Sunday, November 15, 2015

Is Your Child Stressed?

Is Your Child Suffering from Stress?

I read an interesting article that children today are showing signs of stress. I couldn't believe what I was reading from a reputable health website that I frequent in my research. That is ridiculous that our children have to deal with something that has been in our adult life.

Stress can cause so many physical and mental illnesses and it's part of our everyday lives. So, that brings me to my original question, do you know if your child is suffering from stress?

Do You Know the Signs of Stress?

It can be hard to look at your child and wonder how they are affected by the elements of life. Stress is a big part of our adult lives! Adults surveyed by the "WebMD Stress in Children Consumer Survey" showed 1 out of every 5 parents surveyed rated their stress level at the maximum 10 out of 10. Our stress as adults will affect our children. How do you recognize stress in your child?
  • Arguing more with siblings or other children
  • Crying or whinning
  • Appear worried or anxious
  • Headaches
  • Stomachaches
  • Nightmares or trouble sleeping
  • Decreased appetite or changes in eating habits
The above list is probably not an exhausted list there may be other ways that your child is suffering from stress however, the above signs are the most common. In younger children don't say their stressed or can they explain what they're feeling but they just feel relaxed and happy. Physicians feel that there can be other symptoms that show up in the physical and behavioral if some of it might  be coming out in the physical and behavioral issues the parents are reporting.”
Whether parents realize it or not, stress among kids is common believe it or not!

I came across a great video and website that I would like to share with all of you. Visit and watch the video presented. Let me know with a comment on this post if it was helpful.

It can be very hard for a parent to hear their child articulate that their under stress. However, the stress may be coming out in their child's physical and behavorial issues that the parent has noticed. Did you know that 1  in 5 parents (20%) said that their child had undergone behavioral counseling or therapy. Amazing, that the statistics are so high for children. I just think about what will happen to those children that do suffer from stress at a young age when they become adults!
It makes sense that children go through stress because Adults have an enormous amount of stress. Let's look at some of the sources of stress that affect your child!

What Are the Sources of Stress?

Many studies have been conducted with parents and very interesting results are documented. Did you know that while about half of parents ranked school/homework (53%) and friends (51%) as the primary sources of their children’s stress, a key source of anxiety for children appears to be their environment at home. This really doesn't surprise me. Many families have been going through tough times and 60% of parents have reported at least one major stressful event has affected their family in the past year.

It's no wonder our children are suffering from stress their picking up on and absorbing our stress. The stress that adults endure is going to spill over onto our children. It's hard for parents to relax and spend time with our children with everything that is happening or that we're having to deal with on a daily basis. Wake up parents, you need to recognize that your stress levels are affecting not only you, but your children, too.”

One form of stress that our children may go through today is Bullying. An amazing 38% of parents reported that their children had experienced bullying or teasing in the last year. Kids who are bullied seem to be having a particularly hard time at home: 51% of their parents rate their stress levels an 8 or 10. This must stop and those that bully need to be stopped. So, parents if your child is bullying other children, you need to get help for your child.

Visit WebMD today and check out the full article about stress and your child!

Kids and Stress

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Sunday, January 25, 2015

What Do You Know About Alzheimer's?

What's Wrong with My Grandmother? Could it be Alzheimer's?

Hey, it's normal for all of us to be a little forgetful as we get older but when our loved ones become a little too forgetful it's time to check things out. So all I'm saying is we have to make sure that the "senior moment" we're having isn't anything more than just that a moment and not a bigger problem! How do we distinguish the difference between the two "senior moment or a serious problem like Alzheimer's disease? One amazing fact about Alzheimer's that I'll share with you is that one in eight people 65 and older have this horrible form of dementia. Now, the horrible beginning stages of Alzheimer's may not be noticeable to you, your family and friends but you do need to learn the signs. I'm sure you know someone or you have had someone in your family that was suffering from this horrible disease. So stay with me and read on so you too will know the signs and what to look for.

Do You Know the Warning Signs?

In the beginning stages of Alzheimer's, it's weird because the disease doesn't really affect our long-term memories which usually stay intact. It's our short-term memories that become a big blur. Now it doesn't mean that every time you or a loved one forgets a conversation or repeats a question that already has been answered, OMG it's Alzheimer's. This horrible disease will also disrupt speech, so there may be a struggle to remember simple commonly used words.

How Does it Affect Behavior?

