Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Ballet Series: Hyper Extended Knees

     Hey everyone. Sorry for my lack of dance related posts last month. I had so many medical awareness posts that I just had to share because they were all very important for me to get out there during the awareness month for those conditions. But I'm back with another ballet post for you and it's all about something all dancers want, hyperextended knees.
     Hyper-extended knees create a beautiful line and when a dancer stands in first position there is a space between her heels, or a heel gap. There are many advantages to having hyper-extended knees but unfortunately there are drawbacks to that as well.
     For example, an advantage is your knee will always look straight if they are hyper-extended. A disadvantage is locking your knees out too often will lead to painful knee problems that could require you take a break from dancing.
     One thing about hyper-extension is you can’t allow yourself to give into the hyper-extension, or letting your legs sink backwards. Not only can it strain the backs of your knees, but this “lazy” placement also renders multiple turns nearly impossible. People tell me I have a beautiful hyper-extension but I am always in search of my “straight” standing leg. I found it over time by strengthening the right muscles, but I also have to find it daily. For me, this process starts anew every morning at the barre with a simple rule: While standing in first position, the heels must touch.
     Dancers who consistently allow their standing legs to bow backwards into full hyper-extension can loosen the knee joints to a dangerous degree. It’s not just flexible muscles, you have overstretched ligaments as well; and ligaments don’t tighten up again. You’ve lost that security in the joints that the ligaments used to provide. (Insider note: Before I learned how to strengthen my legs without loosing my hyper-extension I hurt both of my knees really badly because I always let my legs bow backwards in full hyper-extension. When my knee pain got really bad I was out of dance for three months and I had to do physical therapy once a week. Now days, whenever I’m standing I have to make sure that my knees are slightly bent, as to keep them from hyper-extending).
     Another thing I’ve noticed, especially with myself, is dancers with hyper-extension have improper posture and have lots of weight on their heels, which will throw them off balance when doing multiple turns.
     The two images below compare a dancer with hyper-extended knees to dancer who does not. The dancer with hyper-extended knees (Image I). has her pelvis tilted forward, her weight is backward (on her heels) and her ankles are plantar flexed.
     The dancer who is not hyper-extended (Image II) has her pelvis in a neutral position, her body is more upright and her weight is more centered, and her ankles are more neutral.

                                                                      
                                 Image I                                                                  Image II

     Another problem is dancers with hyper-extended knees will cause a reduction in turnout.  To put the knee in the position of hyper-extension the femur (thigh bone) and tibia (shin bone) will rotate inwards to "lock" the knee. Since most dance styles work in either parallel or turned out positions (but not turned in), this is counter productive.
     So how do you control/correct hyper-extended knees? A few tips are to talk to your instructor about your hyper-extension and ask them to remind you every time they see you in hyper-extension. Also try to make sure your weight is more centered. Since most dancers who have hyper-extension have their weight further back, putting your weight forward will keep you from hyper-extending. Having a hyper-extension also means that your leg will always look straight even when it’s not so always try to have a slight bend in your knees. That will also reduce the stress you put on your ligaments when you stand in full hyper-extension.

     That about wraps up all the knowledge I have on hyper-extension. I hope you all enjoyed it and found it helpful and informative. If you did please don't forget to give this post a +1 on Google+, share it with all your dance friends and teachers who need to know about hyper-extension. I will see you all in December.

~Poodle
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Tuesday, 14 November 2017

