Diabetes – Who’s in Control?

Terri Prof Headshot 0412

Terri L. McCulloch

It’s #TBT here at Disruptive Women in Health Care. And today we throw it back to diabetes.  In her post shared below, Terri lays out for us the challenges of a teenage girl developing a relationship with the care and knowledge of her diabetes and how she ultimately came to understand its place in her life. This post was originally published November 12, 2015.

What if you had no control over what you ate, when you ate, how much energy you had, or what you weigh? What if, on top of this, you had to test your blood 6 times a day and give yourself injections, carrying around your supplies constantly so you would be ready no matter what else was going on in your life? Now, throw in that you are 15 and just want to be normal, like everyone else, eating pizza when you feel like it and going wherever you wanted?

Kimberly Young was that teenager. She, likes hundreds of thousands of other American teenagers, has type 1 diabetes. Diagnosed at the age of 4, she was never like other kids. She always felt that her diabetes controlled her life. She didn’t have the carefree lifestyle of a teenager. Kimberly had to grow up more quickly than her friends as the realization that what she ate, how active she was and how closely she monitored her blood glucose had long term impacts on her health. Having too much pizza wasn’t about just gaining the “freshman 10” (or 20!) when she was in college, it was about maintaining her vision and her circulation to prevent serious complications. She learned that, “There is no vacation from diabetes. You live with it 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no matter where you go or what you go.” (more…)

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What it means to meet Mikey

Ellie_Dehoney_HeadshotYou know those really good people, the ones who are determined to make the world a better place?  I’m not one of those.  I live in the Nation’s Capital – a beehive for the cause-oriented – so I know a really good person when I see one.  I have colleagues who tithed their babysitting money.  Who spent their college downtime standing up global nonprofits. Who mentor and tutor and build habitats for humanity.

I spent my babysitting money on ill-considered teenage clothing.  I spent my college downtime playing quarters.  And until recently, my adulthood has been, for all intents and purposes, volunteerism-free.  I had my reasons for studiously ignoring any need that wasn’t my own: too busy, too tired, too poor.  The usual.

Then I met Mikey. (more…)

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12 Percent of People Will Be Diagnosed With This Life-Threatening Heart Disease

SWHR_Logo_Final_webThe post below first appeared on HuffPost Healthy Living on April 20.

Jen Hyde, a 30-year-old poet and artist living in Brooklyn, has a congenital heart defect. By the age of 25, Hyde had two open-heart surgeries, including a heart valve replacement.

“I know that heart disease is the number one killer of women in America,” Hyde said. “I’m currently in great shape, but part of staying this way means building a strong relationship with my cardiologist so that the care I receive is preventative, not reactive.”

Hyde is not alone in suffering from heart health issues — in the U.S., cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer of both women and men, responsible for 25 percent of deaths annually. (more…)

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Heart Disease Matters More for Women Than You Think

February is American Heart Month, a good opportunity to learn the facts about heart disease. The following post was originally published February 2 on HuffPost.

In 2015, approximately 370,000 Americans died from heart disease. That’s one in seven deaths. In the time it takes for you to read this article, two more people will die [1]. These statistics are alarming, so what can YOU do? We have an answer: Recognize American Heart Month this February by learning about the signs of coronary artery disease (CAD), the most common form of heart disease. Find out whether that huffing and puffing you experience while walking up the stairs is a sign that you might be a little out of shape — or a sign of CAD.

One such story of CAD is that of Theresa Miller, a 49-year-old California native and mother of two. Miller’s story is a reflection of what thousands of Americans experience each year. She shares her heart disease story with us here:

Miller kept heart disease in the back of her mind for many years. As she approached her fiftieth birthday, she felt haunted by her family’s history of heart disease. (more…)

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Re-Imagining the Life Sciences & Research: A New Disruptive Women in Health Care Series

Robin Strongin

When I think of the value of the Precision Medicine Initiative that President Obama announced earlier this year, the money involved isn’t the first thing that comes to mind (although over $200 million in proposed dollars to entities like the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Cancer Institute are worth cheering).  Actually, the focus on precision medicine provides a tremendous opportunity to take a step back and consider the future of research, medicine and the life sciences.

