Advice for Life, June 23, 2016

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Heat stroke is a medical emergency. Learn to recognize the symptoms discussed in last week’s column and take the appropriate action. The heat stroke victim needs to see a doctor as soon as possible, but the first step is to get the core temperature under control. If you suspect someone has heat stroke, begin treating them immediately while someone else calls 9-1-1. Everything must be done to cool the heat stroke victim immediately. The best solution is to remove them from the sun, immerse the body in cold water, such as a river, stream, or bathtub. Otherwise, remove most of their clothes, douse them with water, and fan them vigorously. Wrapping in wet sheets can help increase the rate of heat loss. If the person is conscious and alert, offer him or her water or other fluids. Avoid caffeinated or alcoholic drinks because they dehydrate you. If the victim starts shivering, slow down the cooling treatment because shivering raises core temperature. Take the person's temperature every 10 minutes if you have a thermometer handy. You should not let the core temperature fall below 38°C as this can result in an uncontrollable slide towards dangerously low temperatures. All the while you should be making arrangements to get the victim to an emergency room. Watch for signs of respiratory arrest (breathing failure) and be ready to give mouth-to-mouth resuscitation (rescue breathing).

The heat exhaustion victim should also be put in a cool place. Lay them down and give small gulps of liquid every few minutes. "Sports" drinks are best but water is often more readily available. You should watch carefully for signs of deterioration, but there's no need to rush to a hospital for a normal case of heat exhaustion.

The way to prevent these problems is to drink very large amounts of liquid during heat waves, especially if you're planning on working or exercising outdoors. If exercising, approximately 500 mL to 1.8 L of water should be consumed in the 3 hours before the activity with about 200 mL to 250 mL consumed every 20 minutes during the activity. Fluid loss continues after the activity is over, so it is important to continue to consume water for several hours after exercise. You shouldn't take salt tablets unless you're also drinking a lot of water.

Advice For Life June 9, 2016

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Heat stroke is also known as sunstroke, thermic fever, or siriasis. It happens when the body's mechanisms for controlling temperature fail. Heat stroke is a life-threatening emergency needing immediate treatment. While many people feel sick and faint during heat waves, most of these people are suffering from heat exhaustion, a related condition usually less serious than heat stroke. Working or exercising in hot conditions or weather without drinking enough fluids is the main cause of heat stroke. You can get heat stroke by not replacing lost fluids over days or weeks, or you can bring it on in a few hours by exercising strenuously on a hot day without drinking plenty of liquids first.

Liquids help to cool us down by allowing the body to produce sweat. However, liquids are also necessary for bodily functions, such as keeping up blood pressure. You can lose large amounts of body fluid in the form of sweat without noticing any effects, but at a certain point the body will reserve the remaining fluid for vital functions and stop sweating. The body's core temperature then shoots up, and cells start dying.

Symptoms of heat exhaustion include moderately high core temperature of up to 39°C, cool, pale, clammy skin, muscle cramps, headache, nausea, fatigue and weakness, dizziness or lightheadedness, and possible fainting, but can be revived. A person suffering from heat exhaustion will usually be sweating profusely in an attempt to get rid of excess heat.

Symptoms of heat stroke are extremely high core temperature of up to 41°C, hot, red, dry skin, rapid pulse, rapid, shallow breathing, headache, confusion, strange behaviour, and possible loss of consciousness. Someone with heat stroke has stopped sweating, due to a failure in his or her heat control system. High core temperatures damage the internal organs, especially the brain. The fluid loss can also produce dangerously low blood pressure. Most people who are killed by heat stroke die when their heart stops pumping effectively. Even people who survive are likely to have permanent brain damage if their core temperature has been over 40.6°C for more than an hour or two.

Next week we will look at treatment for heat stroke. Stay cool!

