Tag Archives: hormone therapy

Gena Lee Nolin

Thyroid Disease Can Happen To Anyone, Just Ask Gena Lee Nolin

Making waves: Thyroid disease can happen to anyone, just ask ‘Baywatch’ star Gena Lee Nolin.


Are you struggling with exhaustion, noticeable weight-gain and severe moodiness? If you answered “yes” to all three questions, you may be dealing with thyroid disease.

The thyroid gland manufactures hormones that control metabolism. Thyroid disease occurs when the thyroid gland is either creating too many hormones (hyperthyroidism) or not enough (hypothyroidism). Although hypothyroidism is much more common, any type of thyroid dysfunction affects critical body functions such as energy level and heart rate, according to the American Thyroid Association.

Dr. Alan Christianson, a naturopathic medical doctor for Integrative Health in Scottsdale, says thyroid disease is not a common topic of conversation, but it may affect more women than most  research shows.

He says that if one were to look at optimal standards, it’s likely that 20 to 25 percent of the adult population may have some degree of thyroid dysfunction, compared with 10 percent shown by most conservative evidence.

Christianson adds that women are especially vulnerable to thyroid disease during pregnancy. In fact, one of Christianson’s patients, Gena Lee Nolin, a Scottsdale resident and former star of “Baywatch,” says she suffered a severe case of thyroid disease during pregnancy. She says the worst part was being misdiagnosed with possible psychological problems and atrial fibrillation (AFIB) due to irregular heart rates.

Symptoms

Christianson says thyroid disease is often overlooked because the symptoms that occur in the earlier stages, such as depression, fatigue, and/or weight gain, are symptoms a lot of people have for other reasons. Most doctors are only trained to identify thyroid disease when it is very advanced — and usually that’s five to seven years down the road, he adds.

Nolin says she was up to 175 pounds (pre-pregnancy), felt achy and was sick with constant flu-like symptoms.

“They tested me for Valley Fever; they tested me for rheumatoid arthritis (RA) — pretty much everything,” Nolin says. “And then the doctor threw out all these things and said, ‘You need talk to a psychiatrist. It could be in your head.’ So he gave me a card, and I left the appointment crying.”

Later, when Nolin was seven weeks pregnant, she was walking on the treadmill and noticed that her heart started to race and beat irregularly. She was misdiagnosed with AFIB because of her symptoms. In realty, it was thyroid disease, for which she was never screened.

Awareness

Christianson says even if a pregnant woman does not have symptoms of thyroid disease, she should always be tested for it during a routine checkup.

“There are changes that take place within the immune and the body’s hormone system during pregnancy that can push thyroid disease over the edge if it’s in the shadows waiting to start,” Christianson says.

After her diagnosis with AFIB, Nolin had another cardiac attack — this time seven months into her pregnancy — and was rushed to the hospital where, again, she was never screened for thyroid disease.

“When I was there, they wanted to cardiac-convert me, which is like what you see on ‘ER’ when they put the panels on someone, and the body jumps,” Nolin recalls. “They wanted to stop and restart my heart with (me) seven months pregnant, which is just crazy.”

She was never diagnosed until a routine checkup. Christianson says it was sad she wasn’t tested for thyroid disease until then because it could have saved her a lot of trouble.

“(After the diagnosis), I was relieved to hear that I was diagnosed with something and that it wasn’t in my head after all,” Nolin says.

Nolin is a frequent public speaker and thyroid patient advocate. She even created a Facebook page called “Thyroid Sexy” for thyroid awareness and support. The page has more than 16,000 members.

Nolin says she feels as though it’s her mission to call attention to thyroid disease.
“I went through so much for so long, and I suffered silently,” Nolin says. “If I can shed light or help somebody else out there that is frustrated, alone and not taken seriously, then I’ve done something.”

For more information about thyroid disease, visit:

Integrative Healthcare
9200 E. Raintree Dr., #100, Scottsdale
(480) 657-0003
integrativehealthcare.com

Scottsdale Living Magazine Winter 2013

Prostate cancer

Proactive Prostate: Learn The Facts, Risks, Treatments Of Prostate Cancer

When it comes to prostate cancer and men, the statistics are sobering.

According to the American Cancer Society:

  • Other than skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer in American men.
  • More than 240,00 new cases of prostate cancer will be diagnosed in 2012.
  • More than 28,000 men will die of prostate cancer in 2012.
  • One in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer during his lifetime.

As we observe Prostate Cancer Awareness Month this September, why not take the time to learn the facts about this disease, risk factors and current treatments available?

It’s a Guy Thing

Fact – only men can get prostate cancer.

Simply put, ladies don’t have a prostate gland!

It’s an Age Thing

It is imperative to note that the majority of all prostate cancer – more than 70 percent – occurs in men age 65 and older. In fact, prostate cancer is almost completely nonexistent in men under the age of 40.

It’s a Sneaky Thing

When you have cold, you sneeze.

When you have a sinus infection, it is hard to swallow.

But, unfortunately, there are no easy-to-detect signs of early prostate cancer. It isn’t until the more advanced and difficult-to-treat stages that one might notice trouble urinating, blood in the urine and bone/pelvic pain.

