what is diverticulitis?

Welcome to another Tuesday edition of Health Tips on Tuesday. August is Colon Health Awareness Month and I have been discussing Diverticulosis. Today, I am going to talk about Diverticulitis. It is a sister disease to Diverticulosis. You can read the other posts on this topic in the archives.

Diverticulitis is very common especially as we age. You have to have Diverticulosis to have Diverticulitis. Why? Because Diverticulitis is inflammation, and or infection, of the Diverticulum that are present in Diverticulosis. Remember that diverticulum are pouches that form usually in the lower colon and can not only become infected but also can blow, or perforate causing much larger issues.

There are 3 videos below that explain Diverticulitis and have images to help you visualize what I mean. It may be disturbing to some people, so watch wisely. The 3rd video is in Spanish, to explain it to any Spanish readers that may visit this blog. I only know a little Spanish, so I can not verify what he is saying. I tried to find it in Sign Language as well, but I could not locate any, except for one with signs for common symptoms. So, I will share that for any medical people so you can have at least some basic signs to communicate with hearing impaired patients.

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medical monday: diverticulosis

Hello, and welcome to a very wet Medical Monday! I am having issues with my pool that are getting on my nerves. I have never had issues with it being nice and clean, and clear until last week. I am assuming it has something to do with the dreadful heat. Anyway, that is not what we are here to discuss. For the month of August I have decided the topic will be Diverticulosis, and Diverticulitis. At least once a week I will do an educational post on these two topics. They very much go together. This post may contain affiliate links.

I have changed my Mailchimp newsletter to bi-weekly. It will go out the first week and third week. I just don’t see any reason to do it weekly. If you would like to join my mailchimp list sign up below. I share special content there.

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What is Diverticulosis. Diverticulosis is when you get small pockets, or pouches in the colon or intestines. Think of them kind of like tiny balloons. For whatever reason it is more common in men than women. These tiny sacs or balloons can hold waste products that moves through the intestine, and can become infected. As with any infection inflammation will occur causing pain, and that is when you get Diverticulitis. But, today we will focus on just Diverticulosis.

The tiny pockets form when the inner layer of the Digestive Tract pushes through weak spots in the outer layer. Almost like a Hernia does, if you have ever had a hernia. Most of the time these pouches will form in the left side of the colon, but you can get them anywhere in the intestines.

Diverticulosis is more common as we age. It is rare to get it under age 40, but some people do.

You may already know what I am going to say next. Studies show that a low Fiber Diet is most likely the predominant risk factor for Diverticulosis after age. Countries where eating fruit and vegetables is abundant, there is very little Diverticulosis possibly even in the over 60 age group. I will discuss this more in another post. If you would like to see what the pouches look like in the colon, watch the short video below. It is age restricted so you will need to click it to go to Youtube and watch it.

What are the symptoms of Diverticulosis?

  1. Some people have no symptoms at all until the pouches become inflamed and they have pain, usually in the lower left side of the abdomen.
  2. A change in bowel patterns. For example you may be very regular with no issues, but all of a sudden you are constipated. Or your bowels become more frequent and loose when that is not your normal.
  3. You may also experience cramping or bloating.

How is Diverticulosis diagnosed?

  1. Since most people experience no symptoms, or have vague symptoms they relate to something else, Diverticulosis is picked up by other exams you may have as Preventative Care such as a Colonoscopy, or Sigmoidoscopy. They can also be seen via a CT Scan, or Barium X-rays. If you have vague symptoms such as bloating and cramping, and are over age 40 talk to your doctor about having one of the diagnostic exams above. You do not want these pouches to rupture, especially if infected, trust me!

Most people do not need treatment for Diverticulosis other than preventative to prevent the pouches from becoming inflamed, infected or rupturing. Talk to your doctor, but most experts at this stage will inform you to eat a high fiber diet with lots of fresh fruits and veggies. This will keep your stool soft, and moving freely through the intestinal tract hopefully eliminating the pouches from becoming filled with waste and becoming infected. Try to get most of your fiber from whole grains and veggies, as the sugar in fruit can be inflammatory. Nuts and seeds are also good for fiber, but ask your doctor first because they can actually complicate Diverticulosis. If you smoke, quit smoking. If you have other dietary restrictions, or take medications, be sure and discuss with your doctor before you make any major changes to your diet.

