Exercise for Parkinson’s

Michael J. Fox talks about Parkinsons

Michael J. Fox talks about Parkinson's

In My Father, My Brother, and Me, a FRONTLINE co-production with ITVS,(aired Feb. 3, 2009), Iverson sets off on a personal journey to understand the disease that has taken such a toll on his family. Along the way, he meets some remarkable people–a leading Parkinson’s researcher whose encounter with “frozen” heroin addicts led to a major breakthrough; a Parkinson’s sufferer given a new lease on life by an experimental brain surgery; and a geneticist who helped identify some of the gene mutations responsible for Parkinson’s and who is now working on drugs to fix them. -BA Haller

This is an exceptionally well made film. As the future unfolds, scientists discover more and more about Parkinson’s. One of the main points I got out of this production was the benefits of exercise. In doing a study with two different chimpanzees, one watching and the other forced to walk on a treadmill, the synthetic version of Parkinson’s was then injected into the chimps. The remarkable thing was, the chimp who was exercising had very minimal changes in his brain scan while the other who had only “watched” was greatly affected by Parkinson’s. Now researchers are trying to figure out why exercise has such a big impact on the brain and Parkinson’s and for those that already suffer from it, how exercise will affect them. Patients are put in harnesses and monitored while on the treadmill. Hopefully this new outlook will lead to big advancements in Parkinson’s research.

Everyone knows that exercise is good for you, but when you have an autoimmune disease, it’s that much more difficult to get the courage and willpower to force yourself to exercise. Pain, stiffness, tremor and immobility can get in the way. The irony here is, research after research shows the importance of exercise. It doesn’t matter if you have Parkinson’s, Fibromyalgia, or Rheumatoid Arthritis, you will have less symptoms if you exercise.

Now here’s where it gets tricky….. How does one exercise if they can’t move, or if they’re in too much pain to make it happen? Not only that, with all autoimmune diseases, over extending yourself will also put you back ten-fold. So how do you learn where to draw the line?

I think with autoimmune diseases, it’s important to take it slow and build yourself up gradually. If you already know that you can walk from point A to B, then make it a little longer. If you know you can lift yourself off the couch, then you know you could probably handle a few knee extensions and take it from there. As the phrase already states, “Use it or loose it!”

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Pulmonary Fibrosis

Scarring of the Lungs

Scarring of the Lungs

First, what is Pulmonary Fibrosis?   Pulmonary Fibrosis literally means lung (pulmonary) scarring (fibrosis). The lung scarring occurs in the tissue of the lung called the interstitium, which supports the structures of the lung (air sacs/alveoli). There are an estimated 130-200 related diseases called Interstitial Lung Disease that are similar in characteristics and can result in scarring. Pulmonary Fibrosis causes the lung tissue to thicken and become stiff. Scarring inhibits oxygen from entering the blood stream.”

Symptoms include “shortness of breath (dyspnea), especially during or after physical activity, and a dry cough.” -Mayo Clinic

What damages your lungs?  There are quite a few possible causes, including environmental factors, gerd, radiation, and various medical conditions, but don’t be surprised that it could be your medication. Many drugs can damage your lungs, especially chemotherapy drugs (methotrexate, cyclophosphamide); medications used to treat heart arrhythmias and other cardiovascular problems (amiodarone, propranolol); certain psychiatric medications; and some antibiotics (nitrofurantoin, sulfasalazine).”-Mayo Clinic

If you are in the advanced stages of Pulmonary Fibrosis, your doctor may give you little hope.  “No cure exists for pulmonary fibrosis, and current treatments often fail to slow the progress of the disease or relieve symptoms.”-Mayo Clinic

Before you give up, alternative medications may be your best option.  Why Enzymes work:  “Enzymes eat scar tissue and fibrosis. Fibrosis is scar tissue and most doctors learn in anatomy that it is fibrosis that eventually kills us all. Let me explain. As we age, which starts at 27, we have a diminishing of the body’s output of enzymes. This is because we make a finite amount of enzymes in a lifetime and we use up a good deal of them by the time we reach our 40’s (Cystic Fibrosis patients who have virtually no enzyme production to speak of, even as children usually don’t make it past their 20’s before they die of the restriction and shrinkage in the lungs from the formation of fibrosis or scar tissue).

