Posts tagged #conditions

Imagine Our World if We Taught It How to Eat

News from the on Medscape > Heartfelt with Dr Melissa Walton-Shirley


Imagine Our World if We Taught It How to Eat

Melissa Walton-Shirley

I attended a session yesterday at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) 2015 Congress entitled, "What should you eat to live a heart-healthy life?" By all accounts, accolades, and high-fives following the presentation, it was life-changing. Dr Neil Thomas (University of Birmingham, UK), Dr Steen Stender (University of Copenhagen, Hellerup, Denmark), Dr Simon Poole (Cambridge, UK), and Prof T Meinert Larsen (University of Copenhagen, Frederiksberg, Denmark)—all nutrition gurus and scientists—spent 67 minutes teaching us how to save the world. It was probably the most important series of the entire ESC 2015 meeting because they advocated for nutrients whose side effects are nil (for most) and are readily available for mass consumption (in most places). They demonstrated how a population of unsuspecting individuals could be sickened when a government allows a food supply to become tainted by commerce and ignored by politicians. They proselytized with proof and enthusiasm that we need to educate and legislate on the topic of nutrition to save millions upon millions of lives and dollars.

You may say I'm a dreamer

Dr Steen Stender dreams of a world without trans fat. He knows why it has been favored by the food industry: it's cheap, can hold its shape as a semisolid at room temp, has an ultralong shelf life, and stands up to repeated heating. Dr Stender also understands why the 2006 Nurses' Health Study published in the New England Journal of Medicine demonstrated a 33% increase in the incidence of coronary heart disease when 5 g or more of trans fat per day is consumed. Its ability to increase LDL and decrease HDL levels is a negative double-whammy in the lipid arena.

Because Dr Stender stood up to big commerce, he is now a superhero in the world of trans-fat legislation. As chair of the Danish Nutrition Council's subgroup dealing with trans fats and health, he convinced the country of Denmark to approve a ban there effective January 1, 2004. It is now illegal for any food to contain more than 2% trans fats, and offenders face hefty fines and even incarceration. Proof of the downside of taking a hard stand on trans fat is the fact that he was sued after he outed the content of a favorite snack wafer. He likened the public's risk of consuming it to that of smoking 10 cigarettes per day. Sales plummeted, and the company sued him for $1 million. Then, in a stunning turnaround, in 3 months, it dropped the suit and removed 100% of the trans fat in its product.

The number of Danes who died from cardiovascular disease fell by 70% between 1985 and 2009. No EU member state has recorded a greater decline in mortality. Could the ban on trans fats in 2003 be the cause? Indeed, it seems that Dr Stender's dream for Denmark may have already come true.

But I'm not the only one

In my office, I have a copy of the Mediterranean diet pyramid at checkout for every new patient. Many established patients who suffer from metabolic syndrome, coronary artery disease, or obesity receive a second or even a third copy. I spend hours teaching the simple mechanics of nutrition. I stress that it's more impactful on longevity than any metal scaffold electively deployed into a coronary artery. I found a kindred spirit in Dr Simon Poole. His salient points came rapid fire, finding their mark and leaving quite an impression.

"If patients with coronary artery disease came out of the office of a practicing physician or cardiologist not on a statin, you could argue that's a negligent practice, but I'd argue that most have no advice on diet. I lay down the gauntlet. We as physicians need to emphasize diet," he began. He then lauded Dr Stender by saying, "Steen has done remarkably well with his government. Our secretary of state wanted to make an impact. We were shuffled into a room to discuss how to decrease mortality in 2.5 years. We emphasized "brave legislation" (hinting at labeling, reduction in trans-fat content, and education). The reply was a terse, "Well, we don't do social engineering." Someone in the group argued, "If you look at eye-level in a market at the packaging of chocolates for children . . . if that isn't social engineering, I don't know what is."

He made the salient points that simple things like irrigation of olives decreases the antioxidant content of olive oil, which can ruin even good foods. When UV light replaces natural sunlight, it can be impactful. Furthermore, he consumes up to 50 cc of olive oil per day and recommends frying fish in it and pouring it on pasta. He doesn't count calories.

I quickly asked the expert if anything about my usual dietary recommendations could be improved. I told him that I advocate for cutting in half the consumption of bread, sweets, potatoes, pasta, and rice and to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables per day. I recommend a maximum of four eggs per week and no more than one serving of red meat per month.

Dr Poole replied, "I don't discourage consuming pasta if they drizzle olive oil on it because it lowers the glycemic load. I'd die without having red meat once per week but the portion is very, very small," he said, pointing to a small portion of the palm of his hand. "It's always grass fed," he added and quipped, "I always know what my food ate." Further critiquing my recommendations, he added, "I would go for more than five portions of fruit and vegetables per day. Butternut squash, for instance, and cucumbers are fruits of sorts. As for eggs, they are back on the menu."

His friend Dr Aseem Malhotra (Frimley Health NHS Foundation Trust, Camberley, UK), who was standing nearby, added, "Following an MI, for mortality lowering, a high-fat Mediterranean diet is more effective than aspirin, statins, and coronary stents." It was a statement thrown like a fastball toward home plate, its implication staggering and dead on target.

Dr Poole concluded his presentation today by stating, "We need broader professional leadership and access to resources. Education is key. We need to take responsibility."

I hope someday you'll join us

Dr Neil Thomas emphasized the importance of respecting the many randomized controlled trials assessing the effectiveness of the Mediterranean and DASH diets to reduce all cause mortality. The impact of uneven recommendations and the impact of the media's influence cannot be underestimated. He cautions against supplements, stating that, "The media regularly reports on omega-3 fatty acids for prevention and treatment of CV disease, but there are no interventional studies that demonstrate a reduction in mortality. The US Preventive Services Task Force found no evidence of a positive effect of any nutritional supplement. Although there was a 7% reduction in all-cause mortality in one study that included vitamin D, those studies included simultaneous calcium supplementation. Those with vitamin D alone are all negative," he said, then added, "There are two larger trials upcoming that will be definitive regarding whether it's beneficial." He concluded by saying, "With regard to beta carotene, as soon as you start giving it in interventional trials it actually increased the risk of death."

