Health and Disease, Lifestyle

WHAT IS DEPRESSION? REALLY!

What Is Depression, Really?

images (9)It’s normal to experience sadness. (Who didn’t cry when Simba couldn’t wake up Mufasa?) But unlike typical sadness or grief, time can’t and won’t heal Major Depressive Disorder (MDD), the term for clinical depression, which most people just call “depression.” It’s a common mental health condition that shows up like an unwanted houseguest and refuses to leave. This extended period of sadness or emptiness comes with a constellation of other symptoms, like exhaustion, sleep trouble, a shrinking appetite, overeating, sudden crying spells, and sometimes thoughts of suicide. Symptoms range in severity and must last for two weeks or more to receive an MDD diagnosis, though it’s rare than an episode would only last for that short time. Most people have symptoms for six months to a year, and sometimes, they can last for years.

Depression statistics including age of diagnosis, percentage who do not receive depression treatment, number of americans who experience depression, chance of having a second depression episode, and depression as the leading cause of disability

Without treatment, depression won’t fade away on its own. Even if you do white-knuckle it through your first episode of depression, your chance of another recurrence is more than 50 percent. If you’ve had two episodes, that chance shoots up to 80 percent. Meaning, you’re going to want to deal with this sooner rather than later.

One hallmark of depression is an inability to experience pleasure, which is literally no fun. Losing interest in things you once enjoyed often means that your capacity to function at work and home takes a dive. In fact, depression is one of the leading causes of disability in the U.S., as 7.2% of Americans—17.7 million people—experience Major Depressive Disorder, each year.

Other Types of Depression

We talked about MDD (a.k.a. depression) but there are other types of depression. They include:

  • Persistent Depressive Disorder. This is a chronic form of depression, formerly known as dysthymia. Sometimes people call it “high functioning” or “smiling” depression. While symptoms aren’t as severe as MDD, they last for two years or longer. People with PDD might feel like they’ve always been depressed. (In cases of “double depression,” people experience severe episodes of MDD within their usual state of chronic depression.)
  • Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD). Depression symptoms start and end seasonally, around the same times every year. Most people get depressed in cold, dark winter, but some people’s mood plummets in summer.
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD). Here, depression symptoms are tied to the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle, starting about one week before your period and ending just after your period. Though many of the symptoms mirror PMS—irritability, high anxiety, frequent crying—they’re much more severe. They interrupt your ability to work, destroy personal relationships, and can lead to thoughts of self-harm and suicide. This condition was added in 2013 as a form of depression to the DSM-5, the official guide of mental disorders.
  • Peripartum Depression. New mothers with this disorder typically develop symptoms of depression and even psychosis within a few weeks of giving birth. It used to be called postpartum depression and many people still use the term interchangeably. (In some cases, symptoms start during pregnancy; other times, when the baby is several months old—hence the name change.)
  • Perimenopausal Depression. In midlife (specifically, the years leading up to menopause), people experiencing this disorder have typical depressive symptoms plus perimenopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats.
  • Substance/Medication-Induced Depressive Disorder. Substance abuse (alcohol, opiates, sedatives, amphetamines, cocaine, hallucinogens, etc.) or taking some medications, like corticosteroids or statins, can trigger the symptoms of depression. If substance use (or withdrawal from using) is causing your symptoms, you may have this version of depression.
  • Disruptive Mood Regulation Disorder. A child with this juvenile disorder is grumpy and bad-tempered most of the time. They have severe, explosive outbursts with parents, teachers, and peers several times a week. Their overreactions are extreme and inconsistent with their developmental level.

Depression strikes people at a median age of 32, but it’s important to remember that depression can happen to anyone, at any age, of any race, gender, or political affiliation. One out of every six adults will experience depression at some time in their life. Fortunately, depression is treatable. That’s why, at the first hint of symptoms, it’s important to make an appointment with a mental health professional who can help determine whether you have depression, and if so, which type—and most importantly, which treatment is appropriate for you.

What Causes Depression?

You’re not going to like this answer, but no one knows for sure. That said, for the past few decades, the prevailing theory is that depressed people have an imbalance in their brain chemistry—more specifically, low levels of neurotransmitters like norepinephrine, epinephrine, and dopamine, which help regulate mood, sleep, and metabolism. We now know it’s a little more complicated than that.

Certain circumstances put people at a higher risk of depression, including childhood trauma, other types of mental illness and chronic pain conditions, or a family history of depression, but anyone can get depressed.

Scientists informed by decades of research believe that the following factors also up your risk of becoming depressed, but they can’t prove causality. Still, they can play heavily in the development of depression, so it’s important to be aware of them:

  • Genetics. Research shows that having a first-degree relative with depression (a parent, sibling, or child) makes you two-to-three times more likely to have depression tendencies.
  • Traumatic life events from childhood, such as abuse or neglect.
  • Environmental stressors, like a loved one’s death, a messy divorce, or financial problems.
  • Some medical conditions (e.g., underactive thyroid, chronic pain). Per science, the relationship between these physical conditions and depression is bidirectional, so there’s a chicken-or-egg thing going on because they feed each other.
  • Certain medications, including some sedatives and blood pressure pills.
  • Hormonal changes, like those that come with childbirth and menopause.
  • Gut bacteria. There has been a link established between the microbiome and the gut-brain axis, but it’s only just starting to be studied.

Do I Have the Symptoms of Depression?

Wondering whether your feelings qualify for clinical depression? Those with MDD experience five or more of the below symptoms during the same two-week period, and at least one must be depressed mood or loss of pleasure. The symptoms would be distressing or affect daily functioning.

