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Showing posts from April, 2014

In the Spotlight: Pancreatic Cancer

This month for our "Rare Diseases" topic we're going to discuss pancreatic cancer (PC).  While not as unheard of as other conditions that we'll be covering, this cancer is still a relatively rare (thankfully) diagnosis.  There have been some high profile people diagnosed with PC in the past several years, including Patrick Swayze, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg, and Steve Jobs.  However, compared to lung cancer which has over 200,000 new cases per year, PC rates are closer to 40,000 per year.

Snapshot:  Pancreatic cancer is a rare but comes with a poor prognosis for most people who receive the diagnosis. Men are 30% more likely to get PC than women, and it is most common over the age of 60 (under 40 is rare). PC is the 4th leading cause of cancer-related death in the United States.  One-year survival rates are approximately 25%; however 80% of people living with PC are diagnosed late, after the cancer has advanced or metastasized (moved to other parts of th…

IBS Awareness Month 2014

Every April is IBS Awareness Month, and we're half way through already.  You may have heard of Irritable Bowel Syndrome before, a relatively common condition that affects around 15% of the U.S. population and 7-10% of the global population.  Even though IBS is common, there's still a lot of misinformation out there about it; partly because the medical community itself still hasn't really figured out IBS, and partly because of stigma related to conditions that affect our poop.

IBS is a chronic condition of the digestive tract that causes abdominal pain, bloating, altered bowel habits (constipation, diarrhea, or altering back and forth between these two), fatigue, and nausea.  Once considered a diagnosis of exclusion - aka you were told you have IBS when they ruled out other things like Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), colon cancer, or diverticulitis - there are now set diagnostic criteria for IBS known as the Rome III criteria.
I've seen a lot of people living with IBS…

Happy Stress Awareness Month!

I haven’t blogged in a while (I’ve been stressed!) and realized that it is Stress Awareness Month. I am not sure how widely it is recognized, but according to one organization, the effort has been taking place for 22 years. After such a long and harsh winter here in Chicago, I have noticed a large influx of new client referrals. People seem to be hitting their breaking point. Some manifest with depression, some with anxiety, and all are facing stress. Stress is a part of life and something we can’t avoid, at least not for very long. According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the common effects of stress include headache, muscle tension, chest pain, fatigue, change in sex drive, upset stomach, and sleep problems. If left untreated, stress can contribute to obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. We learn a lot about our bodies when we are stressed. Do you know where you hold stress in your body? If not, I encourage you to do a short body scan exercise and see where you fee…