Friday, August 20, 2010

Why the Health Chart...

I just posted a health chart that my aunt sent to me. One of the reasons I truly believe in the benefits of foods and herbal/vitamin supplements is because I have been my own "test rat!" LOL. Here is something that happened to me recently:

I woke up one morning at the end of last month with my right ankle slightly swollen and feeling sore. I joked on Facebook that I had managed to sprain my ankle in my sleep. That day and for the next day, my ankle remained sore and puffy. After a couple of days, the LEFT ankle started up. 

Both ankles got more and more swollen over the next few days. One of my nieces teased that I now had "cankles." That was funny for about 10 minutes, but gradually, my ankles hurt bad enough that I had trouble walking normally. My feet started to swell also. The skin felt feverish and was uncomfortable to the extent that I kept the covers off them at night.

Of course, I was starting to get worried.

Now, not having health insurance at the moment (and never having needed it before except for checkups, etc), I had to do my own research. Thank God for the Internet...

First, I searched on "swollen ankles," then I tried searching for information on "swollen ankles and feet," throwing in filters such as "causes of," "as symptom of," etc.  

I came up with different common possible causes: congestive heart failure, sprains, gout...

I can't remember right now just how I got to a page that put me on the right track, but: my chronic anemia (which I was aware of) was a possible cause. 

Apparently, my low iron level was the culprit. 

I was diagnosed as anemic when I was very young. Of course, when I was younger, I had my mother around to make sure I got the right foods to solve the problem: spinach, lima beans (yuck!), beef liver, beets and broccoli... All the foods kids just love, right? LOL... Mama even let me have sips of red wine (she'd heard about that being good for anemics) and she made sure that I was limited on "soda pop" and other sugary foods (I think the doctors gave her some reason to do that).

When I got older and more in control of my own diet (read that as "teenager"), I upped the bad foods (Mama didn't know about all the gallons of Dr. Pepper I was slurping!) and gradually got away from the "good" foods. When I really thought I was grown - yeah, you know! - I developed HORRIBLE eating habits. I was one of those "skinny heffas" who could eat three loaves of bread, deep-fried in butter and covered with a warm Snickers bar and lose more calories chewing that I did by eating the food.

And my problems began. 

I was constantly fatigued (and had fatiguing jobs!) and had miserable menstrual problems. I had trouble concentrating and my moods could be whoozy...

So. When I was around 35 or so, I started getting every cold and virus that went around. I was so tired that I felt like I was struggling just to get through the day. I went to the doctor who did blood work. When he got the results back, he was shook! He was scared to let me drive home. (Understand that I have a high fear of being hospitalized.) In lieu of going to the hospital, I promised the doctor that I would go home and get off my feet and IMMEDIATELY start the regimen of iron he put me on. He gave me some kind of shot and written instructions for taking the iron: something like 3 tablets three times a day for X amount of days, then 2 a day for X amount of days.... On and on until I was down to 1 tablet 3 times a day. ForEVER!!! He made me promise to come back for follow-up lab work in a few weeks and to call him if I felt anything out of whack.

Yeah, yeah, yeah...

I did take the iron pills. Well, okay - I took at least ONE of the at least ONCE a day. Mostly I just forgot. I think I lost the paper with the dosing instructions. LOL.

Fast forward to me being 49 and dealing with too much else in life to remember to take an aspirin if I had a headache, and... I let the anemia creep back in.

ANYway,

Because I do keep vitamins and herbal supplements on hand, and because I do actually take some of them, I did have iron pills around. Within ONE day of taking just TWO iron pills three times a day, the swelling in my ankles and feet started to abate. The pain was completely gone by the beginning of the third day. Now - it's been about a week and a half that I started the iron. All the pain is gone, most of the swelling is gone. All because I took my iron pills...

Here's the scary part (other than the fact that there are people with more serious health problems who can't go to a doctor...): Had I NOT figured out the problem. Had I just let this thing run its course, this is what could have progressed (according to the faq on womenshealth.gov):

What will happen if my anemia goes untreated?


Yeah. So I am a firm believer in doing what you can to look after yourself. Please talk to your doctor (if you have one), do your own research, ask questions and - most important of all - don't let things go to far when you even just THINK something might be wrong...

Peace (and good health)
--Free



Health Chart

My Auntie J sent this to my email. I am a BIG believer in the health benefits of the right foods. Enjoy, please!


