I have been in healthcare for longer than I care to admit. During my time as a regisered nurse and nurse practitioner I have come to see the limits of traditional medicine. I can not recall the number of times that I have told patients, “Once the damage is done, there is nothing we can do to fix it”. Managing symptoms seems to be the best we can do through traditional medical practices. In many instances we can stablize patients  and improve their quality of life but then they cycle through intermittent exacerbations of their chronic conditions.

 

Personally, I have seen the devastating effects of chronic liver disease and cancer in my close friends and family members. I myself have experienced the struggle of chronic gut issues, prediabetes, fatty liver disease, chronic kidney disease, and cancer.  While trying to help myself I found traditional medical practices and treatments ineffective and lacking answers. I can not tell you how many times I left a doctor’s office disappointed. It was not until I began to study functional medicine that my conditions and symptoms began to make sense. I began to understand how they were related, the root causes, and how they compounded one another. I began to understand the impact of lifestyle choices and through implementing changes have been able to reverse my fatty liver, improve my kidney disease, stablize my prediabetes, and resolve my gut issues.

 

Traditional allopathic medicine has its place and is very valuable but I have come to release that functional medicine does as well. It is my desire to bridge the two in my practice to help improve my health and the health of those who choose to work with me.

 

I am sure this is not a question anyone commonly thinks of and you might even think I am a bit crazy for posing the question. They do however have one important thing in common. They both contain an important phytochemical known as Quercetin. Quercetin is the most researched bioflavonoid and has many important benefits.

 

Quercetin is known for for its ability to stimulate a metabolic pathway known as AMPK. This pathway helps with fat metabolism, blood sugar control and helps the body to get rid of damaged or dying cells and cell parts called mitochondria. The removal of these cells and cell parts helps the body to maintain a healthy cellular environment and cell function. Its antioxidant properties helps to protect blood vessels, testicles and the brain.

 

Research has shown variable effects of quercetin when it is taken as a supplement. It is suspected that this is due to the lack of absorption. This really underscores two important things. A food first approach is most important. You can not go wrong when you are providing your body nourshing, healthy foods. A food first approach is always best to start with and then adding on a high quality supplement can be helpful.

 

Remember food is medicine. Food is how we communicate with our body. It is how we tell our body what to do. So tell your body to be healthy by eating some onions on a salad or snaking on an apple.

 

Over the last couple of years there seems to be more buzz about continuous glucose monitors (CGM). It occurs to me that when I look at various social media ads I see more health conscious individuals, wellness experts, nutritionists, or athletes using these devices. I cannot get on TikTok without seeing someone showing the effect of food on their blood sugar using their CGM. I regularly receive emails advertising continuous glucose monitors.

 

At the beginning of my journey to improve my health, I felt a bit helpless. I had been told that I had protein in my urine (which means kidney disease), a fatty liver, and my average blood sugar (measured by a hemoglobin A1c) was 126. This represents a hemoglobin A1c of 6.0. When one reaches a Hemoglobin A1c of 6.5 they are assigned the diagnosis of diabetes. I had a significant case of prediabetes and was experiencing the complications of diabetes without having the diagnosis. At that time, I felt a bit helpless, frustrated and was in denial. So, I decided to do something about it, and I got a continuous glucose monitor.

 

I did some research and found a company from whom to purchase a continuous glucose monitor package. I purchased six months of their service for nearly $900.00. For this price I received the Dexcom continuous glucose monitor and an app that provided me extensive information regarding my glucose levels. The app also had tips on how to eat to control your glucose and put me through various activities to show me how my glucose was altered by the activity. I was able to track my food in the app so I could easily see at any time what my glucose did in relation to the food I ate. Because I paid the money, I committed to the process for 6 months and am very happy I did.

 

At the end of the six months, the protein in my urine was almost undetectable, I had reversed my fatty liver, lost 20lbs, and my hemoglobin A1c was 5.3, which is an average blood sugar of 105. I learned what foods were affecting my blood sugar adversely (some of which were unexpected) and what foods did not affect my blood sugar. I learned how to eat for my health. I know that may seem strange, but I was never taught healthy eating and the impact of doing otherwise. Most of all, I learned accountability. It is hard to be in denial when you see the effect of your food choices immediately. I can not express how startling it was to see my glucose shoot up to 170 after one meal and remain elevated (over 120) for 4-5 hours after. My denial quickly went away.