Dr Thomas Larsen is studying multiple dietary combinations like high- or low-glycemic-index diets combined with higher or lower fatty- and protein-content diets. According to the DIOGENES trial, he noted, patients who followed a low-protein and high-glycemic index diet were more likely to gain weight. He then added, "High-protein diets, not low-glycemic-index diets, are the most promising for regulation of fat mass and abdominal height." He concluded that based on the Diogenes diet and others, "a high-protein, low-glycemic-index diet may have additive effects to improve body-weight regulation, is more successfully maintained, and may be more likely to lower CVD risk factors if followed long term."

And the world will be as one

I challenge you take this information into your exam rooms tomorrow. Bring along a copy of the Mediterranean diet pyramid. Talk to patients about how adding extra virgin olive oil blunts the glycemic index of whole-wheat pasta. Advocate against unfounded claims for dietary supplements. Strike up a conversation with your local congressional representatives. Imagine how we as clinicians and practitioners can change the world one conversation at a time, one politician at a time, and one act of legislation at a time. If you can see the future, you can make it happen. Imagine how the world would eat and live if we all did that tomorrow. Just imagine.


Yes, imagine a world where wellness is revered and respected again!

Thank you, Melissa Walton-Shirley, for one of the most exciting and inspiring reviews I have read in some time!!

Photo by yaruta/iStock / Getty Images
Photo by yaruta/iStock / Getty Images
Posted on September 9, 2015 and filed under discussions, information, Research studies, resources, visions.

Happy Heart Know Your Heart Healthy

Happy Heart … Know Your Heart Healthy

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Someone very dear to me is being harangued about their blood pressure by a well meaning provider who must stick to their clinic's guidelines regarding testing, diagnosing, and procedural prescription. This beloved person has come to me questioning the whole picture and more natural ways to lower blood pressure rather than a single chemical medication, which is known to have uncomfortable side/adverse effects. I have sent this initial share of information to her and decided why not initiate the conversation with those of you following this blog. This is a direct copy of my message to her.

"Right off the bat... motherwort tincture is a daily to lower BP; but Hawthorn is considered specific to reducing blood pressure by strengthening the heart. Seaweed daily in your diet; and garlic, lots of it, in your daily diet.

I am going to attach some great links, all to Susun Weed sites, because she is rising to the top of the wise woman of our times group, very understandable, and always keeps herself educated on conventional research regards the matters of health that she addresses.

Additional links are:

Take Heart From Hawthorn by Susun S Weed

Garlic - stinking rose - health benefits - phytoestrogens - lowers blood pressure - Susun Weed

There is much more I could share but I do not want to overload you. So look for the attachment and this link is to a video (the two links above are quickie reads). Not that Susun begins saying that motherwort and Hawthorn; hawthorn and Motherwort.... Susun Weed Show ~ The Basics -- Healthy Blood Pressure ~ SWS1110 "

I also shared this excellent page of heart health information from Project Aware : Heart Conditions and Healthy Remedy

Take care, Be happy and Be healthy!

beautiful beach
beautiful beach


References from Project Aware include:

  1. Balch, JF and Balch, P. Prescription for Nutritional Healing. Garden City Park, NY: Avery Publishing Group, 1997. ISBN 0-89529-727-2
  2. Brandt, KD. Effects of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs on chondrocyte metabolism in vitro and in vivo. Am J Med 83(5A):29-34, 1987.
  3. Brooks, PM; Potter, SR; and Buchanan, WW. NSAID and osteoarthritis—help or hindrance? J Rheumatol 9:3-5, 1982.
  4. Brown, Donald J. Vitex agnus castus. Clinical Monograph. Quarterly Review of Natural Medicine Summer 1994: 111-120.
  5. Burton, AF and Anderson, FH: Decreased incorporation of 14C-glucosamine relative to 3H-N-acetylglucosamine in the intestinal mucosa of patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Am J Gastroenterol 78:19-22, 1983.
  6. Carper, J. The Food Pharmacy. New York, NY: Bantam Books, 1988.
  7. Capps, JC et al. Hexosamine metabolism II. Effect of insulin and phlorizin on the absorption and metabolism, in vivo, of D-glucosamine and N-acetyl-glucosamine in the rat. Biochim Biophys Acta 127:205-12, 1966.
  8. Capps, JC and Shetlar, MR: In vivo incorporation of D-glucosamine I-C14 into acid mucopolysaccharides of rabbit liver. Proc Soc Expot Biol Med 114:118-20, 1963.
  9. Davis, Patricia. Aromatherapy: An A-Z: The Most Comprehensive Guide to Aromatherapy Ever Published. Random House UK; Revised edition (October 4, 2005). ISBN-13: 978-0091906610
  10. Drovanti, A et al. Therapeutic activity of oral glucosamine sulfate in osteoarthrosis: a placebo-controlled double-blind investigation. Clin Ther 3:260-72, 1980.
  11. Fulder, S. and Blackwood, J. Garlic, Nature's Original Remedy. Rochester, Vermont: Healing Arts Press, 1991. ISBN 0-89281-436-5
  12. Hendler, SS. The Doctors' Vitamin and Mineral Encyclopedia. New York, NY: Simon and Schuster, 1990. ISBN 0-671-66784-X
  13. Hoffman, David. The Complete Illustrated Holistic Herbal. Shaftesbury Dorset, England: Element Books, 1996. ISBN 1-85230-847-8
  14. Horvilleur, A. The Family Guide to Homeopathy. Virgina: Health and Homeopathy Publishing Inc., 1986. ISBN 0-9616800-0-8
  15. Kohn P et al. Metabolism of D-glucosamine and N-acetyl-D-glucosamine in the intact rat. J Biol Chem 237:304-8, 1962.
  16. Lark, Susan M. Women's Health Companion Self-Help Nutrition Guide and Cookbook. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 1995, paperback 1996. ISBN 0-89087-733-5
  17. Lark, Susan M. The Menopause Self Help Book. Berkeley, CA: Celestial Arts, 1990. ISBN 0-89087-592-8
  18. Morrison, M. Therapeutic applications of chondroitin-4-sulfate, appraisal of biologic properties. Folia Angiol 25:225-32, 1977.
  19. Murray, Michael T. Menopause: How To Benefit From Diet, Vitamins, Minerals, Herbs and Other Natural Methods. Prima Publishing, 1994. ISBN 1559584270
  20. Murray, Michael. 5-HTP, the Natural Way to Overcome Depression, Obesity, and Insomnia. New York, NY: Bantam Books, 1998. ISBN 0-533-19784-4
  21. Murray, Michael. Glucosamine sulfate: Effective osteoarthritis treatment. The American Journal of Natural Medicine 1(1), Sept. 1994.
  22. Newman, NM and Ling, RS. Acetabular bone destruction related to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Lancet: 2:11-13, 1985.
  23. Peirce, A. The American Pharmaceutical Association Practical Guide to Natural Medicines. New York NY: Stonesong Press, 1999. ISBN 0-688-16151-0
  24. Pujalte, JM et al. Double-blind clinical evaluation of oral glucosamine sulphate in the basic treatment of osteoarthritis. Curr Med Res Opin 7:110-4, 1980.
  25. Ronningen, H and Langeland, N. Indomethacin treatment in osteoarthritis of the hip joint. Acta Orthop Scand 50:169-74, 1979.
  26. Setnikar, I et al. Antiarthritic effects of glucosamine sulfate studied in animal models. Arzneimittelforschung 41:542-5, 1991.
  27. Shield, MJ. Anti-inflammatory drugs and their effects on cartilage synthesis and renal function. Eur J Rhematol Inflam 13:7-16, 1993.
  28. Solomon, L. Drug induced arthropathy and necrosis of the femoral head. Journal Bone Joint Surg 55B: 246-51, 1973.
  29. Tesoriere, G, et al. Intestinal absorption of glucosamine and N-acetylglucosamine. Experientia 28-770-1, 1972.
  30. Vliet, Elizabeth L. Screaming to be Heard, Hormonal Connections Women Suspect and Doctors Ignore. New York, NY: M. Evans and Company, Inc., 1995. ISBN 0-87131-784-2
  31. Weed, Susun. Menopausal Years: The Wise Woman Way—Alternative Approaches for Women 30-90. Woodstock, New York: Ash Tree, 1992. ISBN 9614620-4-3
  32. Weil, A. Eating Well for Optimum Health. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2000. ISBN 0-375-40754-5
  33. Willard, Terry. Textbook of Advanced Herbology. Calgary: CW Progressive Publishing Inc., 1992. ISBN 0-9691727-1-0
  34. Willard, Terry. The Wild Rose Scientific Herbal. Calgary: Wild Rose College of Natural Healing, Ltd. 1st hardcover 1991; 2nd printing 1998. ISBN 0-9691727-0-3
  35. Willard, Terry. Textbook of Modern Herbology. Rev 2nd ed. Calgary: CW Progressive Publishing Inc., 1993. ISBN 0-9691727-4-5
  36. Yoshiro K. The Physiological actions of tang-kuei and cnidium. Bull Oriental Healing Arts Inst USA 10:269-78, 1985.


