Support for Bone Health

Support for Bone Health

Have you ever thought about if you have strong and healthy bones? Do you have concerns about breaks or fractures as a result of a fall or injury? Maybe you have a bone related health illness and want to know how to prevent or reverse the disease? Supporting your bone health can advance your overall health and wellness by improving your balance, posture, strength, power, agility and energy. Yes, this can all be done by having healthy eating habits or a medication. But what if there was another scientific way that allows you to grow and support healthy bones without pain, soreness or fatigue?

I had the privilege to speak with Caryn Semelka- Part Owner, Manager and Certified Session Coach of OsteoStrong Garden City, located in Long Island, NY where she uses science and technology to help people improve their bone health to attain a better quality of life.

Q: What is Osteostrong?
A: OsteoStrong is for people of all ages. It’s a unique place where you can go to improve your overall health by focusing on the foundation of your body: your skeletal system. It’s a scientifically-advanced, non-invasive, non-pharmaceutical, skeletal strengthening system.

Q: What is the science behind the Osteostrong method and how did it get started?
A: OsteoStrong is based on a principle called “osteogenic loading.” It has been known for over 100 years that the way to strengthen the skeletal system is with pressure. Through scientific research it was discovered that the stimulus, or amount of pressure, required to trigger growth of healthy bone tissue, known as “osteogenesis,” was 4.2 multiples of an individual’s body weight. This is an extraordinary amount of pressure and for most people isn’t possible to achieve. But, OsteoStrong has developed a unique system that allows for just about anyone at any age to safely experience the pressure of 4.2 times their own body weight and much more.

Q: What are the benefits of participating in Osteostrong?
A: People who are participating in this system right now are seeing rapid improvements in their physical performance. Individuals are also experiencing increased bone and muscle density, increased energy and strength, improved posture, agility, flexibility and balance. Additional benefits are a reversal or elimination of joint and back pain, an avoidance or reversal of osteoporosis and an avoidance or reversal of Type 2 Diabetes.

Q: What occurs during an Osteostrong session?
A: The OsteoStrong circuit consists of 4 different pieces of equipment. These machines enable “growth trigger events” through simulated force pressure, targeting a specific area of the body. Each session is guided by an OsteoStrong session coach, so an individual never goes through a session on their own.

Q: How often should one participate in an Osteostrong session?
A: An OsteoStrong session is just once per week and takes less than 15 minutes.

Q: Why does bone health matter?
A: Bones perform several important functions. They provide protection to internal organs, a frame to keep our bodies supported and allow us to move. They also produce red and white blood cells, store important minerals such as calcium and phosphorus, and aid in detoxification by removing heavy metals and other foreign elements from the blood. If your bones aren’t strong and healthy, then all of these functions are compromised.

Q: How can someone get started with Osteostrong?
A: Anyone can reach us by phone at (516) 243-9256 or email at gardencity@osteostrong.me.

Q: How can we connect with Osteostrong (on social media)?
A: We are on Facebook @OsteoStrongGardenCity and Instagram @OsteoStrongGC. Our company website is www.osteostrong.me.

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The Truth About Calcium

The Truth About Calcium

Calcium is an essential nutrient needed for our body functions. It is most known for helping to build strong and healthy bones. As children grow, there is an emphasis to make sure that they have enough calcium and vitamin D for the bones to be able to grow healthy and strong. This in turn, will provide a more stable bone mass during the senior years. Bone health and development is a life-long journey. Therefore, calcium is a very important mineral in the body as we age. However, most adults do not get the recommended amount of calcium that the body needs.

But why is it important to get the right amount of calcium? Why should we care? When we don’t get enough calcium, one can suffer from a deficiency. Hypocalcaemia is the official medical term for a calcium deficiency. As a result, one may experience symptoms such as muscle spasms, muscle cramps or an abnormal heart rhythm. Did you know that about 99% of our body’s calcium is stored in our bones and teeth? A long-term calcium deficiency can lead to changes in our dental health, brain alterations which may lead people to become depressed or confused, and also weak nails and brittle bones.