November is Diabetes Awareness Month | World Diabetes Day



What is Diabetes? What are the main Types of Diabetes?
    Diabetes is an autoimmune disorder when your pancreas stops producing insulin, which helps your body turn carbs into sugar. There a two main types of diabetes and two not commonly known "subtypes". The two main types of diabetes are Type I Diabetes (T1D) and Type II Diabetes (T2D).
     T1D is when the pancreas abandons ship and does not produce ANY insulin at all. People with T1D must rely on injections or a pump to get insulin and they must check their blood sugar at least six times a day (more details on treatment later on). There is no cure for Type One Diabetes. T1D can occur at any age and with any gender.
    T2D is when the body produces insulin but either produces too much, to little or has difficulty getting that insulin going. People with T2D tend to be overweight, and primarily through diet or exercise can control their blood sugar levels. Some people with T2D have to take pills, shots and check their blood sugar regularly but every T2D case is different. The two not-commonly known subtypes of diabetes are Maturity Onset Diabetes of the Young (MODY) and Latent Autoimmune Diabetes in Adults (LADA).
     MODY occurs before the age of 25, when there is a strong family history of diabetes there is a single gene mutation. Those gene's are HNF1-Alpha, HNF1-beta, HNF4-beta, and Glucokinase (for more details on the gene mutations in MODY click here). Not everyone with MODY will need insulin, their treatment is similar to T2D and because of that most people with MODY are misdiagnosed as a T2D because MODY is so rare. MODY most commonly turns into T2D later on with the exception of Glucokinase (due to the fact that the blood sugar levels of people with MODY are only slightly higher than normal between 5.5-8mmol (99-144mg/dl. Normal blood sugar levels in a non-diabetic are between 3.8-6.6 (70-120mg/dl).
      LADA is a slow processing form of T1. It is also known as T1.5D. I have LADA. This is when the body produces insulin but not enough and most people get misdiagnosed with T2D because of their age. People with LADA have high blood sugar levels but those levels aren't high enough for them to be a T1D. Often times LADA turns into T1D later in life similarly how MODY turns into T2D later on.

What are the Symptoms of Diabetes? What are treatment options for diabetics?
The symptoms and treatment of diabetes can be easily summed up in this simple infographic. (NOTE: The last part "prevention" only applies to Type 2 Diabetes, not Type 1).


What foundations can I donate too/learn more about Diabetes?

The two best foundations to learn more about diabetes are:

JDRF or Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation 
http://jdrf.org

ADA or American Diabetes Association 
http://diabetes.org

So that is it for my diabetes awareness post. I hope you all found it informative. If you did, don't forget to give this post a +1 if you have a Google+ account, follow me on all my social media accounts and share it with your friends. Together we can turn Type One into Type None!

~Poodle
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Monday, 6 November 2017

November is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome Awareness Month | CRPS Awareness Day

     Hello everyone. I hope you all are doing well. I am doing pretty good. Busy with school and all. The semester is wrapping up soon so I’m constantly working on getting my grades up. I'm sure you're getting sick of all my "awareness" posts but I promise you, there are only two more (this one and then one more) later this month. Today's topic is near and dear to my heart and that is Complex Regional Pain Syndrome.
     I was diagnosed with CRPS on June 28th 2017 and I have it in both my legs from above my knees down after being immobilized in multiple plaster and boot casts between end of August 2016 and beginning of June 2017. I know now that all of my foot/ankle problems are primarily due to my broken back which you can read about here
     As always I will explain what CRPS is, the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment. So without further ado, lets begin!

What is CRPS?
     Complex Regional Pain Syndrome or CRPS for short is a progressive disease of the Autonomic Nervous System, more specifically the Sympathetic Nervous System. CRPS is classified in two types. 
     Type I, formerly known as Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy involves a minor nerve injury when you have chronic pain after a limb has been immobilized for a long period of time due to surgery or a broken bone. Medically, via MRIs and other various scans, you might not see anything wrong with the affected limb, but it still hurts. That is due to the nerves in the affect limb over-firing due to a short circuit in the spinal cord. 
     Type II, formerly known as Causalgia, involves a major nerve injury usually in the Peripheral Nervous System. This trauma can be from a simple injury as stated in Type I or something more severe such as SCI (spinal cord injury). As this type progresses you may loose function in that are due to the nerve damage. 
     CRPS can occur in any area of the body but is typically the arms or legs. It can travel up or down a limb or it can “mirror” or transfer the same symptoms on to the opposite limb.

What are the symptoms of CRPS?
The four main symptoms from American RSDHope are as follows:
  1. Constant chronic burning pain - The pain, which is usually significantly greater than the original event/injury;  though the affected area may feel cold to the touch to the patient it feels as though it is literally on fire; and is ranked as the most painful form of chronic pain today by the McGILL Pain Index. This symptom also includes allodynia which is an extreme sensitivity to touch, sound, temperature, and vibration.
  2. Inflammation - this can affect the appearance of the skin, bruising, mottling, tiny red spots, shiny, purplish look; as well as affect the skin temperature of the affected area, cause excessive sweating, etc.
  3. Spasms - in blood vessels (vasoconstriction) and muscles (sometimes referred to as rolling spasms) of the extremities.
  4. Insomnia/Emotional Disturbance - includes the major changes to the limbic system such as short-term memory problems, concentration difficulties, sleep disturbances, confusion, etc.

