Categories
Rheumatoid arthritis

Coronavirus: What is dexamethasone and how does it work?

A few weeks ago the British media announced that Dexamethasone, an existing drug (normally used to treat diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, serious allergies, etc.), had been found to work on patients who are very ill with Coronavirus, which often triggers inflammation all over the body. Dexamethasone helps calm this inflammation.


An anti-inflammatory drug called dexamethasone has been hailed as a ground-breaking treatment for hospital patients seriously ill with Covid-19.

A UK trial showed the drug could save lives – the first internationally to do so – and it can be used in the NHS immediately.

What is the drug?

Dexamethasone is a steroid – a medicine that reduces inflammation by mimicking anti-inflammatory hormones produced by the body.

How does it work?

This drug works by dampening down the body’s immune system.

Coronavirus infection triggers inflammation as the body tries to fight it off.

But sometimes the immune system goes into overdrive and it’s this reaction that can prove fatal – the very reaction designed to attack infection ends up attacking the body’s own cells.

Dexamethasone calms this effect.

It’s only suitable for people who are already in the hospital and receiving oxygen or mechanical ventilation – the most unwell.

The drug does not work on people with milder symptoms, because suppressing their immune system at this point would not be helpful.

How patients on ventilators would fare on dexamethasone

BBC

How effective is it?

According to the scientists who carried out the trials, one in three deaths could be prevented among patients on ventilators.

For patients on oxygen, it could prevent one death in five.

There was no significant benefit for patients who were not receiving respiratory support.

What was the trial?

The results come from the Recovery (Randomised Evaluation of Covid-19 therapy) trial, conducted by the University of Oxford.

It’s testing whether existing medicines used for other conditions could also be useful in treating Covid-19.

About 2,100 patients received a 6mg daily dose of dexamethasone in the trial for 10 days.

Their progress was compared with a random sample of just over 4,300 patients who received no additional treatment.

Scientists hope dexamethasone could eventually be used as part of a suite of drugs which, together, could reduce deaths even further.

It is now recommended for adults, not including those who are pregnant or breastfeeding.

How widely available is the drug?

Dexamethasone is a low-cost drug which already exists and is in good supply.

The UK government says it had already stockpiled enough of the drug to treat 200,000 people, in anticipation of a good result from the trial.

The drug costs from £5.40 a day per patient and the treatment on Covid-19 patients last for up to 10 days.

It was first made in 1957 and became available for use in the UK in the early 1960s.

Because it’s been around for such a long time, the drug is out of patent.

That means lots of different companies can make the drug and it is widely available around the world.

The Department of Health and Social Care says the drug has also been added to the government’s parallel export list, which bans companies from buying medicines meant for UK patients and selling them on for a higher price in another country.

Dexamethasone tabletsImage copyright Justin TALLIS/AFP

 

Next Page

Categories
Celiac disease

12 things everyone with coeliac disease has done (even if they won’t admit it)

Having coeliac disease is never easy. From reading ingredients lists and negotiating meals out to having to discuss your bowel habits with strangers, there’s plenty us coeliac disease sufferers have to put with with.

Here are 12 things everyone with coeliac disease has done – but might not admit to!

How many can you tick off the list?

Thought about what life would be like if you just stuffed your face with bread/cake/donuts/other gluten-filled things

 

…and then instantly freaked out and slapped yourself out of it.

Told someone eating gluten ‘just gives you a stomach ache’…

 

Because really telling someone you’ve just met that it makes you have terrible diarrhoea is a bit of a conversation killer at a dinner party.

…or told someone you’ll die if you eat gluten

 

In my defence they were being VERY annoying and kept asking me what would happen if I just tried a little bit. Problem solved.

Over-excitedly accepted a gift from a friend which wasn’t gluten free

 

They tried SO hard to find something you could eat, they don’t have to know you threw it away/fed it to the dog/donated it to a food bank (delete as applicable)

Next Page

Categories
Keto Diet

16 Foods to Eat on a Ketogenic Diet

The ketogenic diet has become quite popular recently.

Studies have found that this very low-carb, high-fat diet is effective for weight loss, diabetes and epilepsy.