If you would like to use a Health Coach to help you meet your Health Goals, hit me up! I am accepting new clients at this time. Use the contact form below to message me and I will email you with dates for a phone meet and greet. The meet and greet is free and should not last longer than 15 minutes. After that you will decide if you would like to hire me as your coach.

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all parents need to see this!

Before I jump into the main topic I wanted to mention a couple of updates to other topics. Yesterday, I announced the herb for December, and it is dill. Last night I shredded some cabbage, remember I have 3 pounds of it, and made some simple sugar free coleslaw. I decided to add a little dill at the last minute just to see how it would taste. You guys it was so delicious and flavor packed. I only put like a tablespoon in it. We will see if my husband likes it. I know my teen won’t even try it. Also, I like to share affordable lunch or dinner ideas, that are healthy. I had some chicken stock in the fridge. So, for lunch today I warmed it on the stove, scrambled two eggs and added them to the stock. Then I chopped up some scallions from my garden and put them in, and chopped some frozen spinach I had in the freezer. After about five minutes of cooking I had a delicious, filling and healthy soup. My husband even liked it!

My regular readers know by now that I am a homeschooling mom, and I have been working on a very particular Nutrition course for my teen. The topic this time is childhood obesity. My teen is not obese, or even overweight. But, she makes horrible food choices when given the chance. She can still get obese later in life, have cancer, or any other number of chronic conditions from poor food choices. The video below was an eye opener for me. I knew some of the info provided, but some of it is shocking. I think if my child was in the public school system and had access to all of those awful food options she might be overweight, or obese. Getting kids to eat healthier should be a priority for the government, not allowing all this crappy food to be served. I love Jamie Oliver, btw, and if you need quick healthy meal ideas check out his Youtube channel.

I am not suggesting that kids never be allowed junk food, or to make bad choices. That is how they will grow and learn. But, when junk food is the only choice, or a much bigger and better choice they are not going to choose healthy foods. Most adults don’t. Why would kids?

It is kind of a long video, but I urge you to watch it, and then I urge you to watch it again with your children. Start a conversation and start with small changes and make new habits. New habits can take a while, up to six months, but once it is a habit it is hard to break. For example, I made it a goal for 2020 to walk 10,000 steps every single day. At first it was daunting, but I started by getting up and walking 250 steps every hour. That really is not that far. Now I walk an average of 650 steps every hour for 10 hours out of a day, and I meet my 10,000 steps every single day. Why? Because it is a habit. I just do it. I have Halloween candy, delicious milk chocolate candy, sitting in my dining room, but I haven’t had a piece in weeks. Why? Because I have trained my brain into the habit of not wanting it, or craving it. I can sit and look at it and not even want it. Now, if I do want a piece, I have a piece and I just track the carbs, and subtract carbs from somewhere else. It can be done! We all can do it!

Now, I do have to say I had a homemade brownie this morning with 1/2 cup of vanilla ice cream, and it was delicious. But, that is my treat for the day, and I have tracked the carbs, and I am good for the rest of the day for treats.

Message me, via the contact form at the end of every post, if you would like to use any of my Health Coaching services to help you meet your health goals.

For the month of March 2021 I am giving away 30 minute coaching sessions related to Kidney Health. If you are interested you can learn more, here.

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What is Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus?

Insulin Dependent Diabetes Mellitus or Type 1 Diabetes is a chronic disease where the pancreas either does not make enough Insulin.  Insulin is a hormone made by the Beta Cells in the pancreas.  When the Beta Cells are not working propers then little or no Insulin is produced.  This leads to increased glucose in the blood.

Type 1 Diabetes, is sometimes referred to as Juvenile Diabetes because it often has onset before the age of 15.  In a few cases, onset has come after adulthood.  The human body needs glucose to function properly.  But, when glucose builds up in the body due to no insulin production damage to nerves, tissues and other organs can occur.  When you consume Carbohydrate-rich foods that are broken down into glucose, in your intestines, the pancreas will sense the increased glucose and release Insulin to decrease the glucose levels.  When you have Type 1 Diabetes this does not happen.  A diet low in carbohydrates, prescribed by your Dietitian, and exercise can also help keep glucose levels in check.

