How to Prevent Cat Scratch Fever + Natural Symptom Relief There’s a kids’ game and a Ted Nugent song by the same name, but what is cat scratch fever? Many people have heard of it, but still wonder, is there really such a thing as […]
Month: October 2017
Anchovies: The Protein-Packed, Omega-3-Rich Healthy Fish By Rachael Link, MS, RD You may have noticed them stacked up on the shelf of your local supermarket or on the menu of your favorite pizza place, but have you ever really given anchovies a try? Hailing from […]
How Melissa Made Her Ice Skating Dreams Come True
Most figure skaters start the sport when they’re kids, learning the many complicated techniques at a young age. But most figure skaters are not Melissa Garland.
As a kid growing up in Michigan, the 48-year-old Garland loved to watch American figure skater Dorothy Hamill and dreamed of lacing up skates of her own. Unfortunately, her flat feet and subsequent corrective shoes put a damper on her dreams. She was one of three kids, and her father struggled to pay for the expensive braces, podiatry appointments and eyeglasses. There was wasn’t much left at the end of the month to put toward skating.
“I always wanted to skate,” says Garland, who now lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “But my Dorothy Hamill dreams had to be put on hold.”
And on hold they were — for nearly two decades. Then, at age 28, she finally put on those skates.
She recalls watching a skating competition on TV one day with her mother-in-law, and the commentators kept talking about the oldest competitor in the event — who was an “elderly” 26! Her mother-in-law pointed out how close in age she was to Garland and told her, “You could do it, too.” When the conversation shifted toward Christmas gifts, the item atop Garland’s list was obvious.
It was no surprise when she found ice skates under the tree that year and soon signed up for a six-week learn-to-skate class.
That was 20 years ago, and Garland is still at it.
Every dreamer deserves support. Discover inspiring tips, tools and stories of dreamers like you to help kick-start your own dream pursuit.
“I struggled in the beginning,” she admits. At first, she couldn’t even figure out how to skate backwards, a very important technique in competition. She told herself if she couldn’t figure it out by the end of the six-week class, she would chalk skating up as a sport that just wasn’t for her. Then, during week five, it finally came together.
“Then I wanted to know ‘what’s next!’” she says. She wanted to try spirals, lunges and even more tricks. “I was like a junkie,” she jokes.
Soon Garland was signing up for more lessons, practicing constantly, reading internet message boards on the topic and making skating friends. One of those friends suggested she volunteer at the U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships in Michigan that year. What she saw blew her away.
“I wanted to do it and be there,” she says. She remembers making a promise to herself that she would one day make it to nationals.
Unfortunately, qualifying wasn’t so easy. Just to be eligible for consideration, skaters are required to pass a series of difficult skill tests. After a few years of training, Garland passed her first skill test in 2000. The second took a few more years and she passed in 2003, followed closely by a third test in 2004. A year later, she competed at the 2005 U.S. Adult Figure Skating Championships.
Since then, she’s competed eight times, and made appearances at the Ice Skating Institute Championship and Michigan state championship. She has also passed higher level skills tests and is working on passing the highest level test.
Making her skating career all the more improbable, however, were the off-the-ice challenges Garland encountered along the way. In 2002, Garland was diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), a hormonal disorder that made it difficult to conceive a child — something she strongly desired. The side effects also included weight gain, despite all of her training, and becoming pre-diabetic.
“Every time, you feel like you’ve conquered something, there’s something else,” she says.
In 2012, her dietician reviewed her diet and informed her the fat-free foods she was eating were full of sugar, which isn’t beneficial for a diabetic. “I was so aghast,” says Garland. She immediately downloaded MyFitnessPal and started tracking her food intake. The app helped her make decisions about her meals beforehand, and eventually, she dropped from a high of 214 pounds to 161 pounds. Now, in addition to tracking her meals, she also uses the app to track the amount of sodium in foods, a stat her doctor asked her to keep an eye on.
Despite her health struggles and late entrance to the skating world, Garland has seen many successes in the sport. Earlier this year, she took home three medals — a gold, silver and bronze — at the State Games of America, just three months after undergoing a hysterectomy as a result of PCOS.
