Health Tips

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Empty Nose Syndrome

Never heard of it? Neither had I. Sounded more like a Sherlock Holmes story than a “condition” somebody could have. But there it was, written by the patient himself in the Reason For Visit section of our intake form. Before he actually walked into the examining room, I made a quick obeisance before my PC, fingers flying across the keys, summoning the all-powerful Wiki gods for some quick education on empty nose syndrome.

The Extraordinarily Persistent Patient

Despite my admonishments to stay well if you want to avoid the multifarious problems of our health care system, sometimes–and through no fault of your own–you’ll get sick.

Your best chance of emerging unscathed from whatever ails you is having what’s called a “self-limiting condition,” namely, one that goes away by itself, with or without doctoring. With any condition that brings the phrase “if symptoms persist, see your doctor” to mind, well, best of luck. Most of the time, the gods will be on your side, your doctor will figure out what’s wrong, and you’ll do just fine.

Europe Bamboozled by Big Pharma, Part 2

Last week we talked about the new European Union laws banning hundreds of herbal remedies. Since a favorite saying of many Europeans is “The problem with you Americans is…” I feel no compunction giving you my opinions about the entire continent getting itself so thoroughly blindsided by corporate-political footsies.

Europe Bamboozled By Big Pharma

Stories like the one I’m going to tell you this week and next make me proud to be a Chicagoan. Nobel prize winning Chicago author Saul Bellow said that we reside in the “contempt center of the USA” and, you know, I’ve got to agree. We take to such chicanery as well-placed bribes, cronyism, no-bid contracts, and politicians hay-tumbling with big corporations as naturally as naive folk worldwide take to breathing.

How Much Exercise?

I owe the details of this health tip to Dr. Joseph S. Alpert, the physician-editor of the American Journal of Medicine. Since a subscription to this highly respectable journal is, for non-physicians, $166 a year, I’ll assume it’s not regularly thrust through your mail slot and share his article with you.

Food Sensitivity Elimination Diet

Purpose: To identify hidden food allergens that may be causing some or all of your symptoms. During the elimination period, all common allergens are completely eliminated from the diet for two to three weeks. After your symptoms improve, foods are added back one at a time to determine which foods provoke symptoms.

Europe’s Healthcare System

I’m writing this health tip to respond to a question I get almost daily from my patients, who ask not my opinion of the current health care bill, but rather whether or not I’m worried about “government control” or “socialized medicine.” Since most Americans haven’t studied how health care is financed elsewhere in the world, here’s some information to consider.

Ephedra (Ma huang)

The Herb ephedra, also known by its Chinese name Ma huang, has been used in Traditional Chinese Medicine since 3000 B.C. to treat colds, asthma, and other upper-respiratory disorders. An evergreen shrub, ephedra (usually Ephedra sinica) over the centuries has traditionally been dried as a whole herb and then added in very small amounts to a tea, along with other herbs, to help ease congestion. Preparations made from two other species, E. intermedia and E. equisetina, have also been used in Traditional medicine, but generally have a less potent therapeutic effect. Traditional East Asian herbal medicines containing ephedra were generally herbal combination formulas designed for specific short-term usage. These would be used in illness conditions where the action of ephedra would counteract certain types of unhealthy symptoms.

Exercise and Weight Loss

The Time Magazine article that ran last week was food for thought for people who exercise regularly. Let’s face it, many of us who work out aren’t doing so to boost mood, enhance mental skills, prevent Alzheimer’s disease, or reduce heart attack risk–all of which exercise does–but rather to lose weight.