• The Lamkin Clinic
  • The Lamkin Clinic

A former exercise physiologist colleague of our clinic just emailed a pretty interesting YouTube video link demonstrating new technology that allows medications to be delivered through tiny micro needle patches placed on the skin rather than taking pills or injections.

While, the technology is always fascinating (I’m a science geek at heart!), I can’t help wonder if teaching people how to stay well and off medications was as profitable as new medications and delivery mechanisms, would this country still have alarming rates of Obesity, Heart Disease and Diabetes.

The unfortunate truth is that YOUR SICKNESS is BIG Money. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against making money. There just seams something wrong with our entire medical system being so heavily shifted towards treating disease once it occurs rather than preventing it in the first place. It’s not all bad news though.

There are signs of change. With healthcare costs rising, the focus is shifting by necessity. The current model of healthcare will simply not work unless there is more of a focus on prevention. Business’s more and more are looking at ways to incorporate wellness programs into their employee benefits offering. This will get people engaged and bring a little more focus on prevention. That’s good news!

To your health,

Brian E. Lamkin D.O.

 

The incidence of Heart attacks is still very high in the US despite a standard cholesterol check being a part of most annual wellness visits.

This leaves one to wonder if the standard cholesterol check is telling the whole picture. The short answer, in my opinion, is no. To explain my reasoning for feeling this way I should quickly review what actually causes a heart attack.

Either a cholesterol plaque or a blood clot in the arteries of the heart can cause a heart attack. Both can be initiated by inflammation. If blood is interrupted for a period of time, the heart muscle may die. So inflammation is a pre-cursor to the initiation of both hard plaques and clots in the arteries.

I explain this to my patients as the equivalent of a small grass fire or a sunburn inside the lining of blood vessels. Just as skin will turn red and eventually peel, so does the “skin” inside the blood vessels. This gives the cholesterol easier access to “set up shop”. Causes of inflammation include being overweight, eating sugar or other “junk food” and smoking to name a few.

So the inflammation sets up for plaque formation and clots and increases risk for heart attack. The “inflammation” can be measured by several blood tests, one of which is called HS-CRP.   The “knowledge is power” aphorism applies here. I’m sure if someone asked you would be able to tell your cholesterol number. How about your HS-CRP level?

To your health,

 

Brian E. Lamkin D.O.

 

It seems like every other week I hear news reports purporting the benefits of caffeine whether it be brain health or prevention of cancer. Unfortunately, there are several drawbacks to caffeine consumption particularly for those with Diabetes or anyone trying to lose weight.

Yes, caffeine is stimulant and all stimulants affect your adrenal glands. The adrenal glands produce the “fight or flight” hormones adrenaline and cortisol. Cortisol elevation can increase blood sugar which leads to spiking insulin levels, then as the caffeine is eliminated from your system, blood sugar can drop leaving you feeling weak and shaky. So the problem for Diabetics is obvious, but those trying to lose weight should also think again about consuming caffeine. As mentioned, caffeine can spike insulin. The problem for weight loss is found in insulin effect on fat cells.

Insulin effectively blocks the breakdown of body fat for use as energy. I recently quick caffeine after a 20 years of consuming it. The addiction started when I was in college staying up all night cramming for chemistry exams. I used caffeine that way for years and then transitioned into daily use.

I won’t say quitting was fun (headaches, fatigue for a week), but I do feel better.  I didn’t realize it but the caffeine was affecting my sleep, energy, and mood. Ok now back to you…if you are needing to lose weight or gain better control of your Diabetes, give up the java (and other caffeine products). Your health will take a turn for the better!

To your health,

Brian E. Lamkin D.O.

 

The battle of the bulge is exactly that… a battle. Anyone who has put on weight and made attempts to lose it understands that it is isn’t easy to lose even ten pounds and even more a fight when 30 or more pounds of weight loss are needed to get down to an ideal body weight.

It doesn’t take much to derail your efforts with all the easy quick fast food options on the way home from work and all the junk food strategically placed at the front of the grocery store when you go shopping. With all the obstacles and road blocks, you can add to the list THE WEIGHT SCALE. The weight scale is the quick easy and cheap way to measure your progress… Not so fast though!

Remember that when you weigh yourself your measuring total body weight… not body fat. And it really is body fat that you’re wanting to lose…right? Well most of us when we are trying to lose weight we do two things. 1) We reduce and modify our food intake and 2) we exercise. Most of us will combine some form of cardio and resistance. Don’t forget that the latter will often lead to muscle gain.

So when you check your scale you’re measuring total weight which often includes some muscle gain. Unfortunately, for many of us the weight scale is a trap. We don’t see the results so we go back to doing what we did before when we become discouraged. In reality, you may have lost five pounds of fat but also gained five pounds of muscle.

I recommend using other ways to gage your progress….how your clothes fit, how you feel, energy, mood etc… You can also pick up a small scale that includes a body fat estimator for under $100. The gold standard is the DEXA scanner which uses low energy X-ray technology to provide exact measurements of lean muscle, total body fat, and body fat percentage.

We’ve used this for almost ten years in our clinic and I can’t tell you many times we’ve had patients come in discouraged because they were watching the scale at home only to have a DEXA and see that they’ve lost ten or more pounds of fat (but also gained muscle). So throw the weight scale in the trash and keep working. You WILL see results, just not always results that show up on the scale.

To your health,

Brian E. Lamkin D.O.

 

For a blissful couple months over the summer, the sun shined into the office when we would have our morning coffee just after 6am. This is no longer the case on two accounts. As I mentioned in a previous blog, my relationship with caffeine has come to a sudden and unspectacular end.

Aside from some lingering mild headaches, I’m doing much better on that end. However, even more disappointing is the sunshine, which would previously beam in the clinic entrance between 6:30 and 7, now does so between 7:30 and 8…and it’s only going to get later in the morning. It’s a reminder that we are drifting uncontrollably toward winter with short days and cooler weather ahead. Don’t take me wrong, I love spending cozy moments in front of the fireplace drinking coffee…wait darn it, eh’… warm-decaffeinated tea with my family. But, the long days of summer are certainly something I enjoy. For most of us the short days have an effect on our mood and perhaps even our outlook and motivation.

We can’t change the axle at which the earth rotates to place our little spot on earth permanently into summer mode, but we should at least be aware that mood changes and lack of motivation can occur leading to waning enthusiasm for all things healthy…aka optimal diet, exercise. Keeping this in mind and having the attitude of perseverance goes a long way in preventing any drop off in work outs or consistency in healthy eating.

To your health,

Brian E. Lamkin D.O.

 
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