Advice for Life, June 2, 2016

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   The guidelines set out for the general population on safe travel also apply to patients who are pregnant.It is wise to check an airline’s policy regarding pregnant individuals travelling by air. For example, Air Canada allows a woman with a normal pregnancy, and no previous history of premature labour to travel up to and including the 36th week.American Airlines requires a medical certificate of fitness to travel up until the 36th week, and will not board a person seven days prior to, or after a delivery (unless a person can provide a letter from a physician).Furthermore, a multiple pregnancy, cervical incompetence, evidence of bleeding or increased uterine activity are signs that air travel should be avoided. Patients concerned about airport x-ray screening of their carry-on items can be reassured that these machines are well shielded and emit radiation similar to those used in hospitals and medical clinics, at almost immeasurable levels. Passing through the metal detector portal poses no risk to a pregnant patient or her unborn child.

   Travel with infants and children can be challenging. Parents should ensure their infants and children have up to date immunizations. Chemoprophylaxis for malaria and travellers’ diarrhea are weight dependent, and outlined in detail on the Health Canada website.Infants should not travel by air until they are at least two days old (and preferably 7 days old) because their lungs are not sufficiently developed, and significant oxygen debt can occur at high altitude.

   Prior to travel, it is essential for immunocompromised patients to be sure their required vaccinations are updated and they have a plan for prevention and treatment of enteric infections and other diseases. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention has prepared a statement on travel for patients who are immunocompromised. The CDC has outlined those situations where medical conditions are without significant impact on travel. Patients receiving short or long term daily doses of prednisone of less than 20 mg or other short-acting corticosteroid products, and those on steroid inhalers or topical steroid agents, should not expect any serious travel limitations.

Other circumstances which do not excessively impact on travel include patients with HIV having a greater than 500 CD4 lymphocyte count, cancer patients who have received their last chemotherapy treatment, bone marrow transplant recipients who are more than two years post transplant and travellers with autoimmune diseases not receiving immunosuppressive agents.

To book your travel consultation at Grand Avenue Travel Clinic call 403-932-2500 or go to www.grandavenuepharmacy.ca

Advice for LIfe, May 26, 2016

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This butterfly-shaped gland that sits at the front of your neck makes thyroid hormones that affect your metabolism. If you have hypothyroidism, your body isn’t producing enough thyroid hormone. You may feel tired or cold all the time, have dry skin, a slow heart rate, constipation or gain weight for no apparent reason. If your thyroid hormone levels are too high, you have hyperthyroidism. Obvious symptoms include nervousness, trouble concentrating, feeling too warm, having a rapid heart rate and losing weight without trying.

The pituitary gland located at the base of the brain keeps track of the amount of thyroid hormone in the blood. It sends signals to the thyroid gland to either make more or less depending on what’s needed for optimum function.

A goiter, or enlarged thyroid, can cause difficulties swallowing or breathing. A lack of iodine in the diet is the most common cause, but goiters can also result from thyroid hormone over or under production or nodules on the gland itself.

Normal thyroid function is dependent on the presence of many trace elements for both the synthesis and metabolism of thyroid hormones. Thyroid-Pro is specially formulated with a blend of essential minerals to support thyroid function and help prevent iodine deficiency. In addition to providing an adaptogenic herb for stress support, Thyroid-Pro contains L-tyrosine and key cofactors necessary for the enzymatic production of the thyroid hormones, triiodothyronine (T3), and thyroxine (T4).

