Glad this is FINALLY GETTING SOME ATTENTION..

Diabetes. High blood pressure or hypertension.  Kidney disease.  What are these?  Is there a common denominator?  There can be.

Recently, the White House signed an executive order aimed at defraying the cost of kidney treatment; i.e. dialysis.

However, if you were to ask the casual observer or listener “how exactly do you wind up on dialysis?” few would know.  Unless they themselves or close relative or friend utilized dialysis, they would be hard pressed to answer.

Do you know?

For most of my nursing career, this was my specialty.  All apologies to those of you who’ve heard this story before.

Over the next couple of posts, I will be touching on the topics of diabetes, hypertension, and how they can be major players in kidney disease.  After all, it is a direct lead in to why I do what I do today.

So, if this is something that is of interest to you, or you have been diagnosed with any or all of these, stay tuned.  This ride, I promise won’t be as bumpy.  After all, if you are living with any of these, your ride is bumpy enough.

 

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

 

Questions? Comments? Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

 

 

A Day in the Life….

 We all have a story to tell.  Since the revamp of this blog, from Personal Training to Life Training w/Crystal, I am interested in expanding my focus.  Because of my nursing background, this puts me in a unique position–to discuss topics that most personal training only blogs/sites may not tackle.

Therefore, I would like to hear from you if you living with:

Type 1 Diabetes

Type 2 Diabetes

High Blood Pressure–whether controlled by lifestyle changes, medication, or both

On or soon will be on dialysis

Cardiac Rehab

You may wonder why I’ve chosen these issues specifically.  These represent most of what I have encountered in my career.  As both nurse and personal trainer, I am interested in how you are  managing.  Medication? Lifestyle, diet, exercise?  Combination thereof?  How is this working for you?  What challenges do you face?

I sincerely hope when I do hear from you, you are interested in sharing your stories with my readers.

I am not offering advice, nor am I trying to take the place of your physician or nurse practitioner.   I am simply interested in A Day in Your Life.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

 

Questions? Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

 

 

 

 

Who’s in charge?

healthy living waterfall  As we begin our journey into the topic of women & heart disease, I’d like to set the tone.  Those of you who read faithfully, bear with me.

As a new nurse, I was about to discharge one of my 1st patients from a busy med-surg floor.  Her MD (a rare one indeed) delivered her post hospital stay instructions himself.  This patient, obviously didn’t realize what a gem she had.  When I returned to her room, she casually asked me to call him back in.  “I think I was sleeping; or something, maybe I just wasn’t paying attention” was her excuse. At least she was honest.  Though young and new to the profession, I didn’t lack courage to speak my mind.  I told her I would try to reach him.  However, I reinforced she is ultimately responsible for her own health.  “Just who’s in charge of my care?” she continued.  I replied,”you are.”

That experience indeed set the tone for the way I choose to practice.  Then as now, I believe no one should know your body better than you.  Too often, we put ourselves in the hands of another–MD, nurse, personal trainer, before we are taught to attune to what our bodies are telling us.  Each of us have idiosyncrasies–unique ways in which we respond to medications, exercise, as well as circumstances.  Do you know what elevates your heart rate?  For me, a cup of green tea can do it–albeit mildly.  Running around a track in 90 + heat takes little toll on me, but jumping jack squats?  I’m fighting back nausea, struggling to keep my stomach contents from making an appearance.  These are my idiosyncrasies.  Do you know yours?

TEMPER, TEMPER

Most of us realize the correlation between blood pressure, stress, and of course, anger.  Just like the co-worker who’s irritable at 9am, but ok by 10, or our realization that the lot is full by 8, but we can still find a parking spot at 7:45, we learn to adapt.  We leave 15 minutes early; we avoid grumpy cat till at least 10:15.  But what exactly is the cost of that adaptation, if we are talking stress and hypertension?  Yes, blood pressure will rise, because your stress level is up.  Yet what if stays there?

Before you answer, do you know what your blood pressure is at rest?  Your heart rate?  Plenty of expensive and inexpensive gadgets around to help you find out.

What’s the point of these questions?  To help you become acquainted with what makes you, well, you.

Slowly but surely, healthcare practitioners are discovering there is no “one size fits all” medicine.  There never was this mythical standard; only signs & symptoms which are common to certain disease processes.   Before we delve into one such process–women & heart disease–inventory is necessary.

SOME FOOD FOR THOUGHT

How many days a week do you exercise?  How long do you spend doing it?  What type of exercise do you do?  Do you become short of breath easily, even after a mild workout?

Do you take medication?  If so, for what?  How long have you been on it?  When’s the last time it has been re-evaluated?  If you have started an exercise program, has your medication required adjustment?  Is your healthcare practitioner aware of your program?

What is your resting heart rate?  Blood pressure?  Do you know?

Have you been told to lose weight? If so, by whom? (Facebook “what’s your excuse” fit mom and air brushed media images don’t count)  Why were you told to lose weight?

These are just a few questions for which you should have an answer, before beginning a fitness routine.  They are part of my questionnaire, prior to taking new clients.

They should also be part of your knowledge base.  Risk factors, healthy living, and wellness are only terms–terms which are meaningless unless you know who you are, before deciding what you want to become.

Next post–Risk Factors.  More importantly, what you can do about them.

Questions?  Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

 

Food for thought: Obesity as a disease?

healthy living waterfall  We’ve all heard it.  Infomercials touting the latest gadget to prepare healthier food, to campaigns in communities to fight the “obesity epidemic. ”  You can’t escape.  Obesity is public enemy number one.

