Awareness

Understanding Celiac disease

May is Celiac Awareness Month in the United States. Many of us have heard of celiac disease, but with so many conditions, illnesses and diseases affecting Americans today, it’s hard to stay educated on the many points of illness or disease that attack our personal health and well-being.

It is important to understand different allergies, conditions and diseases in order to be aware of what could be affecting your body. We have provided the basics behind celiac disease for you below. Naturally, we do recommend further research. When it comes to promoting your long-term personal health and encouraging healthy lifestyle choices within your community – awareness is everything.

An Introduction to Celiac Disease

Gluten-Free-300x300Celiac disease is defined as an autoimmune disorder that prevents a person from properly absorbing and digesting foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a protein found in foods sources containing barley, rye or wheat. When a person is diagnosed with celiac disease, their body will respond to gluten based food sources by destroying something called villi, which is located in the small intestine. Villi are largely responsible for helping to absorb nutrients into the larger small intestine. Damage to villi therefore, will result in the inability to absorb essential nutrients into the bloodstream.

Common signs or symptoms associated with celiac disease can include, but are not limited to bloating, diarrhea, extreme abdominal pain, weight loss, delayed growth due to malnutrition, significant fatigue, and loss in bone density, numbness in the hands and/or feet and depression.

Most often, a health care practitioner will begin treatment for celiac disease by recommending a gluten-free diet. If you have noticed signs or symptoms that could be associated with celiac disease, it is certainly recommended that you speak with your health care practitioner. He or she will be able to conduct a series of tests in order to assess if indeed you are suffering from celiac disease, or if there are other changes that could be made to your daily nutritional regime to assist in comfortable, smooth digestion. Celiac disease is also genetic. All first and second-degree relatives should be tested for celiac disease when a family member is diagnosed.

The Gluten Free Diet:

A detailed breakdown of convenient gluten free decisions for your daily nutritional intake can be found through the Celiac Spruce Foundation.

Here is a list of four simple changes that can be introduced into your daily nutritional intake – without feeling like significant sacrifices to your regular meals!

Lean Meats and Other Sources of Protein

Protein intake is crucial to the personal health of absolutely everyone. The importance of protein increases for people on a gluten free diet. People suffering from celiac disease don’t often get enough protein. When we experience protein deficiencies we feel weak, malnourished, and fatigued. Because a person with celiac disease has difficulty with absorption of nutrients, it is important to boost protein intake to ensure your body is getting the essential nutrients it needs to function at its best. Keep in mind that complete proteins are high quality proteins. Meat, fish, eggs, and dairy are the most common sources of complete protein in people’s diets.

Meat and fish are especially important because they help make up for the lack of dairy in many celiac’s diets. Lactose intolerance and celiac disease will often coincide.

Lean meats are also high in essential nutrients like zinc, iron, and B12 all of which are especially important for you. For those following a vegetarian diet, fortunately, there are a number of gluten free foods rich in protein that are vegetarian friendly.

Eggs, dairy, gluten free tofu, and quinoa are great complete protein sources for vegetarians. Other vegetarian protein sources include nuts, black beans, lentils, and hemp protein powder.

Legumes: Complex Carbohydrates Packed with Protein

Healthy-meal-300x199When following a gluten free diet, it’s important to make sure we are still seeking out strong food sources of fiber. Fiber promotes intestinal health, works to balance cholesterol levels, and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. Grains are the top source of fiber in America. For many celiacs, cutting out grains means cutting out most of the fiber in their diet. Legumes, like beans and lentils, are incredible replacements for gluten based grains. Like grains, legumes are stocked with complex carbohydrates and fiber. In fact, legumes are stronger than grains because they’re also loaded with protein! Beans and lentils are also excellent sources of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, and antioxidants. The nutrients found in legumes are vital when it comes to combating the weak nutrient absorption that is attached to celiac disease.

These nutrients are all very important to combat a damaged small intestine and weak nutrient absorption stemming from celiac disease.

Yogurt

Yogurt is considered a healthy good item but not many actually understand why. The key to the importance of yogurt when it comes to any autoimmune disorder is probiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria in your intestine that are a must for digestive health and building up your immune system. Eat just a single yogurt per day and your intestine will thank you for it.

Veggies, Veggies, Veggies

Vegetables are literally jam packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and (sometimes) even essential fatty acids. Dark, leafy vegetables are the most nutrient dense of them all. Different vegetables have different benefits so it is best to try and eat a variety of vegetables on a daily basis. Try to include vegetables with very meal (even breakfast!).

