3 Natural Ways to Build Bones and Prevent Osteoporosis

A friend once expressed frustration that her mother would no longer sit or stand erect. She attributed her mom’s slouch to laziness, but in truth osteoporosis had caused compression fractures that collapsed the front of her mom’s vertebrae.

When osteoporosis weakens the vertebrae, they gradually become wedge-shaped, creating the pronounced curve in the upper back that’s often called a “dowager’s hump.” Once that happens, neither starch nor willpower will straighten your spine.

Osteoporosis is common, occurring in upwards of 10 percent of adults over age 50, according to a study published in 2014 in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research. But it isn’t an inevitable part of aging.

Bones are dynamic structures, constantly remodeling themselves through the addition and subtraction of material. During the third decade of your life, your bone mass peaks. After that, it’s a downhill process — one that accelerates in women after menopause as their estrogen levels drop.

Older men can also develop osteoporosis, though bone loss starts later in men — around age 65 or 70 — than in women. Aside from age, risk factors include having a family history of the condition, being small and thin, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, and being physically inactive.

Calcium, Vitamin D, and Your Bones

Another risk factor for osteoporosis is not getting enough dietary calcium, the mineral that makes bones strong and also aids myriad bodily functions, such as muscle contractions and nerve signal transmission. When blood levels of calcium fall, your bones “give up” calcium to restore normal levels. Bones are like a mineral savings account: If you keep withdrawing calcium and other minerals, your bones weaken.

For years, doctors have advised older people to take calcium and vitamin D supplements to maintain bone density. The Institute of Medicine recommends 1,200 milligrams (mg) of calcium daily for women over 50 and men over 70, and 600 international units (IU) of vitamin D.

The big question is: Do these supplements help maintain bone density?

Possibly not, according to two papers published in September 2015 in the British Medical Journal. The first paper examined 59 studies on the impact of getting additional calcium in food or supplements (calcium plus or minus vitamin D) on bone mineral density. The extra calcium produced small increases in bone mineral density for the first year or two, but this change was found to be unlikely to reduce bone fracture risk (the most dreaded consequence of osteoporosis).

The second BMJ article directly addressed the issue of bone fracture prevention. Researchers analyzed studies investigating the impact of dietary calcium, milk and other dairy products, and calcium supplements on fracture risk in women over 50. Their conclusion? None of these interventions provided appreciable protection against bone breaks. Furthermore, calcium supplements can cause undesirable effects, including constipation, cardiovascular events (including heart attacks, stroke, and angina), and kidney stones.

So what can you do to protect your bones and avoid the pain and disability of fragile, broken bones? As it turns out, behaviors that preserve bone also help prevent other major diseases, such as heart disease and cancer. In addition to staying away from tobacco and heavy drinking, here are a few things you can do to preserve your bones.

1. Engage in Weight-Bearing Exercise

Weight-bearing and muscle-strengthening exercises stimulate bone formation and slow age-related bone loss.

Some weight-bearing activities include:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Jumping rope
  • Climbing stairs
  • Skiing

Muscle-strengthening exercises (also called resistance training) require you to work against additional weight, such as free weights, weight machines, elastic bands, and your own body (push-ups and chin-ups, for example). If you’re a yoga enthusiast, you’ll be pleased to know that a 10-year-long study published in Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation showed that a 12-minute daily yoga routine increased bone mineral density in the spine, femur (thigh bone), and possibly the hips.

For more information on bone-preserving exercises, check the National Osteoporosis Foundation website. In addition, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides instructional videos for exercises you can do at home and in the gym.

If you already have osteoporosis or any other chronic condition, check with your doctor before jumping on the treadmill.

If you have osteoporosis in your spine, avoid heavy lifting, sit-ups, abdominal “crunches,” and any activities that involve extreme bending or twisting.

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The Gluten-Free Trend Is On the Rise, Even Though Celiac Disease Diagnoses Aren’t

Self-diagnosed sensitivities could be fueling the trend, say researchers.

