Wednesday, April 30, 2008

May: Stroke Awareness Month

You can't mention Brain Health without mentioning that many people ignore signs of a stroke. May is National Stroke Awareness Month, so I thought I would write about the F.A.S.T test.

If you need to recognize signs of a stroke quickly, use these test if you suspect someone might be having a stroke.

Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side droop?

Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Is one arm drifting downward?

Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence. Are the words slurred? Can the person repeat the sentence correctly?

Time: If the person shows any of these symptoms, times becomes crucial. Call 911 immediately.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Time To Take Care of Yourself

Taking a proactive approach about health issues and acquiring up to date information about your health is vital to your well-being. This can help you stay active and keep you healthy longer.

Take advantage of free health screenings, including heart disease, diabetes, bone health, HIV/Aids, cholesterol, blood pressure, blood sugar and bone density in your town when being offered.

Your local hospital may also offer free screenings for prostate cancer, among an array of health related evaluations.

Other free offerings you should take advantage of include, a review of the medications you are taking, dietary recommendations, body fat analysis, balance/fall prevention and foot health.

It is time to take care of yourself...

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Living With Crohn's Disease

My son was diagnosed with Crohn's twelve years ago. Last week I was diagnosed with the same disease.
Although my specialist won't confirm until further testing, I have been sick for over a month now. Crohn's symptoms sometimes mimiicks other digestive disorders, so until we rid of the infection, we can't proceed with treatment.

I had never heard of Crohn's before my son was diagnosed. Now I hear people having this disease so often. If you are not familiar with this disease, I'll quote Wikipedia which states it best:

Crohn's disease (also known as regional enteritis) is a chronic, episodic, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) and is generally classified as an autoimmune disease. Crohn's disease can affect any part of the gastrointestinal tract from mouth to anus; as a result, the symptoms of Crohn's disease vary among afflicted individuals. The disease is characterized by areas of inflammation with areas of normal lining between in a symptom known as skip lesions. The main gastrointestinal symptoms are abdominal pain, diarrhea (which may be bloody, though this may not be visible to the naked eye), constipation, vomiting, weight loss or weight gain. Crohn's disease can also cause complications outside of the gastrointestinal tract such as skin rashes, arthritis, and inflammation of the eye.

Crohn's disease affects between 400,000 and 600,000 people in North America. Although the cause of Crohn's disease is not known, it is believed to be an autoimmune disease that is genetically linked. The highest relative risk occurs in siblings, affecting males and females equally. Smokers are three times more likely to get Crohn's disease.

When my son is having an episode, I am the one providing care. I have done extensive research on Crohn's.
I immediately change his diet and cook often with a crock pot. When cooking in a crock pot on slow for 8 hours, you are breaking down the molecules in the food to make digestion easier. You need to eat soluble fiber vs. insoluble fiber. Soluble fiber includes: Rice, Pasta and noodles,Oatmeal,Barley, Fresh white breads such as French or sourdough (NOT whole wheat or whole grain),Rice cereals, Flour tortillas, Soy, Quinoa, Corn meal,Potatoes,Carrots, Yams,Sweet potatoes,Turnips,Rutabagas, Parsnips, Beets, Squash and pumpkins, Mushrooms, Chestnuts,Avocados (though they do have some fat), Bananas, Applesauce, Mangoes,Papayas (also digestive aids that relieve gas and indigestion). Stay away from food high in fat.

Soluble fiber soothes and regulates the digestive tract, stabilizes the intestinal contractions resulting from the gastrocolic reflex, and normalizes bowel function from either extreme. Soluble fiber prevents and relieves both diarrhea and constipation.

Since I have been ill, I have been using recipes for IBS, the crock pot, not eating any dairy (except lactose free products), making sure I eat soluble fiber and taking probotics.

I was impressed my specialist referred me to probotics, as this is considered alternative care. Probotic supplements help build and maintain a natural defense against a full range of digestive upsets: constipation, diarrhea, urgency, gas and bloating. If you don't have enough 'good' bacteria in the digestive system, this will sometimes cause digestive upsets.

If anyone suffers from this disease, I want to include the following resources that have helped us.

Recipes for the Specific Carbohydrate Diet by Elaine Gottschall

Self-care- Mayo Clinic

Crohn's Online

Irritable Bowel Syndrome Diet: This site has helped us tremendously with the information and recipes provided

IBS: Controlling Your Symptoms

Crohn's & Me- Other Useful Links