Introduction to Heidi

Hello World Wide Web! My name is Heidi.

I have created this site for many different reasons. Like some of you I have lived a roller coaster life. I as a child up to age 7 was just a tiny little thing who was afflicted with horrible tonsils and adenoids. At the age of 7 I had surgery to remove these buggers (first surgery caused a tear to a vein in my nose, which after about an hour of bleeding, led to a 2nd surgery). The best part of the whole event was that once I was able to tolerate foods I could eat all the Popsicles and Ice Cream I wanted (hip hip hooray).

Thus began my life long journey of being overweight.

With this site my goal is to not only help myself, but hopefully help others with this journey.

 

10 Myths and Facts About Fibromyalgia

There’s still a lot that isn’t known about fibromyalgia, which may be why myths about the condition persist.

Fibromyalgia is a chronic disorder of the central nervous system that involves pain throughout the body, as well as fatigue.

Everyone who has fibromyalgia experiences it differently, which is one reason misunderstandings and myths often surround this condition.

Knowing the facts about fibromyalgia — and being able to separate them from myths — is essential to making the best choices to control the condition.

“The more informed and active the patient is, the better off they are in conditions like this,” says Don L. Goldenberg, MD, a rheumatologist and professor emeritus of medicine and nursing at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland. “They really need to get solid medical information.”

Myth #1: It’s All in Your Head

Fact: For people who experience the pain and other symptoms associated with fibromyalgia, the disorder is all too real, says Dr. Goldenberg.

The condition causes “chronic, widespread muscle pain,” he notes. “By the time people see doctors, it’s usually many months or years” since symptoms began.

But many doctors, Goldenberg laments, still don’t understand the condition.

“Most doctors think that if your elbow hurts, or your knee hurts, or your shoulder hurts, the pathology is directly in those areas,” he says. “In fibromyalgia, that doesn’t work. The pain is actually coming from the brain.”

This misunderstanding of the origins of the pain, says Goldenberg, is “one of the reasons it’s very controversial, and was for a long time kind of pooh-poohed as, ‘it’s all in your head.’”

Myth #2: Fibromyalgia Is a ‘Catchall’ Diagnosis

Fact: Fibromyalgia has specific diagnostic criteria, developed by the American College of Rheumatology (ACR).

Many people are under the impression that fibromyalgia is a “catchall” or “fallback” diagnosis because there isn’t any single test or obvious symptom used to diagnose it.

“There’s very little to see on a physical exam,” Goldenberg says. “Laboratory tests are unremarkable.”

According to the ACR, fibromyalgia is diagnosed based on the following factors:

  • Multiple painful areas of the body (on both sides, above and below the waist)
  • Additional symptoms, like fatigue, poor sleep, and difficulty thinking or concentrating
  • Symptoms that last for at least three months
  • No other apparent cause of these symptoms

Myth #3: Fibromyalgia Only Affects Women

Fact: Between 75 and 90 percent of people diagnosed with the disorder are women, according to the National Fibromyalgia Association (NFA).

Fibromyalgia affects about 10 million adults in the United States, the NFA says, which means that between 1 million and 2.5 million men in the United States have been diagnosed with fibromyalgia.

But Goldenberg says that the actual incidence among men may be even higher, since gender-based bias may play a role in how doctors diagnose fibromyalgia.

Myth #4: Fibromyalgia and Arthritis Are the Same Condition

Fact: Fibromyalgia and arthritis have little in common, other than sensations of pain and fatigue.

Unlike arthritis, fibromyalgia “doesn’t primarily affect joints. It affects muscles and soft tissue,” says Goldenberg.

And unlike arthritis and other rheumatic (arthritis-like) disorders, fibromyalgia isn’t a disease characterized by inflammation. In fact, markers of inflammation tend to be normal.

Instead of the pain coming from an inflamed area of the body, in fibromyalgia, “The pain is actually coming from the brain, from the central nervous system,” says Goldenberg.

Myth #5: A Special Fibromyalgia Diet Is Needed

Fact: No specific diet has been shown to reduce fibromyalgia symptoms, according to the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

Instead, you should simply focus on following a healthy, balanced diet that includes whole grains, lean protein sources, low-fat dairy products, fruits and vegetables, and plenty of water.

It’s also a good idea to limit your consumption of caffeine, refined sugars, fried foods, red meat, processed foods, and alcohol.

Myth #6: Complementary and Alternative Treatments Are Pointless

Fact: Meditative movement therapies — such as tai chi, yoga, and qigong — appear to improve fibromyalgia symptoms, according to a review published in January 2013 in the journal Rheumatology International. (1)

In this study, measured improvements were seen in the areas of sleep disruption, fatigue, and depression.

