HealthCare Resources Blog


Basic Questions on Vitamins & Supplements

If you are receiving this newsletter in error, or would like to be removed from our mailing list – please accept our apologies and notify us – we will remove you immediately. On the other hand, feel free to send this newsletter on to your friends!

We are very proud to work with Nathalie Batilliot de Celorio, a licensed dietician. She covers all aspects of nutrition including weight loss, cardiac (lowering of cholesterol), weight gain and others but particularly enjoys working with diabetic patients. Please contact me if you would like a consult with her. She is multilingual.

We thought for our first interview with her, we would ask a few basic vitamin questions.

HCR: As a nutritionist, do you feel that even someone who is in good health, with no diseases, should take supplemental vitamins?

Nathalie: It depends a lot on the person’s habits. If they have good health but do not eat correctly or do not eat certain foods then they can be missing some important vitamins. I would discuss with the person more as to what foods they are eating, how they eat it and exercise habits.

HCR: Let’s talk about “B” vitamins. Many people take these. Are they necessary and who should be taking them?

Nathalie: The B vitamins are being absorbed into the intestines but a certain amount of acidity is necessary to fully absorb them. Some people do not have that acidity (older adults, post-bariatric surgery patients). In that case then yes, it is good to eat food fortified with Vitamin B or take a supplement but never more than is needed. Excess in anything is bad! If the person is a heavy alchohol drinker, then more B6. A vegetarian, more B12.

HCR: Is there a lab test or tests that someone can have done to determine what vitamins/minerals they should be taking, or are lacking?

Nathalie: Yes. There are two options, a basic or a complete and results take approximately 1 week.

Carotid Artery Disease (Part 3 of 3)

Posted in Doctors,HealthCare Resources by Pam on June 15, 2013
Tags: , ,

If you are receiving this newsletter in error, or would like to be removed from our mailing list – please accept our apologies and notify us – we will remove you immediately. On the other hand, feel free to send this newsletter on to your friends!

We are so proud to work with Dr. Escoto who is a Vascular Specialist. This is Part 3 of a 3 part article written by him on Carotid Artery Disease. Consider participating in our Vascular Clinic, one of our many monthly screening clinics. Upcoming Vascular Clinics are scheduled for June 19 and July 16, 2013. Please email pamela@healthcareresourcespv.com for details or any questions.

TREATMENT AND DRUGS

The goal in treating carotid artery disease is preventing stroke. The method of treatment depends on how narrow your arteries have become.

Mild to moderate blockage

When you have mild to moderate blockage of your arteries, the following recommendations may be sufficient to prevent stroke:

Make lifestyle changes. Healthy changes in your behavior can help reduce the stress on your arteries and slow the progression of atherosclerosis. Such changes include quitting smoking, losing weight, eating healthy foods, reducing the amount of salt you eat and exercising regularly.

Manage chronic conditions. It’s also key to manage any chronic conditions you have, such as high blood pressure, excess weight or diabetes. With your doctor, you can form a plan to specifically address these conditions by managing your blood pressure, maintaining a healthy weight, controlling your blood sugar levels and lowering your cholesterol.

Use medications. Your doctor may ask you to take a daily aspirin or another blood-thinning medicine to avoid the formation of dangerous blood clots. He or she may also recommend medications to control your blood pressure, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or calcium channel blockers, or a statin medication to lower your cholesterol.

Severe blockage

When you have severe blockage of your arteries — especially if you’ve already had a TIA or stroke related to the blockage — it’s best to open up the artery and remove the blockage. There are two ways to do this:

carotid endarterectomyCarotid endarterectomy. This surgical procedure is the most common treatment for severe carotid artery disease. The procedure is done under either local or general anesthesia. After making an incision along the front of your neck, your surgeon opens the affected carotid artery and removes the plaques. The artery is repaired with either stitches or, preferably, a graft. Studies have also shown that the surgery is low risk in most otherwise healthy people, has lasting benefit and helps prevent strokes.

Carotid angioplasty and stenting. A carotid endarterectomy isn’t recommended when the location of the narrowing or blockage is too difficult for the surgeon to access directly or when you have other health conditions that make surgery too risky. In such cases, your doctor may recommend a procedure called carotid angioplasty and stenting. While you’re under local anesthesia, a tiny balloon is threaded by catheter to the area where your carotid artery is clogged. The balloon is inflated to widen the artery, and a small wire mesh coil called a stent is inserted to keep the artery from narrowing again.

