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Insider Arthritis Tips Newsletter January 2012
January 15, 2012

""If you want to leave your footprints on the sands of time, be sure you're wearing work shoes." -- Author Unknown

Statins Stop flu?

Diane Sawyer reporting for ABC news Stated a study from the Journal of Infectious Diseases showed statins "are...a kind of secret weapon against a lethal case of the flu, cutting t he risk of death nearly in half." The researchers "looked at 3,000 people who were hospitalized with the flu in 2007 and 2008; 150 of those people died...and found, people who were already taking a statin were 40% less likely to die." According to ABC, "one of the reasons people die from the flu is, your body has this massive inflammatory response. So, by reducing inflammation, they may save lives."

Comment: The flu can be even more of a problem in some people with arthritis since they are on immunosuppressive therapies.

Severe pain after knee replacement=poor prognosis

M Alexander Otto writing in Rheumatology News reported on a study from Harvard Medical School. Researchers determined that patients who reported severe pain 3months after total knee replacement have worse pain and function outcomes at 1 and 2 years and are less satisfied with their outcome. Risk factors included depression, catastrophizing behavior, and severe pain before surgery.

Comment: Be careful about your self talk!

Gout footwear worsens disease

A study from New Zealand reported by Mary Ann Moon in Rheumatology News demonstrated that 42 % of gout patient shoes lacked support, 96% had inadequate cushioning, 74% had inadequate heel stiffness, 50% had inadequate midfoot stability, and most showed excessive wear. Keith Rome, lead author, suggested that footwear be considered in the management plan of patients with gout.

Comment: Yes… feet!

Osteoarthritis risk increased in young soldiers

Naseem Miller writing in Rheumatology News reported on a 10 year databank study that showed that active duty military members 40 years or older were more than twice as likely to be diagnosed with osteoarthritis as their peers.

Comment: The presence of traumatic knee injuries along with the rigors of activity were implicated by the study authors.

Arthritis Patients Don’t Exercise

Robert Preidt writing in Healthday reported that data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that while "the number of American adults who did no physical activity in their leisure time decreased from 31 percent in 1989 to 25 percent in 2008," but "further gains may be difficult to achieve because certain subgroups of people are highly unlikely to exercise, such as those with arthritis." The report noted that "53 percent fewer adults with arthritis exercise than adults who don't have arthritis. A state-by-state analysis showed that adults with arthritis accounted for 25 to 47 percent of all adults who did no physical activity in their leisure time."

Comment: Exactly the opposite from what should be happening. It’s critical that patients with arthritis exercise!

Osteoporosis Drugs Prolong Life Of Joint Replacements

Salyn Boyles writing in WebMD, reported a UK study published in the BMJ "suggesting that commonly prescribed osteoporosis drugs may extend the life of replacement joints, but researchers say it is not yet clear which patients will benefit most from the treatment. ... Bisphosphonate users who took the medication regularly for at least six months before hip or knee joint replacement surgeries were half as likely as non-users to need repeat surgeries after five years. Furthermore, use of the drugs was associated with an almost twofold increase in implant survival time."

Comment: Good news!

Titanium Debris Causes Inflammation Around Artificial Joints

Mary Elizabeth Dallas writing in Healthday reported on a study published in the Journal of Immunology. She stated, "Patients who receive artificial joints made with titanium may develop painful inflammation that could destroy bone and loosen the new joint. Contrary to older studies that posited that bacteria caused the inflammation, researchers...reported that tiny titanium particles that flake off the artificial joints through normal wear and tear may be the cause of the inflammation." The study authors noted that the flakes trigger a Th2 response, "commonly associated with allergic responses and parasitic worm infections, which "resulted in the generation of immune cells called 'alternatively activated macrophages' in the mice."

Comment: Whew… the science is complicated but the bottom line is titanium implants aren’t good.

New Hip Implants No Better Than Older Ones

Steven Reinberg writing in Healthday described the findings of a new study Published in the British Medical Journal, the upshot of which is that no matter the material, all types of hip replacement devices appear to work the same. Specifically, the newer, metal-on-metal implants seem to be no more effective than older implants and may sometimes even be more problematic, the researchers said. "Metal-on-metal and ceramic-on- ceramic hip implants might not be associated with any advantage, compared with traditional bearings such as metal-on-polyethylene or ceramic-on-polyethylene," said lead researcher Dr. Art Sedrakyan, director of the Patient-Centered Comparative Effectiveness Program at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York City.

Comment: More negative stuff about replacement parts.