There’s also early evidence to show that it may be beneficial for certain cancers, Alzheimer’s disease and other diseases, too.

A ketogenic diet typically limits carbs to 20–50 grams per day. While this may seem challenging, many nutritious foods can easily fit into this way of eating.

Here are 16 healthy foods to eat on a ketogenic diet.

1. Seafood

Fish and shellfish are very keto-friendly foods. Salmon and other fish are rich in B vitamins, potassium and selenium, yet virtually carb-free.

However, the carbs in different types of shellfish vary. For instance, while shrimp and most crabs contain no carbs, other types of shellfish do.

While these shellfish can still be included on a ketogenic diet, it’s important to account for these carbs when you’re trying to stay within a narrow range.

Here are the carb counts for 3.5-ounce (100-gram) servings of some popular types of shellfish:

  • Clams: 5 grams
  • Mussels: 7 grams
  • Octopus: 4 grams
  • Oysters: 4 grams
  • Squid: 3 grams

Salmon, sardines, mackerel and other fatty fish are very high in omega-3 fats, which have been found to lower insulin levels and increase insulin sensitivity in overweight and obese people.

In addition, frequent fish intake has been linked to a decreased risk of disease and improved mental health.

Aim to consume at least two servings of seafood weekly.

SUMMARY:Many types of seafood are carb-free or very low in carbs. Fish and shellfish are also good sources of vitamins, minerals and omega-3s.

2. Low-Carb Vegetables

Non-starchy vegetables are low in calories and carbs, but high in many nutrients, including vitamin C and several minerals.

Vegetables and other plants contain fiber, which your body doesn’t digest and absorb like other carbs.

Therefore, look at their digestible (or net) carb count, which is total carbs minus fiber.

Most vegetables contain very few net carbs. However, consuming one serving of “starchy” vegetables like potatoes, yams or beets could put you over your entire carb limit for the day.

The net carb count for non-starchy vegetables ranges from less than 1 gram for 1 cup of raw spinach to 8 grams for 1 cup of cooked Brussels sprouts.

Vegetables also contain antioxidants that help protect against free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause cell damage.

What’s more, cruciferous vegetables like kale, broccoli and cauliflower have been linked to decreased cancer and heart disease risk.

Low-carb veggies make great substitutes for higher-carb foods. For instance, cauliflower can be used to mimic rice or mashed potatoes, “zoodles” can be created from zucchini and spaghetti squash is a natural substitute for spaghetti.

SUMMARY:The net carbs in non-starchy vegetables range from 1–8 grams per cup. Vegetables are nutritious, versatile and may help reduce the risk of disease.

3. Cheese

Cheese is both nutritious and delicious.

There are hundreds of types of cheese. Fortunately, all of them are very low in carbs and high in fat, which makes them a great fit for a ketogenic diet.

One ounce (28 grams) of cheddar cheese provides 1 gram of carbs, 7 grams of protein and 20% of the RDI for calcium.

Cheese is high in saturated fat, but it hasn’t been shown to increase the risk of heart disease. In fact, some studies suggest that cheese may help protect against heart disease.

Cheese also contains conjugated linoleic acid, which is a fat that has been linked to fat loss and improvements in body composition.

In addition, eating cheese regularly may help reduce the loss of muscle mass and strength that occurs with aging.

A 12-week study in older adults found that those who consumed 7 ounces (210 grams) of ricotta cheese per day experienced increases in muscle mass and muscle strength over the course of the study .

SUMMARY:Cheese is rich in protein, calcium and beneficial fatty acids, yet contains a minimal amount of carbs.

4. Avocados

Avocados are incredibly healthy.

3.5 ounces (100 grams), or about one-half of a medium avocado, contain 9 grams of carbs.

However, 7 of these are fiber, so its net carb count is only 2 grams.

Avocados are high in several vitamins and minerals, including potassium, an important mineral many people may not get enough of. What’s more, a higher potassium intake may help make the transition to a ketogenic diet easier.

In addition, avocados may help improve cholesterol and triglyceride levels.

In one study, when people consumed a diet high in avocados, they experienced a 22% decrease in “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides and an 11% increase in “good” HDL cholesterol.

