Schizophrenia Diseases

March 24, 2008 by  

By Robin Kumar Lim

Schizophrenia (literally “split mind”) is often thought of as a split or dual personality. However, this disease is best defined as a disorganization of normal thought and feeling. It is probably caused by the malfunctioning of the cells through which information flows within the brain. Symptoms usually appear in late adolescence or early adulthood, and extreme mental stress almost always triggers them. The illness is lifelong, but acute attacks tend to come and go, and usually occur at times of emotional upheaval or personal loss.

What are The Symptoms?

Some popular novels, plays and movies have encouraged us to think of schizophrenia in extremely narrow and dramatic terms. Schizophrenia has been presented quite often in terms of the split personality, two seemingly individual and separate people living within the same body.

For most people with schizophrenia, an attack begins with a gradual, or occasionally sudden, withdrawal from day-to-day activities. The person’s speech may become increasingly vague, and he or she may seem to be unable to follow a simple conversation. An acute attack happens unexpectedly. Often the onset is so gradual that it is difficult to know when psychotic symptoms appear. Among such symptoms are apparently disconnected remarks, along with blank looks, that are followed by sudden statements that seem to spring into the speaker’s mind.

Schizophrenics often believe that others hear and “steal” their thoughts. Sometimes they fear they have lost control of bodily movement as well as thought, as if they were puppets. They frequently believe they hear voices, often hostile ones. Less commonly, they have hallucinations of odd physical sensations, of being given poison, or otherwise being attacked by others. In time many schizophrenics build up a set of beliefs in a fantasy world. They may express exaggerated feelings of happiness, bewilderment, or despair. They may laugh at a sad moment or cry without cause. Or they may seem devoid of feeling, so that it becomes almost impossible to make emotional contact with them.

There are several types of schizophrenia that are characterized by the predominant symptoms, but the only practical distinction that most doctors now make is between the paranoid and other types. The main symptom of a person with paranoid schizophrenia is constant suspicion and resentment, accompanied by fear that people are hostile or even plotting to destroy him or her.

What are The Risks?

Most young and middle-aged patients in mental hospitals are there because they are schizophrenic. About 1 person in 1000 has been treated for the disorder. Men and women are equally susceptible. Paranoid schizophrenia is most common in early adulthood (late 20’s through 30’s).

The abnormality of brain chemistry that underlies schizophrenia can be inherited, but if it runs in your family, you will not necessarily have schizophrenic attacks. You may, however, have either a “schizoid personality” (a tendency towards extreme shyness and withdrawal) or a “paranoid personality” (a tendency towards over-sensitivity and distrustfulness) .

People who have attacks of schizophrenia in its most severe forms may physically harm themselves or others, or may try to commit suicide .

What Should be Done?

If you suspect that someone in your family is schizophrenic, try to get them to see a physician. It may not be easy. People who are becoming mentally ill often refuse to admit it. Even those who realize that something is wrong have a fear of being “put away.” But medical care is vital. Do not leave a person who seems extremely disturbed alone. The presence of a relative or friend to reassure them, or even keep them from hurting themselves until help arrives, may be essential. People with symptoms similar to those of schizophrenia are usually admitted to a hospital for a preliminary period of observation. During this time tests are carried out to make sure these symptoms are not due to a physical illness such as a brain tumor.

What is Treatment?

Severe cases must be treated in a hospital. Treatment usually involves the use of drugs, psychotherapy and rehabilitation.

The most effective drugs are regular doses of special tranquilizers designed to modify abnormal brain chemistry. As symptoms gradually disappear, doses are reduced, and all medication may be discontinued when the acute attack ends. Some people, however, need long-term medication. They may either take pills regularly or be given an injection every two to four weeks. Occasionally antidepressant drugs are also prescribed . In rare cases electroshock therapy (EST) may be recommended.

Techniques of psychotherapy vary, but the goal is the same: to help the patient understand the stresses that contributed to the current attack. This can help the person learn how to prevent future stresses from leading to further illness.

The final stage of treatment is rehabilitation, which helps people who are recovering from attacks to regain normal skills and behavior patterns. In the early stages of hospital treatment schizophrenics are generally given occupational therapy. As their condition improves, they are given increasingly complex tasks and pressures, and these eventually approximate the tasks and pressures of the world outside. Once the acute phase of the illness is over, the schizophrenic prepares for a return to the outside world by making periodic visits from hospital to home or to a half-way house.

What are The Long-Term Prospects?

Many people recover from an attack of schizophrenia well enough to return to a relatively normal life. But they may have further attacks. In some people the condition becomes chronic. Such a person will always be withdrawn and emotionally unresponsive, but they generally avoid severe attacks of the disorder with the aid of constant medication.

Author has an experience of more than 4 years writing about diseases and conditions He also holds experience writing about diseases treatment and diseases causes

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Diabetic Recipes Page

March 24, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

Just in case you have not noticed yet, there is a new page to Battling Diabetes. This page was created to make it easy for you to find the recipes posted here.

I like easy, don’t you?

If you look to the left and scroll down a little, under the ‘Tag Cloud’ box you will see ‘Site Pages’. Here is what you are looking for:

Diabetic Recipes Page

Click on the link for Diabetic Recipes and you will find the new page. The recipes are listed in order of meal and are linked right to the post they appear in. More recipes will be added and eventually we will have the largest list of diabetic recipes!

If you would like to request a recipe be listed, just email me. Also, if you have a favorite recipes that is not diabetic, email me and I will experiment until it can be prepared to fit into your diet and lifestyle.

Don’t forget to join in on the newest cookbook contest!

Taking Responsibility for Healthcare Decisions

March 24, 2008 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE


Most of us approach healthcare as if we were victims of getting sick, and as if it’s somebody else’s (usually the doctor’s) responsibility to fix us.

Think about it this way: My car has about 75,000 miles on it. Yes, once in awhile I get the oil changed. I even put new tires on it two years ago because the others were beginning to go bald. When the kid next door ran into it with his bike, I touched up the scratch marks to improve its appearance and to keep it from rusting. The air filter needed changing once, and I’ve replaced the brake pads twice. But now it’s making these really funny coughing noises when I turn on the ignition.

Is the mechanic’s fault my car is doing strange things? No.