Scientific papers

  • Crolle, G and D'este, E. Glucosamine sulfate for the management of arthrosis: a controlled clinical investigation. Curr Med Res Opin 7:104–9, 1980.
  • Belford-Courtney. Comparison of Chinese and western uses of angelica sinensis, kosalba. Australian Journal of Medical Herbalism 5: 87–91, 1993.
  • D'Ambrosia, ED et al. Glucosamine sulphate: a controlled clinical investigation in arthritis. Pharmatherapeutica 2:504–8, 1982.
  • Kaiser, K. Cross-cultural perspectives on menopause. Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences 592: 430–432, 1990.
  • Kronenberg, F. Giving hot flashes the cold shoulder—without drugs. Menopause Management April: 20–27, 1993.
  • Kronenberg, F. Hot flashes: Phenomenology, quality of life, and search for treatment options. Experimental Gerontology 29: 319–336, 1994.
  • Okker, E et al. Effects of extracts from cimicifuga racemosa on gonadotropin release in menopausal women and ovariectomized rats. Planta Medica 57:420–424, 1991.
  • Windsor, AC; Misra, DP; Loudon, JM; and Staddon, GE. The effect of whole bone extract on Ca47 absorption in the elderly. Age & Ageing 2:230–234, 1973.


  • Coney, Sandra. The Menopause Industry: How the Medical Establishment Exploits Women. Hunter House books, Publishers Group West, 1994.
  • Gillespie, Larrian. The Menopause Diet. Healthy Life Pubns, 1999. ISBN 0967-131-707
  • Gladstar, Rosemary. Herbal Healing for Women. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1993.
  • Griggs, Barbara. The Green Witch: A Modern Woman's Herbal. London: Vermillion, 1993.
  • Henkel, Gretchen. Making the Estrogen Decision. Los Angeles: Lowell House, 1992.
  • Northrup, Christiane. Womens' Bodies, Women's Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing. Bantam Doubleday Dell Pub, 1998. ISBN 0-553-37953-4.
  • Soule, Deb. The Roots of Healing: A Woman's Book of Herbs. New York: Citadel Press, 1995.
  • Wolfe, Honora Lee. Menopause, A Second Spring: Making a Smooth Transition with Traditional Chinese Medicine. Boulder, Colorado: Blue Poppy Press, 1995.


The following publications also may help. You'll need to order them:

A U.S. government publication, "Menopause," may be ordered from the U.S. Government Bookstore, Room 118, Federal Building, 1000 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA, 15222. It costs $3.25.

A pamphlet, "Taking Hormones and Women's Health: Choices, Risks, and Benefits," may be ordered from the National Women's Health Network, 514 Tenth Street N.W., Ste. 400, Washington, D.C., 20004. It costs $8 for members and $10 for nonmembers.

Net Resources

Menopause, The physiological cessation of menses as a result of decreasing ovarian function by David L. Hoffman, M.N.I.M.H. Menopause is one of the major rites of passage human beings go through. In our "civilized" society, menopause is too often approached with dread by many women, fearing it as a time when their role as women becomes devalued. It is a time of change in their role as mother, lover, and wife. As people, unfortunately, tend to create their self-image and persona from their perception of socially defined roles, becoming those roles in time, there seems to be not much left when these roles are "gone". From a different perspective, menopause can be seen as a great gift in a woman's life, a liberation, an initiation. It presents an opportunity to re-evaluate one's purpose in life, perhaps to change in many ways, to see change not as something to fear but as an opportunity to embrace, moving on to greater fulfillment.

