Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), BPA, Leptin Resistance and Other Unknown Health Risks

PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome), BPA, Leptin Resistance & Low Vitamin D Represent New, Relatively Unknown Health Risks

By: Pamela Egan, NP-C, CDE, ABAAHP

What Some of the More Surprising and Unknown Health Risks Facing Humanity in the 21st Century?

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)

Some of the newer research is showing that plastics are major hormone disruptors. Plastics are being blamed for conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) which is an insulin-resistant state. There is a growing body of evidence that technological advancements, particularly as it relates to food packaging, may be having grave and unintended consequences on humans’ hormonal function.

BPA (Bisphenol A) and Dioxins Disrupt Hormone Function

Polycystic Ovarian SyndromeEvery time you microwave a lean cusisine or TV dinner, the heat from the microwave radiates the plastic, releasing BPA (Bisphenol A, an ingredient found in Polycarbonate plastics as well as epoxy resins) and dioxins, both of which disrupt hormone function.

Ask yourself when was the last time you were in the grocery store and observed grape juice being sold in a glass bottle. Everything is packaged in plastic these days! Baked chickens bask in plastic containers under heaters in the grocery stores. Restaurants cover hot casseroles with plastic wrap. Milk sits in plastic under grocery store lights in coolers until someone buys it. Cases of plastic water bottles sit out in the sun all day gas stations and thrift stores, not to mention your car! Some people bake chickens inside of a plastic bag! Many microwavable junk food treats RECOMMEND in the directions that the person about to EAT the food contained within the plastic leave it wrapped in plastic while microwaving it!


This author isn’t going to name names, but if you’ve ever been to the grocery or eaten prepared foods you should be well familiar with those products and brands being mentioned herein.

Electromagnetic Radiation

In addition to plastics, pesticides, electromagnetic radiation from computers, cell phones, tablets, electronic notebooks (trying not to use brand-names), et al are also major hormone disruptors.

Leptin Resistance

Leptin Reistance is also fairly new, and a significant health threat that far too many women remain unaware of. Leptin is a hormone that acts in the regulation of energy intake and metabolism. Leptin levels can be easily checked via a simply blood test that can be performed at virtually any diagnostic lab (ask your doctor or nurse practitioner) to indentify whether or not one has leptin resistance.

Vitamin D Deficiency

ViVitamin D3 from Sunlighttamin D3 is a hot topic since the majority of Americans are vitamin D3 deficient. Vitamin D deficiency is also a major factor in obesity, insulin resistance, the development of Type 2 Diabetes and about 50 or so other major diseases and illnesses, albeit in many cases science has declined to issue a definitive statement of causality despite overwhelming evidence of a causal relationship between low levels of vitamin D and an increased likelihood of developing any one (or combination) or the four dozen-plus illnesses, diseases and conditions for which indisputable evidence exists linking an increased rate-of-diagnosis with insufficient levels of serum 25-hydroxyvitamin D in the blood of diagnosed individuals.

Vitamin D deficiency can be identified by way of a simple blood test, and those suffering from inadequate levels of the nutrient can correct the deficiency through safe sunbathing, or even better, a high-quality and high-potency vitamin D3 supplement.

The reason most scientists believe such a vast majority of the entire population is so dangerously low in vitamin D has to do with the fact that human civilization has evolved to the point of spending the vast majority of time indoors, where the sun cannot make contact with skin, initiating the process through which vitamin D is produced.

On a side-note, anyone seeking to prevent or reverse vitamin D deficiency through the use of supplements should make sure the supplements contain vitamin D3, or cholecalciferol as opposed to ergocalciferol, or vitamin D2. The reason is that the former is far better absorbed and processed for use by the body than is the latter, the usefulness of which as a human nutritional supplement is the subject of much heated debate.

