Category Archives: Endocrine/Metabolic

Straight, No Chaser: Thyroid Awareness and Neck Self-Examination

thyroid awareness

Is your thyroid something you know exists but know very little about? Let’s change that. The thyroid gland lives in your neck and produces hormones that help you regular your body’s metabolism. This makes it quite important. Thyroid disease affects approximately 200 million people around the world. You care about this because abnormalities of the thyroid gland can cause real problems and deadly disease. Let’s take a brief look at four types of abnormalities.

Thyroid-dysfunctions-symptoms

Goiters are something you may know of if you’re of a certain age. It’s a condition notable for the presence of a visibly enlarged thyroid gland

  • Goiters frequently cause difficulty swallowing or breathing.

Hyperthyroidism is a disease resulting from an overactive thyroid

  • Symptoms of hyperthyroidism are: rapid weight loss, high blood pressure, anxiety and insomnia.

Hypothyroidism is an under active thyroid.

  • Symptoms of hypothyroidism are: weak or slow heartbeat; muscular weakness; constant fatigue; weight gain; depression; slow reflexes; sensitivity to cold; thick, puffy, or dry skin; slowed mental processes and poor memory; and constipation.

thyroid-cancer

Thyroid cancer has seen a dramatic increase in the number of cases diagnosed due to increased detection. Of course, early detection and treatment is a good thing for prognosis.

thryoid self

All of these conditions can be discovered if you learn to examine your neck. 15-30 seconds can often help you discover lumps, nodules, goiters and cancers that will signal an immediate need for assessment, confirmation and treatment by a physician. Given the relatively non-specific nature of symptoms related to the thyroid, your role in discovering thyroid disease is an important one. As is the case with other self-exams (e.g. breast, testicles), you will become more familiar with your anatomy and will be most likely to pick up on any changes with repeated exams.

thyroid self exam

Performing a Neck (Thyroid) Self-Exam:

  • Grab a mirror, and tip your head back. Your area of interest is the middle area of your neck. Your thyroid gland is located above your collarbones and below the Adam’s apple (larynx).
  • Take a drink of water and slowly swallow.
  • As you swallow, check your neck for any bulges, lumps or protrusions. You may want to repeat this process several times.
  • If you discover any abnormalities, see your physician. You may need to checked for thyroid disease.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Endocrine/Metabolic, Health Prevention

Straight, No Chaser Vlog: Diabetes

The Straight, No Chaser vlog (video blog) series presents “health care basics” to keep you safe, healthy and out of the emergency room. Today’s Straight, No Chaser addresses diabetes. Learn about the early indicators of diabetes, over 18 Million people are undiagnosed. Please don’t let that be you! Have a healthy and Happy Holidays!

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.

Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Diet and Nutrition, Endocrine/Metabolic, Health Prevention

Straight, No Chaser: Low Blood Sugar (Hypoglycemia)

hypoglycemia1

In a previous post, I provided an overview of diabetes. Everyone knows about diabetes, and most understand how dangerous diabetes is over the long-term. However, as an emergency physician, I’m more concerned with what will kill you immediately, and on that front, low blood glucose (sugar) is usually much more concerning. I want you to know up front that a low enough blood glucose will kill you – now. As we say in the ER, a high glucose level will hurt you and may kill you, but a glucose level that goes to zero means ‘Cancel Christmas’.

Therefore I will start with a simple statement. Any diabetic (or individual known to have low glucose levels) with altered mental status needs to be given juice or if they can handle it, some soft food to chew on. If they’re in the midst of a high sugar reaction, it won’t make much of a difference, but if that glucose level was zero, you’ve just saved a life. Now let’s briefly discuss symptoms and causes.

hypoglycemia-enhd-ar1

Low glucose levels can present many different ways including dizziness, jitteriness, numbness, tingling, blackouts, seizures and other symptoms. However, it’s usually the confusion or other change in mental status that’s most predominant and concerning. Just remember, this is not something about which you should wait around to see if it gets better.

Regarding causes, unintentional overdosing of insulin or oral medication (particular the sulfonylureas class of medicines) are especially concerning and common. Sometimes a family member, particularly a child, may take such a medicine to disastrous effects. Beyond that, heavy alcohol consumption on an empty stomach is another common cause due to its effects on the liver (Alcohol locks glucose stores in the liver, preventing release to the blood; as a result you have less to use.).

Other causes are more exotic and fortunately less common; they will be evaluated upon arrival to the hospital when a rapid response isn’t seen with simple administration of glucose. Dysfunction of certain organs (the adrenal and pituitary glands, the liver due to hepatitis, or tumors of the pancreas – the organ that produces the insulin that drives glucose into your cells – can cause problems with regulating either glucose itself or insulin. These conditions can drive your blood glucose dangerously low.

So, the causes are varied, but the message is simple. Be careful with insulin administration, remember to check those blood sugar levels and act promptly in the face of mental status changes. Usually I note that time is tissue, but in this example, you’ll run out of time before your tissues are damaged.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Endocrine/Metabolic

Prevention and Treatment Considerations for Diabetic Eye Conditions

diabetic eye live_right_save_sight_logo

Several of you asked about the treatment of the eye conditions resulting from diabetes. This last Straight, No Chaser addressing Diabetes Awareness Month will focus on treatment approaches.

