Monday, March 30, 2009

Alzheimer's the Fastest Growing Disease

Dear Healthcare Lady,

What is Alzheimer's Disease? Is it contagious? Thanks, Bill

Dear Bill,

5.3 million people currently have Alzheimer's disease. It is the fastest growing disease right now in this country. It is expected with the increased number of Baby Boomers reaching age 65 years within the next couple of years that this number will increase to 1 million new cases per year by 2050. However, by 2010 it is expected that another 500,000 people will be diagnosed with this dreaded disease.

ALZHEIMERS is not contagious. It is a progressive brain disease that destroys the brain cells slowly causing memory loss and making the body forget how to function. Many people are unable to swallow, or eat their food.

Symptoms of Alzheimer's
  • Confusion and disorientation
  • Depression or anxiety, apathy
  • Loss of language and math skills, lack of judgement
  • Inappropriate behavior and personality changes
  • Eating and sleeping disorders
  • Delusions and paranoia as the disease progresses
  • Loss of control of body functions as well as complete lack of self awareness
If someone in your family has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's it is important to get as much information as possible to form a care plan after the initial diagnosis. Alzheimer's is an expensive disease that many times is not covered by health insurance or Medicare. The Alzheimer's patient is not the only one to suffer with this disease.

Caregivers have been shown to suffer from severe stress that brings on new onset HEART DISEASE, and hypertension. Even stress hormones begin to function differently and immunity levels have been shown to drop due to the stress involved with becoming a caregiver for the Alzheimer's patient.

Get the facts and get help as early as possible.

Alzheimer's Disease
Alzheimer's Association
How to Get the Facts About Alzheimer's

Monday, March 23, 2009

Can Peanuts, Honey, and Dates Be A Part of a Diabetic Diet

Carbs, Calories, Cholesterol, and Diabetes

Nutrition planning can be confusing when juggling carbs, calories, and cholesterol on a diabetic diet. Many people believe that there are foods that must be banned from your diabetic diet. A common misconception is that diabetics can never eat sugar. It is true that simple sugars should not be a large part of the diabetic diet but it is more important to gain an understanding about carbohydrates. Diabetics may need to lose weight so counting calories is important. However, the carbs are the culprits that spike your glucose or drop it to the danger level!

Let's take a look at the nutritional makeup of peanuts, honey, and dates.

Peanuts: 1 cup 875 calories 76.5 gm fat 22.3 carbs 0 cholesterol
Honey: 1 Tablespoon 64 calories 0 fat 17.3 carbs 0 cholesterol
Dates: 1 date, pitted 66 calories 0 fat 18 carbs 0 cholesterol

Peanuts, honey, and dates have no cholesterol and therefore will help to lower your LDL. If you are a diabetic you must take a closer look at these foods by portion size. You will notice that 1 cup of peanuts has a whopping 875 calories, 76.5 gm fat, and 22.3 carbs. Clearly, on a weight management program peanuts must be taken in moderation! Honey and dates have nearly 18 carbs per serving! Before reaching a conclusion about adding peanuts, honey, or dates to your diet you must understand some basic information about eating on a diabetic diet.

A diabetic meal plan should include foods from all the basic food groups. Managing your carbohydrate intake means you should eat enough carbohydrates throughout the day to keep your glucose levels within normal ranges without damaging spikes or lows. To accomplish this you should have 5-6 small meals throughout the day. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner should have 45 carbs each while your between meal snacks should be about 15 carbs each.

Fat combined with white flour can be as detrimental to your health as eating foods high in sugar content. Potatoes and rice are converted into sugar in the digestive system. Moderation and portion control is the key to managing your diabetes. Eat healthy foods in the right portion to keep your glucose level balanced throughout the day.

Peanuts, dates, and honey are healthy additions to your diet as long as you count your carbs and use portion control.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

What Acai Berry Product Should I Buy?

Dear Healthcare Lady,
I have learned a lot about the ACAI BERRY, and I think it is probably a good addition to my diet. How do I know what product I should buy? Thanks, Lana

Dear Lana,
If you have been reading about the ACAI BERRYyou already know that research has shown this wonderful fruit to be at the top of the list in antioxidants and anthocyanins that may help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and other diseases. At present there is no conclusive evidence that acai berries prevent disease, but these products have been shown to be great nutritional supplements.

Be very careful about purchasing your products from companies you do not know or that you have made previous purchases. READ THE FINE PRINT before buying any products from online companies you do not know. They may offer free products with a built in agreement to send you more products if you do not cancel your order within a specified time frame. This is important because you may find your bank account or credit card charged with a large fee unexpectedly. Again, I repeat READ THE FINE PRINT before you buy. Make sure you know exactly what you are buying and how much it will cost before you agree to make any purchase.

ACAI may be purchased in pill or liquid form. Many products are available in your grocery store. You might consider visiting a health food store. There are many options for you other than online purchasing. Choose wisely and always take good care of your health!

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Acai Berry and Your Health

Dear Healthcare Lady,
What is the acai berry? Is this some new kind of wonder fruit? What is all the fuss about? Jim

Dear Jim,

The Acai (A-sigh-ee) berry is a fruit that grows on the same palm trees that give us hearts of palm. It is a tiny purplish red fruit similar in size to a cranberry or blueberry and is grown in Central and South America. Only the skin and a small part of the pulp is edible, but you really get a bang for your buck when you consume this fruit! Researchers in Texas have recently established that the ACAI BERRY is absorbed by the body and not thrown off like some other nutrients. This raises exciting new possibilities for the use of this fruit!

