Monday, 20 May 2013
The Arthritis Foundation is announcing a new multi-year public awareness campaign in conjunction with Arthritis Month to debunk the myths of arthritis. The Faces of Arthritis campaign features public service ads focusing on the harsh realities of arthritis and dispelling the common stereotypes often associated with the disease.
As the nation’s leading cause of disability, arthritis affects 50 million people, one in five adults. Most people think arthritis is one disease, affects only old people and is due to “wear and tear” of the joints; however, arthritis affects all ages and is an umbrella term for more than 100 joint diseases that can affect the whole body, including organs.
“Arthritis is common, costly and painful, and people think that there is nothing you can do about it. Misconceptions around the disease contribute to millions living with arthritis pain and the persistent attitude of complacency toward the disease and its impact,” says Arthritis Foundation Vice President of Public Health Policy and Advocacy, Dr. Patience White.
Face the Facts – Debunking the Myths
- Myth: Arthritis is a disease associated with aging. Fact: Arthritis can affect people of all ages. Two-thirds of people with arthritis are under the age of 65 and some of the most serious forms of arthritis occur in teenagers or people in their 20s and 30s.
- Myth: Only old people get arthritis. Fact: Children get arthritis, too. Nearly 300,000 children are affected by arthritis.
- Myth: Knuckle cracking causes arthritis. Fact: Knuckle cracking can’t trigger arthritis, but it can stretch tissue and lead to discomfort.
- Myth: Arthritis is just aches and pains. Fact: Arthritis is a more frequent cause of activity limitation than heart disease, cancer or diabetes and causes work limitations for nearly one in three people in the U.S.
- Myth: Cold weather makes arthritis worse. Fact: There is no scientific evidence that a particular climate is better for people with arthritis, but changes in barometric pressure, often associated with inclement weather, may affect people with arthritis.
- Myth: There is nothing I can do about arthritis. I just have to “live with it.” Fact: Early diagnosis and management can prevent the long term pain and disability seen with many kinds of arthritis.
- Myth: Arthritis is one disease. Fact: There are more than 100 types of arthritis and knowing what type you have makes a difference in how to treat it.
It’s important to recognize the symptoms of arthritis early as many forms of arthritis, such as rheumatoid arthritis, can cause irreversible joint damage, often within the first two years of the disease. Osteoarthritis, the most common form, can develop within 10 years of a major joint injury.
As part of the Faces of Arthritis campaign, the Arthritis Foundation encourages people to raise awareness of this serious disease.
Make a Difference
- Arthritis Walk – The Arthritis Walk is the Arthritis Foundation's nationwide team walk event that raises funds to fight arthritis. Companies, families and individuals are encouraged to participate in this event to raise money to help fund the mission of the Arthritis Foundation, which is to improve lives through leadership in the prevention, control and cure of arthritis and related diseases. To sign up or to find an event in your area, visit www.arthritiswalk.org.
- Join the conversation – Use the #ArthritisMonth hash tag throughout the month of May to raise awareness and to learn more from people nationwide about the harsh realities of arthritis.
- Go interactive – Show that arthritis can affect anyone at any time by “placing your face” with the Faces of Arthritis interactive tool. Invite your community – constituents, family and friends – who care about arthritis to upload a picture of their face in the www.facesofarthritis.org photo gallery, along with a sharable 140-character message.
Face the facts. To learn more about arthritis and the Faces of Arthritis campaign, visit www.facesofarthritis.org.
About the Arthritis Foundation
Striking one in every five adults and 300,000 children, arthritis is the nation’s leading cause of disability. The Arthritis Foundation (www.arthritis.org) is committed to raising awareness and reducing the unacceptable impact of this serious and painful disease, which can severely damage joints and rob people of living life to its fullest. The Foundation funds life-changing research that has restored mobility in patients for more than six decades; fights for health care policies that improve the lives of the millions who live with arthritis; and partners with families to provide empowering programs and information.
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Friday, 17 May 2013
When You Think Your Marriage is Over,
Give It One More Year
By: Mort Fertel
One of the questions I'm frequently asked is, "How do you know when it's time to give up on your marriage?"
If you’re considering divorce, I suggest first trying to make it work for at least one more year.
Did you hear that?
Try for at least one more year!
And I mean REALLY try. You can always call it quits. You always have that option. But once you pull that trigger, it's over. No more chances. Your life will never be the same. Do you have kids? Their lives will never be the same.
If you end your marriage, you don't want to have a shred of doubt about what might have been. You don't ever want to look back and wonder if things could have been different. You don't want to ask yourself, “What if this? What if I tried that?”
If you have to end your marriage, you want to know DEEP IN YOUR HEART that you did everything you could to make it work.
Giving it one year of serious effort will also help you to move on with your life and into another relationship with a clear head, should you ultimately divorce. You want to come to a place of healthy closure. That is crucial! In my experience, the best way to do that is to work at your marriage for at least one additional year. I know it probably seems like a long time, but it's an investment in the rest of your life.
