Posts Tagged ‘cardiovascular health’

Better Late Than Never

IMG_1917 (2)Phew! I can’t believe it is already March 10, 2013 but so be it. Last Monday blew by me in a puff of childish laughter and, if I dare say, infant tears and upset. I was so busy being Nonna for the grandsons there just wasn’t time to share but as always there is time to care, so this week I want to share some really interesting information.

Before I get started, I did want to let you know that my Vitamin D results came back this week. I have supplemented my Sunsplash Renew this 6 months because I want to take Vitamin K for my bones, so on average 4 days a week I take a Vitamin D/Vitamin K supplement that includes about 1000 iu’s of Vitamin D per dose. In August my Vitamin D was 91 ng/ml in February my levels were 84 ng/ml. I have been using the Sunsplash about three times a week 10 or 20 minutes at a time but there are times like right before I drew blood this time that I haven’t been in front of the lights for 7 days or more. I think 84 ng/ml isn’t too bad for the middle of a dreich winter.

Pain, searing pain!

Last Monday, along with the joy of grandchildren filling my life I had a doctor’s appointment with my homeopathic MD, Dr. Kim Lane. It was an appointment that was meant to be but almost wasn’t. The weather conspired against me, a bad back belonging to my son-in-law conspired against me but in the end it was an incident that occurred while caring for my almost two-year old grandson that scared me right in to her office.

On Saturday afternoon, Odin and his now 59-year-old Nonna were out frolicking in the snow. I love having Odin around because I find my inner child and that inner child was walking through calf high snow hauling my bundle of joy around on his sled. We slid down hills several times and walked back up them. When that got boring we took a trek through virgin snow to see the neigh-boring horses. By the time we got back to the house I was overheated and thirsty as heck.

I remembered I had a cold container of water sitting in a nearby car, so I got the container out and chugged icy cold water. It tasted so good and was so thirst quenching I probably inhaled about 10 ounces of water in the blink of an eyelid. Odin and I were going to feed the birds, aka Caw Caws, so as he watched me I bent over and started filling a pail with black sunflower seeds.

When I stood back up to reach for Odin’s hand I was nearly floored by a searing pain in my upper left quadrant. The paralyzing affliction occurred each time I inhaled and then each stab was followed by low, rumbling and horrible sounding belches. I belched and belched but tried to take slow shallow inhalations in between each agonizing stab. This level of intensity lasted for about 15 minutes but in the first few minutes I knew I needed to get Odin inside close to Grandpa just in case something happened to me. While keeping a brave face (I hope) and thus assuring Odin all was well we slowly, ever so slowly made our way inside the house, birdseed suddenly forgotten.

What the heck?

At moments like this I try to keep my cool but all I could imagine was that I was having a heart attack in front of a very impressionable two-year old and how that could affect his life from here on out. His life? Ha, how would it affect my life? How could I miss his growing up and going to his games, meeting his friends, etc? What if I never saw Arthur walk and talk? Gosh the awful places your brain goes when something like this occurs but deep down a pervasive thought was growing.

I have had this pain before and it wasn’t a heart attack but I never did figure out what it was. It actually originates from a very specific spot in my upper left quadrant, right under my left breast at the edge of my ribcage (I can touch the spot at the moment and it is still tender). As I belched and ached I made my way downstairs where the SU was exercising and tried to tell him I was in trouble (hard to do with ear phones securely attached to said head and person off in space somewhere). He basically blew me off but did keep an eye on Odin who was now semi-securely placed in his “Pack and Play (“semi” because he knows how to get out quite easily).

I then sat down and took my blood pressure. It was an astounding 129/98. My pulse was 112 and all this didn’t help settle my panic. My blood pressure is normally well within normal limits if not a bit low, so these numbers were, on their own, frightening. I could tell that the pain, while not subsiding, was not getting worse and as each jab was accompanied by a low rumble of escaping gas I now was convinced this was not a heart attack. Exertion did not bring it on but breathing did, great! Like that is somehow better.

Come Hell or high water

Within an hour all pain had subsided and my breathing was back to normal. In fact, after a 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda and a few more belches I returned to normal as if nothing had happened. I was physically and emotionally drained after a scare like that but there was no digestive upset, no pain in my upper left quadrant and my blood pressure had gone down to 98/65 (adrenal stress brought that baby right down) I was as normal as I get (which, depending on who you ask is not all that normal).

At this point I knew my appointment with Dr. Lane was fortuitous. It had not been planned but I needed some prescriptions (SR Potassium and T3) filled just in case ordering from overseas becomes impossible (the new health care bill tagged Obamacare wants to forbid overseas prescriptions from entering our borders). I actually got the appointment because friend Chloe had cancelled hers that afternoon to take a later one and I was offered her time. Hurrah! It was all meant to happen. I needed an answer or I needed guidance as to what to do next and I knew she could help me.

