Flu is early this year and has killed at least 10 in California as of mid-December; these people were younger than 65. Flu shots protect most of us from the 4 deadly flus predicted to hit the US.
THC HAS ANTI-INFLAMMATORY PROPERTIES
A Michigan researcher found that mixing THC from marijuana with certain white cells, decreased the level of one of the inflammatory markers. Inflammation is the proposed mechanism whereby HIV, gum disease, chronic infections may contribute to accelerated hardening of the arteries, leading to heart attacks, strokes, etc. In addition, the author points out that treating anxiety and depression with marijuana may also decrease the inflammatory markers. Keep in mind that this is not a long-term study on humans to prove they live longer with marijuana, but just testing some white cells.
C DIF RISKS: IF YOU ARE A HOSPITAL PATIENT
It looks like any lowering of acid in your stomach seems to be a risk for getting C Dif diarrhea, which can be difficult to treat. Getting certain antibiotics but not others is also a risk as well as being a patient in a nursing home. I have previously mentioned fecal transplants as an effective but weird treatment.
GUNS ARE A HEALTH THREAT
Many die of gun violence in the US. The government and the pro-gun lobby are tying the hands of researchers to generate information to help decrease the number of deaths. A good majority of physicians surveyed said that gun violence is a public threat. It seems random for most of us, but it could affect someone you love. We must do our part to discourage buying and selling of guns. After the school massacre in Sandy Hook a few years ago, more guns were bought and that increased the general gun violence—the exact opposite of what we want. Guns, in general, do not cause greater safety; it is much more common to hear of a tragedy than a “hero story” when someone buys a gun for protection.
NATURAL NOSE AND SINUS TREATMENT
Saline nose spray is helpful and not a medicine that enters your body. There are balanced ones that match your body’s saline concentration and some with more salt—these work better than the weaker ones but can cause burning. Some use irrigation by a special spray bottle or a neti pot. I have used the neti-pot and it seems to clean out my sinuses and nose well when there is a lot of mucus, but if my membranes are swollen, these methods don’t do much. Use warm, filtered water which will remove parasites. There are nasal steroid and nasal antihistamine sprays which can help also.
VITAMIN D AND CALCIUM PILLS DO NOT PREVENT FRACTURES
Osteoporosis is a risk for all elderly patients. It takes many years to develop so if you are in your 40s, pay attention. Calcium alone is not helpful. I know the milk commercials from years ago pushed the opposite message. This is yet another finding that shows that many of the things about food and vitamins we were told had not been studied and they were guesses; they were incorrect. Large studies also have shown that you should take vitamin D or get more sun exposure only if your levels are low. The sun converts cholesterol in your blood to vitamin D. If you want to prevent fractures, you must exercise, e.g. speed walking is great for the hip bones.
OPIOID DRUG OVERDOSE DEATHS EVEN HIGHER
We are not doing a good enough job in lowering these. The restrictions on providers and pharmacies and prescribing are tightening. Many providers are referring to pain specialists more and more. Physical therapy is being prescribed more and I see many of my patients improving and able to decrease their opioid pain medications. I am using more celecoxib (Celebrex) for those who have stomach or kidney problems with ibuprofen, naproxen, etc. We are doing more pain contracts and drug screens.
LYMPHOMA OR TB OR BOTH IN AN HIV PATIENT, AT RISK FOR DYING SOON
When people don’t get tested for HIV or use meth (which causes them to not be in the health care system), they enter the system with severe diseases many times. We currently have had a few patients with cancers. One of them died only after entering the system again a month earlier. He was in denial for a few years after his initial hospitalization for AIDS related problems. Another has multiple nodes in his neck, groin, and abdomen and a small tumor in his brain and many in his bones. He is not enthusiastic about having a brain biopsy which may cause destruction of tissue and loss of mental function. Biopsies of other sites so far have not been helpful. The brain tumor causes a hormonal problem causing him to have a low sodium which affects his thinking and decisions, some of which haven’t been the best. He has been admitted to 3 hospitals in a month and that causes much loss of continuity and repeat testing and scans.
Please get tested regularly, don’t use drugs, get and stay on HIV treatment if positive.
HIV PATIENTS ARE MISSING CARDIAC PREVENTION TREATMENT
If you have hypertension, or smoke, or are diabetic, etc, you are at greater risk of complications from hardening of the arteries. HIV adds some extra risk. A study found that HIV patients are not getting the prevention medicines (baby aspirin and cholesterol meds) as often as HIV negative patients. Ask your provider about this!
Daniel Pearce, D.O., FACOI, AAHIVMS
Clinical Associate Professor of Medicine, Loma Linda University School of Medicine Adjunct Professor of Internal Medicine and HIV, Touro University California College of Osteopathic Medicine and Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine HIV Specialist, Assistant TB Physician, Riverside University Healthcare System, Public Health (Department) Member, Coachella Valley Clinical Research Initiative.