All posts by James

Feline Diabetes: How to Diagnose and Manage the Diabetic Cat

Type Two Diabetes is a treatable, manageable condition in cats. With proper care, the diabetic cat can live a normal, healthy life. In fact, treatment may be easier, and cheaper, than you think. Type Two Diabetes occurs when a cat’s body either produces an insufficient amount of insulin, or is unable to absorb an adequate amount of insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas. It is responsible for distributing glucose, a substance necessary to maintain energy for survival, to the bloodstream. This type of diabetes usually occurs in obese, older cats.

What is Type Two Diabetes?

How to Diagnose Feline Diabetes

The symptoms of Type Two Diabetes are not easily recognized early on. However, once the disease takes hold, the cat will become sluggish and weak. He will find familiar, if unusual, places to hide (such as the bathtub). He will drink more water than usual, and urinate excessively. Finally, he will lose muscle mass, resulting in unexplained weight loss, leaving his bones palpable to the touch under his skin. This is an example, by the way, of how petting cats is a great way to perform a cursory evaluation of a cat’s health.

Now What?

Take him to the vet. Veterinarians have made great strides within the past few years on the subject of feline diabetes. They have even found that cats can recover from diabetes using human insulin, such as Lantus, combined with a strict diet plan.

The veterinarian will recommend the “Catkins” diet – food that is high in protein and low in carbohydrates. He will also prescribe insulin, most likely of the human variety, and an oral medication, such as glipizide.

Insulin

Most cats will require one shot (that’s right, the kind with a syringe) of insulin twice a day. The vet will determine the dosage, and often step it up, based upon how much glucose is in the cat’s urine. It may take several adjustments before the dosage is correctly determined. Simply pinch and lift a tent of skin around the cat’s abdomen, or along the sides of his chest, and inject the insulin in the middle of the tent. This is known as a subcutaneous injection – liquid injected in the layer of fat just below the skin. Placing test strips (provided by the vet) in the litter box will measure the glucose level. Shots usually are distributed twelve hours apart, to avoid hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia occurs when the cat’s glucose level gets too high.

So, the goal is to inject enough insulin to distribute the cat’s glucose throughout his body sufficiently, without distributing too much. A perfect balance, simulating and assisting the excretions from the pancreas, is the desired effect.

Oral Medication

Ironically, jabbing a cat with a needle is often easier than spreading its jaws open and cramming a pill down its throat. The old crush-it-up-in-his-food method is probably the most effective. This oral medication will work in conjunction with the insulin to stabilize the amount of glucose absorbed in the blood stream.

Diet

Type Two Diabetes is largely facilitated by obesity. The cat’s body is so big, the pancreas simply cannot distribute enough insulin to carry a sufficient amount of glucose throughout the entire body.

The veterinarian will suggest a new brand of food formulated to facilitate weight loss. The diet will work best if the cat is fed on regular intervals, rather than letting him graze. Weight loss will not only help the cat owner manage the cat’s diabetes, but may even lead to a lack of a need for insulin months or years later.

Prognosis: Don’t Give Up

There are proven, trusted methods to manage and improve the condition of the diabetic cat. His life can be saved and extended by following just a few steps. With determination and close consultation with a veterinarian, the cat stricken with Type Two Diabetes can live many more healthy, active, and happy years.

Natural Aids for Mild Depression: Non-Prescription Ways to Deal with Milder Cases of the Blues

The Carpenters described the feeling well in their song “Rainy Days and Mondays”: “Talking to myself and feeling old, sometimes I want to quit, nothing ever seems to fit…” For those with more serious mood disorders, such as Clinical Depression or Bipolar Disorder, medication is usually necessary, as is therapy and the care of a psychiatrist.
But for milder cases of depression, or a case of just feeling down, natural means are available to help lift the low mood.
Nutrition