Following a gluten-free diet has become popular among people who have not been diagnosed with celiac disease for various other health benefits such as weight loss.

At the end of the day, it’s all about finding the daily health care plan that works for you, and the needs surrounding your personal health. Above all else, we recommend that you work with your family physician, to develop the health care plan that best accommodates you and your family’s needs.

This entry was posted in: Awareness, Blog, Conditions and Disorders, Health.

Save Lives: Clean Your Hands!

This past Sunday, May 5 was the World Health Organization’s national Save Lives: Clean Your Hands campaign. Given that there are hundreds of communities across the globe that still suffer from little to no access to clean water, it is not surprising that hand washing in other parts of the world is not second nature. What is surprising is that, in countries like America and Canada, hand washing is still not always second nature and is still falling behind when it comes to preventing the spread of bacteria and infection.

Woman Washing Hands in the Kitchen Sink.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, hand washing is the best way to prevent infection and illness. Hands come in contact with bacteria and other contaminants constantly. Regardless of where we live, in New York City or Timbuktu, we come across bacteria when using the restroom, touching common surfaces, in the kitchen, or by a simple handshake.

When we fail to wash our hands, we leave our immune systems open to a bacterial attack and pose a threat to others.

Being from a developed country, many often think, “Thank goodness that doesn’t happen where I’m from.” However, as we maneuver through our days and come in contact with thousands of people who have touched thousands of surfaces, and hundreds of foods – we’re counting on each and every one of them to have practiced safe hand washing procedures. Not only that, we’re counting on every person they’ve come in contact with.

I’m not sharing this information to turn you into a germaphobe, but simply to help educate and encourage you to spread awareness of this importance issue. Washing your hands may seem like a small thing and not crucial if you forget but it could mean the difference between you or somebody else from staying healthy or getting (sometimes dangerously) ill.

Here are some of the dangers associated with not washing your hands frequently:

Salmonella Poisoning

Salmonella can be found in uncooked eggs or raw poultry and spread to other foods through contaminated hands. Handling raw chicken, for instance and then tearing lettuce without washing in between allows the bacteria to transfer from hand to vegetables. For this reason, it is always important to thoroughly wash your hands after handling any uncooked eggs or raw poultry. Salmonella poisoning can result in extreme stomach pains, diarrhea,

nausea and vomiting. In elderly people, or those with a weakened immune system, it can be even more dangerous.

Influenza

Handwashingwordcloud-271x300Influenza (or the flu) has several debilitating signs and symptoms such as chills, fever, exhaustion, runny nose, aching muscles, dehydration and diarrhea. When left untreated, influenza could also lead to pneumonia, which is can have very severe consequences on ones personal health and well-being.  While the flu is spread through the air, germs are also transferred through hand-to-hand contact. For instance, if a person were to cough into his or her hands, decide not to wash, and then touch someone else’s hands, the germs will spread from one person to the next. This could easily be avoided through frequent hand washing – especially when someone is experiencing symptoms attached to an illness or condition has been labeled as contagious.

E. coli Poisoning

E. coli is a bacterium that is spread from contaminated stool. Sound like an unappealing way to find yourself in contact with bacteria? It is. When a person uses the washroom, and neglects proper hand washing procedures afterwards, he or she can pass along E. coli through food, surfaces, or hand-to-hand contact. Ingesting E. coli bacteria will cause severe diarrhea for approximately a week. This will also result in dehydration, which is a great cause of concern in many less fortunate countries and communities.

Fatal Bacteria

It’s not being dramatic to say that improper hand washing can actually have fatal consequences.  In certain circumstances (usually to do with health care facilities, long term care centers, or in situations that involve medical procedures) bacteria may be introduced from unwashed hands into the bloodstream, causing a severe systemic infection that could be fatal. Washing hands really does save lives.

Holistic health isn’t a complicated matter, but it does require common sense. If we’re making well-balanced, nutritional choices, exercising regularly, ensuring optimal vitamin, mineral and essential fatty acid intake – and then choosing not to practice proper hand washing procedures – then we’re still miss an important step in achieving optimal health and well-being. Take the time to wash your hands thoroughly and encourage others to do the same. Don’t be shy in encouraging health care practitioners, food handlers, the children in your life – or anyone for that matter – to wash their hands and protect not only themselves, but those around them.

This entry was posted in: Awareness, Blog, Health.

