Ask The Doctor: Your most frequently asked questions answered!
Have you had any success reducing the symptoms of Parkinson's Disease?
We have had some success with reducing the symptoms of Parkinsons. We look to determine first hand if the symptoms may not be the cause of some other concurrent illness, such as Lyme Disease. Some success with reducing the symptoms of spasms and involuntary muscle contractions have been seen with IV Glutathione and acupuncture as well as vitamin and nutritional interventions.
Is it advisable to take homeopathic remedies when one is undergoing chemo? Do the two interact?
Theoretically homeopathic remedies do not have an interaction with other medications or chemotherapeutics.
Homeopathic remedies differ than herbal and nutrient/vitamin remedies in that there is no actual substance in the homeopathic remedy. Homeopathy works by stimulating the "life force" or "vital force" in the body to heal, and it does this without any known mechanism of action. It is not detectable in the blood stream, nor is it cleared by the liver. It does not act as an anti-oxidant, pro-oxidant, anti-inflammatory, or any other known mechanism. Is it effective? I believe it can be if given the correct remedy. At the Center, we take an integrative approach to treating patients with cancer and can include nutritional support, vitamins and herbs that are safe while on chemo, IV therapies, and homeopathic mistletoe therapy.
Will I be blood tested to make sure I am not allergic to that herb/plant before suggesting this treatment?
We do not typically test for herbal allergies. Typically, if you have a hypersensitive reaction to a know substance, you may also have a reaction to substances that may exhibit very similar qualities. Rosemary is in the mint family of plants. There are many plants in this family and include basil, sage, thyme, lemon balm, and mint to name a few. If you have no reactions to any of these other herbs, then it's possible you just have an allergy to the genus and species Rosemary Officinalis, and this is the only plant in the Rosemary genus. If you take a supplement and have a reaction, we recommend discontinuing immediately, and then try to find the causal agent of the reaction.
My 6 year old suffers with seasonal allergies; what is the best all natural medicine for this?
Yes, we do treat seasonal allergies naturally. For the pediatric population, homeopathic remedies can be very effective and easy to take. The idea with a homeopathic remedy is to desensitize the immune system by giving extremely dilute doses of the allergy causing agents such as grasses, pollens, and molds. Another strategy is to use specific nutrients and herbs that naturally modulate the immune response to stabilize mast cells and lower histamine and other inflammatory mediators. For children, there are some supplements available that are in powdered form.
Have you had any success in treating persistent gout?
Gout is an inflammatory condition that causes joint pain due to high levels of uric acid in the blood. This is most often due to the inability of the kidneys to excrete uric acid. Uric acid also comes from metabolizing the amino acid purine. There are secondary causes of gout that may be related to obesity or insulin resistance. With mild to moderate gout, we can provide guidance on an anti-inflammatory diet specific to gout. I would also recommend food allergy testing to look for specific foods that could be adding to the inflammation. There are also many herbs that can help block the inflammatory process.
I have been diagnosed with RA and my doctor wants to start me on IV Remecade. Nervous about this, I wanted to know about different options available to me.
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition causing inflammation and pain to certain joints. We are not sure of the exact cause of RA, but there is a theory that it may be due to certain bacteria residing in the gastrointestinal tract. We see this in reactive arthritis and ankylosing spondylitis in people who are susceptible. For this reason, I always like to start with correcting any gastrointestinal bacterial imbalance, and decreasing or correcting any GI inflammation. This is typically done with food allergy testing or a hypoallergenic diet while concurrently taking anti-inflammatory herbs and nutrients. After addressing these issues, I then use natural anti-inflammatories and immunomodulators specific to rheumatoid arthritis. In conjunction with conventional therapies, this can help to improve the pain and inflammation associated with arthritis.
What are natural treatments for high blood pressure due to stress? When are conventional medications considered? What are the effects on blood pressure by prednisone as one tapers off this drug?
High blood pressure due to stress or anxiety can be helped in multiple ways. First line therapy for blood pressure often starts with dietary modifications and exercise. Stress reduction methods using breathing techniques, meditation, or biofeedback are also effective. Acupuncture is very effective for reducing stress and anxiety thereby lowering blood pressure. These effects can be long lasting and not just during or after treatment sessions. Natural interventions include specific mineral, nutrient, or herbal supplementation. Supplements for high blood pressure act to improve heart function, dilate blood vessels, and/or reduce anxiety. If all of these measures do not work to lower blood pressure, or if your blood pressure consistently remains over 140/90, then medication therapy should be considered. If your blood pressure is over 160/100, then medication therapy and supplementation should be started while working on lifestyle changes. Prednisone often causes increased blood pressure due to excess water and salt retention. However, blood pressure should return to your normal after the medication has been discontinued and cleared from your body.
