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FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

How are you different from other doctors?

We believe that the most important aspect of healing is the communication that is established between doctor and patient. Accordingly we spend a lot of time talking to patients, and to their families, establishing rapport and positive energy. We do not believe that symptoms should lead automatically to medication, that people are natural repositories for drugs, or that a sick human being is just a machine in need of repair. We believe that people are intelligent, spiritual beings who respond best to understanding and honest communication. We believe that medicine needs to change, so that all physicians address their patients as unique individuals, and not just a collection of illnesses.

What can I expect my first visit?

The first visit you have approximately 1 hour to spend with your doctor. In that time your health history will be carefully reviewed, any necessary physical exams performed, indicated laboratory studies will be requested and an initial treatment plan formulated.

How often do I need to come back?

Frequency of visits varies from patient to patient. We tailor frequency of visits to meet your health care needs. Often patients will come back more frequently in the beginning then less as their health improves.

How long will it take for me to regain my full health?

Treatment time varies from person to person and on their condition. It is always good to put in perspective that declining health did not occur overnight and the road back may take some time.

What about naturopathy, does natural medicine work?

Natural medicine has centuries of history purporting its efficacy. In more recent years we are beginning to see peer reviewed journals publish double blind placebo controlled studies looking at the efficacy of natural medicine with very favorable results. More importantly, we see the positive effects in our patients who are able to successfully combat disease while avoiding drugs and surgery.

Do you help patients get off medications?

Yes. Many conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol, can be managed with nutritional other lifestyle changes, and many medications may be reduced or even completely eliminated. Some patients taking five or six medications have been able to discontinue all of them. Side effects from drugs are common, and patients may not be aware that their medications are making them ill.

Do you prescribe conventional drugs?

Yes. We assess each patient's unique situation, and determine the best approach to therapy. When drugs are indicated, we prescribe them after a discussion of risks and benefits. Realizing that drugs are over-prescribed in our society, we usually try to find other methods of addressing health problems.

Will natural therapies interact with the prescription medications I'm taking?

There are certain herbal or nutritional supplements that have the possibility of interacting with particular prescription medications. Our doctors are knowledgeable about the contraindications to natural prescriptions. Other supplements are beneficial to take with prescription medications, either enhancing their effectiveness or decreasing their side effects.

What is a compounding pharmacy?

It is a pharmacy that actually makes drug preparations, instead of just dispensing pills. In particular, a compounding pharmacy can mix specific combinations of hormones according to the physician's specifications.

What is a naturopathic doctor?

Naturopathic doctors (N.D.) are trained as primary care doctors who specialize in natural medicine. The Institute for Progressive Medicine has both M.D. and N.D. doctors.

Do you treat cancer?

We offer complementary cancer care. We will work with your oncologist to ensure you receive the best of both forms of medicine.

Do you treat children?

We have a large pediatric population in our practice. We treat children for a variety of health concerns ranging from nutritional counseling to ear infections to ADD/ADHD.

Do you work with natural hormone replacement?

Yes. They are called bioidentical hormones, and can be taken by mouth, sublingually, or transdermally.

Isn't it dangerous to give women hormones?

No, not if natural hormones are used, and in proper dosage. Bioidentical hormones are safer than synthetic or animal hormones, especially when applied transdermally. They cause a lower risk of blood clots, heart disease or breast cancer than conventional hormone replacement.One exception to this involves patients with a history of breast cancer. These individuals should not receive hormone replacement therapy. Herbal preparations, however, may be helpful in alleviating menopausal symptoms.

Is type 2 diabetes reversible?

Yes. The modern Western diet and lifestyle has done much to lead our generation to the threshold of insulin resistance and ultimately diabetes. Research indicates that over 90% of type 2 diabetes is reversible without the need for medications, using vigorous application of proper nutrition, exercise, and other lifestyle changes. We believe that patients with newly diagnosed type 2 diabetes should not be treated initially with medication. Instead, they should initiate a low glycemic index diet, with a high fiber intake of 50 grams per day, at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise daily, and sufficient sleep. Nutritional supplements including B vitamins, magnesium, fish oils, alpha lipoic acid, and other nutrients help to increase the activity of insulin and lower the blood sugar. Diabetic medications may cause hypoglycemia, weight gain, diarrhea, and other complications. If the glycohemoglobin, or average blood sugar measurement, can be kept below 7%, these medications are not necessary.

What exactly is 'glycemic index' and how will it affect my health?

Foods that produce high levels of blood sugar are called high glycemic index (GI) foods. When your diet consists predominantly of these foods, your body responds by producing higher levels of insulin than it would if you were to eat lower GI foods. When insulin is high, your body not only converts blood sugar into energy, but it also stores extra energy as fat.

What foods have a low GI and which have a high GI?

The top 10 low GI foods are: apples, berries and cherries, barley, grapefruit, legumes (lentils, beans, peanuts), nuts (almonds, walnuts, soy nuts), oatmeal (unsweetened), green peas, tomatoes, unsweetened plain yogurt. The top 10 high GI foods are: candy, cookies, juices, white potatoes, chips (corn and potatoe), sweetened cereal, soda, sweet snacks, white bread and bagels (processed flour), white rice.

