Killer Kidney Stones by Maria Dorfner

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On November 1, I awoke with sudden, excruciating pain in my lower abdomen.    The kind of pain that unleashes a primal scream.

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Cue Bernard Hermann’s music while Norman Bates stabs you repeatedly with a knife.

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It also feels like I have to urinate every two seconds, but can’t.  My mind races to what could have caused it.  I drank tap water for the only time the day prior. I also went to my sister’s Halloween party and ate things I don’t normally eat.

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Almonds. Did I eat too many?   I workout every day. Did I overdo it?

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OR is it the lengthy conversation I had with someone the night before about my disappointment at what a girl in her twenties had said at work. She said she didn’t believe in love.  I fell asleep thinking how sad it is that anyone in the world would believe  that. Was this  psychosomatic?  Did I bring it on myself with my thoughts?

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Running to the restroom interrupts my self-recrimination.  I shower and dress for work anyway, hoping it will eventually stop.

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It gets WORSE.  I call the doctor and he tells me to come in.  The first question I’m asked is on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst pain ever, how bad is it.  I answer 9.  The doctor scribbles something down and disappears for what feels like days.  Did he not hear me?

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He returns and hands me a cup.  He tells me to do the best I can. Horrified by the filthy bathroom I run to another one.

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Hours waiting for results feels like days. The doc finally returns and says it’s a bladder infection –very common, not to worry.

I tell him it feels more like a kidney stone in my ureter. I point to location. Doc looks at me wondering how I even know such a term.

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He reluctantly agrees to take an x-ray.  I’m thinking he’s delighted to 1. prove me wrong and 2. bill me for doing it.

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I recall Dad having a kidney stone. He looked like Capt. Kirk  fighting a sentient reptilian humanoid when I drove him to the hospital.

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But the doc returns smiling smugly to state  x-ray shows nothing. He sends me home with an antibiotic and still in pain.

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I return to work and my daily routine, but the pain worsens. By Nov. 7, it’s unbearable. So much so that I go to the ER.

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Again, the doctor asks on a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being the worst pain you’ve ever felt, how bad is it?

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This time, I scream like Nadia Comaneci’s judges in the ’76 Olympics.  TEN! TEN! TEN!  He vanishes for hours, as if I shouted ONE.

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Finally, the doc returns. He’s orders a CT Scan.  I’m brought into a room with GE equipment that looks like it must have cost 200K.

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I begin to wonder what it will cost, as the machine propels me towards the inner tunnel stopping at my lower abdomen.

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When it stops, an OZ sounding voice on a speaker says, “Hold your breath.  Breathe.”  3 x’s. In. Out. 5 min. Done. More my speed.

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I wait for results.  Doc returns to say it’s a kidney stone lodged in my ureter–no bladder infection. I refrain from saying told you so.

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Instead, I ask if I could see it, and the doctor laughs as though no one has ever asked such a dumb question.

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Humor me.  He says okay and I follow him to a computer screen.  I see it. A tiny white speck that has me feeling like I’m giving birth to triplets.

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I name them “Pebbles and Bam Bam.” The doc laughs some more.

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I am fascinated by how something so tiny could feel like a jagged BOULDER shredding everything in its path.

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After the CT scan diagnosis, I’m given a shot in my arm for the excruciating pain I had now been in for 7 days and nights.

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They also prescribe Naproxen to widen the thin ureter tube to help the stone dislodge naturally, and Percocet as needed for pain.

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I’m then handed 3 white paper funnels with a filter at bottom and told to urinate in it at home.   There are different types of stones, and the only way the doctor can analyze which one you have is for you to catch it while urinating & return the specimen.

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They tell me to return if it doesn’t dissolve naturally, which can take hours  or up to three weeks.  Three weeks?!!  Good Golly.  I find this graph later.

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Based on it, my .3mm has almost an 80% chance of passing naturally within 12.2 days. Some say a kidney stone less than .5mm in size can dissolve naturally within 3 hours or a few days.  Nice.  I aimed for THAT.   Mission accomplished. 🙂

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Based on the stone location, which I only knew because I asked to see it, I have a 75% chance of it departing naturally.

If you are diagnosed with a kidney stone, be sure to ask your doctor:  1. How big is it? 2.  Where is it located? Write it down or ask him to for you because you may be in too much pain to process the information at the time.  It helps you make a best treatment option decision.

Based on the size and location of mine, I feel better determined to give natural birth to Pebbles and Bam, Bam.

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The following is recommended to stay comfortable while waiting for a kidney stone to pass:

1.  Prescription pain killer taken as needed or over-the-counter Ibuprofen (recommended dose from your doctor or pharmacist) or take warm baths and use a heating pad on painful areas, as needed.

2.  Drink twelve 8 oz. glasses of water daily, or six 16 oz. bottles of water daily.  Here’s a visual.

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I ask what caused it and the doc says they don’t really know what causes kidney stones.

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I need to prevent this from EVER happening again, so I want answers.  All he advises is to drink lots of water.

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I already drink tons of water! He tells me drink more.  I ask a lot more questions, but get no answers.

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What caused it and how can I prevent it from happening again?  I put on my sleuth hat to answer my questions.

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The Nancy Drew of Health will get to the bottom of it. But I find a lot of scattered and misleading information.

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I find this to be true with most health information out there.  It overwhelms people at the worst time.

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It’s scary that the medical community, government and those reporting information don’t always have our best interests at heart.

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It’s not that the information isn’t out there. It’s just all over the place, unreliable or contradictory.

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For instance, I’ve always heard CRANBERRY JUICE is good for kidney stones.  Not so. It can actually cause them. Very high in oxalate.

More here:  http://www.nutraingredients-usa.com/Regulation/FDA-seizes-another-2-million-worth-of-DMAA-products?nocount

HERE’S SOME INFORMATION TO HELP YOU:

First, here’s a diagram of the Ureter inside your body. They are long thin tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder.

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Muscles in the ureter wall continually tighten and relax forcing urine downward.

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They are so narrow that if something the size of a tiny pearl gets lodged in there –it blocks the flow of urine causing intense pain.

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1. What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are a hard mass of crystals that form from minerals in your urine.  This hard mass that can vary in size from a tiny pea to a golf ball can get stuck in the narrow tube connecting your kidneys and bladder. The pain is caused by the wall of the uretra being unable to tighten and relax as it continually does forcing urine downward.  Think of the waves or splashing caused if you suddenly placed a large boulder in a flowing river. Only it’s waves of intense pain inside your body made by something that may be smaller than a grain of rice. Some can be larger with the largest and most painful being the size of a golf ball.

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2.  What causes kidney stones? 

According to the National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Wearinghouse, kidney stones are caused when the normal balance of water, salts, minerals, calcium, oxalate, phosphorous and other substances found in urine changes.  Family history and not drinking enough fluid is the number one cause.

The real question is what causes the normal balance to change?

I’m a huge fan of examining what you eat first whenever you have ANY health issue.  The process of elimination (or adding what may be needed) is a great way to see if there is a link.  The list of foods to avoid is endless.  See #5.

3.  Who gets kidney stones?  Anyone can get one.  Men are twice as likely to get them as women.

4.  How much water do I need to drink daily? Six 16 oz. or twelve 8 oz. bottles daily.  Add fresh lemon whenever you can.

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5.  What do I need to avoid?

  1. Limit caffeine to 300 mg. daily, cup of tea has 80 mg. and 8 oz. coffee has 150 mg.
  2. Pizza
  3. Bread rolls
  4. cheese
  5. black pepper
  6. beats
  7. strawberries
  8. dry beans
  9. peanuts
  10. almonds
  11. cashews
  12. black tea
  13. soy beans
  14. tofu
  15. meat substitutes with soy
  16. dark leafy green vegetables
  17. chocolate
  18. more than 1000 mg. Vitamin C
  19. Cranberries (loaded with oxalates)
  20. hazlenuts
  21. swiss chard
  22. sweet potatoes,
  23. soy products
  24. cured meats
  25. bacon
  26. pickles
  27. sauerkraut
  28. kimchi
  29. soda
  30. sweetened drinks
  31. high levels of Vitamin D (lifeguards get more kidney stones out in sun more)
  32. salty foods
  33. fish liver
  34. food or drinks with high fructose corn syrup
  35. alcohol
  36. pork
  37. grapefruit juice
  38. diuretics
  39. calcium based antacids
  40. reduce sodium to 800 mg. daily
  41. animal protein (meat, fish, eggs)
  42. hot dogs
  43. canned soup and vegetable
  44. luncheon meats
  45. fast food
  46. processed frozen food,
  47. spinach
  48. rhubarb
  49. wheat bran
  50. diet low in carbs
  51. beware of hidden sodium
  52. too much protein
  53. low carbs.
  54. Anything high in sugar, sodium (salt) or protein

 6.  What foods CAN  I safely eat? 

  1. Bananas
  2. Pumpkin seeds (soak before eating)
  3. Avocado
  4. Legumes
  5. Think of meat, fish and poultry as garnish to your meal, and not the main course. Buy all meat, fish and poultry fresh.
  6. Bran flakes
  7. Oats
  8. Wheat
  9. Rice
  10. Mango
  11. Add lemon to your water (half a cup of lemon)
  12. Apple cider vinegar
  13. magnesium citrate, magnesium malate, vitamin K2 & A, B6
  14. Carrots
  15. Whole wheat bread
  16. Wheat cereal
  17. Oat bran
  18. Beans
  19. Drink lemonade made from real lemons.
  20.  Calcium in food form only (no supplements) and limit it daily (one yogurt). One woman said she got kidney stones from drinking milk.
  21. Lime, citrus fruits

One study says ONE glass of wine a day can help prevent kidney stones, so add that to the list. I’ll keep updating this list.

According to Dr. Oz:

Foods that can prevent kidney stones:

  1. Bottled water
  2. Oranges
  3. Yogurt
  4. Lentils

Foods that can cause kidney stones:

  1. Black tea
  2. Beets
  3. Spinach
  4. Potato chips

I’m guilty of #3.  I absolutely love spinach with olive oil and garlic.   There still isn’t a lot on the CAN EAT list.

7.  How is a kidney stone treated?   If the stone is smaller than 5mm, it will most likely pass on its own. The doctor can prescribe something to help move it along and something for the pain.  If it is larger than 5mm, the most common medical procedure for treating kidney stones is known as extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). This therapy uses high-energy shock waves to break a kidney stone into little pieces. The small pieces can then move through the urinary tract more easily. Side effects can include bleeding, bruising, or pain after the procedure. There is also another procedure where they physician can go in with a tube to break up the stone.