And in a study published in November 2017 in the same journal, a connective tissue massage was found to help with pain, fatigue, and sleep disruption in women with fibromyalgia. (2)

Myth #7: You Should Avoid Exercise

Fact: Exercise is the single most effective treatment for fibromyalgia, according to the American College of Rheumatology.

Aerobic exercise, in particular, has been shown to be helpful in reducing fibromyalgia symptoms. This includes activities like walking, biking, swimming, and water aerobics.

But Goldenberg believes that stretching and strength training are also helpful for many people. Strength training can mean using weights, exercise machines, exercise bands, or your own body weight for resistance.

While exercise may be painful or difficult at first if you have fibromyalgia, regular physical activity can help improve your symptoms and make exercising easier.

Myth #8: You’re Just Tired

Fact: Fatigue in fibromyalgia goes far beyond just being tired. As Goldenberg notes, the condition causes “a tremendous amount of fatigue. People are very exhausted.”

While fatigue is a common symptom of fibromyalgia, an article published in November 2013 in the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy concludes that it doesn’t occur in isolation. (3)

Instead, fatigue in fibromyalgia is interwoven with other symptoms — including pain, sleep disruption, and mood disturbances — and all of these symptoms can influence one another.

Myth #9: You Can Take a Pill to Make Fibromyalgia Symptoms Disappear

Fact: Drug treatments don’t work very well for many people with fibromyalgia.

“The truth is, we don’t have very good medications,” says Goldenberg. “They work well in maybe one out of three or four patients.”

While you may see some benefit from taking a drug approved to treat fibromyalgia, your symptoms will probably just diminish, not disappear.

You’ll probably also still need to incorporate lifestyle measures, like exercise, stress reduction, good sleep habits, and possibly cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), into your treatment plan.

Myth #10: There’s Nothing You Can Do

Fact: While there’s no cure for fibromyalgia — and medication doesn’t work for everyone — there’s still a wide range of options available for treatment.

“Nonpharmacological approaches actually work as well, or maybe even better,” than drugs for many people with fibromyalgia, Goldenberg notes.

If your current treatment isn’t giving you the relief you need, work with your doctor to try something new, whether it’s exercise, prescription drugs, over-the-counter (OTC) pain relievers, or alternative treatments, like massage or meditative movement

Editorial Sources and Fact-Checking

References

  1. Langhorst J, Klose P, Dobos GJ, Bernardy K, et al. Efficacy and Safety of Meditative Movement Therapies in Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Randomized Controlled Trials.Rheumatology International. January 2013.
  2. Celenay ST, Kulunkoglu BA, Yasa ME, et al. A Comparison of the Effects of Exercises Plus Connective Tissue Massage to Exercises Alone in Women With Fibromyalgia Syndrome: A Randomized Controlled Trial. Rheumatology International. November 2017.
  3. Vincent A, Benzo RP, Whipple MO, McAllister SJ, et al. Beyond Pain in Fibromyalgia: Insights Into the Symptom of Fatigue. Arthritis Research & Therapy. November 2013.

 

Sources

Fibromyalgia. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Fibromyalgia. Mayo Clinic.

Prevalence. National Fibromyalgia Association.

Diagnosis. National Fibromyalgia Association.

Fibromyalgia. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fibromyalgia. American College of Rheumatology.

Last Updated:2/5/2018

Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia

I am truly learning everyday about these two diseases and I am blown away all the time with the comparisons to myself, there are also things I’ve found that do not necessarily affect me, enforcing the adage “No two Peoples experiences are the same.”

Some of the information I was reading today from an article in an email I receive from everyday HEALTH, really made me wonder…Have these two beasts been lurking within for longer than even I thought? Definitely falls into the “Things that make you go hmmm?” category.

It is of course noted that more Women than Men are affected by both diseases. I did not know that around 30% of the people diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis are also diagnosed with Fibromyalgia either at the same time or within a short time frame thereafter and it may not be in that order. The development of both conditions together is a phenomena known as “Comorbidity”

The most common denominator of the two conditions is PAIN“! Although it does tend to come from different places. To date there are currently no specific diagnostic tests for either Rheumatoid or Fibromyalgia, however Physicians utilize certain criteria to determine each disease, through the process of a physical examination and detailed medical history.

With Rheumatoid Arthritis there are generally more identifiable physical manifestations such as hot swollen red joints especially within the wrists, fingers, ankles and knees.

When diagnosing Fibromyalgia a physician, in addition to obtaining the physical exam and medical history, will also assess pain in 19 different areas known as tender points throughout the body as well as other symptoms like fatigue, problems with thinking and memory (Fibro Fog), as well as a feeling of exhaustion after a nights sleep. Fibromyalgia symptoms have to be experienced for at least three months and can’t be explained by any other health issue.