Dr. Lane

On Monday, after checking in I sat down in Dr. Lane’s new digs and started to pour out my story. She asked very pointed questions and did an exam of my chest, back and lower abdomen. I told her about the physical activity, the cold water, the stooping over, standing up and the resultant searing pains accompanied by loud heavy belching all coming from my upper left quadrant.

Her questions were as follows:

Did any pain occur during the physical activity? “No”

Was the water really cold? “Yes”

How long did it take for the pain to subside? “About an hour”

Where did it hurt? I showed her the exact spot the pain originated from and she palpated it later.

Diagnosis? Do you want to take some guesses before I tell you? I will answer below in Krisinsight just in case you want to try it out. I know I wouldn’t have come to this conclusion but her reasons were very sound and based on what doctors know about heart attacks in women.

Now for homeopathy

Dr. Lane is also a homeopathic doctor, so we discussed my latest remedy and the results. When I took my Aconite 200 about three weeks ago I screwed up everything I could possibly screw up. I put something in my mouth minutes after taking the first remedy. I did this despite knowing I needed to have a window of time when you have nothing 30 minutes prior to taking the remedy and nothing for 30 minutes after. The second time, exactly 12 hours later, I dropped almost all the pellets on the floor and had to pick them up and sort out 4-5 to take. Once the pellets are touched the energy of the remedy changes, so really even that dose was tainted.

My energy has been fine but my hands have been cold especially when keyboarding. My overall body temperature continues to run on the low side. My weight is probably stable but I remain on the heavy side of where I should be weight-wise. I think my sex hormones are more balanced than they were on bio-identical hormones and hot flashes while they do exist are minimal. Vaginal lubrication is better than it has been in years (I know, I know but for some this can be very important) and in general my interest in sex has increased and my fasting glucose numbers are always in the low 80′s.

The homeopathic prescription was to repeat the Aconite 200, 12 hours apart and wait about 6 weeks. I took it on Thursday March 6. That night I slept very poorly even though I was exhausted but the next day my morning temperatures were up. At 10:00 my thermometer read 98.4, higher than it has been in some while. Now it is a wait and see game, wait to see what effect the remedy has on my overall health.

Krisinsight

First, Dr. Lane’s insight or better said, her diagnosis: Esophageal Spasm It makes perfect sense to me now but I never would have concluded that on my own. When you expose your esophagus to radical temperatures changes you can cause a spasm. Until the spasm relaxes you might get belching with each contraction. You will get searing pain from each contraction and it will eventually relax and go away. The fact that the pain did not come on while I was exerting myself was quite indicative of spasm vs. heart attack. The increased blood pressure and pulse was my flight or fight response to a tense situation and my body did just what it was supposed to do. I have had this pain and belching before and was left in wonder as to what it was, what was happening. At the very least I will now know what it is and perhaps I will also avoid temperature extremes in my food and liquid intake.

As for my insight on homeopathy, I am intrigued. First, I really like Dr. Kim Lane. She is easy to talk to, very down to earth with a dry sense of humor. She is first and foremost a medical doctor but with her knowledge of the body she can make homeopathy work even better. We have had some real heart to heart discussions and many of them have left me in tears, drained of emotion. All these difficult questions are helping her assess the situation and prescribe the correct remedy. Since I started with her last autumn I have changed. Some things are better; some are the same but overall I have more confidence and I understand myself better than ever before. My sleep, while not perfect, is so much better I cannot describe how good that feels.

I don’t have blood labs to prove any organic change but when I do get my blood labs run I will report the results right here. My thinking is, at this point, I don’t really care what the labs say, I feel better. We have made it through the worst of the flu season with nary a sniffle between us (Did I really just say that? Oh dear!). I can climb through snow up to my thighs and while it leaves me breathless I can do it. I am still taking 37.5 mcg of T3 and with increasing temperatures I am going to hold the status quo. I take some K-Dur and I still take 2 teaspoons of sea salt in water every day, so some things stay the same but overall if you continue to fight for that next level of healthiness with your thyroid dis-ease I can safely recommend trying homeopathy. It may just heal your soul and, after all is said and done, every body needs to heal from the inside out.

Santé,

Kris

How Time Flies

I don’t know about my readers but I can hardly believe an entire month has passed since I last shared some of my hard-earned insight. Summer has been hot and humid but fun and filled with laughter. My daughter, grandson and I just returned from what will be a much treasured weekend on Lake Superior and I am full up to my eyebrows with lovely memories of my time with both of them.

I have also found writing once a month to be just the ticket for me right now, so I will be posting a new blog article on the first Monday of every month (except this month when it is slightly early). In the meantime I am going to put my writing energy toward something I have wanted to do forever, write a book. I will self publish said book and I have no idea as of 30 July 2012 what it will be about but the time I have spent sharing health information on Facebook and KrisInsight will be used to create my “masterpiece”.

Now for my topic for August, blood tests, blood test results and what you can do with them.

