Check here for on going articles and points of interest that will help you maximize your well being.
By Jennifer Haessler, ND
Coconut oil has so many benefits beyond cooking. To ensure you are buying good quality coconut oil, make sure that it is certified organic, virgin and stored in a glass container. Storing oil of any kind in plastic increases the chances that any chemicals that are in the plastic will leach into the oil, as fats tend to be very good at binding to many substances. In the clinic, we have Organic Coconut Oil by Xymogen, which meets all of these criteria. Read on for many ways that coconut oil can help you feel better…
I love this inspirational news clip about Dr. Ellsworth-Wareham, a 100 year old retired heart surgeon who still drives, mows the lawn and did heart surgery until he was 95! Thank you to the Stone Naturopathic Clinic team for sharing this.
I know I have few things I can work on from that list. Definitely good rules to live by.
I am pleased to announce that effective July 1, 2015, Naturopathic Doctors in Ontario were moved from being regulated under the Drugless Practitioners Act to the Registered Health Professions Act (RHPA). The initiative to move the regulation of Naturopathy in Ontario began more than two decades ago. While the sudden proclamation date poses some transitional challenges, this change is a positive step forward. It recognizes the Naturopathic profession as an equal partner alongside other health professions, expands the lab testing we can order and allows for designated prescription rights. Among other benefits, these will ultimately enhance the quality of naturopathic care for patients.
What Does This Mean for Patients?
Thank you so much to everyone who sent emails to the government showing your support of Naturopathic Medicine. Due to your collective efforts, the list of lab tests that Naturopathic Doctors can order was increased significantly from what was originally proposed. However with this positive step forward, the new regulations for now prevent Naturopathic doctors from performing in-office testing for certain tests. This means that while as a Naturopathic Doctor, I can sign a requisition for these tests, patients will be required to visit a licensed Ontario lab to have the test performed. I am currently in the process of investigating whether the Maple Shores lab can be licensed, so that we can maintain a convenient collection site for patients. In the meantime, conventional blood draw testing once performed here will be available at LifeLabs in Owen Sound. For tests that were previously only offered by out of province or US labs, the hope is that they will set up a satellite Ontario location, or partner with an Ontario lab to allow for continued access to them.
The new regulations also require that all Naturopathic Doctors who wish to have access to certain substances have to write a Prescribing Therapeutics Exam. The first opportunity I will have to write this in-depth oral and written exam on prescription medications is in September, 2015. Until I have successfully completed it, I am no longer able to administer B12 injections (oral prescriptions are still allowed) or prescribe vitamin D over 1000 IU. While I personally struggle with this requirement after safely administering these substances for the past 12 years, I must abide by the new regulations. The upside of writing the exam is that it does allow for access to prescribing bio-identical and thyroid hormones, which we did not previously have. The hope of the profession is that completion of the exam will make it easier to further expand prescription rights in the future.
The Maple Shores Health Centre team and I greatly appreciate your patience as we adjust to these changes. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to contact me. I will continue to keep you updated as I find out more information in the coming weeks.
Dr. Jennifer Haessler, ND
A recent article published in the Toronto Star, available here discussed a U of T study that found the health benefits of education, affluence and reduced tobacco use were almost neutralized by the rising incidence of obesity among baby boomers. Obesity is a big contributing factor to inflammation in the body, which increases the risk of developing most chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, joint pain, and cancer.
What Should Be Done?
Naturopathic Medicine offers the perfect tools to help deal with this problem. Sometimes people just need some coaching to make the diet and lifestyle changes (exercise, adequate sleep, stress reduction) needed to help them lose weight. I have a great tool in the office called a BIA (Bioimpedence Analysis) Machine. It is able to measure muscle mass, fat percentage, hydration, and several other parameters that indicate how well the body is functioning. It helps to monitor that weight loss is happening in a healthy way (loss of fat, not muscle or dehydration).
