Heavy Metal Toxicity and Treatment

Mercury Toxicity- Are you at risk?

Heavy metals are ubiquitous substances, especially in industrialized countries. There are 16 heavy metals physicians routinely test. More than 1900 autoimmune diseases are now linked to heavy metal toxicity. Autoimmune diseases, immune dysfunction syndromes and treatment resistant conditions are linked to this type of chronic poisoning. A recent in a peer reviewed medical journal identifies men with mercury toxicity as being over two times as likely to have a heart attack than those with normal (non-toxic) levels. Chronic heavy metal toxicity and its treatment has been the subject of much controversy in the medical and dental communities and still is to this day. There are studies offered up by both sides of how significant or insignificant this is to human health. The American College for the Advancement of Medicine (ACAM) which celebrates it’s 25th year anniversary this year is the leading American medical society for the study of heavy metal toxicity and its treatments (principally Chelation Therapy). As a member, I attended their annual meeting in November, 2002 in Phoenix and was convinced by the evidence presented based on international medical literature and data to consider this therapy in my private practice.

Closer to home, a subject of mine was not having the expected results with intense nutritional therapeutics and traditional medication (of which she was taking many pharmaceuticals). She continued to express immune dysfunction and a myriad of symptoms until it was discovered the cause of her resistance. Mercury toxicity. This article will focus on Mercury.

Industry contributes tons of mercury to our environment yearly. For example, coal power plants are responsible for 35% of the load dumped into our environment, medical waste incineration is responsible for 30%, and then there are sources, such as dental amalgams (~50% of a silver dental amalgam is actually mercury [Hg]). Another source is Thimerisol, a mercury based preservative found in vaccines, injectables and contact lens solutions. The water we drink is a potential for taking in this toxin as is the fish we eat. Larger fish, such as swordfish and shark are greater repositories for mercury. Still salmon, tuna, mackerel and bass have been shown to have levels higher than 1.0 parts per billion (ppb) deemed the limit by the FDA. To paint a clearer picture, 1.0 ppb of mercury is still 20,000 molecules of mercury present in each cell.

How does this happen? Mercury is released into the atmosphere as a vapor from industry which can travel miles until it comes down to earth in precipitation (rain) and enters our water and soil. Subsequently, the inorganic mercury is transformed by bacteria into an organic methyl-mercury, which is lipid soluble and freely passes through cell membranes, across the blood-brain barrier and placenta contaminating many body organs. Storing itself in our fat cells and especially our brains. If you have mercury amalgams, then mercury vapor is released by eating, drinking hot liquids or even brushing your teeth. These vapors are inhaled into our lungs and enter the body by that rout as well as by being swallowed. Obviously, those that are immunized with Thimerisol containing vaccines are being exposed from that source. A world environmental travesty is the over use of mercury containing anti-fungals in Africa’s agriculture industry, which releases 100 tons of mercury laden fungacidals a year that vaporize and travels across the atmosphere in oceanographic weather patterns and will eventually find it way to U.S. soil.

What are symptoms of mercury toxicity? Some major symptoms include headaches, body pain, numbness, tingling, trouble with memory, trouble with concentration, gait and balance disturbance, various endocrine abnormalities and gastrointestinal disturbances. Also included are a number of autoimmune and immune dysfunction disorders, such as Diabetes, Rheumatoid Arthritis, IBS, Multiple Sclerosis and Systemic Lupus. Also on the list are CFIDS, Fibromyalgia, ALS, endometriosis and RSD.

How do I get tested? A very simple screening examination is made by the use of hair. Hair and nails are repositories for mercury (and other heavy metals) and is a relatively inexpensive screening tool. To have 16 heavy metals along with good elements analyzed, it will cost approximately $160. If there are high levels of mercury noted on hair analysis, then a chelation challenge or provocation test is ordered. This is where a chelation agent (a substance that pulls heavy metals out of your body) is given in a single dose and a 6-hour urine is collected. The chelating agent (usually DMSA) pulls mercury, for example, out of your cells and excretes them in your urine. DMSA, while FDA approved for lead detoxification, has an “off label” use for mercury detox. There are other agents like DMPS and D-Penicillamine that are used as well.

