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Is Stress Ruining Your Health? August 16, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Wellness.
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Stress is the root cause of anxiety and depression. Women are more likely than men to suffer from anxiety and depression. Almost everyone complains about stress and blames it for all the maladies in the world – from headaches to cancer. Stress is actually not a thing, it is a response! It refers to our intellectual, emotional and behavioural response to demands made of us by our internal and external environments. The events to which we respond are known as stressors – so a spouse, financial or work related situations are  (potential) stressors.

Everyone experiences stress. However our individual experiences- symptoms and coping mechanisms- will differ. For example public speaking might completely debilitate one person but be the most empowering activity for another. Our minds and bodies are intimately connected. When the mind perceives an event as stressful, a cascade of hormones, such as cortisol and adrenaline, are released. While this is extremely useful when you need to slam on your brakes to avoid a collision, it can be harmful if these hormones are not “switched off” when the stressful situation is over. Stress hormones flooding the body for days or weeks at a time can wreak havoc on the immune and cardiovascular systems.

Some amount of stress can do us good .Increased stress can result in increased productivity – up to a point, of course. This is very much like the strings of a violin – not enough tautness produces a dull, raspy sound . Too much leads to a shrill annoying noise or snapping of the string. Just the right amount however produces beautiful music.

Our bodies have a stress response, the “fight or flight” response ,that is hard-wired into our brains and represents a genetic wisdom designed to protect us from bodily harm. In addition our body is able to calm itself by the release of its own tranquilizers called endorphins.

How women differ from men in their response to stress

Women are socialized to be the caretakers of others. Many women have a career in addition to traditional household responsibilities. We are often at risk of letting other people’s needs determine our limits, while our own needs are ignored. We are more likely to experience physical symptoms of stress than men and often cope with stress in different ways than men.

Women “tend and befriend,” taking care of those closest to them, but also drawing support from friends and family. Men on the other hand, are more likely to have the “fight or flight” response. They cope by “escaping” into a relaxing activity or other distraction.

Stress Management

The following are some simple ways to manage stress.

Identify your stressors:   Become aware of your reactions to them.

Don’t major in minors: Ask yourself, “In 5 years, will this matter? Will I even remember this?”

Control Your Anger: The next time you find yourself becoming annoyed or angry at something or someone, practice making a conscious choice not to become angry or upset. RESPOND, DO NOT REACT !

Breathe slowly and deeply: Before reacting to the next “stressor”, take three deep breaths and release them slowly. (This is how you do it – inhale through the nostrils , blow out through the mouth as if you are blowing through a straw.)

Slow Down: Whenever you feel overwhelmed by stress, practice speaking more slowly than usual. You will discover that you think more clearly and react more reasonably to stressful situations.  Stressed persons tend to speak quickly and breathlessly; by slowing down your speech you will appear less anxious and more in control of any situation.

Prioritize: Choose one simple thing you have been putting off (e.g. returning a phone call) and do it immediately. Just taking care of one nagging responsibility can be energizing and can improve your attitude.

Get Some Fresh Air: Get outdoors for a brief break. This can be rejuvenating.

Avoid Hunger and Dehydration: Hunger and dehydration can exacerbate feelings of anxiety and stress. Drink plenty of water and eat small, nutritious meals.

Correct your posture: Bad posture can lead to muscle tension and pain. Hold your head and shoulders upright and avoid stooping or slumping.

This too shall pass: There are seasons in every life. Your life may be stormy now but storms do not last forever. After a storm, there is calm.

Take a chill pill: Leisure time must be considered a necessity, not just a reward for doing more work. Personal time for rejuvenation will never be available unless it is planned. Ladies put aside housework and family concerns for a brief period before bedtime and allow yourself to fully relax.

Remember you can’t be all things to all people all of the time. Do not be afraid to ask for help. Avoid taking on too many projects (note to self!). No is not a bad word.

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com

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THE STORYTELLER June 29, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Health, Motivation, Wellness.
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As a doctor, I wear many hats – that of healer, teacher, confidante, mentor,  friend and cheerleader.  I love my patients.  We have spent many hours talking, laughing and dreaming. They have taught me so many lessons about life.  One of the ways in which I help them is by telling little stories.  I inherited the storyteller gene from Mummy who  “speaks in parables”. To be honest with you, the stories also help me in my personal development.

CHANGE

One day all the employees of a company were sad when they saw a notice announcing the death of one of their colleagues,  a person who, the statement said “had been hindering your growth in the company”. They were invited to attend the funeral service.  Intrigued, they rushed to view the body of this individual.  Everyone thought “Who is this guy who has been hindering my progress? Well at least he died!” One by one the thrilled employees got closer to the coffin and when they looked inside, they suddenly became speechless.  What happened? There was a mirror inside the coffin – everyone who looked inside it could see himself. There was also a sign next to the mirror that said “There is only one person who is capable of setting limits to your growth – IT IS YOU!”

Your life does not change when your husband, wife,  friends, boss or status changes. Your life changes when YOU change, when you go beyond your limiting beliefs.

HAVE FAITH

If you put a buzzard in an open space that is 6 feet by 8 feet, the bird, in spite of its ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. Why ? Because a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of 10 to 12 feet. Without its usual space to run, it will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

The ordinary bat that flies around at night, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once it takes off like a flash.

A bumblebee, if dropped into an open tumbler, will stay there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.

In many ways, we are like the buzzard, the bat, and the bumblebee. We struggle about with all our problems and frustrations, never realizing that all we have to do is look up!

