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160726VitaminD-300Many who live in the Northwest are vitamin D deficient. This is due to many reasons. One, is that we do not get enough sunlight to help produce enough vitamin D, often because many people have indoor jobs.

Common symptoms include muscle or joint pain, weakness, tiredness and fatigue, and possibly depression. There is a blood test to determine vitamin D deficiency, however, most insurance companies don’t cover it.

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GeneticTesting-325When I was diagnosed with breast cancer, one of my first thoughts, after the initial shock, was who else in my family had been stricken with cancer?

Patients who have had family members diagnosed with cancer often worry about their own cancer risk, or the risk of their children. At Oak Street Medical, we have recently started a program to help patients better understand their family risks of developing certain types of cancer, which can be passed down by gene mutations.

The types of cancers we are most often confronted with in a primary care clinic are breast, ovarian, pancreatic, prostate, colon, melanoma and endometrial/uterine. A person's risk level for developing any of these cancers depends on many factors, including the person's lifestyle.

We're helping our patients understand how their level of risk changes in relation to their family history. Risk categories include: general population, familial risk or hereditary risk. A person's risk can vary dramatically, depending on which category you fall into.

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Tagged in: Cancer

160517MentalHealthMonth-325Most people believe that mental disorders are rare. Each day at Oak Street Medical, we see patients with mental health problems, such as mood disorders, or physical symptoms associated with mental issues—these problems are far from rare.

According to Mental Health America (formerly the National Mental Health Association), an estimated 54 million Americans suffer from mental disorders each year.

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160405NutritionHaving recently struggled with breast cancer and treatment over the past year, one of my patients gave me a gift—a book titled, “Tripping Over the Truth” by Travis Christofferson, which many of my patients have heard me go on and on about.

How sugar feeds cancer
The book discusses the metabolic theory of cancer, and it boils down to the fact that sugar—glucose and carbohydrates (which break down into glucose)—is a BAD PLAYER when it comes to this disease. All, or rather almost all, cancer cells utilize glucose for metabolism through the anaerobic pathways, which yield lactic acid as a by-product. While our normal cells only go to anaerobic metabolism, when we are sprinting or exerting ourselves in some other form of heavy physical activity, cancer cells use the anaerobic pathway as a rule, whether there is oxygen or not (Warburg Effect). Cancer cells thrive on glucose—in fact, this is the basis for PET scanning, which uses this fact to detect cancer.

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