It’s a Testing Thing

Because symptoms of the disease may not be present until later stages, proactive prostate screening is imperative. The best method is two complimentary tests. First is the digital rectal examination, which should be done once a year during a regular annual physical after age 50.

Sure, it is uncomfortable, but it is critical in helping us detect prostate cancer as well as a litany of other issues, including growths, pelvic pain, bleeding and even colorectal cancer.

There is also a second critical screening involving the blood, which tests the prostate-specific antigen (PSA), that doctors should use to compliment the rectal exam as well.

It’s a Curable Thing

Taking the proper prevention methods to assist in prostate health, participating in routine testing and getting the proper treatment are all part of prostate protection. If the right measures are taken, experts would agree that prostate cancer is preventable, if not curable, for most men.

Just some of the treatments available today include:

  • Active surveillance – essentially watchful waiting, this option may be best for those in very early stages or with very slow growing cancer
  • Prostatectomy – surgical removal of the entire prostate gland and some surrounding tissue
  • Radiation Therapy – directed radioactive exposure that kills the cancerous cells and surrounding tissues
  • Hormone Therapy – also known as androgen-deprivation therapy or ADT, prostate cancer cell growth relies the hormone testosterone as the main fuel; ADT removes that fuel
  • Chemotherapy – the use of chemicals that kill or halt the growth of cancer cells

As science progresses, studies have demonstrated that radiation treatment — delivered externally and internally — is as effective in treating the disease as surgical removal of the prostate. But, side effects can include bladder and bowel issues.

As a result, nearly 100 medical centers throughout the country have adopted a new system, called Calypso, which enables physicians to determine the exact location of the prostate in real time during radiation therapy. Armed with this information, radiation to the surrounding healthy tissue can be avoided and side effects can be minimized.

For more information about prostate cancer, please visit canceraz.com.

Prostate Cancer Prevention, Treatment

Prostate Cancer And You: Get Educated

Prostate cancer is the most common form of non-skin cancer in America. It is the second leading cause of death among males in the United States. The American Cancer Society estimates that 29,412 men died from prostate cancer in 2008.

During the month of November, men nationwide went the extra mile to raise awareness of the disease by dubbing the month as “Movember” and growing mustaches for prostate cancer charities.

According to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, one in six men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer, with likelihood increasing with age.

Got your attention yet?

Good – now get educated.

Prostate Screenings

Without a doubt, the best chance for a positive outcome is getting a regular screening so potential problems are caught early. The best bet – getting prostate-specific antigen, or PSA, blood test and digital rectal exam (DRE) yearly starting at age 50. For those with family history or other risk factors, screening should begin at age 45.

Diagnosis and Treatment

If you or someone you love is diagnosed with prostate cancer, there are a variety of options for treatment. Each should be explored thoroughly with a qualified physician to decide the best method for the patient.

These options include, but are not limited to:

  • Active surveillance — Essentially watchful waiting, this option may be best for those in very early stages or with very slow growing cancer
  • Prostatectomy — Surgical removal of the entire prostate gland and some surrounding tissue
  • Radiation Therapy — Directed radioactive exposure that kills the cancerous cells and surrounding tissues
  • Hormone Therapy — Also known as androgen-deprivation therapy, or ADT, prostate cancer cell growth relies on the hormone testosterone as the main fuel; ADT removes that fuel.
  • Chemotherapy — The use of chemicals that kill or halt the growth of cancer cells

As science progresses, studies have demonstrated that radiation treatment — delivered externally and internally — is as effective in treating the disease as surgical removal of the prostate. Although there are side effects associated with radiation, patients who choose this treatment often cite the risks — most notably incontinence and impotence.

One of the biggest issues doctors face in delivering radiation, however, to the prostate tumor is organ motion, a natural and commonly-occurring bodily function. Clinical studies have documented that organ motion is both unpredictable and variable.

As a result, nearly 100 medical centers throughout the country have adopted a “GPS for the Body®” treatment using the Calypso System, which enables physicians to determine the exact location of the prostate in real-time during radiation therapy.

Other breakthroughs also continue to occur, including the use of the TrueBeam system, which can deliver treatments up to 50 percent faster with a dose delivery rate of up to 2,400 monitor units per minute, double the maximum output of earlier, industry-leading systems. This makes it possible to offer greater patient comfort by shortening treatments and to improve precision by leaving less time for tumor motion during dose delivery.

The precision of a TrueBeam system is measured in increments of less than a millimeter. This accuracy is made possible by the system’s sophisticated architecture, which establishes a new level of synchronization between imaging, patient positioning, motion management, beam shaping and dose delivery technologies, performing accuracy checks every 10 milliseconds throughout an entire treatment. Over 100,000 data points are monitored continually as a treatment progresses, ensuring that the system maintains a “true isocenter,” or focal point of treatment.

And armed with regular testing, early detection and knowledge of the wide variety of treatment options, most experts agree that prostate cancer is treatable and highly curable.

For more information about prostate cancer prevention, treatment and more, visit canceraz.com.