Sorrow looks back, Worry looks around, But faith looks up!

CONTROL YOUR TEMPER

There was a little boy with a bad temper. His father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, to hammer a nail in the back fence. The first day the boy had driven 20 nails into the fence. Then it gradually dwindled down. He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the fence. Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. So he told his father who suggested that he pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper. Finally the boy was able to tell his father that all the nails were gone. His father led him to the fence. He said, “You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the fence. It will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like these holes . You can put a knife in a man and draw it out. It will not matter how many times you say ‘I’m sorry’, the wound is still there.”

A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one

LOVE YOURSELF

A water bearer in India had two large pots, one hung on each end of a pole which he carried across his neck. One of the pots had a crack in it, and while the other pot was perfect and always delivered a full portion of water at the end of the long walk from the stream to the master’s house, the cracked pot arrived only half full. This went on each day for a year with the bearer delivering only one and a half pots full of water to his master’s house. The cracked pot was ashamed of its own imperfection, and miserable that it was able to accomplish only half of what it had been made to do; while the perfect pot was proud of its accomplishments

The cracked pot apologized to the bearer for not being perfect “I have been able, for this past year, to deliver only half my load because this crack in my side causes water to leak out all the way back to your master’s house. You don’t get full value for your money”.

The water bearer felt sorry for the old cracked pot, and in his compassion he said, “As we return to the master’s house, I want you to notice the beautiful flowers along the path”.

As they went up the hill, the old cracked pot noticed the beautiful wild flowers on the side of the path, and it felt a little better .

The bearer said to the pot, “Did you notice that there were flowers only on your side of your path, but not on the other pot’s side? That’s because I have always known about your flaw, and I took advantage of it. I planted flower seeds on your side of the path, and every day while we walked back from the stream, you’ve watered them, producing these beautiful flowers. Without you being just the way you are , this would not have happened”.

We all have our little cracks and flaws . However they make our lives interesting and rewarding.

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com

What to do when a cold strikes June 13, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Alternative Medicine, Health, Wellness.
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A patient recently complained that she thought her body had let her down because “I’m always boosting my immune system with supplements”.  She further informed me that like many women who were busy juggling careers, children and home life, she was too busy to get a cold. I reminded her that there is a reason why it’s called the common cold. It is the most common illness known. A cold is a leading cause of doctor visits and missed days from school and work. Women tend to get more colds than men. The reason for this is that women spend more time with children – whether at home or at work. Children catch colds easily and so if you are frequently around children, your chances of catching a cold will increase significantly.

The first step in fighting a cold is to make sure that you do have one. Many persons confuse the common cold with the flu. The common cold is a viral infection of the upper-respiratory tract that attacks the nose and nasal passages. Some of the symptoms include – sneezing, itchy throat, runny and stuffy nostrils. If you develop a persistent fever, hacking cough or a rash, you may have a more serious viral infection. Since the common cold is a viral infection, antibiotics, which fight bacterial infections, will not help in its treatment.

To shorten the life of a cold why not try the following?

1.   Stay hydrated-drink a lot of water coconut water and fresh fruit juice as these may help loosen and clear out mucous, soothe a sore throat, and replace fluid lost due to a fever or runny nose. The heat from soups, green and other herbal teas also help fight off the infection and relieve congestion. A favourite home decongestion remedy is drinking hot ginger tea with lime or lemon and honey.

Cold viruses thrive in cold, dry environments. By staying warm and raising humidity levels you can help to keep cold viruses at bay. This can be done by using a humidifier. Nasal passages can be cleared with the use of a neti pot and/or menthol inhalations.

2.   Rest and relax When the body is relaxed there is an increase in the production of interleukins, substances produced by the immune system to help it fight infections.

3.   To treat a sore throat –  gargle with warm salt water or use a mouthwash of sage tea or extract in water. Drinking licorice root tea is also good for sore throat and coughs. If this tastes too “strong” for you, add some peppermint. Slippery elm bark tea helps to soothe a sore throat because it contains mucilage, a gelatinous substance that coats the throat and reduces irritation.

4.   For congestion try the wet sock treatment as recommended by the physicians at Bastyr Center for Natural Health in the USA. In the evening before going to bed, warm your feet in a basin of hot water (be careful!); meanwhile soak a pair of thin cotton socks in ice cold water. Take your feet out of the hot water, put on the cold socks and then layer on a pair of thick, dry wool socks. Keep the socks on overnight.

Dr. Jamey Wallace, clinic medical director at Bastyr Center for Natural Health states that this treatment, known as a heating compress, rallies the body’s natural defenses. “The body reacts to the cold socks by increasing blood circulation, which also stimulates the immune system. You have to ‘rev up’ the immune system, so it’s ready for battle against the affliction or condition.” People with chronic illnesses should consult with a doctor before starting this treatment.

5.   If you blow your nostrils too much chances are that you will develop a chafed nose. Apply a small amount of aloe vera gel to the irritated areas. If you are lucky and have an aloe plant in your backyard, slit open a leaf, scoop out the gel and apply it to the irritated areas. Failing that, aloe gel can be purchased at the health food stores.

6.  Boost your immune system with supportive supplements These include:

• The anti-oxidants-Vitamins A,C E and the mineral selenium . I routinely recommend that my patients who are fighting a cold or flu, take at least 4000mg of Vitamin C daily. These amounts are usually tolerated by most people but may cause diarrhoea in others.

• Rosmarinic acid – found in rosemary, sage, mint, and perilla leaf.