More people are going gluten-free in recent years, according to a study out this week, especially young white women. But the prevalence of celiac disease—the main medical reason doctors and nutritionists recommend cutting out wheat products—hasn’t changed.

A common belief that gluten-free diets are healthier (and a growing availability of alternative breads and grain products) could be driving the trend, say researchers from Rutgers University. But the findings may also not be as contradictory as they seem: Since people with celiac disease have to eat gluten to experience symptoms, more people preemptively choosing not to could actually be contributing to the plateau in diagnoses, they say.

The article, published online by JAMA Internal Medicine, analyzed surveys and blood tests from more than 22,000 individuals conducted from 2009 to 2014. Overall, 106 people (0.69 percent) were diagnosed with celiac disease, and an additional 213 (1.08 percent) said they followed a gluten-free diet even though they were celiac-free.

Based on this sample, the researchers estimated that 1.76 million Americans have celiac disease, while 2.7 million people without the disease choose to go gluten-free for other reasons.

The rate of diagnosed celiac disease remained steady over time, only fluctuating between 0.58 percent and 0.77 percent for each year of the study. But the percentage of gluten-free participants without celiac disease rose consistently for the first three years—from 0.52 to 0.99 to 1.69 percent—before falling slightly, to 1.08 percent, the fourth year.

When the researchers broke down their results by age, gender, and ethnicity, they found that going gluten-free was increasingly popular among most subgroups—but that the rise was especially pronounced in three groups: white people, adults 20 to 39, and women.

There are many factors that might account for this change, the authors say. “First, the public perception is that gluten-free diets are healthier and may provide benefits to nonspecific gastrointestinal symptoms,” the write. (Here’s the truth: Going gluten-free can be a smart health choice for some people, but just because something is gluten-free doesn’t mean it’s not still filled with refined carbs and unhealthy ingredients.)

There are also a lot of people with gluten sensitivity—about 18 million Americans, according to one estimate—and an increasing number of people are self-diagnosing themselves, say the researchers. A gluten sensitivity is not the same as celiac disease, and it wouldn’t show up on a blood test like the one given in the study. But it can still cause unpleasant symptoms like bloating, stomach pain, and fatigue.

So what does all this mean, exactly? It’s likely that some people are jumping onto the gluten-free bandwagon because they think it’s healthy or a ticket to weight-loss—a “fad component,” as lead author Hyun-seok Kim, M.D., describes it—while others are simply paying better attention to their health and eliminating foods that don’t agree with their bodies.

The study wasn’t able to determine the reasons behind the trend, and the authors can only make assumptions. “What I can tell is that people need to discuss [their reasons] with their primary care doctor or gastroenterologist,” says Dr. Kim. Among other reasons, he says, going on a gluten-free diet before you’re diagnosed with celiac disease can cause a false negative on the blood test—so it’s important to let your doctor know if you’ve done so.

If you do decide to try a gluten-free lifestyle, there are a few things you can keep in mind to avoid potential health pitfalls: Eat more fruits, vegetables, lean meats, and naturally gluten-free grains like brown rice, quinoa, and buckwheat, says Dee Sandquist, RD, a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association, instead of simply choosing processed foods or sweets that happen to be labeled gluten-free. And be sure you’re getting enough vitamins B and D; gluten-free foods don’t tend to be fortified with these like regular bread products are, so you may have to get these nutrients from other sources.

How to support someone with breast cancer

If a friend or family member has been diagnosed with breast cancer, there are a number of things you can do to help or support them.

1. Practical support
2. Emotional support
3. Support for you

1. Practical support

Many people want to carry on doing as much as possible during their treatment. However, side effects can often make it more difficult to continue with everyday tasks and asking for help is not always easy.

Knowing how to help can sometimes be difficult. As well as thinking about what your friend or family member might need help with, it’s important to think about what you’re able to do and how much time you’re able to commit.

Offering specific help means both parties understand what’s on offer. For example, rather than saying ‘What can I do for you?’ it might be better to say ‘Would you like me to pick the children up from school tomorrow?’.

