Dr. Elvira Aletta is a clinical psychologist with a unique perspective on what it’s like to live with a chronic illness. In her early twenties, she was diagnosed with nephrotic syndrome, a rare kidney disease that usually affects young boys. Then in her thirties, she came down with a chronic autoimmune condition called scleroderma.
She’d never heard of that, either. She describes her experience like this:
“Chronic illness means getting sick and being told it is not going away, and that stinks. Our bodies have suddenly freaked out on us, and we’ve lost control of the one thing we thought we could count on.”
These sentiments might also seem familiar to those of us living with cardiovascular disease. And that can feel downright depressing. Continue reading
Five singing anesthetists at work in Minnesota – but not the way you’d expect. Sit back and enjoy watching the Laryngospasms
There are at least 12 commonly used measurement tools available to the medical profession that look at how patients navigate “the search for meaning in chronic illness”. Clinical tools like the Psychosocial Adjustment To Illness Inventory or the Meaning of Illness Questionnaire have been used on cancer and AIDS patients, as well as others living with chronic disease. But a 2008 study found, alas, that limiting factors in the success of these tools included “the infrequent use of some of the instruments clinically or in research.”
I can’t help but wonder why these readily available assessment tools are not being administered routinely to patients who have survived a heart attack – a serious medical crisis that begs to be examined for its influence on our “psychosocial adjustment” to it. I’ve only recently learned about these tools, more than two years after my own heart attack.
This lack of medical attention to the profound psychological impact of a cardiac event is significant. As Dr. Gilles Dupuis of the Université du Québec and the Montreal Heart Institute reported in the May issue of the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, post-traumatic stress disorder following heart attack is an under-diagnosed and unrecognized phenomenon that can actually put survivors at risk of another attack. Continue reading
by Carolyn Thomas ♥ @HeartSisters
Consumers, in a turn of the tables, have given their doctors a checkup and the diagnosis looks pretty grim. They think doctors are too cozy with Big Pharma, according to the 2nd annual prescription drug survey conducted by Consumer Reports National Research Center.
This survey of adults who currently take a prescription drug found that the vast majority object to the payments and rewards pharmaceutical companies routinely dole out to doctors because they feel these are negatively influencing how they treat patients. Other findings include: Continue reading
We’re supposed to eat 2-4 servings of fruit plus 3-5 servings of vegetables every day. It’s a full-time job, especially for those of us raised in Ukrainian families where dill pickles were considered an ideal veggie serving. Fewer than one third of us eat even those lower limits.
And we’re fussy eaters.
Potatoes, for example, represent 44% of the fresh vegetable diet here in Canada. That doesn’t includes a significant increase, according to Statistics Canada, in our consumption of processed potatoes in the form of potato chips and frozen potato products. But carrots, lettuce, onions and tomatoes represent just 27% of the Canadian diet of fresh vegetables, a decrease of 9% compared to 2005 numbers. On the other hand, we’re apparently eating three times more sweet potatoes now compared to 20 years ago. Wonder if that’s entirely due to the growing popularity of sweet potato or yam fries . . .
The editors of Consumer Reports Healthasked: “How exactly are you supposed to get healthy produce servings into your life?” and then came up with these 30 great tips. Continue reading
I adopted my little Lily*, world’s cutest and most affectionate feline, three months after my heart attack. My daughter Larissa, who helped us pick out Lily at the shelter, gave me strict instructions about the kind of cat needed for cardiac recovery: a calm and snuggly lap cat (quite unlike the psycho-special needs-high-anxiety Lucy who had been my last pet). About 38% of Canadian households now include a cat like Lily, while 35% of us are dog owners.
But apparently, owning a cat may also reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease by nearly one-third, researchers told delegates to the International Stroke Conference recently. Their study findings provoked a mixed reaction from heart experts and veterinarians. And probably dog lovers, too. Continue reading