute to it, can fish oils be helpful?

First a little bit of info on fish oils. Fish oils contain omega-3 fatty acids that have been shown to have many positive effects such as:

--improving good cholesterol (HDL)
--lowering triglycerides
--cancer prevention
--helpful for Bipolar illness
--helpful for Rheumatoid Arthritis
--helpful for Inflammatory Bowel Disease
--less pain and inflammation

I am sure there are other benefits that we have not yet discovered, but will in the future.

I have been taking fish oils for the past 5 years as a supplement to my diet. The brand I use, from Carlson's Labs, has been tested by an independent lab and found free of impurities and toxic chemicals. This is important when you look to a supplement to use. There are other qualities to look for, and please ask at your next visit. If you have trouble finding a fish oil supplement, we do have Carlson's Fish Oils available at our office in both capsule and liquid form.

But let me get back to fish oils as it relates to global warming.

Wouldn't it be nice to be able to improve your health and help prevent global warming at the same time?

Well, some researchers may have found a way, at least with cows !!


Here is an excerpt form an online article in Natural News:

(NaturalNews) Adding fish oil to the diets of cows and other ruminants may significantly reduce the amount of methane that the animals emit via belching or flatulence, according to a study conducted by researchers from University College Dublin and presented at a meeting of the Society for General Microbiology.

Their theory is that adding fish oils to cow feed reduces the amount of bacteria that produce methane gas. This methane, when released in the form of belching or flatulence, is one of the leading global warming gases on our planet. More fish oils, less methane in cow flatulence, less global warming. So if we believe this theory, the above list of uses for fish oils now looks like this:

--improving good cholesterol (HDL)
--lowering triglycerides
--cancer prevention
--Bipolar illness
--Rheumatoid Arthritis
--Inflammatory Bowel Disease
--less pain and inflammation

Personally, I feel a better cure for global warming would be to stop all the gases coming out of our Washington, D.C. politicians. They are a truer cause of global warming!!

Send then home to get real jobs, not government jobs that allow them to follow their own special rules, instead of what everyone else follows!

By the way, be sure to ask your senators and representatives if they will accept the same healthcare options that they want you, the American public to take?

When they say no, doesn't that tell you something????

It tells me that something smells in Washington, D.C. !!!!

Please visit and sign the petition to keep the government out of your healthcare. So far, the petition has almost 1 million signatures. If you have already signed, please forward to all your friends and family.

To Good Health!!!

Steven Horvitz, D.O.
Board Certified Family Practice
Founder of The Institute For Medical Wellness
128 Borton Landing Road, Suite Two
Moorestown, NJ 08057
Phone 856-231-0590
Fax 856-294-0311