Pamela Egan, NP-C, CDE, ABAAHP

Egan Wellness and Anti-Aging Clinic + Egan Skin Care Spa
1116 W. 21st Ave.
Covington, LA 70433

Areas Serviced: Covington, Mandeville, Madisonville, Abita Springs, Slidell, Goodbee, Lacombe, Folsom, Franklinton, Bogalusa, Pearl River

Meningitis is Contagious, Can Be Deadly

Meningitis is the infection and inflammation of the membranes (also known as meninges) and fluids (cerebrospinal fluid) surrounding the brain and spinal cord. The most common causes of meningitis are bacteria and viruses, and the victims of the infection are typically children under the age of five. Bacterial meningitis is typically more severe in nature than the viral variety.

The early symptoms of meningitis are often mistaken for those of influenza (the flu). Thus, people experiencing severe symptoms similar to those of the flu should consider seeking medical attention, particularly if the person is a child younger than five years of age, in which case the child’s parents should bring him or her to a doctor to be examined.

Anyone experiencing the following symptoms should seek immediate medical care:

  • A high fever resulting in the loss of appetite
  • Severe, intense and/or worsening headaches
  • Frequent vomiting
  • Confusion and/or disorientation
  • Seizures
  • Lethargy/Fatigue/Drowsiness
  • Stiff Neck
  • Skin rash (particularly near the armpits, on the hands or on the feet)
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Small subepidermal hemorrhages
  • Shock, coma or convulsions

Some types of meningitis are contagious. A person can be exposed to the bacteria when someone with meningitis coughs or sneezes. The bacteria can also spread through kissing, the sharing of utensils, cigarettes, etc. Living or working in the immediate vicinity of someone with the disease may also pose a significant risk of contacting the disease.

Meningitis strikes suddenly, usually accompanied by a high fever, severe headache and vomiting. As the disease progresses, the brain swells and may begin to bleed. The disease is potentially lethal, resulting in fatalities in about one in every ten cases.

Many of those who survive meningitis may have serious long-term neurological complications such as vision and/or hearing loss, brain damage and loss of the ability to speak.

The disease occurs most frequently in young children under the age of five, young adults ages 18-24 and senior citizens. The predominant theory is that this is largely due to the congregation tendencies of those individuals.

College students living in dormitories, personnel on military bases, boarding schools and daycare centers are all at an increased risk of meningococcal meningitis, largely because infectious diseases tend to spread quickly when large groups of people congregate.

There have been studies suggesting that smoking and drinking alcohol may increase one’s risk of meningitis. The theory at play here is that those activities may suppress a person’s immune system, thereby making him or her more susceptible to the disease.

The definitive diagnosis of meningitis is usually made by way of analysis of a small sample of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), which is extracted through a procedure known as a spinal tap (lumbar puncture).

Acute bacterial meningitis requires immediate treatment with intravenous antibiotics which help ensure recovery and reduce the risk of complications. The antibiotic or combination thereof used depends upon the type of bacteria causing the meningitis. Corticosteroids are often administered to help prevent hearing loss — one of the most common long-term complications of the disease.

Mild cases of viral meningitis are are usually treated with bed rest, plenty of fluids and sometimes analgesics to help reduce fever and body aches.
If the herpes virus causes the meningitis, antiviral medication may also be prescribed.

Reducing risk factors for meningitis starts with avoiding exposure to unnecessary upper respiratory and gastrointestinal infections. Something as simple as careful handwashing is among the best ways to stave off infection and thereby reduce the risk of meningitis.

Parents should teach their children to wash their hands often and thoroughly. Getting enough rest, exercising regularly and eating a healthy diet are all ways to boost the immune system, which in turn helps to prevent diseases like meningitis.

Vaccines are now available for hemophilus influenza and pneumococcal meningitis, and can be administered starting at around two months of age. Another vaccine exists that offers some degree of protection against meningococcal meningitis.

Both the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College Health Association recommend the vaccine for college students.

Related Articles:
Parents Need to Know About Meningococcal Meningitis Vaccine
Most Patients Recover Fully From Viral Meningitis
Bacterial Meningitis Can Be Life Threatning

Children Becoming Obese at a Younger Age

Childhood Obesity is on the up-and-up, and children are becoming obese at a younger and younger age, this according to a study published in BMJ. A large group of children were observed for a ten year period. The results were an increase in both weight and BMI (Body Mass Index) in children ages one month to four years. Interestingly, no corresponding upward trend in the height of the children was observed during the study.

