Did you know that down through the centuries thyme has been used for many ailments, from influenza to epileptic seizures? It was often mixed with equal parts of lavender and sprinkled on the floors of churches in the Middle Ages to eliminate any unwanted odors. Long before the discovery of modern medicine, crushed thyme was placed on bandages to promote wound healing and ward off infection.
The volatile essential oils in thyme are loaded with anti-rheumatic, anti-parasitic, antiseptic, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties.
If taken on a regular basis it can significantly help to reduce the viral load in the body which makes it very beneficial in dealing with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Fibromyalgia, Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Rheumatoid Arthritis, Lupus, Vertigo, Tinnitus, and Multiple Sclerosis.
Thyme is packed with vitamins and minerals. It’s rich in potassium, iron, and calcium, all of which contribute to blood pressure regulation, proper red blood cell formation and distribution of antioxidants in the body. It is rich in high in B-complex vitamins, vitamin A, C, and folic acid. Thyme contains a variety of important bioflavonoids and volatile oils, including thymol. Thymol is an essential oil that has very powerful antioxidant properties.
Thyme (dried or a handful of fresh)
A covered container for brewing & straining
How to make Thyme Tea, Instructions.
1) Put some herbs in your brewing container – about 1 tsp dried herbs per cup of water. For fresh herbs, use more.
Researchers have found the main source of pain in Fibromyalgia patients, and contrary to what many believe, it does not stem from the brain. The findings mark the end of a decades-old mystery about the disease, which many doctors believed was conjured in patients’ imaginations. The mystery of Fibromyalgia has left millions of sufferers searching for hope in pain medications. Up until recently, many physicians thought that the disease was “imaginary” or psychological, but scientists have now revealed that the main source of pain stems from a most unlikely place- excess blood vessels in the hand.
The discovery may lead to new treatments and perhaps even a total cure in the future, bringing relief to as many as 5 million Americans thought to have the disease. To solve the Fibromyalgia mystery, researchers zeroed in on the skin from the hand of one patient who had a lack of the sensory nerve fibers, causing a reduced reaction to pain. They then took skin samples from the hands of Fibromyalgia patients and were surprised to find an extremely excessive amount of a particular type of nerve fiber called arteriole-venule (AV) shunts.
Up until this point scientists had thought that these fibers were only responsible for regulating blood flow, and did not play any role in pain sensation, but now they’ve discovered that there is a direct link between these nerves and the widespread body pain that Fibromyalgia sufferers feel.
The breakthrough also could solve the lingering question of why many sufferers have extremely painful hands as well as other “tender points” throughout the body, and why cold weather seems to aggravate the symptoms. In addition to feeling widespread deep tissue pain, many Fibromyalgia patients also suffer from debilitating fatigue.
Neuroscientist Dr. Frank L. Rice explained: “We previously thought that these nerve endings were only involved in regulating blood flow at a subconscious level, yet here we had evidences that the blood vessel endings could also contribute to our conscious sense of touch… and also pain,” Rice said. “This mismanaged blood flow could be the source of muscular pain and achiness, and the sense of fatigue which are thought to be due to a build-up of lactic acid and low levels of inflammation fibromyalgia patients. This, in turn, could contribute to the hyperactivity in the brain.”
Current treatments for the disease have not brought complete relief to the millions of sufferers. Therapies include narcotic pain medicines; anti-seizure drugs, anti-depressants and even simple advice such as “get more sleep and exercise regularly.” Now that the cause of Fibromyalgia has been pinpointed, patients are looking forward to an eventual cure. Other expressed frustration about how much they had suffered already:
“When are they ever going to figure out that things are never “all in your head?” said one commenter. “Whenever something doesn’t fit in their tiny little understanding, they belittle the patient and tell them they are crazy. People have suffered through this since they were invented. Prescribing SSRIs for everything is not the answer any more than a lobotomy or hysterectomy was.”
The announcement has the potential to unlock better future treatments and undoubtedly has patients all over the world rejoicing that the mystery of Fibromyalgia has finally been solved.
In the United States alone, at least 9 percent of kids are diagnosed with ADHD and are being treated with different kinds of pharmaceutical medications. The design of our school system is horribly outdated and provides little benefit in comparison to how transformative it could truly be.Treatment Imagine schools like this, which funnily enough James cameron created; that allow you to create whatever you want.
Your teachers should be in support of what you want to do in life. Classrooms should be outside or at least in different, stimulating places.
Children should not be forced to sit in class rooms every day – it is completely keeping them from understanding their full potential.Treatment
This education system is in place for a very specific reason, and it’s all connected to the pharmaceutical and governmental systems.
Now, the percentage of children with AHDH in France is dramatically less at less than .5 percent. Treatment
So what is going on here?
Our medical system is a lot less honest. Child psychiatrists in the States consider ADHD as a biological order. As in, the neurons firing in your brain have to do with you alone and not your environment and social situations. This is absurd because your interaction with reality will determine how your brain functions, how it will process information and what different chemicals it will produce. Why don’t our doctors understand this?
French child psychiatrists, on the other hand, see ADHD being linked to psycho-social and situational causes. Instead of drugging children, they focus on the behavioral problems and look for the underlying issue that is causing the child distress.
It does not exist in the child’s brain, but rather them in a social context. They treat the kids with different forms of counseling which is how it should be!
In France, fewer children qualify for the ADHD diagnosis. In the States, ADHD is a lot more broad and views normal childhood behavior as something that needs to be contained and medicated. France is aware enough to even approach this holistically through nutritional and lifestyle changes. Ingredients like aspartame, artificial coloring or flavor, preservatives and GMO’s can contribute to this ‘disorder’.