Testing your glucose levels several times a day, using a glucose monitor, and lancets will aid you in knowing what your glucose levels are throughout the day.  This is a tedious but necessary step when you have Diabetes.  It is imperative that you follow all the instructions given to you by your doctor to help reduce the risk of other organ damage, such as eyes, kidneys, and heart.  If you would like to work with a Health Coach to motivate you and support you in keeping up with your Diabetes, use the contact form below to message me for a free meet and greet.  You can see all my available packages here.  Watch the short video below to learn more about Diabetes.  If you think you have Diabetes you should get tested as soon as possible.  Diabetes can cause great harm to the rest of your body, but with proper maintenance much can be alleviated.

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Iron Deficient Anemia and CKD

The 3rd type of Anemia, that people with CKD can experience, is called Iron Deficient Anemia.  You can read about the other two kinds in the archives, if  you want.  Now not just people with kidney disease get Iron Deficient Anemia, but it is common in people with kidney disease.  Why?

1-  Impaired absorption of dietary Iron.  Talk with your doctor, or dietitian, because unless contraindicated, it is my understanding that iron rich foods should be consumed with Vitamin C rich foods.  So, for example, have strawberries with your hamburger.

2-  If you are taking EPO, due to another kind of Anemia, you may have Iron Deficient Anemia as well.

3-  Chronic Inflammation can lead to Iron Deficient Anemia.  How do you know if you have Chronic Inflammation, common symptoms are GERD, muscle aches, not being able to sleep.

4-  Remember that when CKD progresses, or kidneys lose function, the chance of getting any Anemia goes up.  Make sure you see your Nephrologist as much as they request.  I see mine every 6 months.  I could probably switch to once a year, but I like to stay on top of it.  Anemia can sneak up on you, with vague symptoms like being tired a lot, pale skin, being cold.   These symptoms could mean a lot of other things too, but if you have kidney disease you should be monitored for Anemia.  Untreated Anemia can cause chest pain due to decreased oxygen to the heart, which of course can lead to a heart attack.

Love your kidneys and take care of yourself.  If you have health related goals that you would like to meet, message me for a free Health Coach meet and greet.  Use the contact form below.

I have been posting a lot about kidney disease, so for the next few weeks I am going to mix it up, and talk about Stress and how it effects the body, and how to manage it.

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July Schedule

Well it has been 6 months since I started this blog.  The past couple of months I did not post a schedule for meet and greets, and to take clients, as my out of home job has been messing with my schedule.  But, not it is finally back on track, and I can post a schedule for meet and greets.  If you would like to work with me to meet your health goals, and make improvements in your life, read the Disclaimer first, and then fill out the contact form below to message me.  You will see the dates and times that I am available for meet and greet, and or schedule meetings for goal setting and follow up encouragement.  Remember I will be helping you as a coach, to aid you in meeting the goals you set for yourself.  I am not giving medical advice.  Allow 24 to 48 hours after sending comm form for a reply, often will be sooner.

I have some exciting things in the works.  I am hoping to do a Walking Instructor Cert, which will allow me to teach Fitness Walking.  There is one also for the elderly that I am looking at.  Plus, I am going to do the Kidney Coach class.  This will enhance my skills to further help those who need it.

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July 1-  full

July 2-  full

July 3-  open 9 AM to 5 PM

July 4-  Holiday no hours available

July 5-  open 9 AM to 5 PM

July 6-  Full

July 7-  full

July 8-  Open 6-10 PM

July 9-  Open 9AM to 5 PM

July 10-  Open 9 AM to 5 PM

July 11-  Open 9 AM to 5 PM

July 12-  Full

July 13-  Closed

July 14-  Closed

July 15-  Noon to 8 PM

July 16-  Full

July 17-  9 AM to 5 PM open

July 18-  Full

July 19-  possibly open unsure

July 20-  Full

July 21-  Full

July 22-  Noon to 8 PM open

July 23-  9 AM to 5 PM

July 24-  9 Am to 5 PM open

July 25-  9 AM to 5 PM open

July 26-  full

July 27-  Open Noon to 4

July 28-  Open Noon to 4

July 29:  Open Noon to 8

July 30-  Full

July 31-  Open 9 AM to 5 PM

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Cholesterol and Heart Disease

Cholesterol is a type of fat.  It can build up in arteries causing decreased blood flow to the heart.  Cholesterol is found in highest amounts, in dairy products, meat, and eggs.  I can remember the days of nursing when Cholesterol was the only type of fat discussed.  Now there is Trigylcerides, LDL, HDL, etc.   Saturated fats, polyunsaturated fats, and on and on it goes.  So do we need any Cholesterol, or should it just be removed from all diets?  Actually, like any other nutrition item, Cholesterol plays a very important part of the normal function of a human body.  Cholesterol helps the body build new cells.  Well that sounds pretty important.  Cholesterol also insulates nerves, and helps produce hormones.  Again, two very important functions to the human body.  We need Cholesterol.  We just don’t need too much of it.

