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”

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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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Heart Disease – It Looks Different From a Woman’s Perspective

Terri Prof Headshot 0412Lara D. knew that heart disease ran in her family. Her father had his first heart attack at 46.  His second, two years later, took his life when she was in high school. She learned intimately the impact that a heart attack has on a family. She saw her mother struggle to keep her children on track while trying to manage her own feelings of loss. Her college years were spent working full time and going to a community college in the evenings to get her degree and become a CPA. While many women work hard to get a degree, holding full time jobs, raising children and supporting spouses, this wasn’t what her parents had planned for her.

Now 53, Lara knows that she is at high risk for heart disease and heart attack. She has been on blood pressure and cholesterol medication since her 30s. She works out and tries to eat well, maintaining a healthy weight. Still, she had a nagging feeling that she might be missing something. (more…)

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A New Resolution: To Create Healing

Janice Lynch Schuster

For all my years on the planet, 52, there are still times when experience is no teacher—or when futility seems to be my master. Nowhere is this more true than in my annual list of New Year’s resolutions. (It is a relief to know that I am not alone in this one.) Many of us share the idea that with an annual tick-tock-bank, we can fashion ourselves anew by resolving to achieve certain goals.

In some ways, my approach to making resolutions echoes the Lenten period of my Catholic girlhood: in those days, I could give up something for 40 days, and in doing so, would become closer to my faith.  Perhaps that early experience is still the force that leads me to making resolutions that are at once modest and narcissistic. My resolutions tend to contain some combination of activities that, if only I could achieve them, would lead to meaningful change. (more…)

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Struggling with Diabetes? You’re Not Alone

Terri Prof Headshot 0412If you know someone with diabetes, you know how much disruption, discomfort and inconvenience it can cause: dietary restrictions to control blood sugar, frequent finger pricks to monitor glucose levels, injections to deliver insulin and the constant fear that your levels will spike or plummet. All of this effort is necessary to manage the ubiquitous disease. Not managing it well or ignoring it could cause a seizure, a coma, or some other truly unpleasant side effects of irregular blood sugar levels.

While the most extreme health issues have been widely known for type 1 diabetes, more Americans are being sucked into sedentary, high caloric, unhealthy lifestyles causing an epidemic of type 2 diabetes. Both can cause stroke, blindness, heart disease, neuropathy (nerve pain), kidney damage and limb amputations and those diagnosed with diabetes have shorter life expectancies.

Bob K. knows all too well the difficulties of living with diabetes.  Diagnosed with type 1 diabetes as a young boy, he is now 90 years old and is the longest living diabetic on record. But he will tell you it has not been easy. (more…)

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Passport Stamped for the Land of Pain: Learning to Live in a Foreign Land

Janice Lynch Schuster

The following post originally ran on the Pain Action Alliance to Implement a National Strategy’s (PAINS) website.

For many years, my passport was stamped in the land of the well, but a poor response to oral surgery in 2013 cancelled that document, leaving me in the land of the sick, the suffering, the other. While I was a well-one, I’d hear stories from that other country—and listen as best I could when others told tales of their visits– but I did not know what it truly meant to live there all the time.

Learning to live in another country is hard work. There are unfamiliar customs to understand, a language to learn, awkward situations, foods and beds and places that do not quite feel like home. The currency may not convert.

Once you become a chronic pain patient, as I have, you discover how much of your life is no longer your own. (more…)

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How Social Media Helped Me Through My Breast Cancer Treatment

MandiDisruptive Women previously ran this post in November 2013, but given its message felt it was worth running again during our breast cancer awareness series.

Social media opened a world of connections for me when I was a patient undergoing breast cancer treatment. It became a mechanism where I could reach out to say “hi,” to console, or just to yell out into the world when I was angry.

I actually started blogging about my breast cancer treatment because my aunt kept a blog through the course of her treatment (she was usually a few months behind on updating, so I vowed to be a little timelier when it came to writing posts). It was a great method for updating my really large extended family and I found that writing things down that were emotional for me, helped me process the emotions. (more…)

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Linking Domestic Violence and Chronic Disease: An Issue Missing from the Headlines

With domestic violence getting attention lately due to the Ray Rice video and the newly crowned Miss America Kira Kazantsev’s domestic violence platform, the Society for Women’s Health Research believes it is important to highlight an important subject missing from the headlines.

There has been radio silence about the acute and chronic health conditions that affect women who suffer from this abusive behavior. Black eyes, bruises and broken bones are all what we expect to hear from victims who experience violence at the hand of a loved one.

There has been little to no attention, however, given to other health conditions, such as arthritis, hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol and asthma, just to name a few of the afflictions that may develop long after the violence has stopped. In addition to these physical health consequences, there are psychological effects and conditions that women may experience – fear, anxiety and PTSD, all of which may indirectly give rise to other ailments. (more…)

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Another Innovator! Kate Rocks!

kate millikenI love it when I find innovators and it’s my pleasure to introduce you another one, Kate Milliken. I never actually met Kate, but I saw her project on the crowdfunding platform Indiegogo and sought her out for this blog.

For those who don’t know, crowdfunding is an opportunity to contribute relatively small amounts of money to creative, energetic, (more…)

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The Day I Made Peace with an Errant Organ

c Here’s my theory: few health crises in life are as traumatic as surviving a cardiac event. I developed this theory while I was busy having my own heart attack in the spring of 2008.

For starters, heart attack symptoms often come out of the blue (in fact, almost two-thirds of women who die of coronary heart disease have no previous symptoms. Having a heart attack can feel so unimaginably terrifying that almost all of us try desperately to dismiss or deny cardiac symptoms. And according to a 2013 report published in Global Heart, the journal of the World Heart Federation, women are twice as likely to die within one year even if they do survive a heart attack compared to our male counterparts.

So if – and each of these is still, sadly, a great big fat IF for too many women – we survive the actual cardiac event, and if we are near a hospital that’s able to provide an experienced team of cardiologists/cardiovascular surgeons/cardiac nurses, and if we are correctly diagnosed, and if we receive timely and appropriate treatment, and if the resulting damage to our oxygen-deprived heart muscle is not too severe, we get to finally go home, safe and sound.

And that’s where the real trauma starts.   (more…)

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