“Nutrition, more than anything else, controls your state of mind,” says Don Tolman in the Farmacist Desk Reference: Encyclopedia of Whole Food Medicine (Ynoteduk8, 2007).
Tolman says that the most beneficial nutrients for depression are whole food B vitamins and amino acids.
As it may be hard to eat enough B vitamins to lift the mood, a B-complex supplement can be taken.
A study in England showed that depressed persons given 200 micrograms of folic acid for one year saw their moods lift as much as 40 percent over those given a placebo.
Also, there is good reason why certain foods are thought of as comfort foods. Carbohydrates can help ease feelings of fatigue, anxiety, and depression.
Enjoy a bagel or piece of bread, or a serving of macaroni and cheese or pasta with a favorite topping. Whole grain products are best. Carbohydrates boost levels of the amino acid tryptophan, which is then converted into serotonin, a neurotransmitter in the brain that helps boost mood.
Reduce the intake of sugar and caffeine.
Green leafy vegetables (spinach, for example) help boost serotonin levels.
Herbal Remedies
St. John’s Wort has been proven to help boost mood in cases of mild depression. At least 23 controlled studies involving more than 1,800 outpatients diagnosed with mild to moderate depression have been documented, says Stephen Foster, author of 101 Medicinal Herbs (Interweave Press, 1998).
For products standardized to 0.3 percent hypericin (the active ingredient in St. John’s Wort), Foster recommends taking 300 milligrams three times daily. Note: This herb may increase sun sensitivity, so be sure to wear a sunscreen and limit time in the sun.

Valerian helps ease anxiety and control insomnia. It can be a helpful companion herb to St. John’s Wort to control mild to moderate depression compounded by anxiety and sleeplessness. For products standardized to 0.5 percent essential oil, take 300 to 400 milligrams one hour before bedtime, or, to help with anxiety, take this amount during the day.
Behaviour
Exercise can help to dispel the blues and life mood, and is a good way to let go of tension, Tolman says.
Draw out your feelings using crayons. Tolman suggests being free with colours. When finished, examine the drawing. Red suggests anger, black suggests sadness, and grey suggests anxiety.
Avoid major decisions until the depression lifts.
Avoid shopping binges, which could bring on another bout of depression coupled with guilt when the bills arrive.
Treat others with respect. This may be harder to do when depressed, as the tendency is to be impatient and sharp. But others may return this attitude, which will only make the depression worse.
For mild to moderate depression, changes in diet and behaviour, along with using herbal supplements and B vitamins, can lead to significant progress in the mood lifting.
Feeling sad is a part of being human, and sometimes all one can do is be with the sadness for awhile. But if mild depression persists slightly longer than it should, try natural remedies and see if they help the clouds part and the sun to shine again.

Battle Back from Chronic Fatigue: Fight Fatigue With Diet, Exercise, Sleep, and Stress Reduction

You work long hours, fumble through unpaid bills and fight off a week-long cold. You’re just plain tired out. You leave work early, skip the gym, eat a light dinner and then settle in for the night. By morning, you’re feeling rested and ready for the day. That’s normal fatigue, the body’s way of saying slow down, take a break.

Chronic fatigue, on the other hand, is a persistent state of mental and physical exhaustion that takes a serious toll on body and mind. It’s characterized by a lack of energy and motivation, a feeling of muscle weakness, difficulty focusing on task, and mental fuzziness. It can be triggered by mental or physical illness and aggravated by physical inactivity, poor sleep habits, an inadequate diet or certain medications, such as antihistamines, antibiotics and blood pressure meds.

Load up on Energizing Whole Foods

Stressed-out bodies often crave the simple carbohydrates found in sweets and highly processed foods. They give the body a burst of energy as sugar rushes into the bloodstream. The pancreas, in response, secretes a large amount of insulin causing blood sugar levels, as well as energy, to drop quickly.

Avoid rising and falling blood sugar levels by choosing nutritious whole-grain snacks and eating at least three meals a day. Skipping meals and then gorging overloads your digestive system, depleting energy and diverting blood from other vital places, such as the brain. Drink lots of water, too, at least eight glasses a day. Dehydration reduces blood volume which causes fatigue.

Beat the Blues With Exercise

It takes a tremendous amount of energy to manage depression, one of the most common causes of chronic fatigue. A stressful work environment, irregular sleep patterns, an unstable home life, and a lack of social or family support only make matters worse. With depression, the subconscious battle to suppress feelings is exhausting. You need a safety valve.

Find someone who will listen without judging. Consider individual or family counseling for a professional perspective. At work, organize and pace yourself, sit down and resolve issues with co-workers, accept your share of the responsibility, and try a walk at lunch time.

It might sound counterintuitive, but regular exercise will raise your energy level. It helps regulate metabolism, lowers your pulse and improves circulation. Moderate physical activity several days a week will lower stress and increase energy. Whether you walk, run, swim, bike or garden, you’ll find yourself with more energy, stamina and motivation.