 

Is a CGM right for you if you are not diabetic? Perhaps, but that is something you should discuss with your health care provider. Do not allow finances to be a barrier. Some health insurance companies are now paying for a CGM in persons without diabetes but it does require a prescription. If you are interested if a CGM is right for you, set up an appointment to talk with me.

 

Functional Medicine is making waves in the healthcare landscape of the Lone Star State. In this blog, we delve into the core principles that underpin Functional Medicine and how it’s transforming healthcare in Texas.

 

Holistic and Individualized Care

 

Functional Medicine doctors in Texas adhere to a holistic approach that treats patients as unique individuals. Rather than just addressing symptoms, they aim to understand the root causes of health issues, considering genetics, lifestyle, and environmental factors.

 

Root Cause Resolution

 

A fundamental principle of Functional Medicine is uncovering and addressing the root causes of health problems. Rather than merely managing symptoms with medications, Functional Medicine doctors in Texas work to identify and resolve the underlying issues, promoting lasting healing.

 

Patient-Centered Care

 

In Functional Medicine, the patient takes center stage. Texas Functional Medicine doctors and nurse practitioners collaborate closely with their patients, valuing their input and involving them in the decision-making process. This patient-centric approach fosters a sense of empowerment and active participation in one’s healthcare.

 

Personalized Treatment Plans

 

Functional Medicine doctors in Texas don’t believe in one-size-fits-all solutions. They formulate personalized treatment plans, addressing each patient’s distinct health objectives and concerns in a customized manner.

 

A Focus on Prevention

 

Preventive care is a cornerstone of Functional Medicine in Texas. Nurse Practitioners and doctors emphasize the importance of proactive measures to maintain health and prevent chronic diseases. Through lifestyle changes, nutrition, and early intervention, they help patients avoid health issues before they arise.

 

Nutritional and Lifestyle Guidance

 

Functional Medicine recognizes the profound impact of nutrition and lifestyle on health. Texas Functional Medicine doctors and nurse practitioners provide guidance on diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management to optimize overall well-being.

 

Integration of Complementary Therapies

 

Functional Medicine in Texas integrates complementary therapies such as acupuncture, herbal medicine, and mind-body practices when appropriate. These therapies enhance the healing process and provide patients with a comprehensive approach to health.

 

Collaboration and Teamwork

 

Functional Medicine doctors in Texas often work in multidisciplinary teams, collaborating with specialists, nutritionists, and other healthcare providers. This method ensures comprehensive patient care through collaboration.

 

Empowering Patients

 

Functional Medicine empowers individuals to assume responsibility for their well-being through a patient-centered approach, promoting optimal health. By educating patients about the principles of Functional Medicine and involving them in their care, Texas Functional Medicine doctors and nurse practitioners enable individuals to make informed decisions about their well-being.

 

Long-Term Wellness and Follow-Up

 

Functional Medicine doctors in Texas are dedicated to their patients’ long-term well-being. They provide ongoing support and follow-up care to ensure that individuals maintain and continue to improve their health, promoting sustained wellness beyond the initial treatment phase.

Conclusion: Holistic Integrative Health – Your Partner in Functional Medicine

At Holistic Integrative Health, we are committed to the core principles of Functional Medicine. Our Texas Functional Medicine nurse practitioner prioritizes holistic and individualized care, root cause resolution, and patient-centered healing. We believe that health encompasses more than the absence of illness; it embraces vitality and well-being. Join us on your path to optimum health and inner healing.

Quite Possibly

 

In early July of 2023 a research study examining the quality of water made the news and sadly it was concerning. The study was conducted by the United States Geological Survey (USGS), which is the science arm of the Department of Interior (part of the federal government). The USGS tested tap water from 716 public and private locations across the US from 2016-2021 for per- and poly-fluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). There are over 12,000 types of PFAS and the study tested for the presence of 32 types. They found at least one PFAS in 20% of private-wells and 40% of the public water supply. They estimated that at least one PFAS can be found in 45% of US drinking water samples.

 

Now you may be thinking so what? Why does this matter? What is a PFAS?