Yoga stretches can benefit both the body and the mind, bringing energy and balance. This is particularly helpful to women who are currently in menopause or in menopause transition because their hormonal levels and body chemistry may be fluctuating rapidly.

Weight loss, menopause and hypothyroidism Larrian Gillespie, M.D. is author of several popular books on health, including The Menopause Diet, and in this two-part interview, talks to Mary Shomon about how weight loss and menopause relate to hypothyroidism, and much more.

Posted on January 29, 2015 and filed under discussions, information, Research studies, resources.

Diagnosis: P.A.D. Now What? Progression of the Disease

 PAD: Progression of the Disease


Save your arteries, save your life.

Your health care provider warns you that your body is showing signs of Peripheral Artery Disease. The name sounds complicated, so naturally you want to understand better what is happening in your body and why. Peripheral Artery Disease, or PAD for short, is a catch-all name for conditions that damage your arteries. Weakening artery walls, and plaque trying to repair the artery walls, disrupt the easy flow of blood through the artery vessels. Caught early, progression of PAD can be controlled.

Most often, atherosclerosis is what people, even your medical provider, are talking about when they say PAD or peripheral artery disease. But the name PAD actually means any of the conditions that can afflict the arteries. So listen and ask questions to understand which type of PAD you have. In this article, I address atherosclerosis since this is what many people come to me with questions about. And I am also discussing atherosclerosis because some dear friends and associates of mine have learned their thickening arteries are threatening their well-being.

Later, I will follow up this article with more on other types of peripheral artery disease.

Quiet Signs of PAD

Your provider’s diagnosis of PAD may have come as a surprise because you feel fine, no unusual symptoms. Maybe you feel a little bit of achiness, tightness or heaviness in your legs climbing the stairs, maybe some occasional numbness in your toes or fingers, or maybe some cramping in your legs or buttocks. Rest improves the discomfort and those crampy muscles can mean many things, but these signs can also indicate poor circulation. With PAD, poor circulation results in less blood reaching the muscles during exercise. Think of how blood brings life and warmth to all parts of your body, then you will understand how poor nail and hair growth is also a sign of PAD. Other possible changes include sores on your feet that heal slowly, cold feet especially if one is colder than the other and the corresponding pulse is weak too.

How PAD Happens

Plaque build-up along the artery walls, atherosclerosis, is the most common cause of PAD. Plaque occurs as your body tries to heal damage to the lining of your arteries. For example, high blood pressure from smoking tears at the lining of vessels. Plaque tries to cover the damage. High sugar levels in your body, from diabetes and insulin resistance, damage the lining of blood vessels too. Eating the wrong kinds of fat, which alters cholesterol levels, creates more plaque-building material in your vessels. Since more of these conditions are seen as we age, old age is a risk factor. If you or a close family member have had a stroke, you are at risk for PAD. Smoking, diabetes, obesity, sedentary lifestyle and heart conditions all have ways of weakening the artery walls.

PAD Keeps Progressing

If the causes of PAD do not make it obvious why your provider is concerned about your peripheral artery disease, here is a short list of what conditions and discomforts could be in your future unless you take steps now to redirect your body. Having PAD increases the chances you will experience other cardiovascular diseases such as: heart attack, stroke, mini stroke and other threatening heart complications. Once plaque lines an artery wall, more plaque is attracted, eventually making less room for blood to flow through the artery. Clots from the plaque can break away and suddenly jam a heart or brain artery. The symptoms of PAD are uncomfortable and painful but the long term effects are dangerous to your longevity.

Save Your Life

Over time, the effects of poor circulation add up. But you can take steps to slow down PAD and possibly halt its continued ravages to your arteries. You must have a provider to oversee your lifestyle changes, because the provider recognizes and teaches you to recognize the danger signs, helping develop a safe plan back to health. Learn the red flags right away: severe pain in your leg; infections that worsen despite care; loss of feeling in one or both feet; and know the signs of stroke and heart attack. There are surgical repairs for the worst case scenarios or, better yet, get help now to stop smoking and to alter your eating choices in a wise and safe manner. And get more active again to avoid weight gain contributing to plaque build-up and to improve circulation to the areas of your body where bloodflow has been limited by PAD.


As always, there are nutritional changes you can make to ease up some of the load, plaque build-up, your arteries are taking. One of the worst additions to our modern diet that people do not even realize they are eating is sugar in its many forms with its many, many names. Sugar, especially the new forms of sweetener via high fructose corn syrup and its numerous derivations, are added to nearly every pre-made and/or processed food you purchase in our modern nation. Sugar ravishes your body in countless insidious ways. Please review my previous ongoing discussions/articles regarding what has become common knowledge today among providers keeping up with the latest research on nutrition and on research of the effects of modern food additives.

For an example, if you are still choosing the low fat products, you are consuming sugar in far greater than balanced proportions. How can this be so? Besides going back and rereading my articles and the links to the research that I have previously provided, you can contemplate how money is the bottom line when it comes to selling. So what makes you choose a food? Taste figures in there near the top, doesn't it? When naturally occurring whole fat is removed from a dairy food, the feel-good and taste are altered. To compensate, the big food companies early on recognized a bit-o-sugar makes the medicine go down. Today, in order to keep consumers from noticing they are buying sugar, chemical names and new brand names are given to the various sugars added to foods for flavor.

So heads up! if you have PAD, you need to cut the sugar out of your diet everywhere you can sniff it out! This is a good start. In subsequent articles, I will continue to expose the unsuspected sources of sugar in commonly chosen foods in affluent, wealthy, and developed nations. In subsequent articles on PAD, I will also discuss other ways you can alter your lifestyle to help you win the race against this mysterious killer.

Key Concepts

  • peripheral artery disease
  • atherosclerosis
  • P.A.D.
  • vascular disease


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Resources (Further Reading)

Related Posts on the Lifestyle Modification Support website:

These are just articles and reviews written by Janet Still MSN FNP. There are also many links on this website with articles by others on the same topic of how to become more aware of what is really going on with your eating habits and what to stay abreast of in the current food industry trends and research on the effects of current food industry practices.