What if Lifestyle Changes Alone aren't Helping with Weight Loss?
Often I see patients who have tried eating well and exercising fairly regularly, but still are not having much success losing weight. In these situations, I look to see if there are any underlying factors like hormonal imbalances (thyroid or sex hormones) or blood sugar issues (insulin insensitivity is a big one) that are making weight loss difficult. The BIA results give me an indication when this might be the case. Once these areas get addressed, then fat loss starts happening quite easily. It is so exciting for patients and for me when this happens!
So let's change what this study is indicating, and reduce the incidence of obesity so that 60 really is the new 40!
Jennifer Haessler, BScH, ND
Maple Shores Health Centre
As some of you may know, I have been spending a lot of time lately studying for an upcoming board required exam on the Prescribing and Therapeutics of Prescription Medications. It has definitely been challenging to find the time to get through all of the information, along with “regular life”. However the information that I am learning is very useful in helping me to better understand the indications, benefits, side effects and appropriate dosing of many prescription medications that patients are taking. One of the topics that I have found helpful is in helping to explain to patients what relative risks mean. For example, if you are told that something reduces or increases your risk of a certain disease or outcome, what exactly does that mean? Tara Gignac, a Naturopathic Doctor colleague and owner of the StoneTree Clinic in Collingwood who will also be writing the exam, did an excellent job of explaining how to calculate your risks for heart disease and stroke in her blog, so I thought I would share it with you below. If you would like help understanding your risk and how you can best reduce it, please let me know.
Understanding Your Heart Attack and Stroke Risk
After cancer, heart disease and stroke are the leading causes of death in Canada. Every 8 or 9 minutes, give or take, someone dies from one of the two.
Certainly, many of those deaths are in older populations. After all, there’s no such thing as ZERO risk. All of us have a risk of having a heart attack or stroke just by being alive, and as we age that risk rises simply because we are growing older.
But age is far from the only factor.
Calculating Your Risk
There’s been a lot of research into the risk factors for heart disease and stroke. The Framingham Risk Calculator was developed to give you a very good idea of what your risk of having a heart attack or stroke is based on what your risk factors are. If you know your blood pressure and cholesterol numbers, you can calculate your own 10-year risk in 30 seconds right here. (And if you don’t know those numbers, we can help–just ask.)
The Impact of Risk Factors
The information the Calculator asks for are risk factors. High cholesterol, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar increase your risk of a heart attack or stroke over time. To see the impact, let’s check out an example using the Risk Calculator.
Now let’s add some risk factors.
So if you are a 59 year old male with slightly elevated blood pressure, who smokes, has high cholesterol and diabetes, your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke in the next 10 years is 42.9%. That is a big difference from the 4. 25% of your healthy age match.
That is some scary stuff. But hey–we have great drugs to treat blood pressure and cholesterol and diabetes…don’t we? That will bring the risk down, right?
Well let’s add a blood pressure medication:
Let’s use the example of our 59 year old smoking, diabetic with high blood pressure and high cholesterol. That person’s risk of having a heart attack or stroke in the next 10 years is 42.9%.
What about the statin drugs?
What about the baby aspirin everyone is taking to stave off heart attacks and strokes?
Those reductions in risk are pitifully small. And they come at a cost.
To put it in perspective, 1666 people need to be treated with aspirin for 1 person not have a heart attack.
And of those same 1666 people, 16 of them will have a gastrointestinal bleed within one year of taking the drug.
(Information taken from Compendium of Therapeutic Choices)
So what is our poor 59 year old, smoking, diabetic with high blood pressure and high cholesterol to do?
First, understand the real risk reduction. If you have a high risk of heart attack or stroke, medication is, on average, barely helping.
Second, don’t let medication stop you from making lifestyle change. If you can take control of your blood sugar and smoking, you can have a huge impact.
Don’t settle for just the bottle of pills. You can do much better by making lifestyle changes that will ultimately change your overall risk.