[COLUMN] Vital med tips

FIRING squad – drug shortage

“Idaho Gov. Brad Little (R) signed a bill that will allow for executions to be carried out by firing squads, as the nationwide shortage of lethal-injection drugs continues.” (AP)

D3 wonders

Vitamin D 3 supplement has been shown in a study of 12,000 older adults to lower the risk for dementia by 40 percent, compared to people of the same age who did not take the D3 supplement, according to the University of Calgary in Canada and the University Exeter in England and co-authors.

This sunshine vitamin is also known to boost the immune system, improves brain function, prevent osteoporosis, manage blood pH level, prevents rickets (softening bones), strengthens bones, prevents certain types of cancer, boosts mood, lowers risk for diabetes, aids in weight loss, fights inflammation, helps lowers blood pressure, and might help lower risk for heart disease.

CPAP and SPO2 monitoring

CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) is the gold standard and the only effective way to treat Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA). Worldwide estimate is about one billion (1/8 of the global population), between ages 30-69, have varying degrees of OSA. In the United States, there are around 18 million people with sleep apnea, 6.2 percent of the US population, or 1 in 15 Americans. In the Philippines, about 11.3 million, have OSA, 10 million with insomnia, and 46 percent of the population (about 114 million) do not get enough sleep, one of highest sleep-deprived nation in Asia.

A significant number of OSA patients on CPAP therapy have not been monitored around the clock (continuous SPO2+heart rate monitoring also while asleep). SPO2 is the blood level of oxygen (O2 saturation, which is normally between 95 and 100 percent, ideally). Patients on CPAP should undergo continuous SPO2 monitoring because while CPAP will keep the airway open for good ventilation, it does not improve the SPO2 of those with asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease that results in poor lung function and leads to low oxygen saturation level). More than 8 million people in the USA are on CPAP therapy and many of them are also using oxygen with their CPAP.

Wellue brand (CheckMe) Bluetooth pulse oximeter for SPO2+heart rate monitors (work with a cellphone App to record large data) are available on Amazon. People who are on CPAP therapy should consult their physician about continuous overnight SPO2 monitoring, even if they do not feel short of breath during the daytime. The monitoring will show how many drops in heart rate and oxygen saturation and how low the O2 level goes down to, while one is asleep. Blood oxygen saturation below 90 is unhealthy, and below that even dangerous. All organs, the brain, heart, liver, kidneys, etc.) are deprived of enough oxygen if the SPO2 drops below the normal level.

It is worthwhile to do SPO2+heart rate monitoring while asleep because it is non-invasive; just wear the monitor like a watch and put the detector ring around one of the fingers for one week or so. This is just a precaution to prevent a potentially serious problem during sleep.

Silicone butt injections

To improve the butt and achieve a JLo butt admired by women, silicone could be injected to buttocks to achieve a more attractive, sexy, protuberant derriere.

But hold it, and listen to this warning from a model and TV personality Blac Chyna, who sounded an alarm about the potential risks and side-effects of silicone butt or breast injections. They include long-term pain, infections, scarring and permanent disfigurement, embolism (blood clots blocking blood vessels), stroke, and even death. These complications were also found after liposuction procedures. To undergo a cosmetic procedure that could be potentially deadly is obviously unwise and a waste of money. Life and health first before beauty.

Sleep and heart health

A new study on 300,000 people revealed that poor sleep is associated with a shorter lifetime for heart health. It also suggests people with sleep apnea, especially untreated, are at a higher risk for poorer cardiac health. People who slept poorly had two years less of heart health, meaning they developed cardiac disease two sooner than those who were sleeping well, achieving restorative rest. The research was done by the University of Sydney, Australia, and the University of Southern Denmark. A restful sleep is vital to general health. Lack of sleep is like lowbat in devices, with poorer performance and efficiency, and shorter life.

Amazing metformin

A retrospective analysis showed metformin users had a 24 percent reduction in relative risk of developing osteoarthritis. Its versatility as a drug includes improving fertility to increasing lifespan. Metformin is the first drug in the initial treatment of T2 diabetes. It acts to reduce insulin resistance. For our body insulin produced by the beta cells of our pancreas to work, it must be able to enter (penetrate) the more than 37.2 trillion cells in our body.

About 90 percent of T2 diabetics are non-insulin dependent, meaning their body is able to produce insulin, but it is unable to get into the cells (a condition called insulin resistance), so then insulin is unable to be absorbed to do its job in sugar metabolism, resulting in high blood sugar level (known as diabetes T2). Insulin-dependent diabetes is caused by the pancreas not producing enough insulin, causing diabetes (about 10 percent of all diabetes). On the other hand, in diabetes due to insulin resistance, the pancreas produces enough insulin, but it is unable to penetrate the cell. Metformin reduces cell resistance, making insulin able to go into the body cells to do its job.

Off-label use of metformin includes weight reduction, infertility, polycystic ovarian syndrome, prevention of pregnancy complications, and obesity. Metformin has also been found to improve executive function skills, learning and memory attention among patients with Alzheimer’s. It is now being tested for the management of inflammation and metabolism conditions. Those on metformin need Vitamin B-12 supplement. Lactic acidosis, which is rare, should be watched for. Generally, metformin is very safe, the second most common drug prescribed globally (52 percent of all international prescriptions), and taken by more than 120 million people around the world.

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The opinions, beliefs and viewpoints expressed by the author do not necessarily reflect the opinions, beliefs and viewpoints of the Asian Journal, its management, editorial board and staff.

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The main objective of this column is to educate and inspire people live a healthier lifestyle to prevent illnesses and disabilities and achieve a happier and more productive life. Any diagnosis, recommendation or treatment in our article are general medical information and not intended to be applicable or appropriate for anyone. This column is not a substitute for your physician, who knows your condition well and who is your best ally when it comes to your health.

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Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, a Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus based in Northwest Indiana and Las Vegas, Nevada, is an international medical lecturer/author, Health Advocate, newspaper columnist, and Chairman of the Filipino United Network-USA, a 501(c)3 humanitarian foundation in the United States. He was a recipient of the Indiana Sagamore of the Wabash Award in 1995. Other Sagamore past awardees include President Harry Truman, President George HW Bush, Muhammad Ali, and Astronaut Gus Grissom (Wikipedia). Websites: FUN8888.com, Today.SPSAtoday.com, and philipSchua.com; Email: [email protected].


Dr. Philip S. Chua

Philip S. Chua, MD, FACS, FPCS, Cardiac Surgeon Emeritus in Northwest Indiana and chairman of cardiac surgery from 1997 to 2010 at Cebu Doctors University Hospital, where he holds the title of Physician Emeritus in Surgery, is based in Las Vegas, Nevada. He is a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons, the Philippine College of Surgeons, and the Denton A. Cooley Cardiovascular Surgical Society. He is the chairman of the Filipino United Network – USA, a 501(c)(3) humanitarian foundation in the United States.

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