So what is Body Mass Index?

BMI is a relatively quick, inexpensive and fairly accurate method to calculate health risk as it relates to height and weight. A lengthy calculation is used, but now days there are charts and even websites that allow you to enter your height and weight to obtain an immediate result.

For adults between 19 and 70 years of age, a BMI of anywhere from 19 to 24.9 is considered a health weight. A BMI of 25 to 29.9 is considered overweight, 30 to 39.9 is considered obese and over 40 is very obese. A BMI of less than 19 is considered unsafe and may represent malnourishment.

Although BMI was used in the study, for many years after its conception it was not commonplace for clinicians to calculate BMI on children and teens 19 years of age and under. That said, height and weight are measured at each and every medical check-up.

The study referenced above involved 43,000 children from England. The scientists recorded height and weight of infants ages 28 days to 90 days, and toddlers ages 35 months to four years. After calculating the latter group’s BMI, investigators applied the term “overweight” to those with a BMI above the 85th, and “obese” to those above the 95th percentile.

The proportion of overweight children increased substantially during the ten year period, from 14.7% to 23.6%. The percentage of obese children rose from 5.4% to 9.2%.

The infants did experience a slight increase in weight, however there was no increase in the number of infants whose weight exceeded the 85th and 95th percentile.

The investigators concluded that excessive weight gain in children occurred between infancy and preschool age, and that obesity prevention efforts should begin prior to preschool.

Weight Gain Could Persist Into Adulthood

William H. Dietz, MD, PhD, of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned that these increases in weight are likely to persist into adulthood. He expressed concern that Type 2 Diabetes is on the rise among children and adolescents, and that obesity increases their risk for cardiovascular disease, hyperlipidemia and hypertension (high blood pressure).

Dietz called for a return to family mealtimes, promoting breastfeeding, encouraging physical play and discouraging sugary foods as a solution.
Intervention is necessary to thwart the rise in childhood overweight and obesity rates, which are now rising even among preschoolers.

Related: Female Weight Gain – Why Am I Gaining Weight?

Techniques for Coping with Stress and Anxiety

Do the palms of your hands get sweaty when you have to confront a problem at work? Does your heart beat fast before you give a speech? Do you get a headache after you’ve had an argument with a family member?

The feelings of stress and anxiety come from your body’s response to what it sees as a threat to survival, triggering the emotion of anger or fear. You may still be stressed without having any of these noticeable signs. However, your body knows, and it may provide other hints that stress is present, such as back pain or feeling tired and fatigued.

For people with diabetes, stress can cause glucose levels to rise. This is because glucose is an important source of energy, and the body produces it during situations that require a person to take action, whether it’s to fight an infection or run from an attacking lion.

Emotions are very important. Some are old survival instincts from deep within the brain. These include fear and anger. Some are chemical responses such as happiness and disgust. All are important responses designed to help us survive within and adapt to our environment. That said, a completely separate part of the brain helps us to interpret what our emotions are trying to tell us. Scientists believe that the more connections that exists linking these two parts of the brain, the better one is at dealing with life situations.

On the other hand, too much emotion can make it difficult to think. Some people become completely immobilized during intense periods of emotional response. Others refuse to accept the reality of the problems they face, instead opting to go into denial. Denial may help to protect against becoming overwhelmed by a difficult situation. However, if left unchecked, denial can interfere with a healthy lifestyle.

Some people take longer than others to calm down following an intense emotional response to a given set of circumstances. However, the ability to calm oneself down in the face of adversity is probably the best way to deal with strong emotions.

Here are a few suggestions to help calm down during intense situations:

  • Quiet Time – Schedule quiet time alone each and every day: Examples include a warm bath, listening to music, meditation, yoga, exercise and relaxing hobbies).
  • Deep breathing exercises – Think about breathing and nothing else for five to ten minutes.
  • Laughter – Watch a funny movie or TV show. Laughter relaxes you and can even help strengthen the immune system.
  • Talking – Try talking about what’s bothering you. If talking is too difficult, try writing it down.
  • Spirituality – For those who participate in a form of worship, this can be a great technique to help calm oneself down during tense situations.
  • Pets – Spending quality time with pets can be very therapeutic, and can help to reduce stress and anxiety.

