Saturday, May 27, 2017

Foods that Help Multiple Sclerosis

I am a big believer that our symptoms for our autoimmune disorders can be relieved by our diet. Today I'm looking at the foods that are healing for MS.
  • Prune Juice
  • Berries
  • Artichokes
  • Nuts
  • Papaya
  • Fish
  • Cranberry juice
  • Water
Multiple Sclerosis Cheat Sheet 

 Foods can help ease symptoms such as fatigue, constipation, urinary tract infections and problems chewing and swallowing. Discuss these nutrition tips with your doctor or nutritionist: High-fiber. Prune juice, raspberries, strawberries, and broccoli. Eat foods rich in antioxidants. Oranges, carrots, papaya, olive oil, nuts and seeds. Dark green vegetables. Sweet potatoes and orange orange vegetables. Nuts and seafood. Increase fluid intake. Cranberry juice.

Foods to Avoid

  • Sugar
  • Salt
  • Wheat, barley and rye
  • Cold cereals
  • Trans fats - margarine
  • White rice, white bread
  • Pastries, cookies, cakes
  • Cow's Milk
  • Red Meat

Lifestyle Adjustments

  • Avoid caffeine.
  • Eat small, frequent meals.
  • Don't skip breakfast.
  • Avoid problem foods.
  • Eat foods with a higher moisture content.
  • Don't smoke.
  • Exercise.
  • Rest.
  • Watch your weight.

Friday, May 26, 2017

What is Addison's Disease?

Addison's disease results when your adrenal glands are damaged, producing insufficient amounts of the hormone cortisol and often aldosterone as well. These glands are located just above your kidneys. As part of your endocrine system, they produce hormones that give instructions to virtually every organ and tissue in your body.

  Approximately 140 people out of every million are affected by Addison's Disease

Approximately 140 people out of every million are affected by Addison’s disease. President John F. Kennedy had Addison’s disease as did his sister Eunice Kennedy Shriver. Other well-known people who had this rather rare disease include Dr. Thomas Addison (for whom the disease was named), singer Helen Reddy and artist Ferdinand Louis Schlemmer. Even writers Jane Austen and Charles Dickens were suspected of having the disease.

Primary adrenal insufficiency

Addison's disease occurs when the cortex is damaged and doesn't produce its hormones in adequate quantities. Doctors refer to the condition involving damage to the adrenal glands as primary adrenal insufficiency. The failure of your adrenal glands to produce adrenocortical hormones is most commonly the result of the body attacking itself (autoimmune disease). For unknown reasons, your immune system views the adrenal cortex as foreign, something to attack and destroy.

Secondary adrenal insufficiency

Adrenal insufficiency can also occur if your pituitary gland is diseased. The pituitary gland makes a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH), which stimulates the adrenal cortex to produce its hormones. Inadequate production of ACTH can lead to insufficient production of hormones normally produced by your adrenal glands, even though your adrenal glands aren't damaged. Doctors call this condition secondary adrenal insufficiency. Another more common cause of secondary adrenal insufficiency occurs when people who take corticosteroids for treatment of chronic conditions, such as asthma or arthritis, abruptly stop taking the corticosteroids.

What are the main adrenal hormones and why are they important?

What are the main adrenal hormones and why are they important?

Cortisol is one of the glucocorticoid hormones produced by the adrenal glands. Cortisol is used by almost every single organ and tissue in the body. It helps the body respond to stress. It also takes care of and maintains heart and blood vessel function and keeps blood pressure controlled. It helps to regulate metabolism and use food efficiently in the body. Cortisol slows the immune system’s inflammatory response to help protect against bacteria, viruses, and harmful substances in the body. 

Cortisol is ultimately controlled by the hypothalamus and the pituitary glands. The hypothalamus sends out CRH to the pituitary gland, which sends ACTH to the adrenal glands and stimulates cortisol production. Once cortisol levels have reached the required level, a message is then sent back to both the hypothalamus and the pituitary to decrease their hormones.

Aldosterone is a hormone belonging to the mineralocorticoid family that is also produced by the adrenal glands. This hormone helps with blood pressure control and at the same time helps to balance our sodium and potassium levels. When aldosterone is not secreted in the correct amounts, the body can lose too much sodium and retain too much potassium.