How is CRPS diagnosed?
     There is no definitive test to diagnose CRPS. Usually you’ll see a physician, typically a neurologist who is educated in CRPS. CRPS can primarily be diagnosed via physical examination, and your medical history. Other tests that are used to rule out other possible conditions. Some of those tests are bone scans which helps detect bone changes via a radioactive substance that is injected into a vein and then viewed via a tiny camera. Sympathetic nervous system test are used to look for disturbances in your sympathetic nervous system. For example, thermography measures the skin temperature and blood flow of your affected and unaffected limbs.
MRI's are also used to to look for tissue changes and X-Rays are used to look for a loss of bone mineral density which happens as the condition progresses.

What is the treatment for CRPS?
     There are many treatments for CRPS such as pain medications such as Gabapentin but the more effective treatments are Spinal Cord Stimulators the block the CRPS pain by sending small electrical signals to the affected limb, or Ketamine infusions which block NMDA receptors. 
     Here is an excerpt from Pain Medicine Journal about Ketamine infusion, "Although Ketamine
may have more than one mechanism of action, the basis for using it to treat CRPS/RSDS may reside in its strong ability to block NMDA receptors. Experimental evidence suggests that a sufficiently intense or prolonged painful stimulus causes an extraordinary release of glutamate from peripheral nociceptive afferents onto dorsal horn neurons within the spinal cord. The glutamate released, in turn, stimulates NMDA receptors on second-order neurons that produce the phenomena of windup and central sensitization. It is reasonable to consider that, by blocking NMDA receptors, one might also be able to block cellular mechanisms supporting windup and central sensitization. Ketamine is the only potent NMDA-blocking drug currently available for clinical use. Our interpretation is that an appropriately prolonged infusion of Ketamine appears to maintain a level of Ketamine in the central nervous system long enough to reverse the effects of the sensitization process and associated pain."


So that is it for this post. I hope you all enjoyed it! As always please give this post a +1 if you have a Google+ account, follow me on all my social media accounts and share it with your friends.

~Poodle
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Wednesday, 1 November 2017

Dancing Through Life's Lessons: Productivity

     Do you ever feel overwhelmed as a student or as a professional? Do you find yourself procrastinating and feeling burnt out by all the stuff you have to get done so sometimes the important things don't get done the way you'd like?
     Productivity is something that is vitally important to basically everyone, no matter your profession. Over the past year or so I have gathered to gather some tips I am going to share with you that I have learned as a full-time college student with a part-time job who on the side runs a blog (this one), writes for an E-magazine (Christ Centered Girls), is a stage actress and has to take care of her health (which is incredibly challenging and trying at times).

1. Create to-do lists
     Create a list of everything you need to accomplish this week both major and minor tasks as well as how long it will take to do each task either on your phone or on a notepad.

2. Prioritize tasks
     It might be a bit overwhelming to see all the tasks you have to do in seven days but after this step, I assure you, it will feel less daunting and hopefully you'll feel less overwhelmed. First of all you need to reassess what to focus on. These things are primarily the top priority things such as any homework, exam prep, take home tests etc. This is what you need to focus on and put all your attention towards.

Urgency:
  • What is the deadline for each task?
  • Which one needs to be finished first (always the one with the deadline closest to what today's date is).
Importance:
  • How important is the task? What would happen if it wasn't done on time?
  • What is the effect that the task will have on other or consequential tasks?
  • Are there any prerequisites that needs to be done before this task? Is it mandatory for you do this task before otherwise the other tasks can't be done?
  • If the task is left unfinished, uncompleted, incomplete or poorly done, how is it gonna affect you and what is the cost of that?
  • What is the opportunity cost? If you spent your time on Task A and not Task B, what will it cost you? What could you potentially miss out on?
  • Can you assign the task to someone else or have someone assist you with it?
After evaluating all the tasks based on factors such as these, you will know what to prioritize.