Sleep for Body and Mind

Insomnia may be caused by stress, depression, chronic pain or poor sleep habits. It is physically and mentally draining. But don’t obsess about sleep loss or sleep schedules; it will only cause more stress. Keep your bedroom dark, cool and well ventilated, with as few distractions as possible. Go to bed only when you are sleepy and get up the same time every morning. Avoid vigorous exercise and caffeine before bedtime.

If you’re exhausted at the end of a stressful week and need only a pleasant weekend to recover, that’s normal fatigue. But if that worn out, tired feeling just won’t go away, you may be experiencing chronic fatigue. It’s potentially debilitating and should not be ignored. Look for the underlying causes and then, one step at a time, move forward and take charge of your own welfare.

Cats and Good Health: How Owning a Cat Aids Your Wellbeing

Cats have between 230 and 250 bones; it has to do with how many toes the cat has, and how long the cat’s tail is. Humans have only 206 bones. Cats can smell better than humans can; they have about 19 million olfactory cells to our 5 million. Cats can even hear better than us – they can hear frequencies up to 64,000 Hertz compared to our 23,000 Hertz. Read on to learn what these advanced beings can do for humans.

Cats Protect Against Heart Attack Deaths

Cat owners have fewer fatal heart attacks, so has determined research from the Minnesota Stroke Institute. In a study in February 2015 of approximately 4500 adults, those who owned cats had a 40% lower risk of lethal heart attacks. The researcher, Adnan Qureshi, M.D., believes that cats lesson the stress in people and thereby offer protection against heart disease. The Pet Health Council, a confederation made up of 11 mostly British organizations, believes besides stress reduction, cats help lower blood pressure and aid in illness recovery. Their motto is, “a pet all day keeps the doctor away.”

Cats Shield Against Cancer

In the United States, there were nearly 66,000 new cases of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) in 2016. It is a cancer of the immune system with symptoms of enlarged lymph nodes, weight loss and fever. Researchers at Stanford and the University of California have found among 4000 patients, those with cats (and dogs) had a 30% less likely chance of developing NHL. Experts think animals strengthen humans’ immune systems by exposure to allergens (Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers, and Prevention.)

Cats, Purring and Strong Bones

Cats’ purring may be beneficial to them as well as to humans. Cats use a vibrational frequency of 25 to 150 Hertz. They use purring to communicate, hunt, give birth or even mend their bones. Now experts from the Fauna Communications Research Institute in North Carolina (USA) are speculating that cats’ vibrational frequencies when purring, at their dominant range of 25 to 50 Hertz, helps heal, and grow denser, human bones.

More Cat Research is Needed

Cat-therapy research is in its infancy. Some people swear by cats helping them alleviate a migraine headache. Others note the immense emotional support provided by their pets. A nursing home in Rhode Island even has a resident cat that signals when an elderly patient’s time has come to pass on; the cat curls up on the patient’s bed.

Syndrome X: The Silent Killer: Dr. Gerald Reaven’s Diet Helps Insulin Resistance

Heart disease in the number one way Americans die. According to Dr. Gerald Reaven, the Stanford University doctor who discovered Syndrome X, there is a metabolic disorder that contributes to heart disease, but gets little attention.

What is Syndrome X?

Syndrome X is a metabolic disorder that is rarely diagnosed by doctors. It is a combination of problems that may cause heart attacks when your body isn’t able to regulate sugar properly. Carbs are the enemy and the cause of failure of insulin. The body becomes resistant to the insulin and stops functioning right.

Diagnosis for Syndrome X

Because it isn’t widely known, most people are not aware that they have Syndrome X. Doctors only worsen the problem with diets that don’t work to fix the insulin issue. Half of the time, it is the genes that are responsible for Syndrome X. Obesity and lifestyle choices also contribute to the metabolic disorder.

The Cure for Syndrome X

There are some basic changes people can make on their own to improve the problems associated with Syndrome X. While no medications are necessary, you can assume responsibility for your own lifestyle, get physically fit, avoid caffeine and alcohol and watch your diet.

