Monday, January 18, 2010

Kidney Stones - Part Two

Institute For Medical Wellness Healthy Living Report January 18, 2010

Today's topic is once again kidney stones.

For those of you who read my last newsletter, you learned I had the unfortunate luck to experience a kidney stone. Tried as I may, I was unable to avoid a short hospital stay. I have always known that hospitals are not wonderful places to be, and they can really put a crimp on your normal activities. All kidding aside, my hospital stay was uneventful, and the nursing staff was superb. But still, my job is too help you avoid hospitals as much as possible.

So how can you avoid kidney stones?

The most common type of stone is one made of calcium oxalate, and this is the type I will focus on today. In general, when we have too much calcium going through the kidneys, or not enough water to keep our urine dilute, calcium can crystallize in the kidney by precipitating out as a solid stone. If we can drink plenty of fluids at this point, we can still pass these small stones without ever knowing we had one. But if we do not drink enough, the stone can increase in size to a point where passage of the stone can be quite painful.

But calcium does not act alone. In calcium oxalate stones, oxalic acid forms around the stone and increases its size. So another good dietary tip, if you are a calcium oxalate stone former, is to keep your dietary oxalates very low. A good list on dietary oxalates can be found here.

Please do not lower your calcium intake. Medical studies disagree on calcium restriction as a means of preventing kidney stones. Also calcium in your diet is needed for many other important functions. If your body does not get enough calcium in its diet, it will take calcium out of your bones. This may lead to an increased risk of osteoporosis later in life.

My number one recommendation to prevent calcium oxalate kidney stones remains:

Drink, drink and drink some more. Drink until your urine is clear with just a hint of yellow.

But what do I do if I have a known kidney stone, of a size that can pass spontaneously, other than drink , drink and drink some more?

I followed the recommendations from a website that uses an interesting method to move a stone from your kidney, down your ureter, into your bladder. It is called the jump and bump method and it can be found here.

While this method may not work for everyone, it may have worked for me. When my stone began causing bad pain, I used this method and within 3 hours, my pain went from my left kidney area to my groin, which usually indicates the stone has moved down to almost the level of the bladder. Once the stone is in the bladder, the horrible pain of renal colic is gone, and passage of the stone out of the bladder is the next step. While this last step may not be very comfortable, it pales in comparison to renal colic.

But remember, the best medicine is still prevention!!
Healthcare Reform Update:

On Tuesday January 19th, 2010, Massachusetts will be holding a special election to fill the Senate seat once occupied by the late Ted Kennedy. For healthcare reform, the stakes are high. The Democrat in the race, Martha Coakely, has vowed to vote for the present healthcare reforms making their way through private closed door meetings. Her opponent, Scott Brown, a Republican, has vowed to vote against the present reforms. In fact, if he is elected, he would be the 41st No vote in the Senate, which would hopefully put a stop to this massive healthcare scheme.

I am a registered independent, and will vote for the best person for the job. As healthcare is my life's chosen profession, my hope in this race is for Scott Brown. A No vote on the Obama healthcare scheme would hopefully allow us to reboot the entire reform approach and start over again. However I have one caveat. If the present healthcare scheme is defeated, I do not want healthcare reform on the back burner. I want it front and center! However this time, I want the following players around the negotiating table who are likely to care more about individuals than profits:
  • Individuals- both insured and uninsured. At present we seem to be more focused on the uninsured than those presently insured.
  • Independent physicians- Independent physicians represent only two parties, patient's and themselves. There is little group-think or corporate interests.
  • Community based hospitals- large hospital systems tend to be run with their corporate interests at heart, while smaller community based hospitals tend to be closer to their patient's.
  • Independent pharmacies- similar concept to hospitals mentioned above.
  • Other independently owned healthcare providing organizations
  • C-SPAN - at least for transparency

Who do I not want at the table. Well, that answer is simple. Everyone that is there now. The following players care more about their corporations, organizations and profits than patient's.

The following should be barred from further negotiations:
  • Health Insurers- care more about profits and control than individuals
  • AMA (American Medical Association)- they no longer represent the majority of physicians views. They are more interested in continuing the status quo to increase revenues to their corporation.
  • AARP - stands to make many millions in revenues if Obamacare passes. They are in Obama's back pocket.
  • Big Pharma - they need to be cleaned up and they need to end all dealings with the government and insurers and once again deal directly with individuals. Cutting out the bureaucratic middleman would not only drop the cost of medications dramatically, but most likely increase their bottom lines, allowing more investment in research and development.
  • Medical Device Manufacturers- ditto above comments about Big Pharma.
  • Any large corporation- Do they actually have individuals best interests at heart??
  • Politicians- they got us into this mess, and they will only make things worse. If you want your senator or congressman treating you in the hospital, then by all means support Obamacare. But if you prefer your doctor, then get the politicians out of the way.
  • Any and every special interest that I neglected to mention. There should be no special interest when a patient is obtaining medical care. The only and supreme interest should be the care of the individual!
    Institute For Medical Wellness Happenings:

    At The Institute For Medical Wellness, we combine dietary advice with medical management to help you achieve a healthier weight. That is why our Healthy Weight Program is off to a good start. One thing that sets us apart from other programs is our use of private internet communication, in the form of a shared document that is individualized to you! That means that no two programs are the same.

    And due to popular demand, we will be extending our $100 discount through the end of January. So there is no better time than now to let us help you achieve that healthy weight. More information on the Healthy Weight Program can be found here.
    Wellness Network:

    This month I would like to introduce you one of our network affiliates, Paula Andersen, who has an acupuncture practice located in Moorestown. Paula is offering Wellness Programs through the Institute For Medical Wellness in the following categories.

Package 1: Stress Reduction and Immune Building

Package 2: Pain Reduction

Package 3: Hormone Balancing

More information on Paula's Wellness Programs can be found here.
New offers:

We are now able to offer a supplement of the month. For the remainder of January, we will be offering our Vitamin D3 drops, for $15, a savings of $5 each. This offer starts January 18th, and will continue while present supplies last.
Quote of the day and one of my favorite signs in the office:

" Indecision, may or may not be my problem ."

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 follow The Institute For Medical Wellness on Twitter.

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