Advice For Life, May 19, 2016

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There is a common myth that if a person tans well, they’re protected from the sun’s harmful rays. Not true! While it is true that fair haired, blue-eyed people are most prone to burning, and therefore are more susceptible to the sun’s rays, even “healthy” tans are really just damage control - they’re your body’s way of trying to protect itself from the sun. But the damage is already done and can’t be reversed. Years of sun worshipping, be it outside or in a tanning salon, will eventually show up later on in life as wrinkles, poor skin elasticity, and possibly skin cancer. The sun, however, is also very important to our health. It provides us with vitamin D (which we need for our bones), and it can lift our spirits. As with most good things, moderation and good sense are the keys. The goal is to have fun outside but to stay safe at the same time. Here are some basic rules: Cover up whenever possible. A longer cotton skirt, for example, might feel cooler on a hot day than a pair of shorts, and will help guard you from the sun. Hats keep the sun’s rays off the scalp, face, and back of the neck, prime areas for skin cancer. A good hat will also shelter and protect your eyes from the sun’s powerful rays. Apply sunscreen 20 minutes before you go out, even if the sun doesn’t seem particularly strong. Damaging ultraviolet rays can penetrate clouds, so don’t take a chance. Always apply sunscreen with a minimum SPF (sun protection factor) of 15. Be sure to follow the directions closely and reapply the sunscreen on a regular basis throughout the day, especially after you’ve been swimming or sweating. Avoid the sun when it’s at its peak. It’s strongest between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m., so use that time to do activities indoors if possible. Physical (mineral) sunscreens tend to be better tolerated by most skin types because the chemical filters used in chemical sunscreens can be irritating for many people. However, physical sunscreens tend to leave a white cast or white streaks after application and don’t offer as much UVA protection compared to chemical sunscreens. Physical sunscreens are also a bit thicker so they may be more difficult to apply. Since they each have their pros and cons, many of today's sunscreens contain both physical and chemical UV filters. Grand Avenue Pharmacy carries full lines of natural sunscreens including Alba, Green Beaver, Goddess Garden, Kiss My Face, Sunny Kids, and Derma-E.

Advice for Life, May 12, 2016

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Magnesium activates so many nutrients in the body, but its relationship with Calcium is critical. Their synergistic behaviour is so inter-dependent, they’re increasingly referred to as The Twin Minerals.

But calcium is everywhere - added to so many foods today - and magnesium is hard to find.    From this starting point, the body is almost always ‘out of balance.’    Magnesium depletes from the body every 12 hours, requiring continual replenishment, whereas calcium builds up in the body.  Calcium, when not in balance with magnesium, cannot be utilized correctly by the body, causing painful conditions such as hardening and narrowing of the arteries, gall stones, kidney stones, calcification in joints and muscles, calcium deposits in organs, muscle pain and cramps, tension and irritability.

Too much of anything is not a good thing, but too much calcium – unable to be excreted by the body – is now under increasing study as the key contributor to a long list of health issues. CalMag supplements typically contain 2:1 calcium to magnesium. Calcium is most famous mineral for bone health, but it is the magnesium that activates Vitamin D that assimilates the calcium.   Evidence shows that North Americans consume the most calcium in the world and have the weakest bones in the world. The Twin Minerals are involved in the following:  

Calcium

  • Tenses and excites muscles      and nerves
  • Helps to build strong       bones
  • Constipates
  • Thickens blood
  • Constantly builds up in the      body

Magnesium

  • Relaxes and calm muscles and      nerves
  • Activates Vitamin D to help      absorb calcium
  • Laxative
  • Thins blood
  • Constantly depleted from      body 

Advice for Life, April 21,2016

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Adrenal-Pro Recharge Yourself

Your adrenal glands are two triangular shaped glands that sit at the top of your kidneys and secrete hormones in your body. The adrenal cortex, or outer part of the gland, produces cortisol which helps regulate metabolism and your body’s response to stress, and aldosterone which helps regulate blood pressure. The adrenal medulla, or inner part produces adrenaline, which is responsible for triggering the “fight or flight” response in your body in times of stress.

When your adrenal glands aren’t secreting the right amount of hormones to keep levels elevated, you may need to seek support. Some signs of Adrenal Fatigue include low energy, body aches, low blood pressure, unexplained weight loss, lightheadedness and skin discolouration or hyperpigmentation. Your adrenal glands can be worked overtime, too. Chronic stress puts a high demand on the adrenals and taxes them to the point of exhaustion. They then run out of energy and resources to meet the body’s needs.