• Echinacea – some studies have shown it may shorten the duration of a cold in adults if taken at the onset of the illness. It should be taken for a total of seven to ten days.

• Zinc lozenges -taken at the onset of a cold may shorten the illness.

• Garlic supports healthy immune function while exerting antiviral effects. My grandmother used to make garlic and onion cough syrup for me when I had a cold. She always had a peg of garlic in her mouth and my mother says that she as far as she can remember, her mother had never had a cold or flu.

7. Eat healthily – make sure that your diet is full of fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds.

While you are ill try to avoid dairy products, fried and sugary foods, alcohol and smoking. Alcohol suppresses the immune system making it difficult for the body to rid itself of the cold virus. Smoking irritates the throat and interferes with the cilia, microscopic “fingers”, that remove viruses and bacteria from your throat.

If your “cold” symptoms persist or worsen, please seek medical attention

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com

Are You Out Of Balance? June 5, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Health, Wellness.
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Has this ever happened to you? You feel frazzled, have difficulty concentrating, sleeping and “getting your life together. You feel like a “walking dead”. You have been told that your problems are stress related, but you are not sure why you are stressed. All the medication that you are taking is not working. Well it is possible that your problems are a result of unbalanced energies.

I frequently see patients who have symptoms which somehow do not appear to “add up” to a definite diagnosis. Many times they have an imbalance in their energies.

Eastern philosophy is based on the premise that all life occurs within the circle of nature. All things within this matrix are connected. They are mutually dependent on each other. The source of all things is the tao, with complementary aspects:  yin and yang. It is the play between yin and yang, which creates ki (chi)energy.  Nature is in constant motion. When the elements of nature are in balance, life is harmonic and flourishes. When the balance of polar forces is upset, disaster looms.

The course of our everyday lives require that we balance the yin(the interior process of nurturing the self) with the yang (the exterior work of the world). Our activity in the world is necessary for our productivity. As the day draws to a close we retreat from the business of the day to rest, relax and sleep in order to replenish our store of chi for the day that follows.

Modern life is filled with constant, often frenetic activity. We are often so consumed with productivity that we neglect giving time for the self to be replenished. To over exercise, overwork or over party is to overindulge in yang, which leads to burnout of yin. The fact is that the body cannot tolerate for long, consuming more than is replaced. Some of the consequences of this imbalance may be problems with the muscles, bones, joints, heart or kidneys; other consequences can be as serious as a heart attack.

On the other hand to be preoccupied with matters of internal health could mean an overemphasis on the yin phase. An analogy is that of an avid collector who keeps acquiring so many objects that have potential value, that he has no energy to put his hidden treasures to use in a productive manner. So in this case the yin is protected but the yang is without life.

Webster’s New World Dictionary describes balance as “a state of equilibrium or equipoise; equality in amount, weight, value or importance as between two things or the parts of a thing; mental or emotional stability”.  Ms.  Donna Brown, a Reiki Master/energy practitioner who practices in Jamaica, states that “balance pertains to optimum health within our life cycle. For instance one cycle can be the career, another home and family.” The challenge is to balance body, mind and spirit within that life cycle focus. We need to remember that life is not static and our focus changes as we grow.

We are rarely balanced in everything at the same time. The importance of balance is that it keeps body systems in optimum working order. The body was created for balance.

We need to pay attention to what helps keep us in balance, especially in these times of pollution, high stress living and immune system breakdown. I recommend a wholistic approach for achieving balance.

SPIRITUAL FOCUS

It is important that we understand and accept the mind body spirit connection. We tend to underestimate our individual power to heal. We are composed of trillions of cells which are imprinted with divine intelligence and wisdom. We need to frequently and regularly connect with our divine source through prayer, meditation and quiet contemplation.

EXERCISE

The following are some practical tips to incorporate regular exercise into a busy schedule.

• Include exercise in activities of daily – this includes vigorous housework. Walk vigorously for at least twenty minutes, three times each week; while doing this swing the arms and legs. There are numerous video tapes and television programmes which are made for guiding viewers with specific exercises.

• If one is sitting at a desk for long hours, stretch every couple of hours and walk around every two to four hours. If you have been cooped up in your office, go outside, stand in the sun and inhale fresh air.

• Walk instead of driving

• Use the stairs instead of the elevator

ENERGY BALANCE

There are a number of universal energy healing modalities, including Bowen technique, Reiki , Quantum touch and emotional freedom technique (EFT).

Energies can also be balanced through deep breathing exercises, meditation

and living simply by un-cluttering the mind .

Ms. Donna Brown has provided this simple exercise designed to relieve stress

  1. deep breathe in through the nostrils and out through the mouth (as if blowing through a straw)
  2. lightly place the fingertips of both hands on the forehead covering the “Oh my God” points . Place the thumbs on the temples next to the eyes. Breathe deeply. Relax and remove the hands. Repeat as necessary.

NUTRITION

We must not underestimate the importance of good nutrition. This is essential to balance. Food can have a profound effect on the functioning of the body. If you are experiencing prolonged stress, you are at risk of developing heart disease, cancer, infections, gastritis,  peptic ulcer disease. Numerous studies have demonstrated that adequate nutrition can help to prevent or minimize the effects of these diseases .

The solution to this problem is to elevate the quality of the food we consume – that means that we need to limit the anti- nutrients in the diet – These include poor quality fats, poor quality white flour,  poor quality sugar, poor quality dairy and poor quality meats.