For patients with Fibromyalgia “everything hurts” and adding in the stress of uncontrolled RA can increase the pain sensitivity a person with Fibromyalgia already experiences. A study published in the Journal of the College of Physicians and Surgeons – Pakistan from 2014 demonstrated that patients with both conditions experience higher perceptions of pain and significantly higher joint disease activity scores, then a patient who has RA alone.

Key difference of the disorders are; RA is characterized by inflammation of the joint lining and can present in physical damage and deformities and can also lead to issues such as scarring of the lungs, neuropathy, and others. A Fibromyalgia patients brain identifies pain in muscles or joints when it shouldn’t (a process known as central sensitization) but doesn’t cause physical issues of joint damage or scarring in the lungs like RA.

Neither disease has a cure, there are definitely Homeopathic and medication treatments available to battle the horrible problems (not everything works for everyone) that can arise. Remember that each disease has to be treated with individual treatment plans and medicinal methods since each disorder is rooted in different body processes (RA Autoimmune and Fibro Central Nervous System) do your research. It is your body and your health you must be proactive. A lesson I am still attempting to master.

A lot of this is NEWS to me, but I’m excited

Crazy Health Benefits of Juicing Raw Cannabis

Contrary to popular belief, the marijuana plant is a whole lot more than just a psychoactive drug that “stoners” use to get high.

In raw form, marijuana leaves and buds are actually loaded with a non-psychoactive, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-cancer nutrient compound known as cannabidiol (CBD) that is proving to be a miracle “superfood” capable of preventing and reversing a host of chronic illnesses.

The old saying an “apple a day keeps the doctor away” could officially be replaced by “a cup of juiced cannabis a day keeps the doctors away”.

Here is just a very SHORT list of some of the benefits of juicing raw cannabis:

1.  Antioxidants

2. Increased muscle repair

3. Increased quality of immune system which will help you fight off illness both severe and basic.

4. You can ingest higher than usual doses of cannabis this way because there will be little to no psychoactive effects.

Again , this is just a very short list and much more is still to be learned about juicing and consuming raw cannabis.

POSTED BY MEDICATED MIKE: Medicated Mike’s goal is to educate the world about the countless health benefits cannabis has to offer.

 

Diabetes and Fast-Food Choices

Healthy Food Choices on the Go

Updated August 31, 2017

Ideally, fast food is not the first choice for people with diabetes. However, in real life, we run around and get hungry away from our kitchens. We need to eat regularly to keep blood sugar levels stable and to avoid the bad choices that being ravenous can lead us to. If you remember these simple rules when you have diabetes, fast-food choices don’t have to throw you off the path of good management or be void of good nutrition. People with diabetes have many different diet philosophies, beliefs, and practices. There is no one-size-fits-all plan. Some people can have a considerable amount of carbs. Some can’t or don’t want to. Some can eat smaller servings of just about anything. Some can’t. If you take insulin or any medication that can make your blood sugar go too low, make sure to get enough carbs to counteract the medication so you don’t go too low.

You can make food choices according to “levels.” Try to stick to the top level as much as you can. Keep options from fast-food drive-through windows, convenience stores, and ready-made grocery items in mind.

Use these choices to tide you over until you can treat yourself with healthier food. If you make choices that are further down the choice list and that are not very heavy on nutrition, make sure to try to eat healthy foods the rest of the day if possible.

Try to avoid large servings, too many calories, fried foods and fatty or sweet sauces. Calories, fat, and carbs can hide in the sauces and toppings. Try to look up what you eat. Sometimes, restaurants have nutritional pamphlets you can have. You can look online, carry a food count book, or use a phone app that lets you look food up quickly and see entire menus.

First Level Choices

First level choices are dark leafy greens, non-starchy vegetables, low-glycemic fruit, lower-fat grilled proteins, legumes (beans), nuts (such as walnuts and almonds), seeds (such as sunflower seeds), good monounsaturated fats and sea vegetables.

I personally try to avoid wheat and fatty cheeses. I am intolerant to both, especially when they are served together. They upset my stomach. Many people with diabetes have this problem and may not be aware it is causing digestion problems.

Most of the time, eating at this level means there are no carbohydrates to count or at least not that many. Watch out for sauces and toppings. Remember that fruits, beans, and starchy vegetables contain carbs. Stay within your goals for carbs per meal.