Carotid Artery Disease (Part 2 of 3)

Posted in Doctors,HealthCare Resources by Pam on June 7, 2013
Tags: , ,

If you are receiving this newsletter in error, or would like to be removed from our mailing list – please accept our apologies and notify us – we will remove you immediately. On the other hand, feel free to send this newsletter on to your friends!

We are so proud to work with Dr. Escoto who is a Vascular Specialist. This is Part 2 of a 3 part article written by him on Carotid Artery Disease. Consider participating in our Vascular Clinic, one of our many monthly screening clinics. Upcoming Vascular Clinics are scheduled for June 19 and July 16, 2013. Please email pamela@healthcareresourcespv.com for details or any questions.

RISK FACTORS

Factors that stress your arteries and increase the risk of injury, buildup of plaques and disease include the following:

High blood pressure. High blood pressure is an important risk factor for carotid artery disease. Excess pressure on the walls of your arteries can weaken them and leave them more vulnerable to damage.

Smoking. Nicotine can irritate the inner lining of your arteries. It also increases your heart rate and blood pressure.

Age. As you age, your arteries become less elastic and more prone to injury.

Abnormal blood-fat levels. High levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, the “bad” cholesterol, and high levels of triglycerides, a blood fat, encourage the accumulation of plaques.

Diabetes. Diabetes affects not only your ability to handle glucose appropriately but also your ability to process fats efficiently, placing you at greater risk of high blood pressure and atherosclerosis.

Obesity. Carrying excess pounds increases your chances of high blood pressure, atherosclerosis and diabetes.

Heredity. Having a family history of atherosclerosis or coronary artery disease increases your risk of developing these conditions, as well.

Physical inactivity. Lack of exercise contributes to a number of conditions, including high blood pressure, diabetes and obesity.

Often, these risk factors occur together, creating even greater risk than if they occur alone.

COMPLICATIONS: Stroke

The most serious complication of carotid artery disease is stroke. There are different ways carotid artery disease can increase your risk of stroke:

Reduced blood flow. A carotid artery may become so narrowed by atherosclerosis that not enough blood is able to reach portions of your brain.

Ruptured plaques. A piece of a plaque may break off and flow to smaller arteries in your brain (cerebral arteries). The fragment may get stuck in one of these smaller arteries, creating a blockage that cuts off blood supply to the area of the brain that the cerebral artery serves.

Blood clot blockage. Some plaques are prone to cracking and forming irregular surfaces on the artery wall. When this happens, your body reacts as if to an injury and sends platelets — blood cells that help the clotting process — to the area. A large blood clot may develop in this manner and block or slow the flow of blood through a carotid or cerebral artery, causing a stroke.

A stroke can leave you with permanent brain damage and muscle weakness. In severe cases, it can be fatal.

TEST AND DIAGNOSIS

In addition to taking a thorough medical history and recording risk factors and any signs or symptoms, your doctor may conduct or request several tests to evaluate the health of your carotid arteries:

Physical examination. Your doctor may hear a “swooshing” sound (bruit) over the carotid artery in your neck, a sound that’s characteristic of a narrowed artery. Your doctor may perform a neurological evaluation to test your physical and mental status such as strength, memory and speech capabilities.

Ultrasound. A common, noninvasive test used to check for carotid artery disease is a Doppler ultrasound. This variation of the conventional ultrasound assesses blood flow and pressure — and possible narrowing of the blood vessel — by bouncing high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) off red blood cells.

Computerized tomography angiography (CTA). This imaging test uses a contrast dye to highlight your carotid arteries in the pictures taken. The dye is injected into a blood vessel. When it travels to your carotid arteries, a computerized tomography (CT) scan gathers X-ray images of your neck and brain from many angles.

Head computerized tomography (CT). This imaging looks at the brain tissue, without giving dye, to rule out bleeding or other abnormalities.