Things you might offer to help with include:

  • cleaning and vacuuming
  • clothes washing and ironing
  • gardening
  • cooking meals for freezing
  • transport to and from hospital appointments
  • taking children to or from school
  • babysitting

Some people may be reluctant to accept help or even feel embarrassed about the help that’s being offered. This can sometimes feel hurtful, but it’s important to some people to maintain a sense of normality and to continue to do things even when doing so is very difficult.

2. Emotional support

Most people are shocked to hear they have breast cancer and experience many different emotions including anger, fear, sadness and depression.

Feelings can change from day to day and even hour to hour. It’s often difficult to know what to say and how best to support someone.

Just being alongside someone and allowing them to express how they’re feeling is probably one of the most important ways of supporting them.

Try not to be afraid of tears that may be shed – it may be a helpful way for your friend or relative to express how they’re feeling. If it’s appropriate, holding hands or giving them a hug is a useful way of showing your support.

If someone is feeling angry about their diagnosis they may direct this at you. This can be hurtful – particularly if you’re trying to support them. But try to remember this is often because they’re upset about having cancer, rather than being upset with you.

Listening to your friend or relative talk about how they’re feeling can sometimes be difficult or distressing, but it might be really helpful to them to express how they’re feeling.

3. Support for you

Supporting a friend or relative can be very demanding and upsetting. To be able to continue to support your friend or relative, you need to look after yourself.

Depending on how involved you are it’s important to eat well, get some regular exercise and a good night’s sleep and have some time to yourself.

If you’re finding it difficult to do these things and are feeling overwhelmed, let a friend, family member or your GP know.

Neuromod prepares for global commercialisation of Lenire tinnitus treatment

Neuromod Devices, the Irish medical technology company specialising in non-invasive neuromodulation technologies, has provided an update on organisational and leadership growth in preparation for European commercialisation and US regulatory clearance application.

Following the completion of two of the largest clinical trials ever conducted in tinnitus; including 517 participants, the Company is now advancing towards initial commercialisation of its CE-marked product in Ireland and Germany, which will be marketed under the brand name Lenire.

To support commercialisation activities, Neuromod is investing in establishing the appropriate quality, regulatory and supply chain infrastructure to support near term European plans and lay the foundation for the company’s US strategy.

In terms of senior leadership appointments, Neuromod announces the appointment of Deborah Arthur as Head of Quality and Regulatory Affairs, Suzanne O’Rourke as Director of Quality and Regulatory Affairs and Cathal Mc Fadden as Director of Operations. Deborah and Suzanne bring more than 45 years of combined experience in medical device regulatory and quality matters. They will be supported by a team of qualified industry experts in navigating the regulatory pathway to market the treatment in the USA and transitioning to the new EU Medical Devices Regulation (MDR (EU) 2017/745). Cathal’s experience in manufacturing scale up and supply chain management will ensure that Neuromod is ready to meet the anticipated demand for Lenire in Europe and globally.

Ross O’Neill, CEO of Neuromod commented: “This is a very exciting time for Neuromod as we move towards commercialisation, supported by encouraging data from our recent clinical trials. Neuromod is investing in growing our organisation; we have been working to ensure that all systems are in place to bring our treatment to the large population of people living with tinnitus globally.”


A treatment that has restored the movement of patients with chronic Parkinson’s disease has been developed by Canadian researchers.


Previously housebound patients are now able to walk more freely as a result of electrical stimulation to their spines.

A quarter of patients have difficulty walking as the disease wears on, often freezing on the spot and falling.

Parkinson’s UK hailed its potential impact on an aspect of the disease where there is currently no treatment.

Prof Mandar Jog, of Western University and associate scientific director, Lawson Health Research Institute in London, Ontario, told BBC News the scale of benefit to patients of his new treatment was “beyond his wildest dreams”.

Gail being testedImage copyrightAFP
Image captionScientists monitor their patients’ improvement using sensors on a specially made suit.

“Most of our patients have had the disease for 15 years and have not walked with any confidence for several years,” he said.

