WelcomeJoan Shaver, Dean UA College of Nursing
RN Patient Advocates in participation with The College of Nursing, University of Arizona invite you to join the RNPA Learning Intensive.
This is the only course of study offered exclusively to experienced, clinical RNs to become Independent RN Patient Advocates (iRNPAs). This program has been developed over 11 years by Karen Mercereau, RN, iRNPA, a nationally recognized visionary leader in healthcare”. ~ Joan L. Shaver, PhD, RN, FAAN
- A Life-Saving Team
Phil is a 63-year-old CPA who had devastating black ulcerations devouring both thighs, poorly controlled diabetes and diabetic ulcers, suffering from poor nutrition and very poor pain control. His physicians were arguing about the diagnosis and Phil’s legs continued to deteriorate, actually disappearing – painfully. More
- Leading Edge Medicine
Eva is a 37 year old high school biology teacher, diagnosed with fibromyalgia and crippled by headaches that were not responding to therapy, covered with cysts, suffering with systemic yeast infections and multiple allergies, suffering from poor nutrition with significant GI problems and obesity. More
Do You Need A Health Detective
... Call your RN Patient Advocate!
Founded in 2002, RN Patient Advocates provides:
- The only Learning Intensive preparing qualified RNs to become Independent RN Patient Advocates (iRNPAs). This nationally recognized Learning Intensive is offered in association with the University of Arizona, College of Nursing.
- The National Network of RN Patient Advocates: Mentoring, Continuing Education, Collaborative Practice, Shared Governance
- Our Mission is to empower people in their health care through Advocacy, Education and Guidance through the health care system.
Always an Advocate…
I was always the family patient advocate. That the system was broken became more and more obvious over the years as I worked on their behalf. I was a patient advocate in the clinical arena as well, though that too was becoming increasingly difficult. By 2002,
News You Can Use
Homocysteine is a naturally occurring amino acid (protein) in the blood that requires vitamin B12, folic acid, and other vitamins to be converted to another essential amino acid – methionine, which is protective of your heart. The normal role of homocysteine in the body is to control growth and support bone and tissue formation. When homocysteine levels rise, they quickly begin to damage the cells and tissues of arteries and stimulate arteriosclerotic plaque growth (hardening of the arteries).
Deficiencies in folic acid (folate), vitamin B6, vitamin B12, or betaine may lead to hyperhomocysteinemia, a medical condition characterized by high levels of homocysteine in the blood. Cigarette smoking, caffeine and alcoholism can also raise homocysteine levels.
What health effects does high homocysteine have? This can be one of the cause agents of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) and may also increase the tendency to create blood clots. Atherosclerosis raises the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Dr. Andrew Weil explains also that “some evidence suggests that people with high homocysteine levels have twice the normal risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.”
In a recent study, researchers from the University of Western Australia and Royal Perth Hospital recruited 358 people over the age of 50 to determine if homocysteine levels may be associated with cognitive impairment in older adults with depressive symptoms.
The researchers found that people who had major depression and high homocysteine levels performed significantly worse on the cognitive tests. Participants who had high homocysteine levels without major depression had lower scores than those with normal homocysteine levels. Furthermore, those with high homocysteine levels were almost twice more likely to show cognitive decline on several tests.
|What foods raise homocysteine levels? A diet high in animal protein will raise homocysteine levels while plant protein foods – peas, beans and nuts – can help to lower them.
What food lower homocysteine levels? Interestingly, foods that are high in folate (folic acid) can help to lower homocysteine levels. Consider adding: chickpeas, spinach, egg yolk, parsley, pumpkin seeds, almonds, broccoli, walnuts, whole egg, avocado, oranges.
Foods rich in Vitamin B12 can also be effective: mackerel, salmon, trout, egg yolk, lamb, whole egg, beef, tuna, cottage cheese, chicken and cow's milk.
Are any supplements helpful? Considering the fact that folic acid (folate) is one of the most common vitamin deficiencies in the Western world, adding that would be beneficial – typically in the form of folate rather than folic acid. Vitamins B6 and B12 will also assist in lowering high homocysteine.
Testing? If you are at risk for heart attacks or strokes, or think you may be, ask your physician. This is a simple blood test that most insurance plans cover.
So, if chemicals in our food, water, cleaning products, air and the surrounding environment can make us fat, what foods can help flush these out of our bodies (detox)?
We hear about detoxification in magazine articles and on TV. What is detoxification? Simply stated, it is the removal of harmful substances from our bodies. As noted in the last article, certain toxins (chemicals) can have far reaching health effects, like heart disease, diabetes and weight gain.
Many companies are trying to sell you detox programs. Buyer beware! A true medical detox program should be overseen by a health care professional knowledgeable in the full spectrum of the internal chemistry involved in detoxification: naturopathic physicians and MD/DOs who have received additional education in detoxification. A rigorous detox program involves your GI tract, your kidneys, your liver, your lungs, and your skin.