Aside from a loss in memory, Alzheimer's can cause the person to be confused and their behavior can change as well. One thing that happens often is the person gets lost easily in familiar places. Where they live is a common issue with getting lost they can't find their way home or even remember how to get home! Talk about moody, the mood swings, poor judgment are also common behavioral issues along with poor hygiene. People who once represented with their style may start looking like they just got out of bed.

STOP! Are You Ignoring the Signs?

Now, I know first hand that it's difficult to face the fact that a loved one may have Alzheimer's, however it's always better to talk to a doctor sooner rather than later. First of all, it may not have anything to do with Alzheimer's after all. The symptoms could be caused by a highly treatable problem for example; thyroid imbalance. If it is Alzheimer's, treatments work best when they are used in the early stages of any disease.

How is Alzheimer's Diagnosed?

It is not an easy task for an Alzheimer's patient, the doctor will rely on you to describe the changes you've seen in your loved one. A mental status test that is given called a "mini-cog," or other screening tests used to help evaluate the patient's mental function and short-term memory. In addition, there are neurological exams and brain scans that are commonly used to rule out other problems, such as a stroke or tumor. Many different tests are used now to help provide other information about the brain.

How Does Alzheimer's Affect the Brain?

Alzheimer's disease causes nerve cell death and tissue loss throughout the brain. As the disease advances and becomes worse, the brain tissue shrinks and the ventricles (chambers within the brain that contain cerebrospinal fluid) become larger. The damage interrupts communication between brain cells which in turn cripples memory, speech, and comprehension.

What to Expect with the Disease?

Alzheimer's disease affects each of us differently. However, in some people the symptoms get worse quickly, leading then to severe memory loss and desperate confusion within a few years. In others, the changes may be more gradual and take 20 years to run its course. The average length of survival after a diagnosis of Alzheimer's is three to nine years. Catching the disease in it's early stages as stated earlier in this article is key to living longer and independently.

How Does the Disease Affect Our Daily Life
Alzheimer's affects our concentration, patients may lose the ability to control ordinary tasks like cooking or paying the bills. A study showed difficulty with balancing a checkbook is one of the first effects people afflicted with the disease find hard to do. As the disease progresses, your loved one will eventually not recognize you or their home. He or she may get lost easily, or use utensils improperly, such as combing their hair with a fork. In the advanced stages, the afflicted will not be able to control their bladder (incontinence), can have overall balance problems, and the ability to speak in the advanced stages.

Would You Let Your Loved One Drive with Alzheimer's? Well Don't!

An Alzheimer's victim has poor coordination, memory loss, and confusion which doesn't make for a good safe driver and is a combination that shouldn't be behind the wheel. If you feel your loved one should not be driving, explain why and if they are adamant in driving get the doctor involved immediately. If the patient still insists on driving, contact the Department of Motor Vehicles to alert them and they will give the person an assessment. Be sure to make an alternate arrangements for your loved one's transportation needs.

How Does Exercise Affect Alzheimer's?

It helps maintain some muscle strength and coordination which especially keeps the person moving and using their coordination. It has been found that exercise can improve your mood so this can make a huge impact in your loved ones life also keeping them independent longer. Check with your loved one's doctor to learn which types of exercise are the right types of exercise. It has been noted in studies that repetitive activities, such as walking, weeding, or even as simple as folding laundry may be the most effective at promoting a sense of calm.

What Medications are Used to Treat Alzheimer's?

It is a fact that at this time there isn't a cure for Alzheimer's disease, and currently no known cure to slow down the nerve damage within the brain caused by this horrible disease. But there are a variety of medications that appear to help maintain mental function and slow down the disease progression. If these treatments are given during the early stages of Alzheimer's, your loved one may be able to remain independent and carry out daily tasks for a longer period of time.

What to Expect in the Caregiver's Role?

As the caregiver of someone with Alzheimer's, you will probably wear many hats. Some of the easy tasks we do daily in our every day lives such as cook, accountant and their transportation. Anything that has to do with daily life tasks you will provide them or assist them when needed to complete these daily life tasks. While you may have to handle the person's household on the meal planning and finances, encourage the patient to do some activities independently. It may help to label cabinets with their contents and put up sticky notes with reminders of daily tasks. Be sure to buy a weekly pill box for medications.

What Are the Challenges in Caregiving?