6 Step Plan

  1. Get diagnosed
  2. Follow the Syndrome X diet
  3. Lose weight
  4. Get physically active
  5. Create healthy lifestyle habits
  6. Get medical attention

The Syndrome X Diet

The diet Dr. Reaven developed consists of 15% protein, 40% fat and 45% carbs. His book, Syndrome X, The Silent Killer, prescribes meal plans for 1200 and 1800 calories.

Unsaturated fats are not responsible for raising cholesterol, so they are safe to eat. Remember that not all fats are the same, though, and refrain from eating binge-type foods that will hinder your progress.

Syndrome X: The Silent Killer is a weight loss book that takes a very scientific approach to health and insulin control. Dr. Reavan’s research on insulin resistance and weight loss has been tested and has shown positive results in reducing cholesterol and lessening the risk of heart disease. The book is a useful tool for anyone who struggles with fad diets and still can’t lose weight.

Syndrome X: The Silent Killer is filled with very detailed daily food plans that tell you exactly what and how much to eat. It also discussed the effects of alcohol consumption and smoking cigarettes when combined with Syndrome X.

By eating few calories, including more healthy fats in your diet, loweing your cholesterol, exercising regularly and losing weight, you can control Syndrome X and prevent heart disease. Syndrome X: The Silent Killer tells you exactly how to do this.

Review – the G-Free Diet: A Review of Elizabeth Hasselbeck’s Book on Gluten-Free Living

Gluten intolerance, or sensitivity, is an easily misdiagnosed condition affecting millions of people. Celiac disease is perhaps, even at it’s high rate of misdiagnosis, the most clear answer someone can get to their health problems. There are many more shades of gray, where a patient is not diagnosed with celiac disease, but does improve when embarking on a gluten free diet. The same ‘treatment’ given to celiac patients. These people are assumed to have gluten intolerance, but do not have full-blown celiac disease.

G-Free Diet: The Book

Elizabeth Hasselbeck, co-host of the view, has celiac disease. After a decade of trying to figure out what was wrong with her, she finally got the correct diagnosis, and has now written a book called “the G-free Diet, a Gluten-Free Survival Guide”.

Although the book shows Elizabeth has done a good deal of research before sitting down to write it, the meat of the book focuses on the social aspects of avoiding glutenous foods. Going gluten-free is challenging, without a doubt, but the predominant focus of the book is navigating social settings while it would have been nice to have more of a focus on the foods celiacs can safely eat.

The G-free diet starts off with a clear overview of what celiac disease is, the benefits of going gluten-free (even for non-celiacs), and a comprehensive list of ‘forbidden (i.e. gluten-containing) foods’. This is the part of the book that is actually most useful and worthy of a highlighter. Make a point of copying the list of foods to avoid (and the ones that are gluten-free!) to take with you on your next shopping trip. Gluten goes far beyond bread, and the items you might never imagine contain gluten actually do. It might be a shocker to see so many of your staple-items are not gluten-free.

G-Free Diet Benefits

One of the things Elizabeth Hasselbeck focuses on in this book is bringing the gluten-free diet to the mainstream public. If people would massively get into the G-free movement, it would mean a major restructuring of the food industry, seeing that so many (processed) foods contain gluten. This would actually not be such a bad thing, considering our modern western diets are overloaded with gluten. Hasselbeck did not just target celiac patients with this book, but also the millions of people with undiagnosed gastrointestinal problems who are looking for a possible solution. She clearly markets the book’s message as beneficial to pretty much anyone, and the benefits of going gluten-free include:

 

  • Increased energy
  • Lower cholesterol
  • Weight loss
  • Relief from IBS (which might be undiagnosed celiac or gluten sensitivity, according to Hasselbeck)
  • Benefits to behavioral problems in children with ADHD

Hasselbeck does a good job of convincing you that limiting gluten intake is worth a shot if you have any sort of gastrointestinal problems that can’t seem to be diagnosed properly. It might mean you have a gluten intolerance, which seems to be an issue on the rise in the developed world. Nonetheless, the book could have used a tone-down of her personal journey with celiac disease. The tips on navigating the social scene with a gluten-free diet are not extremely creative and do not move much further from the standard “bring your own food” and “eat before going to social events”. Although there may not be any other creative ways of dealing with it, there is no need to use most of the book to state the obvious. She would have been better off suggesting more foods that are gluten-free. But who knows, perhaps this means Hasselbeck’s next move will be a gluten-free cookbook.