Do you deal with prostate health issues?
Yes. The three most common pathologies associated with the prostate are cancer, prostatitis, and benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH). There are different approaches to each of these conditions. Dietary changes are specific to each condition. For example, with prostatitis, I recommend an anti-inflammatory based diet. Supplementation with vitamins and herbs is also specific to each condition. With prostatitis, the main goal is to treat infection with natural anti-microbial and anti-inflammatory herbs. For BPH, the goal is to shrink prostate size by using herbs to balance hormones. As with any condition, a complete and detailed history allows for an individualized treatment plan that suits your needs and lifestyle.
Can you elaborate on ways to measure cortisol? I am trying to treat Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
Cortisol levels can be measured in two ways: through the blood and the saliva. It is believed that "free" or "active" cortisol can be best measured through the saliva. We offer saliva testing of cortisol at the Center. The best way to measure cortisol is to take multiple measurements over the course of a day. Samples can be started at any time and are then repeated every 4 hours for 16 hours. So you could take your first sample immediately upon waking. Samples are then sent by the patient in a prepaid package to an independent laboratory. Results take about 2-3 weeks. Insurance reimbursement is dependent on type of insurance coverage and benefits.
What modes of treatment do you reccommend for chronic Hepatitis C?
We do treat people with hepatitis at our center. We use a holistic approach with emphasis on liver and gastrointestinal cleansing through diet, juicing, and herbs. It is important to get high levels of anti-oxidants. This can be attained through diet, supplementation, and IV therapy. The best anti-oxidants given IV for hepatitis are glutathione, alha-lipoic acid, and vitamin C. During a consultation, a more personalized plan will be developed for your health concerns.
After an operation for pelvic floor prolapse, my bladder fell again in 4 months and since then I have right hip pain. How might you help me?
For the hip pain, we would need to determine where exactly the pain is located, and clarify how and if it is related to the prolapse. For pain management in general, medical massage, acupuncture and scenar therapy are both very effective options. They are similar in that they both stimulate acupuncture points and channels, but there are some differences. Acupuncture involves the insertion of very fine needles, and can be done with or without electrical stimulation. Scenar relies on a varied and fluctuating electrical stimulation, and does not involve needles. From our experiences at the Center, both are highly recommended for pain relief.
For the prolapse itself, there is historical reference for using acupuncture and Chinese herbal medicine to treat prolapse. However there is no substantial clinical evidence one way or the other, and so it would be considered experimental our view. The treatment called pelvic floor physical therapy helps strengthens the muscles of the pelvic floor, which along with an exercise regimen typically established by your physical therapist has been effective in addressing pelvic organ prolapse. I would recommend contacting a physical therapist trained in these areas to see if it would be a good match for you.
Is there a holistic, natural approach to addressing vitamin D deficiency without supplements or medication?
Vitamin D can be obtained in two ways, through dietary intake and sun exposure. The foods with the highest amount of vitamin D include fish and halibut and cod liver oils. Smaller amounts of vitamin D are found in pork, egg yolks, lamb, beef, and mushrooms. Some foods are fortified with vitamin D such as milk, cheese, butter, and most cereals. The greatest source of vitamin D production comes from the sun. In the summer time, one can make up to 15,000iu vitamin D in 10-15 min of sun exposure without sunscreen. However, this is dependent on the intensity of the sun light. For example in Boston, no vitamin D can be produced from November through February. So the body uses stored vitamin D and dietary vitamin D during the winter months in northern climates. This is the main reason we recommend supplementing with vitamin D during the winter months. A level of about 50ng/mL is thought to be the most optimal for health.
Almost 50 and experiencing perimenopausal symptoms, what holistic treatment options are there for me? My mother died of breast cancer therefore hormone replacement therapy would not be indicated, correct?
Perimenopausal symptoms are very common in older women and can include hot flashes, night sweats, poor memory, brain fog, and fatigue. The slow decrease in hormone levels can also affect metabolism and bone density. Hormone replacement therapy is contraindicated with breast cancer and not generally recommended with family history of breast cancer. There are many natural options that we use that include herbal and nutrient remedies and dietary modifications. The goal is to increase healthy estrogen metabolism through the intestinal tract and liver, and to support the adrenal glands in the production of hormones.
What would the remedy be for fungus under fingernails?