Magnetic resonance angiography (MRA). Like CTA, this imaging test uses a contrast (noniodine) dye to highlight the arteries in your neck and brain. A magnetic field and radio waves are used to create cross-sectional, 3-D images.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Like CT, this imaging test looks at the brain tissue for evidence of early stroke or other abnormalities.

Cerebral angiogram. A more traditional, and more invasive, imaging procedure called a cerebral angiogram may sometimes be done, but its use is less common as it carries a slight risk of stroke. In this procedure, contrast dye is injected with a catheter that’s been threaded directly into your carotid arteries. Detailed X-ray images are then taken.

Carotid Artery Disease (Part 1 of 3)

Posted in Doctors,HealthCare Resources by Pam on June 1, 2013
Tags: , ,

If you are receiving this newsletter in error, or would like to be removed from our mailing list – please accept our apologies and notify us – we will remove you immediately. On the other hand, feel free to send this newsletter on to your friends!

We are so proud to work with Dr. Escoto who is a Vascular Specialist. This is Part 1 of a 3 part article written by him on Carotid Artery Disease. Consider participating in our Vascular Clinic, one of our many monthly screening clinics. Upcoming Vascular Clinics are scheduled for June 19 and July 16, 2013. Please email pamela@healthcareresourcespv.com for details or any questions.

DEFINITION

Carotid artery disease occurs when fatty, waxy deposits called plaques clog your carotid arteries. Your carotid arteries are a pair of blood vessels that deliver blood to your brain and head. The buildup of plaques in these arteries blocks the blood supply to your brain and increases your risk of stroke. Because carotid artery disease develops slowly and often goes unnoticed, the first outward clue that you have the condition may be a stroke or transient ischemic attack (TIA), sometimes referred to as a ministroke. Treatment of carotid artery disease usually involves a combination of lifestyle changes, medications and, in some cases, surgery or a stenting procedure.

In its early stages, carotid artery disease often doesn’t produce any signs or symptoms. You and your doctor may not know you have carotid artery disease until it’s serious enough to deprive your brain of blood, causing a stroke or TIA — an early warning sign of a future stroke.

SYMPTOMS

You may not have any symptoms of carotid artery disease. Plaque builds up in the carotid arteries over time with no warning signs until you have a transient ischemic attack or a stroke.

Signs of a stroke may include:

  • Sudden loss of vision, blurred vision, or difficulty in seeing out of one or both eyes
  • Weakness, tingling, or numbness on one side of the face, one side of the body, or in one arm or leg
  • Sudden difficulty in walking, loss of balance, lack of coordination
  • Sudden dizziness and/or confusion
  • Difficulty speaking (called aphasia)
  • Confusion
  • Sudden severe headache
  • Problems with memory
  • Difficulty swallowing (called dysphagia)

When to see a doctor

Dr. Escoto, a wonderful, bilingual vascular surgeon

Dr. Escoto, a wonderful, bilingual vascular surgeon

Talk to your doctor if you have risk factors for carotid artery disease. Your doctor may do some tests to see what shape your arteries are in. Even if you don’t have any signs or symptoms, your doctor may recommend aggressive management of your risk factors to protect you from stroke.

Seek emergency care if you experience any of the signs or symptoms of a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke.

Even if the signs and symptoms last only a short while — usually less than an hour but possibly longer — and then you feel normal, tell your doctor right away. What you may have experienced is a TIA, a temporary shortage of blood flow to a region of your brain. A TIA is an important sign that you’re at high risk of having a full-blown stroke, so don’t ignore it.

Seeing a doctor early increases your chances that carotid artery disease will be detected and treated before a disabling stroke occurs. It’s also possible that a TIA can be due to lack of blood flow in other blood vessels. Your doctor will determine which testing is necessary.

Make sure your close friends and family know the signs and symptoms of stroke and understand that it’s critical to act fast in the event of a possible stroke.

Ex-Pat’s Incredible Journey with Breast Cancer in Puerto Vallarta

Posted in Breast Health,Doctors,HealthCare Resources,Women by Pam on May 24, 2013
Tags: ,

If you are receiving this newsletter in error, or would like to be removed from our mailing list – please accept our apologies and notify us – we will remove you immediately. On the other hand, feel free to send this newsletter on to your friends!