  1. You feel down most of the time.
  2. The things you liked doing no longer give you joy.
  3. Significant weight loss (without dieting) or weight gain or feeling consistently much less hungry or hungrier than usual.
  4. Having a hard time getting to sleep and staying asleep or oversleeping.
  5. A molasses-like slowdown of thought, becoming a couch potato, or spending days in bed. (This should be noticeable to others, not just subjective feelings of restlessness or slothiness.)
  6. So. So. Tired. You’re so exhausted you can’t even.
  7. Feeling worthless a lot of the time, even if you haven’t done anything wrong.
  8. Being super distracted, indecisive, and unable to concentrate.
  9. Recurrent thoughts of death or suicide(with or without a specific plan to actually do it). If you need help for yourself or someone else, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
6 Symptoms of Depression graphic

How Do Doctors Diagnose Depression?

When you’re having a depressive episode, it might feel like you’re destined to feel terrible forever. That’s not true. It’s just what your depressed brain wants you to think. The hardest step is ignoring that feeling and making an appointment with a doctor and/or mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. A mental health professional is the only expert that can help you figure out if you are depressed.

Unfortunately, there’s no easy blood test that can determine if you have depression, though that would make diagnosis a lot easier. (Get on it, science!) The DSM-5 helps clinicians make that call with a targeted list of common symptoms. To be diagnosed with MDD, patients must experience five or more of the above symptoms (see “Do I Have the Symptoms of Depression?”)—one must be depressed mood or loss of pleasure—during a two-week period.

Even if your symptoms match up to MDD, though, your doctor should rule out any underlying medical causes first. Some conditions, such as thyroid disease and vitamin deficiency, can mimic symptoms of depression. Next, consider any medications you’re currently taking.
If this sounds like you or someone you know, make an appointment with a mental health professional. Now. Don’t wait! What’s the worst thing that can happen? If you feel better by the time the appointment rolls around, you can always cancel it. If you don’t, you’ve saved yourself precious time (and unnecessary pain) by taking steps to managing your mental health.

What Are the Best Treatments for Depression?

Regardless of why you’re depressed, it’s important to get treatment before the condition starts to erode your quality of life. Studies and surveys show that most adults in the U.S. who screen positive for depression remain untreated. Don’t be one of them.

As scientists continue to hash out theories about the root causes of depression, research shows that the most effective treatment is a mix of psychotherapy, medication, and lifestyle changes. It might take a (frustratingly long) while to find the right recipe —antidepressants work differently in different people so finding the right fit often takes some trial and error. Plus, the mental health professional you’re working with will be by your side. They won’t give up and neither should you. Some of the treatment options available are:

Psychotherapy

This doesn’t mean you’ll find yourself reclined on a couch, complaining about your relationship with your mother (though it might). A psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, or licensed clinical social worker might use a variety of techniques to help change the negative thinking, beliefs, or behaviors that exacerbate your depression and make your world seem hopeless. Types of therapy include psychodynamic therapyCognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT), and interpersonal therapy.

Medication

*WARNING – TRY EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU TRY MEDICATION.  YOU COULD LOOSE YOUR JOB, AND MAKE IT MORE DIFFICULT TO GET ANOTHER ONE.  ALSO, YOU WILL HAVE TO TURN IN ALL YOUR GUNS, YOU CAN NOT WORK WITH CHILDREN AND MANY OTHER RESTRICTIONS NOW APPLE.

Your depression might require more than coaching. Doctors may prescribe medication including antidepressantsmood stabilizers, and/or antipsychotic pills in order to decrease the symptoms of depression. These include:

  • SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) like Prozac (fluoxetine), Paxil (paroxetine), and Zoloft (sertraline) and SNRIs (serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors) like Cymbalta (duloxetine) and Effexor XR (venlafaxine) make neuro-transmitters serotonin and norepinephrine already existing in the brain more available.
  • TCAs (tricyclic antidepressants) like Tofranil (imipramine) and Norpramin (desipramine) and MAOIs (monoamine oxidase inhibitors) like Emsam (selegiline) and Marplan (isocarboxazid) are first-generation antidepressants that work similarly on neuro-transmitters, but they’re used less often because of unpleasant side effects.
  • Doctors may also use atypical antidepressants like Zyban or Wellbutrin (bupropion) or Remeron (mirtazapine) that affect serotonin, norepinephrine, and dopamine levels in ways unique from other anti-depression drugs. Or they may add atypical antipsychotics, a.k.a. second-generation antipsychotics like Seroquel (quetiapine) or Abilify (aripiprazole). They’re “atypical” in that they affect dopamine and other neurotransmitters without the physical side effects, such as tics and tremors, that first-generation antipsychotics can cause.
Common Depression Treatments graphic

Brain Stimulation

For treatment-resistant depression that doesn’t get better after exhausting psychotherapy and more than two classes of antidepressants (such SSRIs and TCAs), there are more hardcore options. Severe depression may warrant electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), which you might remember from One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Fear not—modern ECT is safe, performed under anesthesia, and much less aggressive than you see in the movies.

There is also repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) which some docs refer to as “ECT Lite”. For severe depression, some people receive vagus nerve stimulation (VNS), a surgical implant that works kind of like a pacemaker, sending electric pulses to the brain.

Other Treatment Approaches

These may include:

  • For severe, treatment-resistant depression, the FDA recently approved esketamine, a nasal spray based on the party drug/anesthetic ketamine. Experts say it works by kicking up production of glutamate, a neurotransmitter that helps prompt the brain to form new neural connections.
  • Sadness during seasonal depression (SAD) can be alleviated with melatonin-regulating light therapy.
  • Postpartum depression may be treated with Brexanolone (Zulresso), an IV version of the body’s own neurosteroid allopregnanolone.
  • Research shows that lifestyle changes like incorporating exercise and mindfulness can amplify results of medication and therapy. Even if they aren’t foolproof mood-lifters, it never hurts to build a health-supportive routine.

