A Meta Is Going to Come? Shouldn’t That Be A Change is Going to Come?

Victorian clockYou may notice the blog is late today.  Blame the flu.  Scratch that.  I’ll take responsibility.  While I was debating whether or not it was time to take the flu shot all Chronic Kidney Disease patients are urged to take each year, the flu found me.  No kidding about this compromised immune system business.  I considered this a light case, but was just ordered back to bed… after over a week of laying low.

Keep in mind that this year’s flu’s vaccine only covers three or four of the many strains around, so you may end up with the flu even after having the shot.  My family doctor’s advice?  Once you’re well again have the inoculation and protect yourself from as many strains as you can.flu shot

Dr. Jamal Attalla is my new nephrologist and also a Landmark Graduate.  That’s where I met him way before I even knew he is a nephrologist.  I like that he is non-alarmist, non-paternalistic and easy going.  When I told him that 50 as an eGFR reading was my panic point, he very gently reminded me that readings will vary within a range depending on the day, your hydration, etc. – all variable factors.  I knew that.

Then he reminded me that after 35, we lose about 1% of our kidney function yearly.  I was under the impression it was ½% annually and thought that started at a much later age.  Finally, we talked about my reading of 48%. But I understood better now how that happened and am confident I can raise it again before I see him a year from now.

Enough about me, let’s get to that metabolic syndrome.  Oh, wait, that’s about me too.

Kibow has sent me quite a bit of information about using their probiotics as a method of treating chronic kidney disease.  I need to warn you that this is not an endorsement of their product.  I don’t know enough about it yet.

Along with their press release, they sent me a booklet entitled Kibow’s Educational Guide to Probiotics and Kidney Health written by Natarajan Ranganathan, Ph.D. and Henry D’Silva, M.D.  In the booklet, they discuss metabolic syndrome.  This part of that discussion lists five conditions in metabolic syndrome.  Only three are necessary to diagnose the syndrome:

“1. Abdominal obesity

2. high blood pressure

3. high blood sugarapple shaped

4. low levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol

5. high triglycerides”

I’d first heard about metabolic syndrome two years ago when I met an Aussie nurse at a friend’s house.  She assumed I knew all about it.  When I told her I didn’t and asked her to explain, she promised a coffee date to do just that.  We never had the date since she was called home quite suddenly and I forgot about the syndrome.

Then Kibow sent me their material.  Except for the high triglycerides and low levels of ‘good’ HDL cholesterol, I have all these conditions.  Granted, the abdominal obesity is self-diagnosed but you’d have to be blind (and I’m not yet) to miss it.

So what’s the big deal about metabolic syndrome?  By the way, meta does mean change.  According to The National Institutes on their Institute of Heart, Lungs, and Blood page at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/-topics/ms/:

“The term ‘metabolic’ refers to the biochemical processes involved in the body’s normal functioning. Risk factors are traits, conditions, or habits that increase your chance of developing a disease.”

The National Institutes is a fount of information on all topics that deal with your health.

heart attackAgain, the same question: what’s the big deal about metabolic syndrome?  Usually it’s stated backwards for Chronic Kidney Disease patients.  The MayoClinic at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/metabolic%20syndrome/DS00522  tells us:

“Metabolic syndrome is a cluster of conditions — increased blood pressure, a high blood sugar level, excess body fat around the waist and abnormal cholesterol levels — that occur together, increasing your risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes.”

Sometimes, Chronic Kidney Disease is mentioned as one of the diseases this syndrome puts you at risk for.  We, however, already have that, so why should we try to either avoid the syndrome completely or ameliorate it if we do have it?

