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The Greeks call Lupus.. the wolf

The 4-11 on Lupus

On January 8, 2010, in nutrition, remedies, by olympia
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Hello Everyone,

Have you ever found yourself surrounded by something that you knew very little about but then suddenly bombarded by it and it is as if the universe is trying to tell you something and is using all media mediums in order to enlighten you on this topic? It first started when I was flicking through channels and was captivated by what I thought was another “medical” commercial for disease X and for medication Y. But then something clicked and I tuned in to the commercial to hear the announcer speak about Lupus. Then on the metro and in magazines I began to notice more posters and ads for Lupus and began to realize that I know very little about this autoimmune disease that 1.5 million Americans are living with and that strikes primarily women of childbearing age (between 15 and 44). Unfortunately, the topic of Lupus, didn’t really hit home until my son informed me that his former second grade teacher, who is only 27 years old, was diagnosed with the disease. So, for all our readers out there, who see the ads in magazines, on tv and on the metro and wonder “What exactly is Lupus?,” here is the 4-11 on Lupus. It is, as Joe Friday would say, “just the facts” about this disease courtesy of the Lupus Foundation of America (www.lupus.org).

Let’s start with the basis and break it down:

What is Lupus?

Lupus, known as the “wolf” in Greek, is a chronic autoimmune disease that damages any part of the body (skin, joints, blood, and/or organs inside the body, particularly the kidneys).
Right, so let’s break that down…chronic means that the signs and symptoms last longer then six weeks and often for many years. Autoimmune, (“auto” means “self”), means your immune system cannot differentiate between your body’s healthy tissue and viruses, bacteria and germs (aka “foreign invaders) and therefore the body creates auto antibodies that attack and destroy healthy tissue. This results in the auto antibodies causing inflammation, pain and damage in various parts of the body. Lupus is also a disease of flares (i.e. the symptoms worsen and you feel ill) and remissions (the symptoms improve and you feel better). The disease can range from mild to life-threatening and with good medical care, most people with lupus can lead a full life. There is no “exact” cause of Lupus but researchers have noted that genes, environment and hormones all can play a role in developing Lupus.

Other facts on Lupus:

Lupus is NOT contagious, not even with sexual contact. You can’t “catch” lupus or give it someone else.
Lupus is NOT like or related to cancer.
Lupus is NOT like or related to HIV or AIDS. In HIV or AIDS the immune system is underactive; in lupus, the immune system is overactive.
Lupus strikes mostly women of childbearing age, however men, children, and teenagers can develop lupus.
People of all races and ethnic groups can develop lupus, however, women of color are 2-3 times more likely to develop lupus.
More than 16,000 new cases of lupus are reported annually across the country.

If you like to understand and learn more about Lupus and or to donate funds to finding a cure for this disease check out the Lupus Foundation of America, Inc. at www.lupus.org .

As always, stay healthy, get your regular check-ups and if your gut tells you something is wrong, then follow your intuition and consult a physician. You only have one body and one life so do your best to take care of it.

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HOW TO TREAT HAIR LOSS

On December 27, 2009, in nutrition, remedies, Uncategorized, by olympia
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Hello everyone,
My client had recently come in to see me after seeing a dermatologist for her hair loss problem. He did not find evidence of scalp disease, or anything skin related that would cause her to lose so much hair. During my consultation, I did find out that she had begun menopause about a year ago. I assumed that the hair loss was a result of declining estrogen in her system. Estrogen replacement therapy could very well reverse the problem, if she does not run the risk of heart disease or osteoporosis. Thinning hair alone does not warrant such a risk to ones health. Its hard to face,but ,aging is a natural process and we all should strive to face it gracefully.



I told my client to relax, start taking Omega 3 fatty acids, and possibly try a topical drug called Minoxidil (Rogaine) to be used twice a day on the scalp, it comes in a spray bottle and is easy to use.There’s also Propecia , but that is only approved for men and I cannot attest to it’s performance.
Using topical potions or creams is a long shot at winning the fight of hair loss. Clinical studies have shown that only one in five women with hair loss due to low estrogen levels, experience only modest hair regrowth.
After several months of the treatment,and several hundred dollars later, not to mention that it might cause itching and redness…I think you should really think about using this product after much careful thinking.
I see advertisements all the time for hair growing creams and potions. Bogus charlatans trying to get us to buy supplements, hair tonics, and electric devises that should be illegal to sell, except, that trying to enforce such business conduct, is nearly impossible to do.People ,be aware and think, before you take out that credit card.
Surgical hair transplants are a good choice for hair follicles that have been destroyed.They take small patches of scalp from the healthy areas and apply them to the balding or thinning sites of the scalp.It seems to work better for men than women and they are very expensive, about $10,000 USD for an average high quality procedure.It tends to be painful in both the pocket and the body.Make sure to consult with at least three qualified doctors before you make such a decision.
Wigs and hair pieces are another option, easy on the pocket, painless and the results are immediate. I highly recommend a better quality wig and make sure its human hair, not synthetic, it looks a whole lot more real and natural.
Here is what I recommend and suggest you do if you are having hair loss problems:

Schedule a doctors visit to make sure you are not sick.