3. Schedule and allocate time for each task
     This task will definitely help all you college students. If you schedule and allocate time for each subject you will do substantially better on the exams and therefore end up with a good grade in the class. 
     So grab a planner, preferably with a weekly time schedule layout and start jotting down tasks to do throughout the day. Here is what yesterday (Monday Oct 23th) looked like for me at University.

(Made on the Numbers app for Apple Computers).

Make sure you you stick to your schedule.

     If you spent too much time with a specific task, it's okay to reorganize your schedule. So let's say I didn't finish Task A. After work I would finish Task A and may be only watch two GC episodes instead of three. And I don't mind if I have to go to bed an hour later than I would like. As long as I am in bed trying to sleep before midnight, I'm good!

4. Get in the zone
  • Disconnect from Social Media
If you're working on a task that doesn't involve the internet, disconnect from it. Our phones are a massive distraction in our daily lives so when I am studying or something that doesn't involve my phone, I keep it across the room from wherever I am (or in my backpack if I'm not at home), so I stay on track. I always have an alarm on my phone for the allotted time I gave myself for each task. When the alarm goes off I'll take a few minute break, like on weekends, putting my laundry in the washer,  into the dyer and finally folding/putting them away are my so-called breaks between tasks.
  • Find your sanctuary
For me, my happy place, my sanctuary is a local coffee shop in my hometown. When I was at Community College I went to this coffee shop practically every day after classes were over while I waited for one of my parents to pick me up. I also went there a lot over the summer after work, so I could write blogs posts and whatever other things I needed to do. Wherever your sanctuary is, go there and do work there. I always do my best work at a coffee shop. I'm not sure why, maybe it's the relaxing ambiance and the smell of freshly roasted coffee. 
  • Block out noise
Some people, like myself, can work with music on but if you aren't one of those people, block out noise. You could even put on a pair of headphones but not have it plugged into a phone or computer if you need to block out the noise around you. If I'm at this local coffee shop and I am working on something imperative, chances are I'll put my headphones on so no one bothers me.

5. Optimise your time
There will always be inevitable activities that will waste time in your daily life from errands, to chores to community so it is crucial that you optimize your time so you get each task done properly and on time.
  • Commute time
For me, because I use a wheelchair I always leave my house, or wherever I am on campus 15 minutes before my class begins. This way I am never late to class. On a Monday, as you can see, I do have an option to go back home after my morning class but I choose to stay on campus and do things because it's an inconvenience for me to go back and forth between my house off-campus and my classes on campus because my University isn't wheelchair friendly. I always have my laptop ready with me so I can work on things that need to be done between classes. I've attended a student senate meeting and sitting in the back I quietly wrote a paper for class that was due that day. 
  • Waiting time
This another unavoidable thing. Waiting for the bus, waiting for class to start etc. Usually these waiting times are relatively short (5-15min) which isn't enough time to do work the requires focus. During this time I like to respond to emails, update social media, and converse with family and friends. I'll use my time on the bus or whatnot to do the same if the trip is relatively short. If it's a longer trip and I have the space, I will bring out my laptop and start some easy work (like writing a blog post) during the trip. That allows me to have more time during the day to focus on important tasks like homework etc. 

6. Keep track of each task
     Once you've allocated time for each task make sure you stick to it and that each task is on schedule. If one task is left undone, re-arrange your schedule again and make sure you catch up on it ASAP to avoid procrastination or postponing.

7. Reap a habit
     Finally, it might sound very easy to do but and be extremely hard to follow through. Starting a new habit, such as this one, is hard but if you do it repeatedly you will reap a habit. Over and over you will be able to prioritize your tasks, focus, and maximize your productivity, without feeling overwhelmed or burnt out.
    The mind has a memory and it subconsciously recognizes patterns. Only if you knew the tick to manipulating your own mind, you'll realize that it's actually easy to do or achieve anything you set your mind too. 

     So that is it for this post. I hope you all enjoyed it! As always please give this post a +1 if you have a Google+ account, follow me on all my social media accounts and share it with your friends.