In the early stages of Alzheimer's, patients often understand what is happening and may be ashamed or even anxious. Be sure to watch for these signs and also depression because these signs  can often be managed with medication and counseling. In the more advanced stages, your loved one may become paranoid or violent and could even turn on you. They love you, remember that it's the disease that is responsible for this change. Your loved one may not even realize what is happening to them at this point. Don't take it personal it's the disease continuing to progress. Always remember to report any changes to the doctor about violent behavior promptly.

What is the Sundown Syndrome?

This strange affect of Alzheimer's that is really misunderstood as to the cause but some people with Alzheimer's become distressed when the sun goes down. This agitation tends to last through the evening and sometimes all night. It's a true mystery but there are some strategies to ease the tension. Close the drapes or blinds prior to sunset and turn on all the lights if you have to that will keep the house well lit. Hey you know this person, maybe they have a hobby or a favorite movie or TV show. Try to distract your loved one, get their attention and move it to something they love.

How Will You Feel When Your Loved One Doesn't Recognize You?

It's horrible when your loved one no longer recognizes you! However, this is certainly where this horrible disease will lead them. It's difficult for someone with Alzheimer's to remember names even the name of close family members. One strategy that works to assist the person afflicted is to put pictures everywhere of their family and friends and be sure to label the pictures with the name of the person in the picture. This will help them during this stage of Alzheimer's but eventually, the patient may no longer recognize faces and may react to loved ones as if they are strangers. You must alert family and friends of this so they can be prepared to react appropriately. This can really be a distressing time for family members, especially the primary caregiver who is generally a very close family member or friend. My mother really went through a lot emotionally when my Grandmother didn't recognize her anymore. I know this is a horrible feeling and can make you depressed but you have to stay strong like my mother did and keep everything as normal as possible.

What are the Warning Signs of Caregiver Stress?

Caring for someone with Alzheimer's can be physically and mentally draining on the Caregiver. So, if you or someone you know is dealing with being a caregiver or watchman you must know that they will be suffering from extreme stress. Get to know the signs of stress so you can also assist  the caregiver who is a very special person to take on this role and needs support as well. Here is a list of the main signs to watch out for:

•Anger, sadness, and mood swings
•Headaches or back pain
•Difficulty concentrating
•Difficulty sleeping

How Do I Take Care of the Caregiver?

Because this role is essential to your loved one afflicted with Alzheimer's, avoid caregiver burnout and make sure you take at least a few minutes to do something you enjoy every day. Take some time out of your day to take of yourself. Set aside some "me" time to do hobbies, watch your favorite show or just take a quick nap whatever makes you happy. This will give you a break from the sadness and heartache of watching someone you love suffer. They don't really know their suffering but it has changed their life forever. Find a friend or relative to be your support person. There are many online sites and local community outreach programs or groups that you can join. The Internet can offer great forums to discuss what your going through and get assistance as well. Check out the support group through the Alzheimer's Association this is a great resource site for the disease.

What Choices Do You Have for Care?

We want to keep our independence as long as we can in life. There will come a time when 24 hour nursing care is essential. Studies show that many patients with Alzheimer's expressed the desire to remain in their home as long as possible. Again, keep their independence and live a normal life if possible. However, when afflicted with Alzheimer's this may be a difficult task when getting dressed or using the bathroom are difficult daily tasks and can't be done without assistance. The following are several options you can research:

Home Health Care- This benefit is generally offered in Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans. A Home Health Agency can offer a Home Health Aide to assist with personal hygiene and all of the daily tasks we have each and every day of our lives. There are also local services in your community to assist with nutrition, transportation and other needs. This level of care is for people that don't need 24 hour care and are still fairly independent.

Assisted Living Facilities- There will come a day when your loved one can no longer be cared for at home. This is a very difficult period and you should be prepared in advance for in order to smoothly transition your loved one through this stage of the illness. If he or she does not need 24-hour nursing care, an assisted-living facility may be an appropriate choice and is less expensive. ALFs provide housing, meals, and activities and is as close to living independently.
You want to do your research so you can place your loved one in a facility offering the best care or assistance. Finding a facility that has a special curriculum and care needed by someone suffering from Alzheimer's. Many of the facilities have a special unit for Dementia which is very closely related to Alzheimer's.

Hospice Care- During the final stages of Alzheimer's the care options are really limited to hospice care. Your loved one will eventually lose the ability to walk, talk, or respond to others. Consequently, the disease can inhibit vital functions, such as the ability to swallow. Hospice care provides pain relief and comfort to the terminally ill. You want your loved one to be as comfortable as possible in the last days of their life.

