Symptoms of Alzheimer’s

At first, increasing forgetfulness or mild confusion may be the only symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease that you notice. But over time, the disease robs you of more of your memory, especially recent memories. The rate at which symptoms worsen varies from person to person. If you have Alzheimer’s, you may be the first to notice that you’re having unusual difficulty remembering things and organizing your thoughts. Or you may not recognize that anything is wrong, even when changes are noticeable to your family members, close friends or co-workers. Brain changes associated with Alzheimer’s disease lead to growing trouble with:

Memory

Everyone has occasional memory lapses. It’s normal to lose track of where you put your keys or forget the name of an acquaintance. But the memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease persists and worsens, affecting your ability to function at work and at home.

People with Alzheimer’s may:

  • Repeat statements and questions over and over, not realizing that they’ve asked the question before
  • Forget conversations, appointments or events, and not remember them later
  • Routinely misplace possessions, often putting them in illogical locations
  • Get lost in familiar places
  • Eventually forget the names of family members and everyday objects
  • Have trouble finding the right words to identify objects, express thoughts or take part in conversations

Thinking and reasoning

Alzheimer’s disease causes difficulty concentrating and thinking, especially about abstract concepts like numbers. Multitasking is especially difficult, and it may be challenging to manage finances, balance checkbooks and pay bills on time. These difficulties may progress to inability to recognize and deal with numbers.

Making judgments and decisions

Responding effectively to everyday problems, such as food burning on the stove or unexpected driving situations, becomes increasingly challenging.

Planning and performing familiar tasks

Once-routine activities that require sequential steps, such as planning and cooking a meal or playing a favorite game, become a struggle as the disease progresses. Eventually, people with advanced Alzheimer’s may forget how to perform basic tasks such as dressing and bathing.

Changes in personality and behavior

Brain changes that occur in Alzheimer’s disease can affect the way you act and how you feel. People with Alzheimer’s may experience:

  • Depression
  • Apathy
  • Social withdrawal
  • Mood swings
  • Distrust in others
  • Irritability and aggressiveness
  • Changes in sleeping habits
  • Wandering
  • Loss of inhibitions
  • Delusions, such as believing something has been stolen

Many important skills are not lost until very late in the disease. These include the ability to read, dance and sing, enjoy old music, engage in crafts and hobbies, tell stories, and reminisce. This is because information, skills and habits learned early in life are among the last abilities to be lost as the disease progresses; the part of the brain that stores this information tends to be affected later in the course of the disease. Capitalizing on these abilities can foster successes and maintain quality of life even into the moderate phase of the disease.

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The Big 8

Eight foods, or “The Big 8”, account for 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions in the U.S.: peanuts, tree nuts (e.g., walnuts, almonds, cashews, pistachios, pecans), milk, egg, wheat, soy, fish, and shellfish.  Allergy to peanuts appears to be on the rise. One study showed that from 1997 to 2002, the incidence of peanut allergy doubled in children. Peanuts can trigger a severe reaction. The severity of a reaction depends on how sensitive an individual is and the quantity consumed.

Unexpected Sources of Peanuts:

  • Sauces such as chili sauce, hot sauce, pesto, gravy, mole sauce, and salad dressing
  • Cookies, and hot cocoa
  • Egg rolls
  • Potato pancakes
  • Pet foods
  • Gourmet pizzas
  • Asian and Mexican dishes
  • Vegetarian meat substitute products
  • Glazes and marinades

Keep In Mind

  • Some alternative nut butters, such as soy nut butter or sunflower seed butter, are produced on equipment shared with other tree nuts and, in some cases, peanuts.
  • Contact the manufacturer before eating these products.
  • Discuss with your primary doctor or allergist whether to avoid tree nuts. People allergic to peanuts may develop allergies to other foods, including tree nuts. In addition, the chance of a reaction due to cross-contact between peanut and tree nuts during the manufacturing process will be lowered if you avoid them altogether.
  • Ice cream served in ice cream parlors should be avoided; cross-contact occurs frequently because of shared scoops.
  • Sometimes, foods that are supposed to contain almonds or other tree nuts contain peanuts instead.
  • Peanuts go by many names, such as ground nuts, beer nuts, or monkey nuts. Use caution if you are unsure!
  • Studies show that most allergic individuals can safely eat peanut oil (not cold pressed, expelled, or extruded peanut oil – sometimes represented as gourmet oils).
  • If you are allergic to peanuts, ask your doctor whether or not you should avoid peanut oil.
  • Younger siblings of children allergic to peanuts may be at increased risk for allergy to peanuts. Your doctor can provide guidance about testing for siblings.
  • Peanuts can be found in many foods and candies, especially chocolate candy. Check all labels carefully. Contact the manufacturer if you have questions.
  • Peanuts can cause severe allergic reactions. If prescribed, carry TWO auto-injectors at all times.
  • Some companies use peanut hulls in compost, which can be added as top-dressing on lawns. Before you hire a contractor, inquire about the use of peanut hulls in compost so that you can make an informed decision.

