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Archive for September, 2014

From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

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cancerNext week, just about every town will be painted in pink…yeah! I am so very proud of the years of advocating and hard work done by many to bring awareness, not only to breast cancer, but CANCER in general. Breast cancer awareness and support programs, while not replete, has set the standard for many other less commonly known cancers to emulate. It would do my heart proud to see the country painted in BLUE during the Prostate Cancer awareness in JUNE each year. I believe one day, we will get to a place, where every cancer is equally represented…because every life is equally as important!

Fight cancerSometimes, despite our optimism, hope and prayers, the ugliness of cancer can re-manifest itself as a “recurrence” growing in other places than area of origin – This is called Metastasis. Example: A diagnosis of colon cancer treated with surgery and chemotherapy. Patient remained cancer free for ~7yrs, but then fainted at work and MRI of the brain revealed spots in the brain, likely metastatic colon cancer (the cancer that originated in the colon, traveled via the blood to the brain).

It is important to know that when/if this unfortunate instance of metastasis occurs, that all is not lost and different types of treatments are available. There are many people living “with” metastatic disease and are doing fairly well. Ofcourse, this depends on how aggressive the cancer is, where it migrated (bone, brain, liver, etc.,), and toxicity from some of the palliative treatment. Stay tuned for these upcoming discussions! In the meantime, help others by showing your support in the fight against cancer!

If you are in the DC area, join our church Cancer Ministry on

  • OCT 5, 2014 for the “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” walk  and for
  • OCT 18,, 2014 Lymphoma & Leukemia Light The Night DC walk
  • Hope to see you there!

The Basics of Metastasis

Prostate Cancer Bone Metastasis

 

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

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From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog!

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Sleep is important! Hands down, it is one of my top priority for improving quality of life and should be yours too! Are you sleeping well? It would appear that sleeping (falling asleep and/or staying asleep)  is a problem for many.

Besides the popular commercials for sleep aid, Melatonin OTC (over-the-counter) is becoming quite popular too. Some are for it and recommend it highly … while others warn about its use and damaging side effects. Like anything else – moderation and proper use is the key! Speak with your doctor before using Melatonin, as it may interact with common prescription medications (see below!)

melatoninMelatonin is a hormone found naturally in the body of humans, animals, and also in plants and microbes. Melatonin has been identified in many plants including feverfew, St John’s wort, rice, corn, tomato, grape and other edible fruits.  Wine is commonly used as a sleeping aid. Is it because of the “depressant” nature of alcohol, or does the grape content of Melatonin contributes? One would venture both – more heavily towards the alcohol content though.

People use melatonin to adjust the body’s internal clock. It is used for jet lag, for adjusting sleep-wake cycles in people whose daily work schedule changes (shift-work disorder), and for helping blind people establish a day and night cycle.

As noted above, Melatonin production varies in the body over a 24hr period (which would affect when it should be taken) and decrease with age, as noted below. That would explain why older folks (our Grandparents) seem to sleep less.

melatonin.declineMelatonin is categorized by the US Food Drug Administration (FDA) as a dietary supplement and is not regulated as a pharmaceutical drug, so its full long-term effects in human have not yet ben ascertained. HOWEVER, a well-studied prescription-only, prolonged-release Melatonin product (Circadian) is available for people aged 55 and over. Prolonged-release melatonin was shown in clinical trials to decrease time to fall asleep, and improve quality of sleep and daytime functioning.

It is most commonly available in pill form, but melatonin is also available in forms that can be placed in the cheek or under the tongue. This allows the melatonin to be absorbed directly into the body. See side effect profile below.

