Let’s talk about mental health: Bipolar disorder

October recently brought us World Mental Health Day. So let's look at a commonly misunderstood mental disorder -- bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder is characterized by prolonged "highs" and "lows" in mood. During "highs," or manic states, people with bipolar disorder might be talking a mile a minute and have many ideas. They may seem to be tripping over their own words, sleep very little and spend large amounts of money. They may have high confidence and experience interpersonal problems.

Toddlers with Type 2 diabetes?

Did you know that even 3-year-olds can get Type 2 diabetes? Chronic diseases aren’t just for adults anymore. For many reasons, pediatricians are now having to handle Type 2 diabetes, a condition that most doctors considered to be an “after-40” type of disease. So what’s contributing to the surge in diabetes in children?

Too much of a good thing? Make sure you’re not overdosing with vitamin D

There are new studies every week, it seems, linking low vitamin D levels with various illnesses and diseases. And with deficiency being so widespread, it’s no wonder vitamin D sales are booming. But even with vitamin D, you can still have “too much of a good thing” and end up overdosing from taking too many supplements. Interestingly, you don’t have to worry about vitamin D overdose from sunshine exposure, because your skin stops making it from sunlight when there is enough. So, how much is too much vitamin D?

Loading up on excess calcium isn’t doing much to prevent bone fractures, studies show

Did your mom tell you to drink a glass of milk with every meal? Seems calcium has gotten a big push, touted as the best way to grow strong bones and prevent bone fractures. And while calcium is an important nutrient, if you’re loading up on supplements and calcium-rich foods for your bones as an adult, you may not be reaping as many benefits as you think. So we dug a little further to learn more.

Are your supplements a health benefit or health risk?

If you’re interested in vitamins and supplements, by now, you’ve probably seen the shocking headlines that thousands of people end up in emergency rooms each year due to dietary supplements. Many news media organizations seized this study as a reason to declare that supplements were dangerous.

Bad food, bad brain?

When you think about your diet, you probably think about what it does to your figure. You blame those quick French fry stops after work for your love handles, or you thank that kale and quinoa salad for the way you look in your little black dress. But while it’s true that what you eat affects your appearance, there’s something else you should know. What you eat may also affect your brain!

Taking Synthroid? Be proactive for your thyroid!

Many patients with hypothyroidism are given a prescription drug called levothyroxine sodium (one of the branded versions is called Synthroid), a synthetic hormone replacement for the hormone normally produced by your thyroid (T4) to regulate the body’s energy and metabolism. According to research firm IMS, Synthroid is the most prescribed drug in America, at 21.6 million prescriptions between April 2014 through March 2015.

Why mercury is sinister

What is mercury? Other than being a silver liquid in dangerous old thermometers, mercury is a toxic metal occurring naturally in the earth. You may have heard phrases like “mercury toxicity,” making you wonder how mercury can hurt us. So, let’s find out what mercury does in our bodies.

Be proactive: Know which nutrients are depleted by your prescription drug

Nutrients – you can’t function without them! Critical nutrients – such as vitamins, minerals, proteins, fats, carbs and water – are essential for metabolism, energy and repair. They are the fuel that keeps your body functioning. As these nutrients are used up by the body’s metabolic activities, they need to be replaced – or you may end up with problems. But did you know that common medications may deplete the body of vital nutrients? It is very important that you be proactive and make sure you understand which nutrients are being depleted by the medications you take.

Be an informed patient: Statin among top-prescribed drugs

In 2014, the No. 1 most prescribed drug in America was branded rosuvastatin, or Crestor. IMS Health conducted a survey of the most commonly prescribed branded drugs, and this cholesterol-lowering pill came out on top with over 22 million prescriptions. FDA-approved in 2003, Crestor has been marketed as the most potent statin. Statin drugs stop an enzyme from making cholesterol in the body, sending LDL levels downward and making cardiologists and internists happy. But it’s not enough to just change a blood test result.

Be proactive about overuse and misuse of antibiotics in nursing homes

Approximately 4.1 million Americans are admitted to or reside in nursing homes and long-term care facilities each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Although there are many health challenges these residents face, one of them is risk for infections, due to their age and disability. Unfortunately, the overuse and sometimes inappropriate use of antibiotics to treat suspected infections has led to antibiotic resistance, making the drugs less effective and complicating treatment.

Is vitamin D deficiency to blame for your slipping memory?

Are you still as mentally sharp as you used to be? Do you feel like you are more forgetful? Are you less decisive? If so, you may be experiencing what is called mild cognitive decline. Losing your wallet and finding it in the fridge may be funny the first time, but after a while, not so much. You rely on the people around you to remind you of something obvious. You miss appointments. Your work performance and personal relationships take a hit. You chalk it all up to stress and lament that a tropical vacation would resolve all your troubles.

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