8.  How are kidney stones diagnosed?  1. Urine 2. Blood 3. X-Ray 4. CT Scan (most reliable)

  This information is provided by NewsMD Communications, LLC and Healthy Within Network and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. Last reviewed November 22, 2013.                                               

Kidney Stones: Oxalate-Controlled Diet

The Cleveland Clinic Glickman Urological & Kidney Institute, Toll Free 866-223-2273 x1234

Your doctor has ordered a diet to help you decrease the chances of forming calcium oxalate kidney stones. Oxalate is a compound that is naturally present in many foods. The following six factors increase the risk of forming calcium oxalate stones.

1. The amount of oxalate in certain foods.

Although many foods contain oxalate, only nine foods are known to increase oxalate in the urine and kidney stone formation. They are: beets, spinach, rhubarb, strawberries, nuts, chocolate, tea, wheat bran, and all dry beans (fresh, canned, or cooked), excluding lima and green beans. It is best to avoid these foods.

2. The amount of calcium in your diet.

Low amounts of calcium in your diet will increase your chances of forming calcium oxalate kidney stones. You need calcium in your diet to bind oxalate in the intestines. This helps reduce the amount of oxalate being absorbed by your body, so stones are less likely to form. Consuming a moderate amount of calcium every day (2 to 3 servings) from dairy foods or other calcium-rich foods is recommended. If you take a calcium supplement, calcium citrate is the preferred form.

3. The vitamin C content of your diet.

Oxalate is an end product of Vitamin C (ascorbic acid) metabolism. Large doses of Vitamin C may increase the amount of oxalate in your urine, increasing the risk of kidney stone formation. If you are taking a supplement, do not take more than 500 mg of Vitamin C daily.

4. The amount of fluids in your diet.

It is very important to drink plenty of liquids. Your goal should be 10-12 glasses a day. At least 5-6 glasses should be water. You may also want to consider drinking lemonade. Research suggests that lemonade may be helpful in reducing the risk of calcium oxalate stone formation.

5. The amount of protein in your diet.

Eating large amounts of protein may increase the risk of kidney stone formation. Your daily protein needs can usually be met with 2-3 servings a day, or 4 to 6 ounces.

6. The amount of sodium in your diet.

Reduce the amount of sodium in your diet to 2-3 grams per day. Limit eating processed foods such as hot dogs, deli meats, sausage, canned products, dry soup mixes, sauerkraut, pickles, and various convenience mixes.

Use the Food Guide Pyramid to plan a well-balanced diet. Carbohydrates, proteins, and fats are necessary for the proper functioning, maintenance, and repair of your body. In addition to these major nutrients, the body requires water, minerals, and vitamins for good health.

Urology Appointments: 800.223.2273 ext. 4-5600 Nephrology Appointments: 800.223.2273 ext. 4-6771

        This information is provided by Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace  the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider.  Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition.

© Copyright 2013 Cleveland Clinic. All rights reserved.

FACTOIDS

  • Kidney stones are one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract
  • Each year in the U.S. people make more than one million visits to their healthcare providers, and more than 300,000 people go to the Emergency Room for kidney stone problems
  • Anyone can get one
  • If you have one you’re more likely to get it again within 7 years
  • 12% men, 6% women
  • Ages 20 to 50
  • Drinking lots of water is the most recommended way to prevent them (when your urine is clear or light yellow you are drinking enough)
  • Men are twice as likely as women to get kidney stones (12% of men develop them in their lifetime)

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Effective Natural Remedies For Kidney Stones

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8 millimeters (0.31 in) in diameter Kidney Stones

One of the most crucial organs in your body is the kidneys. This is because the kidneys function in not only enabling your body to detox, but get rid of impurities from our blood stream in addition to waste products from your urine. Unfortunately, these vital functions of the kidney can be hampered by numerous ailments. Kidney stone is one of the kidney ailments that affect millions of people worldwide. Whereas it might not be life-threatening as kidney failure the pain that comes with kidney stones can be unbearable.

Therefore, by virtue of being on this page chances are that you are looking for information in regards to natural remedies for kidney stones. If that is the case, then keep reading to the very last paragraph of this article.

Natural home remedies for kidney stones

The best way to get rid of kidney stones is to opt for natural remedies. As such, this article has listed a number of cures for kidney stones that you can use at home and enhance your healing process. Or you can read other natural solutions information on this Kidney Stones Removal Report 

Kidney Stone Removal Report Is Endorsed by Dr. Scott Saunders, M.D.

Lemon juice, raw apple cider vinegar plus olive oil

This is one of the natural home remedies that is not only easily available in your home, but quite efficient when it comes to curing kidney stones naturally. Symptoms such as abdominal pain can be managed by blending olive oil with lemon juice extract. After drinking the mixture, ensure that you have drunk at least 12 ounces of water. Wait for at least 30 minutes before blending 0.5 ounces of lemon juice in 12 ounces of water. Add one tablespoon of raw apple cider vinegar before drinking. Repeat this cycle every one hour until the pain has subsided.

Uva Ursi

This is also another effective natural home remedy for kidney stones. On top of enabling to combat infections that are triggered with the onset of kidney stones, Uva Ursi also functions in assisting in pain reduction and cleansing of the urinary tract. For effective results, it is highly recommended that you take 500 milligram at least twice in a day.

Dandelion Root

The dandelion root has been used for years to treat and manage the symptoms associated with kidney stones. In addition to relieving the pain triggered by kidney stones, organic dandelion root functions in cleansing the urinary tract. For effective results, it is highly recommended that you take at least 500 milligrams of organic dandelion root two times in a day.

Kidney Beans

One of the foods that doctors and other nutritionist recommend for healthy kidneys are kidney beans. Unknown to a majority of people is that kidney stones have been utilized for ages as a medicinal decoction. Remove the beans from the pods and then boil the beans I purified water for at least 6 hours. Take a cheese garment and strain the liquid. Give the liquid a couple of hours to cool down before taking it. To ease the pain, it is highly suggested that you drink the liquid throughout the day.

Horsetail

Diuretic horsetails are easily accessible in the market and can be used in making horsetail tea. By drinking up to 4 cups of horsetail tea in a day, which is an equivalent of two grams of the thyme pill per day will enable you to eradicate the signs and symptoms triggered by kidney stones.

Pomegranate Juice

There is no doubt that pomegranate plant offers immense health benefits. However, more particularly, the juice as well as the seeds of the pomegranate plant can be regarded as a pure natural remedy for kidney stones. Doctors and scientists have attributed this to the acerbic and caustic traits of the plant. For best results, it is highly recommended that you eat organic pomegranate plant or opt to drink freshly extracted pomegranate juice.

Magnesium

Numerous studies have revealed that persons who constantly suffer from recurring kidney stones are less likely to suffer from persistent kidney stones if they took magnesium. For best results, it is highly recommended that you take at least 300 milligrams of magnesium on a daily basis. By doing so, you will be able to deter instances of kidney stones and greatly minimize the signs and symptoms associated with kidney stones.

Organic Celery

Consuming either vegetal or celery seeds will enable you to deter the creation of kidney stones and reduce the signs and symptoms linked with kidney stones.

Basil

Doctors and scientists have been able to prove that taking basil tea can greatly enhance the general well-being of your kidneys.

Dietary change

Consuming unhealthy foods can lead to the formation of kidney stones. Hence, you need to curtail on the quantity of energy drinks as well as sodas that you consume. Moreover, you need to steer clear of processed foods plus alcoholic drinks. Furthermore, avoid foods that have high levels of oxalate such as rhubarb, beets, spinach, Swiss chard, soybean, wheat germ, okra, peanuts, and sweets (sugary foods and chocolates).

Water 

Make sure you are drinking sufficient water everyday to keep your body and kidneys hydrated specially during summer to prevent the increase chances of an imbalance in your kidneys.

Watermelon

In comparison to other types of vegetables, watermelon is packed with potassium salts. Moreover, it is made up of high water content that helps with hydration. For years, doctors and nutritionists have recommended watermelon as it is regarded as a best diuretic and as such can also be used as natural remedy for kidney stones.

Grapes

Grapes have long been regarded as the best home therapy for kidney stones. Grapes are made up of unique diuretic importance with respect to their excessive water substances as well as potassium salt. As a result of its minute sodium chloride plus albumin matter, grapes are of great importance when it comes to eliminating kidney issues.

Vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 also commonly referred to as pyridoxine has been found to have exceptional curative success when it comes to curing kidney stones. If you would like to attain lasting results, it is highly recommended that you consume a steady healing dosage of between 100mg and 150 milligram of vitamin B6 alongside other B complex vitamins.

Home remedies for kidney stones are natural and do not trigger unpleasant side effects, it is recommended that you see a general practitioner prior to using them  Or  Click Here To Remove Kidney Stones Painlessly

______________________________________________________________________________________

Additional Resources:
National Kidney Foundation
30 East 33rd Street
New York, NY 10016
Phone: 1–800–622–9010 or 212–889–2210
Fax: 212–689–9261
Internet: http://www.kidney.orgleaving site icon

Oxalosis and Hyperoxaluria Foundation
201 East 19th Street, Suite 12E
New York, NY 10003
Phone: 1–800–OHF–8699 (1–800–643–8699) or 212–777–0470
Fax: 212–777–0471
Email: kimh@ohf.org
Internet: http://www.ohf.orgleaving site icon

Urology Care Foundation
1000 Corporate Boulevard
Linthicum, MD 21090
Phone: 1–800–828–7866 or 410–689–3700
Fax: 410–689–3998
Email: info@urologycarefoundation.org
Internet: http://www.UrologyHealth.orgleaving site icon

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littleme1  About the Author: Maria Dorfner is a journalist who has been researching health since she was a kid.

linkedin110   This is  her first and hopefully her last experience with a killer kidney stone. She is the founder of NewsMD Communications and more recently, Healthy Within Network (HWN). MedCrunch is her blog. She began her professional career with an executive internship at NBC NEWS in New York City.  In college, she covered the health beat and Ivy League Roundup for the college newspaper.  She continued to work at NBC for six years before helping them successfully launch their cable station, CNBC.  She then developed and pitched several health series including Healthy Living,  Lifestyles & Longevity and Healthcare Consumers, which she also senior produced and co-anchored on CNBC.

She wrote, produced and directed “21st Century Medicine” for Discovery Health and has worked as a media consultant/strategist for top hospitals, non-profits and Fortune 500 companies. She was awarded a Medical Reporting Scholarship from the American Medical Association, Media Recognition Award for her series,  “Heart Smart” and numerous other awards for her health reporting and producing.  If you have any health topic you’d like to see explored here, you can email her at maria.dorfner@yahoo.com Write “Topic for Your Health Blog” in Subject line.

