Comox Valley Chiropractor – Tips for your Health

Health tips from your Comox Valley Chiropractor

Pain Medication Reduces Breast Cancer Risk? October 11, 2008

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Nothing irritates me more than reading incredibly misleading health related headlines in the Vancouver Sun with my morning coffee. Thus was the case this week when I was greeted with this headline upon sitting down in the kitchen: “Aspirin May Prevent Breast Cancer“.

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Now, before you run out and start buying Costco sized aspirin bottles, let’s take a closer look at this study. First of all, its an observational study which means that an association was found between women who take pain relievers and a lower risk of breast cancer. It is important to note that an association does not necessarily equal causation (i.e. the drugs don’t necessarily cause a lower breast cancer risk).

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Off the top of my head, I can give you one scenario that could be occurring. Maybe women who are more active have more aches and pains from exercise, and therefore take more pain relievers. The increased exercise could be causing the lowered breast cancer risk and the drugs are just a co-incidence. That’s the problem with an observational study – you aren’t controlling for many of these factors that can confound the results. A randomized controlled trial is needed to find clearer answers.

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More importantly though, the toxicity of common pain relievers is enough in my mind to neutralize any benefit in terms of a reduced cancer risk. The authors of the study go so far as to admit that NSAID drugs such as ibuprofen (non-steroidal anti-inflammatories) have too high levels of gastrointestinal and cardiovascular adverse effects.

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A very comprehensive evidence-based review of NSAID toxicity can be found here. While most of the data is based in the UK, they do list some interesting numbers for the US and Canada.  I’ve reproduced the summary table here:

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Table 2: NSAID-related deaths and admissions to hospital

Event UK USA Canada
Annual NSAID prescriptions 25 million 70 million 10 million
NSAID-related admissions 12,000 100,000 3,900
NSAID-related deaths 2,600 16,500 365
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In my opinion, that’s a staggeringly high number of deaths for something that is essentially just treating the symptoms of a problem. I’ve stopped being surprised at the sheer proportion of my patients who have absolutely no clue that NSAID medication carries any risks. They assume (as do most people) that since its available over the counter that it must be safe. Relatively speaking it is, but nothing comes without risks.

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The bottom line from your Comox Valley Chiropractor? Think twice before you pop that ibuprofen like candy day after day, and look past the headlines when dealing with health related news!

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Cut in Half your Risk of Early Death September 28, 2008

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All of my patients can now stop rolling their eyes every time this Comox Valley Chiropractor tells them to stop smoking, exercise more, eat well and drink moderately. My patients are quite used to my preachings on living a healthier lifestyle, and now (as if I didn’t have enough research to back me up) a new article has been posted in the British Medical Journal extolling these virtues.

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This 24-year long study followed a group of over 77,000 women between the ages of 34 and 59 who had no signs of heart disease (when the study began). They wanted to determine the relation of their health to 5 lifestyle factors:

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  1. Being overweight
  2. Smoking
  3. Excessive drinking
  4. Poor Diet
  5. Little physical activity
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Over the years 8882 of the women died – 1790 from heart disease and 4527 from cancer. Each of the above lifestyle factors was found to significantly increase the chance of dying from any disease (not just those listed above). Another interesting fact is that women who drank moderately (up to one drink per day) actually had less chance of dying from heart disease than those who did not drink at all.

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While it may seem like a tall order to follow the recommendations of this study, it really doesn’t need to be that complicated. You don’t need to hit the gym, lift weights and run ten miles everyday. Often, a healthy lifestyle is all about the little things.

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Quitting smoking is a must. No if, ands or buts. If you are having trouble, both acupuncture and low intensity laser therapy are safe and effective options. You don’t need to give up your wine or spirits, simply moderate it to a one-drink a day maximum.

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Simple diet choices can significantly improve your nutrition, while decreasing obesity. Choose whole grain foods, less red meats and cut out the soda and excess sugar. As for exercise, walking to work or the corner store will ensure that you achieve the 30 minutes of exercise per day that is considered minimum.

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Revamping your entire life to begin an unsustainable nutritional and exercise plan is not the answer – you need to make sure you take small steps in the right direction and change your lifestyle in a comfortable way. These simple changes can literally mean cutting your risk of early death by 50%.

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Best Foot Forward March 23, 2008

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The Canadian Chiropractic Association has recently launched a falls prevention program entitled “Best Foot Forward”. Below is an excerpt from a press released issued by the BC Chiropractic Association:

One in every three Canadians over 65 are just a step away from falling, and that slip, trip or stumble often has serious and costly consequences. Older Canadians are nine times more likely to suffer an injury from a fall leading to hospitalization and even death.

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That is why the BC Chiropractic Association is launching Best Foot Forward, a public education program aimed at preventing falls in seniors. The program follows a Public Health Agency of Canada report detailing the debilitating and even deadly consequences of seniors’ falls.

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“Best Foot Forward offers practical advice on many aspects of prevention that most older Canadians can do easily,” says Dr. Brian Gleberzon, DC, who acted as a consultant on the national Report on Seniors’ Falls in Canada and who helped develop the program. “Preventing a fall can be as simple as changing your footwear, taking off your reading glasses before walking to the next room or removing slippery scatter mats.”

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“The message we want to get across is – don’t let a fall get you down. Slips, trips and stumbles are preventable,” concludes Dr. Gleberzon.

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A self-assessment quiz and illustrated prevention tip sheets covering household hazards, health risks, strength and balance, and safety-conscious behaviour can be obtained at no charge from your Comox Valley Chiropractor or downloaded from your Comox Valley Chiropractic website . Prevention presentations to groups can also be arranged by contacting us.

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