“It was the most satisfying skate I’ve had,” she says, remembering how hard she’d worked to get back into shape post-op (with her doctor’s approval, of course) and how perfectly she nailed her routine. Plus, she’d had to fit in the competitions that day between doctor’s appointments and work.
“All the competitors are other adults with jobs or kids or other commitments,” says Garland. “All the hard work is just rewarding for yourself. You’ve got to do it for yourself. The ice is for you.”
Garland credits her husband, David, for being so supportive of her skating — even when she was years away from being any good. They trade off being involved in each other’s activities (he races snowmobiles and motorcycles) and taking their son, Will — who she had in 2009 with the help of fertility treatments — to baseball games and school.
Garland knows she’s not always expected a win at her various competitions. “Sometimes you’re first and sometimes you’re last,” she says. When she came in last place at finals one year, a friend made her a trophy, and it sits next to all the medals she won in other years. It makes her laugh. “Even though I came in last, I was there.”
Written by Kelly O’Mara, a professional triathlete and reporter outside San Francisco, where she is an on-call producer for the local NPR station. Her work appears regularly in espnW, Competitor, Triathlete and California Magazine.
Most figure skaters start the sport when they’re kids, learning the many complicated techniques at a young age. But most figure skaters are not Melissa Garland. As a kid growing up in Michigan, the 48-year-old Garland loved to watch American figure skater Dorothy Hamill and dreamed of lacing up skates of her own. Unfortunately, her …
Kelly O’MaraUnder ArmourOctober 21, 2017
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What 10 Grams of Sugar Looks Like — The Breakfast Edition If you’re looking to cut back on sugar, it makes sense to start with the first meal of the day. What you choose to eat for breakfast can be the difference between feeling full […]
About 1 in 1,000 hospitalizations is due to some type of condition that affects the blood vessels leading to the intestines, called intestinal vasculopathy. (1) Ischemic colitis is the most common type of intestinal vasculopathy and form of ischemia affecting the bowels. It’s especially a big concern among elderly patients.
The term ischemia (also sometimes spelled ischaemia) refers to a temporary restriction in blood supply reaching tissues in the body. The reason this is so dangerous is because it causes a shortage of oxygen and glucose that are both needed for normal cellular metabolism. In many cases it’s not entirely known why ischemic colitis develops, but risk factors seem to include older age and a history of irritable bowel syndrome or cardiovascular problems, especially abnormal blood clotting, low or high blood pressure, and arteriosclerosis.
Usually ischemic colitis only affects people briefly and resolves within several weeks; however, about 20 percent of people with the condition experience symptoms chronically. Ischemic colitis can cause increased inflammation and damage to the intestines, as well as pain and other symptoms. When severe ischemic colitis develops, it can also cause complications including sepsis, which can sometimes be life-threatening.
What Is Ischemic Colitis?
The definition of ischemic colitis, according to the Merck Manual, is “injury of the large intestine that results from an interruption of its blood supply.” (2) When blood flow is blocked from reaching the inside lining and inner layers of the walls of the large intestine, the bowels become susceptible to problems such as development of ulcers (sores) and internal bleeding.
Cases of ischemic colitis are generally split into two categories, depending on what’s causing them:
- Those that result from a decrease in blood supply but do not involve a blockage (called a non-occlusive disease). This is the more common type of ischemic colitis.
- And those that are caused by an actual blockage, such as a blood clot in an artery or vein (called an occlusive disease).
Signs & Symptoms of Ischemic Colitis
The most common symptoms of ischemic colitis are abdominal pains, especially on the left side of the body, along with bloody stools. Other signs and symptoms can include: (3)
- Loose stools (diarrhea), that usually happen more frequently and are either bright red or darker than normal in color due to blood clots. Blood may be passed with or without stool. Some also experience constipation before other symptoms begin.
- Tenderness, cramping and sensitivity throughout the abdomen. Sometimes pain is so intense that it’s hard to either sit still or stand without hunching over.
- Nausea and loss of appetite.
