1. Asthma? Hospitalization risk is higher in winter

    Why you might not breathe easy this winter

    Winter's just two weeks off, and there's plenty to love about the coldest season. If you're like me, you're looking forward to some skiing and hockey.

    If you're like some of my family up north, you're probably NOT looking forward to shoveling snow and digging out the car.

    And you're almost certainly not looking forward to cold temperatures, slick roads, and winter bugs.

    But there's one more thing you need to look out for this winter.

    If you have asthma... if you've had a history of the condition or if you may be at risk for it... this is the danger zone.

    A new report shows how winter air might be cool and crisp, but it's not helping folks to breathe any easier: Your risk of hospitalization for this condition jumps by 22 percent between December and February.

    That's not even the worst of it -- because winter isn't JUST the time when you're most likely to end up hospitalized.

    You're also most likely to die from the complications of this condition, with the risk jumping by 56 percent in winter.

    The worst month of all depends on your age.

    For younger folks, the deadliest month has come and gone. It's November.

    Middle-aged asthma patients face the biggest risk in March.

    And for seniors, the shortest month is the cruelest: The death risk peaks in February, which, in many areas, is also one of the coldest months of the year.

    You can't do anything about your age, and you can't do anything about the calendar other than wait.

    But you can take steps to cut your risk.

    It starts with knowing you even have that risk -- many patients with milder cases of asthma have never been diagnosed.

    That's especially true of older folks who dismiss it as a "kids' disease" and assume they can't get it.

    That's not true.

    You can develop asthma at any age, even in your senior years. These cases that pop up later in life are especially common in women, but men can also suffer.

    And when asthma strikes past the age of 65, it tends to be more serious -- so don't ignore any warning signs, and don't dismiss it as a "kids' disease."

    Get help.

    About half of the time, the asthma is tied to a common allergy. The other half, the cause is a little tougher to find, and many mainstream docs might never nail it down.

    Work closely with a holistic medical doctor who can not only correctly diagnose your asthma but also find the triggers, so you can learn to avoid them.

  2. Asthma eased with acupuncture

    Surprising trick to help you overcome asthma

    On the one hand, it's a relief.

    That tightness you've been feeling in your chest? It wasn't a heart problem, as you had feared.

    But it's no picnic, either.

    Turns out you have asthma, a condition marked by more than just breathing troubles. Many people have to take meds -- and suffer the side effects -- for the rest of their lives.

    And of course, living with this condition means living in fear... because you're never quite sure when another attack will strike.

    Now, the latest research spots a simple, safe, effective, and drug-free way to give yourself a boost and enjoy a better quality of life.

    And you're not going to believe what it is.

    It's acupuncture!

    The new study finds that just three months of acupuncture can give you both a physical and mental boost if you have allergic asthma, the most common form of the disease.

    That, in turn, will give you a better overall quality of life -- and not just when you're getting treated.

    Amazingly, the study finds that the benefits of acupuncture can last for six months AFTER the treatment ends or longer!

    I know asthma is often dismissed as a kids' disease. Many adults with milder symptoms don't even think they have it -- and when it can't be ignored and a doctor hits them with the diagnosis, they're stunned.

    But in reality, this isn't a kids' disease at all.

    Millions of American adults -- including 2 million seniors -- are living with asthma right now.

    While acupuncture can clearly help, it's not a cure for allergic asthma.

    As the name suggests, it's triggered by allergens.

    So, along with trying out this safe nondrug treatment, focus on taking steps to limit your exposure to the triggers -- and while some of them are obvious and easy to avoid, many are not.

    Some are even hiding in your food!

    Processed meats, for example, are a common trigger. And since many people don't know it, they keep eating them... and keep suffering after.

    One study last year found just four servings of processed meat a week increases the risk of worsening asthma by 76 percent!

    The unfortunate reality is that most mainstream docs run only the most basic allergy tests -- if they even bother to test at all -- and completely miss some of the most common triggers, such as the ingredients in processed meats.

    If you have asthma or any other allergic condition and haven't had thorough testing, seek the advice of an experienced holistic medical doctor.

    If you're in the San Diego area, I can run those tests here at the Stengler Center for Integrative Medicine. Not in the area? I'm also available for advice by phone. Call 855-DOC-MARK to schedule a consultation.

    And don't forget to connect with me on Facebook!

  3. Asthma triggered by processed meats

    Asthma can be triggered by food, especially unhealthy food – and new research shows how it can be set off by nasty processed meats.
  4. Asthma emergency risk drops with vitamin D

    Asthma patients all fear severe attacks – the kind that can lead to an emergency room visit. But new research shows how vitamin D can cut that risk in half.
  5. Asthma linked to shingles risk

    Asthma is bad enough on its own, but new research finds it could also increase your risk of shingles by as much as 70 percent.
  6. Asthma inhalers don't always work

    Asthmatics are told to puff on their inhalers every day to prevent attacks -- but new research finds that approach doesn't make a difference for most patients.
  7. Cosmetic chemical linked to diabetes risk

    A common class of chemicals used in cosmetics and around the home can increase the risk of diabetes in women.
  8. Vitamin D may help asthmatics get the disease under control

    Vitamin D can boost lung function, and a new study finds it can even help asthmatics who take meds get better control of their disease.
  9. New instructions for Tylenol

    J&J says the changes it will make -- next year, mind you, not today -- will help stop the overuse that's turned the drug's main ingredient, acetaminophen, into the leading cause of liver failure in the United States. But they're not changing the drug.
  10. Dog-gone asthma!

    But the best trick of all comes naturally: Pets can chase away asthma and allergies the way a guard dog can scare off burglars -- and it doesn't take a loud bark or a lot of teeth.
  11. Placebos for asthma relief

    Believe it or not, plain old air delivered via an asthma inhaler can actually bring as much relief as an inhaler filled with a common asthma med.
  12. Diet soda linked to heart risk

    A new study finds that people who drink diet soda regularly could find a heart attack or stroke at the bottom of their next bottle.
  13. Facebook as an asthma trigger

    Doctors say a young man in Italy was so distressed by what he saw on Facebook that it triggered an asthma attack... and not just once, but every time he signed on.
  14. Getting bitter over asthma

    We think of flavor as an experience that takes place in the mouth, but the latest research finds that your lungs have taste buds, too. And that means those buds, and not drugs, could turn out to hold the key to asthma treatment. Researchers have found that our lungs have 17 of the 25 known bitter taste receptors. They're not...
  15. Bigger puffs don't cut asthma risk

    At some point, the mainstream is going to have to take the book they have on asthma, and tear it up--because nearly everything in it is flat-out wrong. Take the national guidelines that call for asthma patients to double their dose of inhaled steroids such as Pulmicort or Flovent at the start of an attack. As it turns out, all...
  16. Control your asthma without meds

    Asthma meds are often times some of the least necessary drugs on the planet.
  17. The sunshine treatment

    Posted by: on
    New research confirms that a lack of vitamin D – called the sunshine vitamin, because our bodies can make it from natural daylight striking our skin – may be one of the culprits.
  18. Vitamins may help you ditch your inhaler

    Posted by: on
    A study shows a connection between nutritional deficiencies and asthma.
  19. Cure asthma with broccoli?

    A recent study, published in Clinical Immunology, found that broccoli sprouts may help control the symptoms of asthma.
  20. Big Pharma missing the point with new asthma drug

    I've been able to do that consistently when treating asthmatics. I've found that their symptoms are often caused by a simple allergy that can be discovered through more thorough testing.

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