Is it up to the mechanic to fix it? Well — I’m going to ask him to.

Do I trust my mechanic to take care of it? Yes — but before he begins racking up my repair bill, I expect him to tell me what’s wrong and to give me the options for fixing it. If it gets too expensive, I want the option to say no — and perhaps to trade it in for a new car.

Would I ever just take my car to the mechanic, tell him to do whatever he thinks needs to be done, and I’ll just pay whatever it takes to do it? No I wouldn’t!

As car owners, most of us take an active role in maintaining our cars, preventing problems with them, and making decisions about repairing or replacing them.

So why don’t most of us do the same as patients? Why do most of us simply default to whatever the doctor has to say?

We need a mindset shift — a new paradigm — that says that doctors and other healthcare providers are our resources — but they aren’t our decision-makers. Even more importantly than our cars, we need to step up the plate to help make decisions about our care.

We need to begin taking that responsibility for ourselves and not expect that we can get sick, or not take care of ourselves, and the provider will fix everything that’s wrong with us. We need to make up our minds that “I’ll do whatever you tell me, Doc” just isn’t good enough.

Afterall — doctors are really our body mechanics, right?

We begin with prevention and maintenance — doing those things we know are good for us (or, perhaps, just not very bad for us.) Eat right and well, get plenty of rest, exercise, reduce stress — just those basics we hear are good for us all the time.

Then, when we have challenges to our health, we need to go to our trusted doctor to partner with him or her to determine our correct diagnosis and choose the treatment option that works best for us.

Doctors are our body mechanics

It’s not difficult — but for most of us, it’s definitely different. As time goes on and I write more blog posts here, we’ll talk about all those considerations and how you can find a healthier approach to your own care — with a goal of staying strong and healthy for a long time to come.

Why Knowing About Schizophrenia Is Important

March 24, 2008 by  

By Mike Selvon

The scary thing about schizophrenia is that sufferers may be so confused by the symptoms that they are unable to tell what is real and what is fantasy. For instance, when serial killer David Berkowitz saw black dogs barking out orders to kill, he believed they were actually there.

Many schizophrenics keep their voices and thoughts to themselves, for fear of being labeled “crazy.” Another schizophrenic, Janice Jordan, mentioned being unable to tell her counselors about a delusional figure known as “The Controller” who barked orders at her during psychotic episodes.

The more patients learn about the illness and its many effects, the better equipped they are to handle the symptoms. Unfortunately, taking life-long medication is also a realistic assumption on the road to recovery.

Schizophrenia research reports some interesting findings. For instance, the mental illness is largely caused by a neuro-chemical imbalance of Dopamine, Seratonin and Norepenephrine.

In a normal brain, the frontal lobe increases its blood flow and the “listening” part of the brain diminishes. PET scans reveal that in a schizophrenic brain, the frontal lobe is active but the “listening” part remains just as active.

The sensory overload usually causes a hallucination. People who are born with it generally have irregular brain cell patterns. Drugs and stress do not cause schizophrenia, but they can certainly exacerbate the symptoms. In some cases, family members who understand very little can agitate the symptoms by using an accusing tone of voice or reacting angrily to the sufferer.

Family members who know about schizophrenia can learn to recognize symptoms of an acute attack: a change in personality, social withdrawal, sleeplessness, agitation, using words that do not make sense and seeing things that aren’t there. It is important to create an environment that facilitates recovery. Keeping peace and serenity at home, helping the schizophrenic set realistic goals, sharing tasks, gradually increasing independence and encouraging new hobbies can all provide schizophrenia support.

There are many misperceptions about schizophrenia. One is that schizophrenia is the same as multiple personality disorder (MPD), which is simply not true. MPD is often characterized by two or more separate and distinct “personalities” which sometimes go by different names, display different mannerisms and have entire lists of unique likes and dislikes.

By contrast, schizophrenics exhibit different behavior, as well as suffer delusions and hallucinations. However, they maintain a basic sense of self, afflicted by mood swings and fragmented thinking. Another misperception is that sufferers are violent by nature.

Because of cases like David Berkowitz or Herb Mullin, the general public associate schizophrenia with murderers – but the only real danger for 99% of schizophrenics is self-harm. By educating the public, diagnosis and recovery can be more effective.

A free audio gift awaits you at our portal site, where you can enrich your knowledge further about schizophrenia. Your comment is much appreciated at our mental illness blog.

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Symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease

March 24, 2008 by  
Filed under ALZHEIMER'S

Research has shown that Alzheimer’s disease begins long before symptoms begin to manifest.  Therefore, you need to act sooner rather than later if you suspect that your loved one may be Battling the Monster, Alzheimer’s disease.

Here are a few reasons that you should make an appointment:

  1. Short term memory loss.  Forgetting information that has been learned very recently. This happens to the best of us at some point, but usually, we are able to recall the information. Whereas, the person in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease won’t recall recently learned information.
  2.  The inability to do a very simple and familiar task.  If your dad blanks out on how to shave, use the telephone or complete a simple task in the kitchen, then you might have cause for concern.
  3. Misplacing things.  Occasionally misplacing the keys or a purse is not cause for concern.  Putting the keys away in the bathroom closet, or the can opener in the bedroom is cause for concern.
  4. Lack of judgment.  This sometimes shows up driving or even something as simple as getting dressed.  If your grandmother wants 5 layers of clothing on and its 80 degrees or she wants to go sleeveless outside in the snow, then something is wrong. 
  5. Confusion and disorientation.  We all forget the day or date from time to time or get turned around in terms of directions, so that is not what I’m talking about.  If your loved one forgets where he is, where she lives, what year it is or is living in the distant past. Then, you need to get that checked out.
  6. Becoming easily irriated/mood swings.  My mom, who was always very gentle, once grabbed a young child in church because he was running past her.  THAT was way out of character for her.  On the other hand, everyone gets annoyed our upset from time to time, so don’t assume cousin Ann has Alzheimer’s because she is tired and irritable and doesn’t feel like being around a lot of people.

NOTEDehydration, severe urinary tract or other infections and thyroid problems can cause symptoms that mimick Alzheimer’s disease. 

There are other symptoms as well, but if you recognize any of these, then you’ll want to make an appointment with the family doctor, who may refer you to one or more specialists to confirm or deny your suspicions and rule out other conditions.

