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Monthly Archives: January 2016

How Pharmacogenomics Improves Patient Care

Since 2007, when the FDA acknowledged that a blood-thinning drug’s effectiveness (or lack of) could be determined by how a person’s unique genetic structure responded to dosage, the medical field has been questioning its trial-by-error methodology. Emerging from genetic science, pharmacogenomics is making its way to medical establishments across the nation. This revolutionary field is turning the page to a new and exciting chapter in the healthcare industry. Clients are benefitting from the higher level of expertise medical professionals offer as they bring genetic study into their practices. Research in genomics is revealing how genetic specific application of drugs and dosage can positively trigger better effectiveness in patient prescriptions.

The utilization of Pharmacogenomics (or Pharmacogenetics)  in the medical field brings the commodity of customization to your patients. Pharmacogenomics provides medical professionals with in-depth information based on a patient’s specific gene structure to determine the medication that best suits their needs. The field of pharmacogenetics is rapidly growing. As it gains momentum so does its potential to address a wide range of health issues. Physicians who continually stay informed and up-to-date on the newest discoveries in healthcare offer their clients something often in short supply, hope. The mystery of the human genome is becoming a valuable asset to those immersed in the medical profession.

Why include pharmacogenomics in your practice?

  • They address polymorphisms, genetic variants that can affect your patients’ responses to medications.
  • If you can identify the genetic makeup of each individual client, you may be able to reduce or prevent adverse reactions (due to medication) from occurring.
  • The field of genetics offers physicians more accuracy in terms of writing focused and accurate prescriptions.
  • You can customize a patient’s health regimen around their specific genetics and bring them a more in-depth and detailed health plan.
  • The further exploration and incorporation of pharmacogenomics into the medical field inspires growth and in-depth study regarding how genetics can affect those who suffer from physical or mental disorders.
  • The more you know, the more your clients trust your skillset and feel confident in your abilities.

Customized Care

Almost 50 percent of adverse reactions to medications are caused by genetic variants. It’s an alarming statistic. In the United States the vast majority of hospitalized patient fatalities are credited to negative responses to prescribed medications. If you can correctly predict if a patient has polymorphisms, you can recommend medication that will be effective rather than counterproductive. Pharmacogenetic testing has already been utilized in clinical cases regarding cancer treatment or applied toward those affected by the human immunodeficiency virus.

Patient dissatisfaction arises when those in your care feel they are not being informed on the various treatment options they may have at their disposal. They tend to feel disengaged when healthcare professionals provide only the basic information for self-care and treatment options. To bring encouragement and reduce client anxiety, doctors and nurses can support their clients by exhibiting better communication skills. Offering each individual a list of options or patient applicable developments in the medical field brings much needed peace of mind to those in your care. When you incorporate pharmacogenomics into your medical practice, you are giving your patients a customized experience. Pharmacogenomics is the next step towards providing consistent effective and focused personalized care.

You can read more about Pharmacogenomics here.

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How to Diagnose the Full Picture of Cardiovascular Health – Part 2

Research

Current research shows that combining multiple markers, as these tests do, will help assess patients’ risks for cardiovascular problems.  Recently, most doctors felt that heart attacks were simply a result of fatty deposits that built up, slowly, on your coronary arteries.  They thought that LDL, or ‘bad’ cholesterol, was to blame.

They warned anyone with high LDL levels that they were at risk for a heart attack.

Fast forward to the present: As stated above, nearly half of all those who have heart attacks actually have healthy levels of LDL in their bodies.  During the 90s, Dr. Paul Ridker thought that it must be some type of inflammation in the body that was bursting these plaques, not cholesterol. He decided to prove this.

He began testing the C-Reactive protein in our bodies, which is a molecule the liver produces when the body issues an inflammatory signal.

When you have any type of acute illness, your body produces high levels of C-Reactive (also known as CRP).

With Ridker’s tests, he soon proved that healthy, middle-aged men with very high levels of CRP were three times more likely to suffer from a heart attack than those with low levels of Creative.  And, he found that the danger was actually greater in women than in men.

Read the entire research article, which was published in TIME Magazine, February 2004.

Testing and Monitoring

This type of inflammation testing utilizes simple blood and urine samples. The testing looks for biomarkers that will identify your risk spectrum.

With the additional information, doctors can target treatment to reduce your risks for heart attack and stroke.MD-HeartPro-Logo

This testing allows you to monitor inflammation and the associated risk; thus allowing you to catch the problem in the beginning. Or, if the problem is advanced, you can treat the problem, reducing your cardiovascular risk.

It’s never too soon to start identifying hidden risk of heart disease and stroke for your patients.

For more information, visit http://MDHeartpro.com

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How to Diagnose the Full Picture of Cardiovascular Health – Part 1

If you think that a routine lipid screening will be enough to accurately predict your heart attack risk level, think again.  While it’s true that getting your cholesterol levels checked does a play an important part in your risk assessment, it does not give you the complete picture.

In truth, almost 50% of those who suffer a heart attack or stroke have ‘normal’ cholesterol levels.  New evidence suggests that it is not the lipids, but the inflammation within your artery walls that is the main factor when it comes to risk for heart attack and stroke.

Vulnerable Plaque

The vulnerable plaque in your arteries causes heart attack and stroke.  The inflammation in the arteries actually contributes to the formation of this vulnerable plaque; the inflammation can even cause the plaque to rupture.

With advanced testing, doctors can now measure that inflammation and assess your risk of heart attack. These tests can actually see the state of inflammation in your arteries, as pictured in the chart below.

MD Heartpro - Artery Wall

Copyright Cleveland Heart Lab. Used with express permission.

In Part 2 of this post, we will look at the research and science behind testing for inflammation markers.

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