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7 Foods That Help You Sleep by Maria Dorfner

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 It’s worth repeating.  A good night’s rest is what makes you look AND feel your best. 

 Woman Sleeping

Yet, texting, tweeting, blogging, emailing, facebooking and thinking in daylight can also keep you up at night.

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A good night’s sleep isn’t just about being able to wake up when the alarm goes off. It benefits your weight, heart, mind & more. 

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In a 2010 study of women age 50 to 79, there were more deaths in those that got less than 5 hours of sleep a night.

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So yes, it can affect the length of your life AND quality of life.

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Sleep also lowers stress, depression, anxiety,  improves attention and learning, keeps your mind sharp and one more thing. 

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Well-rested folks lose more fat.  That’s right. It gives a whole new meaning to Snooze You Lose.

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All great reasons to stock your refrigerator with these 7 foods that help you sleep soundly. Eat an hour before bedtime:

oatmeal

1.  OATMEAL – It promotes insulin production and sleep-inducing chemicals to relax you

bananas

2.  SMALL BOWL OF COTTAGE CHEESE WITH SLICED BANANAS – The magnesium and potassium are muscle relaxants

cherries

3.  CHERRIES –  Melatonin controls your internal clock and cherries help to release it

toast

4.  TOAST – Carb rich foods produce insulin helping you relax

milk

5.  WARM MILK – It contains amino acid L-tryptophan and turns into 5-HTP, releasing serotonin. Calcium is good for sleep too

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6.  WHOLE WHEAT PASTA – Add fresh veggies & diced chicken with tomato sauce; high protein dish that also releases tryptophan

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7.  YOGURT SPRINKLED WITH CEREAL – You get the calcium and the carb combo to help bring on the Z-z-z-z’s

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A good night’s sleep also spurs creativity and improves your athletic performance the next day. It also curbs inflammation. Those that don’t get enough sleep have higher levels of inflammatory problems.

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If you are STILL tossing and turning or watching the clock, make sure you are doing the following:

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1.  STOP SIPPING CAFFEINE AT 2 P.M. – Check labels. You may not be aware what you’re drinking contains caffeine.

2.  DIM THE LIGHTS IN YOUR ROOM ONE HOUR BEFORE YOU TURN IN.

3.  SOAK IN A WARM BATH TO UNWIND AS SOON AS YOU GET HOME, NOT RIGHT BEFORE BED.

4.  CLOSE YOUR EYES FOR 10 MIN. AND GENTLY STRETCH BY PAYING ATTENTION TO YOUR BREATHING.

5.  THIS IS A MUST: MAKE SURE ALL YOUR GADGETS ARE TURNED OFF. PLACING THINGS ON VIBRATE DOES NOT COUNT AS OFF.  THAT SOUND CAN STILL DISRUPT YOUR SLEEP.

6.  MAKE SURE ALL CLUTTER IS REMOVED FROM YOUR BEDROOM.

7 Top Health Risks for Men Over 40

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By Guest Author, , Caring.com senior editor

During midlife and beyond, men’s leading causes of death include familiar standbys: heart disease, cancer, unintentional injuries, stroke, diabetes, respiratory disease, suicide, and Alzheimer’s disease.  To lessen your odds of dying from these killers, curb the critical habits that lead to them:

1.  Risk: Being single

Numerous surveys have shown that married men, especially men in their 50s, 60s, and 70s, are healthier and have lower death rates than those who never married or who are divorced or widowed.

Never-married men are three times more likely to die of cardiovascular disease, for example. After 50, divorced men’s health deteriorates rapidly compared to married men’s, found a RAND Center for the Study of Aging report.

What’s the magic in the ring? The social connectedness of marriage may lower stress levels and depression, which lead to chronic illness. (Women tend to have more social ties outside of marriage.)

Oops: Unmarried men generally have poorer health habits, too — they drink more, eat worse, get less medical care, and engage in more risky behaviors (think drugs and promiscuous sex).  Exception: It’s better to be single than in a strained relationship, probably because of the stress toll, say researchers in Student BMJ.

Silver lining: It’s never too late. Men who marry after 25 tend to live longer than those who wed young. And the longer a fellow stays married, the greater the boost to his well-being.

2.  Risk: Electronic overload

Psychologists are debating whether “Internet addiction disorder” is a legitimate diagnosis, and how much is too much, given how ubiquitous screens are in our lives. But one thing’s certain: The more time that’s spent looking at wide-screen TVs, smartphones, tablets, gaming systems, laptops, and other electronics, the less time that’s spent on more healthful pursuits, like moving your body, communing with nature, and interacting with human beings.

Social isolation raises the risk of depression and dementia. And a sedentary lifestyle — a.k.a. “sitting disease” — has been linked to heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and premature death. A 2012 Australian study of more than 220,000 adults ages 45 and up linked sitting for 11 or more hours a day with a 40 percent increased risk of death over the next three years.

Oops: Americans spend five hours in front of the TV every day, according to a 2011 JAMA study that didn’t even take all those other screens into account. More than just three hours a day ups your odds of dying of any chronic disease.

Silver lining: The Australian researchers say that getting up and moving even five minutes per hour is a “feasible goal . . . and offers many health benefits.”

3. Risk: Sloppy sunscreen use

Men over age 40 have the highest exposure to damaging UV rays, according to the Skin Cancer Foundation. Men are twice as likely as women to develop skin cancer and die from it. And 6 in 10 cases of melanoma, the deadliest skin cancer, affect white men over age 50.

More men tend to work and play sports outdoors; having shorter hair and not wearing makeup adds to the gender’s exposure. Nor are their malignancies noticed and treated early: Middle-aged and older men are the least likely group to perform self-exams or see a dermatologist, according to a 2001 American Academy of Dermatology study.

Oops: Fewer than half of adult men report using sun protection methods (sunscreen, protective clothing, shade), in contrast to 65 percent of adult women.

Silver lining: Doctors tend to detect more early melanomas in men over 65, perhaps because the older you get, the more often you see a doctor for other (nondermatological) reasons.

4. Risk: Crummy diet

Poor nutrition is linked with heart disease, diabetes, and cancer — leading causes of death in men over 40. Younger midlife men often over-rely on red meat, junk food, and fast food to fuel a busy lifestyle, which leads to excess weight, high cholesterol, hypertension, and other risk factors. Older men living alone and alcoholics are vulnerable to malnutrition, because they tend not to prepare healthy food for themselves.

Oops: Until around 2000, more women were obese than men — but guys are catching up. In 2010, 35.5 percent of men were obese, up from 27.5 percent in 2000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (Women’s fat rates have held steady at around 37 percent.)

Silver lining: The American Dietetic Association recommends a reasonable 2,000 calories a day for men over 50 who are sedentary, up to 2,400 for those who are active. What comprises those calories is up to you.

5. Risk: Careless driving

Men generally have more car accidents than women, and men in their 50s and 60s are twice as likely as women to die in car wrecks. Unintentional injuries (of all kinds) are the top cause of death among men ages 40 to 44, the third main cause in men ages 45 to 64, and cause #8 in men 65-plus.

Oops: Among middle-aged men, fatalities are more likely to result from falling asleep at the wheel, exceeding the speed limit, getting into an accident at an intersection or on weekends after midnight — all factors that don’t have a significant effect on the injury levels of middle-aged women, according to a 2007 Purdue University study on how age and gender affect driving. Men over age 45 have more accidents on snow and ice, too.

Silver lining: Older men fare better than men under age 45 on dry roads, where younger drivers crash more (perhaps due to overconfidence, the Purdue researchers say).

6. Risk: Untreated depression

Although women are three times more likely to attempt suicide than men, men are more successful at it, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. In 2009, 79 percent of all suicides were men. Suicide rates for men spike after age 65; seven times more men over 65 commit suicide than their female peers.

More than 60 percent of all those who die by suicide have major depression. If you include alcoholics, that number rises to 75 percent. In older adults, social isolation is another key contributing factor — which is why older suicides are often widowers.

Oops: Men often equate depression with “sadness” or other emotions — and fail to realize that common warning signs of depression include fatigue or excessive sleep, agitation and restlessness, trouble concentrating, irritability, and changes in appetite or sleep.

Silver lining: Depression is treatable at any age, and most cases are responsive to treatment, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

7.  Risk: Smoking

Sure, you’ve heard about the horrific effects of smoking before. But the older you get, the worse they become. Older smokers have sustained greater lung damage over time because they tend to have been smoking longer; they also tend to be heavier smokers.

Men over 65 who smoke are twice as likely to die of stroke. Smoking causes more than 90 percent of all cases of COPD — the fourth leading cause of death among men — and 80 to 90 percent of all lung cancer. The risks of all kinds of lung disease rise with age. Smokers develop Alzheimer’s disease, the sixth leading cause of death, far more than nonsmokers.

Oops: Older smokers are less likely than younger smokers to believe there’s a real health risk attached to cigarettes, says the American Lung Association. That means they’re less likely to try to quit.

Silver lining: No matter at what age you quit, your risk of added heart damage is halved after one year. The risks of stroke, lung disease, and cancer also drop immediately.

For More Information, please visit: www.caring.com

RECAP:  7 TOP HEALTH RISKS FOR MEN OVER 40:

1.  BEING SINGLE

2.  ELECTRONIC OVERLOAD

3. SLOPPY SUNSCREEN

4. CRUMMY DIET

5. CARELESS DRIVING

6. UNTREATED DEPRESSION

7.  SMOKING

Sleep Paralysis: Can’t Scream or Move Nightmare

Cope with Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis is a condition where people are paralyzed at the onset of sleep or upon waking. It is a disorienting condition that may also proffer vivid and terrifying hallucinations. Here are some steps to help you identify and cope with sleep paralysis.

Recognize the Symptoms

  1.  

    Learn to recognize the symptoms. Sleep paralysis can affect you in many different ways. There are, however, some commonalities that people experience, including[1]:

      
     
     
    An inability to move the trunk or limbs at the beginning of sleep or upon awakening 
    • Brief episodes of partial or complete skeletal muscleparalysis
       
    • Visual and auditory hallucinations(people often sense an evil presence, or feel a phantom touch, or hear an unidentifiable noise in the room)
       
    • A sense of breathlessness (or chest pressure)
       
    • Confusion
       
    • Helplessness
       
    • Fear
       
     

What to Do During Sleep Paralysis

  1.  

    Focus on body movement. You may find that you are able to move a part of your body (often your toes, fingers, or tongue) to force yourself to a fully waking state. [2]

      
     
  2.  

    Focus on eye movement. Your ability to open your eyes and look around is generally not hindered by sleep paralysis. Some people recommend rapidly moving their eyes back and forth to break the paralyzed state.[2]

     
      
     
  3.  