You sometimes have to wait to get in to see the doctor, so begin keeping a journal or log of behaviors that you consider suspect.  This will help you to get a handle on how often “strange” things are happening.  In addition, it will enable you to be more prepared and specific as you talk with the doctor.

Some of the information came from Alzheimer’s Association and The Help Guide (Alzheimer’s section).


March 24, 2008 by  
Filed under VISION

What is Conjunctivitis?

Conjunctivitis is an eye problem in which the conjunctiva, which is the mucous membrane that covers the eyelid and the white part of both eyes, becomes inflamed. There are two main types of Conjunctivitis, or pink eye as it is more commonly referred to. The first results from a bacterial or viral infection and the other results from an allergic reaction.

The infective form of Conjunctivitis, if it’s caused by bacteria, is highly contagious with the hands being the primary vehicle for transmission. Conjunctivitis that results from an allergic reaction is typically a seasonal condition as are most allergies.

Conjunctivitis can also result when a person is sensitive to certain facial products and cosmetics. This latter form is sometimes referred to as irritant Conjunctivitis. Allergic and irritant Conjunctivitis are not contagious.

Symptoms of Conjunctivitis

The symptoms of the infective form of Conjunctivitis include discharge that is watery or sticky, eyes that water and feel gritty, and eyes that feel as if they have been glued together upon waking. Mild soreness is sometimes a symptom. The part of the eye that is normally white will also become red or pink, which is why Conjunctivitis has earned the nickname ‘pink eye’. Because Conjunctivitis often develops along with a common cold, a person may also have symptoms of a cold including runny nose, mild fever and a sore throat.

With the allergic form of Conjunctivitis, eyes are itchy and the eyelids may appear puffy. There may also be a discharge from the eyes that appears white or watery or ropy.

Who is at risk?

Anyone is at risk of getting Conjunctivitis. Because it can be contagious, a person with Conjunctivitis needs to take measures not to spread it. It’s difficult because it is normal to rub the infected eye as a way of providing temporary relief. However, if hands are not washed afterwards and the cause is bacterial, the bacteria can be transferred to another individual by coming into contact with the infected hands.

People who have a history of allergies, particularly hay fever, are at increased risk of developing the allergic form of conjunctivitis.

Early detection/treatment

Infective Conjunctivitis with its notable pink eye often will accompany a common cold making this eye problem rather easy to identify. Likewise a person with known allergies knows whether or not he has allergic Conjunctivitis.

Treatment for infective Conjunctivitis that is caused by bacteria includes the application of antibiotic ointment or antibiotic drops. If it is caused by a virus, typically the condition is left to heal on its own, much like a cold. Generally however, it is difficult to determine whether infective Conjunctivitis has resulted from bacteria or a virus so oftentimes, no treatment is prescribed.

In either case it is important to wash hands after coming into contact with the infected eyes using warm water and soap. Those with infective Conjunctivitis should not share their towels or pillows with others. Also when Conjunctivitis is present, contact lenses should not be worn until it has cleared.

Home Gym Equipment

March 24, 2008 by  
Filed under OBESITY

You can enjoy all the benefits of gym membership – a wide variety of equipment and facilities, good advice from staff and other members and the incentive to work out by making the gym a destination. But, you can also enjoy having the ease of access and the absence of a commute by purchasing home gym equipment.

But what to buy?

If you’re just getting into, or back into, a fitness routine, you should hold off purchasing anything. Using relatively new professional equipment, under the guidance of a knowledgeable instructor, will give you a good basis for comparison when shopping.

One of the first pieces of equipment anyone interested in weight training will want is, naturally, a set of weights.

Free weights can be purchased for very little money – a basic set is often under $50. You’ll want a mixture of small, 10 lb (4.5 kg) and 20 lb (9 kg) hand-held dumbbells and a bar with larger, exchangeable weights. Just about any bar is as good as another, but weights can be either metal or plastic. Some people like the old-fashioned clink of metal, but plastic weights (usually composite or sand-filled) are marginally safer.

At some point, you’ll want to ‘graduate’ to a weight machine. They offer the ability to focus on specific muscle groups – biceps, quadriceps, deltoids and others – in a much safer way than free weights can. Also, some muscle groups – calves or hamstrings, for example – are harder to work using free weights.

Once you’re ready for a weight machine, be prepared to spend some serious cash. Costs and configurations vary. Some are just simple resistance machines, essentially composite rubber stretching straps that allow for some adjustment to the tension. These run a few hundred dollars. Others are multi-station, adjustable weight stacks, often costing from $1,800 to $5,000 or more.

Stair steppers are becoming increasingly popular. A very simple model can run anywhere from $80-$150. It offers you the ability to get a good cardiovascular workout in a small space at home with low joint impact, while you build thighs and calves. Beware anything that looks like too good a deal, though. Reliability is key here, otherwise you’ve spent $100 for nothing when it breaks two months after purchase.

Some stair steppers run as high as $1,700 or more. At this level you should be getting a lot more than just the ability to simulate walking up stairs. Apart from reliability and handrails, which should be rock solid for 5 years or more, you should be able to adjust resistance level, speed, angle, and distance between the pedals. You should also get a heart rate monitor and other digital readouts (speed, distance climbed, calories burned, etc) as part of the package.

Treadmills, too, are becoming a more common part of the home gym. Since they run anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $2,000 or more, you should expect to get a lot for your money.

Again, they should be completely smooth working, stable and reliable for several years. A good treadmill should have a great, non-slip surface and it should be able to go faster and offer more resistance than you could ever use as you build up.

Like stair steppers, it should come with an impressive panel of controls and digital gauges. Any treadmill that costs over $1,000 should have, at minimum, adjustments for and measurements of speed and distance ‘walked’. It should include calories burned, with tailoring based on age, weight, etc. A heart rate monitor is a great plus.

Of course, if you plan to spend several thousand dollars to acquire home gym equipment, you should be prepared to dedicate yourself to a consistent, regular workout. But that’s something no manufacturer can guarantee.

Happy Easter To All

March 23, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

Happy Easter to all those celebrating Easter…

I went to the beach yesterday with my friends — the first time I’ve been back since December 2007 when I last had sand therapy. I did enjoy it, though there were just too many people frolicking there because of this recent holiday.