Bone-related health concerns such as osteopenia and osteoporosis, should be enough of a reason for making calcium a priority in our lives. This is because we cannot see the effects of our bone health immediately. We unfortunately do not typically take action until things have progressed, which at that point it may be too late.

Do you ever wonder why bone health is not talked about as much? Is it because we think or we assume that we know so everything we need to know about bone health and calcium? Bone health is not something to be taken lightly because it affects every aspect of our body. Here are five common things we think we know about calcium:

  • Calcium is only good for bone health.
  • I can only get calcium from dairy products
  • All dairy products are a good source of calcium
  • I can get all the calcium I need from supplements
  • Only kids are in need of calcium

At one point in your life, have you thought or believed one or more of the above statements? I know I have. However, all of those statements are false! When we adapt to a healthy lifestyle and adding calcium based foods on our diet, it will go a long way in ensuring our calcium intake. There are many theories and things said about calcium. But, we need to take our time and understand the truth about calcium, its benefits and importance.

If you want to learn more about these misconceptions about calcium, then please Download my 5 Myths About Calcium List. On this handout there is a breakdown on each myth and provide information on the truth about calcium. Check it out here!

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The Importance of Immunizations

The Importance of Immunizations

August is National Immunization Awareness Month- a time to highlight the importance of vaccines for people of all ages. A vaccine stimulates the immune system to provide active acquired immunity to a certain disease. Vaccines are designed to prevent a disease rather than treating it by helping the immune system prepare to protect the body.

Vaccinations are essential in preventing diseases. They give you the necessary immunity to a disease without you getting it first. How so? A weakened version of the disease or virus is injected into the body. The injection is usually given by a shot into the leg or arm. Your body will then detect the antigens, or the germs, injected and will produce antibodies to fight them off. The antibodies produced will stay in the body for a long period of time, and sometimes even for a lifetime. In a case where you might be exposed to that disease again, the immune system will fight the necessary antibodies in place to off the disease.

Vaccines are important at all ages, from infancy through adulthood. Failure to get vaccines can lead to serious health issues. It can also prevent the spread of a particular disease to others who may have weakened or compromised immune systems.

For adults it is important to take vaccines because:

  • Some vaccines received at a younger age can wear off over time as we get older
  • There are some illnesses that are common in adults
  • They have an increased risk of new and different diseases
  • Availability of new/improved vaccines
  • They slow the spread of a disease

As we grow older, changes in our lifestyles or health conditions may expose/increase your risk of contracting diseases. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends the following vaccines for adults ages 50 and over:

  • Seasonal Influenza (Flu) Shot: This helps to protect the body against infections caused by influenza viruses and should be received annually.
  • Shingles: This helps to prevent shingles and any complications from the diseases. You should get this vaccine if you had chicken pox as a child, if you want to decrease your chances of getting shingles or have had shingle case before.
  • Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine (PCV13): This protects the body from the most common bacteria that is known to cause pneumonia.

Older adults and seniors are at a greater risk of contracting infections and bacteria. This is because as we grow older the immune system weakens and is not able to fight off diseases as well. Let us take care of our health as we get older by making sure to get the recommended vaccines.

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Must Have Essentials for Home Fitness

Must Have Essentials for Home Fitness

In light of the novel coronavirus pandemic and the transition to doing our daily activities at home, we have had to pivot and find creative ways to stay connected while being apart. This has been possible by one of man’s greatest invention, the internet. During this time we have found new ways of utilizing technology for work, school and also entertainment. But what can be more important than health and keeping fit? Statistics shows that in this era, peoples’ priorities have evolved to reflect higher importance on wellness and self-care. We have also found ways of incorporating video technology when it comes to health and fitness.

There is a new wave and interest to have access to virtual fitness classes and online videos to be able to get a good workout right in from the comforts of our homes. With the gyms and fitness studios closed, coaches and gym instructors have moved online. Creating content and video workouts that can be accessed right in our living rooms.

