Health Is Vital

Health is taken for granted, until you can't any more. In this blog I hope to put down on paper some of the articles I come across and want to remember, about health. I will be personalizing these articles to apply to me. I am diabetic, over weight, have high blood pressure and tinnitus, so these are the things you will find here. I will include nutrition, exercise, and holistic health, and many other ideas. I work in the health profession, particularly mental health, and have an interest in suicide prevention; so these topics will also be covered in this blog. Please, if you are suffering reach out. Our county health and crisis line is 1-855-278-4204.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

**Depression and High School Students

NIMH Pamphlet Depression and High School Students

Depression can occur during adolescence, a time of personal change.  Depression is a common mental illness typically marked by sad or anxious feelings.  It is common to feels sad sometimes for a day or two, but this usually passes quickly.  Depression lasts for a long time, and interferes with day-to-day activities.
Depression symptoms include feeling: Sad, Anxious, Empty, Hopeless, Guilty, Worthless, Helpless, Irritable or Restless.  In addition there may be these symptoms: Loss of interest in activities you enjoy, Lack of energy, Problems concentrating or remember things, Problems falling asleep or staying asleep or sleeping too much, Loss of appetite or eating too much, Thoughts of suicide or suicide attempts and Aches, pains, headaches, cramps or digestive problems that do not go away.  One thing to note about adolescent depression (not mentioned in the flier) is that irritability is more common in teens than adults.  Adults more likely have depressed mood. 
If you suspect you might have depression it would be good to talk to your doctor or your parent could talk to a mental health professional.  The number in Santa Clara County is 1-800-704-0900.  Depression can respond to medications, psychotherapy or both.  Things you can do on your own to fight depression are: Give treatment a fair chance, attend appointments and give medications time to help, Engage in mild exercise, Participate in activities you enjoy, Break up large projects into smaller tasks, Spend time with friends and family, Expect your mood to improve gradually, Positive thinking will replace negative thoughts as depression improves.
If there is a crisis (you are are thinking or suicide, or someone you know is talking of suicide) you may call 911 for help, go to nearest emergency room, or talk advantage of 24-hour crisis lines: Santa Clara County  1/855/278/4204 and national 1-800-273-8255.

Monday, July 21, 2014

**Bipolar Disorder in Children and Teens

This is a summary of a pamphlet published by National Institute of Mental Health to inform parents of this illness. Bipolar dx also known as manic depressive dx is marked by unusual mood changes, extreme “ups” and extreme “downs called mania and depression.  It is not the same as normal ups and downs which is common for every kid.  Bipolar symptoms are more powerful.  Bipolar illness makes it difficult to do school work or to get along with friends and family.  Bipolar disorder can be dangerous as sometimes young people with this disorder try to hurt themselves or attempt suicide.  People with bipolar disorder should get treatment. 
In terms of diagnosing bipolar disorder there are no brain scans or blood tests.  However a thorough examination including questions about mood, energy sleep and behavior help to diagnose bipolar disorder.  Bipolar is marked by depressions and manias.  Someone having a manic episode may:  Feel very happy or act silly; have a short temper; Talk really fast about a lot of different things; Have trouble sleeping but not feel tired; have trouble staying focused; Talk and think about sex more often; Do risky things.  This is contrasted against depressive episodes.  Someone having a depressive episode may: Feel very sad; Complain about pain, stomachaches, headaches; Sleep too little or too much; Feel guilty or worthless; Eat too little or too much; Have little energy or no interest in regular activities; Think about death or suicide.
The important thing for a parent is to watch for any sign of suicidal thinking.  These signs should always be taken seriously.  In Santa Clara County the crisis line for children and teens is 408-379-9085.  The Suicide and Crisis line is 1-855-278-4204

Monday, July 14, 2014

**My Experience with Tinnitus

I have been living with tinnitus for the past six or seven years now.  I first developed it when I had bad allergies, and a stuffed eustachian tube putting pressure on my ear.  I hate that, and was steaming my ear frequently, trying to get it to go away.  This was the same year mom came to California after breaking her neck.  Anyway the tinnitus started about the same time the stuffed ears went away.  I concluded it must have been related.  However the ear doctor did not agree, and says it was the consequence of loud noises, Del Monte when I was young, and loud music when I was older. 

