Road block for your health issue

Are you the biggest roadblock with your health issue?

One of the hardest things for people to admit is that they may be in fact the biggest roadblock when it comes to their health issue.

I know I have been, and it actually took me a while to admit it and be accountable for it too.

First… Let’s take the personal out of it

So before I begin talking about this issue, that will probably trigger people, I will again, as usual, ask you to take the personal out of this. This is not an attack on anyone, and it is purely to help those that need help in this area. At the end of the day, we are all accountable for our own health.

Finding your team

Now, before I really start, let’s not forget that there are so many people who have been missed and dismissed over the years, and the impact that has on ones physical and mental wellbeing.

I know with my own health issues, how long it took to find “my team” of people that could help me. Yes, I said team. I said team, because that is quite often what it takes to help many health issues, and why I now promote a multimodality/integrative medicine approach to any health issue.

Many have been missed and dismissed

I truly feel sorry for those who have had so many things missed and been dismissed along the way. It should never happen, but unfortunately it does. As I always say, there is good and bad in every profession, and not everyone is good at their job either.

Yes, there needs to be more education and awareness of certain health conditions, but at the same time, some people are part of their own issues too. We do need to face the facts that some people are really their own biggest roadblock to recovery. This is why I am focussing in on this issue for this post. Again, it is to help people, not about blaming.

Everyone is fighting a battle others do not know

Over my many years in practice, I have just about seen it all. I am sure there is more to see, but boy oh boy have I seen lots of things, and lots of people. Everybody is fighting a battle that nobody else knows about, and there are some who will always think they are worse than anyone else, when in fact, they are exactly the same, or not even near the worst. Some people do want to buy into the label of their disease, and be known to be the worst case anyone has ever seen.

Buying into the label that you are the worst case

I remember recently one of my patients telling me that there she was waiting for surgery in the hospital, and waiting in the pre-theatre waiting area. She explained that there was this one lady who was loud and was telling anyone who would listen how bad she was, and how the hospital file on her was so large. Well, so she thought.

So this patient of mine remained quiet as this other lady proclaimed about her large file the nurse was carrying and how often she had been in there. It was 1 folder and it was about half full. Then the nurse bought over my patients file, which was much larger, and then said to that she had to go and get the other folder that was already full. The loud lady almost stopped in her tracks.

Then she looked and my patient and said to her “ You have 2 folders?”… “no” she said…. “I have three” and then went back to minding her own business. Not a peep out of the loud lady again. But the point was, some people like to be known as being the worst, yet I always say to everyone, there is always someone far worse, but it is all relative at the end of the day.

But I have seen many practitioners

I’ve also seen many patients, that see multiple practitioners over the years and sometimes they are in the position they are in, because they actually never listen to the advice given too. Again, this is not to discredit anyone, but as someone who sees both sides, it does happen… and often.

When I do see someone whom has seen many practitioners over the years, and then goes on to say that nothing has helped them, I do always air on the side of caution. Of course, it could be possibly be true too.

Assessing someone properly

When I see a patient for a first time, there are many things that they have to do before I see them face-to-face. I get them to fill out lots of paper work on their health history and also do a psychological profile on them too. It is important to know where they are at emotionally. I then go over it all and then write up a 20-page report for them and give them all the recommendations and health management outlines too. They are also given a pack of information and resources on everything that they need to do.

It isn’t about just getting the health advice

I know with some of my own patients, many of them come and get the advice, and that is it. I know every so often I get mothers coming into a consult, or joining in on a zoom consult, on behalf of adult children mind you, and saying how their daughter is still in pain, or still has this, or that going on, and they want to know why. Often the actual patient is sitting there at the same time, alongside mum, explaining how bad everything is, and how nothing has changed. I usually let them have their rant, and then wait for the right time.

This is where I often sit back and smile and nod politely and then get out the 20-page report and their clinical notes. Then I have a look to see what they have or have not done, or taken and then just wait.

This is also where I calm the patient, and mother down, and empathise with their pain and symptoms and then it is my turn to speak.

“So … Mrs XYZ, I know you are concerned about your daughter, so let’s look through your daughters file and all the notes and report she was given”

“So…. Patient XYZ, remember when you first came in and we went over what you need to do, and everything was written out step by step?”