If you suffer from uncontrollable anxiety or if you have frequent panic attacks, see your healthcare provider. There are medications that can help, and your doctor or nurse practitioner may recommend counseling, which can also be effective.

Take full advantage of your healthcare provider(s), your family and your friends. In the process of helping yourself, you may learn that the key to reducing anxiety is to take the focus off of yourself and to give of yourself to others.

Related Articles: Too Much Stress is Bad for Your Health

An Experienced Bicycle Accident Attorney Is Necessary During Times of Crisis

Guest Post By Michael Ehline, Esq.

There is no doubt about it, an experienced bicycle accident attorney is necessary during times of crisis for the residents of San Diego that fall victim to tragic bicycle accidents involving a negligent motor vehicle operator. They give cases like this their undivided attention, making certain the legal course of action taken is in the best interest of the victim.

Accidents like this are often caused when a driver is speeding, or they are simply not paying an adequate amount of attention to the roadways they are driving on. Every single year the result of this kind of negligence is a bicycle accident that has caused a victim to suffer from a wide range of serious and painful injuries.

The average car that families drive in the United States is on an average around 4,000 pounds. When you consider the force that is behind an automobile that weighs this much, it is easy to see why victims often end up suffering from many types of very serious injuries. This is of course if they don’t end up losing their life as a result of the injuries they suffer. When victims of traumatic bicycle accidents survive, the high cost of needed medical care and treatment can be extremely difficult to pay for because of the extensive amount of care and treatment that’s usually needed.

It is not uncommon for victims of accidents like these to suffer from spinal cord injuries, neck and back injuries that typically involve bulging and/or ruptured discs TBI or traumatic brain injury, fractures and broken bones, concussion, and numerous other injuries that can be very expensive to treat. This is because in a majority of cases the victim will need to take a variety of costly prescription medicines, and they often need to undergo such things as extensive physical therapy, counseling, and rehabilitation. Special medical equipment, professional home health care, the care of a nursing home facility, and quite a few other added expenses can also be required.

Because of the hardship this type of unexpected expense can put on victims and their families, experienced bicycle accident attorneys of San Diego is extremely necessary during times of crisis such as this. The professional skill and experience of a bicycle accident attorney having years of experience in handling cases like this can usually help to take much of the financial stress away, by making certain they obtain compensation of the highest levels. If you were injured, contact a personal injury lawyer now at 213.596.9642 at Ehline Law Firm PC. 633 West Fifth Street, 28th Floor, Los Angeles, CA 90071.

Hip Fractures in the Elderly Can Be Prevented

By: Pamela Egan, NP

A broken hip or a hip fracture is a very common injury, especially in older adults and in the elderly. Broken hips are the most common bone fracture that requires hospitalization. Hospitalizations for broken hips are rising each year to the tune of about 300,000.

Falls are the most common cause of hip fractures in the elderly. High-force injuries such as motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of hip fractures in younger patients who typically have stronger bones. Pathologic fractures such as weakened bones from infection or cancer can also be a cause of hip fractures.

Usually, osteoporosis is the cause of hip fractures in the elderly. Osteoporosis is a condition that causes loss of bone mass. The bones are thinner and weaker than normal. Adults with osteoporosis are at much higher risk of developing a hip fracture than someone without osteoporosis. The risk of osteoporosis is on the rise possibly due to an overall decrease in hormone replacement therapy and low vitamin D levels. Other risk factors associated with hip fracture are females, Caucasians, and sedentary lifestyle.

There are two types of hip fractures. A femoral neck fracture occurs when the ball of the ball-and-socket hip joint is fractured off the femur. Treatment of a femoral neck fracture depends on the age of the patient and the amount of displacement of the fracture.