On getting a blood test

When Life Extension Foundation offers their once a year blood test sale I cannot resist the urge to ante up the $224.25 and get a rather complete blood test called “Female Weight Loss Panel Blood Test”. I am always interested in losing weight but that is not my reason for this particular panel. I purchase this one because it offers a complete thyroid panel (minus the antibody test), female sex hormone panel plus important information like CRP, Uric Acid, etc.

I receive my requisition form online, print it off and take it to the nearest LabCorp office. Once there you sign in and sooner rather than later someone will call your name and back you go into a very clean professional room where a very talented and experienced phlebotomist takes your blood. I happen to think the techs at the Edina LabCorp are some of the best phlebotomists around and after several blood tests purchased online and trips to Edina, MN for my blood draw I ought to know. I have never been hurt, have not, for that matter, even come away with a bruise or sore spot.

If you can’t take the heat; don’t get the blood test

Yup, you read that right. If you like the ostrich approach to life. If you would rather not know what might be going wrong. If, in fact, you can’t afford or don’t want to afford the treatment, DO NOT GET A BLOOD TEST! I really can’t afford any extras on my one and a half day dental hygiene salary but I like to know what is happening in my body. I don’t always like the results (and I will tell you about that) but I feel better knowing how my body is doing that is more scientific than subjective.

Within a week after my blood draw my results popped up in my “inbox”. I think even that is rather spectacular after talking to folks who have their blood draws at their doctor’s office and wait weeks to hear about the results. I opened the attachment with alacrity and read down the results basically saying things like “good”, “better”, “Ooh, that’s great”.

My total cholesterol was the lowest it has been in decades at 190. My Triglycerides were great, uric acid was low, CRP was low and VLDL was low. I basically had no signs of inflammation or precursors for heart disease. My TSH was suppressed (it should be on T3 only). My FT3 and FT4 were out of range (again should be on T3-only). My sodium levels were good (although again I didn’t fast salt the day before).

My glucose was high (insulin was normal, so I am not insulin resistant) and that needs some investigation and, of course, stricter carb control. My potassium was a little low and may require some slow release potassium supplementation. My sex hormones were still low (except for Testosterone which was okay) and that despite taking 200 mg. of bio-identical progesterone every day for a month prior to the test and taking 4 mg of Estradiol 25 days a month. I take no testosterone and yet my levels are mid-range. So far, not perfect but I am okay.

Then I got a slap to the face, my iron was high, out of range high and my happy, effervescent inner voice suddenly changed to something more like a deep grumbling “WTF” (sorry but honesty prevails)! If I have no signs of inflammation how could I be rusting from the inside out? I quickly got on my discussion group, posted my blood test results for their perusal and asked for advice.

In the end, the best advice was a combination of answers and I had to deduce the best answer from accumulated knowledge. There were a few other things that bothered one of the experienced moderators that I am still mulling over.

What to do, when you did it wrong.

I was at once relieved and then embarrassed by the answers I got from the group. First of all I screwed up when I had the blood test primarily because I wasn’t concerned about my iron levels. This is important information for anyone considering getting a blood test, so listen up. If you are testing iron levels you need to fast iron and Vitamin C for 5 days. If you don’t your results will be skewed.

I would also recommend no B12 injections in that five day period even though no one seems to know how B12 injections will affect your iron results (I asked many people and no one seemed to know). It makes sense to me that B12 would alter your results because it is used to treat pernicious anemia. I foolishly had an injection the day before my blood draw. I also had Liposomal Vitamin C and I had red meat. In other words, my high iron result doesn’t mean a thing, my iron levels may be high but they may just be inaccurate. I couldn’t possibly have done anymore to negate the results than I did. My “WTF?” turned in to “What was I thinking?”

When one thing may mean something else

At that point in my search for what my blood test results meant I got involved in a discussion about high SHBG. I knew that T3-only could raise your SHBG, so last time when my result was out of range high I paid no heed and neither did my medical doctor. This time some new information came to light thanks to Valerie Taylor a researcher and very knowledgeable woman who moderates the Adrenal discussion group and the RT3 group not to mention several other sites. She was having a discussion with a male member of the group about T3 and SHBG.

She was saying that SHBG can be higher (in range) if a person is on T3 only. As your FT3 goes up so does your SHBG and she further added that T3 is bound by SHBG. As SHBG goes up FT3 goes down but Total T3 remains stable. Therefore she concluded that SHBG may actually bind T3. This discussion really caught my attention but by participating I found out something no one had suggested before.

Val suggested that I test my IGF-1. This is a test that would show a possible need for Human Growth Hormone (HGH) or a precursor that would raise my levels of IGF-1 and thus my HGH. Val suspects my levels of IGF-1 might be low due to the high SHBG. HGH affects how we age and if mine is low I want to get right on that and see if I can correct the trend.

Kris Insight

My insight this month is “do as I say not as I did” (only kidding). Before you do any blood testing make sure you know how to do it properly.  For accurate results you must fast red meat, iron supplements, B12 and Vitamin C for 5 days. The day prior to your blood draw fast sodium as well. The morning of your blood draw don’t take your thyroid meds (the only thing I did correctly) until after the blood draw and of course, 12 hour fasting  is necessary if the test calls for it.