“So… Patient XYZ… I can see here you haven’t had any of your medicines yet?”

“So… Patient XYZ… I can see that you haven’t booked in any of the treatments yet?”

“So … Patient XYZ… I can see that you haven’t gone and had those investigations yet”

Then I usually let that digest and then go on to explain that nothing is going to change, if you don’t actually take your medicines, do the necessary changes, see the psychologist, get the tests and investigations and do what is needed to start improving.

I then explain that if you don’t actually do anything, how is something ever going to change?

This is usually where mum goes quiet, and then starts giving the daughter dagger eyes, and I have to then bring it all back in about being proactive, and today we are going to start doing what is needed.

I then tell them both I will check up and make sure the patient has started everything, and that they need to come back in a few weeks time and let’s start monitoring the progress. I always explain that how sometimes knowingly, or unknowingly, we can be our own worst enemy, and our own biggest roadblock.

It isn’t always someone else’s fault that you aren’t getting better

It isn’t the other practitioner’s fault they hadn’t got better; it was actually themselves not doing what was asked of them, thus hindering their own progress. Once this has been identified, and we do some work around this and the light bulb goes off, these people then get great progress.

I think I have heard every excuse on why someone has not done what he or she is meant to do, or has been advised to do. I’ve heard everything from “I’ve been too busy”… right through to “I have done that before and it didn’t work”

The thing is, we are all busy, and we may have done something similar before, but did you actually do it properly and consistently?

When I was my own roadblock

I remember years ago I had a niggling injury and my chiropractor said to me that I needed to do some stretches in between to help it heal quicker. I went home and did the stretches and it was staying pretty much the same. So when I went back he said to me “You mustn’t be doing the stretches I showed you?”

I said I was, and he was scratching his head. “Are you sure you are doing them everyday?”

The truth was I started out doing them everyday, but then I got busy, and it was sporadic, and when I really was honest with myself, I wasn’t doing what he had asked. So after that appointment I went home and I did the stretches everyday and guess what? … Yep it improved.

It is about going home and doing the recommendations

I think people often forget that when we see a healthcare practitioner, we are only seeing them for a short period of time, and it is really up to you to go home and then do the work in between. It is about being consistent with treatments, taking your medicines, doing the homework asked of you, getting the testing and investigations, changing your diet and other habits, and working on the emotional side too.

It is about doing everything that is asked of you and doing it 100%. We don’t just take 1 tablet of an antibiotic and expect it to magically help an infection. It is about doing and finishing the prescribed course. Sometimes several courses may be needed. But you get my point. It is about being honest with oneself and actually doing it. You can’t do things half hearted, or sporadic, because you just won’t get the results.

If after doing the prescribed treatment and not getting any better, then it is time to sit down and look at other treatments and bring in other things. But more often that not, if you stick to what you have been told to do, and be consistent, it will work.

If you change nothing, nothing changes

Just remember, that if you change nothing, nothing changes. Managing a health condition is like preparing and training for a marathon. You need to put in the work, do the training, eat the right foods, have the right mental outlook, get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of water, take your supplements, and do what ever is asked of you by the coach to get you over the line. Who knows, you may even win the race if you do it all properly.

Change requires you to step up and be the change

The same goes for your health, and health conditions. Do what your healthcare practitioner asks, take your medicines, change what needs to be changed, work on your emotions, change your diet, do that exercise and do whatever it is that is asked of you. Who knows, you might just win the race to help your health get better too.

Final Word

If you are having trouble with a health condition, and feel like nobody is helping you, or you aren’t getting any better, you can always call my friendly staff and find out how I may be able to help you.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Women’s Health Medicine

-The Experts Program

 

 

 

Opioid Crisis

Let’s Talk About The Current Opioid Crisis & Pain Prescription Crackdown

Recently there has been so much news about pandemics such as COVID 19, but nobody is talking about an epidemic that is causing more deaths than this global crisis. The Opioid Crisis is an epidemic is expanding on a global scale. In Australia, the rise in prescribing of pain medications, particularly opioids has increased signficantly. This is having has had devastating results, with the levels of harm and deaths due to opioid misuse rising exponentially.