Supposedly, the creator of “ADHD” said that it was a fictitious disorder. It doesn’t really exist, our society is just designed completely wrong.
So then we numb our delicate children’s brains out with harsh medication like Ritalin or Adderall, in hopes to calm them down, when children need to the opposite.
They need to be excited, run around and get their energy out. We are harming our younger generations so much! Please see this; it’s obvious to anyone who really looks.
When 4-year-old Evan Costik was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes, his father began sleeping on the floor beside his bed. Every hour or two, John woke up to test the preschooler’s blood-sugar level by pricking his finger and squeezing a drop of blood onto a test strip he’d slipped into a meter. A level between 80 and 120 milligrams per deciliter was good. Below that, bad. Potentially very very bad. One night, it was 36. Any lower and Evan could have fallen into a coma. He could have died.
John and Evan Costik at home. Click to Open Overlay Gallery
John and Evan Costik at home. Mike Bradley
Waking up every two hours to jab your kid’s finger is no fun, and after about six months, the Costiks switched over to something called a continuous glucose monitor. Now a tiny sensor implanted just under Evan’s skin sent numbers to a pager-like display every five minutes. His parents kept it next to their bed, and while they wished the alarm was a little louder, it sure beat sleeping on the floor.
But children, it turns out, sometimes leave the house. And if those children have continuous glucose monitors, the display unit leaves the house with them. Parents have to rely on teachers, school nurses, and coaches to check the device to see if the kid is headed into blood-sugar meltdown.
Indeed, the first day Costik dropped Evan off at daycare in February 2013 with his monitor, he found the lack of information so nerve-wracking that he started hacking a solution. A programmer for Wegman’s supermarkets in Rochester, N.Y., Costik wanted the monitor to send its data not only to the little display unit, but also to the cloud, where he could check it from his computer. He started tinkering.
The result? A solution that seems so simple it’s crazy it didn’t already exist: an Android app that let him monitor Evan’s blood sugar on a phone. It was kludgy and only he could use it, but it worked. So if Evan was at soccer running around, John could be in the bleachers (or at home) watching glucose levels rise and fall on his smartphone. If they jigged out of range, Costik or his wife could take action.
Costik tweeted a screen shot of his phone displaying Evan’s glucose level. He had no idea that by doing so, he was about to incite a mini-revolution among thousands of other parents who wanted to see their kids’ glucose levels on their phones. And it cracked open the door for another, somewhat more controversial, breakthrough: a home-grown automatic system—a bionic pancreas—that would not only sense blood sugar levels, but dole out insulin in response, automatically, no human required. You probably don’t think much about your pancreas, so long as it’s working properly. Tucked close beside your small intestine, the ugly, yellowish blob secretes digestive enzymes and squirts out hormones, insulin among them. Insulin tells your cells to open their big fat mouths already and slurp glucose out of your bloodstream to use for energy. No insulin, and the cells stay snapped shut. That’s what happens in type 1 diabetes, when the immune system wakes up one day and decides to kill the insulin-producing cells. As a result, in spite of all the sugar floating in the blood, a person with type 1 diabetes will eventually starve and die. Currently, at least 1.5 million people in the United States have type 1—compared to nearly 30 million who have type 2, in which obesity and age reduce your cells sensitivity to insulin.
The discovery and purification of insulin was nothing short of a 20th century miracle. In 1922, when researchers first injected dozens of dozens of dying, comatose children with insulin for the first time, the patients revived almost instantly, raised, Lazarus-like, from the near-dead.
Diabetes was no longer a death sentence, but to this day it still means a life shackled by regular blood-sugar checks, insulin treatment by injection or pump, and the constant threat of overdosing on the very medication that’s keeping you alive. Indeed, one in 20 people with type 1 die from severe low blood sugar, not the high blood sugar that was the problem in the first place. It’s a delicate balance.
In the 1980s, insulin pumps came on the market. The setup involves a tiny catheter injected under the skin (it’s replaced every three days) to deliver insulin. They were more convenient than syringes, but they were far from automatic, requiring users (or their parents) to do frequent blood sticks and calculations to decide how much insulin to dispense. Other innovations followed, like the continuous monitor, first approved in 2005, and in clinical trials, even more miraculous machines awaited. Most tantalizing has been the artificial, or bionic, pancreas, an external device that combines the pump with the continuous glucose monitor and smart algorithms to control blood sugars automatically, just like the biological one is supposed to do. In hundreds of published trials, they have performed well, but the algorithms for deciding how much insulin to give can be surprisingly complex, and so the ever-cautious FDA remains years from approving a fully automated bionic pancreas for commercial sale. After all, one machine error, one malfunction, could cause the machine to administer too much insulin and send the patient into a blood sugar nosedive—and death. Lawsuit city.
The response to Costik’s simple hack, however, revealed something new about the community of patients and their families: They have grown increasingly unwilling to wait for the FDA’s blessing for equipment upgrades, whether fully automatic or not.
A few days after Costik tweeted about his app for viewing continuous glucose numbers on his phone, another tech-savvy father duplicated his efforts. In the following year, a dozen more parents followed suit. Then, in February of 2014, a California programmer named Scott Leibrand blogged about an app he had created for his girlfriend, Dana Lewis. Leibrand’s app took the numbers pouring out of her device, cranked them through some simplified algorithms, and spit out automated recommendations for how much insulin she needed to correct a high, or how much sugar to take for a low.
“I feel a huge difference,” Lewis says. “I don’t have to be constantly wondering how much insulin to take, or always checking my glucose level. Scott’s algorithm beeps me if I have to do something. And my time in the proper range has gone from around 60 percent to nearly 90 percent. It’s amazing.”