Cancer Awareness Month

April is coming to a close and with it, Cancer Awareness Month. With cancer gripping the lives of millions of individuals and their family members, chances are that you’re aware of the debilitating impact it has on personal health and well-being nationally. Currently, America ranks seventh highest in the world for diagnosed Cancer citizens. In 2012, nearly 600,000 Americans died because of cancer and/or cancer related complications, amounting to nearly 1,500 people a day. There isn’t an American today that doesn’t know somebody who has been directly affected by the disease. While most of us are well aware of the hold cancer has on the country, many of us are not fully aware of what exactly ‘cancer’ is.

Let’s investigate.

What is cancer?

According to the dictionary, cancer can be characterized as:
a malignant and invasive growth or tumor, especially one originating in epithelium, tending to recur after excision and to metastasize to other sites. Cancer is also defined as any disease characterized by such growths.

Essentially, cancer is actually a group of diseases that are characterized by

Cancer-300x300

the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells. When the spread of these abnormal cells goes uncontrolled, it can result in a long list of devastating physical consequences, one of which is death.

Cancer can be caused by both external and internal factors. Some of these factors may include, but are not limited to; tobacco, infectious organisms, radiation, chemicals and genetic mutations, hormones or immune conditions. All of these factors (and many more) may act together, or in sequence to promote the growth of abn


What can we do?
ormal cells. Often, up to ten years or longer pass between the affectation from internal and external sources, and diagnosis. The extensive span of time between affectation and diagnosis is frequently reported as one of the major influences as to whether or not a person is able to successfully pull through treatment. Treatment for cancer can include; surgery, radiation, chemotherapy, hormone therapy, targeted therapy (ie: a specific location or area of the body) and biological therapy.

There is no one preventative measure or point of action that we can take to guarantee ourselves immunity from cancer. Every day, new reports leave us with a vague road map as to the preventative steps we can take. Eat more broccoli, drink coffee, don’t drink coffee, choose organic, etc. The truth is, we don’t have the answers yet. That’s not to say some of our country’s greatest researchers aren’t working around the clock to find preventative options, less invasive treatments, easier means of diagnosis and a cure.

Our brightest minds in science, medicine and technology are doing everything they can to help us lead long, healthy, dynamic lives. While we wait for more lights to turn on in the dark recesses of the disease, we to, must do everything we can to do our part in promoting holistic health and well being, both within our communities, and our day to day lives.

Researchers estimate up to one-third of the most common cancers can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, being more physically active and making wise nutritional choices. Studies show that maintaining a healthy weight throughout life can prevent more than 100,000 incidences of cancer.

Eating less red meat and more whole grains and vegetables, which are rich in fiber and a lot of antioxidants, can help maintain a healthy weight.

Avoiding tobacco smoke and sunburns could also help reduce cancer rates, she says.

Avoid tobacco, in every way and shape possible. Exposure to tobacco, whether directly or indirectly (ie: second hand smoke) puts you on a direct collision course with Cancer. Don’t smoke. Don’t chew tobacco. Avoid second hand smoke as much as possible. If you are an active smoker, please, for your own health, and the lives of the people who love you; quit now. Avoiding tobacco is one of the most important health decisions you can make.

Omega-3’s are amazing when it comes to promoting overall personal health and well being. One of the incredible health benefits associated with optimal omega-3 intake, omega-3’s ability to reduce inflammation in the body (inflammation is a pre-cursor to cancer).

We recommend you speak with your health care practitioner regarding other measures you can take to promote your own personal health and well being. Creating a customized health care plan with your family physician will provide the tools you need to lead a long, healthy, happy life. We also recommend that you spread awareness within your family and community – awareness is can lead to healthier changes and, hopefully,

We also recommend talking about healthier living. While there is a lot of information about cancer, it is still important to continue to spread awareness. Positive information on healthy living could be the game changer in someone’s life that helps them avoid getting cancer in the future.

Citations

http://www.cancer.ca/en/about-us/fighting-since-1938/?region=on

http://www.cancer.org/aboutus/whoweare/cancer-awareness-calendar

http://www.cancer.org/acs/groups/content/@epidemiologysurveilance/documents/document/acspc-031941.pdf

http://www.webmd.com/cancer/news/20110123/us-has-7th-highest-cancer-rate-in-the-world

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/cancer-info/spotcancerearly/naedi/AboutNAEDI/Researchevaluationandmonitoring/naedi_cam/

http://www.canceractive.com/cancer-active-page-link.aspx?n=527

This entry was posted in: Awareness, Blog, Health.