Nail fungus can be very difficult to treat. The typical first signs of a nail fungus may be white or yellow spots under the nails, followed by nail thickening, brittleness, dullness, and color changes. Since fungi like to grow in dark, moist environments, it is more common to have toenail fungus than fingernail fungus. Ways to prevent toenail fungus are to change socks often, especially if perspiring or exercising, wearing open-toed shoes more often, keeping the feet dry as much as possible. Other causes may include lack of exercise, older age, or even diabetes due to poor circulation. Treatments may include natural oral anti-fungal for 3 months with modifications in diet and the use of a topical natural anti-fungal salve.
What are your thoughts on Lyme disease and its treatment?
Lyme disease has increasingly become more prevalent in the Capital District. Unfortunately, there is much confusion regarding the testing and treatment of Lyme disease. At the Center for Integrative Health and Healing, we offer more extensive Lyme testing to often include co-infections and specific immune markers. For treatment we believe in an integrative approach that includes conventional medications and herbs and supplements that act as natural antibiotics, natural anti-inflammatory agents, and natural immunosupportive agents.
It has been my experience that 2 labs can give different results for the same test. What labs do you use for food sensitivity, stool analysis, cortisol and neurotransmitters and how do you know their results are accurate?
At the Center for Integrative Health and Healing, we offer a wide array of non conventional tests including food allergy tests, comprehensive digestive stool analysis, adrenal testing, saliva hormone and neurotransmitter testing, urine heavy metal tests, specialized blood Lyme testing, and many more. Some of the companies we use include Metametrix, Genova Diagnostics, Neuroscience, and IGeneX. We do look at reputation and experience of the labs, but more importantly, we look for accurate, reproducible results. For example we have sent in multiple samples from one patient to different labs to get initial results, and then sent them again to see if we get similar results. Also, as clinicians, we look to see if the results correlate with the patient's history and symptoms. We have used many of these tests for about 8 years, and overall we are pleased with the accuracy of the tests that we offer.
I have recently been diagnosed with Hasimoto Disease, for which I have been given synthroid but feel that my many disturbing symptoms are a result of more than just thyroid problems. How can you help me?
At the Stram Center for Integrative Medicine, we take a whole body approach to your health, rather than only addressing your symptoms. The thyroid gland does not work as a single entity in your body, but is connected to your brain and also interrelated to other hormones in your body. We can offer more specific testing to see your current hormone levels, and offer recommendations that include dietary modifications, nutrient and herbal supplementation, and other therapies such as acupuncture.
What is your approach in the treatment of Alzheimer's Disease at the Center?
Alzheimer's disease can be very difficult to manage once symptoms begin, and typically effectiveness of treatment may be dependent on the severity of symptoms. There is no known cause of , but current theory includes a possible combination of factors including advancing age, obesity, insulin resistance, circulatory factors, high cholesterol, , and inflammation. Conventionally, the first line drug therapy includes acetylcholinesterase inhibitors like Aricept, that act to provide more acetylcholine in the brain. At the Center for Integrative Health and Healing, we look to use natural agents that stimulate the production of acetylcholine, and natural acetylcholinesterase inhibitors. Indirectly, we offer natural herbs, vitamins, and antioxidants to assist in vascular and circulatory support, decrease inflammation, and provide neurologic support.
My husband has extremely high triglyceride levels (867). Is there any type of natural treatment for this? He cannot tolerate niacin.
High triglyceride levels are often hereditary, or caused by poor diet and lifestyle, or both. A triglyceride is a fat, and can be produced in the body or absorbed through diet. Elevations therefore, may be due to certain metabolic disorders such as diabetes or hypothyroidism, or a high fat and high carbohydrate diet. For treatment there are many options besides niacin. We offer specific and detailed nutritional advice to lower triglycerides and specific nutritional supplements to assist in lowering triglyceride levels.
I was recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. Besides changing my diet and loosing weight, I would like to know if acupuncture and homeopathy are an option.
The best thing that you can do for diabetes type 2 is diet, exercise, and losing weight. At the Center, we can guide you through this process, as sometimes it is confusing to know what exactly to eat. We can also recommend the best herbs and nutrients for helping to reduce sugar cravings and appetite, lower blood sugar, and increase insulin sensitivity. Acupuncture can assist with appetite control, sugar cravings, and weight loss.
I was diagnosed w/ Epstein-Barr last summer. My main symptoms are sore muscles and extreme fatigue. What can help me recover from this?
Thank you for your question. Over the years, we have worked with many people who have chronic
Epstein Barr Virus (EBV). EBV has been implicated as a possible cause to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. But often, we see that people feel generalized fatigue, muscle aches, or frequent illnesses. This is mostly due to the fact that there is often an increased level of chronic antibodies to the virus. We don't know exactly what this does in the body, and there is no conventional treatment to address this. However, at the Center, we can help treat this by decreasing viral antibodies through specialized diets, increasing liver and immune function, and increasing cellular metabolism with specific vitamins and nutrients, orally and/or intravenously with our IV therapies.