One of the advantages of gyms and fitness studios was the access to exercise equipment that assisted/aided in our workouts. With the transition to shifting workouts from the gym to our homes, there is a desire to have the same exercise equipment at home. This is so because of the routine we were used to and wish to maintain a good fitness regime.

Here are my recommendations of 4-must have exercise essentials for quality fitness a home:

  • Exercise Mat: This is perfect for providing cushion and comfort to the back, hips, knees and elbows for yoga, pilates and other floor-based exercises.
  • Resistance Bands: Improve your strength, flexibility and range of motion in targeted ways for the muscles in a way that protects the joints.
  • Small Hand Weights: Increase your muscle tone, strength, endurance and other training needs.
  • Foam Roller: This it helps to loosen tight muscles to relieve soreness and inflammation by applying pressure to the underlying tissues as a form of recovery.

All the above mentioned exercise tools (and more) are available for sale in the Dance to Wellness (DTW) Wellness Shop. Please visit the website at: https://dancetowellness.org/wellness-shop/

#fitnessathome

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Summer Hydration with Food

Summer Hydration with Food

Proper hydration is essential for our health and well-being. This is particularly true for older adults and seniors. This is because as we get older our bodies retain less water, which can make one may not feel regularly feel thirsty until they are very dehydrated. So why is important to keep hydrated?

Not drinking enough water can lead to a number of health issues such as:

  • Dehydration
  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Muscle cramps
  • Low blood pressure

It is particularly important to make sure that we are hydrated during warmer weather, especially in the summer. Lack of hydration when it is hot can lead to heat-related illness. There are two main type of illness to note:

Heat exhaustion: This is a condition where your body has been exposed to heat for an extended period of time. As a result, your body overheats followed by dehydration. There are two types of heat exhaustion, one is depletion of water in the body caused by exposure to high temperatures and fewer intakes of fluids. Symptoms can include excessive thirst, body weakness and sometimes unconsciousness. The second one is salt depletion. This usually occurs after several days to those who replace the fluid, but do not to replace the salt. Symptoms may include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, paleness, profuse sweating. In the treatment of heat exhaustion, it is essential for anyone suffering from this to immediately get out of the heat and lying down to rest. If one can get inside in an air conditioned room, that is better.

Heatstroke: This is a heat-related injury of the body overheating as a result of prolonged exposure to high temperatures. Symptoms can include dry hot skin, bright red skin color, labored breathing, body temperature of more than 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Heatstroke should be treated as an emergency. If it is not treated immediately, it can lead to serious effects like brain damage and failure of the kidneys and/or heart. The longer the treatment is delayed the higher the risks of damage which can also lead to death.

Heat-related illnesses can be prevented by:

  • Drinking plenty of fluids- this will enable sweating and help to maintain a balanced body temperature
  • Allow time to get acclimated- it takes time before your body adjusts to the hot weather, until then, spend less time until your body gets accustomed to it
  • Keep cool- in case of heatstroke, cool the body down as much as possible. That can be done by wet towels, ice pack or fan
  • Wear sun screen. This helps in preventing sunburns which may lead to damaged skin.
  • Wear hat and loose/free clothes

Although water is the best way to stay hydrated, alternatively, you can also consider eating water-rich foods. In addition to these foods having a high water content, they also have other important nutrients than the body needs for normal functions of the body. These foods can include:

  • Cucumbers
  • Watermelons
  • Lettuce
  • Peaches
  • Oranges

Let’s stay cool and hydrated!

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Summer Fun During a Pandemic

Summer Fun During a Pandemic

It’s Summer time! It’s the time of the year where we go on vacation and spend time outdoors with family and friends. However, our lives have and continue to be turned upside down by the novel coronavirus. We want to stay safe while keeping healthy, while still wanting to have the simple joys of life. Summer time is definitely one of them. So how can we still enjoy the summer amid a global pandemic?