Is heart disease reversible? Is it preventable?

Yes to both questions. A study of heart disease around the globe revealed that the same factors were responsible for heart disease in all countries, in both sexes, and at all ages. These factors accounted for more than 95% of heart disease. Thus heart disease is not inevitable. It is preventable by changing those risk factors. In people with pre-existing heart disease, addressing those same factors may eliminate symptoms and allow medications to be reduced. We also work with other therapies to reverse cardiac symptoms, including enhanced external counterpulsation (EECP), chelation therapy, Plaquex therapy, and Natrecor.

What is the best test to identify heart disease risk?

A study in the New England Journal of Medicine indicate that C-Reactive Protein (CRP) is a stronger predictor of future cardiac events, such as heart attack and cardiac death, than low-density-lipoprotein (LDL). LDL cholesterol is currently the focus of guidelinesfor therapy and for the determination of cardiovascular risk. However, cardiac enzymes are often not associated with high blood levels of LDL cholesterol. CRP is a marker of inflammation and has been shown repeatedly to be as associated with an increased risk of heart attack, stroke and sudden death and per referral for vascular disease. Unlike other markers of inflammation, CRP levels are very stable over long periods of time, do not fluctuate significantly during the day, and can be measured easily and cheaply with simple lab testing.

So, if my CRP is high, what can I do to reduce my risk of cardiovascular disease?

It is possible to reduce levels of CRP with dietary supplements. We employ bromelain, turmeric, and vitamin C. This is available through our office as CRP factors.

My cholesterol is high, but I do not want to take statin drugs, even though I am being advised that it is warranted. What can I do?

First, diet is extremely important and the first place to start. A study in JAMA indicates that cholesterol and C-Reactive Protein can be lowered as much through diet as by using a statin drug - 30%. A full dietary evaluation is indicated to identify what foods you are currently eating and your specific tastes in order to create tailored nutritional recommendations. However, a low glycemic index diet has been shown to have the best results with lowering cholesterol (and weight loss). Here are some additional foods that have been shown to lower cholesterol: almonds, soy protein, soluble fiber and plant sterols. In addition, there are many nutritional supplements that have been shown also to lower cholesterol: including policosanol, red yeast rice and plant sterols/sterolins.

Is exercise dangerous for people with heart disease?

Exercise is even more important for people with heart disease than for healthy people. Research has shown that the strongest predictor for survival in heart disease is the capacity to perform aerobic activity. The performance of exercise itself, however, does minutely increase the risk of cardiac complications, so individuals should exercise under supervision, starting slowly and increasing activity in a graded fashion.

When is cardiac catheterization indicated?

It is indicated in the case of heart failure, severe ventricular arrhythmias or resuscitation from sudden death, inability to perform daily activities despite maximal medication therapy, and sometimes in the face of acute myocardial infarction. Many cardiac catheterizations are performed without sufficient indications. In fact, 60% of catheterizations are performed in patients who have NO heart disease.

What is EECP?

EECP stands for enhanced external counterpulsation. It is a noninvasive highly effective treatment for chest pain due to coronary artery disease. It has been used in the United States since 1995 to treat patients with cardiac chest pain unresponsive to other therapies, or who are too sick to undergo invasive treatments. EECP improves chest pain and shortness of breath in most patients. The therapy involves inflating cuffs around the legs and pelvis during the relaxation phase of the cardiac cycle, called diastole. Because it is noninvasive, the treatment is extremely safe and may be provided in a doctor's office. We have worked with this treatment for the last ten years and find that it is beneficial for a number of medical conditions, including angina, congestive heart failure, cardiomyopathy, stroke, edema, hypertension, chronic fatigue syndrome, and deconditioning. It may also be used to enhance physical performance. Professional athletes have found it useful in preventing injuries and enhancing endurance.

We believe EECP should be used as a first-line therapy for heart disease, rather than being saved as a last resort for patients who have failed other approaches.

Now that the COX 2 inhibitor medications have been found to have cardiovascular side effects, what can I do for my arthritis?

We carry many nutritional products that decrease inflammation and pain in the joints very well. Kaprex and Inflavonoid are herbal formulations that can greatly decrease joint pain. Depending on which joints are most affected, we now provide Zeel injections into the joint to regenerate cartilage. This involves one injection per week for 4 weeks. Zeel is a homeopathic preparation that has been shown to successfully treat arthritis and degenerative joints.

Is osteoporosis reversible?

Yes. Bone density can be increased with calcium and magnesium, vitamin D, natural hormone replacement, strontium, vitamin K, and if necessary with medications like bisphosphonates and parathyroid hormone. Even older patients with a history of osteoporotic fractures can increase their bone density. Lifestyle changes including daily weightbearing exercises, lower protein diets, and avoidance of salt and sugar are also recommended.