Where Can I Find Depression-Related Communities?

The thing about depression is that it makes you want to roll yourself into a blanket burrito and never come out. But shutting out the world can make an already-bad situation worse by giving you free reign to neglect your needs, ruminate over your perceived flaws, and destroy any chance of forward momentum. Along with therapy and medication, finding supportive people—and connecting with them online and in real life—is a key part of taking care of yourself. Here’s where to start.

Top Depression Instagrammers and Bloggers

  • Tonya Ingram, @tonyainstagramtonyaingram.com

Follow because: She has one hell of a way with words—after all, she is a poet and author. She also battles some pretty heavy stuff like depression, lives as a “lupus legend” (her words—we love) and is currently waiting on the sidelines for a kidney transplant. She takes it all day by day and shares how she gets out of bed, looks herself in the mirror, and figures out how to simply… survive.

  • Scott Ste Marie, @depressiontoexpressiondepressiontoexpression.com

Follow because: Immediately, he sounds like someone you want to be friends with, someone whose vibe you want to channel. A former Twitter employee and now public speaker, Scott isn’t going to guide you on some path to a complete cure—nor is he going to sugarcoat the realities of living with depression. In order to overcome your demons, Scott believes you have to come to terms with the fact that sometimes life sucks, and that’s okay.

  • Kevin Hines, @kevinhinesstorykevinhinesstory.com

Follow because: You know the saying “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger”? Kevin Hines is living proof. He is the only person ever to survive a suicide attempt from the Golden Gate Bridge. After a sea lion kept him afloat, he was reborn as someone who now devotes his life to making sure you’re here tomorrow—which is why he regularly uses the hashtag #beheretomorrow.

  • Lola, Gina, and Nora Tash, and Nicole Argiris, @mytherapistsaysmytherapistsays.ca

Follow because: Sometimes the only way to come out of a deep dark hole is with the universal language of laughter. These girls (mostly family or like family) create endless hilarious memes that represent the real trials and tribulations of living in today’s social media-infested world. The point of it all? So you know that, as they put it, “you’re never alone and never as batshit as you think.”

  • Sad Girls Club, @sadgirlsclub

Follow because: It’s not your typical reel of inspirational quotes and nod-worthy memes — though, those are sprinkled in, too. Mostly, this feed—run by women of color (including founder @elyse.fox)—gives you actual advice on how to cope with depression, especially in modern-day situations, like discussing mental health at work (hashtag awkward). This feed gives you the ammo you need to shut down stigma.

  • Kate Allan, @thelatestkate

Follow because: Animals make everything better — especially when they’re paired with a quirky drawing and an all-too-familiar feeling. A wolf that speaks to your soul; a fox that gives you all the feels; and a bird who tells it like it is. Run by artist, author, and anxious human Kate, this page (and the cute animals that live there) is a feel-good must-follow.

  • The Sad Ghost Club, @theofficialsadghostclubthesadghostclub.com

Follow because: Nathan, Lize, and Helen are besties—or, ghosties, as they refer to themselves—who came together to share life with mental illness from behind the computer screen. These ghosts don’t sugarcoat things, but they’re also not gloom and doom. You’ll be hooked on their graphics and positive (but not overly earnest) messages.

Top Depression-Related Podcasts

  • The Hilarious World of Depression. Stand-up comedy meets a psych appointment when actors and comedians struggling with depression tell their (surprisingly funny) mental health stories to “professionally depressed” host John Moe.
  • Terrible, Thanks for Asking. Author Nora McInerny, who has dealt with depression, isn’t afraid to ask the awkward questions, as real listeners share their own tales of coping with grief, despair, and anxiety.
  • Jen Gotch is OK…Sometimes. Ladyboss CEO and ban.do founder Jen Gotch gets vulnerable and real every week, sharing her struggles with mental health.
  • Happier with Gretchen Rubin. It’s no surprise that the author of The New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project has tons of suggestions to help you emerge from your sad cave, build positive habits, and create a happier outlook. Her slightly skeptical sister Elizabeth Craft keeps all that sunshine in check.
  • Anthologies of Hope. You’re here, and you’re reading this, so that in itself proves that you haven’t given up hope. But it’s not just that you are here—it’s why you’re here. This podcast dives even deeper into that “why” and tries to bring that to the forefront of your mind instead of the other garbage trying to pull you down. Host Rick Osowski, who has battled depression, brings a variety of guests into the fold to talk about their why.