   Apple s
Protects your heart
Prevents constipation
Blocks diarrhea
Improves lung capacity
Cushions joints
Apricots
Combats cancer
Controls blood pressure
Saves your eyesight
Shields against Alzheimer's
Slows aging process
Artichokes
Aids digestion
Lowers cholesterol
Protects your heart
Stabilizes blood sugar
Guards against liver disease
Avocados
Battles diabetes
Lowers cholesterol
Helps stops strokes
Controls blood pressure
Smoothes skin
Bananas
Protects your heart
Quiets a cough
Strengthens bones
Controls blood pressure
Blocks diarrhea
Beans
Prevents constipation
Helps haemorrhoids
Lowers cholesterol
Combats cancer
Stabilizes blood sugar
Beets
Controls blood pressure
Combats cancer
Strengthens bones
Protects your heart
Aids weight loss
Blueberries
Combats cancer
Protects your heart
Stabilizes blood sugar
Boosts memory
Prevents constipation
Broccoli
Strengthens bones
Saves eyesight
Combats cancer
Protects your heart
Controls blood pressure
Cabbage
Combats cancer
Prevents constipation
Promotes weight loss
Protects your heart
Helps haemorrhoids
Cantaloupe
Saves eyesight
Controls blood pressure
Lowers cholesterol
Combats cancer
Supports immune system
Carrots
Saves eyesight
Protects your heart
Prevents constipation
Combats cancer
Promotes weight loss
Cauliflower
Protects against Prostate Cancer
Combats Breast Cancer
Strengthens bones
Banishes bruises
Guards against heart disease
Cherries
Protects your heart
Combats Cancer
Ends insomnia
Slows aging process
Shields against Alzheimer's
Chestnuts
Promotes weight loss
Protects your heart
Lowers cholesterol
Combats Cancer
Controls blood pressure
Chili peppers
Aids digestion
Soothes sore throat
Clears sinuses
Combats Cancer
Boosts immune system
Figs
Promotes weight loss
Helps stops strokes
Lowers cholesterol
Combats Cancer
Controls blood pressure
Fish
Protects your heart
Boosts memory
Protects your heart
Combats Cancer
Supports immune system
Flax
Aids digestion
Battles diabetes
Protects your heart
Improves mental health
Boosts immune system
Garlic
Lowers cholesterol
Controls blood pressure
Combats cancer
Kills bacteria
Fights fungus
Grapefruit
Protects against heart attacks
Promotes Weight loss
Helps stops strokes
Combats Prostate Cancer
Lowers cholesterol
Grapes
Saves eyesight
Conquers kidney stones
Combats cancer
Enhances blood flow
Protects your heart
Green tea
Combats cancer
Protects your heart
Helps stops strokes
Promotes Weight loss
Kills bacteria
Honey
Heals wounds
Aids digestion
Guards against ulcers
Increases energy
Fights allergies
Lemons
Combats cancer
Protects your heart
Controls blood pressure
Smoothes skin
Stops scurvy
Limes
Combats cancer
Protects your heart
Controls blood pressure
Smoothes skin
Stops scurvy
Mangoes
Combats cancer
Boosts memory
Regulates thyroid
Aids digestion
Shields against Alzheimer's
Mushrooms
Controls blood pressure
Lowers cholesterol
Kills bacteria
Combats cancer
Strengthens bones
Oats
Lowers cholesterol
Combats cancer
Battles diabetes
Prevents constipation
Smoothes skin
Olive oil
Protects your heart
Promotes Weight loss
Combats cancer
Battles diabetes
Smoothes skin
Onions
Reduce risk of heart attack
Combats cancer
Kills bacteria
Lowers cholesterol
Fights fungus
Oranges
Supports immune systems
Combats cancer
Protects your heart
Straightens respiration

 
Peaches
Prevents constipation
Combats cancer
Helps stops strokes
Aids digestion
Helps haemorrhoids
Peanuts
Protects against heart disease
Promotes Weight loss
Combats Prostate Cancer
Lowers cholesterol
Aggravates 
Diverticulitis
Pineapple
Strengthens bones
Relieves colds
Aids digestion
Dissolves warts
Blocks diarrhoea
Prunes
Slows aging process
Prevents constipation
Boosts memory
Lowers cholesterol
Protects against heart disease
Rice
Protects your heart
Battles diabetes
Conquers kidney stones
Combats cancer
Helps stops strokes
Strawberries
Combats cancer
Protects your heart
Boosts memory
Calms stress

 
Sweet potatoes
Saves your eyesight
Lifts mood
Combats cancer
Strengthens bones

 
Tomatoes
Protects prostate
Combats cancer
Lowers cholesterol
Protects your heart

 
Walnuts
Lowers cholesterol
Combats cancer
Boosts memory
Lifts mood
Protects against heart disease
Water
Promotes Weight loss
Combats cancer
Conquers kidney stones
Smoothes skin

 
Watermelon
Protects prostate
Promotes Weight loss
Lowers cholesterol
Helps stops strokes
Controls blood pressure
Wheat germ
Combats Colon Cancer
Prevents constipation
Lowers cholesterol
Helps stops strokes
Improves digestion
Wheat bran
Combats Colon Cancer
Prevents constipation
Lowers cholesterol
Helps stops strokes
Improves digestion
Yogurt
Guards against ulcers
Strengthens bones
Lowers cholesterol
Supports immune systems
Aids digestion