January 2010
New Beginnings
In This Issue
Understanding your Cardiovascular Health
Incorporating Exercise into Your Life
Beyond Mammograms: Proactive Breast Care and Cancer Screening
Understanding Prostate Specifc Antigen (PSA)
Nondairy Cream of Celery Root Soup
Quick Links
About Us
Meet our Doctors and Healers

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Call Pacific Naturopathic at 650-857-0226.  The clinic is open M-F 9am-5pm.  The clinic is closed daily from 12-1:30pm.
Upcoming Classes and Events:
Dr. Shanti Rubenstone:
How to be Truly Well
Saturday, 10am-1pm
Jan 23rd at
Ananda Palo Alto

Dr. Dhurga Reddy:
Naturopathic Approaches to Cardiovascular Wellness
Wednesday, 7pm
Jan 20th at
Mountain View Public Library

Yoga for Anxiety
starting January 21st
at the Healing Yoga Foundation of San Francisco


New Years resolutions are often about what we intend to do better.  If we know where we're starting from and why we might want to do what it is we intend to do, we may be more motivated to do it. Naturopathic medicine offers comprehensive screening to give you more information about where you stand, educates you on what it all means, and on what you can do about it to maintain and optimize your health.

In this issue of our newsletter, we discuss  cardiovascular screening; the roles of thermography and mammography in breast health and breast cancer screening: the interpretation of PSA values in prostate health and prostate cancer screening; and the role of exercise in keeping you well.  Our recipe of the month is a comfort food recipe for a non dairy cream of celery root soup.  
In health,
Your team at Pacific Naturopathic

January Specials

Start the new year off with a focus on prevention.  The following screening exams for adults and children are $90 when you schedule with one of our new associates, Dr. Dhurga or Dr. Agatha, by February 15th, 2010.

Well Woman Exams  $90
Well Man Exams $90
Well Child Exams $90

*Special Rates do not include the cost of labs or supplements.
Understanding Your Cardiovascular Health
~Dhurga Reddy, ND

Dhurga Reddy, ND
One very important way to be proactive about your cardiovascular health is to see your doctor annually for a physical exam and lab work. Your risk factors for cardiovascular disease increase as you age. Your annual cardiovascular assessment helps your doctor update your individualized naturopathic recommendations for optimizing the health of your heart and blood vessels.
Understanding cardiovascular risk is an evolving science.  As our knowledge of the cardiovascular system expands with the development of new technology and the analysis of emerging research studies, our ability to test for cardiovascular disease becomes more and more refined - allowing for earlier detection and more targeted treatment.  At Pacific Naturopathic, we incorporate the latest research and technology into our assessment of our patients' cardiovascular health, in part by ordering a comprehensive set of laboratory tests that give us a holistic understanding of our patient's risk factors.  The lab tests we order not only include a standard lipid panel which measures cholesterol levels, but tests that measure inflammation - an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease.  These tests include C-reactive protein, homocysteine, fibrinogen, and GGT.  Elevated levels of these substances in the blood are correlated with an elevated risk of cardiovascular disease.
Chronic inflammation is not only an independent risk factor for cardiovascular disease, but it also encourages plaque and blood clot formation in arteries.  Comprehensive risk assessment for cardiovascular disease must include an assessment of inflammation. An individual with normal cholesterol and high levels of inflammation is at much higher risk of disease than an individual with moderately elevated cholesterol and low levels of inflammation.
Many of the risk factors for cardiovascular disease are asymptomatic, but can be measured by your doctor with a physical exam and lab work.  Start 2010 off right by working with your Naturopathic Doctor to identify and minimize your unique cardiovascular risk factors, and optimize your cardiovascular health.  For more information about how you can take an active role in your cardiovascular health, please attend Dr. Dhurga's lecture on Naturopathic Approaches to Cardiovascular Wellness, at the Mountain View Public Library.  The lecture will take place at 7pm on January 20th.

To read more articles written by Dr. Dhurga, please click here to visit her blog.
Incorporating exercise into your life 
~Agatha Constance, ND

Agatha Constance, ND

Many of us would like to partake in regular exercise, but we find that our busy schedules keep us from making this a realization. The new year is a great time to revisit our exercise goals and take a step in the direction of health. Ideally we should all log at least 30 minutes of exercise daily, but to make exercise sustainable in your life, start small and work up to this. Begin with smaller goals such as 15 minutes 2 days a week for 2 weeks, then increase the days and minutes as you find ways to fit exercise into your life.  
Some benefits of regular exercise:

Exercise improves your mood: physical activity causes chemical changes in your brain, which can make you feel happier, more relaxed and decrease depression.

Exercise improves your energy: even though it takes energy to exercise, the body works more efficiently when it gets regular exercise, allowing you to have more energy through out the day.

Exercise increases your immune system: regular exercise can help reduce your chances of getting colds, flus, and other viruses.

Exercise prevents chronic disease: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, osteoporosis, and some cancers can be decreased or avoided by regular exercise.

Exercise improves your sleep: with physical exertion, you can fall asleep faster and sleep deeper, which gives you more energy through out the day.

Exercise gets you in shape: burn calories to feel and look great, while getting stronger and fit.