Still, as recently as this past April, neither Leibrand nor Costik had yet posted any of their apps or algorithms online in a way that non-techies could make sense of—they were afraid that someone might unintentionally harm themselves or their child. And no one had yet dared to let those algorithms automatically control a pump. But rumors were swirling. As the author of a book on diabetes and a person with type 1 myself, I heard from one official in a leading diabetes organization that somebody had actually stitched his own bionic pancreas together. The person, I was told, had taken a hack like Kostik’s for exporting blood glucose data, married it to an algorithm like Leibrand’s for deciding how much insulin a pump should administer, and then figured out a way to get the algorithm to automatically control the pump.
Knowing how hard the FDA would come down on anyone audacious enough to distribute a homebrew bionic pancreas, I was told that the guy who had hacked one for his kid didn’t even want to tell other parents about what he had done, much less talk to a reporter. He was like Bigfoot, with no confirmed sightings. So I went hunting for him.
Meanwhile, the knowledge of how to jailbreak a glucose monitor was already spreading far beyond savvy coder types. A health marketing consultant in San Diego named Jason Adams turned to Elance.com, looking for someone who could turn Costik’s open-source code, which he finally posted on github.com, into a more user-friendly app for his 8-year-old daughter with type 1. In 20 minutes, Rajat Gupta, a computer engineering student in Karnataka, India, figured it out and sent Adams a plug-and-play app. Then Laurie Schwartz, a retired dentist in Denver, saw his Facebook post about it and paid Gupta to send her the app for her son, Adam.
Adams and Schwartz created a Facebook group in which they described how they had put their kids’ glucose numbers onto their phones, even onto a Pebble watch. Within a week, a hundred other parents had joined. By December, membership exceeded 8,700.
For now, the FDA is fine with these DIY medical device hackers: “We believe it’s a good thing to have this data available on a cell phone for a parent who is not near their child,” says Courtney Lias, director of the division that oversees glucose monitors and other devices at the FDA. So long as people are using the technology for themselves, she added, “It’s unlikely we would do something.” But beware of sharing: “As soon as they start distributing that or making it more broadly available, that’s where we become more concerned.”
Does that trouble Adams, whose Facebook group could certainly be considered “making it more broadly available” by the FDA? Kinda, but not enough to shut down their Facebook page. “Our biggest concern as we expand is that we’re seeing more parents with very little technical savvy,” he says. “We are continually updating our Facebook page to make clear what this app can do, and what it can’t do. We don’t want it to ever, ever harm anybody.”
I continue to obsess with tracking down Bigfoot. Please, I tell an official who claims to know the guy, tell him I will guarantee his confidentiality. Meetings in an underground parking garage are an option. But still the Bigfoot character who had supposedly hacked a fully automated bionic pancreas remains in hiding, refusing to talk to anyone. Others have heard about him, too. “I have heard whispered rumors that such a person exists,” says Amy Tenderich, who runs the prominent Diabetes Mine site. “But nobody will tell us who he is.”
Then, an email appears in my inbox. It contains a phone number to call.
“I was a year ahead of John Costik in getting this remote monitoring onto a phone,” says the voice on the other end of the line. (He’ll speak to me only if I agree not to publish his name or any identifying biographical details.) Yes, he says, it was certainly possible, hypothetically speaking, to construct a homemade bionic pancreas.
But just because people can do something, he continues, doesn’t mean they should. “I have no problem with technically savvy people doing these things. Where I get concerned is with people who do not understand the limitations. They might go to bed thinking their phone will wake them if their kid’s glucose level goes low, but then their Internet connection goes down, the phone doesn’t ring, and the kid dies.” That, he says, is when people get sued. And the parents aren’t going to sue the FDA—they’re going to sue the hacker. “If people know it’s possible to put together their own artificial pancreas,” he says, “that’s only going to encourage them. So I can neither confirm nor deny that I’ve done it.”
As the movement of pancreas hackers extracting data from their kids’ glucose monitors gained momentum, I had finally spoken to the guy who, supposedly, hacked his own bionic pancreas. But at the end of the call, I wasn’t sure if I had talked to Bigfoot, or a guy in a gorilla suit.
Dan Hurley‘s latest book, Smarter: The New Science of Building Brain Power, is now available in paperback.
By Kim Dolce—
Often it seems that our daily lives are ruled by the means we use to responsibly manage our disease. We know the value of sticking to our medication schedules, and just as important, consistently employing preventative measures to minimize pain, muscle spasms and spasticity by using tried and true methods such as resistance/cardio exercise, yoga, and stretching. But no matter how disciplined we are, we inevitably wind up firefighting problems that arise when being proactive doesn’t quite cover it all.
In fact, being proactive and responsible can sometimes create unpleasant circumstances. Here’s a recent example of my own.
I had noticed an increasing sensation of burning in every orifice over the past 18 months. It took time to spread, but spread it did, starting in my sinus cavity and traveling down to the southernmost regions. Without getting too graphic, I now burn in every opening above the neck and below the pubic bone. In fantasy lore, I’d be the mother of all fire-breathing dragons. Smaug is a steroidal house cat compared to me and the places from which I feel as though I can spew fire.
After ruling out infection—and that took a year for the sinus/throat problems, plus another six months to rule out UTIs and yeast—my ENT diagnosed neuropathic burning and my gynecologist and neurologist concurred with my own self-diagnosis of neuropathic burning for the nether regions of my anatomy. I requested Lyrica as my first line of defense. Sounds as though I’m right up on things, huh? Clever me.