Top Depression Support Groups and Non-Profits

  • Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA). This nonprofit is dedicated to the prevention, treatment, and cure of anxiety, depression, OCD, PTSD, and co-occurring disorders. Come here for new research, monthly webinars from mental health experts, educational infographics and stats, and a Find-a-Therapist database you can search by disorder. You can always find (free) support on the ADAA Online Peer-to-Peer Support Group or support group iOS app for iPhone.
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI). This nonprofit mental health advocacy group offering free education and support programs such as NAMI Peer-to-Peer (eight free sessions for adults with specific mental health conditions). You can also connect with other folks who have depression on this org’s online message boards and via NAMI Connection (use the site to find a weekly or monthly recovery group near you).
  • Reddit, r/depression. Reddit is the hideously under-designed social website for anonymous users with a bad rep for attracting “incels” and “neckbeards.” The self-proclaimed “Front Page of the Internet” has memes, conspiracy theories, and thousands of communities called subreddits—and some of them are quite lovely. For example, the r/depression subreddit is over a decade old with more than half a million subscribers. In here, the vibe is all about empathy, support, and helpful feedback. (A recent study even found that visiting the subreddit caused a “positive emotion change” in users.)
  • Talkspace. More like “safe space.” It’s online, it’s private, and it’s “open” 24/7. Over 1 million people use Talkspace to get matched up with one of their 5,000+ licensed therapists and then message them…as much and as often as they’d like. There are different packages depending on your needs, but the instant feedback and comfort is pretty much priceless.
  • Sad Girls Club. This is a nonprofit, an online community, and an Instagram handle (see above) focused on the millennial and Gen Z experience of mental illness (depression, anxiety, or something undiagnosed all count). They host meetups IRL where you can connect with similar people and try a cool twist on art therapy like a poetry slam or embroidery class.
  • To Write Love on Her Arms (TWLOHA). It’s not just a nonprofit — it’s a movement. Online, at in-person events, through social media and blogs, TWLOHA creates a place for hope and healing through depression, addiction, self-injury, and suicide. People who attend their events and join this community have said they’ve felt transformed. Worth a try, yea?
  • We are in this Together!

    -People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-

    Health and Wellness Associates

    EHS Telehealth

    DR MARK WILLIAMS MD  BC-PSYCH

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Health and Disease

ADD GUM DISEASE TO THE LIST OF RISK FACTORS FOR COVID 19

ADD GUM DISEASE TO THE LIST OF RISK FACTORS FOR COVID 19

images (9)Keep flossing: A new study finds that gum disease may raise the chances of hospitalization or death if COVID-19 strikes.

The reason? Gum disease can be a sign of inflammation throughout the body.

“It is well-established that systemic inflammation is not only linked with periodontal disease, but to several other respiratory diseases as well,” explained Dr. James Wilson, president of the American Academy of Periodontology.

“Therefore, maintaining healthy teeth and gums in an effort to avoid developing or worsening periodontal disease is absolutely crucial in the midst of a global pandemic like COVID-19, which is also known to trigger an inflammatory response,” Wilson said in an academy news release.

News Picture: Add Gum Disease to List of Risk Factors for Severe COVID-19

In the study, researchers compared COVID-19 patients in Qatar who had severe complications — including assisted ventilation, admission to intensive care and death — and those without severe complications.

Of the 568 patients, those with periodontitis — the most severe form of gum disease — were at least three times more likely to have severe COVID-19 complications.

The researchers also found that COVID-19 patients with periodontitis had increased levels of biomarkers (including white blood cell levels, D-dimer, and C-reactive protein) associated with worse COVID-19 outcomes.

The study, by Nadya Marouf of the Oral Health Institute, Hamad Medical Corporation in Doha, Qatar, and colleagues was published online Feb. 1 in the Journal of Clinical Periodontology.

Systemic inflammation is a symptom of COVID-19, and can also be a symptom of gum disease, the researchers noted.

The findings show the importance of good oral care during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the academy.

Gum disease can cause bleeding gums, bad breath and, if untreated, can lead to tooth loss. Up to half of U.S. adults aged 30 and older have some form of gum disease, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Previous research has linked gum disease to serious conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

We are in this Together!

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-

Health and Wellness Associates

EHS Telehealth

DR ANNE SULLIVAN – ONCOLOGIST

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More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health explains how to prevent gum disease.

SOURCE: American Academy of Periodontology, news release, Feb. 3, 2021

Health and Disease, Lifestyle

BREAST CANCER IN YOUNG WOMEN IN ON THE RISE

BREAST CANCER IN YOUNG WOMEN IS ON THE RISE

download (1)Breast cancer death rates are inching up in American women under age 40 again, after more than two decades of decline, researchers say.

The study authors said they hoped their new report would lead to a deeper look at reasons for the change.

“Our hope is that these findings focus more attention and research on breast cancer in younger women and what is behind this rapid increase in late-stage cancers,” said lead author R. Edward Hendrick. He’s a clinical professor of radiology at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, in Aurora.

Hendrick’s team used data from the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics to examine breast cancer death rates in 10-year age subgroups.

Between 2010 and 2017, breast cancer death rates for 40- to 79-year-old women fell between 1.2% and 2.2%, depending on age, the analysis found. While the rates rose for younger women, the 0.5% per year increase for women between 20 and 39 years of age was not considered statistically significant.

But it is, nonetheless, worrisome, Hendrick said in a news release from the Radiological Society of North America.

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He projected that the death rate among younger women would increase significantly over the next two to three years.

The researchers attributed the changing death rate to an increase in cancers that have spread beyond the breast, also known as “distant-spread” or metastatic cancer.

Since 2000, rates of distant-spread breast cancer rose more than 4% per year in 20- to 39-year-old women. That was much higher than for women over 40.

Overall, breast cancer death rates dropped by 40% between 1989 and 2017, according to the study. The researchers attributed that decline to better treatment and increased use of screening mammograms.

While screening is offered to women aged 40 and older for early breast cancer detection, it is not done for women younger than 40 unless they are known to be at high risk.

Breast cancer is the second most common cause of cancer deaths in U.S. women. Most invasive breast cancer occurs in women aged 40 and older, but 4% to 5% of cases happen in younger women, according to the study authors.

How to prevent most breast cancers.   Stop eating dairy products, especially yogurt.  Also, remove your microwave from above the stove.  

 

We are in this Together!