There wasn’t time to sit in a corner and bury my legs in the sand. Besides, I was too busy looking out for this little boy.


Since we arrived there at around 3 pm, we stayed until dark (around 8 pm) — so much so that my legs suffered the wet and cold, enough for my legs to cramp once more. A nice bath and some efficascent oil later, my legs were propped up in bed under a thick warm blanket.

In the morning when I wake up, it’s like nothing happened.

Anyways…here are a few stuff/news regarding arthritis:

New Rheumatoid Arthritis Drug Works for Adults, Children

The new anti-arthritis drug tocilizumab, now being tested, appears to be effective in relieving the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in both adults and children, according to the results of two new studies.

Tocilizumab works by blocking the interleukin-6 receptor. Interleukin-6 is a molecule involved in promoting the painful inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis.

Gel may hold key to arthritis cure

Using light waves, polymers and a nuclear reactor, researchers here are investigating a superstrong, experimental gel that might some day turn into a novel treatment for millions of people who suffer from arthritis.

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology have spent two years shooting neutron beams at the mysterious hydrogel, trying to determine why it is almost as strong, flexible and resistant to friction as the cartilage in the human knee.

Arthritis program offers pain relief

Mt. Carmel Regional Medical Center will again offer the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program ” beginning on April 1, 2008. Developed by physical therapists specifically for people with arthritis, this low-impact, joint-safe exercise program has been documented to help decrease arthritis pain and relieve stiffness while increasing flexibility and range of motion.

Arthritis Foundation certified instructors, each of whom have completed in-depth training on arthritis and the Arthritis Foundation Exercise Program, teach the program.

Gardening with arthritis

It might just take a few modifications to regular activities to reduce the stress on painful joints.

Gardening With Arthritis is a seminar planned to provide a few tips on how to do it.

Occupational therapist Katie Wrenn will give general advice on how to use joints wisely and sparingly without too much repetition, and demonstrate the use of gadgets like the tap-twister that makes it easier to turn the hose off and on.

Well, that’s all for now folks! I hope your Easter holiday is a lot better that mine. 😉

Battling the System to Improve Your Care

March 21, 2008 by  
Filed under HEALTHCARE

Greetings readers — and thanks for stopping by.

Being a part of Hart’s Battling for Health Series is an exciting opportunity for me to HELP and LEARN from all of you.

By way of introduction — I call myself Every Patient’s Advocate. I’ve been battling the system for my own care, and advising others how to navigate it themselves, for more than three years, ever since suffering a heinous misdiagnosis myself.

I’ll be bringing you commentary on health-related news across North America, tips and advice on navigating healthcare, and for those who are state-side, some consumerism and thoughts about the upcoming presidential elections as they relate to how we access, and pay for, care.

Please feel free to shoot me an email ( ) at any time — I’m here to help! I look forward to getting to know some of you through comments and questions over time.

Thanks for stopping by.

Friday Cancer News, March 21, 2008

March 21, 2008 by  
Filed under CANCER

I’ve scoured the headlines to bring you the latest cancer news– what’s new in science and entertainment.

Cephalon wins U.S. Approval For Leukemia Drug

Washington (Reuters)-March, 20, 2008. Cephalon Inc won U.S. approval to sell a chemotherapy drug to treat patients with a slow-growing type of leukemia, the company said, on Thursday.

Study Details the Sexual and Urinary Side Effects of Prostate Cancer

Atlanta (AP)-March 20, 2008. One of the first large quality-of-life studies on today’s prostate cancer treatments suggests that for some men, it’s a matter of picking your poison and facing potential sexual, urinary or other problems.

Possible Cause of ‘Chemo Brain’ in Breast Cancer Patients Found

ScienceDaily-March 20, 2008. Thanks to early diagnosis and chemotherapy, more women survive breast cancer than ever before. However, following treatment, approximately 25 percent of survivors experience mild to moderate memory, concentration and cognitive problems known as “chemobrain.”

Serious Weakness Found in Virus Responsible for Most Cervical Cancer

ScienceDaily-March 20, 2008. The virus responsible for most cases of cervical cancer has a serious weakness which may provide hope for new treatments for the disease.

Autoantibody Assay May Lead to Earlier Detection of Lung Cancer

Oncolink (Reuters Health)-March 19, 2008. Screening for lung cancer with a panel of tumor- associated antigens may someday permit earlier detection of tumors, researchers report in the March issue of Thorax.

One Gene Closer to Understanding Pancreatic Cancer: A conversation with Dr. Terri Brentnall

The New York Times-March 18, 2008. Dr. Terri Brentnall, 51, at the University of Washington, has identified a gene that may be one cause of an inherited form of pancreatic cancer.

Testicular Cancer: Tumor Markers Under Utilized for Monitoring Disease According to New Research

Cancer News, University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center-March 18, 2008. A standard part of testicular cancer care isn’t used in more than half of all patients who have the condition, researchers at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center have found.

Red Meat Consumption Linked to Colorectal Cancer

Cancer News, M.D. Anderson News Release, March 3, 2008. For most Americans, meals tend to center around meat. To significantly decrease a person’s risks of developing colorectal cancer experts at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center suggest a new approach to meal planning that focuses more on fruit and vegetable dishes.

Never Give In: Battling Cancer in the Senate by Arlen Specter with Frank J. Scaturro (Memoir, Thomas Dunne Books,March 18, 2008). The inspirational memoir of a cancer survivor and a U.S. senator.

The Last Beach Bungalow by Jennie Nash (Fiction, Penguin Group, February 2008). “A poignant novel of a woman who survives breast cancer only to struggle with what comes next: living.”

One in Three: A Son’s Journey Into the History and Science of Cancer by Adam Wishart (Memoir, Grove Press, January 2008) A British journalist’s journey into his father’s cancer and the medical community.

Caregiver’s Corner–Get HELP

March 21, 2008 by  
Filed under ALZHEIMER'S

While college students plan their parties and high school students consider their weekend options; while your coworkers give thought to what movie they’ll see this weekend and family members consider how they might celebrate Easter, your plans remain the same. 

Whether you have dinner with family, attend a religious service or plan to stay home, one thing is constant.  You are a caregiver.