"Health Partners" Help Adopt Healthy Habits

Maureen Salamon writing in Healthday reported, "Participants paired with others of similar body mass, age, fitness level and diet preferences were three times as likely to adopt healthy behaviors as those matched randomly in an Internet-based study" published in the journal Science. "the most effective social environment for increasing the willingness of obese people to adopt a behavior is one where they interact with others with similar health characteristics."

Comment: Friends helping friends…

Antioxidant rich foods Reduces Stroke Risk In Women

Robert Preidt writing in Healthday reported, "Diets rich in antioxidants from fruits, vegetables and whole grains appear to lower a woman's odds for a stroke, even if she has a prior history of heart disease," according to a study published in the journal Stroke.

Comment: Foods may reverse a number of problems!

Sitting Causes Body To Make More Fat
George Stephanopoulos reporting for ABC news commented on a recent study saying, "We all know about the benefits of exercise and an active lifestyle but now researchers have found that even all that exercise might not be good enough if you don't change the way you work." Added Dr. Jim Levine of the Mayo Clinic, “The study found obese people sit on average two and a half hours more each day than thinner people."

Comment: The story concludes: "Take some pressure off your own bottom line and stand up."

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Joint Food

Joint Food is the purest preparation of glucosamine and chondroitin available. Studies show that people who take pure forms of glucosamine and chondroitin experience pain relief and improvement in joint function.

Supplements like Joint Food have been used to treat arthritis in horses and dogs for many years. In Europe, people have used glucosamine and chondroitin to treat arthritis since the 1980’s. Joint Food is based on the German formula and is available in Europe today—only by prescription. The effectiveness of glucosamine and chondroitin products, used as a treatment for osteoarthritis, is proven. You may need to take the supplements for at least two months before you see any results.

Joint Food offers pain relief, improvement in joint function and even slows down the progression of the disease!

And, there are no side effects… no drug interactions… and may allow you to reduce your dose of NSAIDs.

Studies show that glucosamine supplements have no serious side effects, causing only mild indigestion or headaches, which can usually be remedied by taking the supplement with food. Traditionally, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) have been prescribed to treat the symptoms of osteoarthritis. These potent drugs may mask symptoms, causing stomach upset, ulcer formation, and damage to the liver, kidneys, and gastrointestinal tract.

Glucosamine supplements do not interfere with any NSAIDs, aspirin, Tylenol, or other anti-inflammatory or analgesic medicines and continued use of the supplements will not lead to progressive joint destruction, GI upset or bleeding, or strain on the liver and kidneys.

You too can experience improved joint function and pain relief by taking Joint Food.

Save $20

Purchase a two month supply for $71.

Wei’s World January 2012

So how well do you know your doctor? And, more importantly, how well does your doctor know you?

Let me tell you a story…

My wife and I get a lot of mail, junk and otherwise. One piece of mail that always gets opened is the EOB- explanation of benefits- form that explains our coverage and reimbursement. I’m sure you receive a similar form.

As we all know, medical insurance premiums go up every year. So our practice has had to make some benefit changes. What’s the best health insurance we can afford to provide for our employees? For the last few years, the practice has had insurance through a well-known HMO/PPO company. The HMO/PPO allows us to see doctors either in the PPO or outside doctors of our choosing. We’ve mostly opted for non-participating doctors since they are the better doctors. My wife and I consider our health to be more important than our health insurance.

So you can imagine how surprised we were when we received what looked like a personal letter from the HMO to one of our sons. It turned out to be a letter from a primary care HMO physician who was leaving the company.

It read…

“Dear Mr Wei,

While I have enjoyed being your personal physician and have been privileged to be part of ________, I am going to be leaving _______ on January 10, 2012.

We are recruiting a new physician to replace me; this physician will join our practice shortly…”

And the letter goes on to talk about who to call, etc. Now what is interesting is that our son never saw this doctor. Not once!

Hey… I can understand form letters for many things. But a form letter from a doctor who has never seen a patient, to a patient whom he has never seen?

He goes on to mention how he has been “privileged to be his personal physician.” Well maybe I get it… He never had to see him. No midnight calls. No unpaid balances for services rendered. Heck… not even the expense of making up a chart. A perfect patient!

Wow… I think that takes the cake.

I don’t know about you, but I like to see doctors who have really laid eyes on me. And I like to get correspondence from doctors who actually view me as more than a number or a “case.” By the same token, I don’t like being referred to as a “health care provider.”

I’m a doctor. A dyed-in-the-wool physician. And I have the battle scars to prove it. As you all know, we are the “anti-insurance company” practice. And after getting this letter, I think we’ll stay that way.

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