I have many health issues since a very young age but fibromyalgia is the big one now. I have been to a clinical nutritionist and have done many organic treatments myself. Do you treat fibro?
Fibromyalgia may have many causes. Often we find that there is a link between nutritional status and gastrointestinal health to fibromyalgia. At the Stram Center for Integrative Medicine, we can look into these different causes by offering specialized food allergy testing, and a comprehensive digestive stool analysis. We then may supplement with the appropriate vitamins, nutrients, and herbs to restore digestive health. Once the digestive tract is in good health, the rest of the body soon follows, providing less pain and increased energy.
Do you do tageted amino acid therapy? I have two adopted daughters who suffer from ptsd, anxiety and sleep issues and heard that taat is very helpful.
Yes, we do offer targeted amino acid therapy at the Center. First we test neurotransmitter and cortisol levels through urine and saliva. This is a take home test and samples are shipped to an independent lab. Then from the results we develop a protocol that is specific to each individual. We have helped many with depression, anxiety, and insomnia. We also recommend concurrently seeking therapy in conjunction with amino acid therapy as a more complete approach to your health goals.
I have been taking Nexium for three years for GERD. My regular doctor discourages me from going off Nexium. The cause of my GERD has not been determined and my doctor discourages testing. Is there any hope for me to ever stop taking Nexium?
GERD, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, is a chronic condition most often times due to problems with the lower esophageal sphincter (LES). The most common cause is that the LES relaxes too frequently leading to excessive acid exposure in the esophagus. Over time, this constant exposure will cause inflammation, and, though rare, could eventually lead to a type of cancer called Barret's esophagus. Another cause is a hiatal hernia, where the LES is elevated above the diaphragm. The diaphragm in part, assists with the closure of the LES. The most common cause of a hiatal hernia is obesity, since increased abdominal contents increases abdominal pressure that pushes up on the stomach. This is also the same mechanism seen in pregnancy.
Factors that lead to LES insufficiency are eating habits and diet. There are also many natural supplements that can help with decreasing esophageal and gastric inflammation and decrease healing time.
I have been diagnosed with mental illness and have tried dozens of drugs over the past ten years that compromise my health. Can you give your opinion on 5 HTP?
5-HTP stands for 5-hydroxytryptophan and comes from the amino acid tryptophan. This amino acid is a precursor to neurotransmitters such as serotonin. As a Naturopath, I try to look into all factors that may be causing a mental or physical illness. At the Center, we offer neurotransmitter testing. We also have an experienced psychiatric nurse practitioner experienced in behavior and talk therapy. Integrative and holistic health care is often not just about taking one supplement, or replacing a medicine with a supplement. It often takes many approaches whether diet, exercise, talk or behavioral therapy, supplementation, or medication, to assist someone on their way to health.
I was diagnosed with premature ovarian failure 2 years ago; I tried hormone replacement and IVF and could not get pregnant. Can acupuncture and Chinese medicine help me?
Chinese medicine can help a woman with premature ovarian failure achieve pregnancy by addressing the circulatory and endocrine systems. Acupuncture, herbs, supplements and overall lifestyle changes can improve your general health. These protocols have been seen clinically to improve egg quality and regulate the period and have been successfully implemented at our Center.
The efficacy of the above mentioned treatments are dependent on several factors including your age, lifestyle changes you are able to make and depending on how high it is, your FSH.
If you'd like to discuss further please call the Center at (518) 689-2244.
Is there a blood test for very thorough screening for full-blown food allergies as well as food sensitivities?
This is a very common question that we receive at our Center. We offer independent blood food allergy testing that reports the full spectrum of sensitivites through all allergies. Since sensitivities can over time, become full blown allergies testing for the full spectrum of sensitivies can be very valuable health information. At the Center for Integrated Health and Healing we help our patients understand what exact dietary changes they need to make in order to feel healthy and vibrant.
Food allergies are reactions to foods that cause a more immediate systemic immune response in the body. These "IgE food allergies" are most widely accepted and tested for by medical doctors. IgE is what is responsible for an immediate reaction causing hives, swelling, and anaphylaxis. The most common foods that cause this type of allergic reaction are tree nuts and shellfish, but can also be cow’s milk, corn, wheat, soy, etc. A standard skin prick test or blood test is often used to diagnose this type of food allergy. Another type of food allergy, less widely tested for my medical doctors, often called food “sensitivity”, is an "IgG food allergy." This type of allergy causes a delayed reaction, and therefore symptoms are often felt up to 48 hours after the food is ingested. These symptoms could include bloating, gas, cramping, bowel inconsistency, along with systemic symptoms such as muscle aches and pains, fatigue, headaches, joint pain, skin rash, swelling, and weight gain. IgG antibodies are most known to be made in response to gluten and gliadin in wheat, but can also be made to other proteins as well. IgG food allergens may be the cause for many physiological symptoms that interfere with healthy living.