SUMMARY:Avocados contain 2 grams of net carbs per serving and are high in fiber and several nutrients, including potassium. In addition, they may improve heart health markers.

Next Page

Categories
Parkinson's Disease

World Brain Day 2020 Dedicated to Parkinson’s Disease

The 6th annual World Brain Day, celebrated Wednesday (July 22), will be dedicated to raising awareness for Parkinson’s disease and promoting patient advocacy.

The World Federation of Neurology (WFN) founded and coordinates the event to raise public awareness and promote advocacy related to brain health. This year, the WFN has partnered with the International Parkinson and Movement Disorder Society (MDS) to focus on the impact that Parkinson’s has on individuals and society.

The two organizing groups will work alongside 122 global organizations to advocate for better patient care and education, as well as additional research to support those living with Parkinson’s and their caregivers.

“Parkinson’s Disease affects people of all ages, including one in 100 people over the age of 60,” said Tissa Wijeratne, World Brain Day chair, in a press release. “The prevalence of this disease is on the rise, making our actions today vital to improving the lives of those who have been and will be diagnosed, particularly during this global health crisis.”

The WFN hosted a free webinar at 12:30 p.m. GMT on Wednesday to discuss the current state of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment. Some of the world’s leading neurologists, patient advocates, and Parkinson’s disease experts will attend and offer their vital insights into the condition.

The MDS has made available several educational resources for Parkinson’s. These include video presentations from top movement disorder experts and free courses on clinical approaches, evaluation, and management of movement disorders.

The WFN expects member organizations to participate in public awareness programs, virtual symposia, webinars, and other educational and advocacy activities. They also will engage on social media via Facebook Live and Twitter chats in their own countries and regions to highlight the key issues related to Parkinson’s disease.

The MDS and the WFN have collaborated to develop a toolkit for those wishing to make presentations related to Parkinson’s, or to include World Brain Day and Parkinson’s-related banners to their websites.

“Parkinson’s Disease affects more than seven million people around the globe— that’s nearly equivalent to the entire population of New York City,” said Wijerante. “Our goal is to raise awareness for Parkinson’s Disease and its impact on society in an effort to improve access to quality neurological care and life-changing treatments.”

Individuals are encouraged to promote public awareness on social media through the use of the hashtags #WorldBrainDay and #WBD2020.

“Brain health has never been more vital or relevant,” said WFN President William Carroll. “When the world unites against this crippling movement disorder on World Brain Day, we will demonstrate the power of advocacy and awareness.”

Beyond just World Brain Day, the WFN will ask patients, caregivers, and loved ones around the globe to share their stories about Parkinson’s on social media over the coming months.

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to demonstrate the global nature of healthcare. To support people throughout this period, the WFN will provide information regarding how to navigate COVID-19 while living with Parkinson’s.

“When we all move together, we raise the voices of those impacted while uniting the world in a mission to end Parkinson’s Disease,” said Carroll. “The World Federation of Neurology’s World Brain Day aims to energize those with Parkinson’s Disease to drive research, improve standards of care and advocacy for the seven million people living with this disease today, and those who will one day be diagnosed.”

Each year, the WFN selects a different topic as its focus for World Brain Day. Past topics include epilepsy, aging, clean air, and migraines.

Categories
Psoriasis

9 Home Remedies for Psoriasis

There’s no cure for psoriasis, and even a medical treatment plan that helps to manage the disease and minimize flares isn’t guaranteed to alleviate all symptoms. If you’d like to try some home remedies for psoriasis, talk to your doctor — and be aware that some herbal remedies can cause dangerous interactions with medications, and may be harmful if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, have a mood disorder or have another pre-existing condition such as diabetes or high blood pressure.

Olive oil

Apple cider vinegar

Flaxseed

Vegetable shortening

Next Page

Categories
Lyme disease

Lyme Disease: Signs and Symptoms of Untreated Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is the most common vector-borne disease in the United States. Lyme disease is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and rarely, Borrelia mayonii. It is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected black-legged ticks. Typical symptoms include fever, headache, fatigue, and a characteristic skin rash called erythema migrans. If left untreated, the infection can spread to joints, the heart, and the nervous system. Lyme disease is diagnosed based on symptoms, physical findings (e.g., rash), and the possibility of exposure to infected ticks.  Laboratory testing is helpful if used correctly and performed with validated methods. Most cases of Lyme disease can be treated successfully with a few weeks of antibiotics. Steps to prevent Lyme disease include using insect repellent, removing ticks promptly, applying pesticides, and reducing tick habitat. The ticks that transmit Lyme disease can occasionally transmit other tickborne diseases as well.