In Australia, over three million people were prescribed 15.4 million opioid scripts in 2016–17. What is most concerning is that opioids now account for 62% of drug-induced deaths, with pharmaceutical opioids now more likely than heroin to be involved in opioid deaths and hospitalisations. In 2016–17 there were 5,112 emergency department presentations and 9,636 hospitalisations due to opioid poisoning, with three deaths per day attributed to opioid harm – higher than the road toll.(2)

The global crisis of opioid crisis is increasing and is very concerning. About 275 million people worldwide (5.6 per cent of the global population aged 15–64 years) used drugs at least once during 2016. There were an estimated 27 million people who suffered from opioid use disorders in 2016. Roughly 450,000 people died as a result of drug use in 2015. Of those deaths, about 118 thousands with opioid use disorders.

Overdose deaths contribute to between roughly a third and a half of all drug-related deaths, which are attributable in most cases to opioids. Lifetime prevalence of witnessed overdose among drug users is about 70%. There are effective treatments for opioid dependence yet less than 10% of people who need such treatment are receiving it. The inexpensive medication naloxone can completely reverse the effects of opioid overdose and prevent deaths due to opioid overdose.

Due to their pharmacological effects, opioids in high doses can cause respiratory depression and death.

In Australia today, unrelieved pain is a major issue. Up to 80 percent of people living with chronic pain are missing out on treatment that could improve their health and quality of life. Some of these people are dismissed and feel isolated and suffer constant pain, anxiety, depression and even attempt suicide. It is big issues that needs to be address.

Opioids and pain medications should never be regarded as the sole approach to people with chronic pain. They should be regarded as one component of a multimodality approach and management plan, and should only be used on a limited basis and monitored regularly so as not to develop and addiction.

A well-defined and well-structured multimodality management pain plan, set out be a qualified healthcare professional, is essential in improving pain outcomes, improving overall health and helping with the complications of withdrawal of pain medications and opioids.

In this video I talk about the current reforms here in Australia and the ongoing opioid crisis that needs urgent attention and people do need to be managed better on all levels.

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Women’s Health Medicine

-Men and Women’s Health Advocate

-The Headache, Migraine and Pain Experts

 

References

  1. Deloitte Access Economics (2019), The cost of pain in Australia.
  2. Royal Australian College of General Practitioners (2018). Australian overdose deaths are increasing – and the demographics are changing. News GP. Access online here.
  3. WHO- Information sheet on opioid overdose (click here to access)
  4. Pain Australia (fact sheets)

 

serious complications of low iron

The Serious Health Complications Of Low Iron

In the last couple of weeks I have been talking about the serious complications of people not having their health managed properly. It seems to be a big issue and with my latest post, the issue of unmanaged, or undiagnosed low iron is also becoming a very serious issue indeed. So for this post I will be talking about the serious health complications of low iron.

Two thirds of body iron is present in circulating red blood cells known as haemoglobin. Each gram of haemoglobin contains about 4gms of iron and each ml of blood lost from the body results in a loss of about half a milligram of iron.

Bleeding is the most common cause of iron deficiency.  This could be from either a diagnosed, or undiagnosed gynaecological issues (endometriosis, adenomyosis, fibroids, polyps, other) or it could be from a parasite infection. It could also be from bleeding as part of a gastrointestinal issue, or part of inflammatory bowel diseases (IBS, Crohn’s Coeliac disease).

There could be other reasons for blood loss in the body, or reduction of iron and many of these conditions, and the conditions above, can go unrecognised and then cause iron deficiency anaemia. Some of these issues can be very serious, or even fatal.

Excessive menstrual losses are often overlooked with many women. This is something that should not happen and should be part of the questioning with any low iron status. The problem is, unless the menstrual flow changes, patients typically do not seek medical attention for heavy menstrual bleeding. Sometimes when a healthcare practitioner asks, these patients generally report that their menses are normal. It may be normal to them, but we need to educate women that heavy blood loss is not normal and can lead to anaemia.