Before I was diagnosed with Chronic Kidney Disease, I joyfully proclaimed Dr. Andrew Weil as my health guru and actually had pretty good health following his suggestions.  This is what he has to say,

“Doctors may also prescribe medications to lower blood pressure, control cholesterol or help you lose weight. Insulin sensitizers like Glucophage (Metformin) may be prescribed to help your body use insulin more effectively. It lowers blood sugar, which also seems to help lower cholesterol and triglycerides as well as decreasing appetite. The side effects of Metformin (often temporary) include nausea, stomach pain, bloating and diarrhea. A more serious side effect, lactic acidosis, can affect those with kidney or liver disease, severe heart failure or a history of alcohol abuse and is potentially, though rarely, fatal. Aspirin therapy is often given to help reduce risk of heart attack and stroke.”

Notice the mention of kidney damage and that of aspirin therapy.  We just can’t take the chance.

Take a look at his article yourself for even more information: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03193/Metabolic-Syndrome.html.Dr. Andrew WEil

Sometimes you just have to use your common sense.  We ARE already at risk of heart disease, diabetes, and high blood pressure as CKD sufferers.  Why would we take a chance of doubling our risk of developing these medical problems?  Don’t forget that while diabetes and high blood pressure can cause CKD, the reverse is true, too.

Kindle has offered me the opportunity to correct two spelling errors in the book.  What I want to know – since they are simple words – is how did spell check (and me for that matter) miss these in the first place? I find it amazing that not one single medical term was misspelled, but these two common words were.Book Cover

Keep an eye out for a new print/digital program they’ll be announcing.  It’s theirs so I’m not at liberty to discuss it until they announce it.  That is a bit of a tease, isn’t it?

Exercise is an essential part of slowing down the progression of your CKD, so kudos to Abby Wegerski (that’s my baby!) and her instruction partner, Tyler Robbins, on the One Year Plus dance celebration for Sustainable Blues this past weekend!

Until next week,

Keep living your life!blues

Spurs in Arizona

Of course there are spurs in Arizona, you may find yourself thinking… and you’re right. Both kinds are in abundance here.  Both kinds?  Sure, the ones you wear on your boots and the ones you wear in your boots, actually inside your foot. cowboy boots

I recently had pain in my heel and figured it was just another sign that I’m growing older (funny, I do that every year).  When I casually mentioned this to my ever vigilant primary care doctor, Helen Zhao of Deer Valley Family Practice, she pounced.  She’s so good at that and since she’s the one who uncovered my Chronic Kidney Disease, I listen when she pounces.

An order for three different foot x-rays revealed a formerly broken little toe (Judo pre-pregnancy 33 years ago), osteoarthritis (that’s like telling a painfully sun burned person they’re sun burned) and a heel bone spur.  A what?  Oh, an osteophyte!  Osteo comes from the Latin osseusos, ossis meaning bone and the Greek osteon, also meaning bone.   (Thank you for the memory, Hunter College of the City University of New York course in Greek and Latin roots taken a zillion years ago).

You know the name of my book about Chronic Kidney Disease is What Is It And How Did I Get It? Early Stage Chronic Kidney Disease.  That’s become my approach to any new ailment that shows up for me.  And there are lots of those lately.

We know from its name that a bone spur has to do with the bone.  We also know what a spur is.  Try to visualize a spur on the end of your heel.  Or, better yet, look at the diagram below. See it?

heel spur

According to MedicineNet.com at http://www.medterms.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=7094, this is the definition

Heel spur: A bony spur projecting from the back or underside of the heel that often makes walking painful. Spurs at the back of the heel are associated with inflammation of the Achilles tendon (Achilles tendinitis) and cause tenderness and pain at the back of the heel that is made worse by pushing off the ball of the foot. Spurs under the sole (plantar area) are associated with inflammation of the plantar fascia (the ‘bowstring-like’ tissue stretching from the heel underneath the sole) and cause localized tenderness and pain made worse by stepping down on the heel.”

The latter is my problem.  I’d actually thought that dancing was magic because when I did at Sustainable Blues (https://www.facebook.com/groups/SustainableBluesPhx/), I didn’t feel any pain at all.  Turns out that’s because I was dancing on my toes, not my heels.  I’ve still got bluesto thank daughter, Abby Wegerski, who started the dance as her Self Expression and Leadership Program project at Landmark Worldwide, and her co-instructor, Tyler Robbins, for those two pain free hours a week.