Each capsule contains

L-Tyrosine 200mg
Pantothenic acid (B5, calcium d-pantothenate) 125mg
Ashwagandha extract 1.5% withanolides 100mg
Schisandra extract 1.6% schisandrins 75mg
Siberian ginseng extract 0.8% eleutherosides 75mg
Rhodiola extract 3.6% rosavins 50mg
Astragulus extract 0.3% astragalosides 38mg
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine HCL) 15mg
   

Adrenal-Pro Recharge Yourself is specially formulated to support the adrenal glands, increase energy, reduce stress and fatigue and provide an improved sense of well being. A blend of nutrients and adaptogenic herbs used in herbal medicine, Adrenal-Pro Recharge Yourself can help improve mental and physical performance after periods of exertion.

Advice for Life, April 14, 2016

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Efamol Pure Evening Primrose Oil is clinically proven to relieve symptoms of atopic eczema, including redness, itchiness and swelling. It’s been proven safe and effective in more clinical trials than any other evening primrose oil in the world. Efamol Pure Evening Primrose Oil contributes to soft, smooth, velvety skin by providing Gamma-linolenic acid or GLA, a biologically active form of omega-6 Essential Fatty Acids. Efamol uses only unique Rigel Seeds—not generic seeds. That means Efamol Pure Evening Primrose Oil provides up to 33% more GLA than other brand. Never cold-pressed, Efamol uses a unique one-step low-temperature manufacturing process to gently extract evening primrose oil and keep it in its natural state.

A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial using Efamol Pure Evening Primrose Oil found that EPO enhances the structure and function of normal healthy skin, improves moisture content and retention, elasticity, firmness, strength and smoothness, and tightens skin and reduces wrinkles and dryness. A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial found that EPO Aids healing of detergent damaged skin and makes its condition even better than it was before it was irritated and significantly improves the firmness, moisture, roughness, and fatigue of skin better than placebo.

Some clinical trials have shown that EPO can help to reduce PMS associated symptoms such as irritability, depression, breast pain or tenderness, fatigue, food cravings and fluid retention. Imbalances such as lower than normal levels of polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) may produce an exaggerated response to normal levels of circulating hormones as well as lead to a lack of anti-inflammatory prostaglandins.8,9,10,11,12,13,14.

Advice for Life, April 7, 2016

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Travel Health Concerns for Special Populations

Patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes represent a large segment of a pharmacy’s clientele. Those travelling on a north-south route should expect little or no change in monitoring or medication dosage, unless they encounter significant alterations in meal schedules, types of food consumed or physical activity. When travelling by air in an east-west direction, people with type 2 diabetes should take their oral hypoglycemic agents based on local time, and in accordance with meals eaten.Since there are many different formulas to calculate dosing changes, patients taking insulin must consult a physician or diabetes educator to determine the plan before travelling through time zones involving differences of three or more hours. The treatment goal for such patients is to switch to the new time zone as soon as possible. Frequent blood glucose monitoring is very important, initially, and the patient can err on the side of higher sugar levels (hyperglycemia) for the first 24-hour period. Patients with diabetes are advised to carry all medications, blood glucose meter, test strips, lancets, syringes, needles and snacks with them in their carry-on luggage. They should keep a note from their physician handy, in order to satisfy security personnel that they are entitled to carry such items.

   Several issues should be considered when a traveller has a cardiovascular illness. All medications, in sufficient amounts for the duration of the trip should be kept in the carry-on luggage. A valid prescription is advisable in the event the medications are lost or stolen. If applicable, a copy of the most recent electrocardiogram (ECG) should also accompany the traveller. Most pacemakers and implants are not affected by airport security devices, but if the item has been very recently inserted, then the patient should call the manufacturer to confirm whether the product is destroyed by scanners or x-ray equipment.

