Friday, September 28, 2012

OMM & Alternative Medicine

A Facebook fan of mine asked me to write about some alternatives to medicine. She has personally seen the benefits of physical therapy, and was wondering what else may be of benefit to patients other than well, medicine.

First, let me state a disclaimer. This post in no way should take precedence over any advice from your personal physician. I am writing to fulfill curious minds, and I will try my best effort to do so. With that said..(err..typed?)...

In case no one knows this, I am a D.O., which stands for Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine. We, as D.O.'s have all the same rights and privileges of M.D.'s (meaning that we can be any sort of specialist and write all of the same prescriptions), and we both complete 4 years of medical school training. But we, as Osteopathic physicians, have a more "holistic" view when it comes to patient care. Osteopathic Medicine was based on the idea that treating the body as a whole, rather than each individual body system, impacts healing in a more natural and timely fashion. Now..what does that have to do with alternative medicine? We complete an additional 300-500 hours of hands-on manual medicine study, or OMM (Osteopathic Manipulative Medicine) and the body's musculoskeletal system. OMM can be used both as a diagnostic and treatment modality. It can be utilized to treat anything from headaches to back pain, and may also be used as an adjunct treatment for conditions like sinusitis or pneumonia.
Go Sharks!

Personally, I have been having some killer back pain recently. I woke up and told my husband.."That's more ibuprofen..I'm going to see Dr. Boesler!" Dr. Boesler was my professor at NSU (GO SHARKS!), where I went to medical school, and whom I refer to as the OMM Guru. Needless to say, I walked out of the OMM clinic, and felt 90% better, after ONE 30 minute treatment.

Acupuncture is another modality that a lot of people swear by. I have not had it personally, but a lot of my friends have, and it has cured pain and relived stress for some of them. I also get a monthly massage, which has helped me in terms of back and neck pain from carrying around so many books my whole life!

Are there alternatives to medicine? Sure..and good ones too! But we all have to be a honest with ourselves, and realize that all of these crazy herbal supplements and alternatives may not be enough. A lot of alternative medicine (and here I am speaking mostly about alternative supplements) are not FDA approved, and because they have not gone through the rigorous approval process by our federal administration, we do not know not only the effects of these supplements, but also the potential danger of them. I encourage everyone to speak with their personal physicians before beginning any new supplements. Also, speak with your doctor about potential alternative medicine, including physical therapy, OMM and acupuncture. You may be surprised at just how supportive he/she may be (especially if she's a D.O.)!

Happy Friday!


Wednesday, September 19, 2012


Dr. Manuel Diaz
It seems as though most people who read my blog are most interested in how to lose weight and what foods and diets in particular help them to achieve that. In my opinion, one of the best "diets" to follow is the Mediterranean diet. A very good friend (and excellent physician) of mine, is a very big believer in the Mediterranean diet. One reason why I wanted to interview him about the diet was not only because of his knowledge on it, but also because he follows it!

 Dr. Manny Diaz is an internal medicine physician in Miami. He prides himself on promoting general health and wellness while helping his patients to achieve their best health possible. He places emphasis on lifestyle modification and cardiovascular disease prevention. (Thumbs up!) I decided to have a quick interview with Dr. Diaz today to pick his brain about the Mediterranean diet....(also, to give you ladies out there a little male attention!)


Dr. Tiffany: What are the principals of the Mediterranean diet?

Dr. Diaz: The Mediterranean diet is meant to be part of the Mediterranean lifestyle, which includes a moderate amount of regular physical activity. An emphasis is placed on whole grains as opposed to refined sugars, lean protein (fish), healthy fats (olive oil, nuts and avocados), plenty of fruits and vegetables, and red wine in moderation.

Dr. Tiffany: What are some of the dietary advantages of this lifestyle, in particular, the consumption of less red meat?

Dr. Diaz: Red meat, in general, tends to contain a lot of saturated fats, and the consumption of high amounts of saturated fats (as opposed to monounsaturated fats) has shown to be detrimental to blood cholesterol levels, and by extension, the occurrence of cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Tiffany: Why is olive oil so beneficial to our health?

Dr. Diaz: Olive oil, which is the primary fat consumed as part of the Mediterranean diet, is full of monounsaturated fatty acids, and other substances known as polyphenols. These healthy fats can help to lower the bad cholesterol (LDL) and triglycerides. On the other hand, the good cholesterol (HDL) is maintained, and in some cases even raised. Both of these effects on cholesterol are known to be very beneficial in terms of cardiovascular disease prevention.

Dr. Tiffany: What type of health benefits would we gain from following this diet?