This is a good time to prepare children in their lives. Children have to cope with this loss and they don't really understand what is happening but know that someone they love is not going to be there much longer. Children may feel confused, afraid, or even resentful when a family member is affected by Alzheimer's. Let the child know these feelings are normal and answer his or her questions about the illness honestly. Always educate the child with the facts expressed in a way that they will understand what is happening. Help the child celebrate happy memories for example, by creating a scrapbook.

Is There Anything I Can Do to Reduce My Risk of Alzheimer's Disease?

If you're caring for a someone with Alzheimer's, you might be curious as to what you can do to reduce your own risk. Of course research in this area is ongoing, but diet and exercise appear to be key. Many Studies indicate a lower risk among people who eat a Mediterranean diet rich in vegetables, fish, and nuts. You should know by now if you read my health articles that eating right appears to be a main ingredient for most illnesses. It's true "We Are What We Eat"! Also studies suggest that those who are the most physically active are the least likely to get Alzheimer's.

So, there you have it! A little about one of those mystery diseases that can attack any one of us. Get busy now with putting your health plan together to stay healthy and fit. Below are some helpful links on the subject of Alzheimer's.
Come back soon to read, learn or just catch up with health information, tips and products. Leave a comment and let me know of health information you would like to read about. Who knows it may be the next topic of discussion on my blog! Thank you for visiting and like me on Facebook, check out my tweets and follow me. Share with your friends and family too!

Resource Links:

Alzheimer's Foundation

Alzheimer's Care Locator

Alzheimer's Caregiver Resources

Latest Alzheimer's News


Sunday, June 15, 2014

Gestational Diabetes: Do You Know What it is?

What is gestational diabetes?

We've been discussing Diabetes for several weeks now. We've reviewed what it is and how it effects adults as well as children. I'd like to discuss today how it effects pregnancy and especially your baby. 

If your blood sugar level first becomes too high when you are pregnant, you have gestational diabetes. It will usually go back to normal after the baby is born.

Having high blood sugar while pregnant can cause problems for you and your baby. Your baby could grow too large, which can make for a difficult delivery. This can cause your baby to have low blood sugar. Most women who have gestational diabetes are able to control their blood sugar and give birth to a healthy baby.

When women have had gestational diabetes they are at a higher risk than other women to develop type 2 diabetes. You may be able to prevent or reduce the degree of type 2 diabetes by staying at a healthy weight, eating healthy foods, and exercising.

What causes gestational diabetes?

As you know by now, the insulin helps your body use and store the sugar from the food you eat. This will keep your sugar level in a target range. When you are pregnant, the placenta makes hormones and can make it harder for insulin to work. As we reviewed previously this is called insulin resistance. While pregnant when the pancreas doesn't produce enough insulin, the sugar levels fall out of the target range. 

Should you be tested gestational diabetes?

The American Diabetes Association recommends that all women who have not already been diagnosed with diabetes be tested for gestational diabetes between the 24th and 28th weeks of pregnancy. The test used is the oral glucose tolerance test.

What are the symptoms?

It is important while pregnant that you get tested for gestational diabetes because this type of Diabetes may not cause symptoms. Often women are surprised when the test shows that they do have a high blood sugar level. This however could mean that you could have had another type of Diabetes that hasn't been diagnosed. Remember that gestational diabetes can cause problems for both you and your baby. Some of the symptoms of other types of Diabetes are as follows: You're thirsty and urinate more often, your appetite has increased and you can have blurred vision. 

Of course when you're pregnant you tend to urinate and feel hungry more often. So these symptoms don't always mean that you have diabetes. Talk with your doctor so that you can be tested for diabetes during pregnancy.

How is it treated?

Women with gestational diabetes can control their blood sugar level just like anyone diagnosed with Diabetes. As you know changing your eating habits and by exercising regularly. These healthy choices can also help prevent future incidents of gestational diabetes in future pregnancies. Making these life choices can also prevent type 2 diabetes later in your life.

Treatment for gestational diabetes also includes checking your blood sugar level and seeing your doctor regularly. You may need to take insulin injections to control your blood sugar. Keep in mind that the insulin will be added to the insulin your body natural makes as well. The most common medication for Diabetes used today is glyburide and metformin used for type 2 diabetes. Some doctors are using these 2 medications to treat women who have gestational diabetes. As always I recommend that you talk to your doctor. He/She will be able to discuss your options and treatment.