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-

Health and Wellness Associates

EHS Telehealth

 

DR ANNE SULLIVAN – ONCOLOGIST

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SOURCE: Radiological Society of North America, news release, Feb. 9, 2021- JOURNAL OF RADIOLOGY

 

 

Foods, Health and Disease

HWA – APPLE CAKE – VEGAN AND GLUTEN FREE

Apple Cake

Vegan and Gluten Free

This apple cake is gluten-free, vegan, and is not filled with all that white sugar that lot’s of baking has.  It is my kind of cake. The only sweeteners in it are a little rice syrup and stevia which is actually food for us.  It is also egg free and dairy-free too which is important as eggs and milk are not good for me. And it is delicious.

Apples – Your mom didn’t use the term superfood but she knew about apples. “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” was the first nutritional advice I and many children heard from their moms. For this reason, we call them “the first superfood.”

Coconut oil is actually very good for us. In tropical climates like Polynesia, Sri Lanka and the Yucatan where they have a diet high in coconut oil, the people are healthier, have less heart disease, cancer, and colon problems than unsaturated fat eaters. It is now accepted that there is good cholesterol and there are good saturated fats. 

As I don’t use sugar for my baking I often use stevia / TRUVIA which is the healthy option. The stevia plant is incredibly sweet and also incredibly good for you. The leaf is 30 times sweeter than sugar while extracts are 300-400 times sweeter. The best stevia will, therefore, be the one that retains some whole food value and is water-based. Liquid forms will be less processed.

When we think of cinnamon we usually imagine delicious pastries or a hot drink but cinnamon is also full of health benefits. These benefits are backed by valid scientific research. It is helpful from lowering “bad” HDL cholesterol levels to lowering blood sugar levels. This is for sure a valuable superfood to be included in our diet. At the bottom of this recipe, there are many recipe links for you. All of them are favourites of mine created in my kitchen.

Arrowroot is well tolerated by food-allergic people, even those with multiple allergies. High nutritional properties that enhance baking performance. It has a chewy texture and increased browning capabilities.

Brown rice syrup is made from cooked brown rice, which is fermented by adding enzymes to turn the starches in the rice into sugars. Brown rice syrup is absorbed easily into our system, leaving less for fat accumulation in contrast with regular sugar. It is a complex sugar thus takes longer to digest and does not create the sugar high that the simple sugars do.

Brown Rice Flour has become a staple in my wheat-free baking adding fiber and nutrition.  It assists in weight loss, helps reduce cholesterol, and balances energy.  It is low cost and adds a somewhat dry gritty crumbly texture.

Potato Flour is high in fiber and protein and is a fine creamy white-yellow powder.  It is made from dehydrated whole potatoes and is a healthy substitute for xanthan gum or guar gum. Cautions: Don’t confuse with potato starch. Use much less.  Do not use potato flour if you are prone to kidney or bladder problems, on have been on a keto diet for more than three months. 

Apple Cake Gluten-Free Vegan with Cinnamon Recipe

 
This apple cake is gluten-free, vegan, and is not filled with all that white sugar that lot’s of baking has.  It is my kind of cake. The only sweeteners in it are a little rice syrup and stevia which is actually food for us.  It is also egg free and dairy-free too which is important as eggs and milk are not good for me. And it is delicious.
 
coconut butter icing This has coconut butter icing. 
 

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups fresh apples Use 1/2 cup of sliced apples for the top
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil or coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup rice syrup
  • 1 tsp Stevia
  • 4 Tbsp chickpea or soy flour
  • 1 cup brown rice flour
  • 1/2 cup potato flour
  • 1/2 cup arrowroot starch
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2/3 cup water or 1/2 cup if you like a drier cake.
  • 3 tsp cinnamon

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 375º F.
  • Oil and lightly flour a 8” X 8” cake pan.
  • Chop 2 cups of apples into one inch pieces.
  • Sprinkle the apples with 2 tsp of cinnamon.
  • Slice 1/2 a cup of apples into slices to decorate the top of the cake.
  • Blend the vegetable oil, rice syrup, and water in a blender.
  • Mix flours, baking powder and sea salt in a separate bowl.
  • Add the chopped apples to the dry flour mixture.
  • Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients.
  • Mix quickly.
  • Immediately pour the batter into a cake pan.
  • Decorate the top of the cake with apples.
  • Sprinkle 1 tsp cinnamon on top of the apples.
  • Bake at 375º F. oven for 35 To 40 minutes.

Coconut Butter Icing

1/3 cup Coconut oil
1/3 cup Rice syrup
1/2 cup Almond meal
1 Tbsp Arrowroot powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Cream together coconut oil and rice syrup.
  2. Mix in vanilla, almond meal, and arrowroot.
  3. Ice cake after it is cool.

We are in this Together!

-People Start to Heal The Moment They Are Heard-

Health and Wellness Associates

EHS Telehealth

 

DR ANNE SULLIVAN – ONCOLOGIST

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Lifestyle

HWA – TALC PRODUCTS CONTAIN ASBESTOS

News Picture: Some Talc Products Contain Asbestos: Study

Nearly 15% of talc-based cosmetic products analyzed in a recent study contained asbestos.

Environmental Working Group (EWG)

an American advocacy nonprofit that commissioned the tests and did the analysis — said methods used by the cosmetics industry to screen talc supplies are inadequate. The voluntary testing method developed by industry is not sensitive enough to screen for asbestos when compared to electron microscopy, the group said.

“Many well-known brands use talc in body and facial powders that can be inhaled,” said Nneka Leiba, an EWG vice president.

She noted that EWG’s online database has identified more than 2,000 personal care products that contain talc, including more than 1,000 loose or pressed powders that could pose an inhalation risk.

“It’s troubling to think how many Americans have been using talc-based cosmetics products potentially contaminated with asbestos,” Leiba said in an EWG news release.

The analysis was published Nov. 25 in the journal Environmental Health Insights.