If you have been working remotely, you have a bit more difficulty taking time off with the pressure of an increased workload. You may have unexpectedly lost your job or had a significant decrease in your source of income. As a result, you now don’t have the funds to do the activities as you once did. With travel restrictions as ordered by governments around the world along with limited flights and hotel stays, travelling may seem like a daunting activity that is a long way off.

Traditionally summer time especially in the NYC area, is usually a time of free concerts, carnivals/fairs, BBQs, hanging out at the beach and enjoying the great outdoors. But now you must remain socially distant not to mention that you are limited to gathering guidelines in your area. With all this in place, how can we still have fun during the summer? Well here are some few ideas you can consider:

  • Drive-in Movie Theater. Many sport arenas, churches and places with large parking lots are turning their open spaces into a drive-in movie theater. This is a great way to get the family out of the house and take a break from your home routine to safely watch a movie while maintaining social distance at the comfort of your own car. You can research on some options in your neighborhood.
  • Summer book club. Love to read? Remember that reading list you wrote some time ago? Well now is the perfect time to tackle some of the books on that list. You can even consider getting a small group together to meet via video conferencing to discuss a chapter a week.
  • Summer cooking. With the warm/hot weather, standing in front of a hot stove to cook is definitely not a top priority. Well at least not mine! With that said, now is the perfect time to try those recipes that does not require you to stand in front of the blazing stove for longer. Try out some salads or “no-bake” recipes.
  • Go for a walk/hike. Taking walks or going for hikes is a great way to stay active while observing social distancing rules. It not only keeps you in shape but also provides you with great scenery. Nature is a good way to reduce anxiety, speeds recovery time after a case of sickness and improves short term and working memory.
  • Master one new skill. You can perfect a task you are already good at or learn a whole new skill. It can be a dance move or cooking or knitting. I personally have been crocheting, am looking into cross-stitching.

 

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Health & Technology New Normals

Health & Technology New Normals

The instantaneous shift from physical meetings to online meetings, this is how fast the coronavirus has transformed our lives. We have been forced to pivot our ways of doing things into a virtual space. Video conferencing platforms such as Zoom, Skype, Google Meets/Hangouts, Microsoft Teams to name a few have been in increased use over the last few months. If you are like me, you have been eager for life to return to “normal.” But what exactly does that mean and what does it look like?

With the increased use of technology in our lives, I believe that the virtual space will be part of our “new normal.” There are a few ways in which I see the use of technology sticking around for a while:

Virtual Doctor’s Appointments (telehealth): Many health professionals were not able to see patients/clients due to the measures put in place to slow down the spread of the coronavirus. This in turn led to a new way in medicine called telehealth or telemedicine. Here, patients can have access to quality healthcare from the comforts of their home, while doctors virtually monitor their patients through digital technology devices such as computers, laptops, tablets or cell phones.

Virtual Gatherings/Hang-outs: With gathering limitations and restrictions from outings to bars, places for special occasions such as birthdays, anniversaries, graduations amongst others could not take place. Not to mention that most places were closed anyways. This led to creative ways to meet and gather with friends, work associates and family. I have used video conferencing to have dance parties, game nights, dinner, happy hour and networking on various virtual platforms/apps.

Virtual Education: Schools across the globe closed their buildings abruptly and quickly transitioned to remote learning via the internet. However, there are many debates about the benefits and shortcoming of distance learning from students, parents, teachers and school administrators. There is more debate about what schools will do for the upcoming school year that is quickly approaching. Particularly in the U.S, COVID cases have spiked across most states in the South and West Coast, leaving much tension about what is the best way to move forward. One thing is certain: the use of technology will be involved in some capacity. Many colleges, universities, private and public schools are considering some kind of hybrid model that integrates both in person and remote learning depending on the situation.

Virtual Fitness Classes: There is definitely a new wave and transition of doing fitness at home amidst the pandemic. It has raised questions about the benefits of working out from home as opposed to the gym or fitness studio. I have personally found myself taking a combination of live and on-demand fitness classes in my living room-turned fitness space. Again, both have the pros and cons but I feel that the convenience and ability to exercise on your own time and space is an option that will be sticking around that will cause a shift in the fitness industry moving forward.