So our body begins to dole out our enzymes with an eyedropper instead of with a tablespoon. Result: the repair mechanism of the body goes off balance and has nothing to reduce the over abundance of fibrin it deposits in nearly everything from simple cuts, to the inside of our internal organs and blood vessels. It is then when most women begin to develop things like fibrocystic breast disease, uterine fibroids, and endometriosis. We all grow arterial sclerotic (meaning scar tissue) plaque, and have fibrin begin to spider web its way inside of our internal organs, reducing their size and function over time. This is why as we age our wounds heal with thicker, less pliable, weaker and very visible scars.

If we replace the lost enzymes, we can control and reduce the amount of scar tissue and fibrosis our bodies have. As physicians in the US are now discovering, even old scar tissue can be “eaten away” from surgical wounds, pulmonary fibrosis, and kidney fibrosis even colloid years after their formation. Medical doctors in Europe and Asia have known this and used orally administered enzymes for such for over 40 years!

Sounds too good to be true?  If you have no options, why wouldn’t you try alternative medications.  According to Biomediclabs, Within 4 weeks, patients should notice improvement of their symptoms including shortness of breath and coughing with phlegm.  After a 3-6 month treatment, patients should have significant improvement in their lung structure.  We recommend that patients take a chest x-ray before and after the treatment and compare the diagnostic results to monitor their progress.”

Before I tried alternative medications, I didn’t truly believe in miracles.  Serracor-NK was created for Pulmonary Fibrosis.  I know it has changed my life, and I have Rheumatoid Arthritis.  I believe in this product because of what it has done for me.



Sick patients keep doctors in business

When I watched the movie Sicko last year, I wasn’t completely surprised. Some people felt I was naive with my passionate feelings about the movie. But what they didn’t seem to understand was that I had my own experiences as a patient in a wide variety of clinics with a wide variety of doctors. I had experienced times without health insurance and I had experienced times with health insurance. During the moments in my life that I did have health insurance, I made sure to go to the doctor. People with autoimmune diseases often suffer from a variety of illnesses throughout their life. I have been one of those people, but at the same time, I’ve never ignored my health. If I felt something was wrong, I wanted it fixed. Because of these experiences, I had my own perspective on what I thought about the health care system as a whole. In “Following the Script: How Drug Reps Make Friends and Influence Doctors“, the Sales Representative stated,

It’s my job to figure out what a physician’s price is. For some it’s dinner at the finest restaurants, for others it’s enough convincing data to let them prescribe confidently and for others it’s my attention and friendship…but at the most basic level, everything is for sale and everything is an exchange.”

I too had seen Sales Representatives in action for pharmaceutical medications. They wined and dined doctors and gave demonstrations. I think this made me question how doctors got their information on the medications they prescribed. It made me realize in those youthful years of mine, that illness was a money making industry.

Before I started taking alternative medications, I took the normal plethora of drugs handed to Rheumatoid Arthritis patients. As each one was prescribed to me, I’d go home and read with horror the possibilities of side effects. The belief that doctors would never prescribe something dangerous is simply not true. Reading that cancer, death, tuberculosis, multiple sclerosis, etc., as a side effect of these drugs, were extremely rare, was never enough comfort for me. I felt that with so many “rare” possibilities, the possibility of me getting some illness as a result of these very toxic medications were all too possible. I was already suffering from very “rare” diseases of my own, so it didn’t seem all that crazy. I could tell the next day after taking the drug, methotrexate, that I had taken one of the most toxic chemicals around. Maybe I was sensitive, like a canary in a coal mine, but on the other hand, it felt worse than any hang over I had ever experienced. Followed by extreme fatigue, recovery from methotrexate took three days and my hair was a constant reminder that I was “sick”. It’s no wonder that for two years I kept looking for an alternative medication, thinking, there just has to be something better.

