Defending against Colon Cancer

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Aug 222017
 
Defending against Colon Cancer

By Eugene L. Heyden, RN Colon cancer scares me.  Actually, all cancers scare me.  But colon cancer scares me an awful lot.  I’ve seen the damage it can do.  Perhaps you should be afraid of it, too. “Colorectal cancer remains the second leading cause of cancer mortality in the United States.”  (Orlich et al., 2015) Combined with rectal cancer, cancers of the colon are diagnosed in over 135,000 individuals in the United States each year.  This year, 2017, it is anticipated that over 50,000 individuals in the United States will die from colorectal cancer.  And before they lose their life, it is safe to say that the majority will experience the nightmare of chemotherapy and surgery.  A lot of death.  A lot of suffering.  That’s what colorectal cancer is all about. But there is some very good news to share.  With screening, typically by colonoscopy, we are finding precancerous lesions and early-stage cancers in the […]

Protecting the Heart: A Role for Vitamin D

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Jul 102017
 
Protecting the Heart: A Role for Vitamin D

  By Eugene L. Heyden, RN Vitamin D protects against Cancer.  Vitamin D protects against autoimmune disease.  Vitamin D protects against Alzheimer’s disease, against Parkinson’s disease, and against multiple sclerosis.  It protects against so many diseases.  So, why would it not protect against heart disease?  The answer is “it does.” “In the Health Professionals Follow-up Study, men with a high circulating level of vitamin D had half the risk of myocardial infarction as men with vitamin D insufficiency.”  (Kilkkinen et al., 2009, emphasis added) Heart disease, more formally referred to as cardiac disease, falls under the umbrella term cardiovascular disease (CVD).  Cardiac disease just happens to be our No. 1 killer.  And this killer will destroy approximately one out of three of us living here on planet Earth (Aleksova et al., 2015).  And yes, I’ve seen this killer in action. In my nursing career, I have spent nearly a quarter of a century in the […]

Ulcerative Colitis: Diet for Success

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Jun 092017
 
Ulcerative Colitis: Diet for Success

By Eugene L. Heyden, RN I can’t imagine living a life like this.  But perhaps you can.  I don’t have ulcerative colitis, but perhaps you do.  I think I heard someone say, “This is getting old.”  I think it was you.  Let’s see if we can help you out a little in your struggle against this disease. To sufficiently motivate you, the ulcerative colitis (UC) patient, I’ll need to start out a little on the negative side.  You’re not going to like this: Modern-day therapeutics for IBD have limited efficacy and are not without their danger.  (Weinstock and Elliott, 2009, emphasis added) “The current mainstays of IBD treatment are expensive anti-inflammatory and immunosuppressive drugs. Among those who can afford to be on treatment, approximately 40% are either unresponsive to any of the available drugs or cannot tolerate them. The chances that an IBD patient responds to medications and remains flare-up-free after 1 year on even […]

So Tell Me . . . What Are You Doing to Prevent Breast Cancer?

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Jun 022017
 
So Tell Me . . . What Are You Doing to Prevent Breast Cancer?

By Eugene L. Heyden, RN This needs to end.  One in eight women will deal with breast cancer at least once in their lifetime.  And you never know, the incidence of breast cancer may be on the rise.  As a post-surgical recovery nurse, I see it almost every day in my nursing practice.  I wish so many did not have to be so brave. In the earliest days of civilization, breast cancer was exceedingly rare.  In ancient Egypt, a mummy or two may have contracted the disease (before they became mummies), but that was about it. With the passage of time, the incidence of breast cancer steadily increased.  Of course, until modern times, most people died well before their fifties and sixties, and seldom made it to their eighties or nineties.  And if they did make it that far, they had to cheat by skipping their seventies altogether.  But times they have changed.  Thankfully, we […]

Coping with the Mental and Emotional Tolls of Cancer

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Jun 012017
 
Coping with the Mental and Emotional Tolls of Cancer

By Katybeth Dee Dealing with a cancer diagnosis and any subsequent treatments and procedures can be overwhelming.  Whether you’re a cancer patient who was just diagnosed or you’re a cancer survivor in remission, you must deal with mental and emotional toll of the diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Fortunately, there are healthy and meaningful ways to cope. Activities You Enjoy Spending some time writing about your cancer journey is another way to cope.  You can write an entire memoir, write poetry, or take a few notes throughout the day. No matter how involved you are, just engaging in the writing process will benefit you.  If words aren’t your cup of tea, you can paint, write music, or make any other artistic expression.  An artistic outlet will allow you to better comprehend and accept your diagnosis, treatment, and recovery. Writing and artistic expressions shouldn’t be seen as a distraction from cancer.  Instead, they’re a rewarding and meaningful […]