And there is at least one characteristic that is common among almost all caregivers, we are stressed and we need HELP.  You will rarely find a caregiver who says, “I’m all set, I have all the help and support I need.  My family readily chips in and I get a break whenever I need it.”

So, let me give you some practical suggestions as to how to get some much needed help:

ASK–I know that your brother should know that you take care of mom all week and that you need a break on the weekends.  But he didn’t renew his subscription to “Mind Reader Today,” so his skills have gotten a bit rusty.  Besides, you make it look easy and you seem to have everything under control.  So let him know that you need some help. 

BE SPECIFIC–“I could use some help you know” is not a request.  It’s a statement yelled in anger, frustration or desperation.  Or, it’s  breathed under your breath, either way, it still does not express what you really need. Try these specific requests and see how they work out:

  • John, would you sit with mother on Saturday morning from 9 to 1?
  • Mary, would you please prepare lunch for mom on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays?
  • Mike, would you be willing to give mom dinner on Tuesday evenings?
  • Linda, I know your schedule is tight. We are all stretched.  If I give you advance notice, would you handle taking mom to the doctor (or wherever)?

GET MOM OUT OF THE HOUSE–This one depends on what stage of Alzheimer’s you are dealing with.  Senior centers and Adult Day Care programs are excellent options.  They provide:

Opportunities for your loved one to socialize

Skill appropriate activities

Opportunity to get exercise 

A much needed break for YOU

In addition, many provide transportation to and from the center as well.

YOU GET OUT OF THE HOUSEConsider paid help.  I have only one older brother.  At the time I was caring for my mom, we did not live in the same state.  So, I was pretty much on my own 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  It was a formula for disaster and depression.  Eventually, I hired someone to come in and help out.  On occasion, my husband or a church member would hold the fort down while I took a quick breather.

It was during my caregiving days that I buried superwoman along with her big red “S,” blue spandex and red cape flying in the wind.  I suggest you have a ceremony right now, let the superman/woman thing go. It’s a great cartoon, but doesn’t work in real life.

If you want to serve your loved one well and for the long haul, learn to ask for help and take care of YOU. 

Assignment–Get some HELP!

More Incontinence Products

March 20, 2008 by  
Filed under ALZHEIMER'S

Today, as I continue the discussion about incontinence in those affected with Alzheimer’s disease  I’ll talk about proper skin care, odor control and keeping yourself as a caregiver protected.

Yesterday’s post was dedicated to incontinence related products.  They work wonders in preventing leaks and stains when accidents occur.  However, the sealing characteristic that makes the products effective is the same one that causes potential skin issues.

The products tend to seal moisture IN.  That’s great for clothing and furniture, but not so great for skin; as the urine and or feces then remains in contact with the skin.  That is why the number one measure for protecting skin is CLEANLINESS. 

Pads and undergarments must be changed frequently.  AND the area must be cleaned gently with mild soap and water or wipes.

There are several products on the market, that are kin to diaper cream for babies.  They are creams, potions and lotions that form a moisture proof barrier on the skin.  I must stress though that the use of these creams does NOT replace the need for undergarments to be changed frequently and for a thorough washing of the soiled area.  It is also important for the affected person to change positions and/or shift weight often so as not to put too much pressure on one area for too long.

There are several mild soaps on the market, usually labeled as personal care wash or perineal or peri-wash.  These are formulated specifically to be used in the genital areas.  Most are safe for men and women. 

Antisceptic/anti-bacterial sprays are convenient because many of them are “no rinse” formulas and designed to kill germs and neutralize odors. Most do have fragrance of some kind, so be on the lookout for allergic reactions.

Now, as to the potential odor in the room.  Better to prevent odor than to attempt to remove it. But, if you have dealt with this issue you are well aware that as we have stated in earlier posts, everyone poops and the truth is that sometime it doesn’t smell very good.  First line of defense, crack a window (and keep it cracked).  It’s important to have fresh air circulating. 

Grocery stores and the mega marts have a plethora of air fresheners.  Most just perufme the air.  Personally, I like one called pure citrus.  Its a little pricy, over $4.00 for a 7 ounce can at the store, but it’s available on line for a much better price.  It worked for us.  Seemed to clean the air and leave a LIGHT citrus smell.  Find one you like and keep plenty close by. 

During my caregiving  years, I found that there were so many products that I needed someone to guide me through them and explain which ones were best given my mom’s situation at the time.  You might find it helpful to call a company that specializes in medical supplies, explain your specifics and allow them to give you some advice.  Try Kanawha Medical.  I believe you’ll find the customer service department to be knowlegable and genuinely interested in helping you to find the best products possible.

It feels terribly impersonal, but consider wearing gloves.  Lets’ face it, you are not dealing with toxic or nuclear waste.  You are however dealing with bodily waste.  It’s easy to spread bacteria and gloves do provide a barrier.  Of course, the best barrier is thorough handwashing.  Running your hands under the faucet for 10 seconds or rubbing that antibacterial gel for 5 seconds, is NOT  handwashing.  You should sing “Happy Birthday” twice while you are washing your hands with soap and water, it should take about 30 seconds.

Below you’ll find the links for the week’s posts thus far.   Yes, incontinence is a difficult part of Battling the Monster, Alzheimer’s Disease, but it is doable and my goal is to help you to say, “I can do this” and provide you with the information and tools to make your job easier.

You Gotta Do What You Gotta Do….Dealing With Incontinence

Alzheimer’s Disease and Incontinence

Incontinence Products

Up for tomorrow.  Caregiver’s Corner

A Quick Reference Guide to Hodgkin’s Disease

March 20, 2008 by  
Filed under CANCER

Hodgkin’s Disease (HD) or Hodgkin Lymphoma is a type of lymphoma, not to be confused with Non-Hodgkin lymphoma (NHL).

Lymphoma is a cancer that begins at the cellular level of the immune system. For more information on lymphoma in general see the excellent article in our archives.

Hodgkin’s Disease is identified by the presence of the Reed-Sternberg cell.

Hodgkin’s Disease/Hodgkin Lymphoma is broken down into two basic types: Classical Hodgkin lymphoma (95% of all cases) and Nodular lymphocyte-predominate Hodgkin lymphoma (NLPHL). NLPHL is rare and is identified by a popcorn cell.