The Scientific Analytical Institute conducted the tests, using electron microscopy to analyze samples. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration does not require testing talc supplies.

“It is critical that the FDA develop a rigorous screening method for talc used in personal care products,” said Sean Fitzgerald, head of the Greensboro, N.C.-based institute. “The lab repeatedly finds asbestos in products made with talc, including cosmetics marketed to children. It’s outrageous that a precise method for testing personal care products for the presence of asbestos exists, but the cosmetics industry isn’t required to use it.”

Fitzgerald’s lab tested 21 samples of powder cosmetics, including eye shadow, foundation, blush, face and body powders.

Talc is often used in cosmetics as a filler or to improve texture or absorb moisture. Talc and asbestos can be formed in the same rocks that are mined for both cosmetics use and industrial use. The federal government does not require that cosmetics be tested for asbestos, instead encouraging companies to select talc mines carefully to avoid asbestos contamination, according to the study.

In May, Johnson & Johnson announced it would end the sale of its talc-based baby powder in the United States and Canada. Thousands of people have filed lawsuits against the company, claiming the product caused cancer, the study said.

“Inhaling even the tiniest amount of asbestos in talc can cause mesothelioma and other deadly diseases, many years after exposure,” Tasha Stoiber, a senior scientist at EWG, said in the release. “How much talc is inhaled — and how much is contaminated with asbestos — is hard to know, but it only takes one asbestos fiber, lodged in the lungs, to cause mesothelioma decades later.”

EWG reports that exposure to asbestos is linked to asbestosis, mesothelioma, and lung and ovarian cancer.

Based on federal data, the EWG Action Fund estimates that up to 15,000 Americans die each year from asbestos-triggered disease.

In March 2019, Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), introduced legislation that would require warning labels on cosmetics that could contain asbestos and are marketed to children.

EWG called for Congress to pass legislation mandating rigorous testing of talc-based personal care products.

 

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Lifestyle

COVID 19 PANDEMIC IS HARMING KIDS MENTAL HEALTH

News Picture: Is the Pandemic Harming Kids' Mental Health?

Since last April, hospital emergency rooms across the United States have seen a sustained surge in visits related to the mental health of school-aged kids, a new report reveals.

The findings suggest the COVID-19 pandemic is taking a toll on children because of disruptions to their everyday life, anxiety about illness and social isolation. That conclusion comes from a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention review of data on hospitals in 47 states. Those hospitals account for nearly three-quarters of emergency department visits nationwide.

The study tracked emergency visits involving children under age 18 who sought care for a mental health issue between Jan. 1 and Oct. 17, 2020.

“Our study looked at a composite group of mental health concerns that included conditions that are likely to increase during and after a public health emergency, such as stress, anxiety, acute post-traumatic stress disorder and panic,” said lead author Rebecca Leeb, a health scientist at the CDC in Atlanta who is part of its COVID-19 Response Team.

“We found that from March through October, the proportion of mental health-related emergency department visits increased 24% for children aged 5 to 11, and 31% among teenagers aged 12 to 17 years, compared to 2019,” Leeb said.

Pediatric mental health visits actually dropped off dramatically from mid-March to mid-April, when stay-at-home orders were in effect in much of the country. Since then, however, such visits have steadily increased, according to the report.

But Leeb said interpreting the numbers is not straightforward.

On the one hand, she said even the large jumps seen in the report likely underestimate the total number of pediatric mental health emergencies. “Many mental health care encounters occur outside of emergency departments,” Leeb explained.

But additional research indicates emergency department visits as a whole dropped significantly between January and October. And that, Leeb said, might mean that “the relative proportion of emergency department visits for children’s mental health-related concerns may be inflated.”

Regardless, Leeb said the findings show that many kids’ mental health was sufficiently concerning to prompt ER visits at a time when the public was being discouraged from using emergency departments for anything but the most critical care.

As such, the findings “highlight the importance of continuing to monitor children’s mental health during the pandemic to ensure access to mental health services during public health crises,” Leeb said.

The study did not set out to identify specific reasons for emergency visits and Leeb said figuring that out requires more study.

But past research shows that the lost sense of safety and disruption to daily living that often accompanies disasters is a common trigger for stress. And that stress, in turn, can lead to isolation and trigger mental health emergencies, Leeb said.

This is not surprising, according to psychologist Lynn Bufka, senior director for practice, research and policy at the American Psychological Association.

“These are stressful times for many and stress can exacerbate mental health concerns,” Bufka noted. “Previous research indicates that a portion of children do have adverse outcomes from traumatic events, and this pandemic is no different.”

Bufka pointed to the wholesale uprooting of kids’ routines and structure, both in terms of school and socializing.

“Children’s play is one way children explore and understand their world, so not being able to play with friends gives them fewer outlets for fun, but also just fewer general opportunities to cope and explore,” she explained.

Kids may also pick up on parents’ stress, which can magnify their own fears.

“All of this has an impact on children and how they understand their world and interpret the events around them,” Bufka said. Some kids adapt more easily; others will struggle. For youngsters with existing mental health problems, the current stresses will add to them.

But parents and other adults can do a lot to support kids and help those who are struggling.

On that front, Leeb advised parents to foster a supportive environment and learn about behavior that signals kids are under mounting stress. The CDC has a number of helpful resources, she said, including an online primer on talking with your child about the coronavirus.

Leeb and her colleagues published their findings in the Nov. 13 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

 

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Health and Disease

HWA – Covid 19 – WHAT HAPPENS ONCE YOU LEAVE THE HOSPITAL – Physical and Mental Conditions can Linger for Months After Covid Recovery

Patients who survive severe Covid 19  after being hospitalized are not necessarily home-free upon discharge, new research warns.