I'm 41 years old and in pretty good shape except I have several small uterine fibroids which I would like to shrink before they get too big. What are the best natural treatments including diet available?
Uterine fibroids are a very common condition and seen in our office frequently. Typically they do not cause symptoms unless they grow large in size or become numerous. Excess estrogen is thought to be the cause of uterine fibroids. Therefore, to reduce the size of fibroids, therapies are targeted to reducing total estrogen in the body. This is accomplished through dietary changes, increases in fiber and vegetables, and herbs to assist with estrogen metabolism and balancing. I reccommend professional guidance before following any dietary changes. Regular ultrasounds can be performed to determine the progress of fibroid size.
Over the past few years I have developed small white patches over my legs and arms. My doctor has called the condition "stucco" but has not offered a treatment. Can my condition be helped or cured?
Stucco Keratosis is a very benign condition that presensts as small white lesion on the lower extremities. It commonly develops in males after the age of 45. In fact, it is found in up to 10% of elderly persons in America. It does not appear to be genetic, and there is not an exact known cause. Since it is benign, or non-harmful, there is not standard treatment for it. However, because it occurs in older persons, this condition may be due to a nutrient deficiency. Also, in my experience, many skin conditions can be resolved with changes in diet (especially if there are food allergies) and supplementation with specific nutrients. Vitamin and nutrient blood testing can also be performed to see if there are any nutritional deficiencies.
My son has a very poor sense of smell. I suspect it may be an allergy. Can you offer any advise?
There are many causes for poor sense of smell or loss of smell. The most common causes are usually related to inflammation caused by allergies and chronic sinus infections. Other causes may include nasal polyps, toxicities, or head trauma. There are other systemic causes as well that can usually be diagnosed by blood work. If allergies are the cause, there are many natural options for decreasing inflammation. We could also look at doing a food allergy test, which is also a common cause of inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract, including the nasal passageways and sinuses.
Should my 17 weeks pregnant partner get the H1N1 Vaccine? We are not supporters of vaccines in general and looking for holistic perspectives considering pregnant women are at high risk.
At the Center we understand the holistic approach to prevention of diseases including the flu. There are many available options to improve your immune system to reduce your risk in contracting colds and flu and also reducing the severity of symptoms if contracted. You can review our supplement recommendations for preventing flu (including Swine) on our Supplement of the month pages for some examples.
Pregnant women are at greater risk for pneumonia, dehydration and fetal complications when contracting the H1N1 Flu. The H1N1 flu vaccine in its injectible form is a likely safe vaccine for pregnant women. As a holistic doctor, it would still be my recommendation for high risk groups to receive the injectible form of the vaccine, as opposed to the nasal spray. The nasal spray represents a killed whole virus and therefore has higher risk of complications. The injectible form represents viral components and not whole virus.
The decision to vaccinate is ultimately a personal one which requires knowledge of all choices.
My 72 year old mother has been diagnosed with HTN and had TIA's. She is now having several side effects from her medications and wants to know if there are any natural supplements or herbs that can help keep her blood pressure down.
Yes, there are natural herbs, dietary recommendations and stress management techniques that can be very helpful in reducing blood pressure to the point of eliminating pharmaceuticals or at the very least reducing the number of medications and dosage needed. Each patient must be treated as an individual, therefore a consultation is essential for an appropriate healthcare treatment plan.
I have a chronic, severe cough and vocal cord dysfunction caused by gastric problems. Medications do not help much. The cough and vocal cord dysfuntion disrupts all aspects of my life. Can anything be done?
At the Center our approach would be as follows: An initial consultation would review studies already done; a very close look at your diet; a suggestion to have a food sensitivity blood test to assess potential allergens in your diet; stool samples could also reveal causative factors for a dysfunction gastrointestinal tract. Our goal would be to get to the root of your problem, not just treat your symptoms. There are also manual medicine techniques that can be very beneficial for reflux conditions which may be part of your condition.
Does your approach to patient care go beyond what I have experienced in that if the doctor does not see something he is familiar with he says nothing is wrong and does not go any further?