Prior to the pandemic, I used technology occasionally. But now, technology has and will continue to be an integral part of my everyday life- as I imagine the same for you. The one good thing about this time is the ability to be creative in how we live and work through technology. It is opening up new opportunities that we couldn’t have thought of otherwise.

#coronauseoftechnology.

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#BlackAgingMatters

#BlackAgingMatters

July is National Minority Mental Health Awareness Month. This is a time to raise awareness of the importance of mental health for our overall well-being and to educate the public on how to seek help. Mental health refers to cognitive, psychological, emotional and social wellness. Each year, millions of Americans face the realities of living with a mental health condition. Mental illness does not discriminate based on race, gender or identity. However, it has been found that depending on your background and identity, treatment can be more difficult to find.

National Minority Mental Awareness Month was first established in 2008 with the purpose of making mental health treatment available to all. It was also created to tackle the issues of access to mental health treatment within the Black and Brown communities. I want to take the time to highlight and acknowledge the fact that being Black while aging in America has many effects on one’s mental health.

The United States Administration for Community Living has identified that there are over 4 million Black seniors ages 65 and over. This is a generation that has experienced racial injustice and inequality but has also lived through various social movements such as civil rights, women’s rights, gay rights amongst others. The Black Lives Matter movement of today, has been particularly vocal about police brutality. But for the older Black generation, it is about the overall marginalization and disenfranchisement of Black people in America. This is the result of cumulative racism and increased oppression over time.

There are disparities to be found around issues such as housing, transportation, financial security/generational wealth, education, healthcare, health insurance and social services based on age and race. This in turn, has led to low health literacy, cultural mistrust of institutions, acts of discrimination and chronic stress that particularly affects Black seniors. The older generation of African Americans is at an increased risk of having race-related stress. Studies have shown that experiences of racism can have harmful effects on the mental health of minorities, especially African Americans. These effects can include:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Lower self-esteem
  • Inability to concentrate due to flashbacks of traumatic racist events

I am bringing this to light as a concerned citizen who is aware of the lack of resources available to older adults and seniors and particularly Black individuals aging in America. I want it to be known and acknowledged that racism has lasting effects that need to be acknowledged that affects the quality of life among Black seniors. They are in need of the treatment and services just as any other citizen. The effects of racism and racial trauma are far too loud not to be seen or heard. I challenge you to join me in raising awareness to make a difference in order to allow Black seniors to age with dignity. #BlackAgingMatters

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National Therapeutic Recreation Week

National Therapeutic Recreation Week

Last week, July 5-11, marked National Therapeutic Recreation Week that is observed the second week of July every year since 1984. This week highlights recreation therapies and the importance of engaging in activities that can aid in our healing and recovery. What is recreational therapy? It is the use of recreation and other activities as a form of intervention to address the physical, emotional and mental health and recovery of an individual. Recreation therapy can include activities such as sports, hobbies, relaxation/breathing techniques and creative or expressive art. These kinds of programs can be conducted in a variety of spaces such as hospitals, rehab facilities, community centers and assisted living facilities.

After the death of my mother, dealing with her demise has not been easy. I have been faced with grief, loss and the new responsibility of being a caretaker for my father. As a way to cope with everything, I have been participating in expressive art therapy sessions. I decided to focus in this type of therapy because it is a multi-modal approach that uses the arts (writing, dancing, drama, movement, music, painting, drawing.) in an integrative way to foster growth, development and healing.

Art therapy can be used to help people explore their emotions, cope with stress, become more self-aware, boost their self-esteem and to work on their social skills. It is mostly used as a compliment to traditional mental health treatment. The art therapy can either be in a form of creating one’s own art or viewing/interpreting another person’s artwork. It is helpful to those who find talking and expressing themselves verbally to be very difficult. This is mainly because art is a form of self-expression and in the long run it is a form of healing and dealing with our mental wellbeing.