Because of the marked differences among women with regard to menstrual blood loss (10-250 mL per menses), patients meed to be asked about their menstrual history and about a specific history of bleeding, blood flow, abnormal bleeding in between cycles,  clots, cramps, and the use of multiple tampons and pads. These are very important questions to ask and sadly many women are not being asked these questions, or having further questioning about their menstrual, or overall health, including dietary intake etc.

What is iron deficiency anemia?

Anaemia occurs when you have a decreased level of haemoglobin in your red blood cells (RBCs). Haemoglobin is the protein in your red blood cells that is responsible for carrying oxygen to your tissues.

Iron deficiency anaemia is the most common type of anaemia that women present with, and it occurs when your body doesn’t have enough iron. Your body needs iron to make haemoglobin. When there isn’t enough iron in your blood stream, the rest of your body can’t get the amount of oxygen it needs. Today in a recent post I talked about iron being like trucks, or the transporters of oxygen around the body.

While iron deficiency may be common, many people don’t know they have iron deficiency anemia. It’s possible to experience the symptoms for years without ever having it diagnosed, or the cause of the iron deficiency diagnosed either. It is a very serious issue that needs some serious attention.

In women of childbearing age, the most common cause of iron deficiency anemia is a loss of iron in the blood due to heavy menstruation or pregnancy. A poor diet or certain intestinal diseases that affect how the body absorbs iron can also cause iron deficiency anemia. Women who adopt a vegan diet will also be prone to being iron deficient and vitamin B12 deficient.

Disruption to the microbiome and leaky gut syndrome can also cause iron deficient anaemia too.

One of the best ways to treat the condition is through iron infusion, and also with iron supplements, or changes to diet. We also need to make sure the cause of the iron deficiency is addressed as well.

Symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia

The symptoms of iron deficiency anaemia can be mild at first, and some people may not even notice them. Many people are completely unaware that they may be low in iron, or are actually iron deficient.

The symptoms of moderate to severe iron deficiency anaemia include:

  • general fatigue
  • weakness
  • pale skin
  • Bruising easy
  • shortness of breath
  • Palpitations
  • dizziness
  • Strange cravings to eat items that aren’t food, such as dirt, ice, or clay
  • Tingling or crawling feeling in the legs
  • Tongue swelling or soreness
  • Cold hands and feet
  • Tachycardia
  • Brittle nails
  • Headaches and migraines
  • Sore joints
  • Brain fog and lack of concentration.

The serious complications of unmanaged iron deficiency.

Undiagnosed, or unmanaged iron-deficiency may cause the following severe complications:

  • Heart problems.If you do not have enough hemoglobin-carrying red blood cells, your heart has to work harder to move oxygen-rich blood through your body. When your heart has to work harder, this can lead to several conditions: irregular heartbeats called arrhythmias, a heart murmur, an enlarged heart, or even heart failure.
    Severe anemia due to any cause may produce hypoxemia and enhance the occurrence of coronary insufficiency and myocardial ischemia.
  • Increased risk of infections- Research has shown that iron deficiency anaemia can affect your immune system (the body’s natural defence system), making you more susceptible to illness and infection.
  • Motor or cognitivedevelopment delays- This mainly occurs in children. Children deficient in iron may exhibit behavioral disturbances.
  • Behaviour issues and mood disorders- Behavioral disturbances may manifest as an attention deficit disorder, or mood disorder such as : Depression Unipolar depressive disorder, Bipolar disorder, Anxiety disorder, Autism spectrum disorder, Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder, Tic disorder, Delayed development and other some other psychiatric issues.
  • Pregnancy complications- Iron deficiency can lead to preterm delivery or giving birth to a baby with low birth weight.
    The neurologic damage to an iron-deficient foetus results in permanent neurologic injury and typically does not resolve on its own, or by supplementation.
  • Chronic Health Conditions worsened- In people with chronic conditions, iron-deficiency anaemia can make their condition worse or result in treatments not working as well.
  • Dysphagia (Difficulty swallowing)- This may occur with foods due to abnormal muscle and nerve control. This could result in choking. It can also lead to throat cancers.
  • Atrophic gastritis – This occurs in iron deficiency with progressive loss of acid secretion, and causes inflammation of the gastric mucosa with loss of the gastric glandular cells and replacement by intestinal-type epithelium, and fibrous tissue
  • Tiredness- As iron deficiency anaemia can leave you tired and lethargic (lacking in energy), you may be less productive and active at work. Your ability to stay awake and focus can be reduced, and you may not feel able to exercise regularly.
  • Fainting– Low iron can cause fainting and this could be dangerous in many situations, especially at work places, or working on machinery, or driving a car.
  • Cold Intolerance– Cold intolerance develops in one fifth of patients with chronic iron deficiency anaemia and is manifested by neurologic pain, vasomotor disturbances, or numbness and tingling.
  • Issues with Brain and Optic Nerve– Rarely, severe iron deficiency anaemia is associated with papilledema (optic disc swelling), increased intracranial pressure, and the clinical picture of pseudotumor cerebri. These manifestations are all corrected with iron therapy.
  • Migraines– Research has now shown that there are certain types of migraines caused by iron deficiency
  • Death – Caused by some of the issues mentioned above