Our philosophy at the Center is to create partnerships with our patients. This is the hallmark of Integrative Medicine. Active listening is part of that relationship, where the patient is the teacher and the doctor is the student. Together we search and review information gathered to the best of our abilities and expertise. In this way we can deliver a healthcare plan that is based on a collaborative effort and built on trust.
Can depression/anxiety be treated naturally?
Yes, there are mind-body techniques such as meditation and breathing exercises which can be taught on an individual or group level. Diet and excercise can also play a significant role in reducing symptoms and aiding in stress management. There are also natural herbal supplements which can be tailored specifically to the individual.
Is there an alternative method for healing hyperthyroidism with the presence of bulging eyes and goiter?
Graves disease is an autoimmune disease characterized by hyperthyroidism and is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism. Antibodies bind to thyroid receptors, causing the thyroid to swell, and make excess thyroid hormone. The cause of Graves disease appears to be related to genetic predisposition in conjunction with environmental factors. There are many symptoms related to hyperthyroidism, including heart palpitations, anxiety, weight loss, and diarrhea. Increased swelling and edema in the eye orbit can cause a protrusion of the eyes, or exophthalmos. Conventional treatments include radioactive iodine, antithyroid medications, and surgery.
Naturally, the focus is to decrease antibody production. This can be accomplished through a specific anti-inflammatory diet, and using specific herbs that help to decrease antigen-antibody complexes. However, symptoms of Graves disease are often serious and difficult to treat, and natural therapies are often used in conjunction with conventional medicine.
I have been suffering from repeat yeast infections for approximately 7 years and been to several doctors. HELP! The last doctor has told me you might be able to help. Is there anything you can do?
Yeast infections are very common, and are often a sign that there maybe an internal yeast (or candida albicans) overgrowth in the gastrointestinal tract. This seems to have become more common, due to the widespread use of antibiotics. These antibiotics do not affect yeast, therefore it is able to grow unopposed by healthy bacteria, or probiotics. At the Center, we offer a Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis to test for bacteria--good and bad, and yeast levels. This test allows us to provide an individualized anti-candida protocol designed to eliminate the yeast internally, while concurrently providing natural alternatives to alleviate external yeast conditions.
Is there any alternative treatments for a hyperparathyroid condition. My grandmother is 84 years-old with an extensive medical history.The physicians say that surgery is her only treatment.
Watchful waiting for Hyperparathyroidism:
Your doctor may recommend no treatment and regular monitoring if:
•Your calcium levels are only slightly elevated
•Your kidneys are functioning normally
•Your bone density is normal or only slightly below normal
•You have no other symptoms that may improve with treatment
If you choose this watch-and-wait approach, you'll likely need a test to check your blood-calcium levels at least twice a year and have other monitoring tests done at least once a year.
Complimentary treatments are available that can improve kidney function and maintain normal Calcium levels. Also, acupuncture and cranialsacral massage can slow the progression of the disease.
Surgery is the most common treatment for primary hyperparathyroidism and provides a cure in at least 90 percent of all cases. A surgeon will remove only those glands that are enlarged or have a tumor (adenoma). If all four glands are affected, a surgeon will likely remove only three glands and perhaps a portion of the fourth — leaving some functioning parathyroid tissue.
Surgery may be done as an outpatient procedure, allowing you to go home the same day. In such cases, the surgery is done through very small incisions in the neck, and you receive only local anesthetics.
Complications from surgery aren't common. Risks include:
•Damage to nerves controlling the vocal cords
•Long-term low calcium levels requiring the use of calcium and vitamin D supplements
I would appreciate your recommendation for restless leg sydrome. This is bothersome when trying to get to sleep.
Restless leg syndrome is becoming more common, and is often misdiagnosed. Women tend to be affected more than men. Although it can begin at any age, it usually affects older adults. The cause remains unclear, however a few theories suggest that it stems from a disruption of dopamine pathways. Disruptions in iron levels have also been found in people with RLS. There also seems to be a genetic component to RLS.
I would make sure that you and your doctor have ruled out other causes such as iron deficiency, B12, folate, or magnesium deficiency, autoimmune disorders, diabetes, and thyroid disorders. Some medications may cause or worsen symptoms such as antidepressants, Zantac or Tagamet, and also caffeine and alcohol.
Unfortunately, there is not just one thing that can help with these symptoms. RLS must be addressed on an individual basis, and typically a whole person approach in finding options for therapy.
My 13 year old son was just diagnosed with Crohn. I want to avoid the medications that are typically used to treat patients with this condition. I would like to know which supplements and diet changes have proved most effective in your experience.