As my iron is always and has always been in the upper range (this time it is out of a normal range) I am trying a supplement called IP-6 available at iHerb.com. I am only going to take it for one month as it can affect your liver enzymes. I am taking one capsule once a day even though the suggested amount is two capsules. IP-6 is said to bind the excess iron in the blood and many use it after a cancer diagnosis but also for high hemoglobin results. I hope to retest my iron in a month (following all the correct guidelines) and see how my levels look at that time.

There are several other ways to lower high iron levels, donate blood (they won’t take my blood because I lived in Great Britain in the 1980′s) or get your doctor to prescribe phlebotomy, 8 ounces at a time works better than a pint in one sitting according to Dr. Joe Mercola. Drinking something tannic like tea or wine with your meals will help bind any iron in your meal. Lactoferrin supplements bind to free circulating iron. Even calcium supplements can lower your iron levels if taken with your meal. I have never worried about my iron as the only time I have ever been anemic was when I was donating blood too often, so being concerned about fasting iron has never crossed my mind but it will next time believe me. One scare is enough for me.

As for my high SHBG I have the IGF-1 test in my shopping basket at LEF.org. In the next month or two I am going to test it and see what it has to say about my HGH levels. If my levels are low I am going to try a supplement called IGF Premium as it is sold by LEF.org and I don’t need a prescription. It is pricey at almost $60 but then aging properly really is priceless.

I hope I have helped anybody planning to have a blood test in the near future. I guess if someone learns from my mistakes it takes away the sting of being so wrong especially when I do know better (just put “blood testing” in my search box). I hope all my readers have a great month. Remember I do post my “tweets” on my blog, so check in now and then and see what’s new in health and choosing a healthy lifestyle. Otherwise see you on September 3rd!

Santé,

Kris

Using Up Spoons

I am sitting at my ‘puter this morning looking, when I am not looking at my screen, at a very cloudy morning. Last night was a very entertaining night if you like summer storms and sirens at 3:45. Personally I could do without either when I am trying to sleep and especially when I am sleep deprived and quickly using up my daily spoons.

Have you ever heard of the “Spoon Theory”? It is a term coined by Christine Miserandino on her site called But You Don’t Look Sick. I think it applies to lots of folks who have chronic illness and autoimmune disorders. Hashimoto’s falls under that category in my opinion.

What is the Spoon Theory?

To explain it very simply, and I repeat the word simply, it says for people like us (apparently sick people need only apply the “spoon theory”) there are only so many “spoons” that we can use up in a 24 hour period. Normal healthy folks have unlimited spoons and can handle whatever challenges they face. For “sick” people once you have used up all your spoons you will suddenly find yourself totally spent and on the couch or in bed for days.

So take a handful of spoons and call that your day. For each activity or stressful situation take away a spoon. Once your hand is devoid of spoons you have spent your days worth of spoons and you will either go to bed or find a place to collapse because it is inevitable. I feel like my hands are empty and I can’t even find a spare spoon in the house, anywhere.

How do you use spoons?

I don’t know how others do it but I had a most welcome guest for two and a half weeks. I loved every minute of my time with her BUT I could never get my sleep. We went to bed later than normal and I woke up every morning at the same time, somewhere between 5 and 5:30.

Since she has returned home I still can’t seem to get over my deficit. First it was a visit from my daughter and grandson, then it was a bad heart day and then it was the weather. I love, love, love having my daughter and her adorable son stay overnight but the bad heart day and weather I could do without. This morning after a storm that woke me at 3, too early for even the early riser that I am, I sit here feeling very sleep deprived with that all too familiar fog in my brain and flutter in my heart.

Once the spoons are on the floor….

I don’t really have an answer for any of us except to learn how to never exceed your handful of spoons but that means bypassing some really happy moments in life. I am simply not able to give up the smile days just to reserve spoons, so with that in mind I will tell you what I think happens to me when I use up my spoons. As with most things I share on Krisinsight it is just a theory, I have no proof.

I don’t get sick very often, so I never consider myself a “sick” person. What does seem to happen is my adrenals finally spin out of control and that releases unwanted adrenaline. The adrenaline is what keeps me moving and enjoying life but it is artificial energy and I pay a price for that expenditure, heart palps. The culmination of the two and half weeks of entertaining a visitor and then the overnight with the daughter and grandson and an accidental increase of T3 was an afternoon of a rapidly beating heart and general distress.

I actually felt sick and tired for most of the afternoon after my daughter left with her smiling baby but when it came time to go to bed I was electrified. My breathing was shallow. I jumped at the least bit of stimulation like a dog barking or spousal unit sneezing. When I took my pulse it was 98 my blood pressure was 122/83 which is high for me and I was feeling it. I think I had finally dumped all my spoons on the floor with a CRASH and now it was time to pick up the pieces.