Two weeks after starting Lyrica at a low dose, I noticed no improvement and my neuro then doubled the dose. After another two weeks, things began to unravel. At least, that’s when I began to notice it. As much as I allowed myself, that is. Hot flashes and night sweats reappeared, mild at first. I chalked it up to the weather. Then my memory grew worse. My thinking became more muddled and my concentration evaporated.
One day, my salt and pepper shakers were empty and I rummaged through a box of spices in my pantry looking for the big boxes of salt and pepper containers. I found them both and put them on a pantry shelf, returning to the box to look for more cooking spices. I promptly forgot that I’d found the salt and pepper and looked for them all over again. Confused about not finding them, I gave up in utter frustration—only to see them sitting on the pantry shelf where I’d put them!
That wasn’t all. I usually put routine and other appointments on my yahoo calendar and set up two reminder email alerts for 24 and 12 hours prior to the appt time. This usually works well, but suddenly these two alerts were still not enough to keep the appointments in my head. Frantic about forgetting them on days I had to be somewhere, I sat in front of the computer constantly checking my calendar and doing nothing else, so afraid I was of forgetting to get in my car and show up on time. After two weeks of this, I called my neuro for an appt.
“I’m officially a dementia case,” I joked. When I described my behaviors, she blamed Lyrica and had me wean myself off it over two days. On the day I stopped it completely, I also went back on estrogen therapy for the hot flashes. It wasn’t the weather, I was in denial about the fact that I wasn’t out of the woods yet with menopausal symptoms. After nearly a week, my head cleared and the hot flashes ceased. But the burning continued. Now that I had my wits about me again, I decided to try thinking outside the conventional methods box and settled on taking vitamin E supplements in a desperate attempt to quell the ever-present burning. I expected nothing, and yet, the nether regions are quiet this week. We’ll see if it continues.
The freaky thing about those demented, burny, sweaty couple of weeks I had was not so much the bizarre behavior than about that pit we all tumble into called “this must be my new normal.” We are so conditioned to adapting to new limitations that we easily ignore an honest to goodness drug side effect. I live alone, so there’s nobody here to witness the changes and give me an outsider’s perspective.
One tool that helped me put together the need for more estrogen and the possibility that Lyrica was causing cognitive changes was my symptom log. Even through that bout of “dementia,” reading and rereading it back one or two months went a long way in alerting me that something was off, how long it had been off, whether it coincided with a change in meds, and ultimately that I needed to see my doctor.
Keeping a symptom log is something we all learn to do for a variety of good reasons. Identifying medication side effects is just one of them. I hope all of you have a similar system to rely on whenever your memory fails you, because it probably will at some point.
3.“MS can go undiagnosed/misdiagnosed. If it seems someone you love is quietly enduring symptoms, please encourage them to speak up.” — Angelica Catalano, senior producer at The Mighty 4.“So far, the embarrassment has been tough. Embarrassment when I’ve wet myself, when I fall over, when I can’t participate due to the wheelchair not fitting wherever I need to go, when I need help taking care of my own baby.” — Tristen Wuori 5. “It’s not the end of the world! There are lots of things people with MS can do to improve their health through diet and lifestyle choices.” — Rachel Hogg
Epilepsy, also known as seizure disorder, is a serious condition in which a person experiences a sudden surge of electrical activity in the brain, affecting how they act or feel. There are many portrayals of this disorder in television (all of which are wholly inaccurate and for plot reasons only). Being personally afflicted with the most commercially patchable form of this disease, the most accurate description I could describe you with would be to tighten all your muscles as hard as you can, past the point of discomfort. You’re starting to cramp, aren’t you? Now conceptualize this: while your muscles are tensing, you are repeatedly bashing your appendages and your head against other solid objects (Do not try). It is a disquieting scene to witness a man attempting to stand on his own two feet, but his muscles have been strained to the point that it’s too painful to do so. In order to enlighten some of you about epilepsy, the following list is fifteen facts I have learned about epilepsy through research, trauma and treatment.
15. Hippocrates wrote the first book on epilepsy, On the Sacred Disease, around 400 BC, recognizing that it was a brain disorder and claiming that people with epilepsy did not have the power of prophecy. 14. Single tonic-clonic (otherwise known as grand mal) seizures lasting less than 5-10 minutes are not known to cause brain damage, contrary to the belief that seizures cause brain damage, they are actually more likely to stem from head trauma. 13. You cannot swallow your tongue during a seizure; you cannot swallow your tongue now, can you? 12. There have been some recent implications that have caused many to believe epilepsy goes hand in hand with anxiety and depression. 11. Like a diabetic who is misinterpreted as a drunk driver, epileptics can often have a seizure that manifests itself as bizarre behaviour, such as: repeating the same word, not responding to questions, speaking gibberish, undressing, or screaming. (In my case I was considered a threat to an entire classroom while I was suffering from a seizure of this nature.)
10. Early in the 19th century, people with severe epilepsy were cared for in asylums, but one of the reasons they were kept separate from psychiatric patients was because of the misconception that seizures were contagious. 9. Everyone is born with a seizure threshold. If your threshold is high, you are less likely to have a seizure. However certain activities or things, known as triggers, can lower your threshold, such as drinking alcohol, sleep deprivation, stress, illness, flickering lights and hormones (for women mostly) can have an impact on your seizure threshold. 8. Only in about 30% of cases is the cause of epilepsy determined. The other 70% remain unanswered, in what is referred to as idiopathic epilepsy. 7. About 1 in 20 epileptics are sensitive to flickering light, or photosensitive epilepsy. The contrast, or change in light, can trigger a seizure. 6. The official colour for Epilepsy Awareness is Lavender, with the Pantone swatch of PMS 2593.