Author Bio

Family Nurse Practitioner Janet Still began writing and sharing fiction and poetry in her early years as a pre-med student. Still expanded her published writing to non-fiction after earning her Masters of Science in nursing in 2007. She is a contributor to academic health forums and blogs and the primary writer on the Lifestyle Modification Support blog.

Posted on May 22, 2014 and filed under discussions, information, janet's writing, Research studies.

Your Arthritis Wants Yoga

Your Arthritis Wants Yoga

bow pencil-paint


“Yoga? For arthritis?” My 40-something friend rolls her eyes and shakes her head, “You must be crazy. How can I twist my body like a pretzel when I cannot bend over?”



What is new about encouraging yoga for arthritis? More research! to back up the benefits of mild to moderate exercise for arthritis, including research specifically using yoga. The research enhances what yoga enthusiasts have been saying for decades: yoga provides many benefits specific to arthritis without alarming physical high jinks and manipulations.


What is important to know about yoga for arthritis? Yoga styles vary; some are well-suited to arthritis, others not so much. Yoga postures are specific to parts and regions of your body; begin with an educated instructor to choose the safest postures for your particular arthritis. Yoga strengthens muscles, thereby supporting joints for a longer joint life, more overall stability in daily activities, and less pain. Yoga provides more than exercise; yoga improves your lungs’ capacity, yoga enables deep relaxation, and yoga increases mental clarity.


How does yoga accomplish all this? Some yoga postures strengthen the large muscle groups that are used for the position, which then benefits the corresponding joint by lessening duress on the joint. Yoga increases range of motion, which gives you more room to work with before reaching your joint’s stress point. The combination of deep conscious breathing combined with focus on the body during the positioning for each posture has been shown to increase endorphins. Endorphins are those “feel good” hormones that up your mood and sense of well-being, decreasing the sensation of pain. As with all exercise, the movement and breathing causes your body’s blood, filled with needed oxygen, endorphins, and nutrients, to move more effectively into your muscles.


What do you need to know to have a positive experience with yoga and to experience improvement in your pain levels? Research shows that each individual discovers their unique range within any exercise as far as stretch and endurance. As with all exercise types, begin slowly and gradually increase how much you are doing as your strength for the practice improves. An experienced and specifically trained instructor will know which postures are safe and how far to go with the position. So choosing a qualified instructor insures you have the best support for learning your range. Some classes are for yoga performed in a chair! So whether you are limited to a chair or if you need to incorporate exercise into a sedentary work situation, you have options to enhance your personal experience with yoga. Choose from Hatha Yoga schools and teachers for yoga best suited to Arthritis. Some Hatha Yogas which work well with Arthritis are Iyengar, Integral, Ansura, and Kripalu. See the Resources list at the end of this asticle for more links to schools of yoga.


The “always” list: Talk to your Arthritis Provider before beginning the first yoga class to receive specific instructions about any restrictions or limitations to share with the instructor. Discuss with the Instructor their experience with Arthritis students as well as your doctor’s recommendations for your specific condition. Choose a beginners class and progress slowly even if you feel good during the class. The saying “no pain, no gain” does NOT apply to you or to yoga. Pain means slow down, pull back some on the stretch, and/or take a break.



The Yoga Alliance is a great resource to finding certified yoga instructors. The site provides a directory and also provides links to more information on yoga education.

The Yoga Journal is available at many stores including your grocery store. Inspiring and educational articles keep you updated on the latest research related to yoga for many conditions including Arthritis.

The Arthritis Foundation has a DVD especially for those with Arthritis that shows yoga postures specifically for various types of typical Arthritis conditions. The DVD is named Arthritis Friendly Yoga and can be found at:



Ehrlich, S. (2012). Complementary and alternative medicine guide: Rheumatoid Arthritis; University of Maryland Medical Center Health Information and Medical Reference Guide. Retrieved from:

Gothe, N., Pontefex, M., Hillman C., and McAuley E. (2013). The Acute Effects of Yoga on Executive Function. Journal of Physical Activity & Health 10(4):488-95.

Haaz, S. (2009). Yoga for Arthritis; The John Hopkins Arthritis Center website at:

Sharma, M. (2013). Yoga as an alternative and complementary approach for Arthritis:

A systematic review; Journal of Evidence-Based Complementary & Alternative Medicine 18 (3).

Posted on October 20, 2013 and filed under information, janet's writing, Research studies, resources.

High Blood Sugar in Diabetes 2: What To Do?

Janet Still FNP

Lifestyle Modification Support


High Blood Sugar in Diabetes 2: What To Do?