As a renal nurse, I am well acquainted with how most of the dialysis population found their way to their present circumstance.  In short–diabetes and hypertension, and usually a combination thereof.  I’ve seen patients (at times in less than a year) go from losing a toe, to a foot, and eventually become a BKA (below the knee amputee).  So now, they contend with the complications of renal failure, AND face life without use of a limb.

For this reason and many others, I traded my uniform for workout gear.

A major part of nursing is education, as well as preventative care.  I have worked as a dialysis educator, classroom instructor, and now I see myself in the preventative arena.  It may not be the way most of my colleagues see prevention.  But we all play on the same team; just with different approaches.

Every type of disease wreaks havoc in its own way.  However, I wonder how obesity fits in.  Yes, it has far-reaching implications–but does it really fit the description of a disease?  Maybe.  Though I have a few questions.  How would this classification work anyway?  Do we assign stages to it–like renal failure or cancer?  How would insurance companies handle this?  Would they? Should it be considered a pre-existing condition if you begin/change insurance?  Will there be specialists in this field?  Treatment and patient compliance face dilemmas all their own on this one.

Take a look at http://mercola.com. “Why Branding Obesity as a Disease is a step in the WRONG direction.”  The article is dated July 6, 2013.   It has interesting perspectives on who benefits by calling this weighty issue a disease.

In the meantime, consider who benefits by regular exercise, proper nutrition, and a reform in habit.  I can give you one hint–it’s not those who would benefit from calling obesity a disease.

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Be sure to check out my ABOUT page.  Questions?  Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com

Sugar in the morning, sugar in the evening….

happy applesWhile working as an educator  (I taught the principles of dialysis & theory of renal failure), I reminded my students constantly:  Man’s theories change–sometimes month to month, hour by hour, often minute by minute.  Be mindful of the prevailing data, but equally mindful that it will change.

This is a topic which I’ve wanted to address for sometime, but approach with mixed feelings.  What is this, which evokes such feelings of trepidation?  Sugar and diet.  A four letter word–joined with one which many believe, should be.

Sugar has been tried, found guilty, and all but executed as the major culprit in obesity, diabetes, and even addiction (sugar, sweet cravings).  So as a nurse, I feel great pressure to climb on this bandwagon.

Sugar is no innocent bystander; but neither is one’s decision to ingest massive quantities of it.  Yet our bodies require glucose to function.  If deprived critically enough, brain activity suffers.  Does this mean I get a pass to eat 6 cookies instead of two?  Have an extra helping of French Silk pie?  After all we are talking brain function.  Yes we are, but you could probably stop at one cookie, and skip the pie.

Hyperglycemia (too much circulating blood sugar) is the long-standing battle in diabetes.  Most of us are familiar with this.  What we may not be as familiar with is hypoglycemia.  Too little sugar has its consequences as well. Have you ever felt a little shaky, or unable to focus if you haven’t eaten?  These are just a couple of the symptoms of hypoglycemia.  Eating regular meals usually prevents this.  Yet if we are talking whether we obtain enough sugar without even trying–the answer is yes.  A resounding one at that.  Most of our dietary sugars are obtained with little or no effort.  Certainly we recognize sugar in cakes, ice cream, pudding, etc.  Yet what about orange juice?  Barbecue sauce?  Salad dressing?  Again, we obtain most of the sugar we need (and then some) without realizing it.

So what is my personal take on this controversial, much maligned, yet desired substance?  Well let’s take a look at a few things–starting with sugar substitutes.  There are many to choose from.  In 1879, Saccharin was discovered, quite by accident.  Constantine Fahlberg–while working in his laboratory, spilled a chemical on his hands.  Later that evening at dinner, he found the bread sweeter than usual.  He later realized his hands (guess he didn’t wash them prior to eating) made it sweeter.  Enter the 1st artificial sweetener–and the foundation for others to follow.  Today however we have a litany–Splenda, Truvia, just to name two.  Yet the fact still remains, most of these substitutes have originated in the latter half of the 19th century, to the 21st.  So–how long has sugar been around?  I can assure you, it predates any of these.

My point is this.  I know what sugar is.  I know the consequences if I ingest too much of it.  For me, it’s nausea followed by a headache.  Too many sweets become jelly rolls on my waistline, and pudding on my thighs.  However, the jury is still out for me about substitutes which claim to be “better for me.”  I don’t know what they are, or their true origins.

Short but true story.  Attempting to be “healthy,” yet satisfy my craving for vanilla ice cream, I picked up a pint.  It contained a sugar substitute.  After a couple of spoonfuls, I decided it wasn’t for me.  It tasted thicker than normal ice cream, and something about it upset my stomach.  I put the rest of it in the sink, and ran warm H20 on it.  I can’t recall the last time I left an unfinished bowl of ice cream–yet if I did, it melted.  After a couple of minutes of running warm H20 on this, it still was a glob in my sink.  That sounded the death knell for sugar substitutes in my home.

Sugar in morning?  Yes please, in my tea.  Sugar in the evening? Most of the time, I take a pass.  Yet I can assure you, if it’s going to be sweetened, it’s going to be sugar–well maybe a little honey.  That’s the only substitute that will find its way onto my table.

Do you know the signs of hypoglycemia vs. hyperglycemia?  Check out LIVESTRONG.  Search hyperglycemia vs. hypoglycemia.  Not too much medical-ese in this article.  Here are a couple of links I found below.

http://www.healthcentral.com/diabetes/cf/slideshows/5-signs-you-may-have-hypoglycemia

http://www.lifeclinic.com/focus/diabetes/kids_symptoms.asp

All for now.  Keep up and keep at it.

Questions?  Comments?  Contact me at serrenity.c@gmail.com