As I engage in this form of therapy, I personally see a lot of benefits from it. Some of the benefit include:

  • Visual representation of one’s emotions
  • It is a way of connecting to the subconscious
  • Learning new coping mechanisms
  • It is a way of developing new (artistic) skills

Those are just but a few benefits or expressive arts. Expressive arts can be beneficial to people dealing with:

  • Anxiety: It helps to bring to light what may be worrying you and finding new ways to handle anxious feelings.
  • Stress: It helps in reduction of stress by converting negative energy into positive habits.
  • Interpersonal relationships with family members or friends: It helps to build communication skills for those who find it hard to express themselves with words.
  • Grief or Bereavement: It helps to process the loss of a loved one.
  • Trauma. A lot of people tend to block out painful experiences, art therapy helps one to express their feelings about the event and taking steps to heal and move forward.

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Dealing with Grief

Dealing with Grief

The Coronavirus Pandemic has affected our lives in ways we couldn’t have imagined. We have come to terms with a “new normal” that has consisted of things like the need for social distancing (ie. maintaining at least 6 feet apart), the wearing of face masks and gloves in public, government stay-at-home orders, limiting gatherings of people, distance/remote learning, and working from home.

Probably the most unfortunate effects of this virus has been loss of many lives. The rate at which COVID-19 took our loved ones is very saddening. It has been reported that world-wide there have been more than 400,000 deaths with over 100,000 in the US alone. It is very devastating loosing almost half a million people in such a very short period of time, with those numbers expected to rise in the coming months. And these figures don’t include the deaths that were not related to the coronavirus. The amount of pain and grief that folks are experiencing is more than anyone could have expected.

I have experienced a number of friends and colleagues who have lost their loved ones, friends and colleagues during this difficult time. I have also had the unpleasant experience of losing my mom to natural causes back in May of 2020. The pain caused by grief can disrupt our physical wellbeing making it difficult to eat, sleep or even think straight. Because of my loss and the loss of those around me, it has led me down a journey about self-care when dealing with grief.

So what are some ways to grief during a global pandemic? Here are a few things that I have been doing to help me in my time of loss and grief:

  • Crying: This is one way of acknowledging and releasing the pain. It doesn’t matter how loud, ugly or long I need.
  • Speaking to a therapist: Being able to speak about what am feeling to a neutral party has been really helpful in navigating and unpacking different emotions.
  • Having moments of creativity: As a dancer I personally find enjoyment in arts. I have been crocheting, painting and coloring in adult coloring books.
  • Connecting to a grief support group: Finding a group of folks who can relate to your loss and how you feel is really great. Friends mean well, but maybe able to understand if they have never gone through what you are going through. I found a number of grief groups on Facebook.
  • Enjoy nature. Take your time to enjoy nature; I have slowed down to feel nature like the way the sun feels on my skin, the whispers in the wind, and the calming sound of water.

Remember there is no right or wrong way of grieving, but there are healthy ways to cope with loss and grieving process. I hope what I have been doing can help you during this difficult time.

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Sickle Cell Awareness

Sickle Cell Awareness

In addition to June 19th celebrating Juneteenth, it also recognized World Sickle Cell Awareness Day. It is an international campaign observed with the goal of increasing public knowledge and understanding of sickle cell disease and the unique challenges faced by patients, their families and their caregivers. This year is particularly special as 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of celebrating World Sickle Cell Awareness! So what is sickle cell anemia?

Sickle cell anemia is a genetic disorder (meaning it passed from parents to children and cannot be transmitted from other people). Normally the red blood cells (RBC) are a rounded shape like disc. This gives them the ability and flexibility to transport blood and oxygen even through the smallest blood vessels. Sickle cell happens when these RBCs contort into sickle shape (like a crescent moon). Because of its “sickled shape”, the cells have ridged edges that can get stuck in the blood vessels which can block the flow of blood throughout the body. When this happens, the stiffen cells die early leaving very few healthy red blood cells to carry the necessary amounts of oxygen the body needs.

