Sharing the Health

What Is in Some Supplements?

Santa’s little helper on our front cover, Stephen Rule, of The Villages, FL, reports that the September 2010 issue of Consumer Reports magazine contains a discus- sion of various supplements. The following three fall under the category of “Supplements You Should Avoid.”

  1. Supplement name: Coltsfoot

(aka: coughwort, farfarae folium leaf, foalswort) Purported uses: Cough, sore throat, laryngitis, asthma, bronchitis

Possible dangers: Liver damage, cancer

Consumer Reports comments: Likely unsafe

  1. Supplement name: Country mallow

(aka: heartleaf, Sida cordifolia, silky white mallow) Purported uses: Nasal congestion, allergies, asthma, weight loss, bronchitis

Possible dangers: Heart attack, heart arrythmia, stroke, death

Consumer Reports comments: Likely unsafe. Possible dangers linked with its ephedrine alkaloids banned by the FDA in 2004

  1. Supplement name: Lobelia

(aka: asthma weed, Lobelia inflata, pukeweed, vomit wort)

Purported uses: Coughing, bronchitis, asthma, smoking cessation (possibly ineffective)

Possible dangers: Toxicity–overdose can cause fast heartbeat, very low blood pressure, coma, possibly death

Consumer Reports comments: Likely unsafe. The FDA warned in 1993 that it was linked to serious adverse events.

Bronchitis and/or asthma are listed as reasons for using all three. Consumer Reports also listed aconite, bitter orange, chaparral, colloidal silver, comfrey, germanium, greater celandine, kava and yohimbe as supplements to avoid.

Good News for People with Pulmonary Hypertension! Doctors at the Canadian Heart and Stroke Founda- tion recently discovered an early warning system in a protein called PIM-1. Dr. Sébastien Bonnet has estab- lished that PIM-1 cells can be used as markers of pulmonary hypertension. Physicians found the greater the PIM-1 levels, the more severe the pulmonary hypertension. With blood tests to look at these levels and blocking the PIM-1 protein, a cure might be possible!

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Marie tends to her lawn before it is covered with snow!

Marie Mynatt of Knoxville, TN, says she tries to avoid infections at any cost but sometimes well meaning visitors to her home bring germs with them. She posted a notice to her front door: “I am very vul- nerable to cold germs and other infections. I would love to see you but if you think you may be coming down with something, let’s reschedule your visit.

A sincere thank you for understanding!”

Kathy in Florida writes, “With the holidays coming up, we are sure to be in the kitchen and around stoves. For those who cook with gas heat and wear oxygen, put the tubing so it is tightened behind your head and not under your chin. As long as you don’t get close to the flame or touch the hose to it, you will be safe! For every day dinners, try a slow cooker. You can also get liners for them so that you only need to wipe the crock pot out with a damp sponge and put it away when done. This is a good option for anyone–whether wearing oxygen or not. You can put the meal together in the morning before leaving and when you come home, you open the door to delicious aromas of dinner cooking!”

I cope with COPD with an irreverent sense of humor. I began using oxygen in 2004 and changed my license plate to read ‘HOZ NOZ’ – pronounced hose nose. My hairdresser also greets with me, “Hello, Hose Nose” and people tell him he’s terrible to do so, but we just laugh. When I was diagnosed with lung cancer ten years ago, the reaction of others was a sharp intake of breath – which made me really uncomfortable. I would say, “Oh, I’ll just change my email address to be OneLungLow and got a t-shirt from the gym that says ‘Outta Breath’.”

I love being on oxygen! It’s so much easier than strug- gling for breath. Thank you for all the information you have been imparting. It’s a small club and I am proud to be a member!            Barbara Harrod, Juno Beach, FL

image362Hildegard Kowai recom- mends caftans for ladies to stay warm this winter. They are easy to put on, you can dress them up and there is no restriction of movement. If you can’t find them at a local store, she has ordered them online at www.VermontCountry Store.com. You may request a catalogue at 1-802-776- 5730. Light weight ther- mals are also good for keep- ing warm all day long.

More than 50 years ago, I was a student nurse. I was assigned a gentleman with asthma who began to cough and wheeze. The head nurse told me to get a large glass of the hottest water that I could get from the tap and have the patient drink it all down at once. This stopped the spasms and his symptoms were immediately relieved. I have used this trick for many years for myself and it may be helpful to those of you who are wheezing or affected by mucus that cannot be coughed up.

Will Anne Ricer, New Mexico

image364Gloria from California recommends that you do not flush medication that you no longer need to avoid harm to the ecosystem. If you put old medication in the garbage, it may also cause problems in the land fill. Simply return it to your local pharmacy to dispose of. Your pharmacy will have a procedure that will be safe for you and the environment!

Have You Had Your Flu Shot?

If you are over 6 months old, you should have gotten your annual flu vaccine by now! For those with chronic lung disease, getting both the flu and pneumococcal vaccinations can markedly reduce the risk (by 35%!) of stroke, heart attack, pneumonia and death. Now that’s worth a shot!