Patient Advocates Here to Help You and Your Family Navigate the HealthCare System


RN Patient Advocates, PLC, opened the door to independent, nurse-based patient advocacy in 2002. We are a national community of specially prepared, qualified and experience clinical RNs. Our Mission is to Empower People in Their Healthcare through Advocacy, Education, and Guidance Through the Healthcare System.

Have you or any of your family or friends ever experienced problems in the healthcare system? 12 million patients are misdiagnosed each year (Institute of Medicine, 2015) indicating that it might be true for many of us. RN Patient Advocates help you be safe in the system and also, how to do this for yourself!




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Karen's Community Achievements

Karen Mercereau, RN iRNPA Tucson Nurses Week Certification Awarded as Fabulous Fifty Nurses May7, 2011

Importance of Observation

Protection from the sun.Yes! Protection from sunscreens that can lead to damage. What? Not all sunscreen are created equal.


sunshineThings to consider:

  • Don’t be fooled by high SPF.  High-SPF products tempt people to apply too little sunscreen and stay in the sun too long. The FDA has proposed prohibiting the sale of sunscreens with SPF values greater than 50+, calling higher SPF values “inherently misleading.”
  • The common sunscreen additive vitamin A may speed development of skin cancer.  The sunscreen industry adds a form of vitamin A to nearly one-quarter of all sunscreens. Retinyl palmitate is an anti-oxidant that slows skin aging. But federal studies indicate that it may speed the development of skin tumors and lesions when applied to skin in the presence of sunlight.
  • Some sunscreen ingredients disrupt hormones and cause skin allergies.  The ideal sunscreen would completely block UV rays that cause sunburn, immune suppression and damaging free radicals. It would remain effective on the skin for several hours. It would not form harmful ingredients when degraded by sunlight. It would smell and feel pleasant so that people would use more of it.

No sunscreen meets these goals. Americans must choose between “chemical” sunscreens, which have inferior stability, penetrate the skin and may disrupt the body’s hormone system, and “mineral” sunscreens, made with zinc and titanium, often “micronized” or containing nano-particles.vitamin d

  • If you avoid sun, check your vitamin D levels. Sunshine serves a critical function in the body that sunscreen appears to inhibit — producing vitamin D. This is enormously important in our bodies: it strengthens bones and the immune system and reduces the risk of breast, colon, kidney and ovarian cancers, and perhaps other disorders.  Note:  cholesterol is a key element in turning sunlight into Vitamin D.

About one-fourth of Americans have borderline low levels of vitamin D, and 8 percent have a serious deficiency. Check with your physician to have your own Vitamin D level checked.

The Environmental Working Group has created a list of safe sunscreens for you and your family.  Check it out here.

Always tired and wondering why? Need lots of caffeine to keep going? Lots of stress in your life? What’s going on here?


adrenal fatigueYou might be experiencing a condition known as Adrenal Fatigue or non-Addison’s hypoadrenia and it is diagnosable and treatable. 

The previous post explaining your Adrenal Gland and its importance mentioned a hormone it produces called cortisol.  

Cortisol (which is produced from cholesterol) gives us energy in the morning, helps to keep us going during exercise, daily work and stress.  It is the “fight or flight” hormone, or what gives us the “shivers” in near accidents in traffic. 

When you experience periods of stress – either physically or mentally induced – your adrenal glands respond by producing high levels of cortisol to help your body meet the challenge. However, when that stress – or the challenges – are prolonged, the adrenal glands become “fatigued” and cannot produce normal amounts of cortisol at the usual times of day.  

What does this look like? You may look and act relatively normal with adrenal fatigue and may not have any obvious signs of physical illness, yet you live with a general sense of unwellness, tiredness or "gray" feelings.

Common symptoms include:

• Cravings for sugar

• Cravings for salt on food when you eat

• Feel dehydrated and thirsty and require plenty of water

• Difficulty falling asleep at night, sleep lightly or wake early or often

• Difficulty relaxing, nervous, anxious or hyperactive

• Often spacey, or foggy thinking, even memory loss

• Low libido

• Weight gain, especially in abdomen and waist area

• Losing muscle tone

• High blood sugar

circadian rythmWhat to do?  First step is to get diagnosed.  Before you see your doctor, you might want to take this Adrenal Fatigue Questionnaire to see if this might be happening to you.  Clinically, this is diagnosed by a Salivary Cortisol Assay which measures your cortisol output at 4 times during the day (cortisol typically waxes and wanes during specific times of the day).  Blood tests for this show only extreme conditions and will not reflect this pervasive fatigue.  Some physicians do this test, others do not.

Work with a physician who is knowledgeable in treating this condition and who can direct you to the proper supplements – such as the B vitamins, Vitamin C, the proper form of calcium among others.  You can call your RN Patient Advocate to help find a physician to help with this.

Can you learn to rest and relax again?  Can you increase your exercise (this can raise cortisol levels)?  You might eat frequent small meals and avoid caffeine as much as possible.

Reduce your stressors in your life as much as possible.

Adrenal Fatigue is reversible.  It takes time but you can feel energy again.

Want to know more?



Smaller than a walnut, no heavier than a grape…affects every function in our bodies. What? Your Adrenal Glands! Unsung hero of our bodies.


adrenalsYour adrenal glands sit atop your kidneys and orchestrate your whole metabolism.  Little gland with a huge role.  These powerful little hormone producing glands manufacture and secrete almost 50 different hormones, including steroid hormones such as adrenaline, cortisol, aldosterone, and the precursors to estrogen and testosterone that are absolutely essential to our health and vitality.

Protective: the anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant adrenal hormones like cortisol helps to minimize negative and allergic reactions, such as swelling and inflammation, to alcohol, drugs, foods, environmental allergens, and stress.



Let’s look more closely at one of those hormones: cortisol - a life sustaining adrenal hormone that influences, regulates or modulates:

  • Blood sugar levels
  • Fat, protein and carbohydrate metabolism
  • Immune responses
  • Anti-inflammatory actions
  • Blood pressure
  • Heart and blood vessel tone and contraction
  • Central nervous system activation

Too Much Cortisol for extended periods?

Higher and more prolonged levels of cortisol – with chronic stress for example – can have negative effects:

  • elevated levels of inflammation in your body (can lead to chronic illness)
  • foggy brain
  • decreased bone density
  • sleep disruption
  • hypertension
  • decreased immune function
  • slow wound healing
  • increased abdominal fat
  • a condition called “adrenal fatigue”

Want to learn more?

Contact us!

RN Patient Advocates, PLC

3400 West Goret Road
Tucson, AZ 85745
Phone: 520-743-7008

Copyright © 2017 Karen Mercereau, RN Patient Advocates, PLC. All rights reserved.