At Least I Have My Health

June 27, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Posted in Life and Living | 1 Comment
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“At least you have your health,” is something we say when it seems like everything else isn’t going our way.  But it’s one of those sayings you don’t put much thought into.  How many of us really appreciate our health until it is compromised?  And beyond that, how many of us are willing to stand up and say, ‘I am not well.” ?

As a society, we often hide illness.  We treat illness like weakness, an embarrassment,  like every illness is infectious, or ugly, or somehow makes us less of a person.  When the reality is everyone gets sick, and not just with colds.  In fact, our bodies are the ultimate sickness fighting machine, kicking in to combat before you even know that there is anything wrong.

When it comes to illness, I am the first to admit I will fight with all my being not to admit I am sick.  I will avoid calling in sick to work, I will continue to go out.  I just can’t let sickness hold me back.  But sometimes your body just says no, you need to slow it down.  In my life, there have been only two times that I can remember where my body said no, and I am currently living through that second time.

For the past few weeks, I have been breaking out in hives all over my body.  It started on my legs, and even my ankles got swollen.  I thought it was weird and uncomfortable at first, but shrugged it off.  It went away after a few days and I had a few days of normalcy.  But they came back with a vengeance soon after and took over my entire body.

I felt like a freak.  I cancelled plans. I couldn’t concentrate at work.  I couldn’t think of anything else.   I had no idea what was going on with my body.  I would watch as bumps would appear and grow and disappear within hours.  It was unlike anything I had ever seen.  I started to self-diagnose and try to figure out why this was happening.  I never had any allergies, hadn’t been bitten by anything.  But with hives, I learned, you may never know the real cause.  Still, human instinct is to try to determine why.  My inkling is stress, followed by my new apartment.  It makes sense to me. This all started happening when I moved.  My friend died, my assistant quit, and the busiest time of the year for work — all at once.  I wasn’t acting stressed at work, but my body was showing it.

The doctor instructed me to take Zyrtec, Benedryl, and add Zantac.  All three are anti-histamines.  Hives are a reaction to the body releasing histamine.  If they didn’t go away, she would add a steroid.  Hives, apparently take about a month to go away, and I’m nearing that month and I think they are on their way out, but I’m still fearful that they can come back in full heat and rob me again of my confidence.

Still, I know that I am lucky, that while it is upsetting to lose control of your body, that this is only temporary.  I will have no scars, no evidence of this hideous condition.  I am lucky that it was only hives and not something life changing.  I am lucky to still have my health.

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Guest Post: Diabetes Risks for the Pushing Thirtyy Crowd

July 26, 2012 at 7:31 am | Posted in Life and Living | 1 Comment
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I don’t often post articles about health.  The truth is that I’m the type of person who likes to ignore any sign of illness (much to the dismay of my colleagues during cold season).  But as I have gotten older, I have become more in tune with my body and knowing when things aren’t right.  Yet still, there is so much I just don’t know about.  What follows is a guest post from the experts over at Drugwatch.com about a specific health concern plaguing millions.

According to the American Diabetes Association, 25.8 million adults and children in the United States have diabetes. Approximately 1.9 million people between the ages of 20 and 65 were diagnosed with diabetes in 2010. In fact, 11.3 percent of this age bracket has diabetes. Diabetes does not discriminate based on race or age. For people between the ages of 24 and 32, diabetes is becoming a prevalent problem, so people of this age group should become familiar with the risks.

Type I diabetes tends to appear between infancy and young adulthood. This does not mean that it cannot develop at any time throughout life, but this is just when it is most common. When people develop type I diabetes, generally it is an autoimmune disorder that happens due to genetics or environmental factors. A person is at greater risk of having this form of diabetes if he or she has a parent with disease.