So practically how can we achieve balance in our lives? This can be done by the use of nutrition, supplements, herbs, physical exercise, magnetic therapy, aromatherapy massage, energy balancing, mental discipline and modification of life style habits. These forms of therapy can reestablish the rhythmic swing of the Yin- Yang pendulum.

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com

The Cholesterol Story May 27, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Cholesterol, Health, Wellness.
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Many persons become frightened when told that their cholesterol levels are elevated.  They immediately think that just the elevation of cholesterol places them at “heart attack door”.  The truth is that there is more to cholesterol than that! High cholesterol does not reliably identify all people with hidden heart disease, nor does just lowering it cure anyone of heart disease.

Cholesterol is a soft, waxy substance made by the body.  It is found among the fats in the bloodstream and in all your body’s cells.  Cholesterol is not a “bad guy”.  It is beneficial to the body.  Our bodies need it to form cell membranes, to produce bile acids for digestion and to make hormones and vitamin D.  Cholesterol and other fats cannot dissolve in the blood.  They have to be transported to and from the cells by special carriers called lipoproteins.  There are several kinds, but the ones I will be focusing on are low-density lipoprotein (LDL, the so called “bad cholesterol”) and high-density lipoprotein (HDL, the “good cholesterol”).   LDL transports cholesterol to the cells, whereas HDL transports cholesterol away from the cells.  Think of LDL as a dump truck that drops garbage on the street (blocking your arteries) and HDL as the street sweeper that cleans it up.  If there are more dump trucks than street sweepers, the street will be congested.

When one has excess LDL, too much cholesterol can be deposited into the walls of the arteries.  On the other hand, insufficient HDL impairs cholesterol transport away from the walls of the arteries for disposal in the liver. Therefore too much LDL and or not enough HDL can set the stage for atherosclerosis.  This is the process in which deposits of fats, cholesterol, cellular waste products, calcium and other substances build up in the inner lining of an artery forming plaque.  Plaques can grow large enough to significantly reduce the flow of blood through an artery.  They can rupture and cause blood clots to form.  These clots can block blood flow or break off and travel to another part of the body.  If either happens and blocks a blood vessel that feeds the heart, it causes a heart attack.  If this occurs in the brain, it causes a stroke.  And if blood supply to the arms or legs is reduced, it can lead to poor circulation.

Research has shown that it is the oxidation of LDL that causes the most damage to the arteries.  Oxidation or free radical development is the process that changes the composition of this essential nutrient, turning it into a destructive compound. This oxidized LDL injuries the innermost lining of the arterial wall called the endothelium and causes inflammation.  So it is the absolute LDL level and LDL oxidation that are involved in atherosclerosis and increasing heart attack risk.

Apart from LDL-cholesterol, there are other risk factors for developing a heart attack or stroke.  They include high levels of homocysteine, fibrinogen, triglycerides (another blood fat) and C-reactive protein.  The presence of high levels of these other risk factors can result in a person suffering a heart attack or stroke, even though their cholesterol level is low.

Low Cholesterol

Studies have shown that low total cholesterol levels are associated with depression and anxiety, perhaps because low cholesterol may reduce levels of the brain chemical serotonin.  Other research suggests that low LDL levels may be associated with an increased risk of certain types of cancer.  Pregnant women who have low total cholesterol may be more likely to give birth prematurely and have babies low birth weight babies.

A low HDL level increases the risk of heart disease.  For menopausal women, a low HDL level coupled with excess weight may increase the risk of breast cancer.

What about Cholesterol and Diet?

Typically the body makes all the cholesterol it needs. The liver manufacturers about 800-1500 mg of cholesterol per day and this contributes much more to total body cholesterol than does diet.  The liver can also make cholesterol from carbohydrates, proteins or fat.

Only animal foods -egg yolks, meat (that includes mutton and oxtail!), poultry, shellfish, milk and cheese- contain cholesterol.  Foods from plants do not contain cholesterol.  (So ackee and pear do not contain cholesterol). The intake of saturated fats (found in animals and some plants) and trans fats in the diet is the main culprit in raising blood cholesterol.  Trans fat is made when manufacturers add hydrogen to vegetable oil–a process called hydrogenation; this increases the shelf life and flavor stability of foods containing these fats.  They can be found in vegetable shortenings, some margarines,  cookies,  snack foods,  and foods made with or fried in partially hydrogenated oils.

The Good News

Simple changes can reduce your bad cholesterol and increase the good.

• Maintain a level of physical activity that keeps you fit. Walk or do other activities for at least 30 minutes on most days.  If you need to lose weight, do enough activity to burn more calories than you eat every day.

• Limit your intake of foods that are high in calories and low in nutrition; especially limit foods like soft drinks and candy.  Add foods that are high in soluble fibre – whole grains, oats, legumes, fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. Research suggests that the Mediterranean diet—low in saturated and trans fat, high in healthy unsaturated fats, and low in calories—reduces LDL cholesterol significantly better than other diets.   This diet is rich in vegetables, lean fish, and chicken and low in red meat.   A really low- or no-fat diet does a good job of lowering LDL , but may also reduce HDL.   Eating foods and drinks with added phytosterols (plant stanols and sterols) is another way to drop your LDL. The American Heart Association recommends 2 to 3 grams a day of plant sterols .

In addition I recommend the following supplements

• B vitamins in particular B 6,  B12,  folic acid and Niacin.  Niacin,  is particularly effective at promoting a healthy balance between LDL and HDL cholesterol.  Take a minimum of 100 to 200 mg a day.  It can cause the skin to turn red and tingly.  To counter this effect,  I tell my patients to take a baby aspirin and/or 500 mg of Vitamin C with their Niacin.