This lack of flow of blood may result in very severe pain causing a “crisis.” A sickle cell crisis is when there are repetitive episodes of these pains. Some common symptom include:

  • Anemia- not having enough healthy red blood cells.
  • Episodes of pains
  • Swelling of the hands and feet
  • Increased susceptibility to infections such as pneumonia
  • Jaundice- yellowing of the white parts of the eye.
  • Patients are also at high risk of getting stroke, chest syndrome and even blindness

Sickle cell is the result of mutation in genes from both the mother and the farther. The disease itself is inherited from both parents passed down to the children, while the trait is only passed from one parent unto the children. Trait means that you have one normal gene and one sickle cell gene. The trait is not a disease and a person with a trait does not portray symptoms of the sickle cell disease. However, they can pass it down to their children. A simple blood test can indicate whether you have the sickle cell disease or the trait. This becomes important when one is trying to have children. There are approximately 90,000 persons have sickle cell anemia in the United States- most commonly affecting African Americans.

There is no cure for this disease. Current treatments are focused on managing and relieving the episodes of pains and preventing complications. This can include medication, blood transfusions and/or a stem cell transplant. In some rare cases a bone-marrow transplant may be done.

Other ways to help manage complications include:

  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Drinking plenty of water
  • Avoid smoking
  • Exercising regularly

As someone who has had family members with this disease, increasing awareness about sickle cell anemia is very close to my heart. Please join me in the efforts to improve research methods to help us learn more and find a cure!

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Alzheimer’s Awareness

Alzheimer’s Awareness

June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness month. Alzheimer’s Disease is a progressive and irreversible brain disorder that destroys the memory and other mental functions of the brain. It is said to be caused by the abnormal build-up of protein around brain cells. The main two types of proteins involved are: amyloid- which is responsible for build-up of plaque around brain cells; the other is tau- which forms tangles within brain cells. Now is a great time to show support to the millions of people struggling with Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s Disease is a global crisis and now is the time to educate the public of its effects on both patients and their loved ones.

Dementia is a term for conditions characterized by a decline in memory, language, problem-solving and thinking skills that prohibit a person’s ability to perform the everyday activities. The decline in cognitive functions is a result of abnormal brain changes and loss of brain functions due to a series of small strokes. Some common symptoms of dementia can include:

  • Becoming forgetful of names or events
  • Unable to recall information about themselves such as their address, phone number, school attended, etc.
  • Confusion
  • Trouble controlling bladder and bowel movements
  • Anger/aggression
  • Agitation
  • Depression and isolation

Alzheimer’s Disease is a type of dementia that specifically causes problems with memory that develops slowly and gradually, and it gets worse with time. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, there are currently 44 million people living with Alzheimer’s Disease world-wide with over 5 million in the US alone. Amongst the leading causes of deaths in the Unites States, Alzheimer’s Disiease has been ranked the 6th (that’s 1 in 3 adults). According to the statistics from 2008-2018; there was a 146% increase in the number of Alzheimer’s and Dementia-related deaths. This number is projected to increase by 2050 to nearly 14 million deaths.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease can affect people in different individual ways. Some may develop the symptoms slowly, while others develop all the symptoms at once. While there is no cure, there are some treatments available such as medication can slow its progression. Because of limited knowledge about Alzheimer’s Disease, there is a growing need for more research to gain a better understanding of its causes, treatments, prevention and cure.

Some common risk factors of Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease include:

  • Age (the risk increases as we get older)
  • Family history
  • Poor lifestyle choices (i.e. smoking, excessive alcohol intake, limited physical activities)
  • Ethnicity (African and Latino Americans have a higher risk)

Research has shown that exercise can prevent/help manage symptoms of Alzheimer’s Disease because it can help improve memory, provide opportunities for social interaction, and improve strength and balance.

Want to show your support for this cause? Join me by wearing the color purple with your purple ribbon- the official color of the Alzheimer’s movement.

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