World Autism Day

Three weeks ago was the sixth annual Autism Awareness Day on April 2, 2013. Though millions of Americans have heard the word ‘autism’, very few have an actual grasp on what autism actually is, or how it affects individuals and their families.

What is autism?

The official name of autism is actually ‘autism spectrum disorders’. This is because doctors include autism in a group of problems that affects children, such as Asperger syndrome. Autism spectrum disorders happen when a child’s brain develops differently and has difficulty making sense of their surroundings. Each day, our brains interpret the things we see, smell, hear, taste, touch, and experience. When a person’s brain has trouble interpreting these things, it can be difficult to talk, listen, understand, play, and learn.

Autism, kid looking far away without interesting

Presently, there isn’t a specific medical test that can diagnose autism. Specially trained psychologists, pediatricians, speech and language pathologists, occupational therapists and physicians develop and administer autism specific behavioral evaluations.

Parents are often the first to notice when their child is showing unusual or strange behavioral patterns such as failing to respond to his or her name, doing things in repetitive ways or not making eye contact. Because parents know their children deeply and instinctually, it is recommended that they follow their instincts and seek the advice and attention of a healthcare professional. It is also recommended that children are seen frequently up until the age of three to monitor developmental milestones.

Sometimes an autism disorder is diagnosed later in life because of learning, social or emotional difficulties. Diagnosis for adolescents and adults will often come as a relief to those struggling, and the families who support and love them. Understanding the source of personal difficulties will shed light on positive treatments and create opportunity for an improved quality of life.
While autism has a strong genetic basis, a lot of research is still ahead of us in order to completely understand the complexity of the disorder(s). Today, approximately 20 out of every 1,000 Americans are diagnosed with autism. The number of people diagnosed with autism has been increasing since the 1980s, partly due to changes in diagnostic practice and government-subsidized financial incentives for named diagnoses. Whether or not there are actually more people with autism than there was 30 years ago, is a question that remains unresolved.

A healthy lifestyle for quality of life

It is certainly recommended that people dealing with autism spectrum disorders, and their families, work closely with their health care teams to develop a customized health care plan that promotes a dynamic, healthy, quality life.

Doctors and Nurse

Naturally, leading a healthy lifestyle is crucial to holistic health for all Americans. For those coping with complex disorders such as autism, it is important to promote optimal health. Implementing healthy nutritional choices can be difficult as people with autism will often have strong reactions to food of specific flavors, colors, textures, and so forth. Exercise is also essential, as autism can encourage seclusion, and therefore a sedentary lifestyle.
It is also important to stay on top of vitamin, mineral and essential fatty acid intake. Omega-3’s for instance, are incredible when it comes to promoting cognitive function, feelings of personal well-being and self value and memory capabilities. There have also been various claims made regarding the positive impact omega-3’s can have on individuals with autism. We have provided a few examples regarding clinical research and studies that address the relationship between omega-3’s and autism.

  • Amminger et al. (2007) reported that omega-3 fatty acids reduced hyperactivity and stereotypy (in 13 5-17 year olds with ASDs and severe tantrums, aggression or self injurious behavior using 840mg EPA and 700mg DHA for 8 weeks)
  • Bell et al (2004) reported improvements in overall health, cognition, sleep patterns, social interactions and eye contact (in 18 children with autism given 372-744mg EPA and 116-332mg DHA for 6 months)
  • Johnson and Hollander (2003) reported the elimination of anxiety about everyday events (in one 10 year old given 540mg EPA for 4 weeks)

Autism spectrum disorders are extremely complex, and can’t be summed up in a single article. For those people reading this who are not directly affected by the disorders, we encourage awareness. Take some time to learn more about autism, as you never know when someone with autism could come and light up your life.

Citations

http://www.autismspeaks.org/what-autism/world-autism-awareness-day

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/info/autism/#.UXbkibXvswB

http://kidshealth.org/kid/health_problems/brain/autism.html

http://researchautism.net/autism_treatments_therapies_intervention.ikml?print&ra=60&infolevel=4

This entry was posted in: Awareness, Blog, Conditions and Disorders.

Understanding Celiac disease

May is Celiac Awareness Month in the United States. Many of us have heard of celiac disease, but with so many conditions, illnesses and diseases affecting Americans today, it’s hard to stay educated on the many points of illness or disease that attack our personal health and well-being.

It is important to understand different allergies, conditions and diseases in order to be aware of what could be affecting your body. We have provided the basics behind celiac disease for you below. Naturally, we do recommend further research. When it comes to promoting your long-term personal health and encouraging healthy lifestyle choices within your community – awareness is everything.

