High-tech Care with Old-Fashioned Values

Sleep Apnea

I'm doing another medical type entry today. I was listening to a radio program and the diagnosis sleep apnea was being discussed. Not to belittle the suffering folks have with other conditions which are bursting out all over (restless legs and the like) but sleep apnea does deserve attention. There was a time when it was funny or quaint to talk about the snoring of a spouse or friend. We would tease and talk but no one paid much attention.

Emerging research has linked obstructive sleep apnea (stopping breathing in the night due to obstruction of the airway, generally by a relaxed tongue) to high blood pressure, congestive heart failure, glucose intolerance, stroke and sudden death. These are serious effects. Generally I see a man or woman who has AM headaches, obesity, sugar issues and elevated blood pressure where many meds have been tried but no assessment for sleep apnea has occurred. The overall workup is noninvasive and relatively inexpensive compared to the outcomes that may occur if left untreated. The treatments are not perfect but newer treatments are emerging. The main issue is our lack of detection.

If you or a loved one snores loudly, stops breathing while snoring or has other disruptive sleep I would strongly suggested talking with your doctor to have it evaluated before a stroke or heart attack occurs and it is too late.

Take your medicine. Drink the water.

Don't know if you followed the story recently about major cities testing municipal water supplies and, surprise, traces of medication were found. Several years ago I read a book about the complex interactions in nature especially things we feel are more static (like plants and water). The author went through several reports about the high level of pharmaceutical products being found in our ground water.

Now you may think that a little penicillin in the water is no big deal. But would you think the same about hormones, antidepressants, narcotics? I know it sounds a bit bizarre but the major thing found at that time was estrogen!. Remember that our food supply (animals) are being fed large amounts of hormones, hormone laced foods and antibiotics. People also consume increasing amounts of drugs and .... well they end up somewhere if that are not degraded by our bodies. In the old days penicillin was expensive and the urine of patients who received it was collected and the penicillin was removed and reused.

The concern here is not just drug interactions or allergies that may develop. I am worried about low levels of so many centrally acting drugs (drugs that work in the brain). Could our epidemic of depression, ADHD and the like be made worse by our water supply? It is indeed frightening. And those of you who use bottled water are not off the hook. As I understand it there are no requirements to remove or test for drugs in the process of bottling water so we just do not know. It all comes back to an old rant of careful in the use of medications.

What a week!

Thanks for those of you that have called or written comments about this blog. I am hoping to get a new PC for home that will allow me to be more creative with this site. I really would like to develop a place for social networking about health and creativity. Stay tuned.

This week was, in a word, disorienting. With the new management came a flurry of activities. By Monday afternoon curtains were ordered, lab reorganized and workflow adjusted. Our new nurse and clinic "boss" both had to be trained on the electronic record, and phones, and Dr. Schindler quirks...this was no small feat. I must say they dealt with it all very well. I became a bit irritable at times. It is funny how we talk about wanting change in our lives but really desire constancy. The change was unnerving to me during the week but we'll get through.

By midweek we had a bit much estrogen in the building, which is already quite small, and the cleaning and straightening caused me to be chagrined realizing how stuck in a rut I could be. I can promise you that the basic feel of the clinic (being small and personal) will not change but the decor and trimmings will reflect Lakeway's commitment to the White Pine community. I have been impressed with their speed and professional approach. I only hope I can keep up.

Please keep me informed as to problem you encounter, things you would like to see changed or added AND good things you want kept or see happening. We would not be here if not for the community of patients that we are building. Use this site to email me your comments and keep in touch.

Stay tuned!