Untreated Lyme disease can produce a wide range of symptoms, depending on the stage of infection. These include fever, rash, facial paralysis, and arthritis.

Early Signs and Symptoms (3 to 30 Days After Tick Bite)
Facial Palsy

“Classic” Erythema Migrans Rash

  • Fever, chills, headache, fatigue, muscle and joint aches, and swollen lymph nodes may occur in the absence of rash
  • Erythema migrans (EM) rash:
    • Occurs in approximately 70 to 80 percent of infected persons
    • Begins at the site of a tick bite after a delay of 3 to 30 days (average is about 7 days)
    • Expands gradually over several days reaching up to 12 inches or more (30 cm) across
    • May feel warm to the touch but is rarely itchy or painful
    • Sometimes clears as it enlarges, resulting in a target or “bulls-eye” appearance
    • May appear on any area of the body
    • Does not always appear as a “classic” erythema migrans rash
Later Signs and Symptoms (days to months after tick bite)
swollen knee

Swollen Knee

Facial Palsy

Facial Palsy

  • Severe headaches and neck stiffness
  • Additional EM rashes on other areas of the body
  • Facial palsy (loss of muscle tone or droop on one or both sides of the face)
  • Arthritis with severe joint pain and swelling, particularly the knees and other large joints.
  • Intermittent pain in tendons, muscles, joints, and bones
  • Heart palpitations or an irregular heartbeat (Lyme carditis)
  • Episodes of dizziness or shortness of breath
  • Inflammation of the brain and spinal cord
  • Nerve pain
  • Shooting pains, numbness, or tingling in the hands or feet
Categories
Osteoporosis

FDA Approves New Injection Treatment For Osteoporosis

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved Evenity (romosozumab-aqqg) to treat osteoporosis in postmenopausal women at high risk of breaking a bone (fracture). These are women with a history of osteoporotic fracture or multiple risk factors for fracture, or those who have failed or are intolerant to other osteoporosis therapies.

More than 10 million people in the U.S. have osteoporosis, which is most common in women who have gone through menopause. People with osteoporosis have weakened bones that are more likely to fracture.

approval provides women with postmenopausal osteoporosis who are at high risk of fracture with a new treatment that will reduce this risk,” said Hylton V. Joffe, M.D, M.M.Sc., director of the Center for Drug Evaluation and Research’s Division of Bone, Reproductive and Urologic Products. “But Evenity may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death so it’s important to carefully select patients for this therapy, which includes avoiding use in patients who have had a heart attack or stroke within the previous year.”

Evenity is a monoclonal antibody that blocks the effects of the protein sclerostin and works mainly by increasing new bone formation. One dose of Evenity consists of two injections, one immediately following the other, given once a month by a health care professional. The bone-forming effect of Evenity wanes after 12 doses so more than 12 doses should not be used. If osteoporosis therapy is needed after the 12 doses, patients should begin an osteoporosis treatment that reduces bone breakdown.

The safety and efficacy of Evenity were demonstrated in two clinical trials involving a total of more than 11,000 women with postmenopausal osteoporosis. In the first trial, one year of treatment with Evenity lowered the risk of a new fracture in the spine (vertebral fracture) by 73% compared to placebo. This benefit was maintained over the second year of the trial when Evenity was followed by one year of denosumab (another osteoporosis therapy) compared to placebo followed by denosumab. In the second trial, one year of treatment with Evenity followed by one year of alendronate (another osteoporosis therapy) reduced the risk of a new vertebral fracture by 50% compared to two years of alendronate alone. Evenity followed by alendronate also reduced the risk of fractures in other bones (nonvertebral fractures) compared to alendronate alone.