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Magnesium Rich Foods

Magnesium-rich foods are essential for cellular health and over 300 biochemical functions in the body. Unfortunately, around 80 percent of American’s may have a magnesium deficiency, and the majority of them don’t even know it!

A study published in BMC Bioinformatics found that your body has 3,751 magnesium binding sites. This indicates that magnesium benefits are far greater than previously imagined. Because your body requires and uses magnesium for so many different functions, you can quickly become low in magnesium especially if you are not consuming enough high magnesium foods.

Green leafy vegetables aren’t the only foods rich in magnesium and chlorophyll. Here are the top 10 foods high in magnesium that you will want to add into your diet.

(Men RDA 400 milligrams and Women RDA 310 milligrams a day)

  • Spinach — 1 cup: 157 milligrams (40% DV)
  • Chard — 1 cup: 154 milligrams (38% DV)
  • Pumpkin seeds — 1/8 cup: 92 milligrams (23% DV)
  • Yogurt or Kefir — 1 cup: 50 milligrams (13% DV)
  • Almonds — 1 ounce: 80 milligrams (20% DV)
  • Black Beans — ½ cup: 60 milligrams (15% DV)
  • Avocado — 1 medium: 58 milligrams (15% DV)
  • Figs — ½ cup: 50 milligrams (13% DV)
  • Dark Chocolate — 1 square: 95 milligrams (24% DV)
  • Banana — 1 medium: 32 milligrams (8% DV)

Other foods that are also high in magnesium include: salmon, coriander, cashews, goat cheese and artichokes.

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Mold Basics

Molds are part of the natural environment. Molds are fungi that can be found anywhere – inside or outside – throughout the year. About 1,000 species of mold can be found in the United States, with more than 100,000 known species worldwide. Outdoors, molds play an important role in nature by breaking down organic matter such as toppled trees, fallen leaves, and dead animals. We would not have food and medicines, like cheese and penicillin, without mold.

Indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Problems may arise when mold starts eating away at materials, affecting the look, smell, and possibly, with the respect to wood-framed buildings, affecting the structural integrity of the buildings. Molds can grow on virtually any substance, as long as moisture or water, oxygen, and an organic source are present. They reproduce by creating tiny spores (viable seeds) that usually cannot be seen without magnification. Spores continually float through the indoor and outdoor air.

Molds are usually not a problem unless mold spores land on a damp spot and begin growing. They digest whatever they land on in order to survive. There are molds that grow on wood, paper, carpet, foods and insulation, while other molds feast on the everyday dust and dirt that gather in the moist regions of a building. When excessive moisture or water accumulates indoors, mold growth often will occur, particularly if the moisture problem remains uncorrected. While it is impossible to eliminate all molds and mold spores, controlling moisture can control indoor mold growth.

All molds share the characteristic of being able to grow without sunlight; mold needs only a viable seed (spore), a nutrient source, moisture, and the right temperature to proliferate. This explains why mold infestation is often found in damp, dark, hidden spaces; light and air circulation dry areas out, making them less hospitable for mold. Molds gradually damage building materials and furnishings. If left unchecked, it can eventually cause structural damage to a wood framed building, weakening floors and walls as it feeds on moist wooden structural members. If you suspect that mold has damaged building integrity, consult a structural engineer or other professional with the appropriate expertise.

Since mold requires water to grow, it is important to prevent excessive moisture in buildings. Some moisture problems in buildings have been linked to changes in building construction practices since the 1970s, which resulted in tightly sealed buildings with diminished ventilation, contributing to moisture vapor buildup. Other moisture problems may result from roof leaks, landscaping or gutters that direct water into or under a building, or unvented combustion appliance. Delayed or insufficient maintenance may contribute to moisture problems in buildings. Improper maintenance and design of building heating/ventilating/air-conditioning (HVAC) systems, such as insufficient cooling capacity for an air conditioning system, can result in elevated humidity levels in a building.

Legionnaires & It’s Symptoms

The bacterium responsible for Legionnaires’ disease belongs to the genus Legionella. There are approximately 35 Legionella species known to produce the disease. Legionella species are commonly found in any aquatic environment. They can survive for several months in a wet environment and multiply in the presence of algae and organic matter.

