Posts tagged ‘Disease’

When you see your doc, be sure to bring up family history of disease

9. pathophysiology-of-colon-cancer

9. pathophysiology-of-colon-cancer (Photo credit: TipsTimes)

When you see your doctor, it’s hard enough to figure out what questions to ask.  Should I get screened for this, or screened for that? I have emphasized throughout this blog the importance of getting screened for prostate cancer. Guys simply don’t like to visit the doctor. But colorectal health is also vital.  With proper and timely  screening, many men and women can avoid colon cancer.  But it takes a candid conversation with the doctor to set up a colonoscopy.

According to this HealthDay.com article, a new study suggests that a family history of the disease may be important for even more distant relatives.

In many cases, colon cancer may have no symptoms. And when symptoms appear, the disease could be advanced, so it’s important to talk with your doctor as you approach age 50….much younger if you have a family history of the disease.  This article tells me that it’s important to tell your doctor if any relative (even distant) may have had colon cancer.  Just one more thing to remember when you set up your next doctor appointment.

Are you getting a quality sleep?

sleep

sleep (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

I don’t know about you, but I find it hard to get a quality sleep night after night. Think about it. In this age of computers, laptops and smart phones, a lot can distract you. Do you ever wake up at 3 a.m., with the urge to check your phone for the latest text or email?

Times are changing and a new study shows that chronic diseases such as heart disease and diabetes can be association with poor sleep habits…and that means too MUCH sleep or too LITTLE sleep.

The following article by HeathDay.com quotes Dr. Safwan Badr, president of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine. According to Badr, “when and how you sleep is just as important as what you eat or how you exercise.”

The article suggests adults should aim for seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

You’ll also see a link to sleep and sleep disorders from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Book Review: “I’m Still Here: A New Philosophy of Alzheimer’s Care”

By John Zeisel, Ph.D.

Review by Scott Keith

If you’re a baby boomer, there’s a chance your mother, father or grandparent is struggling with memory problems. A diagnosis no one wants to hear is Alzheimer’s disease. According to Healthcentral.com: The disease slowly attacks nerve cells in all parts of the cortex of the brain and some surrounding structures, thereby impairing a person’s abilities to govern emotions, recognize errors and patterns, coordinate movement and remember. Ultimately, a person with Alzheimer’s disease loses all memory and mental functioning. Over five million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s.

It’s a scary diagnosis, both for the patient and for his or her family. But is the prognosis hopeless? The president and cofounder of Hearthstone Alzheimer Care has written a book that is designed to help family members cope with this debilitating disease. John Zeisel, who has earned a Ph.D. in sociology from Columbia University, is the author of I’m Still Here: A New Philosophy of Alzheimer’s Care. While Zeisel does not shy away from the seriousness of the disease, he says the Alzheimer’s sufferer can still smile, enjoy the love and warmth of family and take great joy in something as simple as a trip to the local art gallery.

Zeisel helps strip away fear of the disease and gives the family some encouragement. Even though there is no cure for Alzheimer’s, Zeisel prefers to examine the glass as half-full rather than half-empty. Zeisel writes, “I advocate including people living with Alzheimer’s in society – at museums and theaters, among other places.” Zeisel explains that people can live over a decade with the disease, and that for much of that time, they can function with less help than most people think. They “can enjoy themselves, and can even learn new things.”

Zeisel’s background with Alzheimer’s goes back many years. He has run Alzheimer’s assisted-living treatment residences in Massachusetts and New York.

According to the book, a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is seen as a sentence. “But this just isn’t so Throughout the more than decade-long progress of the disease, the person is crying out, ‘I’m still here.’ We all need to start hearing that cry before it fades away completely,” writes Zeisel.

In chapter 3, Zeisel, who has taught at Harvard, Yale and McGill universities, writes that certain human abilities are hardwired. “Although emerging neuroscience techniques will determine with increasing precision which brain elements are hardwired in humans, we already have indications of certain hardwired human skill and memories. Among these are facial expressions, responses to the touch of another, singing, and landmarks for way-finding – all abilities that last our entire lives, even if we have Alzheimer’s.”

I’m Still Here describes how something as simple as art can help an Alzheimer’s patient enjoy life. Zeisel writes, “The arts can provide meaning in what to many is experienced as an ever increasingly meaningless life. Art connects people to their culture and to their community.” Zeisel goes on to say that theater can help Alzheimer’s patients feel and understand emotions found in drama.

More hope can be found in chapter 10, where Zeisel, in a touching way, describes the “Gifts of Alzheimer’s,” — discussions in which family members have improved as human beings as a result of their relationships with loved ones who have suffered with Alzheimer’s.

If your loved one has just been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, purchase this remarkably uplifting and satisfying book. It is possible, says Zeisel, to see the glass as “half-full.”

Visit John Zeisel’s website at www.imstillhere.org

Great health advice for the stubborn baby boomer guy

It has been a theme of many posts on this blog:  Men are simply lazy when it comes to seeing the doctor. Men wait until symptoms are beyond tolerable before visiting the clinic. Jim Gorman of Men’s Health (Msnbc.com) has a great piece. It’s a must read for boomers and men of all ages. You’ll learn about simple self-checks. Find out the importance of gum disease, clogged nasal passages and abdominal fat.

Be sure to check the video from NBC chief medical editor Dr. Nancy Snyderman.

As men, we need to do a better job monitoring our symptoms and reporting them to our general practitioner.