News Picture: 'A Struggle:' Physical, Mental Ills Can Linger Months After COVID Recovery

After tracking outcomes among 1,250 Covid 19 patients for two months after being released from the hospital, investigators found that nearly 7% ultimately died in the weeks following their release, while 15% ended up being readmitted to the hospital. Many others said they continued to struggle with symptoms and were unable to resume their usual lifestyle or return to work.

“COVID is not a ‘one-and-done’ disease,” said study author Dr. Vineet Chopra, chief of the division of hospital medicine with Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor. “Rather, there are many complications and consequences that patients continued to struggle with,” he said.

“Our findings suggest that we need to approach post-hospitalization COVID care differently,” Chopra said. “Yes, there are medical needs. But there are also more pressing needs in terms of mental well-being, financial and emotional stress, being able to regain independence, [and] return to work. We need policy and programmatic approaches to help with these issues.”

Among an initial pool of about 1,650 seriously ill covid 19 patients, nearly one-quarter died while undergoing treatment in 38 hospitals across the United States. Investigators focused on the remaining 75% who were discharged at some point between March and July 2020.

On average, released patients were 62 years of age. A little more than half were Black and just over one-third were white. While hospitalized, about 13% had spent part of their time in the intensive care unit (ICU), 6% had been on a ventilator and 70% had been treated with supplemental oxygen.

Nearly 500 patients participated in a follow-up phone survey 60 days out. By that point, nearly one-third said they experienced persistent symptoms; nearly one in five said they experienced new or worse symptoms after release; and about 40% were unable to resume their normal routines. Only about one-quarter said they had been able to return to work, according to the report.

Roughly half said their poor health had a mild or moderate effect on their emotional state of mind. And about half said covid 19 had taken a mild or moderate hit on their finances, with about 10% saying they had used up all or most of their savings.

“In general, we know very little about what happens to patients following discharge from the hospital,” Chopra acknowledged.

“I think we were also surprised to hear of how much of a struggle life after COVID has been for many of the survivors,” he noted. And while acknowledging that some of that struggle might be shared with survivors of other serious illnesses, Chopra stressed the unique challenges covid 19  survivors face.

“Unlike other serious illness when you have support from family, many post-COVID patients found themselves alone, isolated [or] quarantined, experiencing stigma and challenges accessing health care again,” Chopra said. “This is especially true for the vast majority of patients we saw from inner-city areas who were often economically disadvantaged to begin with.”

The findings were published online Nov. 11 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Dr. Colin Franz, a physician/scientist with the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab in Chicago, said the finding that stands out for him is that even two months after being released from the hospital many of the patients remained unable to return to work.

Franz pointed to a number of likely reasons why, including “persistent fatuque, brain fog as well as neuromuscular problems stemming from nerve and muscle damage.” Though not part of this study, Franz’s own research has further identified a risk for enduring peripheral nerve and muscle damage that is higher than what’s typically seen among patients coming out of the ICU following other types of illnesses.

The upshot, he said, is that there is an “extreme risk of persistent disability for survivors of covid 19 who required hospitalization.”

Franz noted that some of that disability may ultimately be linked to the risks associated with being hospitalized and undergoing treatment for any serious illness. “For example, patients who spend a long time on a ventilator for reasons other than COVID-19 tend to be very debilitated afterwards,” he said. Figuring out which lingering health issues are directly attributable to the coronavirus will take more investigation, he added.

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SOURCES: Vineet Chopra, MD, MSc, associate professor, medicine, and chief, division of hospital medicine, Michigan Medicine, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Colin Franz, MD, PhD, physician/scientist, Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, Chicago, and assistant professor, physical medicine & rehabilitation and neurology, Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago; Annals of Internal Medicine, Nov. 11, 2020, online

Foods

HWA WILD BLUEBERRY BUCKLE

WILD BLUEBERRY BUCKLE

Wild blueberries are the star ingredient of this incredibly tasty buckle cake. With a moist cake base, bursts of flavorful wild blueberries, and a sweet and buttery streusel topping that is made with coconut oil instead of butter, this cake recipe is hard to beat. Plus, it’s gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, and vegan, making it a great choice for a healthier cake that doesn’t compromise on flavor.

Wild blueberries are one of the most effective heavy metal detoxing foods and are also the most powerful brain food in existence. They are also the most potent prebiotic there is, and a star at restoring the liver.

Wild Blueberry Buckle Cake

Ingredients:

Streusel topping:
1/4 cup gluten free oat flour
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1 tbsp coconut sugar
1 1/2 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp melted coconut oil

Cake:
1 cup gluten-free oat flour
1 cup brown rice flour
2 tbsp potato starch
2/3 cup coconut sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup unsweetened almond milk or light coconut milk
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup melted coconut oil
1 tsp alcohol-free vanilla extract or vanilla powder
1 cup frozen or fresh wild blueberries (or regular fresh blueberries if needed)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Line an 8 or 9 inch springform baking tin with parchment paper. Set aside.

Make the streusel by combining the oat flour, brown rice flour, and coconut sugar in a small bowl. Whisk until uniform, then pour in the maple syrup and coconut oil. Rub the wet ingredients into the dry until you get a crumbly mixture. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the oat flour, brown rice flour, potato starch, coconut sugar, baking powder, and baking soda. Whisk until uniform and lump-free.

In another bowl, whisk together the almond milk, applesauce, coconut oil, and vanilla until uniform. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry. Stir until evenly mixed. The batter should be very thick but pourable. Add a bit more flour or milk if needed to get this consistency. Gently fold in the wild blueberries. Pour the batter into the prepared baking tin and top with the streusel. Bake for 45-50 minutes, until browned on top and toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Cool for 5 minutes in the baking tin, then gently remove and place on a wire rack to cool completely. Best enjoyed on the day of baking.