- Low grade fever, usually below 100 F or 37.7 C. Symptoms of a fever might develop, including fatigue, weakness, headaches, loss of appetite, indigestion or nausea.
- Sometimes pain on the right side of the abdomen, which is a sign of a more serious problem because blood vessels on the right side also supply blood to the small intestine.
- Pain after eating, reduced food intake, problems with nutrient absorption and involuntary weight loss.
How long do ischemic colitis symptoms usually last? When the condition is mild to moderate, symptoms usually resolve within one to two weeks. People who have a more severe case may need longer to recover — at least several weeks or even longer if surgery is needed. In rare cases, if a part of the large intestine becomes very damaged, surgery is sometimes necessary to remove the portion of the intestine. This can sometimes result in scarring and chronic symptoms.
Ischemic Colitis Causes & Risk Factors
The underlying cause of ischemic colitis is reduced blood flow reaching the large intestine, which is also called the colon. The intestine/colon is about 5 feet in length, wrapping throughout the abdomen, and includes the ascending colon, the transverse colon, the descending colon, the sigmoid colon and the rectum. These organs are the “final section” of the gastrointestinal tract and have the important roles of absorbing water and nutrients from digested food (called chyme) as well as turning any waste into stool/feces. (4)
There are two main arteries that supply blood to the large intestines: the superior mesenteric artery and the inferior mesenteric artery. These arteries branch off into many smaller blood vessels that supply the intestine with blood, oxygen and nutrients. However, some of them are prone to inflammation and blocked blood flow for a variety of reasons. (5) If blood supply is also reduced in the small intestine, then a serious problem can occur in intestinal tissue called necrosis. This means the tissue starts to become severely damaged and die off.
Ischemic colitis has been found to be more common among people with the following risk factors:
- Over the age of 60.
- History of irritable bowel syndrome (certain studies have found that the risk increases two- to four-fold in those with irritable bowel syndrome). (6)
- Low blood pressure.
- History of heart and/or blood vessel disease, especially chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
- History of increased blood clotting.
- History of diabetes.
- Frequent use of constipation-inducing medications.
- Recovering from an illness or incident such as an infection, trauma, surgery, heart attack or stomach virus.
- Taking medications that interfere with blood flow (more on this below) or receiving dialysis treatments.
- Having recently completed a marathon or other very strenuous type of physical activity that contributes to severe dehydration.
- Use of certain recreational drugs, including cocaine and methamphetamines. Some studies have found that up to 27 percent of recreational triathletes, 20 percent of marathon runners, and 87 percent of 100-mile ultramarathon runners test positive for fecal occult blood. (7)
- People who recently had surgery on the aorta, the main artery in the human body that carries blood away from the heart to various organs and tissue.
These types of risky behaviors/habits can lead to ischemic colitis because they contribute to issues such as:
- inflammation of the blood vessels (vasculitis)
- low blood pressure (hypotension)
- arteriosclerosis (or the buildup of fatty deposits on the walls of arteries)
- build up of blood clots
- hernia or development of scar tissue
- formation of tumors
- autoimmune diseases including lupus or sickle cell anemia
- colon cancer (very rarely)
Conventional Treatments for Ischemic Colitis
Your doctor can make a diagnosis of ischemic colitis by performing a physical examination, discussing your symptoms with you, using lab test results, and, usually, performing an endoscopy test to examine the inside of your intestines.
Once a diagnosis has been made, treatment for ischemic colitis will depend on how severe someone’s symptoms are and the suspected underlying causes. Some conventional treatments that are used to manage ischemic colitis include:
- Treating any underlying health issues that are contributing to the problem, such as heart disease, a blood clot or blood pressure problems. This is usually done using a combination of medications and lifestyle changes.
- Intravenous fluids to reverse or prevent dehydration.
- Antibiotics to prevent infections.
- Avoiding use of any medications that reduce blood flow by constricting the blood vessels (including all the drugs mentioned above).