5. Towards the start of the 20th century, some US states had laws forbidding people with epilepsy to marry or become parents, some even permitting sterilization. 4. Seizures have a beginning, middle, and end. The beginning, referred to as the aura, can have signs of the oncoming seizure such as smells, sounds, tastes, lightheadedness, or Deja and jamais vu. The middle, is the seizure itself, whether it be a grand mal seizure or a simple partial seizure. The end of the seizure is called the postictal phase and is the brain recovering, which can take anywhere from seconds to hours and is usually accompanied by disorientation and memory loss. 3. The proper treatment for someone having a tonic-clonic seizure is not what you see on TV shows (multiple people pressing their body weight down on a seizing person). Here’s what you should do: Pay attention to how long the seizure lasts, move objects that they could strike out of the vicinity, simply block their way to prevent them from moving too far (or into the water, fall off a bed, etc.). Put them on their side after the episode and don’t put anything in their mouth. If it lasts for more than five minutes call an ambulance. 2. Diastat, or diazepam, is the medicine used to treat a prolonged seizure or cluster of seizures. It is a gel supplied in a plastic applicator that, most, unfortunately, has to be inserted rectally. 1. Epilepsy is usually not a lifelong disorder, with only 25% of those who develop seizures developing difficult to control seizures. And in my experience, those who have lifelong seizure disorders have more serious conditions at play.
by Elena Prokopets
Many otherwise intelligent individuals have the rather insensitive view that Crohn’s Disease is simply a nice medical term for an illness that people have because they lack self-control. To them, everyone has bowel troubles, some more than others, and that all it takes is watching what one eats and drinks in order to have normal intestinal operation. They also become frustrated with Crohn’s sufferers, thinking that they exaggerate their symptoms and just need to take a few antacids or anti-diarrhea pills.
Crohn’s is classified as an autoimmune disease, in which the body is actually producing antibodies that act against itself, much like the more commonly known Lupus. Just getting the fact out that it really is a serious disease and not just a “condition” is truly important, because misinformation makes it hard to develop empathy for a friend or partner with this disease. That said, here are 15 things that Crohn’s sufferers will endure that require understanding, patience, and support.
1. They can’t participate in a lot of sports and other social activities as young people
Imagine you are a 16-year old girl who would love to go out with her friends for the evening. Maybe they want to drive around, stop at a few other friends’ homes, and stop at a fast-food place for burgers and fries. For the teen with Crohn’s, this means not eating all day in order to avoid embarrassing diarrhea accidents, and certainly not participating in the fast-food stop. Suppose you are a teen boy wearing an excretion bag – how do you shower with your classmates after PE class? Parents and other adults need to be happy to make comforting accommodations for these teens, and that includes the PE teacher-jock who may not have a tendency for a lot of empathy. Wise parents have meetings with school personnel and make certain that all reasonable accommodations have been made, including a quick exit from class without permission.
2. They can’t consume alcohol
So, when everyone is having a grand time at happy hour and putting pressure for the Crohn’s sufferer to have a beer, they wonder why they won’t drink. Are they anti-social; are they a recovering alcoholic? A sufferer with a pretty solid self-image may be able to explain the disease a bit. Good friends and partners understand and make an extra effort to make the sufferer feel comfortable, even in an environment of drinking.
3. They get depressed, because the disease seems to control so much of their daily lives
As Bethany Townsend, famous model and make-up artist claims, she left her career for years because of her “bag” and only recently was able to put on a bikini and post it on Facebook with the support and encouragement of her husband. Because of the overwhelming support she then received from Facebook fans she is back modeling and over her depression. Most Crohn’s sufferers do not give up public and promising careers, but they do have periods of depression. Making an effort to really understand how the simple things you take for granted can be big hurdles for your loved one will go a long way.
4. They skip meals in order to avoid having to go to the bathroom
Weight is a rather sensitive topic for people with Chrohn’s. Oftentimes it’s easier for them to say they’ve been sticking to some brand new diet plan for weight loss than admitting they don’t want to have lunch with you because they might afterwards get stuck in the bathroom for hours. Skipping meals is one big concern for medical professionals dealing with Crohn’s patients because the potential for severe weight loss and even anemia are always present. A current study involving 3700 patients from over 40 countries is underway to research the efficacy of some new medications that will reduce the levels of the culprit antibodies and thus onset of acute and severe diarrhea is currently underway and does show some promise.
5. They can suffer embarrassingly severe diarrhea, especially in public places
They have to look for the nearest restroom when they are out, and this can be irritating to social acquaintances and partners who just don’t have the empathy they should. Being seated in a restaurant for the Crohn’s sufferer is a “huge” consideration, and others need to be supportive and kind about it, even if it means a bit longer wait for a table.
6. Being overly tired is a symptom of the disease, not an “avoidance” tactic as some have decided to believe
Normal daily activities of school and work can be exhausting, and this is a real physical symptom. Friends, family members and partners need to cease complaining or showing irritation when the individual needs a nap or simply does not have the energy to engage in physically-demanding activities after a long day. Plan those activities on weekends when there are no other physical and mental demands on the sufferer.
7. They cannot have the social lives that others do
Teens avoid sleepovers, swim parties, and overnight trips with friends; adults may avoid such things as camping trips or picnics and barbeques, or adventurous trips to far away lands where restrooms might not be immediately available.