So if I have a high level what next? If the provocation test is positive, then a course of pulsed chelation sessions is prescribed to rid the body of the heavy metal. Unfortunately, mercury has a half-life of between 20 and 30 years, and mercury deposits quicker than the body can get rid of it on its own. Therefore, chelation therapy is necessary to treat this type of poisoning. Periodically, challenges are performed to follow progress. Other steps are to seek the source of contamination and avoid it, remove old mercury amalgams and replace them with non-toxic porcelain fillings and be cautious with which fish and seafood you consume. Vitamin C in high doses is useful alone or in combination with DMSA in chelating out mercury. Other nutritional recommendations are to replace sulfhydryl group containing amino acids and glutathione, since methyl-mercury has a high affinity for these compounds (the liver actually secretes small amounts of mercury via bile into the feces), so folks with liver disease are hindered in their ability to excrete even small amounts of mercury.

If you have concerns about heavy metal toxicity or mercury toxicity, seek guidance and a program from a physician with experience in chronic poisoning detoxification.

(c) 2004

Combining Vacation With Medical Treatments

Imagine recuperating after surgery on a white sandy beach sipping island teas or in the comfort of a spa while receiving full-body massages, or savoring exotic foods, visiting tourist attractions and shopping for yourself and the family. Most of us need specialized medical treatment from time to time, and most of us plan vacations every year or so. Why not combine your vacations with your medical treatments?

According to the National Coalition on Health Care, more than 500,000 Americans traveled abroad to receive medical and dental work in 2006. And this is not an isolated trend. Every year, millions of patients from around the globe flock to some of the hottest medical tourism destinations in order to receive five-star treatment at unbelievable prices. With soaring health care costs and long waiting lines for medical procedures, it is becoming increasingly difficult to find quality, affordable treatment. Whether you want a knee replacement, heart surgery, or facelift, you might have to dig deep into your wallet or wait several months before receiving the medical or dental care that you require. But why pay exorbitant prices at home when you can travel abroad and receive the same treatment (if not better) from a fully certified medical facility for a fraction of the price?

Asian nations like India, Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore offer quality healthcare (you can choose from a host of quality private care hospitals which have excellent USA accreditations for services they perform) at very affordable prices and are preferred destinations of tourists worldwide.

Dental Treatment For Sports Related Injury

Sports dentistry is the process of treating & preventing oral or facial injuries of athletes in relation to playing their sports. When a dentist has a lot of experiences treating these kinds of injuries, it becomes much like a specialization.

Professional organizations for hockey or other sports have a number of medical personnel employed in their workforce to make sure that the athletes keep their level of performance at an optimum. This team of medical staff includes a dentist who is required to be present at every game, on standby to care for players who have obtained some sort of injury around the maxillofacial region.

For the duration of the NHL regular season, the injuries incurred during a competition, whether from the home or the visiting team, are ministered to by the dentist of the home team. On the start of the play offs and the strategic team is on lockdown, the dentist joins the medical team travelling from city to city giving dental care directly. The injuries are kept as secrets from the opposing team as the opponents keep theirs a secret.

The treatments that are given during a game are just temporary remedies as the proper equipment to perform restorations are not possible. Priority is given to relieving pain immediately. More detailed treatment is given later at the dentist’s office where the facilities are available.

The most usual injuries being treated are lacerations of the gingival area. And the second most common is injury to the incisors of the upper teeth. These injuries happen because it is not mandatory to wear mouth guards on the game.