~Poodle
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Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Pointe Shoe Series: How I Break In My Pointe Shoes + Q&A

     Hey everyone! I hope you all are having a good week.  I'm still working, as always, which is good because knowingly, I'll need the money for two of my sisters weddings next year.
     Today, I thought I would share with you how I prepare my pointe shoes for class. Everyone has different ways of breaking in pointe shoes and by all means, this is just my custom way of doing it. You're free to use whatever from this you want.
First of all, determining what food type you have is very important when choosing a pair of pointe shoes. I wear Bloch Serenade pointe shoes. I’ve worn this style since starting pointe in 2012 and I am in love with them. They are definitely my perfect brand/style. Which brings me to my first topic. What kind of feet do you have and what brand of pointe shoes will work for me?
Everyone has a different foot type. Someone may have the Egyptian, Roman, Greek, Germanic, Celtic feet type as seen here in the diagram below.
 


Each brand of pointe shoes were designed for a specific foot type as well as how high your arches are. I have Egyptian tapered style feet (see style 1) and very high arches. That being said, with my type of feet, Bloch worked best on me when I first started dancing. I now wear Capezio Tendu II while I wait on my pair of Russian Rubins.
Because of my high arches I need a low vamp in order to rise on to pointe fully. The downfall of a low vamp is sometimes it looks like my foot is falling out of my shoe so sometimes I have to sew elastic above the vamp to prevent my foot from falling out.
Once you determine what foot type you have as well as how high your arches are (low, medium or high) you can do a simple google search to find out what brand/style may work for you. (Obviously you should listen to the pointe shoe fitter when you’re getting fitted).
     An example of a google search would be, “Pointe shoes for an Egyptian tapered foot and high arches"
After you’ve got your pair of pointe shoes you want to break them in. Most teachers tell you that simple releves and barre work will break them in but that is not true at all. Doing it that way will take months up on months. Plus literally dancing in pointe shoes that aren’t broken  in is a recipe for a career ending injury. Click here to see how I break in my pointe shoes.
I also smack the box against a wall (I have a dent in the wall as proof) to soften the box so it isn’t so loud when I dance. I also step on the vamp to soften it. Both of these things are mainly for advanced dancers so I wouldn’t worry about it too much.
Next comes the part all dancers dread...sewing you pointe shoes. There are many different ways to sew your pointe shoes as well as different ways to sew on your ribbons and elastic. Click here to see how I sew my pointe shoes.

So this pretty much sums up how I prepare my pointe shoes. Now on to the Q&A portion of this post.

1. What the hell is darning for? 
When you wear a pair of pointe shoes for a while the satin on the box begins to shred and peel off. Underneath the satin is canvas. The canvas can get really dirty and soft after awhile. Darning helps extend the life of pointe shoes by sewing crochet string around the box over the canvas. It also will made the box flat again because sometimes the box can get dents in it from dancing in it so much. Darning isn’t super common anymore.

2. Are there different ways of sewing them?
Yes, there are many different ways to sew them. Check the video link above to see how I sew my shoes. (Tip: You need to use really strong thread to sew pointe shoes properly. Otherwise the ribbons and elastics will begin to come undone and it’s a pain in the ass to resew them).

3. I already have bunions will that hinder fitting?
Not necessarily. You’ll probably just have to get a shoe with a wide box. There are ways of making the box wider as seen in this video 

4. What should I do to decrease pain?
Essentially, there is no “cure” for pain of dancing on pointe. Wearing toe pads will help tremendously. Click here to learn about different kinds of padding.  I love the lamb’s wool toe pads, but the sad part is they wear out pretty quickly (about 3 or 4 months). I do not recommend ouch pouches because it hurts so much. Also you can use bandaids, micro-foam tape or masking tape (it works so well) to individually wrap toes that need extra protection. You’ll know where you need extra protection after a class or two.

5. I have no idea what kind of padding I'll want and I know you're supposed to wear padding to a fitting. So what do I do?
Don’t worry about this. The store you go to get fitted will have padding for you. 

6. What do you wear to a fitting? Tights?
You can wear tights if you wish but normally ballet stores will have cut-off old tights for you to use when getting fitted.

7. What if you have one foot that's bigger than the other?
Normally everyone has a foot that’s bigger than the other. If there’s an obvious difference in foot size, you’ll probably have to buy two pairs of pointe shoes in different sizes.