8. They carry extra toilet paper, wear “Depends,” and always have an extra set of clothing with them
Again, that’s something they are really embarrassed to admit. Understanding these behaviors is critical for friends and partners who truly want to make life as comfortable as possible for a Crohn’s sufferer. Instead of showing irritation because a road trip may involve more than the average number of restroom stops along the way, the empathetic fellow traveler will take it all in stride, be cheerful and accommodating. Should an accident occur, it is important to know whether the “victim” wants help or wants to deal with the problem on his/her own.
9. They are self-conscious about the clothing they wear so that bags don’t show
If you love this person, make extra efforts to compliment their dress and appearance.
10. They don’t sleep well
There is discomfort a lot of the time, and this is not an exaggeration. Think of times when you have a bad bout of stomach gas with cramps and diarrhea. People with Crohn’s have to deal with this most of the time, even in the middle of the night. Stop complaining about being awakened, and give them a reassuring hug instead. Here are more tips about getting a better sleep if you have Crohn’s.
11. They avoid going out to eat
This can be a “bummer” when friends who are couples invite you to go out to dinner. If your loved one’s symptoms are acute, this is not going to be an option. If they are not acute, and the outing is planned, be certain that the restaurant chosen has mild foods that your loved can tolerate more easily. Several studies currently being conducted by the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation are attempting to develop means by which normal microbe activity can be stimulated in the gastrointestinal tract that may ultimately allow those with the disease eat more normally. This would be a huge breakthrough!
12. They plan when they will eat certain foods, because they know how they will be affected and will need to be physically in a “safe” place
Don’t try to “force” your loved one to eat anything or anywhere if they are not truly comfortable with the food and/or the environment. You certainly don’t have to change your eating habits because of their disease, but neither should they ever have to change theirs to please yours. Certainly there a lot of great foods both for you and your loved one to digest normally.
13. Airline bookings may seem like a minor deal to you, but to the Crohn’s sufferer, they are not
Be mindful that seating has to be close to the bathroom, and, if there is an accident because the bathroom is occupied at a moment of crisis, be reassuring and comforting. They are embarrassed enough without your expression of embarrassment too.
14. They understand that there is no cure and that researchers are looking at multiple causes
Those include but not limited to genetics, previous infections, immune system failures, and environmental factors such as junk food and too many antibiotics earlier in life. Understand that they are keeping apprised of any research that is ongoing and any new promising treatments, and that they will certainly take it up with their doctor. Instead of resenting, the time spent on reading up on these potential treatments and the conversation that they may want to have about them, be a good listener, be encouraging and be positive.
15. They have fears that may seem abnormal to you
Just walking the dog can cause anxiety, if the walk will be pretty long; they fear that they may embarrass themselves or you. Imagine the anxiety of going to your boss’s home for dinner or a barbeque; imagine the anxiety of going to a child’s soccer or basketball game, sitting up in the stands and not being able to get down through the crowd to reach a restroom in time. You have to validate these fears and be willing to compromise. You can’t truly understand the fears because you don’t have the disease, but you must be willing to validate them with both words and behaviors.
Most people know that a major function of the kidneys is to remove waste products and excess fluid from the body. These waste products and excess fluid are removed through the urine. The production of urine involves highly complex steps of excretion and re-absorption. This process is necessary to maintain a stable balance of body chemicals.
The critical regulation of the body’s salt, potassium and acid content is performed by the kidneys. The kidneys also produce hormones that affect the function of other organs. For example, a hormone produced by the kidneys stimulates red blood cell production. Other hormones produced by the kidneys help regulate blood pressure and control calcium metabolism.
The kidneys are powerful chemical factories that perform the following functions:
remove waste products from the body
remove drugs from the body
balance the body’s fluids
release hormones that regulate blood pressure
produce an active form of vitamin D that promotes strong, healthy bones
control the production of red blood cells
Below you will find more information about the kidneys and the vital role they play in keeping your body functioning.
There are two kidneys, each about the size of a fist, located on either side of the spine at the lowest level of the rib cage. Each kidney contains up to a million functioning units called nephrons. A nephron consists of a filtering unit of tiny blood vessels called a glomerulus attached to a tubule. When blood enters the glomerulus, it is filtered and the remaining fluid then passes along the tubule. In the tubule, chemicals and water are either added to or removed from this filtered fluid according to the body’s needs, the final product being the urine we excrete.
The kidneys perform their life-sustaining job of filtering and returning to the bloodstream about 200 quarts of fluid every 24 hours. About two quarts are removed from the body in the form of urine, and about 198 quarts are recovered. The urine we excrete has been stored in the bladder for anywhere from 1 to 8 hours.
What Are Some of the Causes of Chronic Kidney Disease?
Chronic kidney disease is defined as having some type of kidney abnormality, or “marker”, such as protein in the urine and having decreased kidney function for three months or longer.
There are many causes of chronic kidney disease. The kidneys may be affected by diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Some kidney conditions are inherited (run in families).
Others are congenital; that is, individuals may be born with an abnormality that can affect their kidneys. The following are some of the most common types and causes of kidney damage.
Diabetes is a disease in which your body does not make enough insulin or cannot use normal amounts of insulin properly. This results in a high blood sugar level, which can cause problems in many parts of your body. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney disease.
High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) is another common cause of kidney disease and other complications such as heart attacks and strokes. High blood pressure occurs when the force of blood against your artery walls increases. When high blood pressure is controlled, the risk of complications such as chronic kidney disease is decreased.
Glomerulonephritis is a disease that causes inflammation of the kidney’s tiny filtering units called the glomeruli. Glomerulonephritis may happen suddenly, for example, after a strep throat, and the individual may get well again.However, the disease may develop slowly over several years and it may cause progressive loss of kidney function.