The importance of proper management

Hopefully now everyone can see why iron is so important and that people with iron deficiency need to see their healthcare practitioner for proper help and proper management .  Iron deficiency anemia isn’t something to self-diagnose or treat. It needs to be diagnosed, treated and managed properly. In many cases an iron infusion is the best and quickest way to get iron levels back up. Have a read of my post about iron infusions. Click here

Iron infusions are the quickest way of getting iron levels back up

In the case of low, or severely low iron, supplements just are not enough. They take too long to get levels up and the damage to your body in waiting too long can also be serious.  Always see your healthcare practitioner, or specialist, for a diagnosis rather than trying to manage low iron on your own, or just taking iron supplements on your own. Overloading the body with too much iron can be dangerous too, because excess iron accumulation can damage your liver and cause other complications.

Final Word

This is why everyone needs to be managed by a properly trained healthcare professional with any health issue, especially low iron. If your practitioner is not able to assist you, please make sure you get a second or third opinion. Some practitioners may not be well versed in the serious complications of low iron, or know much about iron infusions etc.

If you do need help with managing the symptoms of low iron, you can call my friendly staff and find out how I can assist you. For more information please call +61 07 38328369 or email info@drandreworr.com.au

Regards

Andrew Orr

-No Stone Left Unturned

-Master of Women’s Health Medicince

-Master of Reproductive Medicine

-Women’s and Men’s Health Advocate

 

 

microbiome for weight loss

Let’s Talk About Prebiotics & Probiotics & Their Role in Health & Weight Loss

In my latest post I thought it was important to talk about Prebiotics and Probiotics and their role in health and weight loss. With the upcoming new years resolutions of weight loss and overall health, I thought it was important to discuss this topic. Strain specific probiotics and prebiotics not only assist with weight loss, but they assist with the mind, the gut, reducing inflammation and overall health. Of course, to lose weight, you also need to cut refined carbohydrates, increase good protein sources and also exercise. Just to be clear on that. But, we also need to acknowledge the role of beneficial bacteria in this process as well.

I’ve talked about the importance of a proper microbiome restore before (click here), but I thought I would explain it in person, rather than just in word form, so that people understand this topic better. Before you start any weight loss challenge, you need to listen to my latest video post first.

If you do need assistance in losing weight, maintaining health and doing a proper microbiome restore, please give my staff a call and find out how I may be able to assist you.

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Insight Into How I Assist People & What A Good Practitioner Should Be Doing

On a daily basis I get people calling, or emailing various questions and asking about my services and how I assist people. So I have done a video with an Insight into how I assist people and what a good practitioners should be doing.

This is to explain a bit more about how I do things, how in depth my consultations are, my referral networks, the symbiotic working relationships, my “No Stone Left Unturned” approach, the multimodality treatment approach, and some other information. This is to give people more of an idea of how I work with people and guide people, but also help them with a step by step approach to their healthcare management. By being their guide through their health journey, I can help them every step of the way, so that they don’t have to wade their way through not knowing where to go, or who to see. I help them make the journey much easier and help them take the stress out of guessing.