   Contacting the airline to provide supplemental oxygen if needed during the flight is advised for patients suffering from angina or heart failure. Patients with circulatory problems, those having a history of venous disease or trauma, or pregnant patients are at risk for developing a deep vein thrombosis (DVT) on extended flights. These medical conditions are further exacerbated by cramped seating, blood pooling from a lack of movement and dehydration from excessive alcohol intake.For such patients, flight socks, which provide compression level 14–17 mm Hg are suggested. Those individuals designated as high risk might consider low-dose acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) prior to the flight.

Advice For Life, March 31, 2016

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We all have things that slip our minds, like where we put our keys, names of certain acquaintances or what year we took that amazing trip to France… With all these little slips we may start to feel our fading memories are irreversible and those fond milestones in our lives will be lost forever. Even though some memory lapses are normal as we age, they can still be a very frightening thing. Thankfully, all may not be lost. Now there are new ways to increase your memory function and hold on to the parts of life you want to cherish always.

Your working memory, which is responsible for remembering things like where you parked the car, is fueled by networks of neurons located in the prefrontal cortex. These fire constantly to retain information even when you’re not calling on it to do so. Keeping this service healthy is key to keeping your memories intact. Protecting cell membranes from free radical damage allows us to sustain brisk neurochemical activity and ensures that the memories you file away for later use can be quickly accessed whenever you need them. Maintaining a healthy blood flow to the brain is crucial for carrying fuel into the cells and waste products out. As brain activity increases, blood flow increases also, supplying the brain with vital oxygen and glucose. Keeping an open line for nutrients to feed our brains stimulates activity and encourages better memory capacity.

CanPrev’s Mind-Pro supplies our brains with what it needs to sustain its memory service. Formulated in an easy to take softgel, this twice daily supplement provides powerful antioxidants to slow free radical damage, enhance cerebral blood flow and stimulate the production of essential neurotransmitters. Mind-Pro contains bacopa monnieri, a booster of the chemical acetylcholine that aids communication between brain cells and helps to store incoming information in the brain. DL-Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is instrumental in converting glucose, the brain’s primary source of energy, in order to increase brain activity and allow it to more efficiently store and access memories. ALA is unique because it’s one of the few materials that can cross the blood brain barrier and act as an antioxidant, protecting the brain from oxidative damage. Mind-Pro also addresses key risk factors that so frequently affect memory, including vascular problems that block or reduce blood flow to the brain potentially decreasing essential brain nutrients and neurons.

Advice for Life, March 24, 2016

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There is room in everyone's diet for a little probiotics, and they can help with a myriad of health concerns. The human digestive system is made up of millions of microorganisms. Probiotics are healthy bacteria that can be ingested through certain foods or supplements. Once in the colon, they multiply and help balance the good and bad bacteria that live there. According to nutritionist Helen Kwiatkowska, research is showing that probiotics can help more than just colon health. "Eighty to 90 per cent of the immune system is in our gut," she said, adding that poor gut flora can lead increased susceptibility to colds and the flu, and other diseases. Kwiatkowska said that people with intestinal issues, such as irritable bowel syndrome, have poor gut flora. Ongoing poor intestinal health can lead to a host of health problems throughout the body - allergies, asthma, eczema and even mood are all linked to the gut, she said.

Taking probiotics is especially important following surgery, a round of antibiotics, or a gastro intestinal illness, she said, adding that one bout of stomach flu can "pretty much wipe out" all the good bacteria. Probiotics can be found in fermented foods, such as yogurt and kefir (a fermented milk drink), sauerkraut, kosher pickles (pickles made with a salt brine instead of vinegar), kimchi (Korean fermented vegetables) and miso paste (Japanese fermented soybean paste).

There are also a variety of probiotic supplements on the market, which provide a much more potent dose of the beneficial bacteria. There are many different supplements out there today ranging from six to 10 billion per capsule up to 100 billion. Some formulas are designed to address specific areas, such as colon, urinary or genital health, while other can help with general health and wellbeing.

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