    Focus on breathing. Controlled breathing can be an excellent relaxation technique. Knowing some breathing techniques in advance may help you regain control during a sleep paralysis episode.

     

     
     
  4.  

    Imagine yourself moving. Some people intentionally induce a sleep-paralysis state to induce what they believe to be out-of-body experiences. Imagining oneself moving effortlessly from the body may be a pleasant alternative to sleep paralysis.[2]

     
     
     
     
     

Treating the Symptoms

  1.  

    Sleep regularly. Sleep paralysis is thought to happen when the sleeper enters the REM-sleep state prematurely.[2] Since this is more likely to occur when a person is sleep-deprived, maintaining a regular healthy sleep pattern and getting enough sleep can significantly reduce the likelihood of sleep paralysis episodes.[3] If you suffer from insomnia, train yourself to fall asleep more easily.

     
     
     
     
     
     
  2. “Sleeping on my side worked for me.” -Maria

    Sleep on your side. About 60% of sleep paralysis episodes reportedly occur when the sleeper lies on his or her back; to break this habit, sew a pocket or pin a sock to the back of your nightshirt and insert a tennis ball or two.[2]

     

     
     
  3.  

    Exercise regularly.[3] You don’t have to go to the gym. Simply introduce a low-impact exercise regimen to your day. Taking a walk in the morning, for example, is a good idea.

     
     
      
     
  4.  

    Eat healthy. Nothing is more important than what you put inside your body. Cut out the things that will affect your sleep, such as caffeine, alcohol, and sweets.

     
     
     
  5.  

    Relax. Stress interrupts normal sleep cycles, which can greatly contribute to the likelihood of sleep paralysis.[2] There are many things you can do to help you calm down, such as meditating, listening to music, and playing with a pet. Decide what works best for you.

     
     
     
     
  6.  

    See a doctor. When episodes occur once a week for 6 months, it’s time to consult with your personal health care provider.

     
     
     

Further Preemptive Treatments

  1.  

    Talk about it with your friends. It’s much easier to deal with a medical condition when you know you’re not the only one. You might be surprised to learn that someone you know has gone through something similar.

     
     
     
     
     
     
  2.  

    Keep a log. Track the details of the experience, the time, your sleep pattern, sleeping position, mental/emotional state before and after you were paralyzed, and if you were paralyzed while falling asleep or upon waking up. This can all be useful information, especially if you decide to a see a doctor about the condition.

     
     
     
     
     
     
  3.  

    Identify the triggers. Sleep paralysis can be triggered by a variety of situations. For example, some researchers have found that it can be caused by the position you fall asleep in. These researchers recommend sleeping in any position other than your back. It can also be caused by certain sedatives or pain medication. Switching medications can eliminate the problem.

     

     
     
  4.  

    Avoid the triggers. After identifying your personal triggers, do your best to avoid them. This will significantly reduce the chances of experiencing sleep paralysis.

     
     

    Tips

  • Avoid caffeine 5 hours before sleep.
  • Sleep paralysis can be terrifying but it isn’t dangerous or harmful.
  • Consider having your doctor administer a sleep study diagnosis. With proper treatment of a diagnosed sleep apnea condition, the sleep paralysis may subside and/or disappear.
  • If you feel an episode coming on at night, try sitting up and staring at a bright light for a minute or two.
  • If you experience disassociation (“out of body” feelings), try to “feel” the texture of your sheets, clothes, or furniture around you. It’s easier to wake up if you focus on one of your senses. Alternately, ignore the sense of paralysis, and allow yourself to follow the “out of body” feelings; you can turn an unpleasant surprise into an enjoyable lucid dream, which you may be able to control. Try visiting friends or pleasant spots you have visited. No harm can come to you, so don’t be afraid.
  • Sleep paralysis is a very common medical phenomenon. Do not worry about the supernatural or spiritual implications of such an episode.
  • You might find yourself still dreaming while experiencing paralysis. This is the time when sleep paralysis is most confusing. For example, you might awaken to see the outlines of your bedroom, but at the same time you might see an intruder in your dream. These sorts of dreams are common in conjunction with sleep paralysis, and they are known to be exceptionally frightening.
  • You might feel the urge to break free of the paralysis by trying to sit up or moving a lot. Doing this can often cause you to be paralyzed further and the pressure to increase. The best way is to simply relax and recognize that you are in no danger and the feeling will soon pass.

Sources and Citations

  1. Guardian article on sleep paralysis
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 University of Waterloo resources on sleep paralysis – this site also has an ongoing study on sleep paralysis where you can contribute your experiences
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sleep Paralysis Information Service
 

Rheumatoid Arthritis Aches & Pains

You don’t want to go wakeboarding or run a marathon anymore.  All you want to do is wake up and be able to walk from your bed to the rest room without feeling like you can’t move.

Yet, suddenly you wake up feeling crippled and sore all over. 

Even your fingers hurt.  You think it’s temporary, but the pain gets worse each morning.

 

It lingers throughout the day. You wonder if it’s arthritis or osteoporosis. 

If you ache all over, chances are it’s Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA).  Click on diagram to see where it hurts. 

 

EVERYWHERE!  Your feet, ankles, calves, knees, legs, back, neck, hands, arms, shoulders, wrists…all your joints hurts. 

The pain is equally distributed on both sides of your body. You start moving real s-l-o-w.

  

You tell yourself you are too young for this.  RA can hit when you’re 30 or any time later. It can affect men and women. 

But there are 2 1/2 times more women suffering from it.  It’s a long-term disease that leads to inflammation of the joints and surrounding tissues. It can also affect other organs.

 

Turns out, even a 5% weight gain could trigger it in someone who never had it. Inflammation.  Now, they’re saying with obesity on the rise –more & more people will get it. And they say the cause is unknown.  Hmm…

I’m thinking if even a slight weight gain triggers it, that’s a clue.  A certain type of food may be triggering it. 

Try the process of elimination to try to figure that out.   One more thing…I say look at the 4 E’s first whenever your health is off-balance.

 1) Emotions 2) Environment 3) Eating 4) Exercise

 

EMOTIONS:  YOU SOUND LIKE A BROKEN RECORD –  My Dad loves to say that when my Mom nags him about something.  Similarly, when you feel physical pain it can mean negativity repeating itself in your mind.

Eckhart Tolle, the author of “The Power of Now” says anger affects your physical health when you repeatedly think about something that happened in the past or you worry about the future.  

He says those thoughts cause negative emotions, which cause physical pain.  It’s the reason depression hurts or bullying.  Negative words hurt. Literally.  Negative thoughts hurt. Literally. 

Tolle says anger is contagious. No one should be walking around angry. 

 

 

Take the time to release it.  You benefit.  Everyone around you benefits.

Think of a record. If it has scratches, it skips.  If it skips, you don’t keep listening to it.  If you did, it would severely damage the record (physical pain).   The record is your mind.  Change it. 

Meditate on the present moment.  Empty your mind of all thoughts.  It’s hard to do.  Keep trying.  Go to a quiet place.  Close your eyes.  Visualize releasing mental, emotional and physical pain.  Focus on soft music, rain drops or simply your breathing.  My favorite 3 words are:  Let It Go.

ENVIRONMENT – You may not be able to change your environment, which is why eliminating anger is so important.  If you have to stay in an existing negative environment, go to a different room, step outside or go for a walk in nature. Turning off the computer and all electronic equipment helps too.

 

EXERCISE – The best exercise for RA is stretching slowly first thing in the morning, walking, yoga and swimming. 

EATING: Can Some Fats Increase Inflammation in Rheumatoid Arthritis? (from WebMD)

Yes. Studies show that saturated fats may increase inflammation in the body. Foods high in saturated fats, such as animal products like bacon, steak, butter, and cream, may increase inflammatory chemicals in the body called prostaglandins.

Prostaglandins are chemicals that cause inflammation, pain, swelling, and joint destruction in rheumatoid arthritis.

In addition, some findings confirm that meat contains high amounts of arachidonic acid. Arachidonic acid is a fatty acid that’s converted to inflammatory prostaglandins in the body.

Some people with rheumatoid arthritis find that a vegetarian diet helps relieve symptoms of pain and stiffness. Other people with rheumatoid arthritis, however, get no benefit from eating a diet that eliminates meat.

Is Omega-6 Fatty Acid Linked to Inflammation With Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Omega-6 fatty acids are in vegetable oils that contain linoleic acid. This group of vegetable oils includes corn oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, wheat germ oil, and sesame oil.

Studies show that a typical western diet has more omega-6 fatty acids compared to omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fatty acid is a polyunsaturated fat found in cold-water fish.

Consuming excessive amounts of omega-6 fatty acids may promote illnesses such as cancer and cardiovascular disease. It may also promote inflammatory and/or autoimmune disease such as rheumatoid arthritis.

Ingesting fewer omega-6 fatty acids and more omega-3 fatty acids, on the other hand, may suppress inflammation and decrease the risk of illness.

Many studies show that lowering the ratio of omega-6 fatty acids to omega-3 fatty acids contained in the diet can reduce the risk of illness.

 _____________________________________________________________________________________

  

Does Menopause Worsen Rheumatoid Arthritis?

For women with rheumatoid arthritis, going through menopause can increase the intensity of rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. The link is likely estrogen loss, but reversing that loss hasn’t proven to help. Learn what can.

The link between rheumatoid arthritis and menopause is a complicated one. Women with rheumatoid arthritis can expect that symptoms of menopause will affect their arthritis pain. However, research has not been able to precisely pinpoint whatever direct links may exist between menopause and rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

“There’s not a lot of data showing that menopause makes a big difference in RA, and I haven’t seen that clinically,” said Scott Zashin, MD, clinical associate professor of medicine at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, and an attending physician at Presbyterian Hospital.

Estrogen and Rheumatoid Arthritis

The possible connection between rheumatoid arthritis and menopause appears to be estrogen, the female reproductive hormone that decreases in menopausal women. Researchers base this suspicion on certain key facts about rheumatoid arthritis:

  • There are 2 1/2 times as many women with rheumatoid arthritis as men, indicating that the disease likely has something to do with female biology.
  • Pregnancy floods the body with estrogen, and pregnancy is known to suppress rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.
  • Three out of four pregnant women with rheumatoid arthritis experience less pain and arthritis symptoms by the end of their first trimester. After they give birth, when their estrogen levels return to normal, 9 of 10 women experience recurring rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, and the symptoms are usually more severe than before.
  • Osteoporosis, a disease characterized by a serious loss of bone density, has been linked to both menopause and rheumatoid arthritis. Osteoporosis after menopause has been directly linked to reduced levels of estrogen in the body.