8. Is there a way to decrease pain from the bunion? Or is it one of those "grit your teeth and deal" kinda thing?
The only real way to decrease pain for bunions is to wear a toe spacer between your first and second toes. Surgery isn’t a good idea unless your bunion is really bad because you lose mobility in your big toe joint and the recovery period is almost a year.

8. My  toes are really tapered and my second toe is bigger than my big toe. What's that gonna mean about how the shoes fit?
You most likely have the Greek or Celtic foot style. It won’t really hinder the way the shoes fit. There is a brand of pointe shoes for your foot type. The pointe shoe fitter will be able to determine that.

10. Is the best way to break them in just through wearing them?
Nope. Wearing them helps but there are many manual ways to break them in. See the video I mentioned earlier to see the fastest and safest way to break in pointe shoes.





So that is it for this post. I hope you all enjoyed it! As always please give this post a +1 if you have a Google+ account, follow me on all my social media accounts and share it with your friends.

~Poodle
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Wednesday, 18 October 2017

October is Dysautonomia Awareness Month



     Hey everyone. Welcome to another post where I get to talk your ears off about more medical stuff. As you can tell I'm very passionate about raising awareness for all the medical problems I have (which are a lot). October is Dysautonomia Awareness month and it is probably one of the conditions that not many people know of because it's considered a "rare disease" even though it is estimated that 1-3 Million Americans have this condition and many more around the world. 

What is Dysautonomia? 
According to, Cleveland Clinic, "Dysautonomia refers to a disorder of autonomic nervous system (ANS) function that generally involves failure of the sympathetic or parasympathetic components of the ANS, but dysautonomia involving excessive or overactive ANS actions also can occur."
There are many different types of  Dysautonomia but for the sake of time I am going to focus on Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome aka POTS and Autonomic Dysreflexia (aka AD). I have POTS but since I also have a spinal cord injury, I thought I should include information about AD as well since it is a form of Dysautonomia. There isn't much of a diagnosis story for me to share because when I was officially diagnosed with POTS I already knew I had it and I was already doing some treatments for it.

What is Autonomic Dysreflexia?
According to Dysatuonomia International, "Autonomic Dysreflexia occurs in people with a spinal cord injury (SCI), specifically those with a cervical level injury but it can affect those with a lower level injury." In a person with a SCI, there is a roadblock in the spinal cord where the injury occurred and the corresponding nerves are also affected. The spinal nerves affect everything we do from regulating body temperature, sweating, breathing etc. When someone with AD has an attack, "there is an irritant impacting the person below the level of their spinal cord injury, and because their autonomic nervous system cannot process messages properly, this results in a myriad of symptoms that could lead to a stroke or cardiac arrest if not treated immediately.

Symptoms and Diagnosis of AD:
The most common symptoms of AD are:
Severe headache
Goosebumps
Sweating above level of injury
Nasal congestion
Hypertension (blood pressure significantly above the patient's baseline pressure)
Slow pulse (less than 60 beats per minute)
Flushed face and clammy skin

The main diagnostic criteria is having a SCI injury above the T6 level but can affect someone with a SCI as low as T10. If you display any of the symptoms above and have an SCI of T10 or higher, go to the nearest Emergency Room where you can be treated immediately.

Treatment of AD:
1. Check bladder or catheter for fullness or kinks in tubing
2. Check the bowel for impaction
3. Check the skin for abnormalities such as bruising/burns/ingrown toenails/pressure sores and broken bone
4. Check clothing for tightness and be aware of extreme hot and cold temperatures
5. In women, menstrual cramps or ovarian cysts may also be the cause

What is POTS?
According to Dysautonomia International, "POTS is a form of orthostatic intolerance that is associated with the presence of excessive tachycardia (fast heart rate) and many other symptoms upon standing  from a supine (lying down) position."
People with POTS may have really bad head rushes when coming from a supine position to an upright position such as sitting or standing. This is caused by the blood leaving the brain and rushing down to the lower extremities which can cause blood pooling and swelling in the ankles.
POTS can occur at any age but mainly occurs in females of a child bearing age (15-50). Males can have this condition to but 80% of those who do are female. The cause of that is unknown.