“For them to go from being home-bound, with the risk of falling, to being able to go on trips to the mall and have vacations is remarkable for me to see.”

Normal walking involves the brain sending instructions to the legs to move. It then receives signals back when the movement has been completed before sending instructions for the next step.

Brain ScansImage copyrightBBC NEWS/WESTERN UNIVERSITY
Image captionThe parts of the brain involved with movement (red on the left-hand scan) are not working properly, but three months into the trial those areas are now functioning

Prof Jog believes Parkinson’s disease reduces the signals coming back to the brain – breaking the loop and causing the patient to freeze.

The implant his team has developed boosts that signal, enabling the patient to walk normally.

However, Prof Jog was surprised that the treatment was long-lasting and worked even when the implant was turned off.

He believes the electrical stimulus reawakens the feedback mechanism from legs to brain that is damaged by the disease.

“This is a completely different rehabilitation therapy,” he said. “We had thought that the movement problems occurred in Parkinson’s patients because signals from the brain to the legs were not getting through.

“But it seems that it’s the signals getting back to the brain that are degraded.”

Countryside walks

Brain scans showed that before patients received the electrical treatment, the areas that control movement were not working properly. But a few months into the treatment those areas were restored.

Gail Jardine, 66, is among the patients who has benefited from the treatment.

Before she received the implant two months ago, Gail kept freezing on the spot, and she would fall over two or three times a day.

She lost her confidence and stopped walking in the countryside in Kitchener, Ontario – something she loved doing with her husband, Stan.

Now she can walk with Stan in the park for the first time in more than two years.

“I can walk a lot better,” she said. “I haven’t fallen since I started the treatment. It’s given me more confidence and I’m looking forward to taking more walks with Stan and maybe even go on my own”.

Guy and Barb AldenImage copyrightGUY ALDEN
Image captionGuy Alden used to rely on a wheelchair but after his treatment he had his first holiday in seven years with his wife, Barb

Another beneficiary is Guy Alden, 70, a deacon at a catholic church in London, Ontario. He was forced to retire in 2012 because of his Parkinson’s disease.

His greatest regret was that it curtailed his work in the community, such as his prison visits.

“I was freezing a lot when I was in a crowd or crossing a threshold in a mall. Everyone would be looking at me. It was very embarrassing,” he told me.

“Now I can walk in crowds. My wife and I even went on holiday to Maui and I didn’t need to use my wheelchair at any point. There were a lot of narrow roads and a lot of (slopes) and I did all of that pretty well.”

Dr Beckie Port, research manager at Parkinson’s UK, said: “The results seen in this small-scale pilot study are very promising and the therapy certainly warrants further investigation.

“Should future studies show the same level of promise, it has the potential to dramatically improve quality of life, giving people with Parkinson’s the freedom to enjoy everyday activities.”

https://www.bbc.com

Psoriasis: 12 home remedies and how to avoid triggers

Psoriasis is a lifelong autoimmune skin condition in which the immune system triggers the overproduction of skin cells. Some home remedies may help relieve symptoms.

Psoriasis causes red, scaly patches of skin called plaques. Plaques usually appear on the elbows, knees, and scalp, but they can develop anywhere on the body.

Before using home remedies, it may be a good idea to speak to a doctor. Home remedies tend to work best when people use them alongside medical treatment.

Home remedies

Getting sunshine

Getting a little sunshine every day can help, but too much sun can make symptoms worse.

Using home remedies either alone or in combination with medical treatment may improve psoriasis symptoms.

However, some home remedies may interact with medications, so anyone who is thinking about using any of them should talk to a doctor first.

It is also important to monitor psoriasis symptoms to ensure that the remedies are not causing them to get worse.

1. Exposure to sunlight

Exposure to sunlight can sometimes improve the appearance of the skin when a person has psoriasis. People should expose their skin gradually and for brief periods.

The National Psoriasis Foundation recommend starting with 5 to 10 minutes of midday sun exposure once a day.