Evenity increased the risk of cardiovascular death, heart attack and stroke in the alendronate trial, but not in the placebo trial. Therefore, Evenity contains a boxed warning on its labeling stating that it may increase the risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular death and should not be used in patients who have had a heart attack or stroke within the previous year. Health care professionals should also consider whether the benefits of Evenity outweigh its risks in those with other risk factors for heart disease and should discontinue Evenity in any patient who experiences a heart attack or stroke during treatment.

Common side effects of Evenity included joint pain and headache. Injection site reactions were also observed.

The FDA granted the approval of Evenity to Amgen.

The FDA, an agency within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, protects the public health by assuring the safety, effectiveness, and security of human and veterinary drugs, vaccines and other biological products for human use, and medical devices. The agency is also responsible for the safety and security of our nation’s food supply, cosmetics, dietary supplements, products that give off electronic radiation, and for regulating tobacco products.

Next Page

Categories
Rheumatoid arthritis

COVID-19 and rheumatoid arthritis: Risks and precautions

People with autoimmune disorders, such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), may be more likely to experience infections. Therefore, those with RA who develop COVID-19 may be at higher risk for developing severe symptoms and additional complications.

FDA NOTICEThe FDA have removed the Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) for hydroxychloroquine and chloroquine for the treatment of COVID-19. Based on a review of the latest research, the FDA determined that these drugs are not likely to be an effective treatment for COVID-19 and that the risks of using them for this purpose might outweigh any benefits.

Treatment options for RA may also affect the immune system, increasing the risk further. However, in most cases, doctors do not recommend abruptly stopping any treatments for RA, as this may lead to a flare.

The best way to reduce the risk of developing COVID-19 is by staying home (shelter-in-place), and maintaining consistent infection prevention habits to inhibit the transmission of SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease.

Keep reading to learn more about how COVID-19 may affect a person with RA, including what current research says, the risks, and the precautions people should take.

How does COVID-19 affect people with RA?

a woman holding her wrist as she has pain there from rheumatoid arthritis which might be made worse if she has covid 19
As a person with RA has an impaired immune system, they may be at higher risk of developing COVID-19.

Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune condition in which the immune system attacks the lining of the joints. Autoimmune conditions, such as RA, compromise the immune system, in varying degrees of severity.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and other expert bodies are still investigating the impact of the novel coronavirus on people with preexisting conditions.

Some research published in Autoimmunity Reviews suggests that people with RA have an increased risk of contracting the virus due to their impaired immune system. Factors that can affect the vulnerability of someone with RA include medication, age, and other health conditions.

Treatments for RA, including corticosteroids and drugs that modify or suppress the immune system, may increase the risk of infection.

The British Society for Rheumatology created a risk scoring guide chart to clarify the potential level of risk that someone with RA may be at.

Is COVID-19 dangerous for people with RA?

According to the COVID-19 Global Rheumatology Alliance Global Registry, which supplies live-time information regarding rheumatic diseases and COVID-19, people with RA may be at higher risk for infection and developing severe symptoms.

This may be truer for people with very high disease activity, people who have trouble controlling their symptoms, or those with other health conditions.

A person with RA who also has other risk factors, such as being over 65, living in a long-term care facility, or having another medical condition, maybe at a higher risk for severe illness.

Additionally, people with RA who take certain drugs, such as immunosuppressant drugs, to control symptoms may be more at risk for infections or complications from those infections.

However, people should not stop, change the dosage of, or take a new medication or supplement without contacting their doctor.

Currently, there is not much formal evidence connecting COVID-19 and RA.

Next Page

Categories
Tinnitus

We ‘may’ have discovered a potential remedy for tinnitus – by accident.

I was studying the effectiveness of a head-mounted device to stop motion sickness in driverless cars when something unexpected happened. One of the participants in my experiment reported that her tinnitus had dramatically improved, she scored 100% for motion sickness susceptibility so was of interest even with the additional confounding effect of tinnitus.

Both motion sickness and tinnitus are linked to hearing and the inner ear, so it’s not uncommon for people who suffer from one condition to suffer from the other. Motion sickness happens when there is a mismatch between what the eyes are telling the brain and what the inner ears sense as motion (1).