 

PFAS are a group of chemicals that are used in industrial plants. They degrade slowly, they have surfactant properties, and are heat and flame resistant. Because the degradation is very slow, they have been termed “forever chemicals”. They last in the human body and in animals for years and do not break down in the environment. These chemicals are used in fast-food boxes, paper used to wrap food, non-stick cookware, fire-fighting foams, grease-resistant microwave bags, and stain-water resistant textiles (clothing, furniture, carpets), personal care products and cosmetics. It is easy to see how PFAS have helped make life easier but they potentially come at a cost to our health.

 

Research documenting the health effects of PFAS has shown an association with the following conditions:

 

·       Certain cancers (testicular, prostate, kidney, liver, and pancreatic)

·       Reproductive problems

·       Insulin resistance

·       Metabolic syndrome

·       Hormone imbalances

·       High cholesterol

·       Obesity

·       Weakened immune system

·       Low birth weight

 

 

PFAS are so widespread now that sadly there is no avoiding them and most of us have been exposed. While some supplements may help to process them, the best that one can do is to limit their exposure. You can limit your exposure by implementing the strategies listed below.

· Avoid using nonstick cookware. Instead use cookware made of ceramic, stainless steel, or glass.

· Avoid fast food. PFAS in fast food containers or paper wraps can contaminate the food.

· Avoid microwave popcorn.

· Avoid clothing or furniture fabric that is stain resistant.

· Avoid clothing that is water resistant.

· Download the app, “Think Dirty”. You can use this to identify cosmetics and personal care products that contain            PFAS and other toxins that may be harmful.

· Purchase a water filter for your home. In general, reverse osmosis filters can filter out PFAS. The problem with these filters is that they also remove essential minerals that we need. If you choose to go with a reverse osmosis water filter, make sure the filter is designed to put the minerals back into the water. Alternatively, you can research a water filter titled “Hydroviv”. This filter is tailored to your specific water supply, is an effective water filter, and does not remove the essential minerals. Hydroviv reports that the filter removes PFAS. Regardless of which filter you choose, make sure the company reports that the filter removes “PFAS”. If they report the filter removes PFOA or PFOS it is only removing this specific type of PFAS and not all of them. 

It is important to note that the molecular make up of PFAS has changed over the years. This was done reportedly to make them safer. Remember, despite this, they are a man made chemical and it is best to limit your exposure as much as possible.  Your health is worth it.

 

References

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. What are the Health Effects of PFAS?

Environmental Work Group (2023). What are PFAS chemicals?

Smalling, K. L. et. al. (2023) Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) in United States tapwater: Comparison of underserved private-well and public-supply exposures and associated health implications. Environmental International, 178, 108033.

US EPA (2023). Our current understanding of the human health and environmental risks of PFAS.

PrEP, which stands for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, is a groundbreaking HIV prevention medication that has revolutionized the fight against HIV/AIDS. In Texas, where the prevalence of HIV remains a public health concern, PrEP has emerged as a powerful tool in reducing new infections and improving overall community health. In this comprehensive guide, we will explore the ins and outs of PrEP for HIV prevention in Texas, shedding light on its effectiveness, availability, and the role it plays in fostering a healthier, HIV-conscious population.

 

Understanding PrEP for HIV Prevention

 

PrEP is a medication taken by individuals at high risk of contracting HIV to reduce the likelihood of infection. It works by blocking the virus from establishing a permanent infection in the body if exposed. PrEP is highly effective when taken consistently, making it a game-changer in the prevention of HIV transmission.

 

How PrEP Works: Blocking HIV Transmission

 

PrEP contains antiretroviral drugs that work to prevent HIV from multiplying and spreading in the body. By taking PrEP daily, the medication builds up in the body’s tissues, offering protection in the event of exposure to the virus. This preventive approach has shown remarkable success in reducing the risk of HIV transmission when used correctly.

 

PrEP in Texas: Access and Availability

 

In Texas, access to PrEP has significantly improved over the years. Many healthcare facilities, including Holistic Integrative Health, offer PrEP services, making the medication more accessible to those who need it. PrEP can be prescribed by healthcare providers specializing in HIV prevention, ensuring that individuals receive proper guidance and support throughout their PrEP journey.