You have a diagnosis of Diabetes type 2 and are doing a great job taking your new medications on time and paying attention to your diet to prevent high blood sugar. Today is, perhaps, a different day from your routine though; before you know it, time has run away from you, and you do not feel so well. Could this be your blood sugar running high (hyperglycemia)?
Classic signs that your blood sugar is running higher than is safe in Diabetes type 2 are emptying your bladder more often than is typical and feeling much thirstier. These two symptoms can fool the distracted mind since they seem to go hand in hand. Just because you are drinking more, you expect to empty your bladder more. Yet when you have Diabetes 2, you now are the captain of your body with full duties to respond to signs from your body that the ship may be experiencing a violation to the integrity of its hull. So, make a mental note: any signs of change in your routine bodily behavior could be a distress signal from your body. Fatigue, blurred vision, headache are also signs for increasing blood sugar levels. Start issuing orders to self and, if necessary, your healthcare team.
IMG_1248Before I go any further, if you have not been advised, or have not taken the forthcoming instruction to heart yet, your blood sugar running high for long periods of your day is a recipe for disaster. This fact can be a struggle to accept until the individual recognizes that high blood sugar is not merely something to worry about far off in the future, but if your body is unable to keep your blood sugar levels from rising right now, you are potentially heading for a diabetic coma…right now, today!
For those of you that are seeking a way to turn around this character in your life called Diabetes 2, this brief article is to provide you some resources and information that you can implement quickly, six steps for your immediate hyperglycemic situation. Steps that can be used to prevent hyperglycemia over the long term are mentioned at the end of the article. Taking charge of your Diabetes 2 or even the pre-diabetes condition is as simple as educating yourself and implementing lifestyle changes that you can truly live with…figuratively, and literally. The information in this article is not meant to replace instructions from your Diabetes provider and instructors. This information is meant to help you follow your Diabetes 2 instructions with more ease, and hopefully, with more joy.
IMG_1288Life is famous for changing the game up, as the saying goes. This goes double for someone with Diabetes 2. Staying with our first example, let’s say you are able to check your blood sugar and learn it is above 200. You recall your Diabetes 2 instructors telling you that above 180 is moving into dangerous levels and that means your body does not have enough insulin. What can you do right now to move into a safer blood sugar level?
Wait! How the heck did my blood sugar go up? I did everything right this morning. I took my medications on time, ate a healthy breakfast, and even got in some calisthenics before my morning shower.
First of all, if you do not already know, many particular activities or situations can cause your blood sugar to rise. Supplies to always have on hand are your glucometer for checking your blood sugar level, a travel ketone urine kit, and extra anti-diabetic medications. Stress is a biggie, which includes stress from being sick, overworked, happy or sad, or simply overly anxious. Why? Increased stress causes your body to release hormones related to the cause of the stress, which in turn elevate the level of glucose in your body. Even people who do not have Diabetes 2 can have hyperglycemia from increased or prolonged stress.
Checking your blood sugar levels when you experience suspicious changes in your body’s routine is a seriously necessary step in addressing hyperglycemia. Returning to our example of a busier and more demanding day than usual being today’s cause of high blood sugar, ditching the worksite to run around the block in your best professional attire may not be appropriate or even possible. More importantly, because your blood sugar may have risen quickly in response to stress, your body may have begun making ketones. Depending on the severity of your stress level today and how high your blood sugar has risen, collecting some urine for your travel ketone test is a smart idea. Exercise is dangerous when your body is producing ketones. If your urine kit tests positive for ketones, call your doctor now for immediate advice. Repeat: call your doctor now for immediate advice. Ketones need to be addressed now.
IMG_1240No ketones? Awesome news! You have caught the body’s signals in time to take charge without calling the doctor’s office. Your Diabetes 2 provider may have already given you instructions for additional amounts of medication to take when your blood sugar has risen. Follow the game plan and keep track of details, maybe jotting some notes on things like: what caused you to check your blood sugar level initially before the scheduled time, whether you get in some exercise after taking the medicine and before checking your blood sugar level again, and how fast the symptoms that annoyed you (thirst, fatigue, headache) change or improve.
About getting in some exercise ….. I have written previously on ideas for including moderate exercise that is enjoyable to you on a more routine basis (see LMS article dated September 2013). Unexpected, undesired! bouts of hyperglycemia are why you want to make a habit of moderate exercise. In pre-diabetes, adding routine moderate exercise and reducing foods that increase blood sugar dramatically can prevent your ever having to take medication for persistent high blood sugar levels. With a Diabetes 2 diagnosis, exercising can prevent the ravaging effects of continued high blood sugar on your body. Besides the short term danger of runaway blood sugar levels causing a diabetic coma, long term uncontrolled hyperglycemia is what causes all the frightening complications of Diabetes 2. Becoming the captain of your body, this proverbial ship, is as simple as learning what exactly is causing what to happen in your body, and changing up the orders to yourself regarding when to enjoy various activities.
IMG_1234Six steps to taking charge of high blood sugar levels (hyperglycemia) are:
1-      Take notice of changes in your body; and know the signs of rising blood sugar levels;
2-      Carry a glucometer, always, in order to check your blood sugar levels routinely as well as when your body is signaling you that something is off;
3-      Carry a travel urine kit for checking ketones for the unplanned/unexpected blood sugar rise;
4-      Learn exercises that are possible to do in unique circumstances, such as sitting at a desk; and do not eat additional foods, unless instructed to do so, until you re-establish a safe level of blood sugar;
5-      Always be ready and able to contact your Diabetes 2 provider for instructions when ketones are found, and for when your blood sugar level is not going down, even after taking additional medications per instructions;
6-      Follow the game plan created by your Diabetes 2 instructors until your blood sugar level returns to normal.
Discovering your blood sugar level is rising and learning to recognize the signs of blood sugar rising are key elements in preventing serious consequences from hyperglycemia. When life has altered from the routine, be ready to alter your routine Diabetes instructions to make unscheduled checks on blood sugar levels and ketones by having a glucometer and urine ketone kit available. If your body is not producing ketones yet, exercise to use up as much of the additional blood sugar as possible. Learn or create ways to increase exercise for your unique situations, like desk yoga, tai chi while talking on speakerphone, jogging in place between customers, whatever applies to your personal circumstances. Most imperative, know your Diabetes provider’s instructions for elevated blood sugar levels and act on them without procrastination. Your body relies on you to stay afloat through life’s changes. Be the smart captain of your ship by seeking and creating simple ways to remember your healthcare plan.
Smooth sailing, mates!
Resources and References:
American Diabetes Association; 2013. Fitness; American Diabetes Association: Food and Fitness. Retrieved from:
American Diabetes Association; 2013. Hyperglycemia (High blood glucose); American Diabetes Association: Prevention. Retrieved from:
American Diabetes Association; 2013. Success story: Sarah Boison; American Diabetes Association: Success Stories. Retrieved from:
Casteneda, C., Layne, J., Munoz-Orians, L., Gordon, P., Walsmith, J., Foldvari, m., Roubenoff, R., Tucker, K., and Nelson, M.; 2002. A randomized controlled trial of resistance exercise training to improve glycemic control in older adults with type 2 diabetes; Diabetes Care 25, 12; 2335-2341.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention CDC; 2011. How much physical activity do adults need?; CDC 24/7: Saving Lives, Protecting People: Physical Activity. Retrieved from:
Mayo Clinic Staff; 2012. Hyperglycemia in diabetes; Diseases and Conditions on Mayo Clinic webpage. Retrieved from:
Nathan, D., Buse, J., Davidson, M., Heine, R., Holman, r., Sherman, R., and Zinman, B.; (2006). Management of Hyperglycemia in Type 2 Diabetes: A Consensus Algorithm for the Initiation and Adjustment of Therapy - A consensus statement from the American Diabetes Association and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes in Diabetes Care 29, 8; 1963-1972.
National Institute of Health NIH; 2013. Get active; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Retrieved from:
van Dijk J, Tummers K, Stehouwer C, Hartgens F, van Loon L.; 2012. Exercise therapy in type 2 diabetes: is daily exercise required to optimize glycemic control? Diabetes Care 35, 5; 948-54.
Posted on September 16, 2013 and filed under discussions, information, janet's writing, Research studies.