In a car, this means that if you look down at a phone, a newspaper or a stationary object, your eyes are telling your brain that you’re not moving. But your vestibular system (the organs of balance in your ear) are telling your brain that you are moving.

This is the reason that having a good view of the road ahead and looking at the horizon to anticipate future motion prevents sickness. What your eyes see matches what you sense.

The head-mounted vibrating device I was investigating lightly vibrates just behind your ear. In the lab, it is known that this method reduces motion sickness (2). I wanted to know if it worked on real roads in driverless cars when people are facing forwards and backwards using a convenient wearable device.

We know from an earlier experiment that facing backwards in a driverless car causes a lot of motion sickness – more than trains – and may limit the number of people who use driverless cars with seats that face in this direction (3).

For the experiment, we recruited 24 volunteers all of whom were highly susceptible to motion sickness. The device we asked them to wear has four vibration levels. Half the volunteers (the control group) had the device set to the lowest vibration (level one), and half had it set to level three (the experimental group). Level 3 is the effective vibration level for motion sickness reduction.

The test lasted about 15 minutes with people getting sick after only six minutes while being driven around an urban route at normal speeds. The vehicle we used was a modified minivan with seats that faced towards the rear window, like many future driverless vehicle concepts.

The volunteers completed a search-and-find puzzle to make sure that they all looked down and not out the windows.

The device did, indeed, help those who became sick during the experiment. The extra vibrations on level three meant that people took nearly twice as long to become sick under the same conditions as the control group and commented that they recovered quickly when on straight roads. This means that for people who are highly susceptible to motion sickness, a journey could be 12 minutes long with the device, compared with six minutes without the device, before the person felt nauseous. The motion sickness findings will be detailed in a future scientific journal.

As I mentioned, one of our volunteers has tinnitus. She described the condition as constantly hearing a cricket chirrup. For her, the condition is a torment, especially when she is at home and it is quiet. For a tinnitus sufferer there is often no quiet time.

Beaming smile

I applied the vibration device to the volunteer’s head and set it to level three. After the initial surprise of the vibration, she immediately noticed that her tinnitus had improved. Her beaming smile was something to behold.

Over many years, she had seen several doctors and specialists about her condition, but with no real progress. I don’t know why the device had this effect, only that it vibrates the inner ear, important for motion sickness and tinnitus.

I have since offered the device to other tinnitus sufferers (image below). They all have a similar smile. Some took the device home to use in the quiet where tinnitus is perceived at its worst. Afterwards, they don’t want to give the device back.

Tinnitus patients relief

The device is comfortable to wear. Indeed, after a minute or two, people forget that they are wearing it. It is not noisy; the vibrations are below what we can hear. In fact, I had to ask for people to hand them back from the motion sickness experiment, they didn’t know they were still wearing them.

Although this is only anecdotal evidence, it was a real privilege to see those tinnitus sufferers experience some relief from their condition. The device is being developed further for motion sickness, vertigo and tinnitus. It is hoped that this information generates further research by others within the field of hearing / vestibular dysfunction.  I have finished the research for my PhD, this however I feel should be continued with active tinnitus researchers

ARTICLE LINK: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/we-may-have-discovered-potential-remedy-tinnitus-spencer

Categories
ADHD

8 Ways to Beat ADHD (Without Medicine)

WHAT IS ADHD?

Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, or ADHD, is a neuropsychiatric disorder characterized by inattentiveness, hyperactivity, and impulsivity. Children diagnosed with ADHD often display impulsive behaviors that are interruptive and inappropriate for the setting (e.g. the classroom.) Boys are twice as likely to be diagnosed with ADHD as girls. The average age of diagnosis is around 7 years. (1)

It is estimated that ADHD affects 1 in every 20 people under the age of 18. Of this population, approximately two-thirds continue to experience ADHD symptoms into adulthood. Adult ADHD is characterized by difficulties remembering information, following directions, concentrating, organizing tasks, and planning.

THE ADHD CONTROVERSY

Few conditions are as provocative as ADHD. For as long as the condition has been around, there have been countless debates surrounding the existence or non-existence of ADHD. Professionals also discuss the complications of ADHD medication, and whether the disorder is over-diagnosed.