Be gentle to your hair and scalp.

Towel dry and let it dry naturally if possible.

Do not use heat on your hair…it can damage the follicle.

Use a hat to protect the hair and scalp from the sun.

No chemicals. No color, bleach or perming the hair.

Rest, try to sleep well,and relax.

No new diet fads.Some diets can cause malnutrition and hair loss as well.


I also highly insist that you incorporate Omega 3 Fatty Acids into your daily routine.I have seen wonderful results from these supplements.It takes about four months for them to kick into your system,but there is nothing better than omega fatty acids for hair, skin and joint mobility. Try to have a positive mental outlook, remember ,we will all grow old and pass on one day.Its what we make of it while still here that really matters. I wish you wealth, health and happiness.


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Hello Everyone,
Recently, a 39 year old sister of a friend of mine underwent a mastectomy for breast cancer. Knowing that breast cancer runs in her family, she and her mother were both tested for the BRCA1 and BRCA2 gene mutations. She was told that if a defect was found..her chances of eventually developing breast cancer would be 85% and the risk of ovarian cancer would be about 30%.Wow..that’s tough.Both mother and daughter went to counseling first, because even though cancer is a horrible disease,the test results after genetic testing are not always conclusive and can be very peace shattering.
Both mother and daughter were positive for BRCA1 mutation.The daughter took it well enough and started a proactive plan of regular exams and a healthier lifestyle. The mother, on the other hand took it very badly. She blamed herself for passing on a bad gene to her daughters. The guilt that the poor woman felt was overwhelming.
Should you do genetic testing? Do you really need to know?
Do get tested if the following applies to you:
If you have a family history of a certain disease
If you are planning of having a baby and are at risk of passing a genetic disorder to your baby
Use your own judgment and common sense and think about the benefits and drawbacks before making your decision.
Here are the benefits:


You don’t need to worry about it anymore. Knowledge is power and you can relax.
A positive test result might catch your disease at an early treatable stage.
You will be able to get yourself better prepared for the inevitable… start that bucket list.

Here are the negatives:

You might be tested positive and cannot do anything about it.
High level of stress, even if you test positive for a genetic disease, it does not mean that you will get it.
High risk of discrimination, secrets, medical or personal, are hard to keep and insurers have a way of finding out things you and I cant even imagine.
Having said all that, just be wise, seek counsel and talk to a health care provider.Ignorance is not bliss,take control of your life and be happy.

WHAT IS FAT ?

On November 16, 2009, in Diets, Fitness, nutrition, by olympia
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Hello and welcome,

Being overweight and lethargic, after giving birth to my children, has always been a problem for me. I could not seem to lose the baby weight no matter how hard I tried. Seventy six pounds is not that much weight gain during pregnancy is it? They said I should be eating for two…no? Well I ate to my hearts content…three times. After all was said and done, this woman (me) was 26 years old 5’8 and 246 pounds. And that is just the start of my quest for health, love and wealth…more on that later. Today I want to write about FAT and what it really is. I hear that not all fats are bad for you, just some. So here it goes: THE FAT FACTS!

Fats are a subgroup of nutrients called lipids, which is a chemical name for a group of compounds that includes fats, oils and cholesterol. A lipid is refered as fat if it remains solid at room temperature and an oil if it is liquid at room temperature. Fats and oils come from plants and animals…but only cholesterol comes from animal products (milk, cheese, eggs).

Cholesterol is a white sticky substance that is found in every cell of our bodies. It actually is a building block for hormones, vitamin D, cell membranes and helps digest fat into energy. So what is so wrong with cholesterol? Well, it has two sides: Good Cholesterol (HDL) is a lipoprotein that travels throughout our body cleaning out our cells and vacuming up dying cells and free radicals. Bad Cholesterol (LDL) is a lipoprotein that we have a lot of in our bodies (70%). The reason that it’s bad is, that they stick to our arteries, possibly creating strokes, blockages and heart attacks. Many factors determine our cholesterol: Genetics, smoking, age, physical activity…But how much BAD cholesterol is in your system is because of excess…FAT.