• Fish oil 1,000 to 3,000 mg daily

• Anti-oxidants. These include garlic, Vitamins A, C, E , the mineral selenium.

• Red yeast rice extract 600 to 1,200 mg a day.  Do not use this supplement if you are taking a statin (prescription medication for lowering cholesterol)

• Artichoke leaf extract.  Take 1800 mg daily

• Policosanol Take 10 mg daily

• Coenzyme Q 10 This antioxidant is essential for the production of energy in little cellular engines called mitochondria.  Statins deplete the body’s natural supply of this antioxidant.  Take 100 to 200 mg daily

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com

We Have Come A Long Way! May 20, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Health, Narcotis, Wellness.
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The use and abuse of drugs has always fascinated me.  Humans have used drugs of one sort or another for thousands of years.  Many common drugs of abuse were originally used as medicine.

Cannabis

For thousands of years Cannabis has been used as a medicine.  It was described in a Chinese medical compendium traditionally considered to date from 2737 B.C.  Its use spread from China to India and then to North Africa and reached Europe at least as early as A.D. 500.  Prior to the 10th century B.C., bhang, a Cannabis preparation, was used as an anesthetic and anti-phlegmatic in India.  In China , in the 28th century B.C , cannabis was prescribed for beriberi, constipation, “female weakness,” gout,  malaria, rheumatism and absent mindedness.  In ancient Greece, the drug was used as a remedy for earache, edema and inflammation.  In Africa,  it was used to restore appetite, relieve haemorrhoidal pain and as an antiseptic.

During the 19th century, Cannabis was sold by major drug companies such as Eli Lilly, Squibb and Parke-Davis.  A potent extract of the drug was one of the top three most prescribed medical agents in the United States.  The United States Pharmacopeia listed the drug until its removal in 1942 under political pressure.  Cannabis was recommended for the treatment of over 100 illnesses including fatigue, cough, rheumatism, asthma, migraine, and menstrual cramps.

In 1890, Dr. J. Russell Reynolds, Fellow of the Royal Society and the Physician in Order to Her Majesty’s Household, stated in the journal The Lancet that Cannabis is  “one of the most valuable medicines we possess.”

He prescribed the drug for Queen Victoria to treat her PMS ( pre-menstrual syndrome ).

Cocaine

Cocaine is an alkaloid found in the coca bush Erythroxylum coca, which grows in the Andes regions of South America.  Coca leaves were chewed by some  South American tribes as early as 600 to 800 A.D.  Early myths and legends suggested that the coca plant was of divine origin.  During the Incan period, consumption was restricted to the priesthood and aristocracy.  After their conquest,  the Incas increased their coca leaf chewing possibly because of a decline in food supplies and the obvious enhancement of their ability to perform heavy physical work under poor conditions.  This habit of chewing coca leaves never became popular with North Americans and Europeans. Instead various drinks made from the coca leaf were concocted and subsequently became popular.  One of them was Mariani’s wine which was endorsed by notable artists and religious leaders.  In 1885, in the United States , John Styth Pemberton introduced a product similar to Mariani’s wine and promoted it as a nerve and tonic stimulant.  The next year, Pemberton concocted another coca product,  a syrup that he named Coca Cola.  This new “remarkable therapeutic agent” contained both coca leaf ( cocaine ), flavouring and caffeine.  Eventually all references to Coca Cola’s medicinal properties were dropped and cocaine removed from the drink.

Dr. Sigmund Freud promoted cocaine use for numerous physical and mental disorders and is said to have used the drug to cure his own depression. Between 1890 and 1906 , the “ golden age of patent medicines“, cocaine was a basic ingredient found in many products advertised as cures for depression, toothache, asthma, colds,  eczema,  alcohol and morphine addiction.  Prospective buyers were advised (in the words of pharmaceutical firm Parke-Davis) that cocaine “could make the coward brave, the silent eloquent, and render the sufferer insensitive to pain“.   By 1902 about 92 % of all cocaine use in the United States was in the form of non prescription tonics and beverages.  With growing concern about its toxic effects, laws were passed in the USA and Canada severely limiting the transport and sale of the drug.

Heroin

Heroin was introduced into medical practice in 1898 as a cough suppressant. It was initially met with worldwide acceptance, because there were fewer side effects when compared with morphine and also because physicians were unaware of the drug’s potential for dependency. By 1924 the production and importation of the drug was outlawed in the United States.

Tobacco

The ” native peoples of North America” were observed smoking cigars and chewing tobacco by various explorers.  It was the Spanish who first brought tobacco to Europe.  At first it was treated as a medicine and many claims were made of its fantastic curative powers – it was reported to be effective in the treatment of ulcers, asthma, rheumatism and headaches.  Jean Nicot,  a French diplomat promoted the importation and cultivation of tobacco because of its perceived medicinal properties.  His name was given to the genus Nicotiana and subsequently to the alkaloid nicotine.  As tobacco use spread as a wonder cure,  it did not take long to catch on as a recreation  (although many persons stated that they were actually using it to prevent diseases such as the plague).   In 1604 King James I of England wrote an anti- tobacco treatise called  “A Counterblaste to Tobacco” in which he expressed his distaste for tobacco, particularly tobacco smoking.  He stated that smoking affects “the inward parts of man,  soiling and infecting them with a vicious and oily kind of Soote,  as hath been found in some great tobacco takers, that after their death opened“.   He even commented on the effects of second hand smoke.  The king rightly blamed Sir Walter Raleigh for the popularity of smoking in England.  Raleigh like any true smoker, smoked one last pipe before he was beheaded, in order “to settle his spirits”.