Yet the younger breed of hockey celebrities in the NHL is setting an example by wearing mouth guards. The Academy for Sports Dentistry observes that on the national level, all states require the use of mouth guards in high school field hockey, ice hockey, amateur boxing, football, & lacrosse only. Although some states have added other types of sports to the list, it does not mean that becoming a professional in sports translates to ceasing to wear a mouth guard because of fame. But according to a study made in 2008, mouth guard wearing is becoming popular and still rising. The ‘tough guy’ who shuns the wearing of a mouth guard is becoming rare.

The estimate on the units of teeth lost to sports injury is more than five million teeth a year. It is pretty common to see hockey players with missing teeth. It used to be brandished like a medal of honor but not anymore.

Tax Time! Have You Maximized Your Medical Expenses?

You may not be in as much medical debt as you think! If your medical expenses exceed 7.5 percent of your adjusted gross income, you can start deducting! The IRS defines these expenses as “the costs of diagnosis, cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of disease and the costs for treatments affecting any part or function of the body.” They may include costs, of equipment, supplies, and diagnostic devices needed for these purposes as well as dental expenses. So save those receipts and think back to what you think is a medical expense and double check with the IRS’s publication 502. You might be surprised at what made the list!

Traditionally, health expenses include doctors’ visits, laboratory tests, prescription drugs, and even insurance premiums. But did you know that some alternative procedures such as acupuncture, Navajo healing ”sings,” electric shock, whirlpool baths, hydrotherapy and heat treatments are also on the list? No, marijuana is not a deductible, even when prescribed by a doctor in a state permitting the prescription, but keep checking, it might be included in next year’s list!

Some less obvious deductions may include air conditioners for relief of allergies or breathing problems, contact lenses, Braille books, adapters for closed-caption service for the deaf, hearing aids, eyeglasses, orthopedic shoes, crutches, wheelchairs, wigs for those who have lost hair through disease, and legal fees for guardianship of a mentally ill spouse and let’s not forget those clarinet lessons for “little Jonny” because a dentist recommended them for treatment of his tooth defect.

If you participated in childbirth classes for expectant mothers, you may be able to deduct those too, but do not deduct your maternity clothes. You just might want to donate those to the Salvation Army or Goodwill if they are in at least “good” condition for the tax write-off. Don’t forget about those remedial reading expenses for your child if they are suffering from dyslexia and what about the cost of buying, training and maintaining a guide dog or “other animal” for that blind person.

Let’s not forget any “home improvement” expenses you incurred while constructing an exit ramp, widening doorways, fire alarms, handrails, lead-based paint removal, special hardware on doors, lowering or modifying kitchen cabinets etc for the purpose of medical care for you or your dependent(s). And do you have dependents, like your parents, that rely on you to cover their medical expenses, or even part of their medical expenses?

For 2006, you can also deduct 18 cents per mile for travel expenses to and from your medical treatments. Next year it is expected to go up to 20 cents per mile and let’s not forget lodging and meals at a hospital or “similar institution.” As long as the principal reason for being there is to receive medical care, you are “in the clear,” however, lodging cannot exceed $50 per person. For example, if a parent is traveling with a sick child, you can deduct up to $100 per night and that does not include meals.

In general, most medically necessary costs prescribed by a physician are deductible and so are some other things you may not even think of…so be sure you the IRS Publication 502, “Medical and Dental Expenses” before filing your taxes this year. You don’t want to miss out on any of those deductions, especially with the rising costs of health care!

Read “Health care for Less” on other deductions and ways you can save on your health care.

Dental Care For The Kids

The latest definition of pediatric dentistry as given by the ADA is as follows:-

“Pediatric dentistry is an age-defined specialty that provides primary and comprehensive preventive and therapeutic health care for infants and children through adolescence, including those with special health care needs.”

This definition given by the ADA is very comprehensive and covers a whole lot of points. Firstly, the clause “age-defined” points out that, pediatric dentists have no limitations on the type of treatments they offer and it is specifically done for infants and children through adolescence till a specific age. The primary and comprehensive care part signifies that there is no need for a referral of patients. Parents can get their children treated just as they do it with a paediatrician. The definition also lays out that pediatric dentists will treat children right from infancy till their late teens.

