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

Homocysteine – what is it? Why do we need to know? Ask your heart.


homocysteine2Since 1990, the National Library of Medicine has posted thousands of scientific studies showing that homocysteine is a significant risk factor for disease.

What disease?  Higher levels of homocysteine raise the risk of premature cardiovascular disease affecting the heart, brain, and peripheral blood vessels.  Elevated homocysteine may speed the progression of atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) in the arteries in your heart and the rest of your body. 

Osteoporosis: Women with high homocysteine levels were found to have significantly lower bone mineral density in the hip than control subjects.

Alzheimer’s Disease: Rising levels of homocysteine may predict impending cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.

Depression and elevated homocysteine appear to be related as well.

Elevated homocysteine levels have now been correlated with a wide array of illnesses, including the ones listed here as well as stroke, schizophrenia, macular degeneration, cervical cancer, and birth defects.

homocysteineSo what is it?  Homocysteine is an amino acid (protein) that your body makes from another amino acid called methionine – found in protein-dense foods that you eat on a regular basis, such as sunflower seeds, eggs, and fish.

Normally, homocysteine gets converted into two really helpful compounds: SAMe (S-adenosyl methionine- you may have read about the use of SAMe in treating depression) and glutathione, your body’s master antioxidant. 

Sounds good, right?  However, in order to convert the homocysteine to these helpful compounds, you need sufficient folate, B12, Vitamins B 2 and 6, zinc, trimethyglycine and magnesium.

What can we do? Step one: ask your doctor about checking your homocysteine level.   Step two:  if your homocysteine level is high, ask to have the levels of folate, B12, B2, B6, zinc, magnesium (as RBC magnesium) and trimethylglycine checked.  If they are low, it is both simple and inexpensive to replenish your body’s stores of these nutrients.

Want to learn more? 

Could your house be making you sick? The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) tells us that more than a quarter of U. S. buildings are water-damaged.


water_damageWater damaged buildings can promote the growth of molds – and you do not have to see or smell it for it to be present. 
Living in a moldy household or water damaged building increases the risk for depression by 33-44 percent.  Many other conditions can be caused by mold as well:  chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, multiple chemical sensitivities, Lupus, MS, migraines, autoimmune illnesses.

Symptoms may include:

  • Breathing: Difficult, Tightness in chest, Asthma
  • Emotions: irritable, anger
  • Extremities: Tingling Hands and Feet
  • Eyes: Blindness, Pains, Wear sunglasses, Light Sensitivity, Bloodshot eyes, loss of vision, Detached retina
  • Fatigue: Chronic Fatigue (some estimate cause of up to 1/3 of chronic fatigue), postexertional fatigue
  • Mental: Confusion, brain fog, ADD/ADHD, learning disabilities, anxiety
  • Nasal: Congestion, Nasal soreness, sinusitis. A study by the Mayo clinic found that 96 percent of all sinusitis is  fungal!
  • Pain: pain in temples, sudden headaches, sudden, sharp, icepick like
  • Sensitivity: Car fumes, Smoke, Pets, Feathers, Detergents, Toothpaste, Chlorine, Plastic cups
  • Skin: Rashes, hair loss
  • Stomach: Cramps, nausea, Diarrhea
  • Taste: Metallic
  • Thirst: Dryness, Excessive thirst, excessive urination
  • Weight Gain: Sudden, inability to lose weight despite stringent dieting and exercise

What to do? If you have symptoms and medications are not making you better, if you have lived or worked in any building that has ever had any water damage/leaking roof, poor ventilation, consider that mold may be an issue and ask your physician.  Mold symptoms can often be misdiagnosed.  There are specific lab tests for mold illness – also called Chronic Inflammatory Response Syndrome.


Have your house or building tested for mold:  the leading test is the ERMI test.

There is treatment!  

Learn more at

Read more here. . .

What’s in your teeth may be causing your high blood pressure…and be a cause factor of heart attacks and strokes. How does that happen?


heart_cuteNicholas Gonzalez, MD, explains: “According to a research paper published in the 2011 issue of The Journal of Clinical Hypertension, mercury affects the heart and blood vessels in several ways:”

  • Mercury in your body increases inflammation
  • It causes thrombosis (the formation of blood clots in the veins)
  • Mercury contributes to abnormal endothelial function (remember that the endothelium is the thin layer of cells that lines the interior surface of your arteries and is a prime indicator of cardiovascular health or disease)
  • Mercury impairs the immune system
  • It interferes with the production of energy in your cells
  • Mercury causes high blood pressure
ekg_heartThe author of the research paper, Mark C. Houston, MD, also explains that “The clinical consequences of mercury toxicity include hypertension, coronary heart disease, myocardial infarction (heart attacks)” and abnormal heart rhythms as well as carotid artery obstructions and strokes.
What are the sources of mercury?  Some of the main ones: blue and striped marlin, swordfish, shark, Atlantic salmon, orange roughy, grouper, Chilean sea bass, and blue fin tuna; vaccines (from multi-dose vials;* you can request single dose vials), some cosmetics, some tattoo dyes; “silver tooth fillings; compact fluorescent light bulbs. 
What to do?  Ask your physician to check for levels of mercury in your body, especially if you have high blood pressure, heart disease or a history of strokes.   The levels of mercury in the body can be evaluated by analyzing the hair, blood and the Provoked Mercury urine test (this one is the gold standard). 
If you still have those “silver” fillings (50% mercury), have them safely removed by a dentist trained in proper removal technique.
Consider taking selenium supplements and fish oil – they both antagonize mercury toxicity.  Increase your body’s ability to fight inflammation by eating more fruits and vegetables.  Increase your intake of antioxidant supplements.

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.