It is essential to cover healthy skin with sunscreen and clothing so that only the affected areas get exposure to the sun. If their skin tolerates it, an individual can slowly increase sun exposure in increments of 30 seconds each day.

If a person gets sunburnt, they should avoid any further sun exposure. They should also talk to a doctor because sunburn can make psoriasis worse.

It is the sun’s UVB rays that are beneficial for psoriasis symptoms rather than the UVA rays. Sun and indoor tanning beds mostly emit UVA rays.

People who use indoor tanning beds have a higher chance of skin damage. Using them can also increase the risk of a type of skin cancer called melanoma by 59 percent.

Many experts, including the National Psoriasis Foundation and the American Academy of Dermatology, do not recommend the use of commercial tanning beds.

Some medications can also make the skin more sensitive to the sun.

People should ask their doctor before trying sun exposure as a home remedy. Those with a family history of skin cancer may need to stay out of the sun and seek other treatments.

2. Fish oil or omega-3 fats

Research has shown that omega-3 fatty acids, which fish and fish oil supplements often contain, can reduce inflammation and improve autoimmune diseases.

A 2014 meta-analysis found “moderate evidence” that fish oils might help people with psoriasis, which is both inflammatory and autoimmune.

However, the extent of this benefit may depend on the type of fish oil, the dosage, and the type of psoriasis.

Omega-3 fatty acids appear to be the most effective component of the oil.

It is possible that some people may experience side effects when using fish oil. Potential side effects include:

  • nausea
  • indigestion
  • diarrhea
  • a fishy taste in the mouth

People who take blood thinners, such as warfarin (Coumadin), have a higher risk of bleeding if they also take omega-3 supplements.

People should follow dosage instructions carefully to avoid possible stomach discomfort. As fish oil supplements can interact with some medications, people should talk to a doctor before taking them.

Ideally, it is better to consume fish that contain omega-3 rather than taking supplements.

 

Omega-3 supplements are widely available to purchase online and in stores.

3. Capsaicin

Capsaicin is a component of red peppers, and it has demonstrated the ability to fight inflammation. Even though the following examples of experimental research are relatively old, these are the most recent studies in this area. Both show that capsaicin can improve psoriasis symptoms.

In 1986, in a study that featured in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, 44 people with moderate-to-severe symptoms applied a topical capsaicin cream for 6 weeks.

Nearly half of the group noted burning, stinging, itching, and redness on first applying the cream, but this stopped or vastly decreased as they continued using it. The researchers suggested that capsaicin might be a useful treatment for psoriasis.

In 1993, another study investigated the use of substance P, a component of capsaicin, for pruritic psoriasis. The 98 participants who used the cream four times a day for 6 weeks reported more significant improvements in skin thickness, scaling, redness, and itching than those in the placebogroup.

However, some participants reported side effects, including a stinging sensation in the area where they applied the cream.

There appears to be little additional research to support these findings.

Capsaicin creams are available online as well as in pharmacies and health food stores as well as online.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis: How to Ease Your Loved One’s Pain

Ask anyone who has a close friend or relative living with chronic illness: The disease impacts more than just the physical and emotional health of the person living with the condition. Chronic diseases like rheumatoid arthritis (RA) also affect family members, lifestyle choices, and relationship dynamics. When you help, support, and care for someone with rheumatoid arthritis, you suffer when they suffer. But what can you do to increase their comfort and help decrease the pain of rheumatoid arthritis?

“Plenty,” says June Breiner, MD, an internal medicine specialist at the Greater Baltimore Medical Center in Baltimore, who has treated people living with rheumatoid arthritis.

Follow these tips for helping your loved one deal with the pain of rheumatoid arthritis.

Relaxation Eases Rheumatoid Arthritis Pain

Progressive relaxation is good for everyone, and has even been shown to reduce the amount of swelling in joints affected by rheumatoid arthritis, Dr. Breiner says. In progressive relaxation, you tense and relax your muscles, starting with your feet and working your way up your body.

Prevent and Address Depression

Research shows that people with depression have lower pain thresholds than those without depression. You and your loved one should talk to a doctor about any prior history of depression, and how an antidepressant can be helpful, Breiner says.