In all this technology, with all of this knowledge….why was I able to find a solution to a debilitating disease without the debilitating side effects like Hodgkin’s Lymphoma? I can’t help but wonder why supplements like Fish Oil, Ginger, Bromelain, Quercetrin and Turmeric aren’t prescribed. Why are some of the most toxic medications out there prescribed as first options? If it’s true that our immune system is 80% in our gut, then why would we be prescribed medications that damage our intestines? Wouldn’t then, damaging our intestines cause more diseases? And then the medications from those diseases cause more side effects which cause other diseases……and the cycle continues.

Sicko‘s portrayal of Great Britain’s health care system had me feeling troubled about our own health care system. The doctors in Great Britain got bonuses if they could get their patients healthy and coming into the office left often. Wouldn’t that be nice? Patients were told to exercise, eat healthy and quit smoking.

Another thought that furthers my belief in Sicko is how our economy is doing during this economic downturn. “Although many industries have been affected by the economy, Beyond.com’s report indicated some industries still are experiencing growth despite the economic recession.  …….Research has shown the recession may even be an underlying cause of job growth in the health care industry due to increased stress, depression and mental illness. The aging population, increased obesity rate and technology advancements also are causing significant growth in the health care industry.” It worries me that it’s possible that sick people make the health care system more money than healthy people do. I don’t think that doctors are trying to make us sick, but with pharmaceutical companies making billions of dollars, I can’t help but wonder if they’re just your typical drug pusher on the corner of the street, only wearing much, much better clothing….well maybe.


Quercetin for Skin Issues

I discovered Quercetin, a flavonoid found in red wine by visiting the Sarcoidosis group in my support group, Daily Strength. I was convinced that I was actually suffering from Sarcoid Arthritis which isn’t diagnosed as easily and often mistaken for Rheumatoid Arthritis. Although I have come to the conclusion that I most likely do have Rheumatoid Arthritis and not Sarcoid Arthritis, I’m still glad to have learned about it. My skin issues at that time were hive like patches. Some of them itched like crazy and some of them didn’t. I also had a lump in each corner of my eye that was itchy and somewhat swollen and driving me batty. The people in the Sarcoidosis group told me that Quercetin was good for skin issues. I immediately started researching and found that it would only help me, so why not give it a shot?

“From in vitro studies, quercetin has demonstrated significant anti-inflammatory activity by inhibiting both manufacture and release of histamine and other allergic/inflammatory mediators.”-Wikipedia We often take drugs like benadryl to help us with allergies, but why not try a supplement instead?

Beyond helping with allergy and inflammation type issues, Quercetin has shown in some studies to be beneficial for cancers. “An 8-year study found that three flavonolskaempferol, quercetin, and myricetin — were associated with a reduced risk of pancreatic cancer of 23 percent”-Wikipedia

I don’t need to be convinced that Quercetin is beneficial. Two months later I’m skin symptom free after two years of dealing with skin issues, some that made my skin pigment change to a lighter hue. Is it a coincidence? It could be. I know I take so many supplements that it’s hard to say what’s working and what’s not sometimes. But I honestly don’t think it’s a coincidence. I think Quercetin does work wonders but I do advise one thing: take it after you eat because it can upset your stomach.

Depressed?

Are you getting too much copper?  Depression is one its many side effects.  Are we getting too much?   Perhaps we are.  It’s in our foods and depending on where you get your water, it may be in that too.

Why drinking water?   The switch from galvanized water pipes to copper water pipes could be the issue.

My initial instinct was to find the foods that were high in copper and eliminate them.  On further investigation however, I learned that zinc helps  remove copper very slowly.  It shouldn’t have been a surprise to me that when I looked up foods that were highest in copper, they were also highest in zinc. Apparently, it’s a delicate balance and the foods we eat understand that balance.  If food like clams have  that precise balance of copper and zinc, then wouldn’t it make sense that our bodies do too?  This is why I think, we probably are getting too much copper due to copper pipes, among other possibilities.  If it’s in the water, even if it’s not in our drinking water, then I would think we’re probably getting too much copper from other sources like restaurants foods, processed foods, etc.