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com

Pets – Man’s Best Friends May 13, 2010

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Animals are such agreeable friends – they ask no questions, they pass no criticisms.  – George Eliot

When I gave him the pain killing injection he just opened his eyes and blinked. He did not move, he just made a small sound. It was then that I began to acknowledge that my beloved dog Caesar was dying . Caesie as I loved to call him, came into our family in 1992. He could talk – he used to greet us in the morning by saying “Hello “and “ Morning “. That used to both freak out and amuse people! He also loved to greet me by lifting his front right paw to shake hands. Caesar had a penchant for lifting up my skirt and looking under me. I was even advised by an elderly female relative to “not wear skirts around that dog – Mind he does not rape you”. He was the ultimate alpha dog. He did not take kindly to any other male dog (at one time I had seven dogs and had to resort to inventive ways to separate him from the other males). At the time of his passing his companions were two female dogs. Even in his old age, he loved to exert his power over them.

I have always kept pets – not only dogs, but birds, guinea pigs ,rabbits and fish and for a short time when I was in primary school , a lizard . That is until Mummy discovered my beloved Lizzie who lived in my bedside lamp shade. Well the rest is history – my Mummy killed Lizzie.

The Oxford Dictionary defines the word “pet” as “an animal that is tamed and treated with affection, kept for companionship or amusement”. I estimate that more that half of Jamaican households have pets. They play an important part in our lives and many are treated as ‘one of the family’. Pets provide a constant source of enjoyment, companionship and fun, and many thrive in a family and household environment.My pets make me feel good and I daresay that those good feelings stem from the unconditional love that I receive from them.

Many studies show that pets literally make their owners healthier. Research conducted by the University of Minnesota highlighted the importance of regular contact with domestic animals. According to this study, having a cat around the house can cut the risk of having a heart attack or a stroke by almost half. “For years we have known that psychological stress and anxiety are related to cardiovascular events, particularly heart attacks, says Dr Adnan Qureshi, executive director of the Minnesota Stroke Institute at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. According to Qureshi, the research shows that “essentially there is a benefit in relieving those inciting factors from pets”. In a recent study, Dr Deborah Wells of Queen’s University Belfast found that dog owners tend to suffer less from ill health, have lower cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. “It is possible that dogs can directly promote our well-being by buffering us from stress,” says Dr Wells. A large-scale survey of more than 11,000 Australians, Chinese and Germans also proved pet-owners enjoy better health. Over a five year period, pet owners made 15 – 20% fewer annual visits to the doctor than non pet-owners. The results showed that the healthiest group – those who went to the doctor least – was those who continuously owned a pet. The unhealthiest groups were people who had never owned a pet, or no longer did. The benefit of pet ownership isn’t limited to physical well-being. Owning a pet can help recently widowed people in dealing with stress in that they are able to talk to their animals at a time when they feel unable to share their feelings with other people.

Therapy

In the United States, more than half of all nursing homes, clinics and hospitals use animals in a therapeutic capacity. The effect of dogs or cats is especially dramatic in the clinically depressed patient whose withdrawal can be lessened by the introduction of the pet.

Relaxation

Tests have revealed that stroking dogs and cats can lower the blood pressure and heart rate of humans. This may be related to the simple fact that caring for certain pets introduces added responsibilities, such as exercising the dog and leading a more active life.

Recovery from illness

Pets can aid recovery from illness. Research indicates that owning a pet can improve a person’s chances of survival after a life-threatening illness such as a heart attack. Research by psychologist Dr June McNicholas showed that women with breast cancer reported significantly better feelings of control over their disease and treatment if they owned a pet. Animal owners also felt less disfigured after breast cancer surgery and more than 87 per cent said their pet provided them with support in their illness.

Children

It has been scientifically proven that children who grew up with a pet developed better social skills and had a greater respect for all living things around them, than those who did not have the benefits of pet ownership. This happens because children learn that animals consistently show non-judgmental love and loyalty in addition to experiencing pain, hunger, illness and death. Pet ownership helps prepare them for life.

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com

Aphrodisiacs April 15, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Health, Wellness.
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One of my favourite television shows is called Bizarre Foods, aired on the Travel Channel. It is hosted by an adventurous spirit named Andrew Zimmern who travels the world searching for and sampling “ bizarre foods “. In one episode, filmed in Japan he ate a beating frog’s heart, thought by some to “improve potency “. We do not have to go Japan to learn about aphrodisiacs. Every day my E mail inbox is flooded with offerings of “love / sex boosters “ from spammers . So I began to wonder, what does Cupid use? A fork or an arrow?

Aphrodisiacs are substances that evoke or stimulate sexual desire. In order for a substance to be a true aphrodisiac, it has to create desire – not improve performance and ability. So for the record neither Viagra nor Cialis are aphrodisiacs. Research has found that some foods, herbs and supplements do stimulate the production of hormones or other chemicals that affect libido however scientists are unsure whether those chemicals are produced in a high enough quantity for us to really notice the difference.

Aphrodisiacs derive their name from the Greek goddess of sexual rapture, Aphrodite. Philosopher and physician Pliny the Elder believed that the blood of a bat, collected on wool and placed under the head of a woman, would make her lusty. It is interesting to note that some of the classic aphrodisiacs actually contain nutrients critical to sexual function.