That’s exactly what we’re going to be doing over the next several days here in the Disruptive Women in Health Care space.   Experts from a variety of health related sectors and with diverse perspectives are going to be sharing their views on “Re-Imagining the Life Sciences and Research.”  We need discussions like this because, while the potential in this field is truly breathtaking and difficult to fully comprehend, there are critical unanswered questions. (more…)

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Mom Has Alzheimer’s: Coping Strategies for Caregivers

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Image via Pixabay

September was World Alzheimer’s Month so it’s a great time for all of us to reflect on the hardships faced by the nearly 5 million Americans diagnosed with this horrible disease, a figure comprised of a startling one in six women versus one in eleven men ages 65 and older.

But it’s also a time for us to honor the daily struggles of the selfless, compassionate individuals who act as their caregivers. It’s an especially difficult endeavor for all of the women who take on the role, as they often juggle this effort with raising a family, running a household, and holding down a full-time 9 to 5 career.

Caregiving is a round-the-clock occupation in which one’s responsibilities continuously change as the illness progresses from its early stages to its debilitating late stages. And while it’s certainly a difficult job, there are actually many ways to make caregiving tasks more manageable. Here are a few ways to smooth the transition to life post-diagnosis. (more…)

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  • August 28th, 2015 A Simple Slice of Bread. Staff of Life for You. Poison for Me.
    By Glenna Crooks
  • Spreading the Word, From One Heart to Another

    swhr_icon-2-solidThe following first ran on HuffPost’s Healthy Living on July 30.

    Heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S. and is more deadly than all forms of cancer combined, killing approximately one woman every minute [1]. Coronary artery disease (CAD), the most common form of heart disease, is equally alarming, causing one in every seven deaths in the U.S. [2]. CAD is caused by the buildup of fatty deposits in the heart arteries.

    When plaque blocks more than 50 percent of an artery, it is considered obstructive coronary artery disease. Since a woman’s risk of CAD increases with her age, it’s crucial to understand the symptoms — and know that they may differ from symptoms shown in men.

    Women may not experience the typical indicators of CAD that men commonly do, such as chest pain or shortness of breath. Instead, women frequently experience less obvious symptoms that may indicate CAD, but could also stem from other, less serious conditions including heartburn, stress, and anxiety. However, when it comes to the heart, even mild symptoms can be big indicators [3]. (more…)

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    In Alzheimer’s Disease, Caregiving May Be Just As Trying As the Disease Itself

    swhr_icon-2-solidThe post below originally appeared on HuffPost’s Living Healthy blog on July 15.

    When most of us think of Alzheimer’s disease, our first thought isn’t usually of the quiet caregiver alongside the patient, devoting their time to helping someone living with the disease. But caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease is often a full-time job, taking its toll on the caregiver.

    According to AARP and the National Alliance for Caregiving, the “typical” family caregiver is a 49-year-old woman who takes care of a relative. Nearly 25 percent of America’s caregivers are millennials (adults aged 18 to 34) and are more likely to be female than male. In fact, 66 percent of all caregivers are women, and female caregivers devote as much as 50 percent more time providing care than their male counterparts. Caregivers older than 75 years tend to be the sole support system for their loved one, providing care without any outside help.

    Nearly half of caregivers who provide 21 or more hours of care each week report high emotional stress, and with an average household income of $45,700, caregivers feel not only emotional strain, but also immense financial strain, as the cost of caregiving is at least $5,000 annually. (more…)

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    Caring for Loved Ones with Alzheimer’s Disease: Families Struggle for Resources to Cope

    candaceCandace Y.A. Montague, a health reporter for Capital Community News authored the article below. It originally ran here.

    It started off with small, inexplicable acts like leaving raw chicken in the microwave or putting bread in the freezer. But Angela Byrd knew that something wasn’t right about her 67-year-old mother Shirley. It escalated to car accidents where Shirley would hit another car and argue that it wasn’t her fault. Then one day Byrd got a call from her grandmother explaining that Shirley was lost in Takoma Park, Northwest. She had no recollection of how she got there. The Byrds live on Alabama Avenue in Southeast.

    “That’s when I took her car keys away,” said Byrd. “I just couldn’t take it anymore.” With the support of her aunt, her grandmother, and her mother’s best friend, Byrd convinced her mother to go to a doctor, who diagnosed her as having the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. “I think my mother already knew this. She just wasn’t telling everybody else about it. She’s a strong woman.” (more…)

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    Institute for Music and Neurologic Function’s 2015 Summer Institute

    Each One Counts Foundation Sponsors Institute for Music and Neurologic Function’s 2015 Summer Institute

    Workshop to Explore Therapeutic Applications of Music in Pediatric Pain Management

    Bronx, New York – The Institute for Music and Neurologic Function, a member of CenterLight Health System, will offer a two-day workshop to enhance and increase the therapeutic applications of music in pediatric pain management. Presented July 13 -14, the symposium is made possible by a generous, $10,000 grant by Each One Counts Foundation, an organization dedicated to providing complementary pain management therapies for children.