Crohn's disease is an inflammatory disease of the intestine, most commonly the small intestine. The exact cause is unknown, but believed to be due to genetic factors, microbial, autoimmune, dietary, and or environmental. It most commonly affects people between the ages of 15-30 years old, and 60-80 years old. The most common symptoms are low-grade fever, prolonged diarrhea, abdominal pain, and weight loss. The disease may also affect the skin, eyes, joints, and mouth. Because Crohn's affects mostly the small intestine, absorption of vitamins and nutrients are greatly disrupted.
Conventionally, anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive agents are typically used to decrease the inflammation.
At the Stram Center for Integrative Medicine, we use specialized testing methods such as Food Allergy Tests and a Comprehensive Digestive Stool Analysis. Together these tests may find causes that may be related to microbes, diet, and or the environment.
From there, we can then provide an individualized plan that would include dietary modifications, replenishing the gut with good natural flora and nutrients, and repairing the gut using natural anti-inflammatory agents and specific herbal remedies tailored to the individual.
We also offer IV Nutrient Therapy that would be of great benefit for faster recovery from vitamin and nutrient deficiencies due to intestinal malabsorption.
Do you have any suggestions for loss of libido due to a hysterhectomy at age 50? I am 54 years old now and due to a strong family history of breast cancer, hormone replacement therapy is not an option.
This is a very common situation, since there is a high prevalence of breast cancer and hormone therapy poses many risks. In our practice, this issue is addressed naturally through nutrition and herbs. We use herbs that are naturally hormone balancing and that help stimulate libido. We also use adaptogenic herbs that nourish the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands produce DHEA, which is a "prohormone" that leads to estrogen and testosterone. Over time, most of the hormone production will come from the adrenal glands. Hormone testing is available through both blood and urine. Manual therapies such as that offered by a medical massage therapist may also be helpful. Acupuncture is also used to stimulate the nerve pathways necessary for sexual drive and function.
Each person's case is uniquely different so we would encourage you to make an appointment so that we can develop your personalized plan.
As a 37 year old woman, I feel that my hormones are out of whack. I have recently started educating myself more about how everyday toxins really have messed up our endocrine systems so I have started making some changes but am unsure of what to do.
Hormone balancing is definitely a complicated issue, as there are many hormones in our bodies that typically are self-regulated. These hormones include sex hormones, thyroid hormones, and stress hormone. Environmental factors such as diet and chemical toxins may affect normal hormone functioning. At the Stram Center for Integrative Medicine, hormone balancing is a health issue we deal with regularly and successfully. We can test for all hormone levels through blood and saliva on an individual basis. We can then prepare a customized protocol based on personal clinical history and test results, while always keeping in mind you own needs. We may recommend specific dietary modifications, vitamin or nutrient supplementation, or other natural therapies to bring hormones back into balance creating greater health and wellness.
My son, who is seventeen is experiencing hair loss. Do you have any recommendations for Alopecia?
There are two major types of Alopecia, or hair loss. Androgenetic Alopecia is by far the most common, and affects about 50% of all men and possibly as many women over 40 years old. This is more commonly known as "male pattern baldness" and is genetic. Conventionally, hair loss can be slowed by using medications such as minoxidil (Rogaine) or finasteride (Propecia). Minoxidil acts to increase circulation to the scalp, and finasteride acts to block the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone (DHT). Naturally, there are specific herbs that we recommend that have similar actions to these medications. Alopecia Areata is hair loss that is most likely due to an autoimmune problem. Hair loss tends to be in small, circular patches. Your son being 17 years old does not exclude him from Androgenetic Alopecia. However, we would look to rule out other possible causes of hair loss such as metabolic conditions, anemia, dermatitis, stress or anxiety. Our treatment plans would be customized accordingly. We would strongly recommend determining cause before treatment.
What are the alternative treatment methods for spondyloarthropathy, and how effective are they? I currently take Enbrel shots, and am looking for other possible ways to control my arthritis as Enbrel wipes out the immune system.
Spondyloarthropathies are part of a family of disorders which include Ankylosing Spondilitis, Reactive Arthritis, Psoriatic Arthritis, and Inflammatory Bowel Disease. What is common about these particular disorders is that they are autoimmune, as there is a genetic component involved. But what is also interesting is that these particular disorders are often set off by an infection in the gut. For example, Reactive Arthritis is often triggered by gastrointestinal infections caused by Shigella and Salmonella, or urinary infections caused by Chlamydia, in people who carry the HLAB-27 gene. Ankylosing Spondylitits can be triggered by a bacteria in the intestines known as Klebsiella Pneumoniae in people with the HLA-B27 gene. The goal of most conventional treatments of these disorders, since autoimmune, is to give immunosuppressants and/or anti-inflammatories. What I do as a Naturopathic Doctor at the Center, is support the gastrointestinal tract by getting rid of any unwanted bacteria with natural anti-microbials, and then replenishing with good natural flora. Dietary, I recommend foods to help reduce inflammation. There are also natural anti-inflammatories and immune modulators that I use for autoimmune disorders. At the Center, we tailor all specific treatments on an individual basis.