How do spoons end up scattered on the floor?

What I almost did yesterday was lower my dose of T3 but yesterday I took my morning temperature and decided I wasn’t hyper when my temperature at 9 a.m. read 97.6. At 5 p.m. it was a perfect 98.6. I was right I wasn’t hyper but I had spent all my spoons. This morning my blood pressure is 97/65 and my pulse is 75 and that is after a cup of tea and my morning dose of T3.

I was thinking of lowering my T3 because why? Because I inadvertently increased it three days ago. I was divvying up my 56.25 mcg and dropped the extra 6.25 mcg chunk in the 10:00 a.m. slot, so the amount was actually 12 mcg. Those 6.25 mcg pieces are so small you can’t see them if the room is dark and you are presbyopic. I thought the other half had disappeared and would find it on the floor when it clinked in the vacuum cleaner.

The next day when I tipped 10 a.m. in to my hand and clumsily dumped the dose in my mouth my eye caught sight of the “missing” piece. I judiciously put it under my tongue anyway and let the gods take it from there. That day was fine, no side effects of the increased dose. The next day was the day from Hell but not until the afternoon and evening (when my cortisol tends to be high when tested) and that set me up for a rough night. Thankfully I experienced only one night of being shocked awake by adrenaline stimulation, last night it was a legitimate thunder and siren awakening.

Kris Insight

My guess is last week when I was hanging on for dear life to my last spoon the last thing I should have done is increase my T3. It quite literally broke the horse’s back and my heart is always the recipient of such stupidity. I know I need to be taking more T3 and I am gradually building my dose in the direction of 75 mcg but increases when you are feeling worn out and tired are not a good idea. It impacts your adrenals significantly and they react by producing more adrenaline and that causes heart palps and irregularity.

My advice to my readers with adrenal fatigue or just weak adrenals and on T3-only is do not increase your dose when you are spoonless. Even if all the signs are pointing at a need for an increase, low temperatures, low blood pressure and pulse DO NOT INCREASE YOUR DOSE. Nothing will happen if you wait a few days or a week or even a month. Increases should only be done when you are feeling well rested and up for the challenge.

I hope you will tune in August. At that time I will have my blood test results back and will share them with you. Life Extension had their yearly sale and I just can’t pass up the opportunity to see how the old bod is running. I really want to see how my FT3 is and find out how I am doing with inflammation and female hormones. Stay tuned and have a great and rejuvenating July.

Happy Fourth of July,

Kris

The Specter of a Spectracell

Several years ago when I first met Dr. Robert Bruley he told me about a Spectracell blood test, a test that would measure my  amino acids, metabolites, minerals, fatty acids, vitamins, antioxidants and carbohydrate metabolism at a cellular level. I found the idea of getting a cellular report fascinating but told him I had several other things to deal with and I would do it “later”.

What Time is Later?

Later finally rolled around last November. Dr. Bruley provided the essentials from the company that does the Spectracell. All I had to do was take it to my local hospital lab for the blood draw. That cost me about $25 and the lab took care of everything else because they can send it with FedEx when they pick up other blood tests for the day (so ask when this pick up occurs to make sure your test goes out the same day).

On Being the Queen of Supplements

I waited for what seemed like forever for the results and to be honest I still don’t have the entire dossier of results (always, always request a copy of your blood tests) but I do have in my clean little paws the list of my deficiencies. I have to say the results took me aback. Me, the Queen of Supplements finds herself deficient in the very things I have taken as a preventive measure.

The Deficient Ones

Vitamin B12, Selenium, Inositol, Zinc,  CoQ10 and my Spectrox (comprehensive antioxidants) were all listed as deficient. Why is this troublesome? B12 is often noted to be low in people who have dementia and a B12 deficiency actually mimics Alzheimer’s Disease. Selenium deficiencies are rare (the SU says he already knew I was weird) but can contribute to hypothyroidism. Inositol levels must be optimum to assure healthy brain function and even healthy hair growth. Zinc is a common deficiency and most often noted by white spots appearing in the nail bed but it also can lead to excess hair loss. CoQ10 is essential for healthy breasts and heart. As for antioxidants they are our life blood as necessary as the air we breathe.

What to Do? What to Do?

January 31st I talk to Dr. Bruley to see things from a medical doctor’s perspective. In the meantime, I have started taking the two supplements I wasn’t taking, zinc and selenium. I increased my CoQ10 (that is ubiquinol, not the less easily absorbed form of Ubiquinone) to 200 mg twice a day as I was taking 100 mg once or twice a day and had been for, well forever. Inositol (1 teaspoon twice a day) comes in a tasteless powder that I can easily add to water and drink. B12 has me stumped as I already take about 5000 mcg of B12 (Methylcobalamin) every day. I can only guess that I will need an injectable form in order to see improvement.