Interotrochanteric hip fracture occurs just below the femoral neck. These fractures are easier to repair more often than femoral neck fractures. The usual surgical treatment involves placement of a plate and screws to stabilize the fracture.

Treatment of a hip fracture almost always requires surgery. Some surgeons are using a newer implant that uses a rod inserted down the center of the bone rather than a plate along the outside of the bone. Both types of fracture fixation (the plate and the rod) have shown good healing and have had excellent results.

Physical therapy is usually started immediately and patients can usually walk with their full weight on the implant. Patients are usually encouraged to begin walking immediately following surgery. Most commonly, patients will get up with the physical therapist the next day following surgery. It usually takes a year for full recovery.

Complications often occur in patients who suffer broken hips. By getting patient up and out of bed as soon as possible, the risk of complications is reduced. Mortality rates in the first year following a broken hip are around 25%, and the rates are highest in older populations. The cause of death following a hip fracture is often due to blood clots, pneumonia, or infection. Furthermore, only about 25% of patients who sustain a broken hip return to their pre-injury level of activity. About one year after a patient sustains a broken hip, mortality rates return to normal, but a patient who previously sustained a hip fracture is at higher risk of breaking their hip again.

Treatments for osteoporosis are available, and will help elderly individuals avoid serious complications of this disease such as a broken hip.

An assortment of products are available through medical equipment stores that can help to reduce the risk of the slips and falls that lead to hip fractures. Mobility devices such as medical walkers, rollators, canes and power scooters can help to provide ambulatory assistance to elderly individuals, as well as to those with limited strength or mobility.

Bathroom safety devices can also help to reduce the risk of injury in one of the most dangerous areas of the home for susceptible individuals. Among the most effective of these items are grab bars. Grab bars (also known as safety rails) can be mounted against a wall, inside the shower and on the wall of the bathtub. They provide a gripping surface to help individuals maintain balance and avoid falling down (and ostensibly breaking a hip). Shower chairs provide a seating surface for inside the tub, thereby eliminating the need to stand. This in turn dramatically reduces the risk of slipping while in the shower. Raised toilet seats reduce the amount of bending over necessary for one to assume a seat on the toilet. Finally, non-slip bath mats add traction to the floor of the tub or shower, making it less slippery and subsequently less dangerous.

Lastly, nutrition plays an important role in preventing both osteoporosis and hip fractures. By making a point of getting good nutrition, the risk of osteoporosis and weak bones in general is reduced significantly. The elderly should almost without exception see to it that they are ingesting sufficient amounts of calcium, magnesium and vitamin D3, either through diet or supplements. Since estimating the amount of these nutrients in one’s diet can be so difficult, I receommed going the supplement route just to be sure.

It is important when buying supplements to insist on vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) as opposed to supplements containing ergocalciferol (vitamin D2). D3 is more readily absorbed by the body, and is a far more effective form of the nutrient in terms of boosting the immune system, preventing disease and improving bone density.

Osteoarthritis Linked to Obesity

By: Pamela Egan, NP, CDE, ABAAHP Diplomat

The National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion reports that 46 million Americans have been diagnosed with arthritis or other rheumatic conditions. In addition, arthritis is the most common cause of disability in the US, limiting activities of daily living of an estimated 19 million adults.

A new CDC report published April 29, 2011 in the edition of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report raises new concerns about arthritis and its link to obesity. As obesity increases, people diagnosed with arthritis increases. And the rates are increasing faster in some states. The more weight people gain the higher their risk of developing arthritis.

Researchers have been tracking health-related conditions and behaviors for more than 15 years. The data was broken down state by state. The states with the highest obesity rates were: South Carolina, Arkansas, Kentucky, Alaska, Michigan, Missouri, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Mississippi, and my home state of Louisiana which has the nation’s highest percentage of obese residents at 43.5%.

Osteoarthritis is also called degenerative joint disease. It is the most common type of arthritis. It is a chronic condition characterized by the breakdown of the joint’s cartilage. The breakdown of cartilage causes the bones to rub against each other, causing stiffness, pain and loss of movement in the joint.