We have three types of FAT: polyunsaturated, monounsaturated and SATURATED. The first two are cool, the last one is the killer. Saturated fats (lard, butter, fatty meats) those types of fats are very bad for you, all processed foods have a lot of this saturated fat shit in them to have a longer shelf life. I will tell you what asses the food industry are later on. But, in the mean time they add hydrogen to good fats and that turns good fats into bad fats called TRANS-FATTY ACIDS, which not only makes us fat, but it can kill you by raising the darn cholesterol levels. Mine was 320. Unsaturated fats like olive oil, canola oil, fish oils help to lower bad cholesterol…good stuff. So now that we know how bad fat is for us…WHY DO WE CRAVE IT SO MUCH?

We crave fat because other than the fact that it tastes good, we are biologically programmed to love it. There I said it, we love fat! It tastes great, keeps me energized and we humans have survived by storing it in our bodies. But eating fat does not make me fat, eating more than I need makes me fat. Not being active makes me fat. Oh heck, I LOOK at doughnuts and I get fat. About four years ago I went to a doctor specializing in bariatrics (Dr Brunner), she has put me on a diet/vitamin/activity plan. I am doing much better and people do ask me what I have done to lose and keep the weight off. I will share all with you, if you can do the same and share your personal quest with me. How does that sound?

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When going to the doctor’s there are a few things one does not want to hear. For instance, “we will just have to slice that off” is one of them and “Uh oh! There is a lump.” is another. For me, I heard the latter about two years ago during what I thought was just a routine check-up with my new doctor. My life, as I knew it, changed with those simple words. After the finding of the lump, I was handed the “The Thryoid Book”, arranged to meet with an endocrinologist and subjected to an ultrasound exam on my thyroid.  Despite what the experts were saying, I couldn’t calm my fears that there was a foreign growth. I met with the endocrinologist who showed me the results of the ultrasound and express her concern with how big the lump was and gave me my options – either “waiting and seeing” or having surgery to remove the lump and spending the rest of my life on thyroid medication.  Before I made the decision of having surgery, I wanted a second opinion and was referred to another endocrinologist who told me the same thing as the first. At least now I had to doctors who verified what I was happening. The lump was apparently growing at an alarming rate but my blood work was coming out normal (small blessing there). I was then referred to have a fine needle biopsy – which never sounds when a doctor refers that because that just screams “we think it is cancer!” despite the doctor’s cries of “well, we think it just a benign goiter, but we want to make sure EVERYTHING is okay!”
My biopsy was scheduled a month later and a very good friend went with me as they injected the biggest needle I have ever seen in my life into my lump. A few days later, I received the good news that the lump was benign and for anyone who has ever had a “cancer” scare, you understand the joy and relief this news brings. However, this relief was brief because six months later bam! there is was, the goiter had grown at a surprising rate and was getting dangerously close to my vocal chords and closing my throat and my doctors feared that there was a rare form of cancer in the goiter. I saw a surgical specialist and when I asked him how and why this was happening, I was asked where I live and apparently growing up in southeast Pennsylvania on well water and living about 60 miles between two nuclear power plants plays a role. Yikes!
After a lot of debate and consultation, I had the thyroidectomy on my right thyroid.
It was an extremely tough decision to make because each time you have surgery and lose a bit of you; you have to deal with the consequences. For me, it is dealing with the occasional hormonal change and increase or decrease in energy and the dependency on the thyroid hormone medicine.  I have to constantly monitor and have blood tests done every six months to check my thyroid hormone levels.
The take away message from this incident is pay attention to our bodies, get regular check-ups, get a second opinion if the first one does not agree with you or if you need clarification, and most importantly, take care of ourselves.  We only have one body and it’s our responsibility to take care of it.

thyroidHi, Robin Here:

When going to the doctor’s there are a few things one does not want to hear.  For instance, “we will just have to slice that off” is one of them and “Uh oh! There is a lump,” is another. For me, I heard the latter about two years ago during what I thought was just a routine check-up with my new doctor. My life, as I knew it, changed with those simple words. After the finding of the lump, I was handed the “The Thryoid Book”, arranged to meet with an endocrinologist and subjected to an ultrasound exam on my thyroid.  Despite what the experts were saying, I couldn’t calm my fears that there was a foreign growth. I met with the endocrinologist who showed me the results of the ultrasound and express her concern with how big the lump was and gave me my options – either “waiting and seeing” or having surgery to remove the lump and spending the rest of my life on thyroid medication.  Before I made the decision of having surgery, I wanted a second opinion and was referred to another endocrinologist who told me the same thing as the first. At least now I had to doctors who verified what I was happening.  The lump was apparently growing at an alarming rate but my blood work was coming out normal (small blessing there). I was then referred to have a fine needle biopsy – which never sounds when a doctor refers that because that just screams “we think it is cancer!” despite the doctor’s cries of “well, we think it just a benign goiter, but we want to make sure EVERYTHING is okay!”