Let me Guide You

I read a great quote this week that went something like “All you can do is try. If you win, you can lead. If you lose, you can guide.” This week I get to guide you dear reader. The best guidance I can offer is that you call your doctor and order a Spectracell today. If your doctor doesn’t know about it use my link to Ann Louise Gittleman’s site where she sells it very reasonably. Do not look at it as some specter to be feared but as something that offers the very help you need to live life to its fullest.

Santé,

Kris

Color My World

This morning a new blog was born and if you would like to share the moments I have with my grandson you can go to http://nonnaspage.wordpress.com and read my latest entries. That said, before I got the self proclaimed “brilliant” idea to start a blog about my grandson I was thinking about something else altogether. The many colors of a healthy human body.

In dentistry, we look at the color of your gingiva, aka gums, to determine health and perhaps that is where I started looking at colors in the human being. Red gums indicate inflammation and there are even shades of red that we, the dental practitioners, see when we look in your mouth. Cyanotic, red gums are not only inflammed from lack of flossing or general bad oral hygiene the bluish tone of cyanotic red gums indicates an underlying infection called periodontal disease.

Marginal redness, a redness that occurs within the first 3 mm of gingival tissue,  usually indicates the presence of bacteria that are literally pooping acids on to your gingival tissues and causing them to possibly bleed and become puffy. Rosy Pink gingiva is generally healthy tissue indicating lack of bacterial plaque, no inflammation and overall health of the body.  A too light pink might be indicative of anemia and a blood test would be in order.

The only time that darker gingiva is not abnormal is in people with darker pigmented skin. Their gums are pigmented as well and the darkness does not denote dental dis-ease.

Color is just so revealing that I think I have become acutely aware of the various human colors in my world. If a person presents as florid and flushed there is something going on. If female she may be having hot flashes but often it is Rosecea and while the causes are debatable there is something off if you are suffering the redness and irritation of Rosacea. The medical community dismisses it but puts you on antibiotics to “treat” the condition. We all know how good antibiotics are for our gut, (not) and how important gut health is to your overall condition. The other causes of overt redness is heart disease and alcoholism.

The color I am most sensitive to is the greenish tinge that people get when their liver is under stress. Your liver is one big sieve for cleaning out the poisons are bodies deal with daily and when it becomes overwhelmed humans will take on a jaundiced patina. It has happened that patients will come in to our office and I will comment to my Reiki healer Donna, on the jaundiced appearance and voice my concern (to her and not to the patient). She can feel chaos and emotions as they come through the door but color isn’t her thing and she always look at me askance but never seems to doubt what I am seeing.

A few years ago at my sister-in-law’s funeral my brother and I were looking at photos of her taken just a month before her death sentence was pronounced by the Mayo Clinic, terminal pancreatic cancer. In the photo she was smiling and summer tanned but she had that telltale green to her skin and I was the only one who noticed it but now she was dead.

At the time it made me sad. When she first complained of terrible “acid reflux” or asked if it could be an ulcer (around the time of the photo I had been looking at) had her Michigan doctors noticed that green tinge to her skin perhaps they would have delved in to it more thoroughly thus giving her a few more months. Instead they took x-rays of her esophagus to rule out ulcer and put her on Prevacid or some such thing and sent her home.

I am not saying there was a cure I am just saying she might have had more time had someone thought to check her pancreatic health at that stage because as the disease progresses your liver cannot keep up with the poisons in your system thus the coloration of your skin. If there is one thing we know about pancreatic cancer it’s that it is often caught too late, that is why its victims are usually dead within weeks or months of their dreaded diagnosis.

How about the color gray? Hair might turn gray, clouds are gray but skin should not be gray or ashen. People with heart disease often have ashen skin color due to low oxygen circulation. You will see this tone in older folk’s skin and maybe that is normal given their advanced age or health but someone 90 and under should not be ashen unless they just had surgery and are deep in their recovery.

We can’t run up to people and exclaim loudly that they aren’t a healthy color. What you can do is look in the mirror. Are you jaundiced, are the sclera of your eyes yellow? Do you have a gray pallor? Or do you have lots of pinpoint red spots on your face in the area of the bridge of your nose? Look at your gingiva in a bright light do they appear stippled (grapefruit skin appearance), pink and are the papilla (the pink part between your teeth) sharply pointed between teeth? (Note: in the above gingiva link #3 is not unhealthy that is the pigmentation of a person with darker colored skin)

Take care of all the colors that are you and look for my next blog entry on Friday the 23rd. It is a slightly altered holiday schedule but I have a great recipe to share with you for Christmas morning.

Kris

Almost Nirvana and Other Madness

This week’s blog is for my fellow thyroid sufferers and other “spoonies”. A thyroid friend contacted me the other day and asked how I was doing (Hi Olivia) that got me to thinking that I hadn’t reported recently on the status of my health. There isn’t really anything earth shattering to report, nothing fabulous or horrific but I feel after a year on T3 only, and hitting more than a few bumps in the road, things are nearly there, almost nirvana (but superstition keeps me from saying anything more).