Here's the key point: It's a good investment for the rest of your life whether your marriage succeeds or not. Obviously, it's a good investment if you turn your marriage around. But if you don't, it will not have been a wasted year. It will have been the most important thing you could have done with that year because of the impact on the rest of your life and (if it comes to this) your next relationship.
I have seen too many cases of spouses ending their marriages prematurely, and as a result, never reaching closure in the relationship. A few years later, they find themselves in the same situation with someone else.
Sometimes the progress individuals make in relationship counseling turns out to be more beneficial for them in their next relationship than in their current one.
I remember an instance when a man’s marriage ended in the middle of a seven-week marriage boot camp. The individual asked whether he should continue with the final weeks of the program. I said, "Absolutely."
He responded, "Why? What's the point? My marriage is over."
"You're not doing it for this marriage," I explained. "You're doing it for the benefit of your next one."
Now don't get me wrong; your intention for working on your marriage shouldn’t be simply to benefit your life after marriage. You need to be intent on restoring your current relationship.
But if you fail, your effort will not have been for naught.
Bottom line is this. If you're asking, "When is it time to call it quits?"
The answer is: one year after you think you're done. If after one more year of trying everything in your power to make your marriage work you're still miserable, then you should consider moving on. Until then, hang in there and don't give up.
This topic reminds me of my situation many years ago. I remember learning late one night that my wife had an appointment with a divorce attorney the next morning. We were hours from "done." Who would have thought that we could turn things around at that point?
We did, of course.
It's never too late! In fact (and here's real food for thought), very often the turning point in a marriage is when a couple hits rock bottom. Sometimes it's not until things couldn't get worse that they can get better.
About Mort Fertel
Mort Fertel is a world authority on the psychology of relationships. He has been featured as an expert on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS and Fox television networks, as well as dozens of publications including Glamour Magazine and Family Circle, to discuss his Marriage Fitness System. His program is endorsed by a wide variety of mental-health professionals, and he has helped save thousands of marriages. Fertel graduated from the University of Pennsylvania, was the CEO of an international nonprofit organization, and is a former marathon runner. He lives with his wife and five children (including triplets!) in Baltimore, MD.
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
Life after ‘Till Death Do Us Part’
5 Real-Life Tips for Widowhood from Former Romance Novelist
Perhaps the only bad thing about a lifelong romance is, eventually, someone has to die.
Short of an unnatural occurrence – a violent crime, a suicide pact, a plane crash – a wife or a husband will be forced to go on alone. After decades of shared life, love and happiness with her husband, Ralph, Thelma Zirkelbach says surviving “till death do us part” can be like wandering lost in a foreign wilderness.
“Ralph has been gone for 7½ years now; when I first lost him I had no idea that I’d have to get used to an entirely new lifestyle,” says Zirkelbach, author of “Stumbling Through the Dark,” (www.widowsphere.blogspot.com), a memoir about an interfaith couple facing one of life’s greatest spiritual challenges.
“When you’re grieving – whether your loved one is suffering from a terminal condition, or he or she has recently passed – practical things like funeral arrangements, short- to long-term financial issues or even what’s for dinner can seem very conceptual, abstract and far removed from what you’re feeling.”
But the biggest challenge is having no one with whom to share your life, she says.
“Family milestones, major news stories and technological changes are just a few things Ralph has not experienced with me,” says Zirkelbach, a grandmother, speech pathologist and Harlequin Romance author.
She offers five areas in which couples can prepare for both the process of dying, and life after death:
• At the hospital: We tend to take our health for granted until we don’t feel well. Sometimes, it’s something we can’t shake; for Ralph, flu-like symptoms would prove to be leukemia. At one point during her life at the hospital with Ralph, Zirkelbach kissed her husband before he was sent off to isolation as part of his treatment; it would be the last kiss for an entire month. When a spouse gets sick and requires extended hospital treatment, be ready for a shortage of parking, general uncertainty and an irregular schedule. Zirkelbach’s sanctuary during Ralph’s time at the hospital was the hospital’s café, where she “gorged on smoothies and cookies – sweets are my comfort food,” she says.
• Finances: This can be one of the most difficult areas because, too often, couples don’t prepare for the eventuality of a death well in advance. While older couples are more likely to be financially prepared for a death, younger couples are often caught blindsided by the loss of a spouse. Consider getting professional assistance from a financial expert.
• Spirituality: What is often put aside as secondary in daily life can quickly become the primary thought for someone who is grieving. Zirkelbach and her husband were an interfaith couple – he came from an evangelical Christian background and she is Jewish. Ralph was admitted to the hospital as Jewish; he had planned to convert, but as his condition worsened and his family became more involved, he stuck with Christianity. This was emotionally confusing to Zirkelbach during an already stressful period. Understanding each other’s views on matters of life and afterlife before a loss is helpful.
• Bad things can still happen: When Ralph got sick, Zirkelbach’s mother was also beginning a rapid decline, and ultimately died before Ralph. “Just because a terrible thing is happening to you doesn’t cancel out the possibility of another one happening,” she says. “There’s no credit limit for misfortune, which is all the more reason to show love, regularly, to the people you care about the most.”