The first point – and one that can’t be overemphasized – is treatment is not a cure. As long as diabetes continues (and especially continues to be uncontrolled), symptoms will progress, and the diabetic-related causes of eye disorders will create ongoing difficulties, even after treatment of past problems has occurred. Thus, the first consideration is to understand steps you can take to prevent or slow the progression of the effects of diabetes on your eyes.

There actually are several preventive measures within your control. Consider implementing these.

diabetes-eye-exam

  • Keep your blood glucose and blood pressure as close to normal as you can. This involves dieting, exercising and taking your medication as prescribed.
  • Have an eye care professional examine your eyes annually – even if your vision is normal, and especially if your vision is normal. If you have good control of your diabetes, your eyes will tell part of that story, and you need to stay ahead of evolving problems. Of course, discovering problems early and getting prompt treatment gives you the best opportunity to maintain normal vision and to prevent advancement to more serious stages. Be proactive and ask your eye care professional to check for signs of cataracts and glaucoma.
  • If you are diabetic and planning to get pregnant, ask your doctor if you should have an eye exam.
  • If you are diabetic and pregnant, see an eye care professional during your first 3 months of pregnancy.
  • Don’t smoke.

MoS2 Template Master

Recall that damaged older vessels or fragile new vessels has a propensity to bleed into the eye. This blood interferes with your ability to see normally. This severe, advanced diabetic retinopathy is treated with laser surgery, which helps to shrink the abnormal blood vessels, thus reducing bleeding into the eye. The procedure involves 1,000 to 2,000 laser burns in the area of the retina (the lining in the back of your eye that senses light), causing the abnormal blood vessels to shrink. Even as laser surgery saves much of your sight, patients often notice reduction or loss of side vision, color vision and/or night vision.

If the bleeding is especially severe, you may need a surgical procedure called a vitrectomy. This procedure removes blood from the center of your eye.

VITRECTOMY

These procedures stabilize vision and in some instances may dramatically improve it. Focal laser treatment reduces the risk of vision loss by 50 percent and the risk of blindness by 90 percent. However, laser surgery most often cannot restore vision that has already been lost. That is why finding diabetic retinopathy early should be your most important strategy to prevent vision loss. There are additional medical treatment options emerging meant to replace the need for surgery. If you suffer from diabetic retinopathy, discuss these options with your eye doctor.

Please remember, that although both laser treatments and vitrectomies are very effective in reducing vision loss, they are not cures. Once you have proliferative retinopathy, you always will be at risk for new bleeding. That said, people with progressive diabetic retinopathy have less than a five percent chance of becoming blind within five years of early treatment.

diabetic eyechecklist

Please use the preventive strategies and understand the treatment options available to you. Failure to do so could be devastating.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Endocrine/Metabolic, Ophthalmology/Eyes

Straight, No Chaser: Diabetic Retinopathy and Other Eye Problems

diabetes-eye health

As you likely know, diabetics have a large amount of blood glucose (sugar) circulating in their blood. The high level of glucose can cause damage to many cells, including your eyes. If you’re diabetic, your challenge is to learn how to slow down the process. This Straight, No Chaser addresses relatively frequent effects of diabetes on your eyes.

How does diabetes hurt my eyes?

Diabetes has direct (through the effects of high blood glucose) and indirect (through high blood pressure) effects on four parts of your eye: the lining in the back of your eye that senses light (the retina), the jelly-like fluid that fills the back of the eye (the vitreous), the lens (serves to focus light on the retina) and the optic nerve (the main nerve from the eye to the brain).

diabetic eye vision

How can diabetes hurt the retinas of my eyes?

  • Diabetic retinopathy is the term for the most common eye problem of diabetics. The retinas have tiny blood vessels that are easy to damage and do become damaged by high glucose levels. As retina problems get worse, new blood vessels grow. These new blood vessels are fragile and susceptible to leaking blood into the back of the eye. The leaking blood keeps light from reaching the retina. This can result in a sensation of seeing floating spots or almost total darkness.
  • Over time, these damaged blood vessels can form scar tissue and pull the retina away from the back of the eye, causing detachment of the retina. A detached retina can cause loss of sight or blindness if you don’t take care of it right away.

How do I know if I have retina damage from diabetes?

You may or may not have any signs of retina damage, but here are the more common signs

diabetic retinopathy vision

  • blurry or double vision
  • dark or floating spots
  • pain or pressure in one or both of your eyes
  • rings, flashing lights, or blank spots
  • trouble seeing things out of the corners of your eyes

What other eye problems can happen to people with diabetes?

Cataracts and glaucoma are two other eye disorders that occur at a higher frequency in diabetics.