What the Research Shows

Research into direct links between menopause and rheumatoid arthritis is mixed:

  • One study found that post-menopausal woman who received estrogen as part of hormone replacement therapy experienced no significant improvement in their rheumatoid arthritis symptoms. The hormone therapy also did not decrease women’s risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
  • However, rodent research has found some ties between rheumatoid arthritis and estrogen. One study discovered that rodents with rheumatoid arthritis had impaired function of an important estrogen receptor in their bodies. Another study found that estrogen therapy did suppress arthritis and bone loss in rodents.

Symptoms of Menopause and Rheumatoid Arthritis

Despite this conflicting evidence, it is clear that symptoms of menopause might increase rheumatoid arthritis pain, if only because they make a woman feel that much worse, says Zashin.

Interacting symptoms also can create specific health challenges for menopausal women with rheumatoid arthritis. These include:

  • Osteoporosis. Rheumatoid arthritis already leads to worsening bone density loss, with the inflammation around the joints causing the bones to deteriorate. Inactivity due to arthritis pain and long-term use of corticosteroids for arthritis treatment might also lead to loss of bone density in patients with RA. Menopause may hasten this process, creating even more joint pain and increasing the potential for bone fractures.
  • Loss of muscle mass. Menopause can cause a woman to lose some of her muscle mass. Muscles are crucial for supporting joints that are aching and inflamed as a result of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Fatigue. The inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis can create severe fatigue in some people. Feeling tired is also a common symptom of menopause, usually due to a lack of good sleep. Sleeplessness can compound the fatigue caused by rheumatoid arthritis symptoms.

For women who want a treatment that doesn’t involve taking medication, the answer is exercise. Exercise is an excellent therapy that can help you deal with symptoms of menopause as well as rheumatoid arthritis symptoms, particularly since they intersect. Exercise helps battle bone density loss, increase muscle mass, and improve sleep.

As researchers continue to delve into the connections between these two medical conditions, keep in mind that you have the ability to take action and combat these symptoms.

 
_____________________________________________________________________________________________
 

WHAT IS RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS (RA)?

Rheumatoid arthritis is a form of arthritis in which the joints become inflamed and very painful. Women tend to get rheumatoid arthritis more than men. The synovial membranes that surrounds the joint becomes inflamed and becomes thicker. These changes make it more difficult to move the joint. It can lead to the formation of tissue that can harden and form a bony ankylosis which is a fusion of the joint that prevents any movement of the

SYMPTOMS

Rheumatoid arthritis is accompanied by pain and swelling of the affected joint and can also create a fever.

HOW TO KNOW YOU HAVE IT                                                                       

Rheumatoid arthritis can be diagnosed by a blood test that reveals a rheumatoid factor (antibodies) in the blood.   X-rays are also used to determine if there is swelling of the effected joints. 

Measures To Control Pain

 Non-pharmacologic Measures

Non-pharmacologic measures to control pain include practitioner-administered treatments such as:

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

 Turns out, I’m not the only one that thinks there is a food connection. Look what I found.

CHEF FIGHTS RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS WITH ‘HERO FOODS’

Seamus Mullen, a chef and owner of the New York City-based restaurant Tertulia, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) in 2007.

He turned to traditional medicine to alleviate his symptoms, which worked quickly.

“I would get a tremendous pain in my joint, whether it was in my shoulder or my wrist or my knee – it would get very swollen, and it would hurt more than you can imagine,” Mullen said.

Mullen was a finalist on the Food Network’s Next Iron Chef, but a RA flare-up made it difficult for him to finish the show.

He began to question whether the food he ate was affecting his symptoms.

“Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease, and our immune system directly responds to the food that we eat,” Mullen said. “We are what we eat – literally.”

Foods to feel better

 
So Mullen started experimenting with the foods he loved – and it turned out his favorites made him feel healthier.

That’s how his book, Hero Foods: How Cooking With Delicious Things Can Make Us Feel Better was created.

“I’d rather have vitamin A, E, all these important vitamins coming from greens instead of from a pill and having my liver process it,” Mullen said. ‘So, I’d rather get all the nutrients I need through a balanced diet instead of through a supplement.”

” . . . our immune system directly responds to the food that we eat. We are what we eat – literally.”

– Seamus Mullen, chef and restaurant owner

 Mullen likes to use leafy greens when he is cooking, like kale and parsley.

Mushrooms also make the list of ‘hero foods,’ both fresh and dried, since they contain immune-boosting properties.

“My feeling is that I have an autoimmune disease (and) my immune system is constantly misfiring and causing issues in my joints,” Mullen said. “Everything I can do to bolster my immune system, to strengthen it, and put it in a better position the better.”

He said eggs are ‘hero foods’ because of their high concentration of protein and omega-3 fatty acids.

Anchovies get a bad rap, he added, but if prepared correctly, they are healthy and tasty.

“Anchovies are really important for your joints,” Mullen said. “I’d rather eat anchovies than take a bunch of glucosamine pills in the morning. This, to me, is the natural way to take care of my joints.”

Mullen, whose book is featured on Rachael Ray’s website, said he wasn’t ready to let go of his dreams at the age of 38 – so he’s fighting the RA battle with every step he takes.

He offers recipes on Ray’s site, as well as tips to dealing with RA.

“We will also take a real look into the lives of people who have various kinds of hardships, and have overcome adversity to find inspirations,” Mullen said on the website. “These people will remind us every day that no matter how hard we have it, how much pain we feel, we can go on.”

Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/health/2012/04/27/chef-fights-rheumatoid-arthritis-with-hero-foods/#ixzz1uNaaZqgF

________________________________________________________________________________________

Further Reading:

 Related articles (updates daily — check back for the latest)

 

 

 

New study on Genetic adaptation of fat Omega-3 and Omega-6 metabolism (blogblooms.wordpress.com)

 

 

Pfizer Arthritis Pill Prompts Safety Concerns (aieverywhere.wordpress.com)

Natural Pain Relievers for Arthritis (massageenvy.com)

8 Great Home Modifications for Rheumatoid Arthritis (larkkirkwood.wordpress.com)

A Look Inside Rheumatoid Arthritis (massageenvy.com)

New Organic Medical Food Treats Rheumatoid Arthritis (aieverywhere.wordpress.com)

Can rheumatoid arthritis affect your lungs? (theadventuresofarthritisnfibromyalgia.wordpress.com

8 Great Home Modifications for Rheumatoid Arthritis (larkkirkwood.wordpress.com)

 

A Look Inside Rheumatoid Arthritis (massageenvy.com)

New Organic Medical Food Treats Rheumatoid Arthritis (aieverywhere.wordpress.com)

Can rheumatoid arthritis affect your lungs? (theadventuresofarthritisnfibromyalgia.wordpress.com)

Deciding on Rheumatoid Arthritis Surgery (everydayhealth.com)

 

More later…looking into claims that breast milk relieves RA.   If you have RA and something has worked for you, let us know.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

  

  

  • A tertulia is a social gathering with literary or artistic overtones, especially in Iberia or Latin America. The word is originally Spanish

 

 

  • Tertulia Restaurant NYC – (646) 559-9909 – 359 6th Ave.  

 

 

Meantime…

Cool Allergy Relief Tip

Nearly 20% of Americans will suffer from Spring allergies.

Dr. David Lang, an allergist at Cleveland Clinic brings us a “cool” tip.  He says one of the easiest things you can do this time of year to ease allergies is turn up the AC.

“Air conditioning is a major measure that can be effective.  With the air conditioner on and windows closed, you cut down your indoor pollen count by 90 percent or more.  So air conditioning in buildings and cars is key for reducing level of symptoms, medication reliance.”

Dr. Lang recommends seeing an allergist if symptoms don’t respond to natural or over the counter remedies, and interfere with daily functioning.  Right now, tree and grass pollen are at their peak.  Children and pets can be affected too.

Symptoms of Grass Allergies:

Irritated Nose, Throat and Eyes

  • People who suffer from grass allergies may suffer from watering eyes, sneezing and congestion, post-nasal drip, sore throats and dry, constant coughing. A grass allergy can cause a full range of breathing problems, from wheezing to triggering a full-blown asthma attack. Allergic conjunctivitis can also occur, which is an inflammation of the membrane that lines the inside of the eyelids. This causes red-rimmed, swollen eyes and sometimes even a crusting of the eyelids. Allergic shiners–which are dark circles under the eyes that are caused by increased blood flow in irritated sinuses–may also occur with a grass allergy.

Skin Irritation

  • Irritated skin, including redness, itching, rashes, bumps and hives can all occur due to a grass allergy. These reactions can occur anywhere on the body, but often show up on the hands and fingers. Some doctors call this reaction “hayfever of the skin.” Treatment with antihistamines is usually the best way to handle this symptom. Reactions can be severe (even anaphylactic) if the allergen comes into direct contact with open skin, such as when a soccer player falls and scrapes her leg on the grassy field.

General Unwellness

  • As with other seasonal allergies, many people who suffer from grass allergies also complain of extreme fatigue, and feeling mentally dull or “out of it.” These people complain of feeling spacey, unable to concentrate and foggy much of the time. Headaches, mood swings and even nausea can result from a grass allergy.

Natural Relief and Prevention

  • There are many ways to prevent reactions and naturally provide relief once symptoms occur. Daily nasal cleansing with either a neti pot or nasal squirt bottle can be an effective way to irrigate the sinuses and flush allergens from the nasal passages. Another preventative measure is to always wear a mask when you mow the grass, and keep grass cut short. Use air conditioners indoors and in cars whenever possible. Instead of drying clothes on the line, where they can pick up allergens, dry clothes in a dryer during grass pollen season. Shower each night before bed to wash off pollen. For a sore throat due to post nasal drip or coughing, try gargling with warm salt water.

Medication

  • There are many different kinds of over-the-counter and prescription medications available for sufferers of grass allergies. Eye drops, nasal sprays, decongestants and antihistamines are the most popular. There are also various prescription medications available that work with the body in different ways to hinder the release of histamines. According to Medicine Online, immunotherapy allergy shots help many patients.

Read more: Symptoms of a Grass Allergy | eHow.com http://www.ehow.com/about_5057895_symptoms-grass-allergy.html#ixzz1sqHCqlyx

Back Pain: Snap Out of It!

If only you could just “Snap Out of It!” when you have back pain.  But, that persistent backache that you’ve attributed to pulled muscles or neck strain may very well be osteoarthritis, the most common kind of arthritis no matter what your age.  See the best diet for osteoarthritis at the end of this, as that also plays a role.

According to doctors, X-ray screening of the spine will uncover degenerative arthritic changes in 95 percent of people over the age of 50 — yet not all will have back pain, at least not right away.