- In some cases, when ischemic colitis is severe, surgery might be needed. Only approximately 20 percent of patients require surgery due to intestinal damage. This is most common in people with underlying health issues, such as heart disease or blood clots. (8) Surgery can be performed to bypass a blockage; remove dead tissue in the intestine; repair any holes that developed in the colon; and remove any scarring that can cause another blockage in the future.
5 Natural Ways to Prevent Ischemic Colitis & Improve Symptoms
1. Reduce Inflammation & Gastrointestinal Damage
Increased inflammation, a history of gastrointestinal problems, and autoimmune diseases can all contribute to ischemic colitis or make it worse. A healthy diet and lifestyle are important for controlling inflammation within the intestines and also for regulating blood pressure/circulation.
Here are changes you can make to your diet in order to keep inflammation and GI distress to a minimum:
- Eat anti-inflammatory foods — These include foods like fresh veggies, fruit, nuts, seeds, wild-caught fish and fermented dairy products. Some of the best choices are:
- leafy green veggies
- cruciferous veggies
- other veggies like carrots, yellow squash, red bell peppers, butternut squash, asparagus and purple eggplant
- berries and apples
- sea vegetables
- chia seeds and flaxseeds
- wild-caught salmon
- plain fermented yogurt
- Avoid eating any food you’re allergic or sensitive to — This can include foods that contain gluten (found in all wheat, barley and rye products), conventional cow’s milk dairy products, nuts, eggs or certain types of fruits or veggies.
- Avoid processed foods — Eliminate or reduce foods made with refined grains, added sugar, processed meats, refined vegetable oils (like sunflower, safflower or corn oil), artificial sweeteners, synthetic additives, diet soda and other diet drinks, trans-fats, fried and fast foods.
- Focus on healthy fats — Aim to eat more monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats (especially omega-3s), plus some natural saturated fat (in moderation depending on your current health). Good sources of healthy fats include oily fish (at least twice a week) that contain omega-3 fatty acids; virgin olive oil or coconut oil; nuts, seeds and avocados.
2. Prevent & Treat Abnormal Blood Pressure
If your blood pressure is too high or too low, you may be at an increased risk for problems like thickening of the arteries or blood clots. Risk factors for having abnormal blood pressure include:
- low nutrient intake
- a poor diet high in sodium
- obesity or being overweight
- lack of physical activity/sedentary lifestyle
- high amounts of chronic stress
- other compounding medical problems
- a family history of high blood pressure
If you have high blood pressure, include more of these foods in your diet:
- fresh fruit
- lean proteins
- beans and legumes
- healthy fats
- 100 percent whole grains that are (ideally) sprouted
- organic, unsweetened dairy products
These foods are part of the “DASH diet,” named the best diet for a sixth year in a row by U.S. News & World Report, especially for those with blood pressure problems. The DASH Diet also aids in weight loss, lowering cholesterol, and preventing or controlling diabetes.
Other tips for regulating blood pressure include:
- managing stress
- cooking more at home
- increasing fiber consumption
- lowering your sodium/salt intake (especially from processed foods)
- getting more potassium in your diet
- staying hydrated
- practicing portion control
3. Eliminate Use of Risky Medications
A number of medications can cause ischemic colitis. So, whenever possible, it’s best to avoid using any prescription (and, of course, recreational) drugs that you don’t need. Talk to your doctor about your risk for ischemic colitis based on your current health and use of medications. Although this only happens rarely, medications to discuss that can contribute to ischemic colitis include:
- NSAID pain killers
- Hormone replacements such as estrogen or birth control pills
- Synthetic steroids including danazol (brand names Danatrol, Danocrine, Danol, and Danoval)
- Migraine medications
- Certain antibiotics
- Drugs used to treat irritable bowel syndrome including teraserod (brand names Zelnorm and Zelmac).
4. Prevent or Treat Blood Clotting Abnormalities
The most significant risk factors for developing venous and arterial blood clots that can block blood flow include:
- being sedentary/immobility
- older age
- genetics/family history
- taking certain medications
- having high blood pressure or high cholesterol
- lack of regular exercise
To help prevent blood clots from forming, it’s important to stay active and eat a healthy diet. Make it a priority to exercise regularly and avoid long periods of prolonged inactivity or immobilization. Aim to be active for at least 30 minutes daily. Also, take breaks regularly when you’ve been sitting for an extended period of time.