This letter was received from a lovely woman who asked that I post this in my blog/newsletter. Once again, we are extremely proud of the healthcare providers that we have here in the area. The woman will remain anonymous as per her request but we are pleased to say she is doing great! Read on…

Although Healthcare Resources, Pam Thompson, is familiar with the story of my journey with Breast Cancer, I’m sending this to her in the hopes that she will pass it along to the Ex-Pat Community as well as our Medical Community here in Puerto Vallarta thru her Blog and the Healthcare Resources Newsletter.

Dra Claudia de Moral-Gonzales

Dra. Claudia de Moral-Gonzales

My journey started the evening of 12-12-12 where I found a lump in my breast. The next morning I immediately called Pam and she met me at DIV to introduce me to Dra. Claudia de Moral-Gonzales, the new radiologist who specializes in breasts.

The mammogram taken did not show anything and Dra. Claudia then did the ultrasound. She indicated something suspicious, marked it and I returned the next day for the biopsies (again, Pam were there with me).

Dra. Claudia was so compassionate & informative during the procedure which also included a needle biopsy of a lymph node as she thought the cells also looked suspicious. She indicated to us both that there appeared to be a non-aggressive tumor that she felt was under a centimeter and well contained and even suggested the type she thought it might be. A week later the pathology report came back positive and sure enough indicated it was exactly as Dra. Claudia told us, “breast carcinoma with lobular features”.

Both Pam and Dra. Claudia armed me with all the radiology/pathology reports (so many reports translated into English by Pam) and even the tissue is paraffin and I was on my way, New Year’s Eve, to my Sister in Nashville who had set me up to see the Chief of Breast Cancer surgery at Vanderbilt Medical Center.

I would like to add here that because of Pam and the professional explanation by Dra. Claudia, I was not afraid of what I was about to go thru. In fact, I would have definitely considered having the surgery here as I believe in all the Medical Specialists that are available to us here in Puerto Vallarta, but due to the fact that if I were to have radiation I would have to go to Guadalajara for these sessions which could have been anywhere from 2 weeks to 10 weeks, five days a week in a row (depending upon what they found after the surgery) and as I didn’t know anyone in Guadalajara, this was the decision I had to make.

Now at this point, here is where my story becomes quite unbelievable.

At Vanderbilt I did have another mammogram, ultrasound, MRI, etc. before the surgery (I did not need another biopsie as they used the pathology report from Guadalajara after viewing the tissue I brought with me). On 1, February I was prepped and taken into surgery. My Sister, her daughter and granddaughter we there and saw on the TV screen I was indeed in surgery, then my name was taken off a little over an hour later.

The surgeon came to get them and brought them into a conference room to explain that he was not able to perform the surgery as he could not see the tumor on the ultrasound taken at Vanderbilt. He told them, in his 16 years of practice at Vanderbilt, if was the first time he had to make a call from the operating theatre to the Chief of Radiology at Vanderbilt Breast Center to come immediately to the hospital and bring with him the ultrasound report from Dra. Claudia (my Sister’s granddaughter recorded everything he said).

After several hours I was taken to the basement where the Chief of Radiology did another ultrasound and compared it to Dra. Claudia’s ultrasound and informed me that he would have never caught the tumor himself…another milestone as he has been at Vanderbilt for over 25 years. Based on her ultrasound he was able to insert a wire to the tumor (I think it had some ultraviolet rays at the tip) in order to direct the Surgeon where the tumor was.

Whew, what a journey up to this point. I was again taken in for surgery and later the Surgeon came to get my Sister and family into the conference room, again my Sister’s granddaughter recorded everything he said. First he said I was doing well and then said: “from this experience he has gained a new found respect for the Medical Specialists in Mexico, ESPECIALLY FOR DRA. CLAUDIA de MORAL-GONZALEZ”.

After 5 weeks of recovery I then started three weeks/5 days a week of radiation treatments. Two weeks after I finished radiation I was back home in Puerto Vallarta, THANKS GOD.

I feel my story should be told to the Ex-Pat Community and the Medical Community as a testament of how valuable Healthcare Resources is to us as Pam is always the first responder to our medical needs, never failing us, and second to share how blessed we are here as guests of this Country to have available to us the best Medical Specialists at our disposal.

THANK YOU.

Next Page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 303 other followers