As a long time sufferer from skin cancer (I have had three basal cell carcinomas removed surgically), I would like to help you to protect yourself this summer. I offered a number of suggestions on May first as this is Skin Cancer Awareness month. Herewith Emily S. Ruiz, MD, MPH writing in the Harvard Health Blog.
It’s almost May and here in the Northeast, front-of-the-pharmacy aisles are filled with myriad brands and types of sunscreen. While sunscreen is essential to lowering your risk for skin cancer, there are other simple, over-the-counter options you can incorporate into your summer skin protection routine.
I shot this on an early morning bike ride as the sun was coming up over Lake Michigan.
Nicotinamide may help prevent certain skin cancers
Nicotinamide is a form of vitamin B3 that has been shown to reduce the number of skin cancers. In a randomized controlled trial performed in Australia (published in the New England Journal of Medicine), the risks of basal cell carcinoma and squamous cell carcinoma were significantly reduced — by 23%. Nicotinamide has protective effects against ultraviolet damage caused by sun exposure. The vitamin is safe and can be purchased over the counter. We recommended starting the vitamin (500 mg twice a day) to all our patients with a history of a basal cell carcinoma or squamous cell carcinoma, or with extensive skin damage due to sun exposure. One caveat is that the vitamin must be taken continuously, as the benefits are lost once stopped. Continue reading
I exercise regularly and I also suffer from severe arthritis of the hands, so the subjects of exercise and painkillers touch me where I live. Following is a very informative write up of painkillers in general and NSAIDs in particular by Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications
“Not long ago, I took ibuprofen after a dental procedure and was amazed at how well it worked. Millions of people have had similar experiences with ibuprofen and related medications (called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, or NSAIDs) when used for a number of conditions, including arthritis, back pain, and headache. That’s why NSAIDs are among the most commonly prescribed drugs worldwide.”
Coincidentally, I stumbled across NSAIDs by accident. You can read about it in my post – What about a bubble on my elbow?
“More than a dozen different NSAIDs are available, including naproxen (as in Naprosyn or Aleve), celecoxib (Celebrex), diclofenac (Voltaren) and indomethacin (Indocin). Aspirin is also an NSAID, though it is usually taken in small doses for its blood thinning effects (to prevent heart attack or stroke) rather than for pain.
NSAIDs are fairly safe, but not risk free
“The safety profile of NSAIDs is generally quite good, especially when taken in small doses for short periods of time. That’s why several of them, including ibuprofen and naproxen, are available in low doses over the counter in this country and elsewhere. Continue reading
Filed under arthritis, chronic pain, Exercise, hand arthritis, joint pain, muscular pain, NSAID, osteoarthritis, osteoarthritis pain, pain, Pain relief, Uncategorized
As I mentioned a couple of days ago when posting on cold-brewed coffee, I drink decaf because I don’t like any kind of drugs in my system. Regular readers know that I suffer from severe arthritis in both hands. I took Naproxen Sodium once for something else, but found that it eased my arthritis pain. My doctor and I agreed that the Naproxen Sodium (an NSAID – see below) was too strong for me to take on a regular basis because of possible liver and other damage. All of that preamble is to put into some perspective this latest information on common painkillers – NSAIDs.
FACTS about arthritis medicine (NSAID):•
NSAIDs is an abbreviation for Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs and is used to treat a wide range of diseases, in particular disorders in the muscular and bone system, where the drug counteracts swelling, pain and limitations in movement associated with inflammation.
• NSAIDs are not antibiotics and therefore do not help to fight infections caused by bacteria.
• NSAIDs are in Denmark sold both in low doses (Ibuprofen 200 mg/tablet) without a prescription and in higher doses and other types with a prescription.
Many Danes are prescribed NSAIDs for the treatment of painful conditions, fever and inflammation. But the treatment also comes with side effects, including the risk of ulcers and increased blood pressure. A major new study now gathers all research in the area. This shows that arthritis medicine is particularly dangerous for heart patients, and also that older types of arthritis medicine, which have not previously been in focus, also appear to be dangerous for the heart.
“It’s been well-known for a number of years that newer types of NSAIDs – what are known as COX-2 inhibitors, increase the risk of heart attacks. For this reason, a number of these newer types of NSAIDs have been taken off the market again. We can now see that some of the older NSAID types, particularly Diclofenac, are also associated with an increased risk of heart attack and apparently to the same extent as several of the types that were taken off the market,” says Morten Schmidt, MD and PhD from Aarhus University, who is in charge of the research project.
He adds:”This is worrying, because these older types of medicine are frequently used throughout the western world and in many countries available without prescription.” Continue reading
Arthritis can occur in more than 100 different forms, according to a Special Report of the Mayo Clinic Health Letter. Here is the estimated prevalence in the U.S. of certain forms of arthritis:
Osteoarthritis – 27 million adults.
Rheumatoid arthritis – 1.5 million adults.
Gout – 8.3 million adults
NSAID (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) medicines are used to treat pain and redness, swelling and inflammation from medical conditions like arthritis. The Mayo Health Letter said, “A topical anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) called diclofenac sodium (Voltaren Gel) has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration for osteoarthritis. Others are likely to follow.
This is the location of my arthritis. It hurts to use a button, turn a key and grip anything tightly.
“Topical NSAIDS contain an agent that allows an NSAID drug … to penetrate the skin. This spares you from up to 95 percent of the drug exposure that would occur if the drug had been taken orally. But side effects are still possible.
“Mayo Clinic experts say the verdict isn’t fully in on whether topical NSAIDs are as effective as oral NSAIDs – or any more effective than are common, non-prescription arthritis creams of gels. It’s also not clear whether they pose the same risk of kidney or heart problems as do oral NSAIDs.”
I developed a bubble on my elbow back in February and my doctor prescribed the NSAID Naproxen for it. I took the drug for a week and the condition cleared up. But wait. While I was taking the drug I became aware that the painful arthritis I suffer from in each hand was hurting less. I told my doctor about this and she said that Naproxen was often prescribed to reduce pain in arthritis, but it is a strong drug with possible bad side effects like liver damage and internal bleeding. She prescribed Voltaren Gel instead because it is used externally.
So I am presently a live clinical study of how well Voltaren Gel works. I can say from three days of usage that it certainly reduces pain. I will let you know of further developments including side effects.
Update: One year later. I have stopped using Voltaren. I didn’t feel it gave me much relief. It was messy to apply and use and I feared drug reactions. I currently use mustard seed oil. I got more relief from it with no drug side effects. I also tried out and wrote a post about gin-soaked raisins for arthritis.