How to Safeguard Latino Patients Practicing Alternative Remedies

Studies reveal that 70% or more of recent immigrants from Latin America use herbal or other alternative remedies[1], but many of them do not self-disclose this information to their physicians. You can imagine the potential risks of contraindications in treating these patients. Why might Latin American immigrant patients interacting with the U.S. healthcare system not share this information with their doctors?

With a little introspection, it’s not difficult to understand. For healthcare providers, these are some questions you may ask yourselves.

  • Does the physician, nurse or technician ask about alternative treatments?

Don’t assume patients will volunteer information without being asked. Latin American immigrants coming from socialized systems of medicine are not culturally trained to be their own advocates. Some patients simply won’t disclose any information, pertinent or extraneous, if the doctor doesn’t ask.

Some Hispanic patients may be used to having doctors engage them in casual conversation, possibly disguised as a diagnostic tool to uncover medical information. In Latin American cultures, good professional relationships are formed by getting to know patients before treating them. Some social engagement will also help U.S. healthcare professionals earn the trust of their patients. Establishing a social relationship of trust will help convince the patient to follow physician’s recommendations, even if only to avoid disappointing the doctor.

  • Does the physician, nurse or technician define what they mean by “alternative” remedies?

Healthcare providers need to be specific when questioning patients about the use of alternative remedies. Asking “What else are you taking?” is not sufficient. This could be interpreted as “What other conventional medicines are you taking?” But what about teas and herbs, massages, sweating, aroma therapy, spiritual cleansings? Find a better way to open up this conversation with your patient. Also, it would help enormously to truly understand the background of your Latino population. Has anyone in your facility canvassed the local community to discover the most common alternative practices? It could save a patient from unnecessary risk. If the locals like to treat their babies’ colic with chamomile tea or teething pains with clover oil, are they aware of the risks of conjunctivitis or toxicity if swallowed? Be specific, with examples, when gauging your patient’s involvement with alternative remedies.

  • Does the medical professional feel comfortable inquiring about treatments with which he or she is unfamiliar?

The obvious solution to this situation is for doctors and nurses to inform themselves about potential harmful interactions from the typical herbal remedies practiced by the local community. But even without this expertise, inquiring is better for patient care than not inquiring. No one knows all of the answers. That’s why there are specialists! A referral to a pharmacist or other related professional can help inform the patient and his or her physician.

  • Is the patient afraid to disclose this information because of past negative interactions with judgmental healthcare providers?

There are effective and ineffective ways of discussing this topic. Disapproving looks and stern warnings intimidate patients into non-disclosure. A bad experience makes it more difficult for the next encounter with healthcare providers and could sabotage compliance in follow-up care. Casual curiosity combined with a neutral tone is a better tactic. If the patient does disclose the use of alternative or complementary treatments which are NOT contraindicated for their conditions, then encouraging the patient to continue practicing harmless practices may enhance their compliance. Patients with long-term ailments become doubtful of the efficacy of their physician’s advice when improvement is not swift and significant. But now the patients who are simultaneously following harmless alternatives are ‘inoculated’ against reverting to natural remedies as their cure and abandoning doctor’s orders!

  • In which language is the diagnostic interview being conducted?

Many recent immigrant patients are not proficient in English. There will be language barriers to overcome. Immigrant patients unassimilated into the U.S. healthcare system may be shy about volunteering information, especially to healthcare professionals they perceive to be authority figures. Having a Spanish-language interpreter who is knowledgeable about U.S. diagnostic procedures and about healthcare practices in Latin America can be your and your patient’s best ally. U.S. born “legacy” speakers of Spanish will help bridge the linguistic gap. However, interpreters recruited from among the immigrant community will be even better suited for this job!

[1] See http://www.jabfm.org/content/19/6/566.full and http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2203387/

Natural Herbal Snoring Remedies

For snorers-and their bedmates-longing for a good night’s sleep, a natural, non-invasive treatment can be a long-awaited dream. Snoring affects over 85 million Americans and their partners and can lead to physical and mental exhaustion and even sudden death. Many people undergo surgical procedures, while others continue to suffer, thinking that nothing can help their snoring problem. A good number may be happily surprised to learn that there exist effective an herbal snoring remedy. Let’s take a look at some of these useful herbal remedies.