Cataracts

  • A cataract is a cloud over the normally clear lens of your eye. Remember, the lens focuses light onto the retina, so the presence of a cataract makes everything you look at seem cloudy. You need surgery to remove the cataract, which replaces the bad lens with a permanent plastic lens.

acute-angle-closure-glaucoma_3

  • Glaucoma is a condition resulting from pressure building up in the eye. Eventually, this will damage the optic nerve, which will progressively reduce your vision. Treating glaucoma involves eye drops to lower the pressure in your eyes or surgery for advanced cases.

Of course, you want to know what steps you can take to prevent or slow the occurrences of these eye conditions. These will be discussed in an upcoming Straight, No Chaser.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

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Filed under Endocrine/Metabolic, Ophthalmology/Eyes

Straight, No Chaser: Quick Tips for the Diabetic in Your Life

DM foot ulcer

Per your requests, we occasionally feature quick tips for healthy living. Here’s an important example.

If you have diabetics in your life, here are three things they should do everyday.

1) Check their feet. Diabetics have decreased sensation in their extremities. It is very typical for them to step on nails, glass, or otherwise cause injuries that go unnoticed, because they don’t have sufficient sensitivity. Next thing you know, they have an infection and then a foot ulcer, and that’s a common path to amputated toes or the entire foot.

2) Keep soft candy or juice at all times. If they ever experience mental status changes, feed them. Altered mental status can be due to high or low blood sugars. If you treat a high sugar level with more sugar, it’s not a big deal, relatively speaking; if you treat a blood sugar level that was zero, you just saved a life.

3) Have them touch the water with their hands before they shower or bathe. The hands of diabetics remain sensitive to pain longer than the feet, so touching with the hands first helps avoid injuries. The decreased sensitivity of the feet leads to burns, which leads to infections, which leads to amputations.

diabetes-control-big

 

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

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Filed under Endocrine/Metabolic, Health Prevention

Straight, No Chaser: Diabetes Basics and the Importance of Education

diabetesed

Diabetes is a disease in which education is vital. For a diabetic, knowing the disease well allows him or her to better prevent long-term consequences of the disease. It also allows the diabetic to make real-time adjustments when sick or otherwise  in danger acutely. In Straight, No Chaser, we’ve provided a series of posts meant to empower diabetics (and you can review any or all of them via the search box on the right). Remember, it all should start with a basic understanding of the disease.

We eat, and the process of digestion is for the purpose of converting food into glucose (sugar) that’s used by our body for energy. The blood delivers the glucose to different organs of the body where the cells take it up for use. In order for that process to work, an organ that’s part of the digestive tract called the pancreas has to produce a hormone called insulin. Insulin facilitates the glucose getting from the blood to inside the cells. Diabetes is a disease where insulin isn’t being made by the pancreas or isn’t working optimally.

Now think about what happens when you’re not getting sugar into your cells. It’s as if you’re starving (because physiologically, you might as well be). You get symptoms such as weight loss, hunger, fatigue and excessive thirst. Because your cells don’t have energy, they aren’t functioning well. In fact, blood and nerve vessels lose significant function, resulting in significant vision loss and lack of sensitivity in your extremities. Anyone who’s been a diabetic for about 10 years know this because you’re wearing glasses and because you’ve lost a fair amount of sensation, especially in your feet. There are other symptoms that are variations of the same theme, including excessive urination, dry skin, increased infection rate and slower healing from those infections – all due to poor function of your blood vessels.

Sometimes diabetes is a disease that happens to you because of unlucky genetics (or simply a family history). Other times it is a disease that you find. Risk factors for developing diabetes includes obesity, older age, and physical inactivity. Gestational diabetes (i.e. that occurring during pregnancy) is an entirely different conversation.

diabetes-treadmill

Let’s take a moment to discuss prevention and treatment. There are different types of diabetes, but the risk of one form of diabetes in particular can be reduced by – you guessed it – diet and exercise. In fact, diet, exercise and medications are the three legs of the diabetes treatment stool regardless of type. Some patients require regular insulin injections and others require pills. Still others who are successful with diet and exercise are able to markedly reduce, and in some instances eliminate medications.

If you’re a diabetic, make an investment in your education. It could not only save your legs or eyes, but it may just save your life. I welcome your questions and comments.

Feel free to ask your SMA expert consultant any questions you may have on this topic.Take the #72HoursChallenge, and join the community. As a thank you for being a valued subscriber to Straight, No Chaser, we’d like to offer you a complimentary 30-day membership at www.72hourslife.com. Just use the code #NoChaser, and yes, it’s ok if you share!

Order your copy of Dr. Sterling’s new books There are 72 Hours in a Day: Using Efficiency to Better Enjoy Every Part of Your Life and The 72 Hours in a Day Workbook: The Journey to The 72 Hours Life in 72 Days at Amazon or at www.72hourslife.com. Receive introductory pricing with orders!

Thanks for liking and following Straight, No Chaser! This public service provides a sample of what http://www.SterlingMedicalAdvice.com (SMA) and 844-SMA-TALK offers. Please share our page with your friends on WordPress, like us on Facebook SterlingMedicalAdvice.com and follow us on Twitter at @asksterlingmd.

Copyright © 2017 · Sterling Initiatives, LLC · Powered by WordPress

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Filed under Diet and Nutrition, Endocrine/Metabolic, Health Prevention