Can I get enough calcium in my diet if I don't eat dairy products?

Yes, you can absolutely obtain adequate calcium from other sources than dairy. Some good sources of calcium include: turnip greens, sardines, collard greens, rhubarb, spinach, oatmeal, salmon, tofu, broccoli, swiss chard, molasses, rice drink, almonds, beans, filberts, halibut, chick peas, sesame seeds.

If I'm just at the beginning stages of an infection and I feel run down, what can I do to prevent getting sick?

We offer immune drips here in the clinic. Patient who have received immune drips often report a dramatic improvement in energy and sense of well being. Immune drips are useful to patients battling various infections such as bronchitis, pneumonia, shingles, the common cold or the flu. In addition, they can prevent the outbreak of an infection by boosting the immune system and by direct antibacterial and antiviral actions.

What is an immune drip?

An immune drip is an infusion of intravenous vitamins and minerals, including high dose vitamin C, B vitamins, magnesium, calcium, zinc and other minerals, and a potent antioxidant and detoxifier called glutathione. We use this combination to treat infections, improve immune status, enhance healing, assist patients who are undergoing cancer therapy, and as a preoperative and post operative boost. It is also helpful for people under stress, or who have chronic fatigue.

What is an antioxidant?

An antioxidant is a molecule that ties up free radicals to prevent them from causing damage to cells in the body. Free radicals are byproducts of energy processes. Unless they are disposed of, free radicals may cause injury to cells. They contribute to degenerative diseases, including heart disease, arthritis, and cancer. Antioxidants may prevent or slow down these disease processes. The major antioxidants we use are vitamin C, coenzyme Q10-, glutathione, grapeseed extract, vitamin E, vitamin A and B vitamins.

I am hoping to become pregnant soon. Is there anything that I can do to optimize my health to improve my fertility?

Preconception health care for both partners is the key ingredient to ensure optimal reproductive health. It is a way for both parents to improve their fertility and the health of their eggs and sperm, by promoting:

  • The presence of the nutritional 'building blocks' which are necessary for the formation of a healthy embryo.
  • The absence of toxins that could be detrimental to this process.
  • Optimum general and reproductive health in both parents.

Many conditions such as infertility, miscarriage and poor fetal health are preventable and treatable with preconception health care, combined with continued healthcare throughout your pregnancy. At the Institute for Progressive Medicine, our program offers support for couples with fertility problems and also for couples who simply want their child to have the healthiest start in life. We not only aim to achieve a conception, but also to improve the chances for a very natural and healthy conception, pregnancy, birth and baby. This is achieved through the use of natural medicines, dietary and lifestyle changes, cycle charting and timing techniques, and teaches couples how to understand and manage their own fertility. We offer free 20 minute consultations with couples who want to investigate the benefits of this program for their reproductive health.

What are the benefits of human growth hormone?

Human growth hormone (hGH) increases muscle mass, reduces fat, strengthens the heart, increases bone density, improves physical performance and sense of well-being. It is most effective when taken by injection.

What are heavy metals, and why are they important?

The most important heavy metals are mercury, lead, arsenic, aluminum, and cadmium. These are known to cause the greatest toxicity in humans. Mercury causes brain damage, heart disease, kidney disease, and immune system dysfunction. It may contribute to autism, and is thought to be involved through the administration of mercury-containing vaccines to children. Lead causes brain damage, anemia, cataracts, hypertension, kidney disease, and heart disease. Arsenic causes neuropathy, lung cancer, cataracts, kidney failure, and malignant melanoma. Aluminum causes dementia and osteoporosis. Cadmium causes kidney disease and lung cancer.

Heavy metals are ubiquitous and will be found to some extent in everyone. Identifying exposure is often difficult. The best way to evaluate for heavy metals is to collect a 24-hour urine after administration of a chelating agent, a chemical that drives heavy metals out in the urine. Hair and blood testing may be useful.

Because chelation therapy is effective in removing heavy metals, diagnosis and treatment should be performed. It is not known at what level heavy metals will cause toxicity in a particular individual. Therefore chelation therapy for heavy metal removal should be considered in all individuals with dementia, kidney disease, heart disease or skin cancer.

I have been reading negative articles about antidepressant drugs. What do you think?

We do not use antidepressant drugs in our clinic. There are many reports of these drugs worsening depression or anxiety, impairing brain function, and failing to help. Recently the FDA required antidepressant drug manufacturers to put a black box warning in their advertisements, stating that patients taking these drugs may have an increased risk of suicidal thinking or behavior. Alternative approaches exist for managing emotional problems. It is important to have daily outdoor exercise, to eliminate sugars, food additives and preservatives from the diet, and to add specific nutritional supplements.

I love your clinic! Can I come to you for all my health care needs?

We offer a variety of services treating a wide range of health concerns. Many of our patients have all their health needs met at our clinic.

Can I continue to see my current primary care physician?

We have many patients who receive on going care from their current primary care physician and visit our clinic for more specialized care, others have chosen one of our doctors as their primary care doctor.