I will do a quick rundown of the past year for those who might be unfamiliar. I have had hypothyroidism for 15 years give or take a year. In those years my dose of Syn-crap was constantly inadequate and being increased every time I had my blood drawn. I found a good doctor who would let me try Armour in 2010 but after about a year on Armour I was still having problems with an irregular heartbeat that began three years prior to trying Armour (things started out quite well on Armour but then Forest Pharmaceuticals changed the formulation and the irregularity came back with a vengeance).

I decided to go the “T3 only” route in April 2010 after reading Stop the Thyroid Madness by Janie Bowthorpe and investigating various health forums that she introduced to my world. I had been battling this irregularity for more than three years now and despite what my doctor was telling me (you need to see a cardiologist) I knew  my heart was reacting to something akin to an improper release of adrenaline and that had to be caused by one thing, my improperly treated thyroid. I fit the description of a person with a Reverse T3 issue, basically an inability to get enough T3 to the thyroid receptors because they are blocked by T4. If the receptors are blocked by T4 the T4 is not converted to T3 as it needs to be for the thyroid to use it, so you are always under treated and have a resistance to any thyroid medication that has T4 in it.

Around this time last year, that is July Fourth and approximately 3 months on T3 only, I suddenly started having panic attacks, inability to sleep through the night, a feeling of not being able to swallow, diarrhea and a basal temperature of 98.2 -98.4. My daytime average wasn’t that high and other factors led many with whom I consulted to feel I was suffering intolerance. Adrenal fatigue can lead to intolerance issues, so I tested my adrenal health. The tests showed challenged adrenals, not full blown adrenal fatigue but low normal results especially midday, so I did try Isocort and then hydrocortisone but by and large those made me feel worse. [In retrospect, thanks to many talks with Nanci, I have concluded that my adrenals were weak but should never have been treated with anything containing hydrocortisone but hindsight is 20/20 as they say].

I “cleared” in July and had to drop my dose from 125 mcg to 68.75 mcg. I stayed on the Isocort (taking it like this 3-3-2-1) and gradually increased my dose of Cynomel according to my temperatures. Increasing according to my temperatures meant that I actually increased too much and too fast and eventually developed a bothersome tremor in my hands. It was so pronounced that it made my job (dental hygienist) difficult but the good news is I never had to quit working despite what I would call the rigors of clearing T4 from my receptors.

Last autumn was actually pretty miserable as I diligently climbed my way back to taking  125 mcg of T3. I was constantly taking my temperature three times a day and finding it sub normal over all, sometimes even my basal temperature was below 97.6, so I would up the dose despite the tremor and sleepless nights. Things weren’t great, I didn’t feel “normal”, my temperatures weren’t “normal” and I was getting discouraged.

Christmas was the nadir of my T3 only treatment. I had increased and decreased and now I was taking 118.75 mcg. It was Christmas Day and we were in Bayfield, Wisconsin with family an activity that usually brings me joy. That weekend I hardly slept, my heart was racing constantly. Basically, I was miserable, so I decreased again despite my temperatures  (which still weren’t normal) to 112.50 mcg. Nothing improved, nothing.

To make this now long introduction a little  shorter, after talking online for months with several helpful “thyroid friends” (to whom I am most grateful) this last winter, in February, I decreased dramatically to 50 mcg of T3. Miracles of miracles, almost overnight all of my objectionable symptoms disappeared, my temps didn’t come up but I finally felt human again after months of, gosh I hate to be dramatic, torture. I honestly couldn’t believe what a difference it made. I could go upstairs without feeling breathless, I was sleeping the sleep of normal people, my thinking was clear, my tremor completely disappeared and miracle of miracles my irregular heartbeat was better than it had been in years.

Enter Kris today. I am enjoying summer in Minnesota (yes, it finally has arrived), my new grandson and relatives visiting for the Fourth of July. I am still taking 50 mcg of T3 spread out in four equal doses the last one being as I turn the light out at bedtime. My daily average temperature is sub-par but my basal is within normal limits (97.8) and as long as I feel “human” I am sticking to 50 mcg of T3.

I know my current regimen flies in the face of everything my gurus on the RT3 site recommend but my heart is as regular as it has been in years and the other night I actually found myself sleeping on my left side. That is a significant event only for those of us who have experienced the sound of a pounding irregular heartbeat. When you lay on your left side the sounds of your heartbeat are magnified and, needless to say, unbearable when those beats are irregular. When I awoke sleeping on my left side I knew I had passed a milestone in my treatment.

I have my daily supportive routines like taking at least 1/2 teaspoon of Celtic Sea Salt every day, twice a day. I take one Thorne B #12, Thorne folocal if I take additional B12, Krill oil, antioxidants with 2000 mg of Vitamin C, and Bio-Astaxanthin every day. Other days I might add Vitamin D3, Vitamin A, Zinc Picolinate Plus, Super K, Chlorella and Spirulina.