Osteoarthritis is common in all races and backgrounds. It usually appears after age 45. Overall, more women have osteoarthritis than men. There is no cure. Many factors may play a role in whether or not you get OA including genetics, age, obesity, injuries such as sports injuries, muscle weakness, free radical damage and oxidative stress, lack of fruits and vitamin C.

Healthy lifestyle modifications are important for people who suffer from arthritis. Weight management, a nutritionally balanced diet and exercise can help to reduce symptoms of arthritis. Fish Oil is an essential fatty acid that helps to ease the pain. Glucosamine helps to lubricate joints thereby reducing the pain of arthritis. Antioxidants are also beneficial to reverse free radical damage and oxidative stress. When natural remedies fail aspirin and NSAID’s (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) can be added.

There are also products that can help relieve pain associated with some types of arthritis. For example, Egan Medical offers a variety of products such as these arthritis gloves, which help to relieve pain associated with arthritis of the fingers and hands. Egan Medical offers a variety of orthopedic braces and supports designed to help relieve arthritis pain.

In addition to the various soft orthopedic goods, Egan Medical also offers Biofreeze, a pain relieving cryotherapy gel designed to among other things, help relieve pain associated with arthritis.

To summarize, osteoarthritis cases are on the rise, and new research seems to indicate that this may be tied to a rise in obesity rates, which have been linked to osteoarthritis pain. Weight management through diet, exercise and general lifestyle changes is the best way to go about addressing the issue. That said, for those who are still in pain or who wish to minimize the pain while addressing the various lifestyle components of obesity and arthritis, there are products available that can help accomplish those ends.

Pamela Egan, NP, CDE, ABAAHP Diplomat
Egan Wellness, Anti-Aging and Skin Care Spa
1116 W. 21st Avenue
Covington, LA 70433
985-892-3031 (Office)
985-892-9504 (Fax)

The Role of Prevention in Medicine

Guest Post by Peter F. Egan Jr. (Pam’s Eldest Son)

Pam has been unusually busy lately, so I’ve taken the liberty of filling in for her while she’s away from her blog. You may periodically see posts from me when my mother is particularly busy. I regret the inconvenience, but vow to do my best to keep the content at the same, exceptionally-high level of quality when I do fill in. I hope you enjoy what hopefully will not become a regular appearance.

To Prevent, Or Not To Prevent? That Is The Role Of Medicine

There are a lot of people out there who seek general, all-around care by a physician who will consider all aspects of their lifestyle – factoring in such things as nutrition and diet – when assessing a patient. A good number of Americans (I don’t have a scientific percentage handy) expect their doctor to help them prevent the onset of illness rather than treat it after the fact, and unfortunately too many primary care doctors (though not all) leave much to be desired in this regard.

That said, there are undoubtedly many, many good one out there. It is a reality though that too many doctors place too little emphasis on prevention, preferring instead to deal almost exclusively with post-symtomatic diagnosis, and post-diagnostic treatment. As a patient, you owe it to yourself to do your research and look around until you find someone you’re comfortable with – both in terms of the person as well as his or her outlook on caring for the patient.

For those who hold a more broad view of the role of medicine (and see a role in prevention as well as post-diagnostic treatment), my advice to them would be to consider seeing a nurse practitioner. Nurse Practitioners traditionally have been more inclined than physicians to embrace the concepts of wellness and preventive medicine, focusing on the overall health of the patient and on prevention until symptoms arise. Obviously, at this point the focus would shift to diagnosis and treatment. However, the goal of preventive medicine practitioner (and many nurse practitioners) is to prevent and/or delay things reaching the diagnostic stage (with symptoms present) for as long as possible.

The risk of illness is reduced when the body and immune system is healthy, and the risk of injury is reduced when the bones and joints are healthy. Point being, when the body is healthy, injury and illness tend to occur less frequently on a general scale and are generally less severe when they do occur. Preventive medicine practitioners (again, often nurse practitioners) have a reputation for being cognizant of this, and for determine plans of care accordingly.

FTR: Yes, that is supposed to be a cheesy Shakespeare reference in the title.