So, what to do? Well, to begin a simple program on your own, consider the following list of foods that can help to detoxify your body:
1. Fruits: high in antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. Refer to the complimentary guide to buying organic fruits and vegetables available at www.patientadvocates.com. Buying certain fruits in the organic section really matters!
2. Green Foods: organic spinach, alfalfa, chard, arugula and other leafy green veggies like kale, wheat grass and romaine. These are high in vitamins and minerals and also chlorophyll. According to the National Institutes of Health, chlorophyll has anti-carcinogenic properties. Spirulina and chlorella (broken cell variety) are also very high in chlorophyll.
3. Lemons, Oranges, and Limes: Lemons support the liver in its cleansing process (try a glass of water with lemon in the morning). Oranges and grapefruits, meanwhile, are rich in the antioxidants known as flavonoids, which expel damaging free-radicals from your system and protect against cell damage and disease.
The vitamin C found in these fruits is one of the best detox vitamins around, as it transforms toxins into digestible material. Eat vitamin C foods often to help get more of these benefits.
The best detox value is in eating the whole fresh fruit – not just the juice.
4. Garlic Garlic helps to stimulate the liver to produce enzymes (chemicals that aid in detox) that help to filter toxins from the digestive system. If you do not want to eat garlic itself, you might consider garlic pills!
5. Broccoli Sprouts are very high in antioxidants and stimulate the detoxification enzymes in the digestive tract. Of course, broccoli itself is very helpful as well.
6. Green Tea is full of antioxidants and helps to flush toxins from your system. It also has catechins which stimulate the detox function of your liver.
Packed full of antioxidants, green tea washes toxins from the system via its liquid content, but also contains a special type of antioxidant called catechins, which are known to increase liver function. Catechins can also reduce the risk of chronic illness such as heart disease and also aid in weight loss and reducing triglycerides!
7. Mung Beans, long a staple of Ayurvedic medicine, absorbs toxic residue from the walls of your intestines.
8. Raw Vegetables are a leading tool in detoxifying your body: consider onions, carrots, artichokes, asparagus, broccoli, cabbage, kale, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, garlic, beet, turmeric, and oregano. The combination of these foods will help your liver purge toxins during the cleansing process.
Asparagus is high in fiber which helps to flush toxins out of the intestine. It is also helpful in weight loss and is high in glutathione, one of your body’s anti-aging tools.
9. Seeds and NutsIncorporate more of the easily digestible seeds and nuts into your diet. Flax seed, pumpkin seeds, almonds, walnuts, hemp seeds, sesame seeds, chia seeds, Siberian cedar nuts, and sunflower seeds are all excellent options. Eat the nuts, not the butter. Oh, yes, coconuts!
10. Omega-3 Oils Use hemp, avocado, extra virgin olive, coconut or flax seed oil to help lubricate the intestinal walls, allowing the toxins to be absorbed by the oil, and eliminated by the body.
Incorporating these foods into your diet will help you not only to flush out the toxins – harmful chemicals – but will improve your overall health and well-being!
Want to know more?
Multiple scientific studies published in leading medical and scientific journals highlight the link between chemicals and weight gain, diabetes and heart disease.
Let’s look at the weight issue: Mark Hyman, MD, a leading researcher and clinician, explains that “environmental toxins make you fat and cause diabetes. Inside the body, these chemicals monkey with our ability to balance blood sugar and metabolize cholesterol.
Over time, the changes (from these chemicals) can lead to insulin resistance (see article, July 30, at www.patientadvocates.com). This discovery should be headline news but no one is talking about it. Why? Because there are no drugs to treat it. In the quest to conquer the two biggest epidemics of our time—diabetes and obesity—we’ve got to turn our attention to the heavy burden environmental toxins put on our bodies.”
What are these toxins anyway? Our environment is steeped in chemicals that our bodies were not designed to process. Toxins such as Bisphenol A (BPA), flame retardants, household chemicals, air pollution, body products laced with chemicals, heavy metals such as lead and mercury, arsenic, PCBs…the list is 80,000+ long. In March, 2013, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published the latest report - Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals (scroll to page 350 for the list) – stating that nearly every person they tested was storing hundreds of harmful chemicals. Research shows that even newborns have 287 chemicals in their blood when they are born, 217 of which are harmful to the nervous system.
What can we do to get these chemicals out of our bodies?
Our bodies are equiped to get rid of harmful materials in 4 main ways: pee, poop, perspiration, and breath (yes, breath!).
Pee: the kidneys are responsible for flushing waste from the blood. Help this by drinking plenty of clean water (is your tap water safe?).