HD can start anywhere in the lymphatic system but usually begins in the lymph nodes of the chest, neck or under the arms. It can spread from node to node and into the blood stream.

Classic symptoms of HD:

  • Enlarged lymph nodes in the upper body that are painless
  • Painful lymph nodes after consuming alcohol
  • Unexplained weight loss, poor appetite
  • Night sweats
  • Itchy skin
  • Respiratory distress, or chest pain
  • Unexplained weakness or lethargy

These symptoms are very general and could indicate other diseases, which is why it is important to see a doctor right away for a complete physical. A follow up blood test, chest x-ray and/or CT or PET exam of the lymph nodes and spleen may be indicated. A biopsy (lymph node or bone marrow) is a final tool to check the cellular make-up of your lymphocytes.


Treatment plans will depend on the staging of the disease. Lymphoma has four stages. Stages 1 and 2 are limited disease and stages 3 and 4 indicate more extensive disease. Treatment is individualized and may include combination therapies.

Basic treatment modalities offered for HD may include:

Chemotherapy-Chemotherapy options for adult HD patients are discussed on the Lymphoma Network website.

Radiation-The basics of radiation therapy for the HD patient can be found on the Oncology Channel.

Stem Cell Transplant-For more information the National Cancer Institute provides a fact sheet called: Bone Marrow Transplantation and Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Transplantation: Questions and Answers. It is in pdf format.

The American Cancer Society reports that in 2008 the estimated new cases and deaths from Hodgkin lymphoma in the United States are 8,220 new cases and 1,350 deaths.

Adults and children get HD but the most common groups are young adults (ages 15-40) and late adulthood (after 55).

Cause and Prevention:

The cause is unknown and so prevention of the disease is not possible.

There are disease indicators, those factors that have been found to be common or proven to indicate an increased risk per the American Cancer Society:

  • Epstein-Barr virus-the risk is somewhat higher in individuals who have had EBV which is the virus that causes mono.
  • Age-the age group characteristics listed above.
  • Gender-HD is slightly more prevalent in males than females
  • Geography-Most common in the U.S., Canada and northern Europe.
  • Family History Risk Factor-Much higher if you have a brother or sister with HD.
  • Socioeconomic-Higher risk is noted in people with a higher socioeconomic background.


**The New York Times features an in depth article called Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in their Health Guide, dated today, March 20, 2008. This is an excellent resource. Print it out and save it.**

The American Cancer Society: Learn About Hodgkin’s Disease.

The Hodgkin’s Lymphoma page of the National Cancer Institute.

The Lymphoma Information Network:For information on Adult and Childhood Hodgkin’s Disease.

The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Cure Hodgkin’

The Lymphoma Research Foundation

For support: The Violet Ribbon Campaign: Uniting the Hodgkin’s Disease Community.

Please send a note if you have other valuable resources you would like mentioned.

Healthy Carb Diabetes Cookbook Contest

March 20, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

Lauren Paul from Jane Wesman Promotions has sent not one, but 3 copies of The Healthy Carb Diabetes Cookbook for the readers of Battling Diabetes!

This month, the contest for the books will be a little different. You do not have to blog, just post a comment! You can post : “Enter me, please” or “Hey, neat, I want the book”, or even tell me all about your favorite recipe. Heck, tell me about your dog. Just be sure to place that you are entering the contest in you comment somewhere.

If you have friends who would benefit from this book, tell them about the contest or enter for them and send it as a gift!

For a review of The Healthy Carb Diabetes Cookbook, check out THIS post. (new window)

The contest will be open to new entries until midnight, April 2cnd. The winner will be chosen on April 3rd. Do not miss out on this great cookbook and thank you again to Lauren for providing such great books to sponsor our contest!

How to Keep Your Heart Healthy – List of 25 Heart Healthy Tips

March 20, 2008 by  

By Alex Fir

Learn How to Have a Healthy Heart

Cardiovascular disease is still the number one health threat affecting men and women in the U.S. today, according to the American Heart Association. Although heart disease is the No.1 killer, it is often preventable. Here are 25 ways to keep a heart healthy.

List of heart healthy tips:

1. Quit smoking as soon as you can. Over 50% of people who suffer heart attacks are smokers.

2. Control your weight because excess weight can put you at risk for heart disease.

3. Get screened by your doctor to determine your risk of heart disease. Know your numbers (blood pressure and cholesterol).

4. You should learn about your family history. You are at increased risk if you have a very close relative who had heart disease before age 55 (male) or 65 (women).

5. Eat whole-grain cereal seven or more times a week.

6. Minimize trans fat and saturated fat. They are found in pre-packaged baked goods with long shelf-lives.

7. Eat more low glycemic index, high fiber foods. They decrease cholesterol and control blood sugar levels.

8. You should include soy protein into your daily diet. Many studies proved that soy protein is able to lower levels of total cholesterol as well as “bad” cholesterol.

9. Consume more omega-3 fatty acids. They support a healthy cardiovascular system by increasing “good” cholesterol and reducing “bad” cholesterol, triglycerides, plaque build-up, blood clots and inflammation. Good sources of omega 3s are fresh water fish, flaxseeds, and walnuts.

10. Include antioxidant-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables, dark chocolate with 70 percent cocoa and red wine.

11. Include anti-inflammatory herbs and spices such as curcumin and ginger. They work in the same way as anti-inflammatory drugs.

12. A recent research found that cranberries are powerful natural defense against the development of heart disease. It was discovered that cranberries are very rich in antioxidants. The benefits of consuming them include effects on cholesterol and blood pressure as well as the development of blood clots.

13. Eat about five ounces of nuts each week; they are rich in the right kind of fat for your heart.

14. Almonds are especially good for the heart health. They are proven to protect against heart disease. Eat ten almonds at a time!

15. Eat the tropical fruit mangosteen. It contains a group of extremely powerful antioxidants. Other fruits to include in your daily diet: guava and acai berries.

16. Take multivitamin and mineral supplements.

17. Reduce intake of soft and energy drinks.

18. Limit your salt intake to 2,300 milligrams a day. Don’t add extra salt to food.

19. Drink alcohol in moderation. A recent study confirmed that drinking alcohol (for women one standard drink and up to two standard drinks for men a day) helps prevent heart attack. Grapes (and foods made from grapes, such as red wine) are very rich in two powerful substances: quercitin and resveratrol. They are not just good for the heart but are responsible for the extension of lifespan.