Can Exercise Improve Your Diabetes?

Janet Still FNP

Lifestyle Modification Support


Can Exercise Improve Your Diabetes?

Easy answer …yes! But you knew I would say that. And that answer is just not enough, is it? Or for some of you, maybe it is and you are reading this article simply to get to the facts and suggested resources in hopes of finding something you can easily incorporate now into your everyday life. For both camps of readers, the purpose of this article is to briefly lead you to your unique goal of improving your health and your prognosis report.


First, for those of you that are reading with a feeling of angst regarding exercise, I understand that this condition of diabetes has likely already created much more upheaval to your lifestyle than you ever imagined you would have to endure. This article is purposefully brief with a goal of providing you some simple directions you can take today to retake control of your body.


For those of you that have already accepted change is your choice and who are seeking a way to turn around this character in your life called Diabetes, this writing is to provide you some resources and information that you can implement quickly, for your short term goals, and also that can be used to refine your direction over the long term.

joyful childs beach


When your healthcare provider mentions that exercise improves glycemic control, she/he is sharing a key to your taking some of your body back. Plenty of research over the years continues to evaluate the specific details of how physical exercise alters blood sugar levels and reduces the body’s requirement for anti-diabetic medications. Reread that, yes, I said that exercise so changes your blood sugar levels that you will have to take LESS of your diabetes medications. Write that on a piece of paper and tape it to your morning mirror as motivation.


Three days a week, 30 minutes of moderate exercise, this is the repeated consensus of the minimum to reduce blood sugar. If you do not know, the way exercise works is that your muscles use the blood sugar! too, so that means less work on your pancreas and less work for your medication. Sounds good; let’s keep going with the good news….. what does “moderate exercise” mean exactly? My favorite way to define moderate exercise is: activity that allows one to engage comfortably in conversation while doing the activity. Easily one can see many activities one could incorporate into daily life that allow talking. Walking briskly with a friend or with your dog or how about from the far end of the parking lot are simple changes to include this moderate exercise. Playing with the kids or the neighbors’ kids an easy game of catch ball for 15 – 30 minutes and voila` you have just improved your body’s ability to manage its blood sugar level. Using stairs instead of the elevator; add up your time spent with household or office chores like vacuuming, dusting, and tidying at the end of the day; there are many normal activities that you can do with a focus to increasing your time spent moving.


I already do all that, you say. Or some of you say that thinking about it makes you tired. This is your body, your health, your independence, so I am assuming you read this with hopes for something unique to your situation. Taking a class is often a great way to have someone do all the calculating and training for you. Classes and trainers are a great idea to wake up your mind regarding what moderate exercise feels like; how to protect your body from injury so that you can keep exercising and taking back your life; and to just get you moving in a new direction. Choose the activity and teacher with an eye to gradual progression from your level of fitness to a moderate routine. Interview the teachers. Any trainer worth their salt cares about the people in their class and is also a great resource for more appropriate classes for your individual circumstances.


There are some standard resources for everyone regarding exercise and many other health topics, so keep them in mind as a back-up when making decisions about your health plan. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) always has brief and current statements available online with links to more detailed resources. The National Institute of Health also keeps abreast of research on health topics and routinely posts simple information. An example of the type of information you can find online is this very short info sheet on how much activity is sufficient for adult health: which outlines specific types of activity to meet the minimum requirements of adult health. The CDC also has a phone line dedicated to providing information at: 800-CDC-INFO (800-232-4636).


N swimYoga gets you moving and gently waking up those unused muscles, which can protect you from injury. Tai Chi is actually considered to be resistance exercise, so adds the benefit of keeping your bones healthy too. Dance classes with a focus on fun, movement, and progressive strength building are a happy way to keep your muscles using up blood sugar while having a good time meeting new folks. If a swimming pool is available to you, aqua aerobics is easy on the sense of working hard because water lessens the gravity while absorbing heat. And always walking is the simplest, most flexible, and very affordable exercise for changing your lifestyle into something you can still call your own. 


Call up your local hospital or your provider’s clinic to ask for recommended exercise groups, trainers, and/or classes. Schools and colleges offer adult education classes all year nowadays and usually include at least a few exercise classes at a reasonable cost to get you connected to your community’s resources. As mentioned before, classes offer the added benefit of meeting others with like goals as well as networking connections in general. Some gyms offer less expensive memberships for attending workout classes only. And just get out and walk….take notice of how you feel before and after the walk. Chances are very good that you will be glad you now have a good reason to get back into using your body…because it plain ‘ole feels good.


Resources and References:

American Diabetes Association; 2013. Fitness; American Diabetes Association: Food and Fitness. Retrieved from:

American Diabetes Association; 2013. Success story: Sarah Boison; American Diabetes Association: Success Stories. Retrieved from:

Casteneda, C., Layne, J., Munoz-Orians, L., Gordon, P., Walsmith, J., Foldvari, m., Roubenoff, R., Tucker, K., and Nelson, M. 2002. A randomized controlled trial of resistance exercise training to improve glycemic control in older adults with type 2 diabetes; Diabetes Care 25, 12; 2335-2341.

Center for Disease Control and Prevention CDC; 2011. How much physical activity do adults need?; CDC 24/7: Saving Lives, Protecting People: Physical Activity. Retrieved from:

National Institute of Health NIH, 2013. Get active; National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute Retrieved from:

van Dijk J, Tummers K, Stehouwer C, Hartgens F, van Loon L.; 2012. Exercise therapy in type 2 diabetes: is daily exercise required to optimize glycemic control? Diabetes Care 35, 5; 948-54.


Posted on September 5, 2013 and filed under discussions, information, janet's writing, Research studies, resources.

