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Saturday, 30 December 2017

osteoporosis update... useful resource

In my ponderings about good ways to build up bones, and manage/ reduce osteoporosis and low bone density, I found this rather useful website.

http://www.osteopenia3.com

There's quite a lot of useful information in this website, I think - written by someone who has apparently managed to  improve her bones by changing lifestyle, diet etc.

She also explains a bit about the DEXA scan results - and made me realise that there is apparently an actual scan one can look at.  My GP didn't seem to know about this, so I am pondering how to get hold of mine.

Another point I thought would be useful - although others don't think it is is to access the Z values - showing how one compares with people of the same age.  The number that most people think is important is comparing to bone density in 30 year olds.

However, I am also interested in how I compare to contemporaries - are my bones worse than everyone elses? - or are we all terrible...

Feel free to leave thoughts and comments below.


Catherine.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

Pain in face and head when landing in a 'plane?

so, yesterday I flew down from Bonnie Scotland to Luton airport on Easyjet.  When it came to landing I had a scary pain in my face and head.  I have had this a couple of times before (when landing), and wondered if I was having a stroke.  When it's happening I can't talk to anyone else, because I'm so absorbed by the discomfort.

In this case, I intuitively pressed on parts of my head and face.  Especially the ear flap, I found.  Once landed it was a lot better, and generally better over the next few hours.

I am aware that I got a chill on Saturday night (standing outside at a party, and then sitting in a cold marquee eating a delicious meal).   And then I had a very runny nose later on Sunday.  So, perhaps this problem was linked to blocked sinuses or something.  I no longer remember if I had a cold on the other occasions.

I do remember some years ago a friend talking of not wanting to travel by air when he had ? an ear infection.  And mention of burst ear drums.

So, perhaps something of this ilk happened to me.

I googled a bit and it seems to be 'aerosinusitis'.  What I found interesting was that there was no/little mention made of the intuitive pressure point work I did.  That did feel very important in preventing more damage (eg the burst ear drum thing, or somewhere I saw something about bleeding).

So, what I am offering here is the knowledge that this can happen:  ie pain in head/ face when travelling with an cold/infection.  And that this intuitive pressing can be important to help resolve it most satisfactorily.

anyone else any thoughts or experiences to share?

all for now,
Catherine.


Monday, 21 August 2017

vitamin D... continued

So, I was advised by a herbalist of where I could get a 'cheap' Vitamin D test done - City Hospital, Birmingham, for £28.  You can find it online, pay the money, and they send a kit.  You then need to prick your finger with a special blade, and drop 4/5 drops on their special sheet.  NB, the drop needs to be quite large, but shouldn't incorporate several drops - that may mess up the test somehow (it wasn't quite clear how unfortunately since I had small drops and added a bit of blood here and there to make the size bigger).  The website link is:  http://www.vitamindtest.org.uk.

You need to do the test on a weekday so that they can get it and return in the week.  I guess the blood may get too old and not fresh otherwise to do the test.  So, Monday to Wednesday are probably good days, and post as early as you can to have good chance of getting through quickly and for the next day.

I was heartened to get the result back (early August), with just into 'normal' range (51, and normal is 50-200).  This is encouraging since a test I had a few months ago was 35, and before that last year sometime 49.

It is hard to know cause and effect, but I have made a lot of effort to get in the Sun when it shines, with a fair amount of skin exposed.  I've also kept going with trying to increase oily fish (eg mackerel, salmon, sardines) and greens as well as seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, sesame) in my diet.   I had already given up coffee, tea and alcohol round October 2016, in the thinking that that too might be having adverse effects in allowing for uptake of Calcium etc for bone.  (I have since gone back to having some of these 3 latter drinks from time to time, but so far not as frequently as when I gave them up last year).

I offer you these thoughts in case helpful.  It seems encouraging that the Vitamin D level has gone up to within normal range, if still rather low.  It's also worth noting we are now in Summer, so a concern that it will fall again in Winter.  Something to watch - perhaps I will have another Vitamin D test in about 3 months to monitor.

Next steps may be to review my exercise some more - eg include more 'weight-bearing' exercise which is meant to be good for bone.  This might include jogging; skipping is also considered to be very good for bone.  My herbalist also recommended mini-trampolining which has been fashionable, but I can't imagine how I could include that into the space I have so probably not an option.

Feel free to post any thoughts you have in the Comments section.

best wishes,
Catherine. 

Wednesday, 5 July 2017

getting older?

Most of us fear getting older, losing physical mobility, getting ill, and 'losing our marbles'.  Not sure how the latter would fare in a language/ political correctness test, but still.

How do we handle this - for ourselves, and for our friends or relatives?  Where is the conversation that tells someone they are going to have/ should have a mental health assessment?  Can they / might they refuse?  What to do if they do?  Where is  the conversation where we discuss with a parent that they may have dementia?  How to start such a conversation?  Should one avoid such a conversation?  Can it help to acknowledge this sort of thing?  Might it not be the end of the world?

More questions than answers, perhaps.

However, to consider some of these issues.

It seems to me important, and ethical, to inform, and consult, people of what is happening.  There is the issue of giving notice of an event - a week ahead, a day ahead, an hour ahead, a moment ahead.  And what it may comprise.  And could it be helpful to be accompanied.