When spinal arthritis does affect the nerves and disks, the result can be persistent, excruciating pain that affects quality of life.

And when your back hurts, you’ll do just about anything to feel better: In 2005, the Journal of the American Medical Association reported that Americans spent $85.9 billion dollars seeking relief.  

Luckily, if you do have arthritis, new treatment options are becoming available. Here are five telltale signs that your back pain is caused by arthritis:

1. Pain that comes on gradually and worsens over time

Typically, back pain that’s not osteoarthritis comes on suddenly and results in an excruciating attack that may leave you immobilized but gradually improves as the underlying problem heals.

Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, may start with a twinge here, a twinge there, and before you know it you have a backache almost every day.

What it feels like: Acute pain or overall achiness in one or more parts of your back. Pain due to osteoarthritis may come and go; you may feel better for a few weeks or months, and then the pain comes back worse than before.

Why it happens: The cartilage between the vertebrae wears down, causing the bones to rub against each other. With less cushioning between the vertebrae, the joints become inflamed. 

2. Stiffness and limited range of motion

If you feel stiff and achy when you get out of bed in the morning, it’s often a sign of osteoarthritis rather than sore muscles or a disc problem.

What it feels like: Your back feels stiff and unbending but becomes more flexible as the day goes on. When you bend over or arch your back, it may trigger more severe pain.  You may also notice “migrating” sore muscles that recur in different areas.

Why it happens: Over time, degeneration of the joints of the spine causes inflammation around the joints. 

 3. Neck pain that radiates into the head and shoulders

A pulled muscle in the neck or shoulder typically affects one localized area — you may even be able to touch or pinch the muscle and feel that it’s swollen. Osteoarthritis, on the other hand, may affect the cervical or thoracic spine, causing pain to be felt upward and outward.

What it feels like:  Upper back or neck pain that radiates upward into the neck and base of the skull. Some people experience headaches.

Why it happens:   Increased stiffness and reduced range of motion may cause you to use different muscles than you typically would, causing tension, muscle strain, and soreness throughout the neck and shoulders.

4. Numbness or tingling in the arms, hands, and fingers

Some people confuse carpal tunnel syndrome with arthritis of the spine because some of the symptoms can be similar. A loss of sensation or stiffness in the wrists, hands, and fingers may make it feel like you’re losing control of your fine motor movements.

What it feels like: Twinges, tingling, or numbness that radiates down from the shoulder through the arm. Depending on where nerve compression is occurring, you may feel pain all the way down your arm or in one specific place, such as your wrists, and it may come and go.

Why it happens: Inflammation and bony overgrowth of the cervical and thoracic spine can impinge upon and irritate spinal nerves, causing numbness, stiffness, and tingling and reducing sensation and motor control in the arms, hands, and fingers.

5. Pain, numbness, or weakness in the legs

A feeling of numbness or tingling that radiates down the buttocks and into the legs is typical of osteoarthritis of the spine as it progresses.

What it feels like:You might notice a lack of sensation in your legs, as if they’re numb or asleep. Your legs might also feel weak or as if they’re cramping or buckling.

Why it happens: Over time, wear and tear can cause the spinal canal — the opening inside each vertebra where the spinal cord passes through — to become narrower.

When this narrowing becomes significant (a condition known as spinal stenosis), it can pinch or compress the spinal cord or the nerve roots that emerge from the spinal cord, leading to pain and numbness that radiates down the hips, buttocks, legs, and feet.

Disc compression or injury, often occurring at the same time or as a result of arthritis, can also cause pain, known as sciatica, that radiates down the legs.

This content was originally published by Caring.com: “Back Pain” and this excerpt reprinted here with permission.  Click here for the entire article and more information.

 

Essential Self-Care for Arthritis

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Emotions can be key players in the pain game.

Joe Smith, a certified athletic trainer in an orthopedic clinic at the University of California, San Francisco, says he encourages clients with severe pain to name the place in their body where they hold their stress. Then he asks them to talk about what’s bothering them emotionally, such as an upcoming professional event or difficulties at home. “Sometimes that’s enough for people to identify why they’re having this pain,” he says.

Numerous studies document the close ties between chronic pain, especially back pain, and a sufferer’s psychological state. Medical studies also show that psychological interventions such as biofeedback and cognitive behavioral therapies can be far more successful than traditional medical approaches.

Renee Bonjolo, a licensed massage therapist and owner of Body Central in Rhinebeck, New York, sees a clear link between what people are going through psychologically and how their bodies feel. Often these emotions involve guilt and anxiety, she says, especially with clients who are juggling work while caring for a parent, spouse, or child. She’s found that the process of releasing tension and recognizing emotions relieves some of her clients’ physical pain.

Attitude can also help, says podiatrist Wolpa.   He’s noticed patients who don’t believe their pain will go away will often have difficulty completing treatment, creating a self-fulfilling prophesy. “Emotions have a lot to do with one’s well-being,” he says.

VIVIAN EISENSTADT, a.k.a. THE BROOKLYN HEALER AGREES:  http://www.preventthepain.com/brooklyn_healer.php

She can help when traditional treatments do not work.  What works for you?  Let us know. 

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The Best Diet for Osteoarthritis: 

Find out how a specific diet plan can help you manage osteoarthritis symptoms, which foods work best, and how to maintain a healthy weight.

Medically reviewed by Niya Jones, MD, MPH

  
If you’re one of the 27 million Americans with osteoarthritis, you know that the goals of osteoarthritis treatment are to relieve pain and maintain joint function. Experts say the best way to manage osteoarthritis is by educating yourself about the disease, making helpful lifestyle changes, and using medication if needed. And one of the best lifestyle choices for easing osteoarthritis pain is maintaining a healthy diet.

“A goal of active participation in your osteoarthritis disease treatment should be to reduce pain and inflammation and increase movement and function without dependence on medication,” says Carol Wolin-Riklin, MA, licensed dietitian and nutrition coordinator at the University of Texas Medical School, in Houston, Texas. “This may be achieved through weight loss and natural supplements.”

Osteoarthritis Diet: Controlling Symptoms

Being overweight by just 10 pounds increases the stress on your knee joints by the equivalent of 30 to 60 pounds with each step you take. Studies show that losing weight can keep your osteoarthritis from getting worse and can reduce osteoarthritis pain symptoms.

“Weight reduction helps to alleviate pressure placed on joints during physical activity and may also help reduce circulating cytokines that promote inflammation,” notes Wolin-Riklin. Cytokines are proteins that stimulate swelling and inflammation, and research has shown that fat cells are a key source of cytokines in the body.

A healthy diet combined with exercise is the most effective therapy to achieve weight loss. If you have severe osteoarthritis, you can still find ways to exercise while sitting or in a swimming pool. “Nonimpact exercise is better tolerated. Exercise will promote the loss of fat and help you to maintain lean muscle mass,” says Wolin-Riklin.

Osteoarthritis Diet: The Importance of Fiber

Pain is a common symptom in osteoarthritis. When nonmedical ways to reduce pain, such as heating pads and massage, aren’t doing enough, your doctor may prescribe opiate medications for pain. Opiates relieve pain by blocking pain receptors in your brain, but they also block the muscle cells in your digestive tract and can cause constipation. Though there are also medications to ease constipation, notes Wolin-Riklin, “relying on laxatives to help treat constipation may create a dependence on these medications. Nonmedical ways to promote bowel health are better.” She recommends:

  • Adding fiber supplements to your diet.
  • Eating a diet rich in foods that contain fiber such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
  • Drinking plenty of water. This can help prevent constipation. “You should be drinking 48 to 64 ounces of fluid daily unless you have a medical condition that limits fluid intake,” says Wolin-Riklin.
  • Getting regular exercise. Constipation is more common when you are not physically active.

Osteoarthritis Diet: Dietary Supplements

Some nutrients have also been shown to benefit people with osteoarthritis. These include:

  • Vitamin D. Vitamin D can become trapped in fat cells and levels may be too low in people who are overweight. A blood test can be done to check your vitamin D levels — if they’re low, talk to your doctor about taking over-the-counter vitamin D supplements.
  • Vitamin C, vitamin E, selenium, zinc, and copper. These antioxidants are all helpful in lowering the amount of cytokines in your blood, which help reduce pain symptoms caused by inflammation. “A good multivitamin with trace minerals can be effective,” notes Wolin-Riklin.
  • Fish oils. These oils are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help reduce inflammation in the body. “Increasing intake of oily fish [such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines] to three times per week, or taking fish oil supplements, can help boost this anti-inflammatory effect,” Wolin-Riklin says.

If you have osteoarthritis, managing your diet and participating in a good exercise program — in addition to drug therapy when necessary — can make a big difference in reducing osteoarthritis pain If you’re taking medications that can cause constipation, be sure to drink enough fluids and get plenty of fiber through your diet. You might also consider adding a few supplements to your diet that can help reduce inflammation. Taking control of the way you eat is a great way to play an active part in your osteoarthritis treatment.

Follow @EverydayHealth on Twitter

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Related articles

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http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/osteoarthritis/DS00019/DSECTION=symptoms

Mayo Clinic · 200 First Street SW · Rochester, MN 55905 · store.mayoclinic.com

https://store.mayoclinic.com/products/books/details.cfm?mpid=33&trkid=21242S89457310&mc_id=comlinkpilot&placement=bottom

 

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When to see a doctor


If you have swelling or stiffness in your joints that lasts for more than a few weeks, make an appointment with your doctor.

 

Hot Program for Women Living with Cancer: It’s Free!

Here’s a hot health organization helping women with cancer look good, feel better.

In 1987, a physician asked former Personal Care Products Council President Ed Kavanaugh how he could organize a “makeover” for a woman in cancer treatment who was experiencing dramatic appearance side effects.  The woman was so depressed and self-conscious she would not venture outside her hospital room.

Kavanaugh made some calls and was able to provide cosmetics and a cosmetologist – and the makeover transformed not only the woman’s look, but also her outlook.

She felt happier, less burdened and laughed for the first time in weeks.

With such a profound result, the Personal Care Products Council recognized the opportunity for its industry to help more women maintain their confidence and self-esteem.

Kavanaugh presented the idea to the Personal Care Products Council membership – the nation’s cosmetic industry leaders – who immediately offered funding and cosmetics.

The American Cancer Society enthusiastically joined the effort, providing a vital national network to assist women seeking information and access to the program.

Finally, the Professional Beauty Association | National Cosmetology Association (PBA | NCA) signed on as the third collaborator, encouraging its member cosmetologists to volunteer their services.

The program – dubbed Look Good…Feel Better – launched with two groups workshops at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York and Georgetown University’s Lombardi Cancer Center in Washington, D.C., in 1989.