Sodium in the blood affects both blood volume and blood pressure. Having too little sodium in the body causes the condition hyponatremia, which usually leads to symptoms of feeling fatigued and confused with muscle twitches. Too much potassium can lead to hyperkalemia which has no symptoms but may sometimes produce irregular heartbeats, nausea, and a weak pulse.

Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) is also produced by the adrenals and is used to make androgen and estrogen (male and female sex hormones). Men get most androgens from the testes and women get most of their estrogen from the ovaries. When adrenal insufficiency exists, the glands may not make enough DHEA.

  common symptoms of addison's disease or adrenal insufficiency

The most common symptoms of adrenal insufficiency include:

  • Chronic fatigue
  • Muscle weakness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss

Other symptoms of the disease may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Low blood pressure that may cause dizziness or fainting with standing
  • Irritability and depression
  • Headache
  • Sweating
  • Skin darkening on scars, skin folds, lips, elbows, knees, knuckles, toes, and mucous membranes of the cheek. This hyperpigmentation occurs only in Addison’s and not in secondary adrenal insufficiency.
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar)
  • Craving salty foods
  • Irregular or nonexistent menstrual periods
  • Loss of interest in sex in women

Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Benefits of Lavender

The health benefits of lavender essential oil include its ability to eliminate nervous tension, relieve pain, disinfect the scalp and skin, enhance blood circulation and treat respiratory problems. The Latin name of lavender is Lavare, which means “to wash”, due to its aroma which has a particularly clean aroma.

7 Healing Benefits of Lavender

Lavender oil benefits your body in the following ways:

  • Reduces anxiety and emotional stress
  • Heals burns and wounds
  • Improves sleep
  • Restores skin complexion and reduces acne
  • Slows aging with powerful antioxidants
  • Improves eczema and psoriasis
  • Alleviates headaches
Lavender Linen Spray Recipe -  


Wednesday, May 24, 2017

3 Natural Solutions to Reduce Stress for Crohn's Disease

Like other  autoimmune disorders Crohn's Disease is one that stress plays a part in the flares and inflammation. Stress can be reduced with natural solutions. If we can keep our flares at bay by eating right, exercising, reducing stress and using essential oils, I think we should do it. 

3 Natural ways to Reduce Stress for Crohn's Disease -

Stress Reduction

Stress plays a part in our daily lives. Living with stress causes problems in everyone's overall health, but for those of us who have autoimmune disorders we need to find ways that will reduce our stress so we can extinguish our flares.
  3 Natural Ways to Reduce Stress for Crohn's Disease -

3 Natural Ways to Reduce Stress
  • Exercise regularly — Regular exercise helps expel built-up tension, stress hormones and clears the mind. Exercise helps to release endorphins, the brain’s natural feel-good chemicals. My go to exercise is walking and light resistance training.
  • Take a deep breath  Try deep breathing for a few minutes every day to reduce chronic muscle tension and spasming that can contribute to cramping. Managing stress in similar ways with a combination of deep breathing or mind-body exercises can help manage Crohn’s disease symptoms.
  • Schedule relaxation — Write it down on your calendar, and stick to it. Make time at least once a week or once a day to do something that refreshes you. Maybe that is talking a walk in the park. Watching a movie or reading a book may refresh you. You may have a favorite sport or outdoor activity that you love. How about a bubble bath? Whatever it is, take the time. Let your family know that you are taking some "me" time.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Arthritis means inflammation in a joint. That inflammation causes redness, warmth, swelling, and pain within the joint. Rheumatoid arthritis affects joints on both sides of the body, such as both hands, both wrists, or both knees. This symmetry helps to set it apart from other types of arthritis. RA can also affect the skin, eyes, lungs, heart, blood, or nerves.

How Does It Affect the Body?

Immune system cells move from the blood into the joints and joint-lining tissue, called synovium. Once they arrive, those immune system cells create inflammation, which wears down cartilage (the cushioning material at the end of bones). As the cartilage wears down, the space between the bones narrows. As it gets worse, the bones could rub against each other. Inflammation of the joint lining causes swelling and makes fluid build up within the joint. As the lining expands with inflammatory cells, it can produce substances that damage the bone. All of these things cause the joint to become very painful, swollen, and warm to the touch.