My son is eight and was recently diagnosed with ADHD and previously with Asperger's at the age of four. I am interested in looking for alternatives to traditional medicines
Asperger's syndrome is a mild type of Autism. For children with Autism, I investigate heavy metal toxicities and nutrient deficiencies. Heavy metal toxicities common with Autism include mercury and lead, and can be tested through the urine. Blood tests can be ordered to see if there are nutrient or vitamin deficiencies.
For children with ADHD, or Attention-Deficit-Hyperactivity Disorder, I find that food allergies or chemical sensitivities can greatly affect symptoms. I will recommend a specific diet plan along with vitamin and nutrient supplementation that is tailored to each case. Food allergy and chemical sensitivity testing is available through the Center, and is something I would highly recommend for children with ADHD.
My 2 year old daughter has likely contracted MRSA from her daycare center. I am concerned about the overuse of antibiotics and the development of resistance strains in her treatment through Infectious Disease specialists. What are natural ways to treat MR
MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staph. Aureus) used to be rare outside of longterm inpatient hospitalizations but because of the overuse of antibiotics not only within medicine but within agriculture and livestock environments that make their way to our dinner table, MRSA is now common and dangerous. MRSA typically effects the skin areas that have been broken down by scrapes from non-serious local injuries.
One of the ways we have successfully treated these types of infections at the Center is through the use of high quality probiotics and herbal remedies such as "Para-gard" to support the skin and gut flora. Para-gard is a combination herbal supplement that includes therapeutic berberine, goldenseal and garlic.
Manuka Honey and Theives Oil can be used as topical salves to reduce the spread of the infection locally.
What can I do about the severe fatigue, nausea and vomiting caused by my cancer treatment?
Research and practical experience show that acupuncture is a very effective complementary therapy for reducing the side effects of cancer treatment. Not only can it reduce many symptoms such as fatigue, insomnia, nausea, vomiting and anxiety, it can also improve white blood cell counts in patients receiving chemotherapy.
Thankfully it's a relatively painless procedure and the cumulative positive effects of acupuncture are often long lasting, and. Patients rarely feel more than a slight pinch of the acupuncture needle, which quickly fades away. Some of our patients even fall asleep during treatment.
While acupuncture can help patients at any stage of treatment, it's best to start the treatment as early on in the process as possible so that it can more quickly and effectively redirect the neurological pathways.
How do I know that my diet is right for me?
Many of our patients experience irritable bowel, lack of energy, chronic fatigue, chronic pain, to name a few and wonder whether or not their diet may be the cause or if a change in their diet may alleviate their symptoms. The first step is to start a diet diary. Simply write down everything you consume (food, liquids, supplements), when you eat it and when you experience any kind of symptoms for a period of two weeks. After we have a chance to review your diary together, we may then suggest food allergy testing and herbal and vitamin nutrition options that are most beneficial for a particular condition.
You'll know if your diet is working for you by how you feel. Do you have more energy? Are your symptoms decreasing? The old adage, "you are what you eat" is true. The more whole foods and nutrients you feed your body, most likely the better you'll feel. Every body is different and absorbs nutrients differently, so it's important to find the right diet for your body – and one that you can enjoy!
What is IV Nutrient Therapy? How do I know if it's right for me?
Intravenous nutrient therapy feeds vitamins, minerals and other natural therapeutic substances directly into the bloodstream, bypassing the digestive tract where nutrients may be partially or completely lost due to poor absorption. Therapeutic doses of nutrients are most often unable to be absorbed in the digestive tract thereby necessitating an intravenous route of administration.
By providing critical therapeutic doses of nutrients that the body can't naturally absorb on its own, this therapy can significantly improve the health and wellness of patients with fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, Lyme disease, autoimmune disorders and health issues caused by malabsorption problems. IV Nutrient Therapy is also widely used to augment cancer therapies. Since the nutrients are natural, there are typically no or very few side effects.
All IV Nutrient Therapy patients are evaluated for their current medications, diet and supplements and the simplest solutions such as dietary changes or use of probiotics are the always the first approach. If improvements aren't seen after a reasonable amount of time, we recommend a patient may then start on IV Nutrient Therapy. In many instances patients have success with this therapy when nothing else worked for them. A consultation to discuss whether IV is right for you would be necessary before an IV treatment plan is begun.
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