Today, Look Good…Feel Better group programs are held in every state, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico using products donated by Personal Care Products Council member companies.

 

Teen and Spanish programs, self-help mailer kits, online support, and a 24-hour hotline are also offered – as well as numerous independent licensed international Look Good…Feel Better affiliate programs across the globe.

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How can I find out where Look Good…Feel Better workshops are located near me?

Click the following link and enter your zip code to find a program near you.  Or call 1-800-385-LOOK (5665).

http://lookgoodfeelbetter.org/programs

Are Look Good…Feel Better services really free? How can you do that?

Yes, Look Good…Feel Better is a free public service program. It’s made possible by our generous Personal Care Products Council member- company donors who raise more than $2 million and donate more than one million individual cosmetic products, with a value of more than $10 million. The American Cancer Society administers the program nationally, including our toll-free number (1-800-395-LOOK [5665]) and volunteer trainings. And the Professional Beauty Association│National Cosmetology Association helps us recruit caring, qualified cosmetology volunteers. (Find out moreabout our sponsors.)

What will I learn by going to a group program that I can’t learn at home?

Group programs are step-by-step makeover learning sessions led by trained cosmetology professionals. Any questions you may have – such as how to fill in or draw in your eyebrows or how to camouflage particular types of pigmentation – will be answered firsthand. You’ll receive a free makeup kit with brand-name cosmetics to use during the session and to take home, helping minimize shopping time and expense. You will have the opportunity to experiment with various wigs, hats, and turbans in a comfortable, supportive atmosphere. And, perhaps most valuable of all, you will receive the support of other women coping with cancer treatment – those about to go through it, those experiencing it, and those who’ve been there. Put all these factors together and you’ve got a pretty powerful reason to sign up for a group program. Time after time, women who considered staying home tell us how glad they are to have made the effort to come. They say that the impact on their looks and outlooks is immeasurable. And those who care about them say so, too.

Where are group programs available?

Look Good…Feel Better group programs are offered nationwide in hospitals and community centers. Call us at 1-800-395-LOOK (5665) or contact your local American Cancer Society office to help locate a program near you. For those living outside the United States, please refer to our International Look Good…Feel Better programs to connect with us.

Does Look Good…Feel Better distribute wigs?

The Look Good…Feel Better program does not distribute wigs to participants. We do offer information about proper wig selection, fitting and care for alternative head coverings such as turbans, scarves, hats, etc. Some local American Cancer Society offices have wigs banks and may be able to offer assistance to women who need, but may not be able to afford, a wig. In addition, some insurance companies cover the cost of a wig when prescribed by a doctor as a “cranial prosthesis.”

Does Look Good…Feel Better accept hair donations? If not, who does?

Look Good…Feel Better does not accept hair donations for wigs. We know of four organizations that accept hair donations and make wigs for those who need them. They are:

locksoflove.org
wigsforkids.org
pantene.com
pinkbarrette.org (This organization also accepts donations of gray hair. The others do not.)

Hopefully, one of these organizations will be able to use your hair donation.

May I donate gently-used wigs to Look Good…Feel Better?

Look Good…Feel Better does not accept donations of gently used wigs.

How can I get Look Good…Feel Better brochures to distribute at my office/salon, etc?

The American Cancer Society supplies all printed materials at the local level. For physician’s offices, clinics, salons, or other community locations, we suggest the Look Good…Feel Better general informational brochure. To request free Look Good…Feel Better brochures, please contact your localAmerican Cancer Society, or call 1-800-395-LOOK (5665).

Does Look Good…Feel Better have a program for men undergoing cancer treatment?

We offer Look Good…Feel Better teen programs, as well as the comprehensive 2bMe Web site. Though we do not offer group programs for men over 18, we have explored how the side effects of cancer treatment affect men, resulting in an informational brochure. Email us or call 1-800-395-LOOK (5665) to order it.

Organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the National Cancer Institute offer numerous resources, publications and support programs for men, women, teens and children.

Do you recommend any particular cosmetic or skin care brands to use during cancer treatment?

We do not recommend products by brand, but we do believe that mild products are best. Before adopting any skin care regimen, be sure to have your physician’s OK. (See special requirements for radiation and chemotherapy.)

How can an individual support Look Good…Feel Better?

There are several ways you can support Look Good…Feel Better. You can donate online by visiting the donation page; or you can send a monetary donation to: Personal Care Products Council Foundation, 1101 17th Street NW, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20036. You can also purchase the Look Good…Feel Better scarf by Oscar de la Renta (please contact us to learn more); or you canvolunteer in your community.

Losing your hair during treatment for cancer can be one of the most difficult side effects – many women lose all or some of their hair, while others don’t lose any.

Ask your doctor what to anticipate and find out if there is anything you can do to help retain your hair. Then, speak with a hairstylist you trust to find out what to do if your hair thins, and what you can expect when it grows back.

Whether your hair thins or you lose all of it, please know that you can anticipate it growing back once your treatment is over. In the meantime, the Look Good…Feel Better community is here to offer courage, strength, support and peace of mind.

Click on a topic below to get started

Tibi Creates Silk Scarves to Benefit Memorial Sloan-Kettering

Tibi Head Scarves to benefit Memorial Sloan-Kettering Pediatric Cancer Care Research

Tibi created silk head wraps to benefit Memorial Sloan-Kettering Pediatric Cancer Care and Research. 100% of the proceeds are donated and the scarves are a non-refundable charitable purchase. The scarves cost $75 each. They can be found here.

Photo: Tibi

http://lookgoodfeelbetter.org/programs 

Links

http://www.georgetown.edu/content/1242662797532.html

8 Things Your Hair Says About Your Health

Experts say the health of our hair and scalp can be a major tip-off to a wide variety of health conditions.  Here, eight red flags that tell you it’s time to pay more attention to the health of your hair –and your overall health.

Red flag #1: Dry, limp, thin-feeling hair

What it means: Many factors can lead to over-dry hair, including hair dyes, hair blowers, and swimming in chlorinated water. But a significant change in texture that leaves hair feeling finer, with less body, can be an indicator of an underactive thyroid, known as hypothyroidism.   Other signs of hypothyroidism: fatigue, weight gain, slow heart rate, and feeling cold all the time.  A telltale sign: when the outermost third of the eyebrow thins or disappears.

 
Red flag #2: Scaly or crusty patches on the scalp, often starting at the hairline

What it means: When a thick crust forms on the scalp, this usually indicates psoriasis, which can be distinguished from other dandruff-like skin conditions by the presence of a thickening, scab-like surface, says Lawrence Greene, MD, a spokesperson for the National Psoriasis Foundation.  It often occurs in concert with other autoimmune diseases such as Crohn’s disease, lupus, and rheumatoid arthritis. Up to 30 percent of people with psoriasis develop a condition called psoriatic arthritis, which causes painful swelling of the joints.

Red flag #3: Thinning hair over the whole head

What it means: When you notice considerably more hairs in your brush after you shampoo — or when hair appears to be coming out in clumps — it’s time for concern. One common cause: a sudden psychological or physical stressor, such as a divorce or job loss. Another: having a high fever from the flu or an infection. Diabetes and a number of medications also cause hair loss as a side effect. For more information and a list of which meds cause hair loss and what to do about it see  link below.

Red flag #4: Overall hair loss that appears permanent, often following traditional pattern baldness

What it means: Both women and men are subject to what’s formally known as androgenetic and androgenic alopecia. It’s usually caused by a change in the pattern of the sex hormones, but diseases and other underlying conditions can cause this type of hair loss by affecting the hormones. In women, a derivative of testosterone is often the culprit, shrinking and eventually killing off hair follicles. Traditionally known as “male pattern baldness,” this type of hair loss is often hereditary and is typically permanent if not treated with medication, says Larry Shapiro, a dermatologist and hair surgeon in Palm Beach, Florida.  Diabetes also can cause or contribute to hair loss. Over time, diabetes often leads to circulatory problems; as a result, the hair follicles don’t get adequate nutrients and can’t produce new hairs. Hair follicles can eventually die from lack of nutrition, causing permanent hair loss.

Red flag #5: Dry, brittle hair that breaks off easily

What it means: When individual hairs litter your pillow in the morning, this typically indicates breakage rather than hair falling out from the follicle, says Chicago dermatologist Victoria Barbosa. Breakage is most frequently the result of hair becoming over-brittle from chemical processing or dyeing. “Bleaching, straightening, and other chemical processing techniques strip the cuticle to let the chemicals in, which makes the hair shaft more fragile,” Barbosa explains.  However, certain health conditions also lead to brittle, fragile hair.  Click on the link below to find out which ones.

Red Flag #6: Hair falling out in small, circular patches

What it means: The body’s immune response turns on the hair follicles themselves, shrinking them and causing hair to fall out entirely in small, typically round patches. This kind of hair loss — which experts call alopecia areata — can also occur at the temples or at the part line. Diabetes can trigger the onset of such hair loss in some people. And it can continue to spread; in extreme cases, sufferers lose all their hair or lose hair over their entire body.  Alopecia areata can also cause the eyebrows or eyelashes to fall out, which in addition to the circular pattern can distinguish it from other types of hair loss. Alopecia areata is an autoimmune condition and has been shown to be more common in families with a tendency toward other autoimmune diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, early-onset diabetes, and thyroid disease.

Red flag #7: Yellowish flakes on the hair and scaly, itchy patches on the scalp

What it means: What most of us grew up calling dandruff is now understood to be a complicated interaction of health issues that deserve to be taken seriously. Seborrheic dermatitis is a chronic inflammatory condition of the scalp that causes skin to develop scaly patches, often in the areas where the scalp is oiliest. When the flaky skin loosens, it leaves the telltale “dandruff” flakes.

Red flag #8: Gray hair

What it means: While they can’t yet prove or explain it, many researchers now believe that stress may trigger a chain reaction that interferes with how well the hair follicle transmits melanin, the pigment that colors hair. Researchers are looking at the role of free radicals, which are hormones we produce when under stress, and studies seem to show that they can block the signal that tells the hair follicle to absorb the melanin pigment.  Other experts argue that a trauma or stressful event causes the hair to stop growing temporarily and go into a resting phase. Then when the hair follicles “wake up” and begin turning over again, a lot of new hair grows in all at once, making it appear that a great deal of gray has come in all at the same time.

FOR MORE INFORMATION and WHAT TO DO if you have any of the above, be sure to read the entire article here: http://www.caring.com/articles/eight-things-hair-says-about-health

                                                                                                                                          

This content was originally published by Caring.com: “8Things Your Hair Says About Your Health” and this excerpt reprinted here with permission.

Stay healthy! 🙂

April is Parkinson’s Awareness Month: Know the Signs!