  Arthritis Diet

The Arthritis Diet

The best approach to food for people with RA – or anyone else – is a well-balanced diet which, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, should be centered on plant-based foods. Approximately two-thirds of your diet should come from fruits, vegetables and whole grains. The other third should include low-fat dairy products and lean sources of protein.

Foods That Help Fight Rheumatoid Arthritis

Be sure your diet includes such cold-water fish as herring, mackerel, trout, salmon and tuna. Although there may be no magic elixir, the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are the most promising anti-inflammatory in food, says Ruth Frechman, registered dietitian and spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association.

Studies have shown that fish oil can relieve tender joints and ease morning stiffness. It has also allowed some people to reduce the amount of conventional medication they take for RA. Servings of fish provide about one gram of omega-3 fatty acids per 3½ ounces of fish. If you choose to try fish oil supplements, talk to your doctor about a dosage. People with RA can often take a higher level of fish oil than is recommended for the general public, but there can be side effects. Higher doses of fish oil may interact with certain drugs, including those for high blood pressure.

Increasing your intake of fiber from fruits, vegetables and whole grains may also help reduce inflammation. Studies show that adding fiber to the diet results in lower levels of C-reactive protein (CRP) in the blood; CRP is an indicator of inflammation.

Extra-virgin olive oil may also help reduce inflammation, in the same way that a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) such as ibuprofen or aspirin can – it contains a compound called oleocanthal that blocks the enzymes that cause inflammation. Instead, use the oil as an alternative to other cooking oils and butter.


Monday, May 22, 2017

What is Multiple Sclerosis?

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body.

  What is Multiple Sclerosis Infographic

More common symptoms

  • Fatigue

    Occurs in about 80% of people, can significantly interfere with the ability to function at home and work, and may be the most prominent symptom in a person who otherwise has minimal activity limitations.
  • Walking (Gait) Difficulties

    Related to several factors including weakness, spasticity, loss of balance, sensory deficit and fatigue, and can be helped by physical therapy, assistive therapy and medications.
  • Numbness or Tingling

    Numbness of the face, body, or extremities (arms and legs) is often the first symptom experienced by those eventually diagnosed as having MS.
  • Spasticity

    Refers to feelings of stiffness and a wide range of involuntary muscle spasms; can occur in any limb, but it is much more common in the legs.
  • Weakness

    Weakness in MS, which results from deconditioning of unused muscles or damage to nerves that stimulate muscles, can be managed with rehabilitation strategies and the use of mobility aids and other assistive devices.
  • Vision Problems

    The first symptom of MS for many people. Onset of blurred vision, poor contrast or color vision, and pain on eye movement can be frightening — and should be evaluated promptly.
  • Dizziness and Vertigo

    People with MS may feel off balance or lightheaded, or — much less often — have the sensation that they or their surroundings are spinning (vertigo).
  • Bladder Problems

    Bladder dysfunction, which occurs in at least 80% of people with MS, can usually be managed quite successfully with medications, fluid management, and intermittent self-catheterization.
  • Sexual Problems

    Very common in the general population including people with MS. Sexual responses can be affected by damage in the central nervous system, as well by symptoms such as fatigue and spasticity, and by psychological factors.
  • Bowel Problems

    Constipation is a particular concern among people with MS, as is loss of control of the bowels. Bowel issues can typically be managed through diet, adequate fluid intake, physical activity and medication.
  • Pain

    Pain syndromes are common in MS. In one study, 55% of people with MS had "clinically significant pain" at some time, and almost half had chronic pain.
  • Cognitive Changes

    Refers to a range of high-level brain functions affected in more than 50% of people with MS, including the ability to process incoming information, learn and remember new information, organize and problem-solve, focus attention and accurately perceive the environment.
  • Emotional Changes

    Can be a reaction to the stresses of living with MS as well as the result of neurologic and immune changes. Significant depression, mood swings, irritability, and episodes of uncontrollable laughing and crying pose significant challenges for people with MS and their families.
  • Depression

    Studies have suggested that clinical depression — the severest form of depression — is among the most common symptoms of MS. It is more common among people with MS than it is in the general population or in persons with many other chronic, disabling conditions.