Poop: Dr. Hyman explains “One or two well formed bowel movements every day is one of the best ways to give toxins a one-way ticket out of your body.” This may sound like a lot; you may need to increase your fiber intake to increase the effectiveness of this function.
Perspiration: Did you know that your skin is your largest organ of excretion? Work up a sweat 3 times a week, drinking plenty of water. Don’t cover up your skin with a lot of creams and lotions full of chemicals (for a list of clean lotions go to the Environmental Working Group list here). If possible, sit in a sauna!
Breath: Dr. Hyman “The lungs are the unsung heroes of the body’s detox squad. With each breath, they bring in fresh oxygen and help transport it throughout the body. Unfortunately, the air we breathe is not always clean. Every day the lungs filter out carcinogens in gas fumes, allergens from pets and plants, and spores of mold. Restricted or shallow breathing can diminish the power of the lungs by preventing oxygen from reaching all of your tissues. Breathing deeply and fully will oxygenate your brain, body, and spirit, transforming your health in the process. Deep breaths, Everyone!
The next article will present ideas on how to help your body more effectively flush out these harmful chemicals.
Coenzyme Q10! Have you heard of this wonderful antioxidant that our bodies produce? We produce less as we age and so need to understand what role this plays in our health.
Tori Hudson, ND, a nationally acclaimed teacher and clinician, explains “Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) is one of those nutrients that just keeps surprising you- with it’s diversity, it’s benefits, safety, and research. It is widely found in nature where it is synthesized in humans, animals, plants and microbes. An essential component of the mitochondria(the energy producing unit of each cell of our body), CoQ10 is involved in the manufacture of ATP, which is similar to the energy a spark plug provides in a car engine. The cells of our body need that initial spark provided by CoQ10, in order to function.”
It improves energy production in every cell of our bodies and is one of our most effective antioxidants. Without sufficient ATP production in our cells, we are prone to illness, increasing fatigue and more rapid aging.
*As our bodies age, we produce less CoQ10 and we become more susceptible to chronic illness.
What conditions can be helped with CoQ10?
- Cardiac conditions: the breadth and depth of the role of CoQ10 on cardiac disorders is impressive – improving several markers of cardiac output (directly related to cardiac function and wellness). Cardiomyopathy (degeneration of the heart muscle) responds well to CoQ10 as does congestive heart failure (CHF). In fact, in the largest study, of 2,664 patients with CHF, 78 percent of the patients receiving a daily dose of 50 mg to 150 mg per day, had 63 percent or more improvements in their clinical signs and symptoms after 3 months. It also can help lower blood pressure and reduce the incidence of angina.
- Diabetes: CoQ10 can increase insulin production, improve glucose utilization and reduce fasting blood sugar levels
- Immune system dysfunction: Dr. Hudson explains “Chronic infections, chronic diseases reflecting impaired immunity such as heart disease, thyroiditis, cancers and allergies reflect tissues and cells with altered immune function which are highly energy-dependent.” CoQ10 increases energy production which directly improves the immune function
- Cancer: free radical formation is implicated in the development of cancer. As a leading antioxidant, CoQ10 directly reduces free radical formation. Also, CoQ10 can be very helpful in recovering from some chemo drug treatments
- Gum disease: CoQ10 improves periodontal health
- Brain health: research is increasingly demonstrating the critical role of CoQ10 in healthy brain functioning, particularly as we age
What can alter CoQ10 production besides aging? The statin class of cholesterol lowering drugs all reduce production of CoQ10. Supplementing with CoQ10 could be very helpful; ask your health care provider or look it up! And here . . .
Do you need CoQ10?
And here . . . Alleviating congestive heart failure with CoQ10
Coconuts: Eat them for your health! Coconuts can fight bacteria, help us lose weight, raise HDL and boost brain function and more…
Coconut oil contains a unique combination of fatty acids with powerful medicinal properties; it is one of the “good fats”. Let’s look more closely at what coconuts/coconut oil can do to improve our health:
High in medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs) which are really easy to absorb and turn into energy – excellent for people with problems absorbing nutrition; they also can reduce your appetite
- Delicious and nutritious: fiber, vitamins, minerals, and amino acids. It is high in calcium, potassium, and magnesium, as well electrolytes – also improves the body’s ability to absorb calcium and magnesium
- These MCFAs increase 24 hour energy expenditure by as much as 5%, potentially leading to significant weight loss over the long term
- Helps to reduce abdominal fat – the most dangerous kind of body fat
- Excellent for your immune system: the fatty acids and breakdown products in coconut oil can kill harmful pathogens such as Staph aureus and yeast (candida albicans), viruses and fungi
- Dramatically reduces seizures in epileptic children – the fatty acids create ketones
- These ketones also create immediate improvement in early Alzheimer’s: supplying energy for the brain cells and relieving symptoms
In short: eat your coconuts! Use organic coconut oil to cook!