Red Yeast Rice Extract - Its not magic, Its a drug
by Michael Melgar on March 8th, 2014
Red Yeast Rice Extract is a Chinese medicine which has been promoted as a "natural" treatement for high cholesterol. Proponents of this treatment ( usually not legitimate medical profesisonals) claim that it offers patients a way to lower their cholesterol without the side effects of medication. As with many alternative therapies the assumption is that somehow we can magically have all the benefit...  Read More
Why everyone needs to have "End of Life" documents
by Michael Melgar on February 8th, 2014
Many people have heard of a Living Will but most have never thought about it for themselves or taken the time to have one prepared. Even fewer have heard of a Health Care Proxy or know what it is. One poll found that among baby boomers less than 36 percent had completed one of these documents. Most in this group report that since they are young and healthy they do not think about or prepare for de...  Read More
Lung Cancer Screening - Is it time to get a CT scan?
by Michael Melgar on December 31st, 2013
The USPSTF has come out with a preliminary recommendation in support of low dose chest CT scans to screen for lung cancer in certain high risk individuals. This is an update of an earlier recommendation which concluded that there was insufficient evidence to recommend for or against such screening. More evidence has now come out allowing the USPSTF to update their recommendation. The new recommend...  Read More
Will an aspirin a day really keep the heart attack away?
by Michael Melgar on December 12th, 2013
Many of the people reading this may already be taking a daily aspirin to prevent heart attacks and strokes because they heard it was good idea, but is it a good idea for everyone?  Like many questions without simple answers, the answer to that question is "It depends". It depends a lot on what an individuals particular risk is for the illnesses we are trying to prevent as well as their risk for de...  Read More
Preventing Heart Disease with almonds- Is this study Nuts?
by Michael Melgar on November 26th, 2013
A study published today in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine draws a connection between the daily consumption of tree nuts ( not just almonds) and a reduction in overall deaths from all causes. Nuts are known to be rich in a number of nutrients including unsaturated fats, fiber, vitamins and minerals. Some previous observational studies seemed to show a correlation between nut consu...  Read More
Antibiotics and Probiotics- Why you shouldn't take either without a good reason
by Michael Melgar on November 21st, 2013
As most people know, antibiotics are used to kill bacteria in our bodies. Recently products known as probiotics have become popular. For those who don't know what they are, probiotics are meant to promote the growth of bacteria in our body, primarily in our gut. In theory antibiotics are used to kill harmful bacteria and probiotics are meant to promote the growth of good bacteria but is anything e...  Read More
New Cholesterol Guidelines - What's changed and what does it mean for you?
by Michael Melgar on November 18th, 2013
Last week saw the announcement of new cholesterol treatment guidelines published by the American Heart Association and the American Cardiology Association. Many believe that the new guidelines will result in millions of additional people being put on statin drugs like Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor, and the many generic equivalents. While this may be true the new guidelines also mean that some people who...  Read More
How do you save a life ? - Just swab your cheek
by Michael Melgar on November 10th, 2013
Scores of people die yearly from diseases that could be treated and cured if only they had a matching bone marrow donor. These deaths occur in children, young adults, mothers, fathers, wives, and husbands. The saddest part is that many of them die even though there is a perfect match 2 states over, down the street, or even next door, but no one knew because they weren't registered. Only about 30% ...  Read More
Omega 3's (Fish Oil and Flax Seed Oil) who should take them?
by Michael Melgar on November 3rd, 2013
It seems like everyone is taking Omega 3 tablets these days doesn't it? Fish Oil capsules and Flax seed oil supplements containing Omega 3's are advertised and sold in every health food store and pharmacy. Common wisdom is that these supplements are good for everything from preventing heart disease to lubricating joints. Omega 3's became popular when studies showed that people who ate more fish s...  Read More
A cold? the flu? allergies? or a sinus infection? how do you know what you have?
by Michael Melgar on October 23rd, 2013
As you wake from a night of restless sleep the alarm clock is ringing and the loud clanging makes your head pound. You reach to shut it off and realize in addition to that nasty headache, you're tongue feels like cardboard.  You open your mouth and move your tongue around trying to moisten your mouth but a night of mouth breathing has left it as dry as the Gobi. When you try to breath through your...  Read More
Why did your doctor give you a drug that causes hot dog fingers? - How to sort out medication side effects
by Michael Melgar on October 9th, 2013
Medication side effects can be confusing. Every drug seems to come with a list of side effects so long you could trip over it. Click Here to learn more....  Read More
How do Heart Attacks Happen?
by Michael Melgar on September 17th, 2013
In last weeks blog entry we discussed stress tests and who should have one so this week I thought it would be useful to go over what a heart attack is and how it occurs. We've all heard stories of people who have had heart attacks. Maybe a family member had some chest pain and went to his doctor. He had been having chest pains off and on for a while but never told anyone until one day they got to...  Read More