Is there a definitive diagnosis for dementia?  Do people avoid the term?  Perhaps dementia is a collection of symptoms which when taken together is known as dementia.  Knowing this, can this help inform the best way to help someone manage and care for themselves as far as is possible.  Where is the boundary with 'no longer possible'?

I'm using this post as an opportunity to open up discussion and thinking around issues that have come up for me recently.  By discussion, we may find good ways to handle these kinds of issues, to go forward, and be the best support for people who may be struggling, consciously or not, with issues of mental health and dementia.


Please add any thoughts or comments below.

Thursday, 6 April 2017

lavender .. for burns

Talking with some people yesterday, one said she liked to grow herbs, and froze some like chives for future use.  I asked if she used them for 'medicinal' purposes and she looked a bit blank.  Having burned myself recently, I've been thinking about natural ways to help post burn, and become aware of lavender being widely considered as 'good' for burns.

Discussing this with a colleague yesterday, she was completely familiar with the idea, and said that aromatherapy had got going on a case where someone burned themselves (about 200 years ago) and plunged their burnt hand into a bowl of what happened to be lavender essential oil.  (I wonder what he was doing that meant he happened to have that nearest to hand?).

Anyway, apparently his hand made a really good recovery with no scars.

I have also wondered how to apply - diluted? better as oil or water?  But not found really clear or consistent guidance on this.  So a bit of 'try it and see'. 

I put a few drops in a bath, and put the recovering burned foot in briefly (not for too long since the water was a bit warm), and that seemed OK.  Also added a few drops to a smaller jug of warm water, and dipped affected part in it.

I've been using fresh aloe a lot to help - this seems widely considered to be good for burns.  Today I put a drop of lavender oil on the cut open aloe, and applied it to the c 6 day old second degree burn - to the healing area - not to the area which I knocked the blister cover away from a few days ago, which seemed a bit raw.  I had thought it might be a bit 'strong', but it feels cooler and calming.  So, that seems a way to go until further inspiration strikes.

So, cut open a fresh aloe leaf,
let a drop of (organic) lavender oil fall onto it
apply to recovering burn area (but not where the burn is 'open').

hope this is helpful.  Do put any thoughts, wisdom, comments etc in the Comments area below.

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

bones - and diet

So, I'm writing this because whilst it seems to be my problem, I suspect this is also an issue that touches many others.

The issue is that of bone density - which seems to get lower as we get older, with increased likelihood of breaking bones [bad news].

So, to my surprise, never having broken any bones, I've broken three in the past 15 years.  And more recently discovered that I have low bone density (shown by something called a DEXA scan), in the form of osteoporosis of the spine and something called osteopaenia (not osteoporosis... yet) in one hip. 

I hadn't heard of a DEXA scan before, so for anyone who hasn't, it's a scan system for measuring bone density, and detecting low bone density.  It's quick and not painful, but does apparenlty involve radiation, which the medical profession deems worth having for the information it yields.  (They didn't ask my opinion on this however).

Anyway, blood test showed my level to be slightly low at 49 - 0-50 is low, and 50-200 or so is what's considered good. 

My first thought was to try to up this by improving diet and sunshine exposure.  So, I looked up what foods contain Vitamin D, or link to improved bone density - and upped my sardine intake (very good for the levels, but it's possible to get tired of eating them if too often).  Mackerel is also good as an oily fish.  Sunflower seeds are good too apparently. 

Anyway, I had a retest (for the princely sum of £120 around 6 months later - since I'm not obeying the NHS doctor's suggestion, I couldn't face asking for this test) - and regrettably it showed my bone density as lower at 35. 

So I looked at the numbers, and it does indeed seem very difficult to raise vitamin D level by diet.  Recommended daily intake is 600 units, and 2 sardines have 40.  Very dispiriting.  So I'm trying to think how to proceed.  Starting with giving more attention to being in the sunshine with skin exposed - easier as it's getting warmer following the cold winter months.

Anyway, I post this to try to explain about the difficulty of improving Vitamin D level by diet.  For me, and perhaps others, being told what to do or that something isn't possible without explanation isn't enough.  This might be something for healthcare professionals to consider - what kind of explanation would clients/ patients/ service users value, so as to proceed most effectively to better health - and this case better bones.

The units are quite confusing - there seem to be two main units (micrograms, and international units - IUs) which are very different.  One of the problems is that they are hard to type (on a keyboard), which makes it hard to use/ write about them.  My physio tried to help, and they admitted to finding it quite confusing too (which I found somewhat reassuring).

I'll let you know if and when I come up with any more information as to good ways to improve bone health, which seems to include Vitamin D levels among other things.

Feel free to post any thoughts or questions in the comments section.


Catherine.

Saturday, 27 August 2016

Cushion Expert

yes, cushions are really important in shiatsu practice.

I have several cushions which I value for shape and size, texture of filling, and texture of the cover.  Generally natural fibres are good.

And then there is expertise in cushion management - a well kicked cushion can move into just the right place - either out of the way, or ready to support eg under the knees.

Sometimes people suggest that I don't need to bring my own cushions; they have pillows / cushions I can use.  But I always find I miss my own cushions if I follow this suggestion.  Some pillows are just reluctant to move, and of course I'm not familiar with them, and how they will respond.


Next time, I'll write about blanket expertise - a whole other, though actually similar :-) topic.