If you smoke cigarettes, make every effort to quit as soon as possible since smoking increases the risk for blood clots. Certain medications may also increase your risk for developing blood clots, including hormone replacement drugs (usually used by menopausal or postmenopausal women), birth control pills, medications to control blood pressure, and cancer treatment drugs. Discuss your risk of blood clots with your doctor if you use these medications, especially if you have a history of heart-related problems.
5. Avoid Becoming Dehydrated & Overexertion
Drinking water throughout the day is the best way to stay hydrated, especially whenever you’re losing fluids, such as if you’re doing vigorous exercise. Severe dehydration can cause changes in blood pressure and potential serious problems like heat exhaustion, fainting and cardiac problems. People recovering from surgery, athletes, people who perform manual labor outdoors in the heat, children, the elderly, and people with GI issues are all susceptible to the effects of dehydration.
To protect yourself from dehydration and negative effects of electrolyte loss, drink about eight glasses of water throughout the day (give or take a bit) in addition to consuming hydrating foods such as:
- coconut water or coconut milk
- watermelon and other melon
- bell peppers
- citrus fruits, like oranges and grapefruit
Precautions If You Suspect You Have Ischemic Colitis
Always visit a doctor if you experience bloody stools for more than one day accompanied by abdominal pain and/or a fever. Rather than attempting to treat ischemic colitis on your own, or just waiting it out, get a professional diagnosis to be safe. It’s important to get a proper diagnosis of ischemic colitis in order to distinguish it from other similar conditions that may be chronic (such as other types of inflammatory bowel diseases) or more serious, such as acute mesenteric ischemia, which causes complete blockage of blood flow to part of the intestine that often cannot be reversed.
Final Thoughts on Ischemic Colitis
- Ischemic colitis is an injury to the large intestine/colon as a result of reduced blood flow. It affects people over the age of 65 most often, especially those with a history of cardiovascular problems, but it can also develop in younger people.
- Symptoms of ischemic colitis include: abdominal pain, blood stools, diarrhea, trouble eating, dehydration, fever and weight loss. These are due to inflammation and superficial injury to the intestine, along with damage to intestinal tissue (necrosis).
- Treatments for ischemic colitis include: treating any underlying health issues that are contributing to the problem; changing medications; treating dehydration and electrolyte imbalances; resolving any intestinal infections; reducing inflammation in the GI tract; and in about 20 percent of cases, surgery.
Jillian BabcockDr. AxeOctober 20, 2017
New Dad (or Mom)? Try These Baby-Friendly Workouts Dear New Father, Well done: You now have a baby of your own, and that means you now possess a love that knows no bounds, not to mention a vulnerability that knows no depth. It also means […]
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Roasted Veggies 3 Ways | Recipe
This veggie dish from Cooking Light is the meal that keeps giving. Start with one-pan mustard-glazed chicken and roasted vegetables and transform the leftovers into two easy dishes: Roasted Vegetable Soup and Roasted Vegetable and Spinach Turnovers. Each of these recipes helps you reach your daily vegetable quota, all for under 400 calories. Tip: These meals can be cooked and frozen to enjoy later.
For the vegetable mixture (8 cups or 1.9 L)
6 cups (1.4 L) butternut squash, cubed and peeled
3 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 1 cup or 236 ml)
2 parsnips, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 1/2 cups or 591 ml)
2 small red onions, cut into 1-inch wedges
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 2 cups or 473 ml)
For the chicken
1/4 cup (59 ml) olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon (15 ml) fresh rosemary, minced
3/4 teaspoon (11 ml) kosher salt, divided
3/4 teaspoon (11 ml) pepper, divided
4 (6-ounce or 170 g) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
1/2 cup (120 ml) unsalted chicken stock
1/4 cup (59 ml) dry white wine
2 tablespoons (30 ml) whole-grain mustard
2 teaspoons (10 ml) honey
2 cups vegetable mixture
Place 2 baking sheets in the oven and preheat oven to 425°F with pans inside.