Male and female sex drives are controlled by hormone levels, the major player being testosterone. If we do not have enough testosterone, then sexual interest (also known as libido) can decrease . Stress, fatigue and depression can negatively affect libido. When we encounter something sexually stimulating , a chain reaction begins. First, signals are sent from the limbic lobe of the brain via the nervous system to the pelvic region. These signals instruct blood vessels to open. In turn this opening of blood vessels (also called dilation) creates an erection – in both men and women ( female erectile tissues are found in the clitoris and surrounding the vaginal entrance ). At the same time, our brains begin to release norepinephrine and dopamine, neurotransmitters that tell our bodies that what we are feeling is good and pleasurable.

People throughout history have made aphrodisiac associations with animals that are known to be virile and prolific reproducers. Rabbits, tigers, goats and bulls have reputations for prolific reproduction, strength and/or virility. Throughout history people have ingested the sex organs of these animals to enhance sexual performance.

In days of old, when people developed their love potion theories, they relied heavily on “food porn” and so whatever resembled genitalia was used to obtain desire .There are some symbolically phallic foods- asparagus, carrots, bananas ( both fruit and flower have a phallic shape ; the fruit is rich in potassium and B vitamins both essential for sex-hormone production), cucumbers and avocados (called the “testicle tree” by the Aztecs). The vulva – looking oyster ( high in zinc, a mineral necessary for sperm production) is undoubtedly king among edible aphrodisiacs. There are others including figs, peaches, pomegranates and eggs. Many of these foods are full of vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients that can help keep sex organs and hormones running in peak condition .

Other foods thought to have aphrodisiac properties:

Chocolate contains phenylethylamine, a mood regulator that contributes to chocolate’s amphetamine-like effects and may stimulate production of dopamine . Chocolate also contains arginine, an amino acid the body converts to nitric oxide .Viagra works by increasing nitric oxide levels in the body, thereby opening up blood vessels in the penis.

Garlic increases circulation. There was a time, long ago, when Tibetan monks were not allowed to enter the monastery if they had been eating garlic because of its reputation for stirring up passions.

Honey is rich in B vitamins and boron which helps the body metabolize and use oestrogen. In medieval times, people drank mead, a fermented drink made from honey, to promote sexual desire. In ancient Persia, couples drank mead every day for a month (the “honey month” or “honeymoon”) after they married in order to get in the right frame of mind for a successful marriage.

Aphrodisiac herbs include ginkgo biloba , which opens blood vessels, improving circulation and helping to restore the ability to achieve erection and ginseng which energizes the body, and boosts the production of testosterone in men and women. Black cohosh and dong quai , herbs which help regulate hormones can be beneficial to women. Horny goat weed, yohimbe and muira puama are herbs which may be beneficial to men.

Patients ( 9.5 out of 10 times men !) frequently ask me for recommendations to “ improve mi performance “. My reply is “ stay in good physical condition , adopt a healthy lifestyle , respect your partner and yourself . Do not believe that one herb or concoction to going to bring life to the almost dead ! “. The fact is that good “ penile health “ is associated with good blood flow to the genitalia . Diabetes ,hypertension , high cholesterol levels , peripheral vascular disease ( poor circulation ) , obesity and inactivity can cause erectile dysfunction. The most meaningful sexual relationships begin with respect – for your partner and yourself – and understanding his or her needs.

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com

HEALTHY TRAVEL April 10, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Health, Wellness.
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Well its that time of the year when many persons begin planning to go overseas on vacation. Overseas travel can be an exciting yet potentially hazardous with dry, recycled air on airplanes, jet lag, unfamiliar food and drink and climate changes. Add to that the numerous airport security checks! It is amazing that we still want to travel! However with a little preparation you can stay healthy while traveling.

Plan Ahead

Prevention is a big part of staying well while traveling. As soon as you have picked a destination and planned your itinerary, ensure that your medical insurance is valid in that part of the world. Travel with the contact information for your doctors, a list of the names and dosages of any medications you take and, if necessary your doctor’s summary of your medical history.

Depending on where you are headed and for how long, you may want to consider getting vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provides up-to-date immunization recommendations on its web site (www.cdc.gov). Of course the decision to get vaccinated should be based on personal risk, not just on destination.

The Journey

Travel can be stressful . Meditation and deep breathing are excellent stress-busters. Focusing on breathing will not only slow your heart rate and bring oxygen to the brain and body, but it can lower blood pressure, ease anxiety and calm nerves. Flower essences, kava, passionflower and lavender oil are also useful in helping to alleviate anxiety

Jet Lag

OK , so you have made it ; but for those who have crossed a few time zones your 24 hour internal clock is likely off, resulting in “jet lag”- fatigue, irritability and insomnia. This occurs when your internal clock doesn’t match your current time zone, leading to a “mix up of your days and nights.” In general, the more time zones crossed, the worse the jet lag.

However, there are a number of ways to reduce or prevent jet jag . You can gradually adjust your sleep schedule in the days prior to travel to more closely match the time zone of your destination. In addition while traveling drink lots of water, set your watch to the time of your destination as soon as you depart, take power naps, and try to get accustomed to your new schedule as soon as you land.

To adapt to your new location , first take a walk or go outside for 20 to 30 minutes during the brightest part of the day . Then, as bedtime approaches, turn the lights off and relax. For those who like to watch TV before going to bed – be careful as the light from the television can suppress your natural melatonin secretion and make it harder to fall asleep. Melatonin is a natural hormone that helps regulate the body’s 24 hour clock. Take melatonin supplements to help prevent or reduce jet lag

Digestion

Bacteria such as E. coli, can often lead to traveler’s diarrhea. A few precautionary measures can prevent this.