Legionnaires’ disease can have symptoms like many other forms of pneumonia, so it can be hard to diagnose at first. Signs of Legionnaires’ disease can include:

  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath
  • High fever
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches

These symptoms usually begin 2 to 10 days after being exposed to the bacteria, but people should watch for symptoms for about 2 weeks after exposure.

Risk Factors

  • Being 50 or older
  • Having a chronic lung condition such as asthma or emphysema
  • Smoking cigarettes
  • Taking medications that suppress the immune system
  • Having an immune-suppressing illness

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Complications of Mold Allergies

Most allergic responses to mold involve hay fever-type symptoms that can make you miserable, but aren’t serious. However, certain allergic conditions caused by mold are more severe. These include:

  • Mold-induced asthma. In people allergic to mold, breathing in spores can trigger an asthma flare-up. If you have a mold allergy and asthma, be sure you have an emergency plan in place in case of a severe asthma attack.
  • Allergic fungal sinusitis. This results from an inflammatory reaction to fungus in the sinuses.
  • Allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis. This reaction to fungus in the lungs can occur in people with asthma or cystic fibrosis.
  • Hypersensitivity pneumonitis. This rare condition occurs when exposure to airborne particles such as mold spores cause the lungs to become inflamed. It may be triggered by exposure to allergy-causing dust at work.

Besides allergens, mold may pose other health risks to susceptible people. For example, mold may cause infections of the skin or mucus membranes. Generally, however, mold doesn’t cause systemic infections except for people with impaired immune systems, such as those who have HIV/AIDS or who are taking immuno-suppressant medication. Exposure to mold may also irritate eyes, skin, nose and throat in some people. Other possible mold reactions are the subject of ongoing research.

A number of factors can make you more likely to develop a mold allergy, or worsen your existing mold allergy symptoms, including:

  • Having a family history of allergies. If allergies and asthma run in your family, you’re more likely to develop a mold allergy.
  • Working in an occupation that exposes you to mold.Occupations where mold exposure may be high include farming, dairy work, logging, baking, millwork, carpentry, greenhouse work, winemaking and furniture repair.
  • Living in a house with high humidity. If your indoor humidity is higher than 60 percent, you may have increased exposure to mold in your home. Mold can grow virtually anywhere if the conditions are right — in basements, behind walls in framing, on soap-coated grout and other damp surfaces, in carpet pads, and in the carpet itself. Exposure to high levels of household mold may trigger mold allergy symptoms.
  • Working or living in a building that’s been exposed to excess moisture. Examples include leaky pipes, water seepage during rainstorms and flood damage. At some point, nearly every building has some kind of excessive moisture. This moisture can allow mold to flourish.
  • Living in a house with poor ventilation. Tight window and door seals may trap moisture indoors and prevent proper ventilation, creating ideal conditions for mold growth. Damp areas, such as bathrooms, kitchens and basements, are most vulnerable.

Asthma Triggers Conclusion – Wood Smoke

Smoke from wood-burning stoves and fireplaces contain a mixture of harmful gases and small particles. Breathing these small particles can cause asthma attacks and severe bronchitis, aggravate heart and lung disease and may increase the likelihood of respiratory illnesses. If you’re using a wood stove or fireplace and smell smoke in your home, it probably isn’t working as it should.

Actions You Can Take:

  • To help reduce smoke, make sure to burn dry wood that has been split, stacked, covered and stored for at least 6 months.
  • Have your stove and chimney inspected every year by a certified professional to make sure there are no gaps, cracks, unwanted drafts or to remove dangerous creosote
    build-up.
  • If possible, replace your old wood stove with a new, cleaner heating appliance. Newer wood stoves are at least 50% more efficient and pollute 70% less than older models.
    This can help make your home healthier and safer and help cut fuel costs.

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Asthma Triggers Part 5 – Pests

Droppings or body parts of cockroaches and other pests can trigger asthma. Certain proteins are found in cockroach feces and saliva and can cause allergic reactions or trigger asthma symptoms in some individuals. Cockroaches are commonly found in crowded cities and the southern regions of the United States. Cockroach allergens likely play a significant role in asthma in many urban areas.

Actions You Can Take:

  • Keep counters, sinks, tables and floors clean and free of clutter.
  • Clean dishes, crumbs and spills right away.
  • Store food in airtight containers.
  • Seal cracks or openings around or inside cabinets.

Insecticides and pesticides are not only toxic to pests — they can harm people too. Try to use pest management methods that pose less of a risk.

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Check Back for Part 6