 

PrEP Eligibility and Prescription Process

 

PrEP is suitable for individuals at high risk of contracting HIV, including those in serodiscordant relationships (where one partner is HIV-positive) and individuals engaging in unprotected sexual activities or injection drug use. Prior to starting PrEP, a healthcare provider will assess an individual’s risk and eligibility for the medication, conducting necessary tests to ensure PrEP is safe and appropriate.

 

The Effectiveness of PrEP in Reducing HIV Transmission

 

Studies have demonstrated the high effectiveness of PrEP in preventing HIV transmission. When taken consistently, PrEP can reduce the risk of contracting HIV by up to 99%. It is a powerful tool that not only protects individuals at high risk but also contributes to the overall reduction of new HIV infections, promoting a healthier and HIV-conscious society.

 

Summing up

 

At Holistic Integrative Health, we are committed to empowering our community with comprehensive healthcare solutions, including HIV prevention with PrEP in Texas. PrEP has proven to be a game-changer in reducing new HIV infections in Texas and beyond. By offering accessible and personalized PrEP services, we strive to create a future with fewer HIV transmissions and a stronger focus on health and well-being. If you are at high risk of HIV transmission, consider PrEP as a vital tool in safeguarding your health and preventing HIV. Together, we can work towards a healthier and more resilient Texas, united in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

In the realm of HIV prevention, PreP medication stands as a groundbreaking advancement, offering individuals a powerful tool to take control of their health and reduce the risk of HIV transmission. This revolutionary approach, particularly relevant in the context of Texas, has reshaped the landscape of HIV prevention strategies. In this blog, we delve into the science behind PreP medication for HIV, shedding light on its mechanism of action and its significance for individuals in the state of Texas.

Understanding PreP Medication: A Shield Against HIV

PreP, short for Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis, is a medication regimen that involves taking antiretroviral drugs before potential exposure to HIV. Its primary objective is to create a shield of protection within the body, preventing the virus from establishing a foothold and leading to infection. By adhering to a prescribed PreP medication routine, individuals who are at a higher risk of HIV transmission can significantly reduce their chances of contracting the virus.

The Mechanism of Action

PreP medication works by inhibiting the replication of HIV within the body. When taken consistently, the antiretroviral drugs in PreP medication effectively block key enzymes that the virus requires to replicate and spread. This disrupts the virus’s ability to establish a substantial presence in the body, thereby reducing the likelihood of infection even after potential exposure.

Who Can Benefit from PreP Medication?

PreP medication is a game-changer for individuals at increased risk of HIV transmission. This includes those who engage in unprotected sex, have multiple sexual partners, or inject drugs. Additionally, PreP is recommended for individuals in serodiscordant relationships, where one partner is HIV-positive and the other is not or for anyone who believes they are at high risk.

The Role of Healthcare Providers

Initiating PreP medication involves comprehensive assessments and consultations with healthcare providers. A qualified healthcare professional will evaluate an individual’s risk factors, conduct necessary tests, and recommend an appropriate PreP regimen. Regular follow-up appointments are crucial to monitor the medication’s effectiveness, assess for side effects, and ensure overall well-being.

Empowering Personal Health Choices

PreP medication offers a sense of empowerment and control over one’s health. It allows individuals to make informed decisions about their sexual health and well-being, reducing anxiety and fear surrounding potential HIV exposure. By embracing PreP, individuals can engage in sexual activities with reduced risk while also advocating for their partners’ safety.

PreP Medication in Texas: Navigating the Landscape

In Texas, where the HIV epidemic has made a significant impact, PreP medication offers a glimmer of hope in curbing new infections. Efforts to raise awareness, increase accessibility, and reduce stigma surrounding PreP are crucial steps toward creating a safer and healthier Texas community.

Holistic Integrative Health: Your Partner in Wellness

As you explore the science behind PreP medication for HIV prevention in Texas, remember that your health and well-being are at the forefront of this journey. At Holistic Integrative Health, we understand the importance of comprehensive and personalized care. Our dedicated professionals are here to guide you through the intricacies of health choices, ensuring that you have the knowledge, support, and resources needed to make informed decisions. Together, we can empower you to take control of your health and embrace a future of wellness and vitality.