An Introduction to Celiac Disease

Gluten-FreeCeliac disease is defined as an autoimmune disorder that prevents a person from properly absorbing and digesting foods that contain gluten. Gluten is a protein found in foods Gluten-free symbolsources containing barley, rye or wheat. When a person is diagnosed with celiac disease, their body will respond to gluten based food sources by destroying something called villi, which is located in the small intestine. Villi are largely responsible for helping to absorb nutrients into the larger small intestine. Damage to villi therefore, will result in the inability to absorb essential nutrients into the bloodstream.

Common signs or symptoms associated with celiac disease can include, but are not limited to bloating, diarrhea, extreme abdominal pain, weight loss, delayed growth due to malnutrition, significant fatigue, and loss in bone density, numbness in the hands and/or feet and depression.

Most often, a health care practitioner will begin treatment for celiac disease by recommending a gluten-free diet. If you have noticed signs or symptoms that could be associated with celiac disease, it is certainly recommended that you speak with your health care practitioner. He or she will be able to conduct a series of tests in order to assess if indeed you are suffering from celiac disease, or if there are other changes that could be made to your daily nutritional regime to assist in comfortable, smooth digestion. Celiac disease is also genetic. All first and second-degree relatives should be tested for celiac disease when a family member is diagnosed.

The Gluten Free Diet:

A detailed breakdown of convenient gluten free decisions for your daily nutritional intake can be found through the Celiac Spruce Foundation.

Here is a list of four simple changes that can be introduced into your daily nutritional intake – without feeling like significant sacrifices to your regular meals!

Lean Meats and Other Sources of Protein

Protein intake is crucial to the personal health of absolutely everyone. The importance of protein increases for people on a gluten free diet. People suffering from celiac disease don’t often get enough protein. When we experience protein deficiencies we feel weak, malnourished, and fatigued. Because a person with celiac disease has difficulty with absorption of nutrients, it is important to boost protein intake to ensure your body is getting the essential nutrients it needs to function at its best. Keep in mind that complete proteins are high quality proteins. Meat, fish, eggs, and dairy are the most common sources of complete protein in people’s diets.

Meat and fish are especially important because they help make up for the lack of dairy in many celiac’s diets. Lactose intolerance and celiac disease will often coincide.

Lean meats are also high in essential nutrients like zinc, iron, and B12 all of which are especially important for you. For those following a vegetarian diet, fortunately, there are a number of gluten free foods rich in protein that are vegetarian friendly.

Eggs, dairy, gluten free tofu, and quinoa are great complete protein sources for vegetarians. Other vegetarian protein sources include nuts, black beans, lentils, and hemp protein powder.

Healthy-mealLegumes: Complex Carbohydrates Packed with Protein

When following a gluten free diet, it’s important to make sure we are still seeking out strong food sources of fiber. Fiber promotes intestinal health, works to balance cholesterol levels, and helps to stabilize blood sugar levels. Grains are the top source of fiber in America. For many celiacs, cutting out grains means cutting out most of the fiber in their diet. Legumes, like beans and lentils, are incredible replacements for gluten based grains. Like grains, legumes are stocked with complex carbohydrates and fiber. In fact, legumes are stronger than grains because they’re also loaded with protein! Beans and lentils are also excellent sources of calcium, potassium, vitamin B6, folic acid, and antioxidants. The nutrients found in legumes are vital when it comes to combating the weak nutrient absorption that is attached to celiac disease.

These nutrients are all very important to combat a damaged small intestine and weak nutrient absorption stemming from celiac disease.

Yogurt

Yogurt is considered a healthy good item but not many actually understand why. The key to the importance of yogurt when it comes to any autoimmune disorder is probiotics. Probiotics are the good bacteria in your intestine that are a must for digestive health and building up your immune system. Eat just a single yogurt per day and your intestine will thank you for it.

Veggies, Veggies, Veggies

Vegetables are literally jam packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and (sometimes) even essential fatty acids. Dark, leafy vegetables are the most nutrient dense of them all. Different vegetables have different benefits so it is best to try and eat a variety of vegetables on a daily basis. Try to include vegetables with very meal (even breakfast!).

Following a gluten-free diet has become popular among people who have not been diagnosed with celiac disease for various other health benefits such as weight loss.

At the end of the day, it’s all about finding the daily health care plan that works for you, and the needs surrounding your personal health. Above all else, we recommend that you work with your family physician, to develop the health care plan that best accommodates you and your family’s needs.

This entry was posted in: Awareness, Blog.