Disclaimer: This is not an endorsement for this “specific” brand …

Dr. Oz’s Viewpoint – Hey…sleeping without clothing helps? 🙂

More on Dr Oz’s view…

Side Effects and Safety of Melatonin

  • Melatonin is LIKELY SAFE for most adults when taken by mouth short-term or applied to the skin. It can cause some side effects including headache, short-term feelings of depression, daytime sleepiness, dizziness, stomach cramps, and irritability. Do not drive or use machinery for four to five hours after taking melatonin.
  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Melatonin is POSSIBLY UNSAFE in pregnancy. Don’t use it. Melatonin might also interfere with ovulation, making it more difficult to become pregnant. Not enough is known about the safety of using melatonin when breast-feeding. It’s best not to use it.
  • Children: Melatonin should not be used in most children. It is POSSIBLY UNSAFE. Because of its effects on other hormones, melatonin might interfere with development during adolescence.
  • High blood pressure: Melatonin can raise blood pressure in people who are taking certain medications to control blood pressure. Discuss with you doctor and ask if you should avoid it.
  • Diabetes: Melatonin might increase blood sugar in people with diabetes. Monitor your blood sugar carefully, if you have diabetes and take melatonin.
  • Depression: Melatonin can make symptoms of depression worse.
  • Seizure disorders: Using melatonin might increase the risk of having a seizure.

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

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From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog! 

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SEPTEMBER IS NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION WEEK!

Did you know that teen suicide is a growing health concern. It is the third-leading cause of death for young people ages 15 to 24, surpassed only by homicide and accidents, according to the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Teen suicide preventOne in 5 teenagers in the U.S. seriously considers suicide annually, according to data collected by the CDC

Screening programs have proven to be helpful because research has shown that suicidal people show signs of depression or emotional distress. Referrals can be made for treatment, and effective treatment can be employed when signs are observed in time. Intervention efforts for at-risk youth can put them in contact with mental health services that can save their lives.

Suicide is a relatively rare event and it is difficult to accurately predict which persons with these risk factors will ultimately commit suicide. However, there are some possible warning signs such as:

  • Talking About Dying — any mention of dying, disappearing, jumping, shooting oneself, or other types of self harm
  • Recent Loss — through death, divorce, separation, broken relationship, self-confidence, self-esteem, loss of interest in friends, hobbies, activities previously enjoyed
  • Change in Personality — sad, withdrawn, irritable, anxious, tired, indecisive, apathetic
  • Change in Behavior — can’t concentrate on school, work, routine tasks
  • Change in Sleep Patterns — insomnia, often with early waking or oversleeping, nightmares
  • Change in Eating Habits — loss of appetite and weight, or overeating
  • Fear of losing control – acting erratically, harming self or others
  • Low self esteem — feeling worthless, shame, overwhelming guilt, self-hatred, “everyone would be better off without me”
  • No hope for the future — believing things will never get better; that nothing will ever change

What to do if you or someone you know is considering suicide?  There is help!

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or 1-800-273-TALK

Suicide Awareness Voices of Education (SAVE) or call: (800) SUICIDE

 

Suicide-Prevention_tips

 

Teen Suicide Prevention video – click below to watch.

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

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From the Physician’s Desk … Weekly Blog! 

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Ebola is a serious viral disease, that can, and in many cases do lead to death. The death total from this viral disease continues to rise, as we watch very closely hoping and praying for a vaccine.  We are all are very, very concerned.

  • What is Ebola?
  • How is it transmitted?
  • Can it be prevented?

Hear it directly from President Barack Obama

 

                        Key facts about EBOLA from WHO

Fruit bats, a delicacy in West Africa, are thought to act as hosts for Ebola

Fruit bats, a delicacy in West Africa, are thought to act as hosts for Ebola (cute but deadly)

  • Ebola virus disease (EVD), formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever, is a severe, often fatal illness in humans.
  • EVD outbreaks have a case fatality rate of up to 90%.
  • EVD outbreaks occur primarily in remote villages in Central and West Africa, near tropical rainforests.
  • The virus is transmitted to people from wild animals and spreads in the human population through human-to-human transmission.
  • Fruit bats of the Pteropodidae family are considered to be the natural host of the Ebola virus.
  • Severely ill patients require intensive supportive care. No licensed specific treatment or vaccine is available for use in people or animals.

Read more about the 9 things to know about Ebola and watch more by clicking HERE

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Remember …

Ipsa Scientia Potestas est    ———  Knowledge itself is power!

Don’t forget to visit my website … www.LegacyEducators.org 

Your Family Friendly Doc … Dr McGann!  

See you next week…

Read Full Post »