According to the National Parkinson’s Foundation, over 50,000 new cases of Parkinson’s Disease are diagnosed each year.  Dr. Ryan Walsh is a neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic Ruvo Center for Brain Health and says there are early signs.

“There are early symptoms that may be related to the development of Parkinson’s Disease, for example, the loss of smell, although not specific to Parkinson’s Disease, is a prominent feature of the disease.”

The other early signs are anxiety and depression.

There is no one test to give you a 100% diagnosis, so the goal is to treat patients before they develop tremors.

Walsh says, “If you can slow it down here, rather than trying to slow it down later, you may actually have more of an impact on the disease.”

According to the Parkinson’s Foundation, almost 200 years after Parkinson’s was first discovered and after many new discoveries about the biology of the disease, a diagnosis still depends on identifying the core features — tremor, slowness and stiffness — described by James Parkinson.

The diagnosis of Parkinson’s does not come from a test, but instead requires a careful medical history and a physical examination to detect the cardinal signs of the disease, including the one Walsh mentions:

  • Resting Tremor: In the early stages of the disease, about 70 percent of people experience a slight tremor in the hand or foot on one side of the body, or less commonly in the jaw or face. A typical onset is tremor in one finger. The tremor consists of a shaking or oscillating movement, and usually appears when a person’s muscles are relaxed, or at rest, hence the term “resting tremor.”
  • The affected body part trembles when it is not performing an action. Typically, the fingers or hand will tremble when folded in the lap, or when the arm is held loosely at the side, i.e., when the limb is at rest. The tremor usually ceases when a person begins an action. Some people with PD have noticed that they can stop a hand tremor by keeping the hand in motion or in a flexed grip. The tremor of PD can be exacerbated by stress or excitement, sometimes attracting unwanted notice. The tremor often spreads to the other side of the body as the disease progresses, but usually remains most apparent on the initially affected side. Although tremor is the most noticeable outward sign of the disease, not all people with PD will develop tremor.
  • Bradykinesia: Bradykinesia means “slow movement.” A defining feature of Parkinson’s, bradykinesia also describes a general reduction of spontaneous movement, which can give the appearance of abnormal stillness and a decrease in facial expressivity. Bradykinesia causes difficulty with repetitive movements, such as finger tapping. Due to bradykinesia, a person with Parkinson’s may have difficulty performing everyday functions,such as buttoning a shirt, cutting food or brushing his or her teeth. People who experience bradykinesia may walk with short, shuffling steps. The reduction in movement and the limited range of movement caused by bradykinesia can affect a person’s speech, which may become quieter and less distinct as Parkinson’s progresses.
  • Rigidity: Rigidity causes stiffness and inflexibility of the limbs, neck and trunk. Muscles normally stretch when they move, and then relax when they are at rest. In Parkinson’s rigidity, the muscle tone of an affected limb is always stiff and does not relax, sometimes contributing to a decreased range of motion. People with PD most commonly experience tightness of the neck, shoulder and leg. A person with rigidity and bradykinesia tends to not swing his or her arms when walking. Rigidity can be uncomfortable or even painful.
  • Postural Instability: One of the most important signs of Parkinson’s is postural instability, a tendency to be unstable when standing upright. A person with posturalinstability has lost some of the reflexes needed for maintaining an upright posture, and may topple backwards if jostled even slightly. Some develop a dangerous tendency to sway backwards when rising from a chair, standing or turning. This problem is called retropulsion and may result in a backwards fall. People with balance problems may have particular difficulty when pivoting or making turns or quick movements. Doctors test postural stability by using the “pull test.” During this test, the neurologist gives a moderately forceful backwards tug on the standing individual and observes how well the person recovers. The normal response is a quick backwards step to prevent a fall; but many people with Parkinson’s are unable to recover, and would tumble backwards if the neurologist were not right there to catch him or her.

Secondary Motor Symptoms

In addition to the cardinal signs of Parkinson’s, there are many other motor symptoms associated with the disease.

  • Freezing: Freezing of gait is an important sign of PD that is not explained by rigidity or bradykinesia. People who experience freezing will normally hesitate before stepping forward. They feel as if their feet are glued to the floor. Often, freezing is temporary, and a person can enter a normal stride once he or she gets past the first step. Freezing can occur in very specific situations, such as when starting to walk, when pivoting, when crossing a threshold or doorway, and when approaching a chair. For reasons unknown, freezing rarely happens on stairs. Various types of cues, such as an exaggerated first step, can help with freezing. Some individuals have severe freezing, in which they simply cannot take a step. Freezing is a potentially serious problem in Parkinson’s disease, as it may increase a person’s risk of falling forward.
  • Micrographia: This term is the name for a shrinkage in handwriting that progresses the more a person with Parkinson’s writes. This occurs as a result of bradykinesia, which causes difficulty with repetitive actions. Drooling and excess saliva result from reduced swallowing movements.
  • Mask-like Expression: This expression, found in Parkinson’s, meaning a person’s face may appear less expressive than usual, can occur because of decreased unconscious facial movements. The flexed posture of PD may result from a combination of rigidity and bradykinesia.
  • Unwanted Accelerations: It is worth noting that some people with Parkinson’s experience movements that are too quick, not too slow. These unwanted accelerations are especially troublesome in speech and movement. People with excessively fast speech, tachyphemia, produce a rapid stammering that is hard to understand. Those who experience festination, an uncontrollable acceleration in gait, may be at increased risk for falls.

Additional secondary motor symptoms include those below, but not all people with Parkinson’s will experience all of these.  

  • Stooped posture, a tendency to lean forward
  • Dystonia
  • Impaired fine motor dexterity and motor coordination
  • Impaired gross motor coordination
  • Poverty of movement (decreased arm swing)
  • Akathisia
  • Speech problems, such as softness of voice or slurred speech caused by lack of muscle control
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Sexual dysfunction
  • Cramping
  • Drooling

Nonmotor Symptoms

Most people with Parkinson’s experience nonmotor symptoms, those that do not involve movement, coordination, physical tasks or mobility. While a person’s family and friends may not be able to see them, these “invisible” symptoms can actually be more troublesome for some people than the motor impairments of PD.

Early Symptoms

Many researchers believe that nonmotor symptoms may precede motor symptoms — and a Parkinson’s diagnosis — by years. The most recognizable early symptoms include:

  • loss of sense of smell, constipation
  • REM behavior disorder (a sleep disorder)
  • mood disorders
  • orthostatic hypotension (low blood pressure when standing up).

If a person has one or more of these symptoms, it does not necessarily mean that individual will develop Parkinson’s, but these markers are helping scientists to better understand the disease process.

Other Nonmotor Symptoms

Some of these important and distressing symptoms include:

  • sleep disturbances
  • constipation
  • bladder problems
  • sexual problems
  • excessive saliva
  • weight loss or gain
  • vision and dental problems
  • fatigue and loss of energy.
  • depression
  • fear and anxiety
  • skin problems
  • cognitive issues, such as memory difficulties, slowed thinking, confusion and in some cases, dementia
  •  medication side effects, such as impulsive behaviors


TODAY’S LATEST PARKINSON’S DISEASE NEWS FROM REUTERS HEALTH

(Reuters Health) – People with diabetes may have a heightened risk of developing Parkinson’s disease, especially at a relatively young age, a new study finds.

Published in the journal Diabetes Care, the study adds to recent research linking diabetes to Parkinson’s disease.

But neither this report nor the earlier ones prove that diabetes, itself, raises a person’s risk of Parkinson’s — a disorder in which movement-regulating brain cells gradually become disabled or die.

Instead, researchers suspect that it’s more likely diabetes and Parkinson’s share some common underlying causes.

The new study looked at health insurance claims from more than one million Taiwanese adults — including a little over 600,000 with diabetes.

Researchers found that over nine years, people with diabetes were more likely to be diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. They were diagnosed at a rate of 3.6 cases per 10,000 people each year, versus 2.1 per 10,000 among people without diabetes.

When the researchers factored in age, sex and certain other health conditions, they found that diabetes was still linked to an increased risk of Parkinson’s — especially at a relatively young age.

Among women in their 40s and 50s, those with diabetes had twice the risk of Parkinson’s that diabetes-free women did.

The same was true among men in their 20s and 30s, though that was based on only a handful of Parkinson’s cases: there were four cases among young men with diabetes, and two among those without diabetes.

Exactly what it all means is unclear, according to Drs. Yu Sun and Chung-Yi Li, who led the study.

But on average, people develop Parkinson’s diagnosis around age 60, the researchers noted in an email to Reuters Health.

“Our findings tend to suggest a relationship between diabetes and early-onset Parkinson’s disease,” said Sun and Li, who are based at En Chu Kong Hospital and National Cheng Kung University in Taiwan.

That’s in line with a study of Danish adults published last year, the researchers noted. (See Reuters Health story of April 15, 2011).

Still, it’s impossible to say for sure that diabetes, itself, is to blame.

One reason is that the current study had limited information, according to Sun and Li.

“Because our study was based on claims data,” they said, “it lacks information on some of the known risk factors for Parkinson’s disease, such as pesticide exposure.”

Researchers have speculated on the potential reasons for the diabetes-Parkinson’s link, and they suspect there might be certain biological mechanisms that contribute to both conditions.

One possibility is chronic, low-level inflammation throughout the body, which is suspected of contributing to a number of chronic diseases by damaging cells. There might also be a common genetic susceptibility to both diabetes and Parkinson’s.

But even if people with diabetes have a relatively elevated risk of Parkinson’s, it’s still a low risk, Sun and Li pointed out.

In this study, there were fewer than four cases per 10,000 diabetic adults each year.

A recent U.S. study found a similar pattern: Of 21,600 older adults with diabetes, 0.8 percent were diagnosed with Parkinson’s over 15 years. That compared with 0.5 percent of people who were diabetes-free at the study’s start.

The researchers on that study said that people with diabetes should simply continue to do the things already recommended for their overall health — like eating a well-balanced diet and getting regular exercise.

Sun and Li agreed with that advice. “There is no need for patients with diabetes to worry too much about the development of Parkinson’s disease,” they said.

More studies are needed, the researchers said, to understand why diabetes is related to a higher Parkinson’s risk — and what, if anything, can be done about it.

Diabetes arises when the body can no longer properly use the blood-sugar-regulating hormone insulin. Parkinson’s occurs when movement-regulating cells in the brain die off or become disabled, leading to symptoms like tremors, rigidity in the joints, slowed movement and balance problems.

Researchers say it’s possible that something about diabetes — like a problem regulating insulin — might somehow contribute to Parkinson’s. But that remains unproven.

SOURCE: bit.ly/HdmwiU Diabetes Care, online March 19, 2012.