Polycystic kidney disease is the most common inherited kidney disease. It is characterized by the formation of kidney cysts that enlarge over time and may cause serious kidney damage and even kidney failure. Other inherited diseases that affect the kidneys include Alport’s Syndrome,primary hyperoxaluria and cystinuria.
Kidney stones are very common, and when they pass, they may cause severe pain in your back and side. There are many possible causes of kidney stones, including an inherited disorder that causes too much calcium to be absorbed from foods and urinary tract infections or obstructions. Sometimes, medications and diet can help to prevent recurrent stone formation. In cases where stones are too large to pass, treatments may be done to remove the stones or break them down into small pieces that can pass out of the body.
Urinary tract infections occur when germs enter the urinary tract and cause symptoms such as pain and/or burning during urination and more frequent need to urinate. These infections most often affect the bladder, but they sometimes spread to the kidneys, and they may cause fever and pain in your back.
Congenital diseases may also affect the kidneys. These usually involve some problem that occurs in the urinary tract when a baby is developing in its mother’s womb. One of the most common occurs when a valve-like mechanism between the bladder and ureter (urine tube) fails to work properly and allows urine to back up (reflux) to the kidneys, causing infections and possible kidney damage.
Drugs and toxins can also cause kidney problems. Using large numbers of over-the-counter pain relievers for a long time may be harmful to the kidneys. Certain other medications, toxins, pesticides and “street” drugs such as heroin and crack can also cause kidney damage
How is Chronic Kidney Disease Detected?
Early detection and treatment of chronic kidney disease are the keys to keeping kidney disease from progressing to kidney failure. Some simple tests can be done to detect early kidney disease. They are:
A test for protein in the urine. Albumin to Creatinine Ratio (ACR), estimates the amount of a albumin that is in your urine. An excess amount of protein in your urine may mean your kidney’s filtering units have been damaged by disease. One positive result could be due to fever or heavy exercise, so your doctor will want to confirm your test over several weeks.
A test for blood creatinine. Your doctor should use your results, along with your age, race, gender and other factors, to calculate your glomerular filtration rate (GFR). Your GFR tells how much kidney function you have. To access the GFR calculator, click here.
It is especially important that people who have an increased risk for chronic kidney disease have these tests. You may have an increased risk for kidney disease if you:
have high blood pressure
have a family member who has chronic kidney disease
are an African American, Hispanic American, Asians and Pacific Islander or American Indian.
If you are in one of these groups or think you may have an increased risk for kidney disease, ask your doctor about getting tested.
Can Kidney Disease Be Successfully Treated?
Many kidney diseases can be treated successfully. Careful control of diseases like diabetes and high blood pressure can help prevent kidney disease or keep it from getting worse. Kidney stones and urinary tract infections can usually be treated successfully. Unfortunately, the exact causes of some kidney diseases are still unknown, and specific treatments are not yet available for them. Sometimes, chronic kidney disease may progress to kidney failure, requiring dialysis or kidney transplantation. Treating high blood pressure with special medications called angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors often helps to slow the progression of chronic kidney disease. A great deal of research is being done to find more effective treatment for all conditions that can cause chronic kidney disease.
How is Kidney Failure Treated?
Kidney failure may be treated with hemodialysis, peritoneal dialysis or kidney transplantation. Treatment with hemodialysis (the artificial kidney) may be performed at a dialysis unit or at home. Hemodialysis treatments are usually performed three times a week. Peritoneal dialysis is generally done daily at home. Continuous Cycling Peritoneal Dialysis requires the use of a machine while Continuous Ambulatory Peritoneal Dialysis does not. A kidney specialist can explain the different approaches and help individual patients make the best treatment choices for themselves and their families.
Kidney transplants have high success rates. The kidney may come from someone who died or from a living donor who may be a relative, friend or possibly a stranger, who donates a kidney to anyone in need of a transplant.
What Are the Warning Signs of Kidney Disease?
Kidney disease usually affects both kidneys. If the kidneys’ ability to filter the blood is seriously damaged by disease, wastes and excess fluid may build up in the body. Although many forms of kidney disease do not produce symptoms until late in the course of the disease, there are six warning signs of kidney disease:
High blood pressure.
Blood and/or protein in the urine.
A creatinine and Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) blood test, outside the normal range. BUN and creatinine are waste that build up in your blood when your kidney function is reduced.
A glomerular filtration rate (GFR) less than 60. GFR is a measure of kidney function.
More frequent urination, particularly at night; difficult or painful urination.
Puffiness around eyes, swelling of hands and feet.
I’m so stressed!” “That situation was so stressful for me!” We hear exclamations like these on almost a daily basis. It’s hard to understand how a word can be used so frequently, yet not be clearly defined. Is it because stress is not something that we can actually touch and manipulate? Is it too subjective to be scientifically or medically delineated?
We may not know how to precisely describe it, but we do know that it exists and that it is killing us. Like a virus that has taken many lives but still hasn’t been isolated and given a name. Even if there is no consensus on what it is, stress has to be taken seriously. To this end, each of us should know the signs and symptoms that are unique to us as individuals. We should literally “take it personally” and have tailor-made responses in place. For even though the term remains vague, one thing is certain—stress is a critical factor in many disease states, particularly diabetes, and requires our utmost attention.
The general definition of stress is “a condition resulting from the application of force on an object.” In relation to the human body, it can be further described as the reaction of the person to physical or mental forces that disturb the body’s normal equilibrium or balance, known as homeostasis. With an object, whether it is elastic material or a table, whenever a weight is placed on it, something has to give in order to accommodate the physical burden to which it has been subjected.