First level choices could be:

  • Grilled chicken salad. This can be found at most fast-food restaurants. Remember to check the nutrition label on the dressing and other add-ins they may offer.
  • Salad with nuts or beans. Some fast-food restaurants carry these types of salads. Sometimes their “Southwestern” salads include a scoop of beans. Watch out for fried additions, cheese, and heavy dressing.
  • Apple with nuts. These can be found in grocery stores and some convenience stores. If you can tolerate cheese, a cheese stick goes well with an apple.
  • Beans with lettuce, salsa, and guacamole or sliced avocados. These are staples in most Mexican restaurants. It is even better if you can find boiled whole beans rather than refried beans.​
  • Stir-fry with vegetables and protein. Stir-fry from a drive-through? Order a Panda Express bowl and ask for it to be served over mixed vegetables instead of rice or noodles. It does have a semi-sweet and spicy sauce that has 13 grams of carbs and 5 grams of sugar per serving.
  • Seaweed salad and a protein. Many grocery stores carry seaweed salad near the deli counter with other Japanese sushi selections. Unfortunately, the nutrition label is often absent. On average 1 ounce of seaweed salad has about 5 grams of carbs and 4 grams of sugar. However, some restaurants have counts as high as 41 grams of carbs and 18 grams of sugar. Pair it with grilled meat, deli meat, a boiled egg, or whatever they might have on hand.
  • Skinless chicken and green beans. This combo can be found at Popeye’s Chicken and Biscuits and Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Second Level Choices

Second level choices would be the choices listed above plus whole grains or grains that are high-fiber, low-carb, and don’t make your blood sugar level rise very high. We are all different. For many, corn tortillas are not too evil.

Second level choices could be:

  • Beans (as above) with a corn tortilla or two. If you can find a place with whole-grain flour tortillas, those may be an even better choice.
  • Grilled tacos with corn tortillas. Do not get fried tortilla shells. The best protein choices would be grilled chicken or fish.
  • Grilled sandwich or wrap. Some fast-food restaurants offer whole grain buns or wraps with grilled meats. These restaurants include McDonald’s, Burger King, Arby’s, Sonic, Carl’s Jr., and Chic-fil-A. If you are trying to limit starchy carbs, take off half the bun and eat the meal as an open-face sandwich. Some places also serve meats in a lettuce wrap.
  • Pita sandwich. Jack in the Box has offered the chicken fajita pita with a whole grain pita for a long time, and it’s one of my favorites. It is a bit higher than what I would like for fat and sodium, but it can be made better by ordering it without the cheese. Regularly, the item has 326 calories, 10 grams of fat, 6 grams of saturated fat, 987 milligrams of sodium, 35 grams of carbs, 3 grams of sugar and 23 grams of protein. Go without cheese, and the sandwich is 234 calories, 3 grams of fat, 1 gram of saturated fat, 842 milligrams of sodium, 34 grams of carbs, 3 grams of sugar and 17 grams of protein.

Third Level Choices

If you simply cannot find a meal that fits into the first two choice categories, then you may have to count carbohydrates. Another option would be using exchange lists. This requires looking up nutritional information. Also look at the sugar and calories and try to keep them as low as possible. Work with a dietitian to find out what works best for you, your diabetes management, and your goals.

 

Cannabis and Cannabinoids

I want to begin by stating that I am definitely “PRO” Cannabis!!

I’m writing today to share information I discovered regarding a report that was issued by the National Academies of Sciences-Engineering and Medicine on January 12, 2017. Described as one of the most comprehensive studies of research since 1999, at which time the National Academies released the report “Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base.”

Utilizing literature databases an extensive search to identify relevant reports and research materials that have been published since the 1999 report was executed, more than 10,000 scientific abstracts were considered. The Committee moved forward based on the abundance of information published addressing Cannabis, the task statement, and other specified study parameters.

The steps involved were determined at the onset by the committee to cover detailed examination of “Health Topics” which demonstrated the most pressing affect to Public Health.

Nearly 100 different research conclusions were organized into 5 categories of the use of Cannabis or Cannabinoid and Health. Ultimately four recommendations outlining research priorities to be included in a research agenda were determined.

  • Addressing current research gaps
  • Identify actionable strategies
  • Highlight potential to improve data collection and enhance surveillance capacity
  • Introduce strategies to plug away at the existing obstacles currently inhibiting Cannabis research

This reports release occurs during a critical period of time for the use and benefits of Cannabis.

I admit my use of cannabis has been a part of life for a long while. So some may say I’m biased, however I know from personal experience that cannabis enables me to be more productive and provides greater pain management than occurs when I take prescription meds by themselves.

I definitely support the Federal re-categorization of marijuana from having no medical value to a position of valued medical benefit. This action would thus encourage study of the benefits derived from consumption of this wonderful plant.

Do not however take my word for it, check it out for yourself and by all means read the full report at nationalacademies.org/CannabisHealthEffects