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl. Add 3 tablespoons (44 ml) oil, rosemary, 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 ml) kosher salt, and 1/2 (2.5 ml) teaspoon pepper; toss. Arrange vegetable mixture on preheated baking sheets. Bake for 30 minutes, stirring after 15 minutes. Cool slightly; reserve 6 cups vegetable mixture.
Heat 1 tablespoon (15 ml) oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle chicken with 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) salt and 1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) pepper; cook 5 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan. Add stock and wine and cook 2 minutes. Stir in mustard and honey. Add chicken, turning to coat. Serve with remaining 2 cups (472 ml) vegetable mixture.
Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 1 chicken breast half and 1/2 cup vegetable mixture
Per serving: Calories: 372; Total Fat: 21g; Saturated Fat: 3g; Monounsaturated Fat: 12g; Cholesterol: 75mg; Sodium: 454mg; Carbohydrate: 12g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 8g; Protein: 35g
4 cups (946 ml) unsalted chicken stock
1/3 cup (78 ml) reduced-fat sour cream
2 teaspoons (10 ml) cider vinegar
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon (.5 ml) ground red pepper
1/8 teaspoon (.5 ml) ground nutmeg
4 bacon slices, cooked and crumbled
4 teaspoons (20 ml) chopped parsley
4 cups (956 ml) vegetable mixture from Mustard-Glazed Chicken with Roasted Vegetables recipe
Place 4 cups (956 ml) vegetable mixture in the bowl of a food processor. Heat chicken stock in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add stock, 1 cup (236 ml) at a time, processing after each addition until smooth. Add soup to saucepan; simmer 2 minutes. Stir in sour cream, vinegar, salt, ground red pepper and nutmeg. Place 1 1/2 (354 ml) cups soup in each of 4 bowls; top each serving with 1 cooked and crumbled bacon slice and 1 teaspoon (5 ml) chopped parsley.
Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 1/4 recipe
Per serving: Calories: 157; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 1g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2g; Cholesterol: 8mg; Sodium: 516mg; Carbohydrate: 19g; Dietary Fiber: 3g; Sugar: 3g; Protein: 9g
1 teaspoon (5 ml) olive oil
2 teaspoons (10 ml) minced garlic
1/4 teaspoon (1 ml) crushed red pepper
5 cups (1.2 ml) baby spinach
1 (11-ounce or 311 g) package refrigerated French bread dough
1 ounce (28 g) reduced-fat cream cheese, diced
1-ounce (28 g) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/4 (1 ml) teaspoon black pepper
2 cups (473 ml) vegetable mixture from Mustard-Glazed Chicken with Roasted Vegetables
Preheat oven to 400°F. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat; swirl to coat. Add garlic and crushed red pepper; sauté for 30 seconds. Stir in spinach until wilted. Add vegetable mixture from Mustard-Glazed Chicken with Roasted Vegetables recipe. Divide bread dough into 4 portions; rolling each into a 6-by-3-inch (15-by-8 cm) rectangle. Place 1/2 cup (118 ml) vegetable mixture on each rectangle; top each with 1/4 ounce (7 g) diced cream cheese. Fold dough over filling; crimp to seal. Arrange turnovers on a parchment-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and pepper. Bake at 400°F for 20 minutes.
Serves: 4 | Serving Size: 1 turnover
Per serving: Calories: 309; Total Fat: 6g; Saturated Fat: 2g; Monounsaturated Fat: 1g; Cholesterol: 9mg; Sodium: 597mg; Carbohydrate: 62g; Dietary Fiber: 1g; Sugar: 4g; Protein: 9g
This veggie dish from Cooking Light is the meal that keeps giving. Start with one-pan mustard-glazed chicken and roasted vegetables and transform the leftovers into two easy dishes: Roasted Vegetable Soup and Roasted Vegetable and Spinach Turnovers. Each of these recipes helps you reach your daily vegetable quota, all for under 400 calories. Tip: These …
Cooking LightUnder ArmourOctober 20, 2017
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