    “We are grateful to Each One Counts for providing us with the opportunity to share this crucially  important work,” said Dr. Concetta Tomaino, Executive Director of The Institute for Music and Neurologic Function. “It’s a privilege to help advance the foundation’s mission of providing care, relief and comfort to children in need.” (more…)

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    Women’s Heart Health: What We Don’t Know

    Phyllis Greenberger

    The post below original ran here on HUFFPOST Healthy Living on June 9.

    Women’s Heart Month has come and gone but heart attacks have not. While it is a positive sign that cardiovascular disease in women is finally being recognized — there are successful campaigns educating women about the prevalence of heart disease and its varying symptoms – fewer than one in five healthcare providers – including cardiologists — recognizes women’s hearts as differing from men’s. Many outstanding questions remain about diagnosing and treating women with heart disease.

    Since 1984, more women than men have died of heart disease each year. While women tend to have heart attacks later in life, there are women who experience them in their twenties and thirties. These women are often healthy, in good physical shape, and have no symptoms. Despite this large number of women affected by cardiovascular disease, women and minorities are underrepresented in cardiovascular clinical trials. Only one-third of cardiovascular clinical trials report sex-specific results, making it ever more difficult for researchers and clinicians to know how a particular drug or device will affect women. [1] (more…)

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    Lyme Disease: The Great Imitator

    Terri Prof Headshot 0412Spring is my favorite season. Warmer weather, budding flowers and lots of greenery in yards, gardens and parks encourages outside activities and fills me with energy. The spring season also brings out lots of crawling and flying critters like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds, as well as some of the more unpleasant pests like ticks and mosquitos. If you enjoy spending time outside like I do, hiking, gardening or walking the dog, be aware that ticks and their bites can be not only annoying, but dangerous.

    Jana’s Experience

    Jana Braden found out how dangerous tick bites can be the hard way. She enjoyed the outdoors and never gave much thought to something as minor as ticks. Jana never even realized that she had been bitten by a tick, so when her eyes began to hurt, became red and extremely inflamed her doctor thought that it was conjunctivitis. (more…)

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    Annie Levy’s Latest Project: “Ask Me a Question”


    Annie Levy

    Disruptive Woman Annie Levy has been busy lately serving as Creative Director of the “Ask Me a Question” project. Annie is part of the MADE VISIBLE Foundation team which worked on this project. Through this video project the stories of five different people who were/are patients is told. The videos are designed to be an interactive teaching tool for students and physicians to learn firsthand about the patient experience. The ultimate goal…make patients more visible. What is even more exciting about the project is that two of the individuals interviewed are part of the Disruptive Women network. The first is Amy Berman one of Disruptive Women’s 2015 Women to Watch and the second is a Man of the Month, Matthew Zachary. You can view Amy and Matthew’s videos as well as the other patient’s videos here. This impressive and important project is worth viewing and sharing with colleagues and friends. Way to go Annie!

    To see an interview with Annie done by the Gold Foundation’s blog editor Perry Dinardo about this project click here. Medpage Today also ran an article on this fabulous series which you can read here.

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    Digital health love – older people who use tech like health-tech, too

    Jane Sarasohn-Kahn

    The following post ran on March 4th on Health Populi.

    As people take on self-service across all aspects of daily living, self-care in health is growing beyond the use of vitamins/minerals/supplements, over-the-counter meds, and trying out the blood-pressure cuff in the pharmacy waiting for a prescription to be filled. Today, health consumers the world over have begun to engage in self-care using digital technologies. And this isn’t just a phenomenon among people in the Millennial generationMost seniors who regularly use technology (e.g., using computers and mobile phones) are also active in digitally tracking their weight, for example, learned in a survey by Accenture.Seniors18

    Older people who use technology in daily living (say, for entertainment or financial management) are keen to use tech for health, too. Specifically, illustrated in the infographic, Accenture found that:

    • 2 in 3 older people want to use self-care technology to manage their health
    • 3 in 5 older people are willing to track vital signs like heart rate and blood pressure via a digital device (more…)

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