Dr. Diaz and myself discussing the Mediterranean diet...and catching up!
Dr. Diaz: It has been observed that people living in the Mediterranean regions, and particular, those who still subscribe to a traditional Mediterranean lifestyle, have a much lower incidence of cardiovascular disease, including heart attacks and strokes. This is opposed to people living in other parts of the world, in particular North America and Northern Europe. Of course, the effects of this diet, and the people who follow the lifestyle in the Mediterranean region, is just an observed association which illustrates an observation and not necessarily cause and effect.

Dr. Tiffany: Are there any possible health concerns from the Mediterranean diet?

Dr. Diaz: There are not many direct issues with the Mediterranean diet. Any diet which is completely void of certain types of protein (like red meat) may result in other nutrient deficiencies, such as iron and vitamin B12. For clarity, the Mediterranean diet is not a vegetarian diet, nor does it require that no red meat is consumed. Rather, the diet allows for certain items, like red meat, to be consumed in moderation. Remember, the key in dieting is moderation.

Dr. Tiffany: What are some of your favorite foods from the Mediterranean diet?

Dr. Diaz: One of my all time favorites is hummus. It is easy, versatile and delicious. Lamb kabobs are also very flavorful and healthy as well. Any Greek meze platter is also great with the feta cheese, vegetables and olives...a Greek staple!

You can follow Dr. Diaz on facebook here, and catch his blog here.

Until next time!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Asking for Help!

So, as many of you probably know by now...The reason I decided to become a cardiologist was mainly to help women. As I have stated time and time again, the public as a whole is undereducated about the prevalence of heart disease in women (its the #1 killer of us!) The American Heart Association has a wonderful campaign known as "Go Red for Women" which strives to educate the public about women's heart disease and how to prevent it. Seeing that this campaign is basically the entire reason for my career choice, it holds a special place in my heart.

The red dress is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS).

So, what does all of this mean to you? means I need help. My American Heart Association chapter of the campaign in Florida is holding a big fundraiser breakfast on September 28th and my goal is to raise $5,000 prior to the event..and I am asking for your support and help. Any amount that you give will help me to meet my goal and help to raise awareness of heart disease in women.

Yours truly at a "Go Red"
 event earlier this year...;)

The link for donations is at the right of your screen here on my blog. Please leave a message on the donation website with your name so I can send out personal thank-yous!

Also, if you are donating on behalf of a loved one who lost her life to heart disease, please mention her name to show continued support

Thank you SO MUCH for not only supporting women, but!


Sunday, September 2, 2012

Rosie's Heart Attack

Ok..I'm jumping on the Rosie O'Donnell heart attack bandwagon! I know it was a very publicized event, but I believe it was rightfully so. One, her attack reminded us of the high risk of heart attack in women. Also, her story shows us many things we should and should not do, in that situation.

Rosie O'Donnell
In case you have not been reading this blog previously, I constantly reiterate that heart disease is the number one killer of women. Not cancer. Heart disease. I believe that Rosie's heart attack story reminds us that we too (as women) are just as prone to heart attacks as men, and we need to be very cognisant of our bodies and symptoms. We get so wrapped up in our lives and stresses, that we sometimes fail to realize that the "nausea, sweating and not feeling good" are actually symptoms of a heart attack. Women may have typical symptoms of a heart attack including chest pressure and left arm pain, but a lot of times our symptoms are "atypical" meaning that they are not what many people think of when they think "heart attack". Many women have chest pain, but may also have jaw pain, back pain, nausea, vomiting and excessive sweating.

My friend learning her "numbers"!
Knowing your risk factors is also very important. Sure, if you are 30 years old, do not smoke or drink, have normal cholesterol and blood pressure and no family history of heart disease, your risk is very low (although not zero). However, you need to know your numbers in order to know your risk of having a heart attack. There is no way to know your risk factors without getting them checked! It is so important to have an annual physical with your doctor to get your blood pressure and labs checked and to have a discussion about your risks for heart disease.

Now, what did Rosie do right? Well, she suspected that she may be having a heart attack. She was experiencing nausea, vomiting, clammy skin, chest discomfort and sore arms. Actually, she thought enough of her symptoms to take an aspirin (which may have saved her life).

What did she do wrong? After googling "symptoms of a heart attack" and realizing that she had pretty much all of them, she still waited 24 hours to seek treatment, She went to a cardiologists office, who did an ECG and noticed abnormalities. She subsequently was transported to the hospital, where she had a catheterization and a stent placed in one of the main arteries in her heart.

Honestly, Rosie is lucky to be alive, and she knows it. You CANNOT wait 24 hours to see a physician. If you think you are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack you MUST call 911. Do not wait. As Rosie so wonderfully put it...

                                                            "know the symptoms ladies
listen to the voice inside
the one we all so easily ignore
CALL 911

save urself"