There are numerous herbal snoring remedies on the market. A good herbal snoring remedy will help the problem. Most advertise that their use will reduce the tendency to snore by opening nasal passageways and promoting normal nighttime breathing. SnorEase, manufactured by Nature’s Sunshine is a combination of three ingredients: immature bitter orange, Bromelain, and Co-Q10. The bitter orange contains synephrine, which relieves congestion and phlegm from the nasal passageways and stops the production of congestion-causing histamine. Bromelain is an enzyme found in food that helps break down mucous. Co-Q10 purportedly works with the circulatory system to promote healthy breathing at night. HerbChina is a herbal snoring remedy. This product recommends a nine herb combination called JSN as a snoring remedy. It reports that physicians found that patients were cured or improved in over 95% of the cases of JSN use. Snorerelief is another herbal snoring remedy that lubricates the throat, tongue and uvula. An herbal spray, Snorerelief contains olive oil, sunflower oil, almond oil, and vitamins B6, C, and E. Snore M.D., which provides free samples you can order from their website, touts itself as a 100% natural herbal snoring remedy. With over 150,000 satisfied customers, Snore M.D. uses a unique combination of digestive enzymes and natural herbs to metabolize excess congestion and shrink nasal and respiratory passages. The Internet is a mecca for those looking for an herbal snoring remedy-although it is difficult to judge the product’s quality and effectiveness by simply looking at a website. Many communities are home to herbalists and other alternative health practitioners who can help you choose an herbal remedy. These days, many conventional healthcare professionals have experience in herbal treatments or can point you in the direction of a trusted alternative medicine provider.

While many people use an herbal snoring remedy, healthcare professionals, including herbalists, urge you to discuss your situation before using any herbal supplement. People often believe erroneously that herbs are completely safe to take and cause no side effects. Certain herbal remedies, however, can cause interactions with prescription medications and surgeries, causing harmful results. It is also important to understand that, unlike prescription medications, an herbal snoring remedy is not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. That means that they do not have to prove their effectiveness. While some people find that herbal snoring remedies truly do reduce and even solve their snoring problems, others may find that the herbal remedies have no noticeable impact. For many, however, their snoring may affect their lives-or the lives’ of their partners-enough that the risk of ineffectiveness may just be worth the chance of a cure.

Natural Remedies For Gout – No More Pain & Inflammation

Gout has been plaguing people every single decade. Currently over 5 million people in the States suffer this condition. Hippocrates called it the “disease of kings” because it affected people who eat rich food.

There are good free natural remedies for gout that can help you deal with an attack. These may involve rest, changes in diet and a simple ice pack.

As you know gout is a form of arthritis that attacks your joints with deep pressures of pain on a consistent basis. It predominantly affects the joints of your big toes.

Fortunately there are treatments and readily available options to deal with gout. If you’ve multiple attacks of acute arthritis; arthritis attacks that happen consistently and vanish quickly or a particular arthritis pain in a certain body part such as elbows, heels, wrists, fingers or other body part – you’ve a gout symptom that needs to be dealt with.

What are helpful natural remedies to ease gout attacks? You can start by resting the joint for a term of 24hrs until the attack eases. This is a logical one but often people get desperate, don’t rest and their panic make the inflammation worse. After resting for 24-48hrs, try to elevate the painful joint that was hurting, slowly, often improves the condition.

You may also apply an icepack to a painful joint. Just be sure to ask a healthcare provider how long you should do this..

Diet may also contribute to an attack so it is important to eat a balanced diet and limit or avoid high-purine foods such as beef or pork. These foods may contribute to higher uric acid levels which can be a contributor to a gout attack.

Whilst not a natural remedy, taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID’s) may also work in recovery from your gout attacks. This is something to discuss with your doctor or healthcare practitioner.

Some of NSAIDs have been pulled from the market so you might be on the hunt for herbal gout remedies. These remedies can reduce joint pain, reduce inflammation and detoxify your body of the substances that can contribute to a gout attack.

Detoxification is important because some substances in your body, like alcohol for example, make contribute to an increase in gout attacks.

The great thing about herbal remedies for gout is that they don’t give you the side effects of NSAIDs so they are certainly worth using.

Whether you use natural remedies or some other medication, it’d be smart to seek medical assistance first!

How to Find Home Remedies For Removing Warts

Many individuals who are interested in treating their warts may want to consider using a home remedy to remove them. Home remedies are considered to be a part of alternative medicine, because they have not garnered a following from the established medical community. These remedies often consist of ingredients or materials that can be easily purchased in local stores or found at home. Because these materials and ingredients are inexpensive, many people consider home remedies to be a cost-effective means of removing warts.

One of the easiest ways of finding a remedy for wart removal is on the internet. People with warts can find many websites that discuss home remedies for wart removal. On some of these websites, such as PubMed, people can ascertain whether any of these methods have been tested in clinical trials and what the results were. Many remedies are also found in books, which can be purchased new or used. These websites and books can help people with warts decide whether they want to try a home remedy and which remedy is appropriate for them.

These remedies are usually conducted by the person afflicted with the wart and do not require visit to a healthcare professional. Because they usually do not require the person with the wart to leave home, the person is allowed to have privacy when treating the wart. Therefore, for people who are self-conscious about their warts, do not want to have a healthcare professional remove the warts, or would rather remain within their home, a home remedy may be an option for treating warts.