When you experience stress, mental or physical, your body prepares to take the corrective measures necessary. It is under attack and will eliminate the enemy by any means necessary. This is known as the “fight-or-flight” response. Survival depends on it. While the biochemical and physiological pathways of such a response can be difficult to comprehend, when discussed in practical terms, and keeping it “personal,” each of us can learn to ascertain what our bodies are seeking to tell us. There is no one-size-fits-all definition of stress. Nor is there a generic formula for dealing with it, but there is certainly a commonality among the signs and symptoms that, after adjusting or “tweaking” for differences among individuals, allows us to make the needed changes, which are person-specific. Think of it as having a personal trainer for stress.
Before you can personalize your “stress profile,” it is important to review what is already known about the physiological, psychological, and, yes, sociological nature of what has become a big part of our lives.
Let’s say that you are on your way to a job interview, or you just had an argument with your significant other, or you just came down with the flu. These are all events that the human body perceives as threats to its normal functioning.
It reacts through a series of events:
A small area at the base of the brain, called the hypothalamus, sets off the alarm. Not unlike a ship’s captain announcing “all hands on deck” when there is a threat from an enemy vessel.
The nerve and hormone signals get involved, causing the adrenal glands, above the kidneys, to release the so-called stress hormones—adrenaline, cortisol, and epinephrine. These act to elevate the heart rate and blood pressure; they also increase the level of glucose in the blood. The net effect is to increase the energy supplied to the cells, enabling the body to carry out its fight-or-flight response.
Cortisol almost acts as a guard who is called in when there is a prison lockdown. It stops all nonessential activity to concentrate on the threat at hand. The immune and digestive systems get the message, making the necessary adjustments. Also, muscles can become tense and breathing becomes more labored and faster.The liver plays its part by producing more glucose, presumably providing extra energy so that the latest assault can be dispensed with and so that normal functioning can resume.
This “alert” activity is fairly harmless, and even necessary, when kept to a minimum. Problems occur when stressful situations become more like the norm than the exception.The body becomes overexposed to cortisol and other stress hormones, which can throw your entire body out of whack, and many times, bring everything to a standstill.
Common signs that you are stressing too much include frequent headaches, neck or back pain, problems swallowing, frequent colds and infections, heartburn (the connection between gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) and stress is receiving a lot of attention), rapid pulse, and increased anger or anxiety. The American Institute of Stress (AIS) provides a comprehensive list of signs and symptoms on its website.
Of particular importance to people with diabetes is the continual high blood glucose levels that are due to long-term stress. These patients already have problems with glucose utilization, so a vicious cycle ensues: an increase in the release of cortisol in response to continued mental or physical stress-causing events or conditions; followed by elevated amounts of glucose (brought about by increased levels of cortisol) to provide the energy needed for the fight-or-flight response; followed by an increased requirement for insulin (to process the glucose).
This, in addition to exacerbating the psychological toll that diabetes already takes on those who suffer from this debilitating illness, making those who suffer from this disease feel even more hopeless about their condition. This, not unexpectedly, often results in patient apathy and a loss of interest in properly taking care of themselves. It is not difficult to see how people simply give up.
As if things were not complicated enough, research has also shown that there is a connection between stress and minority status in American society. Because there is such a high incidence of stress-related disorders, along with diabetes among African-Americans, an attempt has been made to study the correlation between “perceived” racism-related stress and diabetes.
Although this subject demands more rigorous research, it cannot be denied that a person’s continual perception of unequal treatment, exacerbated by documented practices of institutional racism–job discrimination, substandard housing and educational opportunities, poor healthcare options–would keep that person in a perpetual fight-or-flight mode.This particular type of stress applies to anyone who perceives unfair treatment by dominant society; examples of difference include race, weight, height, religion, or sexual orientation. Even if the enemy is within, it is still stress for that individual and has to be properly addressed by that person.
It is thus not surprising that the consumption of fatty foods (stress eating) would be high among African-Americans and others who are stressed by societal reactions to them. These foods are often fried, so they smell and taste good. So, after spending the day in what is at least perceived as a hostile environment, why not indulge in eating what makes you feel good? It’s not called comfort food for nothing. Of course, this starts and promotes a vicious cycle: continual stress, followed by consuming a high-fat and carbohydrate diet for solace; thus increasing the glucose levels in the bloodstream, accompanied by an increased need for insulin, and so on. Needless to say, this can result in high blood pressure, atherosclerosis, and cardiac problems, which compounds the problems faced by people with diabetes.
So how do we manage stress? Start by knowing yourself, inside and out. Know what stress feels like to you. Actually write a note to yourself when you, for example, have a headache or pain in your stomach, or when you have trouble swallowing. In this way, you can learn to associate a stressful situation with the physical expression of that source of stress. If you have diabetes, rate your stress level (on a scale of 1 to 10) each time you check your blood sugar. You can then correlate stress with your blood glucose level, then figure out what made you feel bad at that particular time.
Next, proceed with stress management techniques like relaxation and exercise, avoiding what you (hopefully) know is the source of your stress, maintaining a safe distance from “toxic” people, discontinue stress eating, etc.
Most importantly, get out more! Stressed people tend to isolate themselves, which is bad for anyone’s mental and physical health. Join a group, any group. Make it a habit to visit a farmer’s market. In this way, you can kill two birds with one stone—get your exercise by walking about the market and get “mental therapy” by socializing with other people.
Because stress is a complicated condition that not only has a physiological basis, but also involves complex psychological and sociological components, its prevention and “treatment” require vigilance on the part of the individual. Keeping stress under control is essential for good health and is thus a critical factor in managing diabetes.