Unfortunately quite a sizable percentage of America’s children population suffers from serious dental diseases that are potentially dangerous. Unlike other diseases like flu or cold these won’t go away unless they are properly treated. These serious diseases are required to be done with the utmost of care so that the young patients are comfortable. If left untreated these diseases could lead to serious repercussions like mental problems. So the need of sedation arises while treating them. The AAPD takes the best precautions possible to ensure that no accident takes place which might result in the child getting injured or even dying. Till date, there hasn’t been a single case of morbidity or mortality in the AAPD’s records.

Sedation dentistry is the term provided to the method of providing sedation to the patient for undergoing a vital dental operation. It generally helps the patient to lose consciousness and thus track of time. He may feel that the operation lasted only for a couple of minutes while it may have taken up to many hours. Many people suffer from the common phobia of visiting the dentist. Accordingly, negligence in taking care of teeth leads to numerous diseases. These diseases are often of a very serious nature. The process of sedation dentistry helps addressing these problems by lowering the patient’s apprehensions. Treatments of a very serious proportions and which might have generally taken many sessions are completed in a couple of sessions. Almost all the dentists are offering sedation dentistry nowadays but the level of experience varies from dentist to dentist.

The meaning of the word ‘sedation’ as defined in the Oxford dictionary is to administer someone with a drug to make him or her drowsy or asleep. It affects the central nervous system of the human body and produces an overall calm and relaxed effect. The various types of sedative drugs are tranquillizers, sleeping pills and anti-depressants. These can be administered in a variety of ways. In the past, IV sedation was use to sedate dental patients. Now with the growth in technology, oral and inhale sedation are also available. These methods are very popular with the patients as compared to the IV sedation. Sedation dentistry has given an option to many people who were scared of suffering pain during the treatment.

When the sedation is administered, a person doesn’t sleep off, he merely feels sleepy. Therefore, sedation dentistry should be termed as sleep dentistry. In case of existence of some complex medical problems, sedation is not used. In its place, general anesthesia is used which induces a deeper sleep. Sedation puts patients in an alleviated state and thus making them feel or remember very little of the actual process.

Sedation dentistry is used on children albeit in restricted doses. Most children have a phobia of the dentist. So this is used to calm and soothe their inhibitions so that the dental surgery can be carried out. Also, it helps alleviate the fear so that it doesn’t haunt them in their adulthood.

Often it becomes very necessary to be treated by a highly experienced sedation dentist because some cases require a high dose to be given. A dentist having additional trained expertise should administer these doses as these are very sensitive cases and a minute mistake can result in death. The different methods of sedations administered are oral conscious sedation dentistry, inhalation conscious sedation dentistry, intravenous conscious sedation dentistry and intramuscular conscious sedation dentistry. Patients administered oral sedation are not allowed to drive a car 24 hours following the appointment. It is generally given to the patient an hour prior to the appointment. Sedation by inhalation uses nitrous oxide. This is the most common method used by almost 35% of all American dentists. The advantage of this method is that the patient can resume his activities almost immediately after the treatment is done. IV sedation is not as readily available as the aforementioned types of sedation but it is one of the safest methods for complex treatments. Dentists using this method are given advanced training and certification by their state dental organizations. The last method is intramuscular sedation. This is a pretty effective method of sedation in cases of adults having mild dental anxiety. It is used more in case of fearful children. This sedation takes effect in 20-30 minutes after being administered.

Coming back to pediatric dentistry, most parents or guardians are unsure as to when should be their child’s first dental visit. Some parents might even be advised by their family dentist not to take the child for a check-up until all the primary teeth are up. This may take 2-3 years at an average or in some cases even 6 years. Such type of delay can lead to unfavorable dental conditions which might not be in the best interests of the child. The AAPD asks parents and other care providers to have the child examined on the completion of 12 months.