For individuals between the ages of 24 and 32, type II diabetes is also a concern, and in some cases, a controllable concern. Obesity and being overweight contribute to this age bracket developing diabetes. Being overweight also affects diabetes health, since weight issues can worsen the condition. In order to improve diabetes health, a patient should eat a healthy diet consisting of low-carb foods, high-fiber foods and plenty of fruits and vegetables. A patient should also exercise regularly to maintain a healthy weight.

Another diabetes risk factor for people between the ages of 24 and 32 years of age is becoming pregnant. When a woman develops diabetes as a result of pregnancy, it is known as gestational diabetes. Although a patient with gestational diabetes will still need to manage her diabetes health, the disease generally will go away once the woman has given birth.

Patients in this age group who are inactive increase their risk of diabetes. Not only does exercise help to manage a person’s weight, but it also assists with managing diabetes health. In addition, being active plays a role in making cells more sensitive to insulin.

When a person between the ages of 24 and 32 has signs of prediabetes, his or her chance of developing diabetes is increased. Thus, it is important to have regular blood sugar screenings to detect elevated glucose levels. Early detection can assist a person in making the proper lifestyle modifications to prevent prediabetes from turning into a full-blown case of the disease.

Many type II patients required medication, in addition to diet and exercise. Patients should consult with their doctor before usage of any medication and be aware of the serious side effects before they take anything new.

For example, the diabetes drug Actos has been linked to an increased risk of congestive heart failure and bladder cancer. These conditions have led the FDA to issue a black box label warning on the product, and have led many users of the medication to file an Actos lawsuit against the manufacturer.

Although diabetes does not discriminate based on race, Hispanics and African-Americans have a greater chance of having diabetes. As of 2011, 12.6 percent of non-Hispanic African-Americans and 11.8 percent of Hispanics had diabetes. On the other hand, only 7.1 percent of white Americans had diabetes. This means that people in this particular age bracket who are either Hispanic of African-American should monitor their blood glucose levels even more than white Americans, since ethnicity does heighten one’s risk of developing this condition.

Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com.

Dreaming of Junk Food

March 29, 2011 at 7:27 am | Posted in Playing with Food | 8 Comments
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Have you been in a fast food place recently?  Have you eaten a bag of chips lately?  Maybe you have, and maybe you’ve felt the way I do after I give in to one of these rare cravings — completely unfulfilled and regretful.

I remember going to McDonald’s as a kid, and even as a teen.  I’d get a happy meal, and then I’d get the #4 when I was older (the McChicken sandwich meal) and I’d eat it happily.  In my later teens, we’d go to the McDonald’s drive-thru (backwards) at 3 AM after returning from the club, to fight off the munchies.  I never regretted it back then.

I don’t know when it happened exactly, but now every time I eat fast food, I immediately regret it.  I get lured in by the thought that it’s going to be just as tasty as it was when I was young, only to find a dollar cheeseburger sitting like a rock at the pit of my stomach.  Why does it hurt so bad and yet, is so hard to resist?

I rarely indulge or crave fast food. It’s usually when I’m on the road and there are limited options that I actually partake in the fast food eating culture that is America.  I work right next to a Pop-eye’s*, a McDonald’s, a Dominos, and a Whopper Bar (Burger King’s newest venture) and if I eat out I typically choose the falafel place, the potato stand, or somewhere I can get salad or soup (occasionally I’ll spring for something ethnic like Thai food or sushi or empanadas).

But every so often the chicken nuggets call out your name. And every so often you see a bag of Cheetos and you can almost taste the orange goodness on your fingers.  And every so often you crave the innocence of eating things with no nutritional value whatsoever.  Because every so often, you want to be that kid chasing down the ice cream truck again, or  getting a ChocoTaco at the snack bar after playing a round of butts up. Every once in a while, you need to eat like nothing matters, because at that moment nothing does. Nothing but the taste of happiness and promise.  You can worry about the stomach ache later.

*note: as I write this I have gotten word that the Pop-eye’s near by job has been shut down by the Department of Health. If that’s not a warning to you, I don’t know what is!

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