Holistic Approaches in HIV Treatment

Essentially, holistic approaches teach – and what mainstream medicine is beginning to embrace in a deeper way – is that we are each complex, dynamic individuals. Even though people may be bonded by sharing HIV+ serostatus, that doesn’t mean the drugs even work the same for everyone. Some people respond better. Some people suffer side effects more acutely.

Indeed, we exist as individuals that have emotional, physical, intellectual and, many feel, spiritual needs. Holistic medicine attempts to address each of these in a very patient-centered way. It’s important to keep this in mind, since part of taking control of your health is making your own decisions based on the best available information and based on your own personal needs. This, of course, is rendered all the more difficult by the fact that mainstream practicing physicians are not trained in these modalities and worse, their time is being drastically limited by the perverse HMO system of care that reduces patient time to a worse-than-bare minimum. (Politics does indeed play an integral–and too often unfortunate – role in our health!)

A variety of specific interventions have been studied among people with HIV. Perhaps the best data concern the use of micronutrients. There is substantial research documenting an early loss of many micronutrients that persists – and often worsens – as HIV disease progresses to AIDS. It is not controversial to recommend that every individual with HIV should take a daily, potent multivitamin, the one caveat being that it may be better to take one without iron if you are having any liver problems.

Let’s take an example of one aspect of HIV disease that underscores two important issues. Evidence published in the spring of 2000 shows that people in the middle stages of HIV disease suffer a serious decline in the body’s sulfur content, primarily being due to depletion of an amino acid (a protein building block) called cysteine. This has led to the idea that the use of N-acetylcysteine (NAC)or whey proteins may be a safe and effective way to offset this loss. Some test tube studies, however, suggest that cysteine may damage neurons. It remains to be seen if people using NAC will suffer any increased risk of neuronal loss.

The first important issue this raises is that there is more to AIDS than just whacking HIV with drugs. The second is the need for accurate and factual information, as underscored above with the SJW example. It is very important that people evaluate the claims made by practitioners and sellers of these products. Information must be balanced, complete, grounded in good quality research, and it must provide a reasonable risk/benefit analysis.

Loose Weight via Heighten Metabolism

1. Eat your breakfast – as opposed to popular believes, eating your breakfast increase your metabolism which would make you loose weight. According to research done – researchers found out that people who eat breakfast generally are thinner as compared to those who don’t.

2. Never drink sugar water – sugar are usually stored in your fat whenever it is not used.

3. Eat spicy food – the spiciness usually would increase your metabolism when you consume your food.

4. Sleep to loose weight – according to scientific studies, people who sleep normal sleeping hours loose more weight than those who sleep less.

5. Drink more water – water would clean toxins from your body which are produced whenever the body burns fat. Body requires water to function properly, and lack of water causes the body system’s to slow down, and produces unneeded stress as a result.

6. Eat smaller meals – rather than eating huge meals, break it down to smaller meals so that you will stay full for a longer period of time.

7. Never skip meals – lesser food would make your metabolism slower. This would starve your body not in your body fat but other elements to release energy.

8. Ditch the stress! Stress increases your food intake and this would make you consume more food rather than less.

Tips for Better Doctor-Patient Relationships

If you feel that you are unable to successfully perform the task of being your own health care and supportive services advocate get in contact with a health service organization and enroll in a case management program. This can have a significant impact on your satisfaction with the medical care you receive and your perception of its success at meeting all your support services needs.

Make sure the doctor will support your decisions as to who is granted visitation rights during hospitalization, and make sure the doctor has read and understood any medical power of attorney you may have prepared.

Check to see if the hospital that the doctor is affiliated with is classified as a high-volume hospital. High-volume hospitals have lower mortality rates for patients.

Even if you have to pay for a visit it can be very important to interview the doctor and make some determination as to if you feel you can communicate with and be understood by the doctor in question. Uncertainty about what your doctor means when he describes your prognosis is common in the doctor patient relationship and is something you need to work with your doctor to avoid.

If you are using any alternative or complementary medical therapies it is important to discuss them with your doctor and make sure they are at least informed if not in agreement with your choices, most physicians will not take the lead in bringing these matters up.

In summation it has been found that patients feel that their relationship with their doctor plays an important role in their treatment. They stress that you must feel you are on an equal basis with your doctor and that both you and the doctor play an active and equal role in the formulation of your treatment plan.

Impact of Hormone Therapy on Postmenopausal Women

There are two straightforward ways to respond to the publications from the Women’s Health Initiative (WHI). One is to accept the results as definitive and unequivocal and the other is to continue to counsel women unencumbered by the WHI. Obviously, neither approach is acceptable. The WHI has had and will continue to have an impact on both clinicians and patients, but at the same time, we are coming to understand the limitations and applicability of the WHI data. Rather than resolving controversies and simplifying the practice of hormone therapy, the WHI has made it more difficult. It will be months, if not years, to distill the real meaning of the WHI and to reach a practical, clinical consensus.

Currently, there is at least one area with little controversy, and that is the beneficial impact of hormone therapy on postmenopausal quality of life, and this is despite the WHI publication reporting little beneficial effect of estrogen-progestin therapy on postmenopausal quality of life. In my view, the reported results of the WHI on quality of life do not apply to the majority of women for whom we prescribe hormone therapy. Remember that the participants in the WHI had an average age of 63 years and were 18 years distant from their menopause. The WHI investigators like to point out that the group of women in their early 50s in the WHI presented similar findings.

Women with significant menopausal symptoms were excluded from the study to avoid an exceedingly high dropout rate in the placebo group. About 12.5% of the participants reported vasomotor symptoms upon entry, but were willing to be assigned to placebo, and therefore, their symptoms were unlikely to have had a major disturbing effect. This exclusion means that only a small number of women in the WHI were close to their age of menopause; the analysis of women age 50 to 54 years was based on about 50 women in the treated group and 225 in the placebo group. The WHI was a study of older women who were relatively homogenous with a relatively good quality of life upon entry. This is a good example of why it is appropriate to question whether the WHI conclusions can be applied to all postmenopausal women.

This issue of the newsletter provides an up-to-date assessment of the effect of hormone therapy on quality of life. This information is the foundation upon which the clinicianpatient dialogue can be based, with the ultimate goal of helping the individual patient to make the appropriate decision to meet her needs.