Some people describe the tast of the Acai berry as a mixture of red wine and chocolate. It is marketed in the United States and can be found as a juice drink. Beware of unsubstantiated claims that this fruit will increase weight loss. At present the acai berry appears to be an excellent source of antioxidants needed to prevent diseases caused by oxidative stress such as heart disease and cancer.

Research at present is focused on the antioxidant properties of the acai berry. Your body produces free radicals as a byproduct of stressors. It is believed that the antioxidant properties of the acai berry will prove to be a strong deterrent to free radicals and interfere with the aging process. However, at present there is no known health benefit to the use of the acai berry. The jury is still out on the health benefits of the ACAI BERRY but it looks very promising.

Texas A&M AgriLIFE/Acai Research
Web MD: Acai Berry

Articles by Sandra Mireles on
Articles by Sandra Mireles on Bukisa

Image retrieved from Creative Commons Google Images March 11, 2009

Monday, March 9, 2009

Human Growth Hormone and Aging

Dear Healthcare Lady,

My friend told me about a product called HGH. It is supposed to reverse the affects of aging and keep you young. What is HGH? Is it safe and does it work? Meg

Dear Meg,

Human growth hormone (HGH) is being touted as the latest so called fountain of youth miracle cure from aging. Research has shown that there may be some benefits but the data is far from conclusive so you should use caution before you decide to use these products. According to research done at the Mayo Clinic HGH may increase muscle tone and reduce body fat in otherwise healthy adults. However, only a few studies using healthy adults have been done so the jury is still out. Also Meg, when looking at a new product it is extremely important to look at the down side. It appears that the risks may out weigh the benefits. These risks are:
  • Swelling in the arms and legs
  • Joint pain
  • Muscle pain
  • For men, enlargement of breast tissue (gynecomastia)

Conditions such as diabetes and heart disease may also be adversely affected by the use of HGH. It has been suggested by some researchers that these side affects may be more likely to affect older adults than younger adults. However, no long term research has been done to show the affects of HGH on older adults and any claims at present must be viewed with caution. HGH is quite costly in appropriate doses. These recent claims about sprays and pills should also be viewed with caution. Most of these products are presented at much smaller doses than was used in research studies. As with any new product it is very important to get all available information and follow the recommendation of your primary care physician.

Mayo Clinic
Sandra Mireles on
Sandra Mireles on Bukisa

Image retrieved from Creative Commons Google Images March 8, 2009

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Vision Loss and Aging

Dear Healthcare Lady,
Something has happened to my vision. I never needed glasses and now that I am forty the print on pill bottles seem to be much smaller. What happened to my eyesight? Betty

Dear Betty,
One of the first symptoms of aging is the loss of vision. It is quite common for mature individuals to have changes in their eyesight after the age of forty and experience some vision loss. The four most common age-related eye diseases (AREDs) are glaucoma, age-related macular degeneration (AMD), diabetic retinopathy, and cataracts according to the National Eye Institute.

Many people suffering from AREDs do have some usable vision, but without treatment their vision will continue to deteriorate. It is important to have regular eye exams as you get older to diagnose the early onset of ARED. Without treatment permanent loss of sight is possible due to these diseases. Blindness or low vision affects approximately 1 in 28 Americans older than 40 years (Eye Disease Prevalence Research Group, 2004).

Take care of your eyesight, Betty! Get a check up!

National Eye Institute
Aging and Vision Loss Fact Sheet
How to Create a Healthy Meal Plan for the Elderly

Image Retrieved from Creative Commons Google Images March 8, 2009

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Food and Nutrition for the Elderly

Dear Healthcare Lady,

My father has colon cancer and is going through chemotherapy. He does not want to eat and says he is not hungry. What should I do? Janie

Dear Janie,

Colon cancer is a serious disease and you should check with your oncologist (cancer specialist) for recommendations. There are prescription medications available that will increase his appetite. Good nutrition is extremely important for the patient who is undergoing cancer treatment. A balanced diet should include foods from all the food group. Give your father a variety of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Only give him dairy products that include fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products. You should give him protein choices that include lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts. You should try to offer your father foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, salt (sodium), and added sugars.

If your father continues to have loss of appetite you may need to give him a nutritional drink supplement such as Ensure® or Boost®. To find out more about nutrition for cancer patients check out the resources listed below.

American Cancer Society
Colon Cancer: Nutrition for Cancer Patients
Nutrition and Colon Cancer
Continue to Live Frugally During Your Hospital Stay

Friday, March 6, 2009

What To Do if You Need Surgery and Have No Insurance

Dear Healthcare Lady,

I injured my foot and the doctor says I must have surgery right away. I do not have insurance. What should I do? Nancy

You are in a really tough spot but there are options for you. Because you have an emergency situation you should call the business office of the largest hospital or most reputable hospital located in your area. If you have a large medical center nearby call each individual hospital group and ask for their charity care guidelines. Many hospitals offer charity care but you will need to meet certain income and other requirements to be qualified. If you are not qualified for charity care at the facility you are calling, ask if they can direct you to a group or organization where you can get help.

There are many groups where help is available and you must take the lead in seeking them out.


Rockford Health System

St. Peters Health Care System

Charity Care at Wyoming Medical Center

Mercy Medical Center

Image retrieved from Creative Commons Google