Find a Cool Solution

When your loved one’s joints are swollen, apply ice to the area. A bag of frozen peas also works well because it can be molded to the shape of the swollen joint.

Plan Beneficial Activities

Certain physical activities can be very helpful in reducing pain from rheumatoid arthritis. Aquatherapy, tai chi, and yoga are often helpful for rheumatoid arthritis patients. Or try walking. You can burn calories, strengthen muscle, and build denser bone — all without harming fragile joints.

Stretch to Relieve Stress

Breiner also recommends stretching as a great way to relieve stress and keep joints and muscles flexible, which leads to reduced pain and increased comfort.

Help Prevent Weight Gain

If your loved one is gaining weight or is overweight, consult with a doctor or dietitian to develop a weight-loss plan. Losing weight will ease the stress on joints, and therefore the amount of pain.

Support Restful Sleep

Help your loved one develop proper sleep habits. These include going to bed and getting up at the same time each day; keeping the room cool and comfortable; and ensuring a quiet and restful space. Also, if your loved one is taking painkillers, make sure they are taken at night to allow for recuperative sleep.

EVIL HEADACHE + 39 MORE MIGRAINE SYMPTOMS YOU NEED TO KNOW

DISCOVER ALL THE WAYS MIGRAINE IMPACTS THE BODY AND MIND—FROM CLASSIC MANIFESTATIONS TO SOME TRULY SURPRISING SYMPTOMS.

When you hear the word “migraine,” that pulsing, unbearable headache often comes to mind. Maybe you associate Migraine with the unpleasant sensations of nausea or sensitivity to light.

But Migraine is a mysterious neurological disease that has wide-reaching effects on body and mind.

This condition affects 1B people globally and is the 6th leading cause of disability worldwide.

Some people struggling with Migraine may not even be aware that it’s impacting their life. And that’s because Migraine is so much more than an evil headache. Read on for our definitive list of 40 symptoms of Migraine.


YOUR SENSES


Image: Migraine Action Art Collection: Image 515, Unnamed artist, Untitled (1985)

People experiencing Migraine with aura report a series of changes to their senses just before and during an attack. These changes, collectively called “aura,” are often warning signs that a Migraine attack is on the way.

They typically appear 10 to 60 minutes before the onset of headache (2) and usually last no more than an hour.

SIGHT

1. VISUAL DISTURBANCES

A common sign of Migraine with aura, disturbances to vision include blind spots, zigzags, flashing and flickering lights, floaters, dots in the vision, double vision, tunnel vision, and visual snow.

This is the brain’s signal of an impending Migraine attack. Changes in vision may occur before, during or after the pain subsides. Vision symptoms may also appear with no pain. Visual disturbances occur in about 25% of Migraine patients.

2. SENSITIVITY TO LIGHT (PHOTOPHOBIA)

Hiding in a dark room is a common way to cope with a Migraine attack. That’s because Migraine heightens the senses, including sensitivity to light also known as photophobia.

People experiencing Migraine are often bothered by fluorescent lighting in grocery or retail stores, flickering or strobe light effects, LED lights and the blue light emitted by computer screens.

HEARING

3. TINNITUS

It’s one of the most aggravating symptoms of Migraine. That ringing or buzzing in your ear is called tinnitus.

Phantom sounds are a common hallmark of Migraine and can vary in volume, pitch and which side of the head they affect. You may hear ringing, clicking, buzzing, whooshing, hissing or even something like your heartbeat in your ear, called pulsatile tinnitus.

Tinnitus is associated with many other conditions but often presents in people living with Migraine.

Woman annoyed while the man is snoring

Sensitivity to sound, including repetitive noises, increases with Migraine.

4. SENSITIVITY TO SOUND (PHONOPHOBIA)

Shhhh. Silence is golden to a person experiencing Migraine and that’s because sensitivity to sound, known as phonophobia, increases before an attack, making noise downright painful.

