Health and Wellness Blog

Stop Losing Sleep Over Hot Flashes and Night Sweats: The Cortisol Connection


If you experience hot flashes (called night sweats when they wake you up in the middle of the night), you know how unpleasant they can be. A hot flash feels as though your internal thermostat suddenly got stuck at 100-plus degrees. Your blood vessels dilate, sending a surge of warmth through your upper body, sometimes turning your skin red and blotchy. You may sweat profusely, soaking your clothing or bedsheets and then feel a chill as your body temperature suddenly drops back down to normal.

The deep discomfort of hot flashes often interrupts sleep, leading to fatigue, irritability, and impaired thinking and memory. The sleep loss can also cause a gradual decline in overall health and well-being.

While the exact causes of hot flashes are still unknown, they seem to be related to hormonal changes that impact the brain’s thermoregulatory center, mostly in women during menopause (though men are not immune). In fact, more than 80 percent of U.S. women report hot flashes, and the majority rate them as moderate to severe. Decreasing levels of estrogen may cause the hypothalamus (the part of the brain that acts as the body’s thermostat) to become more sensitive to changes in body temperature. When the hypothalamus senses that your body is too warm, it triggers a cooldown sequence that results in a hot flash.

The Cortisol Connection

A 2015 study published in the May 2016 issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism draws a connection between hot flashes and patterns in daily cortisol levels in midlife women.

In healthy adults, cortisol levels rise abruptly within 30 minutes of waking up, and then decline throughout the day. Low cortisol in the morning or throughout the day is usually a symptom of chronic illness or stress. High cortisol in the evening is often connected with continue reading

How to Keep Thanksgiving 2020 from Becoming a Turkey


It goes without saying that Thanksgiving 2020 is going to be a different animal than past turkey days, capped this week by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) suggestion that we should perhaps cancel this year’s holiday travel plans and large family gatherings.

All signs point to a Covid-19 resurgence this holiday season with disturbing numbers of Americans testing positive for the virus in nearly every state, including here in Florida. So, for this holiday season at least, it behooves us all to meet the challenges of protecting ourselves and our families by making health a top priority.

Here at BioDesign Wellness Center, we have several health tips for those who believe their family circle is small enough — and safe enough — for an in-person holiday gathering.

Healthy tips for Thanksgiving Day feasting

If you have a food allergy or sensitivity, bring food you can eat, so you don’t feel continue reading

Diagnosing the Root Causes of Illness with the Organic Acids Test


We often talk about the human body as though it is a machine assembled with various components — brain, heart, lungs, stomach, liver, kidneys, skin, bones, and so on. In some ways, the body does function like a machine, but unlike a machine. the body is organic. Every human body is a living organism consisting of approximately 30 trillion cells plus about 100 trillion microbes, most of which live in the gut (you couldn’t live without these microorganisms).

Your health basically boils down to how well these approximately 130 trillion cells function alone and together. Each cell is a living entity, consuming nutrients from food, converting those nutrients into energy, carrying out specialized functions, and even cloning their own replacements. Healthy cells make a healthy body.

Why Take The Organic Acids Test?

The waste products that cells produce daily are eventually expelled from the body. The chemicals included in these waste products provide valuable clues for tracking down the underlying causes of many health conditions. Urine alone contains more than 1,000 organic acids that can be analyzed to identify causes of behavior and movement disorders, hyperactivity, chronic fatigue, immune dysfunction, and many other disorders and dysfunctions.

What Are Organic Acids?

Organic acids — which is the focus of this post — are chemical compounds that are products of metabolism and are excreted in the urine of mammals. Metabolism is the set of life-sustaining chemical reactions responsible for the following:

  • Converting food to energy to fuel cellular processes
  • Converting food to building blocks for proteins, fats, and other organic chemical molecules the body needs
  • Eliminating metabolic waste products

The names of most organic acids consist of two words, the first ending in -ic and the second word being acid. You’ve probably heard of many common organic acids, including lactic acid (which makes yogurt tart) and citric acid (from citrus fruits such as oranges and lemons).

Organic Acid Testing

Here at BioDesign Wellness Center, we sometimes order an organic acid test (OAT) and/or a Microbial Organic Acids Test (MOAT) from Great Plains Laboratory. These tests, which are the standard bearer for their category, screen for continue reading

Meet the Staff: BioDesign’s Physician Assistant, Steve Stiles


Steve Stiles, PA-C, joined our medical staff in November 2019, and let’s just say that having him around the office on a daily basis is just the breath of fresh air we needed. Among his areas of focus, Steve conducts medical screenings, collaborates with our medical director on Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) and Erectile Dysfunction (ED) treatment plans, and assists the rest of our medical staff with a number of other patient-related essentials.

A certified physician assistant since 2006, Steve began his healthcare career by working in emergency medicine and neurology after graduation from college, and then moved into HRT- and ED-focused medicine. Before joining us at BioDesign Wellness, he worked in a medical clinic 100 miles to the north of us in Ocala, Fla.

Steve received his Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and holds dual bachelor’s and masters’ degrees in Medical Science (M.M.S.) in the discipline of Physician Assistant. That dual degree came at the conclusion of a six-year program that included a prescribed four-year course of study in an undergraduate major and an additional 27 months of training in the PA program at the Dr. Pallavi Patel College of Health Care Sciences.

We asked Steve to fill in a few more details about his career objectives, as well as answer some personal questions, to which he good-naturedly responded: continue reading

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