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

University of Arizona College of Nursing

RN Patient Advocates is the only nationally recognized Patient Advocacy education program created specifically for qualified RNs endorsed by a leading College of Nursing: The University of Arizona.

 

 

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iRNPA Patient Support Medication Support

 

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RNPA Intensive - Learning Experience

“In a year’s time after taking the RNPA Learning Intensive, my career, my health, my family, my very life has been transformed. I am forever grateful” — Karen DiMarco, RN, iRNPA

“The way of the future of nursing...an absolute must if you want to make and be the difference in righting the wrongs of healthcare. Kare is a wonderful mentor who has put her soul into this program. Passion, Vision, Perseverance.” — Lana Benton, RN, iRNPA

“The forethought, experience, openness, philosophy and preparation provides all the tools, thought process, and confidence to begin and succeed as an iRNPA.” — Leta Gill, RN, iRNPA

“My experience attending the iRNPA program was a refreshing one, to say the least. This program was packed with life changing information that is not readily taught or available to RN's. This program equipped me with the tools I need to be an iRNPA!  If you are ready for a change after working for many years in the clinical setting, and are driven to help patients and families, this is the program for you!  Karen is a wealth of knowledge that is unmatched in the advocacy process.” — Jamie Long

“Thank you so much for putting together such an incredible RN PA intensive course!  It is truly intensive but so worth it!  I learned a lot and will be using the Medical Time Line and lab spreadsheet with as many clients as i can.  All great information and can’t wait to get my speaking engagements lined up now that I have your fantastic power points!” —  Nan Wetherhorn, Health Care Advisor, www.healthcareadvisornan.com

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Low magnesium level elevates risk of strokes and depression. Really? How are they connected?

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BrainMary Ackerley, MD, explains that “studies have suggested that magnesium is inversely related to hypertension, which is a risk factor for stroke." Research has demonstrated that “for every increase in magnesium intake of 100 mg per day total stroke risk was reduced by 8 percent.  In addition American’s with levels below the RDA are more likely to have an elevated C Reactive Protein (CRP), which also contributes to cardiovascular risk.  Studies have shown a clear correlation between magnesium intake and depression and anxiety”. 

Could YOU be low in magnesium? Up to 80% of Americans are.  Why?  Well, certain medications block absorption of magnesium – such as stomach acid blockers called proton pump inhibitors (Prilosec, Prevacid, Nexium), steroids, birth control pills, insulin, Digitalis, antibiotics and diuretics (water pills).  

Also, soils have become depleted in mineral content. Actually, vegetables, nuts and seeds grown organically in enriched soil have about twice the level of magnesium that inorganically grown produce does.

low_magnesium_levelsWhat does low magnesium look like healthwise?  Magnesium is critical for cardiovascular health.  Also, low magnesium symptoms include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Constipation
  • Twitches
  • Headaches
  • Migraines
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Restless Legs

Increasing fatigue, poor memory and insomnia can also indicate low magnesium.  Low magnesium can also be a contributing factor to postmenopausal osteoporosis.

What to do?  Ask your physician to check your magnesium level (a test most insurance covers) if you suspect you might be low.  The proper test is called the RBC Magnesium test.  If you are low, it is simple to supplement with 150 mg to 300mg magnesium citrate or glyccinate or dimagnesium malate until RBC magnesium  levels return to health.

food-sources-of-magnesiumAlso, why not try increasing your dietary intake? How about salads and nuts?  A healthy plant based organic diet typically supplies about 150 mg magnesium, while the standard American diet (which includes processed foods, processed grains, high sugar and saturated fats) provides about 75 mg. The best solution is to eat more leafy green vegetables and nuts!

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Metabolic syndrome is the leading cause of heart disease, diabetes, and a variety of other chronic illnesses in this country. What is it?

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metabolic syndromeThe Cleveland Clinic teaches us that “Metabolic syndrome is a collection of heart disease risk factors that increase your chance of developing heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.”

Also known as Syndrome X, this condition affects more than one in five Americans.  This number increases with age.  

What does it look like?

  • A waistline of 40 inches or more for men and 35 inches or more for women (measured across the belly)
  • A blood pressure of 130/85 mm Hg or higher or are taking blood pressure medications
  • A triglyceride level above 150 mg/dl
  • A fasting blood glucose (sugar) level greater than 100 mg/dl or are taking glucose-lowering medications
  • A high density lipoprotein level (HDL) less than 40 mg/dl (men) or under 50 mg/dl (women)
  • High fasting insulin and blood sugar levels
  • Men may also have low testosterone levels – losing muscle to fat

What causes it? The exact cause of metabolic syndrome is not known. Many features of the metabolic syndrome are associated with “insulin resistance.” Insulin resistance means that the body does not use insulin efficiently to lower glucose and triglyceride levels. Insulin resistance is a combination of genetic and lifestyle factors. Lifestyle factors include diet, activity, stress, and perhaps interrupted sleep patterns (such as sleep apnea).

What we eat, how much we move, how we face stress, how connected we are to our communities, and toxic chemicals and metals in our environment are all critical factors.

What problems can occur due to metabolic syndrome?

  • Damage to the lining of coronary and other arteries, a key step toward the development of heart disease or stroke
  • Changes in the kidneys' ability to remove salt, leading to high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke
  • An increase in triglyceride levels, resulting in an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease
  • An increased risk of blood clot formation, which can block arteries and cause heart attacks and strokes
  • A slowing of insulin production, which can signal the start of type 2 diabetes, a disease that is associated with an increased risk for a heart attack or stroke. Uncontrolled diabetes is also associated with complications of the eyes, nerves, and kidneys.

circle of healthWhat can we do?   Do you fit any of the profile above?  Concerned about heart disease as you age?  Ask your physician about being tested for fasting insulin levels (to check for insulin resistance) and fasting blood sugar. 

Lose weight       Change your diet to reduce processed foods and sugar   Eat more vegetables and less red meat       Exercise more      Drink less alcohol     Enjoy a good night’s sleep    Connect with friends who may also be facing this issue

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

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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.

RN Patient Advocates, PLLC

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RN Patient Advocates, PLLC

3400 West Goret Road
Tucson, AZ 85754
Phone: 520-743-7008
Email:  karen@patientadvocates.com

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