Repetitive noises that typically get filtered out as background noise become unbearable (the leaf blower, the bass from a stereo, the barking of a neighbor’s dog), and unexpected sounds make you positively jump out of your skin.

TOUCH

5. SENSITIVITY TO TOUCH (ALLODYNIA)

Have you ever experienced a painful ponytail or sensitive scalp? Or just feel grumpy and irritated when someone tries to touch you?

You may be dealing with a symptom called allodynia, pain due to a stimulus that does not typically provoke pain.

According to the American Migraine Foundation, up to 80% of people experience symptoms of allodynia during a Migraine attack.

Tactile allodynia is a painful sensation after a light touch or pressure on the skin like a tap on the shoulder or glasses resting on your nose.

Mechanical allodynia is pain from movement across the skin like brushing the scalp with a hairbrush or pulling the bed sheets across the body.

Thermal allodynia is sensitivity to temperature changes, even as small as a few drops of cold water on the skin.

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How to Support a Family Member Who Has Graves’ Disease

Graves disease is an autoimmune disorder affecting the thyroid gland. An autoimmune disorder occurs when the immune system turns against your body. Graves disease is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, or the overproduction of thyroid hormones. Hormones produced by the thyroid gland play important roles in the functioning of multiple body systems; therefore, the hyperthyroidism caused by Graves’ disease can result in a myriad of symptoms. Educating yourself about Graves’ disease, providing mental support, and providing physical support will help you be supportive of a family member who has Graves’ disease.

 

1

Educating Yourself about Graves Disease

1. Learn about the cause and physical symptoms of Graves’ disease. In this autoimmune disease, the immune system creates antibodies that cause the thyroid gland to produce more thyroid hormone than is needed by the body. The disease is most common in women over twenty years old and may be genetic.
  • Common symptoms include enlargement of the thyroid gland, sensitivity to heat, tremors in the hands or fingers, unexplained weight loss, erectile dysfunction, menstrual changes, reduction of libido, bulging eyes, frequent bowel movements, thickening of the skin on the tops of feet, and heart palpitations.
  • Graves’ ophthalmopathy can include loss of vision, light sensitivity, inflammation of the eyes, double vision, pain in the eyes, puffy eyelids, and exophthalmos or bulging eyes.
  • Graves’ dermopathy, while uncommon, occurs when the skin on the shins and tops of feet reddens and thickens.

 

2. Learn about the psychiatric manifestations of Graves’ disease. These mental symptoms can include depression, anxiety, mood disorders, and sometimes cognitive dysfunction. Understand that even after medical treatment for hyperthyroidism these psychiatric manifestations may remain and the person may need psychiatric treatment, such as psychotropic drugs.
 
3. Learn about treatments for Graves’ disease. People with Graves’ disease need to consult with a doctor or endocrinologist to manage their disease. Many people have success treating the disease with medications such as beta blockers and anti-thyroid medications. For others, radioiodine therapy or thyroid surgery are viable treatment options. People with eye symptoms can benefit from eye drops, special lenses for glasses, and external radiation to mitigate inflammation.
4.Learn about support networks for families and people with Graves’ disease. 
Try contacting the Graves’ Disease & Thyroid Foundation. Established in 1990, this nonprofit organization provides services to patients, education about Graves’ disease, and a support community for patients and caregivers alike.

 

2

Providing Emotional Support

1.Ask the family member how you can help. Living with a chronic disease means a person may not be able to do all the things they could do before they became ill. Ask them if there are things you can do to make life a bit easier. Urge them to be clear about specific tasks you can help them accomplish.
  • Try saying, “Ken, I know you get overwhelmed when you have to go see the endocrinologist. Would it help if I came with you?”
  • You could also say, “Honey, I know you’ve developed insomnia because of the Graves’ disease. Since you’re sleeping less, would it be helpful if I get the kids up in the morning?”