My biopsy was scheduled a month later and a very good friend went with me as they injected the biggest needle I have ever seen in my life into my lump. A few days later, I received the good news that the lump was benign and for anyone who has ever had a “cancer” scare, you understand the joy and relief this news brings. However, this relief was brief because six months later bam! there is was, the goiter had grown at a surprising rate and was getting dangerously close to my vocal chords and closing my throat and my doctors feared that there was a rare form of cancer in the goiter. I saw a surgical specialist and when I asked him how and why this was happening, I was asked where I live and apparently growing up in southeast Pennsylvania on well water and living about 60 miles between two nuclear power plants plays a role. Yikes! thyroid 2

After a lot of debate and consultation, I had the thyroidectomy on my right thyroid. It was an extremely tough decision to make because each time you have surgery and lose a bit of you; you have to deal with the consequences. For me, it is dealing with the occasional hormonal change and increase or decrease in energy and the dependency on the thyroid hormone medicine.  I have to constantly monitor and have blood tests done every six months to check my thyroid hormone levels.

The take away message from this incident is pay attention to our bodies, get regular check-ups, get a second opinion if the first one does not agree with you or if you need clarification, and most importantly, take care of ourselves.  We only have one body and it’s our responsibility to take care of it.

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What is Hepatitis C?

On February 5, 2009, in remedies, Uncategorized, by olympia
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These days it is hard to imagine a healthy person becoming infected with a deadly virus. As most people are reasonably health conscious and the USA is one of the cleanest countries in the world. Becoming sick “by chance” for most of us is practically unfathomable.

Hepatitis C is a virus that often silently attacks your liver. Most people infected with the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) have no symptoms at all. In fact, most people don’t know they have the disease until liver damage shows up, decades later, during routine medical tests. Hepatitis C is one of six identified hepatitis viruses — the others are A, B, D, E and G. All of these cause the liver to become inflamed, which interferes with its ability to function. Hepatitis C is generally considered to be among the most serious of these viruses.

Over time, if you have a Hepatitis C infection, it can lead to liver cancer, liver failure or cirrhosis — irreversible and potentially fatal scarring of the liver. Unlike HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, the Hepatitis C virus usually isn’t transmitted through sexual contact. Instead, you’re more at risk if you’re exposed to contaminated blood — through needles shared during drug use or through blood transfusions. Before 1992, the Hepatitis C stain was not named as such, and was known as Non A, Non B.

Although vaccines exist for hepatitis A and B, no vaccine for Hepatitis C has been developed. There are treatments that will slow or stop the growth of the virus and prevent long-term complications, such as cirrhosis and cancer, from developing. Today, an estimated 5 million Americans are infected with Hepatitis C – and most of them don’t know it. That is 1 out of every 50 people…..and some will be people you know. One out of every 10 Veterans is infected, 62% of Vietnam Vets have it. Three people with Hepatitis C die every day, two of them are Veterans.
 

Hepatitis C is considered an epidemic and is now killing more people than Aids/HIV…30,000 a year and it’s going to get much worse. The number of adults seeking liver transplants for hepatitis C infection will skyrocket in the next 20 years. An estimated 10,000 to 30,000 Americans die from this disease each year. Deaths are estimated to increase because of the increasing risk of infection and the resulting cirrhosis, portal hypertension, thrombocytopenia, bleeding from avarices, and liver cancer.
 

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), by the year 2008, the cases of decomposition will increase 279%, liver-related deaths 223% and the need for liver transplantation 528%. Considering that we don’t have enough organs now and people die on transplant lists, far too many of those precious lives will be lost.

Hepatitis C is called the dragon, because it sleeps for many years and one day, suddenly, it wakes up and ends your life (people who got infected 20-30 years ago may just now find out). The Hepatitis C virus is very old and very smart…..it doesn’t kill quickly like the old HIV virus or like the Ebola virus. Hepatitis C has chosen to infect the liver. The ONLY organ capable of regeneration. It simmers for many years, keeping its host alive. It is so smart it uses our own immune system against us.Nobody knows exactly where it came from. During World War II, an unlicensed yellow fever vaccine was released to immunize our troops who were going to the South Pacific. To stabilize the vaccine, scientists used serum from Australian Aborigines, hoping they were immune to endemic illnesses and that immunity would then be passed to our troops. Years later, it was discovered that 50% of the Aborigines had Hepatitis B and C. A study done by the Veteran’s Administration later PROVED that over 320,000 of our troops were infected. Thousands of them fell ill with hepatitis and hospitalized or quarantined in their barracks. When they came back home, they were encouraged to donate blood. A monster, with the power to mutate, had just been unleashed.