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Saturday, June 7, 2014

Mom's with Diabetic Children: What You Should Know!


Hey Mom's, Let's Take a Look at Some Facts!

Amazing but true that not that long ago, it was unusual to hear about a child with Type 2 Diabetes. If a child had Diabetes, it was thought to be Type 1. That is no longer true according to the Center of Disease Control(CDC). Statistics show that more than 186,000 people younger than age 20 have diabetes both Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes! How can you prevent this risk to your child's health? What can you do if your child is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes?

What You Should Know about Type 2 Diabetes

Today, as promised I would like to discuss Diabetes in children. We've reviewed previously how Diabetes develops when the pancreas stops making the insulin hormone. For Mom's with Diabetic children you play an important role in your child controlling his or her diabetes. It can be stressful for a child to learn how to manage their diabetes. Your child can live a long and healthy life if they learn to master controlling their diabetes. You will need to allow your child to do as much of the care as possible. Of course, even though your encouraging your child to take charge of this disease, you want to always give your child support and guidance.

Your child needs to understand that managing diabetes is keeping blood sugar levels in a specific range. There are several ways to keep diabetes "in check" in order to accomplish control over this disease. Your child will need to have insulin, watch what they eat (carbohydrate intake) and exercise. Another tool used to manage your child's blood sugar level is a glucometer. The glucometer is a must and should be part of your child's daily routine.

It is important for you to know that the longer he or she has Diabetes the higher the risk for problems with eye disease, heart, blood vessels, nerves and their kidneys. Children don't have these other problems usually in childhood however if your child doesn't control Diabetes, it can lend to problems later on in their life. Therefore, they need to start early so they can prevent these other issues associated with Diabetes from developing. They will have to always manage their Diabetes in order to live a long and healthy life.

What Is Type 2 Diabetes?

We've previously discussed Type 2 Diabetes in an adult but there is a difference in that the cells in a child's body are resistant to the effects of insulin therefore, glucose will build up in their bloodstream. This can lead to dangerous levels of glucose in their body. Especially over time, it will cause the body to become less able to handle all of that glucose in the bloodstream. When these high levels occur they cause other complications like blindness, kidney failure and heart disease.

What Are the Risk Factors for Type 2 Diabetes in Children?

It is so important for Mom's to know what the risk factors are for their children with Type 2 diabetes and how it can effect them as well. Mom's can help control this disease by creating an overall healthy diet and good eating habits. Children at high risk for Diabetes are those that are overweight. Other factors are as follows: Family history, females, and specific ethnic groups such as American Indian, African-American, Asian, or Hispanic/Latino. Most children are diagnosed with Diabetes at the beginning of puberty. During puberty a developmental stage, the insulin resistance is higher.

What is the greatest risk factor for Type 2 Diabetes in Children? 

I bet you can guess which factor listed above is the single greatest risk factor for type 2 diabetes in children none other than excess weight. In the U.S., almost one out of every five children is considered to be overweight. When your child is overweight, they increase their chances greatly of developing Diabetes. One in five! The statistics are astounding in the number of children that have this disease. Hey, wake up a big contributor is what we eat. Give your child an upper hand in beating their odds of developing Diabetes with a healthy diet. Contributing factors that lead to excess weight are unhealthy eating patterns, Lack of physical activity, inherited trait, a hormone problem or other medical condition. We can make a difference in prevention by eating healthy and setting a good example. Just like adults, Type 2 Diabetes in children has been linked to excess abdominal weight. This is an obesity pattern that increases the chance of insulin resistance and risk of Type 2 Diabetes.

Do You Know What the Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes in Children Are?

The symptoms develop slowly so their hard to notice in your child. You may not notice any of the symptoms until you eventually notice one or more of the following symptoms: Unexplained weight loss, they're eating like a lion even after eating and always thirsty. They can have dry mouth and urinate more often, they tend to be very tired and can have blurred vision. Does your child heal slowly in that it takes forever for him/her to heal from minor sores or cuts, have itchy skin, numbness or tingling of the hands or feet? These symptoms are very common in Diabetic children. If you see these symptoms in your child it would just be a good idea to take your child to their regular Pediatrician or Family Doctor.

Now that we've covered a little about the big D word, let's chat about our next interesting health topic. Get ready this Wednesday, June 11th for a gastrointestinal illness! I'm keeping it a secret you'll have to visit to read about it. Subscribe and get great health information, tips and products delivered to your inbox. Share with your friends and family too.