 

2. Listen to your family member. More often than not being diagnosed and living with an autoimmune disease is overwhelming and can be frightening. It is critical that you listen to what your loved one is saying when they talk about the physical, psychological, and emotional manifestations of the disease in their daily lives.
  • Consider a daily check-in. This could be as simple as asking, “Kyla, how are you feeling today?” This allows the person a space to talk about their needs and day-to-day experience living with the disease.

 

3. Help your family member manage stress. Physical and emotional stress can trigger the onset of Graves’ disease as well as disease flare-ups. Encourage the person to work with a mental health professional to come up with a plan for managing stress to manage and prevent flare-ups.
  • Suggest the person seek the help of a mental health professional who specializes in stress management and has experience working with people suffering from chronic disease.
  • Sit down with your family member and make a list of day-to-day stressors and possible ways to alleviate some of the stress. For example, if washing the dishes stresses out your family member because of hand tremors you should offer to take over that task.

 

Encourage the family member to get help if they are experiencing depression or anxiety. The psychiatric manifestations of Graves’ disease can be severe. Oftentimes patients need psychological and/or psychiatric help as they navigate these symptoms. Urge them to make an appointment with a mental health professional like a psychologist or psychiatrist.
  • Encourage the person to contact their health insurance company to find out what mental health services are covered by their insurance plan.
  • Try saying, “Jean, you’ve seemed a little down lately. When I was going through a rough patch I saw a psychiatrist who helped me manage my depression and anxiety. Have you thought about going to talk to someone?”

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12 Things You Should Know About RNY Gastric Bypass

Once you decide to pursue a bariatric weight loss solution, whether it is the RNY Gastric Bypass or any other surgical procedure, you will have an important conversation with your surgeon about which procedure will ultimately help you lose the most weight as safely as possible. This will be determined by examining a list of parameters that includes your current weight, overall health, current medical conditions, your age and your post-op lifestyle after the operation.

RNY Gastric Bypass

With the RNY Gastric Bypass, the most common gastric bypass surgery, a small part of the existing stomach is used to create a new stomach pouch, which becomes about the size of a golf ball, which is nearly 90 percent smaller than the original stomach. This new, smaller stomach is connected directly to the middle portion of the small intestine (jejunum), bypassing the rest of the stomach and the upper portion of the small intestine (duodenum).

Rerouting the food stream in this manner produces changes in gut hormones that promote satiety (feeling full), suppresses hunger, and reverses one of the primary mechanisms which promotes the onset of type 2 diabetes.

12 Things To Know About the RNY (Roux-en-Y) Gastric Bypass

I’ve performed hundreds of Roux-en-Y gastric bypass operations and would like to share 12 key facts about this surgical bariatric weight loss option:

1.  The degree of weight loss for RNY: 

 The RNY is a more complicated surgical procedure but offers a greater degree of weight loss compared to the sleeve gastrectomy or adjustable gastric banding.  No lifelong adjustments are needed (as with the Lap-Band) and many patients also report a decrease in the frequency and intensity of cravings for foods high in sugar and fat. Many surgeons prefer gastric bypass surgery because it generally has fewer complications than other WLS operations.

2.  Bariatric support groups:

 Joining a bariatric support group before your operation will reduce stress and help you prepare for your post-op lifestyle change. Meet, talk with and listen to other people who have already traveled the path you are about to take. Take notes, ask questions and create a pre-op ‘to-do’ list before you go into the hospital. Continue participating in the group after your procedure and offer advice to people who come after you in the bariatric process. Planning and education will help lessen stress before and after your surgery.

3.  Understand RNY Gastric Bypass pitfalls:

 As with any operation, there are risks and possible complications. Discuss these issues with your bariatric surgeon and nutritionist. Understand what post-op complications might be and their symptoms.

4.  Risks of the RNY Gastric Bypass:

 The risks of gastric bypass surgery are low, particularly when compared to the health risks of metabolic syndrome (obesity). The safety of all bariatric procedures have improved over the years thanks to improved technology and the less invasive nature of many operations; the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery (ASMBS) reports that the chances of having a significant surgical complication are less than five percent. Comparatively, the risks of staying obese and facing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and sleep apnea, are far more hazardous.

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