So, now comes the blah, blah, part.  You should be having your Cholesterol checked every single year starting in your teens.  Even though a lot of high Cholesterol comes from foods we consume, for some people it can be hereditary.  Even the most fit people, with excellent diets can have high Cholesterol due to Genetics.  I am not a fan of Statins, they have a high risk of damaging the liver, but if I needed one I would  take one.  Exercise, controlling blood pressure, and following a low fat and high fiber diet, can help lower Cholesterol levels.  Oatmeal is a great way to increase fiber in your diet. If you really like eggs, for your morning meal, the egg yolk is where all the Cholesterol is.  So, egg whites are a better option, and only have one or two whole eggs a week, if that.   I have switched to egg whites, because the egg yolk is also where all the Phosphorous is.  Make sure you get actual egg whites, not made from egg white substance.  I don’t even know what that means, egg white substance.   Even if you were to decide to try other options, before a Statin, you would need to do it under the care of a doctor.  This is not something to mess with.

An optimal Cholesterol level is 200 or below, but I can promise you if you are sneaking around 190, or so, the doctor is going to start the blah blah part.  You can’t live without your heart, and one heart attack can be very debilitating, if it doesn’t kill you.

Take care of yourself, and if you need a Health Coach to help you meet your goals, along with your doctor, contact me for a free meet and greet.  Don’t forget about my 2 new programs, Walking Buddy, and Medication Reminders.

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March Calendar and Special

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CKD, What Is It?

As I have mentioned before this blog will be a lot about chronic illnesses, and ways to manage them.  I want to work with people with chronic illnesses, because I can relate to it, both as a nurse, and a personal level.  I will write in simple to understand terms.

Christmas Day 2016, after dinner, I started feeling like I was getting the Flu.  It was not the Flu, my left kidney was failing.  As my symptoms got worse, instead of better, my nurse instincts started to kick in, and I started to think something was seriously wrong with my kidney.  At first I thought kidney stone, or infection was the problem.  By the time the holidays had passed, and I started to have a metal taste in my mouth, I told my husband I have to get to a doctor and quick.  That was when I learned the scary truth, my left kidney had failed, was shrunken and scarred.  I was dumbfounded.  How could I have not known?  How was it never picked up?  Well the truth is CKD is called the silent killer for a reason.  They symptoms are slow, over a long period of time,  and mimic symptoms of many other illnesses.  That was the start of a new chapter in my life:  defeating this illness or at least keeping it stable, avoiding Dialysis or a transplant.

So, what is CKD?  CKD is Chronic Kidney Disease.  There are 5 stages, and I was one point away from being stage 4 when I finally got to a doctor.  I am now 2 points away from stage 2.  My kidney probably had been failing most of my adult life, and I was not even aware.  Oh, I had vague symptoms, but with a sibling and mother with Fibromyalgia, and I had symptoms of Sjogrens I just figured I had Fibromyalgia too, and would just have to live with it.  Not until the kidney just decided to go poof that Christmas Day, did the symptoms and blood work show the truth.  I did not have Hypertension, nor am I Diabetic, two of the leading causes of CKD.  So, that leaves most likely genetic issue, or something I was born with.  I won’t go into all the blah blah blah of how I think being diagnosed was just missed all those years, living in the past will help nothing.

Living with CKD has changed my life forever, plus my children and husband.  We didn’t even know if I would live, that is how sick I was.  The diet changes, exercise limitations, fatigue, fear of breaking a bone, and never wanting to be on Dialysis are stressful and weary at times.  But, I am an optimist, always, and determined to win.

I will be posting about many chronic diseases.  Being a nurse for 31 years, I have taken care of most of them.  There are ways to live a fruitful life with a chronic illness, but it takes determination and work.  There is no magic formula, and everyone is different in both their disease process, needs, and lifestyle.

If you would like to have a free meet and greet with me, and see if you want to work with me to reach your medical goals, use the contact button to message me.  I can only accept up to 4 clients, at this time, so don’t miss the chance.  The meet and great is absolutely Free.  I would love to be your Health Buddy!

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