20. Brush your teeth and gums every single day. Periodontal disease is linked to higher rates of heart disease.

21. You should have 30 to 45 minutes of cardio exercises 6 times a week in addition to strength training to build muscle and reduce body fat.

22. Reduce stress and relax your nervous system with relaxation exercises such as yoga, meditation, and breathing. Laugh a few times a day.

23. Get eight hours of sleep. Lack of sleep is linked to increased risk of developing heart disease. On the other hand, people who sleep too much also have a greater risk of cardiovascular disease.

24. Don’t take any medications without consulting your doctor.

25. Stay informed. New medical discoveries are made every day. The field of heart health is no different. provides latest heart information on how to keep your heart healthy.

Alex Fir is a journalist that has specialized in the medical, beauty and business issues. He has written a wide variety of press releases, web content, articles, reports, newsletters and more. He runs several highly successful web sites.

Article Source:

March 20 (Today) is Official Turn of Spring

March 20, 2008 by  
Filed under ARTHRITIS

I’ve just been told by somebody from the U.S. East Coast, that today – March 20 – is the official start of Spring.

Wow. Goodbye winter! Hello Spring! For us arthritics (people with arthritis) is a start of a better season. The time when we can enjoy leisurely walks to the park or to our homes and offices.

Walks on weekends; it doesn’t really matter what time of day, be it early in the morning or late in the afternoon. The point is, with spring, we have all day of the week to stretch our legs. To say goodbye to laziness and ignore our ever dependable couches for long…

That. And your garden. And barbecues. And picnics!! Oh MY! There are just too much outdoor activities to choose from. So, why not un-fuse your butt off the couch for once?! Ha ha ha.

Multiple Sclerosis – An Unpredictable Disease

March 19, 2008 by  

By Sharon A Bell

In some people, it is a mild illness. In others, it can lead to permanent disability. This is the nature of multiple sclerosis, an unpredictable disease that affects 300,000 people in the United States alone.

Myelin is a fatlike substance that covers the nerve fiber found in the brain and spinal cord. It is an essential part of the nervous system since it enables the nerves to carry electrical impulses to and from the brain where they can be acted upon by the appropriate part of the body.

In multiple sclerosis (MS), myelin is damaged for unknown reasons. As a result, normal nerve impulse transmission is impaired and the person experiences a variety of symptoms depending on which part of the brain and spinal cord is affected.

“An electrical short circuit develops, and normal electrical impulses cannot be carried by the nerves. The type of symptoms that result depends on where in the brain and spinal cord this process takes place, but usually, multiple sites are involved. Myelin has some ability to repair itself, but with repeated attacks of inflammation, scarring (sclerosis) takes place and permanent loss of function may result,” according to Dr. Timothy A. Pedley in “The Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Complete-Home Medical Guide.”

MS is believed to be an autoimmune disorder wherein the body develops antibodies to attack myelin. Some say a virus is behind this disorder. The victims fall between the ages of 20 and 40, and are usually women. Symptoms may appear slowly or rapidly and the disease may disappear from time to time.

In the early stages, MS may be marked by blurred or double vision, difficulty walking, weakness, numbness or a tingling sensation. Later, the patient may suffer from tremors, loss of bladder or bowel control, difficulty speaking, and impotence.

“It is not possible to provide a typical picture of multiple sclerosis. Some of the common symptoms, however, include loss of vision in one eye, double vision, loss of coordination and trembling of a hand, instability in walking, spasticity, loss of bladder control, and peculiar spontaneous sensations such as pins-and-needles feeling over part of the body, called paresthesias. At first the patient may have only intermittent symptoms. Since the physical examination at this stage may be completely normal, the patient’s complaints may be dismissed initially as ‘pyschosomatic’ or ‘hysterical,'” Pedley explained.

While some patients may recover dramatically, MS is an incurable disease and the survival rate of sufferers can fall anywhere from a few weeks to 50 years. For relief of symptoms, the doctor may prescribe cortisone drugs together with physical therapy to retain muscle function.

“Adequate rest and sleep are important. Complications such as bed sores, contractures, spasms, and bladder and kidney infections can usually be prevented with physiotherapy and good nursing care. Excessive heat should be avoided. Psychotherapy may help in rehabilitation. Very strenuous and fatiguing exercise is not beneficial and may be harmful,” said Kurt Butler and Dr. Lynn Rayner of the University Of Hawaii in “The Best Medicine.”

To strengthen your body, take Immunitril – your first line of defense in maintaining a healthy immune system. For details, visit

Sharon Bell is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premier online news magazine

Article Source:

Schizophrenia Difficult To Treat

March 19, 2008 by  

By Sharon A Bell

Schizophrenia is the most common and severe form of psychosis or thought disorder. It affects both men and women and appears to run in families. Because the exact cause of this condition is unknown, it may be difficult to treat and is usually permanent.

“About one percent of the population has schizophrenia, which is a disease of disorganization of social and psychological function including social withdrawal and eccentric behavior,” according to Drs. Donald S. Kornfeld and Philip R. Muskin in “The Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons Complete Home Medical Guide.”

There are many types of schizophrenia. In the catatatonic type, the patient may exhibit excitement and lack of interest alternately. In disorganized schizophrenia, the person is incoherent and either has no emotions or shows the wrong ones at the wrong time. Paranoid schizophrenia is characterized by bizarre delusions. The individual may believe that he or she is a famous star, is being chased by aliens or being hunted by agents who want to kill him or her.

“There may be a loosening of associations, with the affected person’s conversation jumping from one idea to a completely unrelated one. Or the schizophrenic may chatter away and yet fail to convey any information. Speech is vague, very abstract, or repetitive. The schizophrenic may play with language, making up new words that seem highly important but make no sense to anyone else,” said Dr. David E. Larson, editor-in-chief of the “Mayo Clinic Family Health Book.”

Schizophrenia may appear during adolescence or in late adulthood. The former is marked by lack of interest in social activities and personal hygiene. The schizophrenic’s face is expressionless and his attire is strange or eccentric. He talks in an unusual way and his statements may sound humorous or absurd. In between those bouts of disordered behavior, the schizophrenic may seem normal at times.