Three times a week I put a scoop of  Boku Superfood in my morning smoothie which consists of some form of protein powder (SunWarrior or Mercola’s Whey). I am currently not following a gluten free diet but my carb intake is very low during the week and only on the weekend do I eat more carbs. I guess you could call it carb loading for a day or two which is sometimes recommended by exercise coaches.

All in all, I feel my health this summer is far better than last summer. My blood test panel showed improvements but certainly not perfection. My hormones are all low but my SHBG was very high, so that is the explanation for the low levels of my sex hormones. I know I need to compensate with higher doses of Estradiol and Progesterone but have yet to find a doctor who is knowledgeable in treating with the Wiley Protocol. My gall bladder still troubles me but that has been ongoing for years and I now understand that a sluggish thyroid lends itself to a sluggish gall bladder, so I take the necessary steps to keep it as healthy as I can. I have a very dry burning mouth at times and my eyes feel dry, so I suspect Sjogren’s but there is no diagnosis of such a thing and with a diagnosis I am not sure anything would change. I use natural lubricant for my eyes and I have very good oral hygiene.

Does my heartbeat still trouble me? Sometimes I can feel it “skip a beat” but instead of panicking I take it in stride and soon things are normal again. It is never precipitated by exercise, so I am not fearful. My blood pressure is nearly perfect if on the low side. My energy is good but I am careful not to overdo as I feel my adrenal health is still compromised (indicated by my low temperatures of 98 degrees most afternoons that I check). My sleep is the best it has been in years and I often don’t wake at all or if I do it is only once and I go right back to sleep.

My wish for all the “thyroid friends” and “Spoonies” who read this is that you, too, can find your peace. Just know that some day you will turn the corner and find your self again. Even if it is fleeting, for that singular moment just enjoy the experience of  being you again.

Happy Fourth of July,

Kris

Yet Another Quinone

Photo courtesy of Life Extension Magazine

I just love seeing  new and unusual things especially things that I haven’t tried. I follow many blogs on anti-aging like Joe Mercola, Suzanne Somers, David A. Kekich and Life Extension Foundation, so when I saw a short blurb on a supplement called PQQ on Twitter (NewMoonJingle) I had to know more and I thought my readers might feel the same way.

Why? Because it is a powerful anti-aging supplement and let’s face it at 57 I am aging, happy to be doing so, but aging all the same. I know the featured doctor from last week’s blog entry would turn his nose up at such a concept but lucky for me I am not Dan Fairman and I am willing to try a supplement before I condemn it. I would love to rely on scientifically controlled research but I suspect that is nearly impossible to find, so I am the guinea pig and PQQ is on my guinea pig radar.

First of all PQQ stands for Pyrroloquinoline Quinone and it is a powerful antioxidant like CoQ10. It supports  mitochondrial biogenesis-the spontaneous growth of new mitochondria in aging cells. The mitochondria of a cell are the source of cellular energy and basically the energy factory of our bodies. Unfortunately, as we age these factories decay and die leaving us with less energy, less mental acuity and organic failure. To be succinct loss of mitochondria makes our bodies old.

It used to be thought that the only way to do that, to insure the increase of mitochondria versus decreasing numbers was to greatly decrease your calorie intake and/or exhaustive physical activity but now it looks like PQQ coupled with CoQ10 will do it for you, it will literally keep your cells young.

As for the recommended amount of PQQ one should take. Life Extension Foundation suggests 20 mg a day taken in combination with CoQ10. The Life Extension supplement provides 10 mg per capsule, so you would take two. I also found one at Professional Supplement Center that contains 20 mg of PQQ per two capsules but in addition has 100 mg of CoQ10 per two capsules. When taken in this combination PQQ has been “shown to promote memory, attention, and cognition in maturing individuals.”

Now I ask you the reader, what if taking two capsules a day could put a stop to the premature aging of your body? What if it could keep you out of nursing home care late in life? Or what if by keeping mitochondrial numbers high you don’t suffer from organic failure (things like heart attacks, liver failure,etc)? My general feeling is if there is/was something I could take once a day and it enabled me to live life to its fullest until the very minute I die whether I live to be 120, or not, it would be worth it. I might never know what it was that I did that kept me from my father’s heart attack or my mother’s loss of memory but as Mom used to say, “very frankly” I don’t give a damn. My goal is not to live life longer than anyone else my goal is to live life to its fullest until the day I fall off the perch.

So ends my latest supplement news, this guinea pig is off to do more research and add to her guinea pig radar list. Has anyone tried any of the last three supplements I have researched? I did try tobacco, “I did not inhale” (to quote Bill Clinton), but held the smoke in my mouth where the tissue is highly permeable. It did affect my mental state, kind of like any drug might, and it also made me nauseous and ruined an afternoon in the mountains. I came away thinking Continine would be preferable to a ruined day but perhaps even easier and with far less expense PQQ is the one to try.

Here’s to mental acuity and cell regeneration,

Kris

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