5 Daily Encountered Heart Attack Triggers

Friends, this article from Rodale is too important not to share directly. News stories have been putting out this information more frequently in the last few years, but this article succinctly and plainly lists the daily offenders, simple details for recognition, and briefly suggests alternatives. So I am sharing the article forthwith!

You can find the original article at:


heart attack causes

5 Unexpected Heart Attack Triggers

Everyday things could be troubling your ticker.

By Leah Zerbe
Defuse heart attack triggers that lurk in your home.

A bacon cheeseburger fetish topped with a couch potato mentality is a surefire recipe for a heart attack. But those obvious bad choices aren't the only things taking a toll on your ticker. Scientists discovering surprising new heart attack causes—including ones you may unknowingly be exposing yourself to every day. Learn about the new heart attack triggers and eliminate them from your daily routine!

Nonstick Chemicals Nonstick and stain-repelling chemicals are convenient, but in terms of health, they might not be worth it. Previously linked to infertility, high cholesterol, and ADHD, a September 2012 study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine also shows a connection between perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) chemicals and heart disease. Regardless of age, body mass, or the presence of diabetes or other diseases, researchers found that people with the highest PFOA levels in their blood were twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease compared with people with the lowest levels.

Avoid it: If you use nonstick pots, pans, and bakeware, replace them with uncoated stainless steel, made-in-America cast iron, or glass the minute you start seeing chips in the finish. More PFOA avoidance tactics? Stay away from fabrics, furniture, and carpeting advertised as "stain repellent," and eat fast food less—many fast-food containers contain PFOA-containing grease barriers.

Antibacterial Soap Triclosan, an antibacterial soap and toothpaste chemical, is a well-known bad actor when it comes to health, thanks to its ties to thyroid disease and its role in creating hard-to-kill, antibiotic-resistant germs. You can now add increased heart disease risk to the dangers of antibacterial soap, thanks to new research suggesting it can damage heart and muscle tissue.

Avoid it: You get virtually no benefit for the risk you take when buying and using antibacterial products, since researchers have proven that washing with regular soap and water works just as well. To avoid triclosan, steer clear of anything advertised as "antibacterial," "antimicrobial," "germ-killing," "odor-free," or "odor-killing." When it comes to personal care products, check the label to make sure triclosan isn't on the ingredients list.

Canned Food Sodium isn't canned foods' only setback. The notoriously toxic canned food chemical bisphenol A, or BPA, is a potent hormone disruptor tied to breast cancer, anger problems in female children, obesity, and infertility. And now, it's implicated in heart disease. A 2011 study published in the journal PLoS ONE found even small doses of BPA—ones we're commonly exposed to—could lead to dangerous heart arrhythmia, erratic beating that could cause sudden cardiac death. The BPA-heart disease link gained more traction just months later when researchers discovered that healthy people with higher BPA levels are more likely to develop heart disease down the line.

Avoid it: Limit canned food and instead opt for fresh or frozen. (Eden Foods is one brand that went BPA free and disclosed its plant-based BPA replacement; some companies have eliminated the BPA but are using a toxic alternative.) Also decline trivial cash receipts. Thermal receipts—the most popular kind in use today—are coated in BPA that's readily absorbed into your skin. Some No. 7 plastics also contain BPA, so choose glass or stainless steel food and drink containers, and never heat plastic in the microwave or dishwasher—higher temps accelerate leaching.

Traffic Jams Traffic can kill, and not just via wrecks. Scientists have uncovered a connection between air pollution, traffic jams, and heart attack risk. German researchers interviewed heart attack survivors to try and pinpoint certain heart attack triggers. They found that people stuck in traffic—whether as a driver, passenger, bike rider, or passenger on public transportation—experienced a 3.2 times higher risk of having a heart attack compared to people who weren't trapped in a traffic jam. (Add it to the list of reasons to pitch to your boss to let you work from home.)

Avoid it: Check air-quality reports before hitting the road, keep your windows closed on the highway, and lobby your boss to allow more telecommuting to reduce your exposure to tailpipe pollution.

Certain Seafood Omega-3 fatty acids found in fish are supposed to protect your heart, not harm it. Syracuse University researchers churned up evidence suggesting you should be picky about what type of fish you eat, though. They found fish contaminated with high levels of mercury actually interfered with the body's response to stress, increasing the odds of heart disease. The mercury interferes with the body's natural cortisol hormone levels in a heart-unhealthy way.

Avoid it: In addition to tuna, fish with the highest levels of mercury are usually the big predatory species, such as swordfish, king mackerel, and any kind of shark. But watch out for recreational species, as well. The U.S. Geological Survey has found dangerously high mercury levels in some freshwater species, including trout and bass. For more tips on finding safer fish, read The Surprising Heart Attack Trigger in the Seafood Aisle and 12 Fish You Should Never Eat.

Posted on September 6, 2012 and filed under discussions, information.

Heart Health: 13 Foods ....

O my gosh! This list of heart healthy foods has all my faves (except for soy...there is controversy around soy's health benefits). And here it is almost Valentine's Day and so time for me to post up as many articles about Love and Joy and Harmony and Healthy alternatives to a healthy balanced Lifestyle as I can share. So read up and eat up...YUM! but these are some good foods. Just imaging these choices makes me feel good. Click the link provided in this post (the one highlighted in pink) to follow the very brief article to view a beautiful and tantalizing slide show of foods you will be happy to include in your diet now. 

Heart Health: 13 Foods With Cardiovascular Benefits.

In fact, I am going out right now to grab a few more of these delectables for my pantry. After all, here comes the Day of celebrating Love. I need to be ready to Be healthy and to share good health all around. 

Blessings! dear friends and fans and clients.... remember Love starts inside. Make your inside a happy harmonious home to your continued quality of lifestyle!

Posted on February 13, 2012 and filed under discussions, information.

Treating ADHD With Bicycling & Exercise, Bicycling Magazine

Treating ADHD With Bicycling & Exercise | Bicycling Magazine. Yes! Bicycling is a fantastic cure for depression too. Please enjoy reading this lengthy article.

The information is well worth the effort, but take it in bits and chunks, so that you allow all the implications to sink in.

May this message find you well and content this late Autumn 2011.


Posted on December 6, 2011 and filed under discussions, information, Research studies, resources.