Hepatitis C is transmitted through blood only. That means blood transfusions with contaminated blood before 1992 (because blood was not screened), tattoos, body piercing, needle sticks, IV drugs with contaminated needles, manicures that made you bleed (instruments are not sterilized), sharing razors, toothbrushes, anything that could pass infected blood to your blood. Even doing IV drugs once could have given you the virus or sharing straws with someone that had nasal sores or bleeding.A mutating virus for which there is no vaccine. It has many strains and sub strains. By the time they figure something about it, it’s already mutated into something stronger. 70-75% of people have genotype 1, the strain most difficult to treat. 95% of Veterans who have Hepatitis C have genotype 1. The success rate with traditional modern medicine treatment is only about 50% and treatment is a whole year and side effects from the medications are cruel. For Veterans, success rate is only 19%….and sadly, even that treatment is approved for only 11.8% of them.

The Hepatitis C virus causes diabetes (40% of genotype 1 have diabetes), it affects the brain causing depression, it causes lung problems, neuropathy, fibromyalgia, Sjogren’s, cardiac problems, skin problems, arthritis, stomach problems, anemia, fatigue, and of course, cirrhosis. After cirrhosis comes DECOMPENSATION. The liver stops working, the skin and sclera become yellow, your belly looks like you’re pregnant, you’re unable to process protein, you get anemic, confused, the kidneys stop working and many bleed to death.

However, not everything is doom and gloom. The silver lining is being aware of the possibility that anything can happen to anybody at any time. Get tested! There is an inexpensive way to do it while you could be doing some good for someone in need. Volunteer to donate blood at any Red Cross event and your blood will be screened for any contagious, communicable disease. Don’t take the chance, find out!

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HOW TO SAVE ON PRESCRIPTION DRUGS

On January 26, 2009, in mental health, money, by olympia
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Hello everyone,

Today approximately 140 million people in the USA use prescription drugs. That is an awful lot considering that some of us DO NOT NEED THEM. Here are some suggestions for saving 20 to 80 percent on the cost of prescription drugs:

 

  (more…)

You Are What You Eat!

On January 14, 2009, in Diets, nutrition, by olympia
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The Mediterranean diet has become quite popular in recent months. While the diet itself is nothing new, those who are just discovering it are fascinated by the concept. The idea that simply eating certain types of food (all quite delicious) can reduce your health problems, increase your life expectancy and even help you lose weight, without depriving you of food is an attractive idea. It is what draws many people to the Mediterranean diet.


The base of the Mediterranean diet is the food that is commonly consumed in the Mediterranean. Years back, studies began to show that diet was the reason people living in Mediterranean countries were so healthy. The average person from this area tends to be free of heart disease and cancer, living longer than many others from other countries. (more…)

Are you your #1 Priority?

On January 14, 2009, in Anti-aging, Fitness, mood, by olympia
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Are you a woman like myself, who is happiest while doing things for others? There are women like us everywhere who seem to be multi-tasking all the time. Time has to be stretched to accommodate all that is needed to be done for family, home and at work. Life is a constant juggle of roles, including being the perfect wife, mother, career woman, daughter and friend. Of course there are a few odd balls of being a good neighbor, PTA member and community volunteer thrown in. (more…)

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 Menopause can be a trying time for some women, with the vast majority experiencing some degree of hot flashes and temperature instability. For many women, hot flashes start during the pre-menopausal period, several years before the cessation of menstrual periods take place. After the menstrual periods stop, more than three quarters of women continue to experience some degree of temperature instability that lasts up to a full year after menopause.

Even more disturbing is the fact that up to half of all women continue to experience hot flashes well past the menopausal stage which can be a source of great frustration and discomfort. Why do some women continue to have postmenopausal hot flashes while others appear to have resolution of their temperature instability? A recent study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine looked at why some women continue to have post-menopausal hot flashes. After administering questionnaires to over 3,000 women questioning them about the severity of their hot flashes, they found that women who reported persistent post-menopausal hot flashes were more likely to have used estrogen in the past; they have had elevated LDL cholesterol levels, have a history of hysterectomy in the past and were more likely to be overweight with symptoms of vaginal dryness and sleep problems. Although this study does shed some light as to which groups of women are most likely to develop post-menopausal hot flashes and points out how frequent these symptoms are, it doesn’t suggest an established cause or treatment. (more…)

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