When it first developed it drove me crazy.  It triggered great anxiety.  I received a blessing from Brother Rod Tueller.  The tinnitus didn't go away after, but my ability to live with it has increased.  I hardly notice it any more, except when I get too tired, or when it changes tones which happens every once in a while.  If I listen for it, it is there.  But if I am busy doing something, I don't even realize it is there.  It still bothers me I really don't have silence any more.  However if I don't think about it, I'm OK.

The only worry is the doctor says it may portend hearing loss, which may be progressive.  I hope not, but Sheri worries my hearing is getting worse. I have a hard time hearing something from the other room, but if people get my attention I hear fine.  I also hear fine on the phone.  So I'm good for a few more years yet.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

**Magazine Article: The Fight to Take Back Beauty

I came across an article in the Utah State University magazine (my alma mater) about twin sisters, who have taken on a big fight.  They discovered that the majority of women are self obsessed with their body image.  50 percent of women are severely dissatisfied with their appearance and another 34 percent generally dissatisfied.  That means 84 percent of women are dissatisfied with their appearance.
The fight they have taken on, is to redefine beauty.  Dissatisfaction comes from the way our society looks at beauty, and defines beauty.  We can do more.  I want to share the link to their website in case anyone wants to join them in this fight.
There goal is to help women get past body image and "Develop body image resilience and to move beyond body shame and fixation on appearance to much more important concerns."

Saturday, July 12, 2014

**Anybody Hear of these new Condiments?
These new suggested condiments reportedly can add flavor, and health benefits.  As I look at the list, there are a few I would like to try.
Flax seed is reported to get rid of belly fat.  I have way too much belly fat.  Flax seed was also recommended in another article I read about snacks.  Flax seed absorption is greatly improved if they are ground.  They can also be used by stirring them into food. They go well in oatmeal, soups and smoothies.
Chia Seeds come from Mexico.  They have a nutty taste.  You can sprinkle them on foods like oatmeal, rice, salad, cereal and baked goods.
Hemp seeds are the edible part of the hemp plant.  They are similar to sesame seeds and again can be added to most foods.
Wheat germ is general removed form flower, but is the part of what with the most vitamins.  Again you can add it to just about anything.

Thursday, July 10, 2014


I was attending a mental health conference five years ago when this quote was presented:

There is no medicine like hope,
No incentive so great
And no tonic so powerful
As expectation of something tomorrow.
Orison Swett Marden

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

**Snacks that Lower Cholesterol
This is an article from Everyday Health.  For the most part, these are pretty common snacks.  Each has its own method of helping lower cholesterol.  Apples have plenty of antioxidants; but the good stuff is in the peel, so eat the peel.
Nuts and seeds, particularly sunflower seed, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flax seeds, almonds, and pine nuts.  But don't overdo if you are trying to lose weight.   One ounce per day.
Oat Bran.  It is true what the boxes of Cheerios and Quaker say, these are heart healthy snacks.  Some how, oatmeal can block the absorption of cholesterol in you stomach.
Finally grapefruit is good for lowering cholesterol.  Just be careful as grapefruit can hinder the absorption of some medicines.

Monday, July 7, 2014

**The Starfish

The Starfish
I first heard this story from W Mitchell at an Amway conference.  It made an impression with me then and I still like it.  I hope to make a difference to the one.
The Starfish

There was a young man walking down a deserted beach just before dawn.  In the distance he saw a frail old man.  As he approached the old man, he saw him picking up stranded starfish and throwing them back into the sea.  The starfish had been washed ashore by a storm.  The young man gazed in wonder as the old man again and again threw the small starfish from the sand to the water.  He asked him, “Why do you spend so much energy doing what seems to be a waste of time?”  The old man explained that the stranded starfish would die if left in the morning sun.  “But there must be thousands of beaches and millions of starfish,” exclaimed the young man, “How can your effort make any difference?”  The old man looked down at the small starfish in his hand and as he threw it to safety in the sea said…… “It makes a difference to this one.”
 Adapted from Loren Eiseley