Symptoms and Diagnosis:
There are so many symptoms for POTS it would take me forever to list them all so here is an image with all the symptoms listed.


The main diagnostic criteria in adults is an increase in heart rate of 30bpm from a supine position to a upright position. In children the criteria is a heart rate increase of 40bpm. Most people are also diagnosed via a Tilt Table Test (TTT).

Treatment
No two snowflakes are alike, so finding a doctor who specializes in POTS is crucial. The most common treatments for POTS include:
1. Increasing fluid intake usually between 2-3 liters per day. For people with gastroparesis or other disorders where they cannot consume liquids or solid foods, Saline infusion are used either via a peripheral IV, PICC line or a port.
2. Increasing salt consumption usually between 3k mg and 10k mg daily. This could be in the form of salty foods or even salt tablets.
3. Wearing compression stockings to help with the blood pooling and swollen ankles. (I found these really awesome compression stockings for dancers you can find here).
4. Raising the head of the bed (to conserve blood volume). This can take form of having a hospital type bed where the head can be raised or lowered or in the form of a wedge pillow (which is what I use).
5. Since most people with POTS have exercise intolerance  reclined exercises such as rowing, recumbent bicycling and swimming are beneficial.
6. Avoiding things that exacerbate symptoms such as the temperature, foods etc.
7. Medication can also be used. One promising medication is called Fludrocortisone or Florinef. It helps keep the amount of water consumed stay in the body longer, similar how to SRRI medications keep the serotonin stay in the brain longer.

Is POTS Caused by Anxiety? 
According to Dysautonomia International, "some of the physical symptoms of POTS overlap with the symptoms of anxiety, such as tachycardia and palpitations, POTS is not caused by anxiety. POTS patients are often misdiagnosed as having anxiety or panic disorder, but their symptoms are real and can severely limit a person's ability to function. Research has shown that POTS patients are similarly or even less likely to suffer from anxiety or panic disorder than the general public. Research surveys that evaluate mental health show similar results between POTS patients and national norms."

I really hope this post was informative for you. If it was don't forget to give it a +1 on Google+, share it with all your friends to spread awareness and leave me a comment below if you have POTS or you know someone who does. See you all next week!

~Poodle
Previous Post: Mental Health Disorders: Mental Health at Church | Collab with Ally Renee
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Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Mental Health Disorders: Mental Illness at Church | Collab with Ally Renee | Mental Health Awareness Day

     Happy World Mental Health Day. Today, very much like Sept 10th, is an important day for me. Today's the day I get to speak up about mental health and this year I decided to have my really good internet friend Ally help me out with that. She wrote this awesome short informative essay on mental illness at church and I am thrilled to share that with you guys. So let's get right into it.

     Let me throw a number at you, 45.9 million. That is the number of adults who suffered from mental illness (depression anxiety etc) In the United States in 2012. And that's just adults, add in children who struggle and their families, and the number of people who are impacted by this gets a whole lot bigger. 
     Let me throw another number at you; 2,000, that's  how many members a church of 6,000 can have struggling with mental illness at any given time. Shocking isn't it? 1/3 of the People we see every Sunday or Wednesday could be struggling and we never see it. Why? Because of the stigma attached, our society has become so fixated on other people's opinions, even inside the church that people fear being judged, or questioned if their lives don't look perfect. 
     Why is it this way? What has happened to brothers and sisters in Christ? When did struggling become so taboo, that we can't go to those who are supposed to love us most in our trials? God's love is for the imperfect and the broken... not those who never have a bad day, and since Jesus died for ALL of mankind I would think that we are all imperfect. It's time that we showed our flaws, showed everyone who we really are. It is time to get back to the church of Paul, a church where people encouraged each other. 
     Let me throw a number at you; one. One person is all it takes, one person who reaches out goes outside their comfort zone and befriends someone struggling with mental illness. One person can be the difference between smothering loneliness and a glimmer of hope. God commands us to be lights, and this world needs light now more than ever. Be a light and a friend.


I hope you all enjoyed this guest post. If you did don't forget to share it with all the lovely people in your life and leave me a comment below telling me what your thoughts on mental health in the church setting are. See you all in a week!

~Poodle
October 7th Vlog - Roommate Tag
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