While ADHD is highly contentious, most medical experts accept that enough evidence exists to treat it as a valid condition. For example, all three of the largest, most prestigious U.S. medical bodies – the American Medical Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and the National Institutes of Health – recognize ADHD as a true disorder. (2)

Researchers point to the differences in the brain scans of ADHD and non-ADHD people, the length of time since symptoms were first uncovered (over 110 years ago), and the tangible differences brought about by treatments as sufficient proof.

Indeed, while sufficient evidence may show the reality of ADHD, plenty of other sources point to a diagnosis that is both pervasive and disturbing. Let’s talk more about the recent trends in ADHD numbers.

ADHD NUMBERS SWELL

“Production of the medications used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder … has skyrocketed in recent decades. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention … says that ADHD diagnoses … increased by about 41 percent between 2003 and 2011.” – Colleen M. Story, Ana Gotter, Rena Goldman: “6 Natural Remedies for ADHD” (source)

Medical statisticians cite the upper-limit of ADHD diagnosis at a maximum 5 percent of school-aged children. In some U.S. communities – where by far the most ADHD patients reside – up to 33 percent of children are diagnosed with the condition. In some states, over 11 percent of the school-age population is diagnosed with ADHD – more than doubling the number of plausible cases. (3) Per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the number of ADHD diagnoses rose an astonishing 41 percent in just eight years (2003-2011). (4)

Also contributing to the rising numbers of ADHD patients – and ADHD medications – is the fact that there has been a dramatic shift in the market segmentation of ADHD drugs. Whereas in prior years children were the dominant demographic because of their age, adults are now the majority of the population taking prescription stimulants. In other words, adults are the fastest growing segment of the ADHD medication market.

What could possibly explain such a dramatic shift? Some critics point to the pharmaceutical industry and their aggressive marketing and profit-seeking schemes. For example, Shire Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturers of popular ADHD drugs Adderall and Adderall XR, reported over 15 billion USD in operating revenue for the year 2017. (5)

THE DANGERS OF ADHD DRUGS

“It takes about 40 minutes to kick in, and you can feel it. I start to sweat. My heart accelerates very rapidly.” – Introduction to the Netflix documentary “Take Your Pills.”

On May 1, 1971, the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) became the law of the land in the United States. The law created five classifications (or ‘Schedules’) in which each prescription drug was to be placed, depending on the drug’s potential for abuse. (6)

Amphetamine, a powerful nervous system stimulant, is labeled as a Schedule II drug in the U.S. (a Schedule I in Canada). Schedule II drugs are those that display high potential for abuse while carrying the possibility of severe physical or psychological dependence (Vicodin and OxyContin are also in this category.) Amphetamine is simply a longer name for speed, a major component of the street drugs cocaine and methamphetamine. It is also the primary ingredient in Adderall and other ADHD medications.

The effects of amphetamine use can be classified into three categories: immediate, coming down, and long-term. (7)

IMMEDIATE EFFECTS:

– a sense of wellbeing

– high levels of confidence

– feelings of motivation

– faster reaction times

– anxiety and nervousness

– dizziness

– headaches

– increased heart rate

– stomach cramps

– irregular heartbeat

– hallucinations

– paranoia

IMMEDIATE EFFECTS (HIGHER DOSES/OVERDOSE):

– blurred vision

– collapse

– irregular breathing

– hallucinations

– seizures

– stroke

– coma

COMING DOWN

– feelings of anxiety, nervousness, and irritability

– depression

– lethargy

– extreme exhaustion

– mood swings

– tension

– paranoia

LONG-TERM EFFECTS

– anxiety disorders (e.g., panic attacks)

– feeling out of breath

– dental problems such as cracked teeth

– insomnia

– malnutrition

– compromised immune system

– high blood pressure

– higher risk of stroke

– risk of kidney failure

– psychological problems

– paranoia

– propensity for violence

 

HOW TO BEAT ADHD WITHOUT MEDICATION

Given the nasty short- and long-term dangers of ADHD medications, it may be worthwhile to consider other, more natural alternatives. Here are eight ways to overcome ADHD without the use of prescription meds.

Next Page