Here the pediatric dentist generally records the medical and dental history of the family and the child. During the first visit the parents are asked to stay back in the clinic. The main aim of this visit is to find out the child’s risk of developing oral or dental diseases. The pediatric dentist also determines the correct pace of development of teeth, that is, how many teeth at a particular age.

Caries is an infectious disease that affects infants. Inappropriate feeding patterns can lead to this disease. This type of tooth decay affects the child, the parents and the pediatric dentist to a great extent. An early recognition and intervention can lead to successful treatment or at the very least checking the spread of the disease. The factors essential for the spread of the Caries disease are:-

1. Teeth must be present.

2. Bacteria must be present

3. There must be food for the bacteria to fee on

4. Caries needs time to develop

The teeth start to erupt generally by the end of 6 months. By 12 months a number of teeth start to grow. All the upper and lower incisors have already erupted by the end of 12 months. The bacterium that is the cause of Caries is Streptococcus Mutans. It doesn’t appear until after the eruption of teeth in the infant. The Streptococcus mutans in itself doesn’t adhere to the teeth but it requires other bacteria to form a colony. The food that acts as the food for the bacteria is generally milk, juice or any other sweetened food. There must be a prolonged period of time for the bacteria to carry out demineralization of the teeth and take its toll. The bedtime bottle of milk is usually the most dangerous.

If it is diagnosed early then re-mineralization can be carried out but if it has already reached a higher stage, then extraction may be the best option. The pediatric dentist advises the best course of action to follow for the parents. Very young children may need sedation for the treatment.

People generally have a high degree of trust on the dentists they have been going to for treatment. So when they have to seek a new dentist for whatever reasons such as after moving to a new area or just due to some other reasons, they land up in a soup. Their judgment is impaired by the pat experiences and they tend to make wrong decisions.

Moving to a new area or just finding a new dentist, these tips would help you greatly. If you are moving to a new area, then ask your old dentist if he can refer someone to you. Some good sources to ask for new dentists even if you are staying in your old area are friends, family members, church members, co-workers, and your pharmacist. A good way to get detailed information about all dentists in your area or the area of your interest is to go online. Web sites usually provide exhaustive information on doctors and medical practitioners. A call to the nearest dental school clinic can also yield results.

Now that you have found a number of dentists in the area, the next step is to check out on them. One of the most important things to figure out is the distance of the clinic from your home. It should be at an accessible area, not being too far off. The clinic could also be situated near your office. Find out whether it would be easy to get appointments suiting your needs. Look around for the cleanliness of the clinic and the instruments. The instruments should be properly sterilized otherwise there’s a risk of contacting diseases. The dentist should be wearing a glove, mask and gown. The interaction between the dentist and his staff should be cordial and peaceful. Now speak to the doctor about your dental history. Explain to him any problems and treatments in your past. Notice the manner in which he explains the preventative measures and treatments to you. Would you be comfortable sharing all concerns? Clear all the matters relating to fees, payment and insurance. These should be done before the treatment. Inquire whether he provides emergency, after-hours treatment. This is a good idea if you have rigid working hours that continue long into the evening. Find out about his education and degrees and ask him what continued education has he taken to keep abreast with the latest changes in dental technology.

Another thing to find out about the schedule of the dentist is whether he is taking new patients. Because some doctors owing to their jam-packed schedules rarely take new patients. Does he treat patients with special cases such as physical handicap, diabetes, HIV/aids, autism and special needs children? There are some dentists who treat only these cases so it might be better to look for such a dentist if the patient suffers from anyone of them. The techniques which the dentist offers as means of sedation to counter dental phobia, does he check children as well as adults, is there a payment for missed or broken appointments, need to be looked into. It is always better to find out the various types of payment plans which the dentist might be offering. Most clinics offer payment plans with no interest nowadays. If you have dental insurance, ask the dentist whether they accept it. If they do, then will they file the claims or will you have to do it? Also will he accept partial pay from you or will you have to pay the whole amount and be reimbursed by the insurance company later.