• The journey of letting go: Zirkelbach quotes Mary Oliver’s poem “In Blackwater Woods”: To live in this world / You must be able … To love what is mortal … knowing / Your own life depends on it; / And when the time comes to let it go, / To let it go. “I had no idea I could survive all by myself; it seemed like I needed help with everything,” she says. “But I’ve learned a very important lesson -- I’m much more resourceful, much stronger and much more independent than I ever thought I was.”
About Thelma Zirkelbach
Thelma Zirkelbach received a bachelor’s degree in speech pathology from the University of Texas, a master’s in speech pathology and audiology from the University of Houston and an education doctorate in curriculum and instruction with emphasis on reading disorders from the University of Houston. She has been in private practice in speech pathology, specializing in young children with speech, language and learning disabilities, for many years. She began her writing career as a romance novelist, publishing with Harlequin, Silhouette and Kensington. Her husband’s death from leukemia in 2005 propelled her to creative non-fiction.
Monday, 13 May 2013
3 Tips to Lower Your Veterinary Bill
New Tax Adds to Already Growing Costs
Pet owners’ vet bills are growing, which may explain why fewer are taking their dogs and cats to the animal doctor although more Americans than ever have pets.
To make matters worse, a 2.3 percent tax on medical devices that kicked in Jan. 1 includes equipment that’s used for animals as well as people. Items as basic as IV pumps and scalpels are now subject to the tax, which is to help fund the Affordable Care Act.
“Even before the tax, the latest survey showed spending for dog care alone rose 18.6 percent from 2006 to 2012. And even though cat vet visits dropped 4 percent in that time, cat owners paid 4 percent more,” says Dr. Rod Block, citing the 2012 U.S. Pet Ownership and Demographic Sourcebook, a survey of more than 50,000 households.
“Add to that the new excise tax and I’m sure we’re going to see even more people torn between paying the light bill and taking their pet to the vet,” says Block, a board-certified animal chiropractor and author of “Like Chiropractic for Elephants,” (www.drrodblock.com). But there are simple ways to keep veterinary costs down, while still providing excellent care for your pet – whether it’s a dog, cat, horse or guinea pig, Block says.
“It’s important to always get appropriate care when your animal needs it, but you can easily prevent problems, or catch them early, by simply staying in tune with your pet’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs,” he says.
He offers these tips for accomplishing that, and distress signals to watch for:
• Is your pet in pain?: Before X-rays and MRIs, health practitioners relied on these physical indications of pain: heat, redness, lumps or swelling, tremors, obvious discomfort. To recognize the first four, a pat on the head is not enough. Get used to taking some quiet time to place your hands on your pet, and work on honing your perceptive abilities. Being in a rush or having your mind on what you need to do next will impede your ability to perceive changes – use the time to simply be with your animal. If a joint feels warm, it may be inflamed. Mild localized tremors can indicate a problem in the area beneath your hand. Lumps or an asymmetrical feel when you have your hands on either side of the pet may indicate growths. “Take your time and quiet your mind. Animals are keenly aware of intent, and they’ll work with you if feel your intent,” Block says.
• Watch how your pet plays: It’s important that a pet gets physical and psychological stimulation, but those needs vary with temperament, age, and even how energetic the pet owner is. “Pets tend to match their owners’ energy levels, for instance, very elderly owners will tend to have pets that like to nuzzle and curl up next to them,” Block says. Take note of how your pet plays so you’ll be aware of changes. Is he becoming more aggressive? He may be telling you something’s bothering him. Has she stopped hopping up on the couch? Is he favoring a paw (or hoof?) Beyond the physical, your pet’s play can also communicate emotional distress. For instance, if he becomes fearful or timid, consider any changes in the home, routines, etc., that may be affecting him.
• Have a thorough neuro-muscular-skeletal exam done. A veterinary chiropractor can examine a pet’s frame, muscles and nerves for areas that may be pre-disposed to injury, and suggest ways you can help protect them. In dogs, cats and horses, joint injuries are common, with muscle and tendon strains and tears. Problems with the spine can lead to compressed or herniated discs, and neck issues can lead to mobility problems and even seizures. If you know your pet’s vulnerabilities, you can take steps to prevent injuries.
“If you decide to take your pet to a chiropractor, make sure he or she is certified by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association,” says Block, who’s been treating people for 43 years and animals for 16.
“Find one who is in tune with animals – a host of technical skills does not compensate if the practitioner is not in tune with his patients.”
About Dr. Rod Block
Dr. Rod Block serves as a chiropractic consultant to numerous veterinary practices in Southern California and is an international lecturer on animal chiropractic. He is board certified in animal chiropractic by the American Veterinary Chiropractic Association, is a member of the International Association of Elephant Managers and serves as an equine chiropractic consultant to Cal Poly Pomona. Dr. Block is the equine chiropractor for the Los Angeles Police Department’s Mounted Police Unit, a lecturer at Western State University College of Veterinary Medicine and a lecturer at University of California Irvine (Pre-Veterinary Program). He completed his undergraduate studies at UCLA and later received his Doctorate in Chiropractic.
Friday, 10 May 2013
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