Exercise keeps you young: increased circulation improves the delivery of nutrients to cells and the removal of toxins. It also helps increase the natural production of collagen, plumping the skin and fighting age lines.
For more information and ideas to increase your exercise, click here to visit Dr. Agatha's blog, or call Pacific Naturopathic to make an appointment for specific recommendations. 
Beyond Mammograms:
Proactive Breast Care and Cancer Screening
~Connie Hernandez, ND
Connie Hernandez, ND
With the recent changes in recommendations for screening mammograms, my practice is suddenly filled with concerned and confused patients seeking breast cancer screening options. While mammograms are one way to screen for tumors, they do not predict the development of breast cancer. Mammograms detect structural changes that have already occurred in tissue: glandular development, cysts, tumors and calcifications -- lumps and bumps already formed.
Proactive breast care involves detecting and treating changes in breast tissue that precede the development of those lumps and bumps. Breast thermography offers an excellent way to see these early changes. This non-invasive imaging procedure uses a specially designed camera to detect and record heat patterns over the skin. With thermography, we can see temperature differentials between the breasts, and we can detect the abnormal patterns in blood vessel formation which precede tumor development.
The thermographic findings may reflect hormonal imbalance or reveal the tissue changes that may accompany cancer, fibrocystic disease, infections, or vascular disease. Through thermography, we can offer risk analysis and also monitor the efficacy of treatment interventions by observing changes in sequential thermographic findings.
Thermography has certain advantages over mammography. Accuracy is not compromised by the dense breast tissue of younger women, or confused by fibrocystic breast tissue. There is no equipment or operator contact with the body, no radiation, and no pain.  The process is exactly like that of posing for a photograph.
A single thermogram is useful, but may indicate the need for follow-up thermography for comparative purposes or follow-up with an anatomic method of detection such as mammogram, ultrasound or MRI. Neither thermography nor anatomic methods of detection are 100% accurate in detecting breast pathology. They are complementary techniques, offering different information. It is important to remember that neither mammograms nor breast thermography are diagnostic of breast cancer. The only diagnostic for breast cancer is breast biopsy.
To schedule an appointment for breast thermography, please contact us t Pacific Naturopathic, 650-857-0226.
Understanding What Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) Means

~Marcel J. Hernandez, ND
Agatha Constance, ND

The PSA test has recently come under a lot of criticism for being over-emphasized as a diagnostic test for prostate cancer.  In fact, it is quite trendy to disregard the test entirely.  However, the PSA remains a useful screen that may point the way to the next step in prostate care.
In men of any age, a healthy, normal prostate releases a small amount of prostate specific antigen into the blood stream.  As men age, the prostate typically enlarges and the blood level of PSA also rises. Benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), an enlarged prostate, is a condition that causes urinary symptoms such as decreased flow, getting up at night to urinate, difficulty in starting a stream and a feeling of incomplete voiding.  BPH is the most common non-cancer condition causing PSA levels to rise.
Although the high end "normal" for PSA levels by most labs is 4.0 for men of any age, the age-based thresholds given below are much more appropriate given that BPH is common in 90 percent of men over 60 years of age.
Age (years)               -- Serum PSA
40 - 49 --                             2.0
50 - 59 --                             3.0
60 - 69 --                             4.0
70 - 79 --                             5.5
Although BPH causes an almost permanent rise in PSA, a temporary rise in the PSA can be caused by a number of conditions. Urinary tract infection, prostatitis (inflammation of the prostate), or a biopsy of the prostate can cause large rises while small rises can be caused by ejaculation and even bicycle riding. Because of these non-cancer causes of PSA elevations, many high PSA test results may be due to conditions other than prostate cancer.
The controversy regarding the usefulness of the traditional PSA has been good in that it has spawned other ways of measuring the PSA in an effort to make the test more specific for prostate cancer. One of these is called the "Free to Total" PSA, which is reported as a percent.
If the total PSA level is abnormal, the Free to Total PSA percent will give an idea of whether the rise is due to benign disease or cancer. Cancer is more likely if the Free to Total percentage is below 10 percent.
Most medical professionals agree that if you have a PSA greater than 4, or if your PSA is greater than the 'normal for age' range shown above, or if it is rising rapidly, you should seek further investigation.
If cancer is present, the level of PSA in the blood rises as the tumor grows. This means that small rises in PSA are found in association with small tumors that may be still confined to the prostate gland. PSA levels of 10 or less have the best chance of being localized to the gland without further spreading.  If cancer is present, a prostate biopsy will reveal the characteristics of the tumor cells themselves (called Gleason Scale or "grade") and can indicate the risk that a tumor has grown beyond the prostate.
High PSA levels can mean different things in different circumstances. Nevertheless, PSA levels are useful because they at the very least indicate prostate health and may indicate the risk of cancer in those who haven't yet been diagnosed.  Your best bet is to find a medical provider who can help you determine your level of risk and the need for further investigation.
Nondairy Cream of Celery Root Soup
(contributed by Dr. Connie, adapted from the conscious cook, by Tal Ronnen)

1 cup cashew cream
(Cover 1 cup cashews with water and soak overnight. Drain. Rinse. Blend until smooth  in blender with water to cover by 1 inch. Refrigerate.)
Olive oil
1 large chopped onion
2 stalks chopped celery
2 medium sized celery roots, peeled and chopped
2 quarts vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper
Chives or other herb topping of choice.  

Saute onions, celery, and diced celery root in olive oil until soft. Add vegetable stock and bay leaf and simmer 20 to 30 minutes. Stir in cashew cream. Simmer 10 more minutes Blend in blender. Season with salt and pepper.  Serve topped with chives.

At Pacific Naturopathic, we offer evidence-based, integrated approaches to most acute and chronic health concerns. Bone health, breast health, hormonal balance, autoimmunity, cancer, cardiovascular health, inflammation, digestion, pediatrics, and metabolic cleansing are particular areas of interest to our practitioners. To encourage patient participation, we offer both guided self-help protocols and comprehensive doctor assisted protocols.  Our patients tell us they particularly appreciate our doctors, practitioners, and staff for our caring attitudes and commitment to service.