“Hallucinations are common, and the person is especially likely to hear voices, although schizophrenia is not to be confused with cases of multiple personality. The schizophrenic’s face tends to be expressionless and the voice is a monotone. The normal sense of self has been lost,” Larson added.

The second variety of schizophrenia often appears in the late 20s or early 30s. Abnormal speech, thought and behavior patterns usually arise from a stressful event.

Severe forms of schizophrenia, especially if the patient appears to be dangerous to himself/herself or to others, is best treated in a hospital. Treatment includes electro-shock therapy (which uses electric current to treat depressive disorders), antipsychotic drugs to reduce excitement and improve the person’s thought processes, and psychotherapy (a method of treating emotional problems by means of establishing a good relationship between the therapist and the patient).

To sharpen your mind, take Neurovar. For more information on this powerful supplement, go to

Sharon Bell is an avid health and fitness enthusiast and published author. Many of her insightful articles can be found at the premier online news magazine

Article Source:

The Pac-Man Theory

March 19, 2008 by  
Filed under CANCER


Who remembers playing Pac-Man? Come on, ‘fess up. Basically Pac-Man moves through the maze eating the dots.

If you need a refresher, here’s a Tribute to Pac-Man from YouTube.

How does Pac-Man relate to cancer?

It’s all about visualization. Visualizing the very last cancer cell in your body being eaten up and destroyed by white cells, chemotherapy or radiation.

Visualization. The technique of creating images and actions in our mind and stepping into them in our reality. A method of teaching, understanding and coping.

Viktor Frankl, physician, and Logotherapist, who lived through the horrors of German concentration camps shared in this book, Man’s Search for Meaning, “everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms–to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s way.”

How do Pac-Man, visualization and attitude affect the cancer battle?

Unfortunately measuring the mind and the connection to the immune system is not always easy.

Biofeedback. Biofeedback is one measurable tool. Biofeedback is a methodology which utilizes techniques to assist patients to control body function such as blood pressure and heart beat and muscle tension by responding to their own body reactions.

The Continuum Center for Health and Healing describes biofeedback or self-regulation, this way: “…the ability to observe oneself and acquire the skills needed to make changes in one’s physiology, behavior, or even lifestyle in order to promote well-being and health.”

In the early ’90’s oncologist O. Carl Simonton, MD and psychologist Stephanie Simonton, Ph.D pioneered psychosocial cancer therapy. Getting Well Again, applies his self-awareness techniques. Today the Simonton Cancer Center shares the ten tenets which are based on the theory that our beliefs, belief systems and our emotions are central to health and healing.

Alternative Therapies? Is this thinking outside the traditional box of medical care? Yes.

Memorial-Sloan Kettering uses the term “complementary” to describe its Integrated Medicine Service, “…which addresses the emotional, social and spiritual needs of patients and families,” and includes therapies, education, workshops and clinical trials. The services go beyond traditional medical standards and includes access to unproven therapies and modalities of care.

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), a division of the National Institute of Health is a U.S. government agency whose mission is to “explore complementary and alternative healing practices in the context of rigorous science, train complementary and alternative medicine researchers and disseminate authoritative information to the public and professionals.”

Today alternative methods of care is standard fare for cancer facilities across the United States.

Nutritional Therapy is the practice of supporting immune function and keeping the body strong during the traditional therapies such as chemo and radiation and helping the body during the recuperation phase. Cancer Treatment Centers of America is one of the pioneers in this therapy, going the extra step to provide in-hospital classes on nutrition and offering their own supplements for outpatients.

MD Anderson offers patient education and resources of complementary/integrative medicine options.

The University of California, San Diego Medical Center, Moores Cancer Center offers an incredible range of therapies from accupressure and Qigong, to guided imagery and music therapy.

And isn’t that what it’s about? Providing the therapies that make the cancer patient well again.

Pac-Man Theory? Why not?

It’s all about options in care.

Artificial Sweetener Measurements

March 19, 2008 by  
Filed under DIABETES

Sweet N Low

Sugar Substitute, How Much Is A Cup?

I can not count the number of times in the past when I have tried to figure out just how much of a sugar substitute to use in place of sugar in a recipe. I admit, I have just gone by taste plenty of times. So I spent a little time tracking down the correct measurements for a few popular sweeteners to share. I am also working on my own brown sugar substitute. Hah, don’t worry, Julie is not mixing up chemicals in a lab, just trying to figure out the best ratio of sweetener to molasses in a recipe to get that brown sugar taste.


Many artificial sweeteners are changing their formulations to be able to measure equally a cup for a cup. Equal has their ‘Spoonful’ version, while Splenda has it’s own version used cup for cup as well. Sweet n Low has a brown sugar alternative as does Splenda.

But when faced with packets the math can be frustrating. One packet of most brands equals two teaspoons of sugar, but what about cup measurements?


24 packets is equivalent to 1 cup of sugar
12 packets is equivalent to ½ cup sugar
6 packets is equivalent to ¼ cup sugar

Equal has 4 calories per packet and does not do well in recipes calling for long periods of high temperatures. Use the specially designed recipes on the boxes or on the Equal website.

*Sweet n’ Low:

12 packets is equivalent to 1 cup sugar
6 packets is equivalent to ½ cup sugar
3 packets is roughly equivalent to ¼ cup sugar

4 calories per packet. Can be used in all cooking and baking without losing its’ sweetness factor. The Sweet N’ Low website offers recipes.

*Sweet One:

12 packets is equivalent to 1 cup sugar
6 packets is equivalent to ½ cup sugar
3 packets is roughly equivalent to ¼ cup sugar

4 calories per packet. Can be used in all cooking and baking without losing its’ sweetness factor. The Sweet One website offers recipes.

Soon to Come

After some investigation and research, I will be posting information concerning aspartame, much like the Agave post. According to a recent comment, I may be incorrect in my assumptions. Please stay tuned for an update!

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NOTE: The contents in this blog are for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as medical advice, diagnosis, treatment or a substitute for professional care. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health professional before making changes to any existing treatment or program. Some of the information presented in this blog may already be out of date.