What are the symptoms of too much copper? “Excessive intake of copper can cause abdominal pain and cramps, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, and liver damage. In addition, some experts believe that elevated copper levels, especially when zinc levels are also low, may be a contributing factor in many medical conditions including schizophrenia, hypertension, stuttering, autism, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, headaches, childhood hyperactivity, depression, insomnia, senility, and premenstrual syndrome.

Postpartum depression has also been linked to high levels of copper. This is because copper concentrations increase throughout pregnancy to approximately twice the normal values, and it may take up to three months after delivery for copper concentrations to normalize. ”

The beginnings of Wilson’s Disease could also be a factor.  But don’t jump to conclusions without getting all the facts. There are benefits of an increased copper intake for some people.

“Short-term increases in the copper intake may help to reduce the fever, swelling and reduced joint mobility among rheumatoid arthritis sufferers. “ On the other hand, too much copper can lead to premature arthritis.

It makes me wonder, knowing that autoimmune diseases are on the rise.  Is copper partly to blame? Knowing as well that copper can lead to neurological issues, would people with neurological diseases benefit from taking zinc?

Eat Your Blues Away

Recent findings show that blueberries are just as effective as cranberries for Urinary Tract Infections. Blueberries are also one of the world’s best antioxidants. Along with solving UTI’s, “Growing evidence from tissue culture, animal, and clinical models suggests that the flavonoid-rich fruits of the North American cranberry and blueberry (Vaccinium spp.) have the potential ability to limit the development and severity of certain cancers and vascular diseases including atherosclerosis, ischemic stroke, and neurodegenerative diseases of aging.”

I know a woman with a lot of health problems, and a lot of pain. A survivor of Colon Cancer, she’s still plagued by illnesses and pains and takes many medications. Recently she went to Trader Joe’s and found their Wild Blueberries in the frozen food section. She began making blueberry smoothies as her morning breakfast routine. She called me one day, boasting that her pains had disappeared and that she felt much better. She swore up and down that it was the blueberry smoothies, that she just knew it!

Knowing that blueberries are natural anti-inflammatories with UTI benefits and potentially cancer fighting ingredients, I had to wonder….were the blueberries relieving her of pain or was it just a mere coincidence?

Regardless of whether or not it is a coincidence, the facts still remain that they do have amazing antioxidant capabilities. So eat your blues away, blueberries that is, and enjoy their delicious possibilities!

Can you trust your doctor?

I mean really, can you? Believe me, I’ve had some great doctors before. I’ve had doctors that I trusted my life with, literally. But when it comes to medicine and your checkbook, can you really trust your doctor? Do you trust them to check that your medications don’t interfere with one another? Do you trust that they will truly listen?

I feel that there are many out there whom you can really trust and that most doctors really do care. But they are people just like us, so it’s impossible for them to know everything. I  feel that it’s always important to do your homework. And what I mean by this is that you look up your medications, research them and decide what’s best.

Prednisone, for instance is one of those drugs that most people who take it learn to both love and hate. It’s completely addictive and loaded with side effects, everywhere from bloating from short term use, to diabetes from long term use. This drug is prescribed like candy. It was the first drug that I was put on. And in the midst of being in terrible pain and not thinking straight, I was shocked that this drug turned me from an invalid to a somewhat capable person. It works wonders.  The only problem was, if I stopped taking it, then what? If I continued taking it, then what? I was so addicted to this drug, not in terms of feeling like an addict, but in terms of if I were to stop it, my RA would come back ten fold and I could end up having diseases caused specifically from stopping Prednisone.  It took an entire year before I was able to fully wean off of it.  Prednisone is not only addictive but also causes bone loss, especially in long term use.  So before you decide to pop that next pill, take a look at it’s side effects and be sure to weigh out the pros and cons.

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