Serves 6-8

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Health and Disease

HWA 12 FOODS THAT HELP HEAL SHINGLES

12 FOODS THAT HELP HEAL SHINGLES

12FoodsShingles (2)

In the medical world, shingles seems like an open-and-shut case. You’ve got a patient with the textbook rash, nerve pain on the side or back, and that’s all, folks. The truth is that the shingles virus is responsible for millions of people’s mystery symptoms, from rashes that confound dermatologists to neurological symptoms like twitching, tingling, burning, spasms, chronic migraines, headaches, and much more. Varieties of shingles are responsible for Bell’s palsy, frozen shoulder, diabetic nerve pain, colitis, vaginal burning, burning in other areas, TMJ, Lyme disease, sciatic pain, and even misdiagnosed MS.

Many doctors don’t yet know is that there isn’t merely one type of shingles virus, but over 30 varieties. This matters because different types of shingles cause different symptoms. It also matters because medical communities don’t even recognize the majority of shingles cases as being the result of a virus. For example, any of the more aggressive varieties of shingles can cause Lyme disease symptoms yet doctors currently believe Lyme disease is caused by bacteria from a deer tick.

Certain foods can greatly aid the body in healing from shingles varieties with and without rashes. They can help by, variously, attacking the different strains of the virus, supporting the body in recovery from neurotoxin flare-ups, boosting the immune system, healing nerves and stimulating nerve growth, soothing inflamed skin, and detoxifying the body. Below you will find 12 of the foods that help heal shingles. Include them daily or as often as possible.

Celery juice’s subgroup of sodium that I call “sodium cluster salts” inhibit the growth of shingles (and other pathogens). The sodium cluster salts also attach themselves to the viral neurotoxins that are responsible for so many neurological health issues and carry them out of the body safely so that nerves are less exposed to shingles damaging neurotoxins. The unique form of vitamin C in celery juice fuels the immune system so it can seek out and destroy shingles.

Wild blueberries help restore the central nervous system and flush shingles neurotoxins out of the liver. They also help remove toxic heavy metals from the brain and liver, which shingles virus feeds on and then produces neurotoxins which cause many symptoms and conditions. Wild blueberries smaller than their larger, cultivated cousins and can be found in the freezer section of many grocery stores.

Papaya’s amino acids and enzymes combined create undiscovered subcompound phytochemicals that repel viruses. Its vitamin C content is an antiviral secret weapon and also helps cleanse and rebuild the liver where the shingles virus camps out. Papayas also restore the central nervous system from viral neurotoxin damage, which is critical for shingles-caused symptoms or conditions. Look for the Mexican and Central American papaya variety known as Maradol. These medium-to-large papayas are preferable to Hawaiian varieties, which have suffered GMO contamination.

Apples starve out viruses from the intestinal tract and liver. As the pectin from an apple moves through your gut, it collects and rids your body of viruses and other microbes such as bacteria, yeast, and mold. Choose red-skinned apples for the most nutrients.

Pears revitalize and feed the liver while cleansing and purging the organ of shingles virus waste matter. Pears restore linings in the gut that have become damaged from the shingles virus. The shingles virus feeds off of milk, cheese, butter, and eggs and then excretes toxic waste that breaks down the intestinal linings over time.

Artichokes help cleanse the liver of neurotoxins and dermatoxins produced by viruses such as the shingles virus. The edible portion of artichoke leaves (technically, bracts) contains alkaloid compounds that send messages to specific parts of your immune system to guard you from invaders such as shingles.

Bananas are a powerful antiviral food with incredible anti-inflammatory properties due to their ability to lower viral load. They provide amino acids and the right kind of potassium to rebuild neurotransmitters after they’ve been burnt out by shingles’ neurotoxins. Bananas are a secret weapon in reversing colitis, which is caused by the shingles virus–a truth still unknown to medical research and science.

Sweet potato helps cleanse and detox the liver of shingles virus toxic byproduct that builds up over the years and makes the liver stagnant and sluggish. They also help to feed the nerves, which are greatly affected by the shingles virus because shingles virus neurotoxins are highly inflammatory to nerves.

Spinach creates an alkaline environment in the body and provides highly absorbable micronutrients to the nervous system, which is critical because EBV targets the nervous system when it gets to stage four .  Spinach binds onto and removes the jelly-like EBV waste matter in the liver that can contribute to mystery weight gain, mystery heart flutters and more. Spinach is best eaten raw to receive its benefits.

Asparagus has phytochemicals in the skin and tips of its spears that push back shingles and help stop it from reproducing. Asparagus is also an incredible alkalizer, meaning it helps anyone who has become acidic with a load of troublemakers like shingles and its byproducts return to a healthy state. Asparagus has blood-, lymph-, and liver-purifying properties that make it an ideal food for helping to detoxify viral byproduct sludge.

Lettuces (varieties that are leafy and deep green or red) are antiviral. They help cleanse shingles from the liver and lymphatic system and are alkalizing to the body. Lettuces such as romaine contain sedative compounds that relax the nerves and calm the body, which is helpful for anyone with a viral symptom or condition that inflames the nerves.

Green beans contain anti-inflammatory chlorophyll-based compounds that are beneficial for any symptom or condition caused by shingles.

Contact us to learn how to prevent shingles!

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DR PATRICIA CARROTHERS

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Health and Disease

HWA SIGNS OF ECZEMA IN CHILDREN

SIGNS OF ECZEMA IN CHILDREN