• Take ( beneficial intestinal bacteria) before and during your trip to boost the health of your digestive tract.

• Drink only bottled or boiled water. Depending on the location it may be necessary to use this water to brush your teeth.

• Wash your hands frequently.

• Clean and peel all fruits and vegetables.

• Eat freshly cooked dishes that are well done and steaming hot.

• Do not drink unpasteurized dairy products, raw fish and meat.

Remember the traveler’s motto: “Boil it, cook it, peel it, or forget it.”

If you do get diarrhoea , rest and drink lots of fluids. On the other hand many people become constipated the minute they leave the comfort of their homes. Exercise, increasing fluid and fibre intake , probiotic supplementation and aloe vera drinks will help to “ loosen the pipes “.

Tips for a comfortable flight

Unless you are in first class, flying is generally not one of the more enjoyable parts of any trip. The following rules will help you to stay healthy before and after your flight.

1.     Avoid alcohol and caffeine directly before and during your flight. Drink purified water, ideally 8 ounces for every hour you are in the air.

2.     Carry along nutritious snacks such as dried fruit and nuts rather than junk food

3.     Immune system support is vital during travel. The day before flying I increase my daily intake of Vitamin C to 6000 mg and increase my intake of antioxidants Schizandra Plus ®and Rose Ox ®. I also take these supplements during the flight.

4.    Wear several layers of comfortable clothes. This will help you to adjust for temperature fluctuations.

5.    While on the plane get as much exercise as you can- walking up and down the aisle, doing stretching exercises in your seat all help to reduce discomfort, especially swelling of legs and feet. These exercises will increase circulation and prevent the development of blood clots in the legs – deep vein thrombosis (DVT).

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com

LIFE LESSONS February 22, 2010

Posted by Dr. Jacqueline E. Campbell in Health, Wellness.
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As a holistic physician, I frequently have long talks with my patients , trying to know the whole person . It is crucial that I listen to these persons, so that there can be good therapeutic alliance . This is essential for effective healing . One of the roles of a physician is that of teacher – this is a role that I relish . In fact in another life I would want to be a kindergarten teacher. When the doctor becomes the teacher, medicine the science is transformed into medicine , the art .

We are now at the beginning of a new year , a new decade – a perfect time for reflection. As I reflect on my life I remember the lessons I have learnt. There have been many. Some have been learnt from my dear family and friends, who have cushioned me. At times I have been taught by my patients .

PATIENCE

Some patients can ramble – to get from point A to point B, they have to go first to points S , then M before arriving at B . This can be understandably frustrating as work needs to be done. I have learnt to be patient because we all have a story to tell. We all want someone to listen to us. Sometimes this is all the medicine a sick person needs.

FAITH

One day, Miss G. came for a routine “check up“. Out of no where she exclaimed “God answers prayers in three ways – yes , no , wait“ . Whoa ! I thought, this lady can read my mind, how did she know that I had been asking God why He was not answering my prayers? Since then whenever I pray, I remember what Miss G said.

ENDURANCE

This means to hold up under pain, fatigue. I frequently see many examples of endurance . Mrs. R, is a young woman with breast cancer who has undergone surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, only to have her cancer spread to her bones. She is in pain, but does not show it. Her energies are vibrant. She always greets me with a smile and asks “How are you doing today ? “

PERSEVERANCE

That lesson was learnt from Mr. W. He had a stroke . Overnight he became a cripple. He was confined to a wheelchair , but decided that he was not staying in that chair . After many months of painful physical rehabilitation , he is now able to walk with the aid of a walker . He is convinced that within the next three months he will be walking unaided.

HAPPINESS

Nothing puts a smile on my face like a little child bursting into my office , unannounced just to smile and greet me . I know the greeting is for me as I do not give children sweets ! . I have learnt that happiness is not directly correlated with material possessions or physical appearances. It is a state of mind.

FORGIVENESS

So many times I have heard of patients been physically and emotionally abused by a family member . I remember asking a lady in her seventies why she continued to live with her husband of 50 years who had disrespected her . Her reply was simple – “I have forgiven him . Although I no longer love him, he is the father of my children, my gifts from God. You see I accept him for the blessings that he has brought me. God is going to turn him around.”

EMBRACING MY “ HUMAN-NESS”

I have learnt that it is OK to give an encouraging smile , to call a patient to enquire about his/ her health , to hug a patient – although there was this one time when an 80 year old gentleman thought that the encouraging pat on his back, gave him permission to proposition me . I have learnt that it is OK to even shed a tear.

LOVE

This is demonstrated on a daily basis when we see patients been accompanied to the office by loved ones . These loved ones just want to be present to show their love, support and care.

In caring for my patients and empowering them to take charge of their health, I have learnt many lessons. I have learnt to embrace truth, honesty, kindness, faith, hope , love and mercy. I have learnt to have peace of mind, strength and joy of spirit. I continue to learn. I give thanks for my patients.

DR. JACQUELINE E. CAMPBELL B.Sc. (Hons) M.Phil. (Pharmacology) M.B., B.S.

Dr. Jacqueline Elaine Campbell is a family physician whose special interests are Pharmacology, and the use of Alternative/Complementary Medicine in the treatment of diabetes and other diseases that are common in Jamaica.

She is the author of A Patient’s Guide to the Treatment of Diabetes Mellitus.

http://www.6westmedical.com