On to how I got it. Webmd.com (http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/heel-spurs-pain-causes-symptoms-treatments) tells us,

“Heel spurs occur when calcium deposits build up on the underside of the heel bone, a process that usually occurs over a period of many months. Heel spurs are often caused by strains on foot muscles and ligaments, stretching of the plantar fascia, and repeated tearing of the membrane that covers the heel bone. Heel spurs are especially common among athletes whose activities include large amounts of running and jumping.”

I don’t run and I don’t jump, but I do pop in a walking tape DVD every other day or so.  Could that be the cause?  I read on only to discover that age, weight, walking gait, worn out shoes (I wear the comfortable ones until they literally fall apart) and “frequent short bursts of physical activity” could be the culprits.  I am pretty sedentary except for those exercise periods each day.

Still not satisfied, I wanted to know what I could do about the heel spur I’d developed. Dr. Andrew Weil, my health hero before I developed Chronic Kidney Disease has quite a lot to say about that at: http://www.drweil.com/drw/u/ART03031/Heel-Spurs.html:

“….Symptomatic treatment involves rest, especially from the activity that is contributing to the condition and making symptoms worse …. Ice is recommended immediately following it…. Stretching exercises that gently lengthen the calm muscle will relax the tissue surrounding the heel and should be done several times a day, especially in the morning and after prolonged sitting. Over-the-counter or prescription-strength anti-inflammatory medications can help temporarily…. Deep tissue massage, taping and other physical therapy modalities can also be helpful. Arch support is highly recommended, either with shoe inserts or custom orthotics made by podiatrists. If pain continues, a steroid injection at the site of pain may be recommended….Sometimes bone spurs can be surgically removed or an operation to loosen the fascia – called a plantar fascia release – can be performed.”

I urge you to read his article for yourself since I omitted many of his warnings due to lack of space.  They are valid.  He also suggests natural remedies that you may find helpful, but be careful about the herbs.  As CKD patients, we need to rely on tested substances and, often, herbal supplements are not.  It was so much easier to deal with my health before CKD (or so I thought). As CKD patients, we cannot take Over The Counter (OTC) pain relievers.  Maybe taking a really close look at some of Dr. Weil’s natural treatments is worth a shot.  Just remember that you do have CKD.

Heel that Pain (love the name!) at http://www.heel-that-pain.com/heel_bone_spurs.php made a common sense point, although they sell the product to follow the common sense.  I am not endorsing their product because I haven’t tried it, but I do use orthotics from several different companies.orthotics

“The heel spur, because it is part of the bone, actually has no feeling in it. The pain that is generated from the heel spur is due to the soft tissue around the heel spur that gets irritated and inflamed and bruised. This is what creates the heel pain from the spur itself. If you can properly support the heel bone so that friction and motion are reduced, it will allow the soft tissue around the area of the heel spur to heal, and have a reduction in the inflammation and tenderness. The goal would be to support the heel bone enough so that the heel spur does not dig into the soft tissue.”

Wait a minute… I think I remember that I have spinal bone spurs too.  Well, there’s next week’s blog.

Kidney Book CoverI have a meeting with Annette, Folmer, the kidney education coordinator for SlowItDown (https://www.facebook.com/NativeAmericanCKDeducation and twitter.com) tomorrow to plan our presentation at the Men’s and Women’s Gathering at Talking Stick Resort on August 29.  I know how important CKD education is, but it hadn’t occurred to me that it would be exciting! By the way, this project emanated from my Landmark Worldwide Self Expression and Leadership Program.

Ah, the book.  I keep forgetting the original purpose of the blog was to publicize the book.  How life transforms! It does well and will continue to do so as long as you remember that every book you buy (Amazon.com and B&N.com) allows me to donate another one.

Until next week,

Keep living your life!