Multiple Sclerosis: The Next Frontier

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Apr 022017
 
Multiple Sclerosis: The Next Frontier

By Eugene L. Heyden, RN          It’s just a matter of time.  Things will click.  The future will arrive.  I hope we don’t have to wait long.  Something unexpected has occurred. “A growing body of evidence in animal models of MS implicates the gut microbiota [bacteria and the like] in the induction of central nervous system (CNS) autoimmunity.”  (Berer and Krishnamoorthy, 2012) There is growing suspicion that gut bacteria play a pivotal role in initiating and perpetuating the neuroinflammatory disease known as multiple sclerosis (MS).  In a laboratory model of MS, known as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the administration of non-absorbing antibiotics “beginning 1 week prior to sensitization, altered the composition of gut flora and, intriguingly, also ameliorated the development of EAE.”  (Yokote et al., 2008) That bacteria within the gut could influence a disease process occurring in the brain and spinal cord is, indeed, quite surprising.  In the not too distant […]

Six Tips for Keeping Your Family Healthy on a Budget

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Feb 282017
 
Six Tips for Keeping Your Family Healthy on a Budget

  By Katybeth Dee   Sometimes at the grocery store, it seems like there’s a choice to make: you can either save money and sacrifice nutrition or shop healthy and go over your weekly food budget.  Alas, there’s good news!  Keeping the whole family healthy on a budget is easier than most people realize.  Here are a few tips for those hoping to maximize their health and budgets at the same time:     Drink water Water is free, can be found at any establishment, and has zero calories.  It’s OK for you and your little ones to have juice and other specialty drinks every now and then, but look for easy opportunities to cut back. Instead of a soft drink with lunch, pack a (reusable) water bottle.  Drink a glass of water in the morning instead of a glass of juice. Simple switches can have big results.   Turn your scraps into supplies Make […]

So Cute. But I’m So Worried.

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Feb 202017
 
So Cute. But I’m So Worried.

By Eugene L. Heyden, RN   There’s a real story here. I don’t like it at all.  It’s a sad story—and not just a sad story.  It’s a tragedy. One by one, too many of our precious African American babies are off to a bad start in life.  And I know why.  I will tell you.  Unfortunately, this story is one of those never-ending stories, unless we do something about it.  I have something in mind. Likely, the story starts before birth. “It is well known that vitamin D deficiency is prevalent among pregnant women and pregnant women have significantly lower levels of 25(OH)D than nonpregnant control women.  Approximately two in three pregnant women in the United States have suboptimal vitamin D status, with an even higher prevalence among black and Mexican-American women.”  (Lerchbaum and Obermayer-Pietsch, 2012, emphasis added)  Vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy is fraught with danger.  This danger threatens women of any color, […]

What Will Happen to Me if I Don’t Get Enough Vitamin D?

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Feb 192017
 
What Will Happen to Me if I Don’t Get Enough Vitamin D?

  By Eugene L. Heyden, RN   I actually hate to tell the little guy.  It seems like I’m always dwelling on the negative.  But since he wants to know, I think I will tell him.  I owe it to him to be honest.  And he looks a little worried at the moment, don’t you think?  Did I mention his name is Jimmy? Well, little Jimmy, sadly, you are at risk for some very bad things.  Type 1 diabetes is a bad thing.  Crohn’s disease is a bad thing.  Multiple sclerosis is a bad thing.  (Soon, you will learn that a spanking is a bad thing.  I can’t help you there.) I know, I can’t shield you from every evil, but I may be able to shield you from some.  However, it won’t really be me.  More likely, it will be your mom or your dad, or both, who will be setting in motion something […]

As Always, There Are at Least Two in There

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Feb 192017
 
As Always, There Are at Least Two in There

By Eugene L. Heyden, RN   It’s quite obvious.  You’re having a baby.  We’re glad.  And we all want what you want—a healthy, happy baby.  However, with all the focus on baby—meeting his or her needs for proper development—we often overlook the needs of someone else.  You’re also having a placenta.  Yes, placentas are people, too.  And just like babies, placentas are part mom as well as part dad. Or course, the goal of this pregnancy is not to welcome a healthy, happy placenta into your loving arms.  The goal is to welcome a healthy, happy baby into your loving arms and take it from there.  However, a placenta that is abnormal may stand directly in the way.  Worst case, an abnormal placenta may take the life of the baby.  It may even take the life of the mother.  I’m fairly confident, this kind of placenta—one that has gone over to the dark side—is not […]