**Love Yourself: Bernie Siegel: Dynamic Health: Powerful Strategies for Healthy Living

I post my baby picture here for a reason.  Dr. Bernie Siegel tells a story of a phenomena that happens over and over.  He often talks to people, and holds up a baby, and everybody will ooh and aah and say how precious, how adorable.  He will then hold up an audience member, often a high school student, and every one will laugh and make fun, even the person being held up or asked to stand up.  And so the question, what changed in fifteen, sixteen years.  "Why were you a gorgeous baby, and now you're laughing at yourself?"... "So I really do tell people to get out their baby pictures and take a look at them.  I try to communicate to them that they're a child of God--to feel that they are divine rather than to tell them to do this, don't do that, it's not good for you, but to get them to love themselves so they then do what is good for them."
So I have posted my baby picture.  I am a child of God.  I am of divine worth.  I remember a saying our seminary teacher had in his office. "You are a child of God, and God doesn't make no junk."  When I feel down, I hope to see my baby picture, and remember my royal heritage.
Dr Siegel is a surgeon, and practices in the cancer field.  He began to realize hope and a lot to do with survival.  He and his wife established a program called ECaP (Exceptional Cancer Patients).  He talks of the importance of having love.  By this he means to love and be loved.  But he also is talking about having something you love, a passion.  He says it is funny, but now matter how ill you are, when you lose yourself in something you love, it seems to go away, you don't worry about the pain for awhile.  In my case, I don't hear my tinnitus.
Hope is important.  It improves your immune system.  It extends life.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

**Doctor-Patient Relationship: Valley Medical Center: Health Shorts
This is a website dedicated to the doctor-patient relationship.  There are a couple of short videos featuring Dr. Jeff Arnold, Chief medical officer at Valley Medical Center.  Questions are an important part of the relationship.  The web page includes about thirty questions you might want to ask your doctor.  It also includes about fifteen questions to ask if surgery is being considered.  The more the patient is involved in care, the more positive will be the results. 

**Eight Kitchen Gadgets that Help Cut Weight

This is a link to an article from Everyday Health.  We only have a couple of the gadgets mentioned:
Smaller dishes equal smaller portions, less calories.  We have smaller plates.
Lemon squeezer, we have this.  I love to squeeze lemons and freeze the juice.
Citrus Zester.  This is like a grater for your citrus peels.  The grated peels can be used for adding flavor to your meals in a way with less calories than oils, and less negative effect than salt.
Vegetable steamer: Steaming is a healthy way to cook food without added fats.
Slow Cooker: This is another tool we have.  Slow cooking helps to cook meets in their own juisces rather than adding calories or fat.  It is also a simple way to cook healthy food.
Oil Mister: Spraying on oil to avoid over using oil is a good idea.
Kitchen scale: Portion control cannot really be don without a scale, and is so important for portion control.
Immersion Blender: I would really like one of these.  This is a whipper/ beater you can put in your drink.
Salad spinner:  A spinner can make salad making easier, and consequently more likely.  Also a dry salad holds dressing better so you can use less.
All good ideas.  I would really like a citrus zester next.

Friday, July 4, 2014

**Taking Care of My Health

State of Welllness: Wellness Works winter 2014
This county provided pamphlet starts with a review of the health of county workers.  It is not very flattering, but good to know I am not alone.  55 percent of the county in general, and 56 percent of county worker are either overweight or obese.  I must admit I would like to get down to just being overweight.  51 percent of county workers have high blood pressure or are borderline, 44 percent are stressed or very stressed.  I have to say with regards to stress, it is stressful doing more with less, which seems to be the trend.
So some answers:
Eat right.  They suggest enjoying your good by eating more slowly, and eating less.  Prepare portions visually by using smaller plates, have of plate should be fruits and vegetables; leafy colored vegetables over starchy ones (my favorite is potatoes which didn’t make the list).  Make half your grains whole grains—watch the bread and the rice.  Eat less processed food, ingredients list should be short and sweet, avoid sugary drinks and make sure to include dairy.
Get physical activity:
“Exercise is absolutely essential to a healthy lifestyle.  Try to get in at least 150 minutes moderate physical activity each week; more if weight loss is the goal.”
Smart goals
These are goals that are attainable and time bound.  They are specific identifying actions to reach the goal; measurable, how much how long etc.; attainable, outcome is within reach; relevant, start small and make sure you have skills, resources to achieve goal; and time-bound, have an end date.
March into May, the county is sponsoring an exercise program which they do every year, to get people more active and to measure their activity.