Archive for March, 2007

Art Therapy for High Functioning Autism How to get started

Posted in Health & Fitness on March 30th, 2007

People who have high functioning autism can be taught at an early age to express themselves through different forms of therapy.  In order to lead relatively normal lives, a high functioning autistic requires a certain level of social skills.  The development of these skills can be accomplished through a number of therapies including play therapy, social skilled classes or groups, psychotherapy, social stories and expressive therapies.

One expressive therapy that has proven to be quite beneficial is art therapy.  Art therapy can help an autistic develop social response by allowing them to express their emotions through art.  This form of complimentary therapy may be an ideal way for an autistic to develop social skills.

What is art therapy?  It is a therapy that involves using a number of various art materials such as paints, batik (a way to dye fabric), clay, etc. as a method of expressing thoughts or feelings through visual representation.  Art therapy is based on psychological research and theory that art is naturally therapeutic.   This therapy takes into account the behaviors, thoughts and feelings experienced by those with high functioning autism and other disorders.
Art therapy allows an individual to explore various issues including those that involve family, relationships, life change, loss, abuse and overall development.   It may be carried out as a group process or individual counsel.  The artwork that is created during therapy may be of spontaneous creations or based on suggestion provided by a therapist.
What are the benefits of art therapy?  Art therapy has many benefits, especially for an autistic because it doesn’t rely on verbal or language skills, is a fun activity, and does not require any art skill or experience.  The following is a list of other benefits -

• Increases self awareness
• Develops social skills
• Changes behaviors
• Develops problem solving strategies
• Allows an individual to engage in creative thinking in a safe environment
• Allows an individual to focus solely on the activity at hand and shut out other thoughts that may be intrusive.

Keep in mind that all of the above positive outcomes of art therapy may not be experienced by someone with high functioning autism.  Remember, not every autistic functions the same.

Where can I find and art therapist and what should I look for?  If an individual with high functioning autism is interested in art therapy, an art therapist will need to be sought out.  An art therapist can practice in a number of environments, but can usually be found in psychiatric or general hospitals.  They may work in oncology or geriatric wards, schools, rehabilitation centers, and counseling centers.  The best way for you to find an art therapist locally, is to speak to your child’s health care provider or call your hospital.

When choosing a therapist, keep the following in mind:
• Find out about their education background and where they received training
• Find out if they have previous experience with high functioning autism patients
• Ask what types of therapeutic approach do they use
• Ask what to expect during a lesson

Grab your free copy of Rachel Evans’ brand new Autism Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you and your family find out about autism characteristics and for information on autism group support please visit The Essential Guide To Autism

Hypertension Kidney Effects what you should know

Posted in Health & Fitness on March 29th, 2007

Hypertension kidney effects are well publicized into today’s world of health
consciousness. Doctors are constantly reminding us of their dangers. So why
is it that so many people are still confused, not only by the idea of
hypertension but the kidneys themselves? The answer is simple: you can’t
just say hypertension kidney effects are devastating; you have to explain
what they actually are. Otherwise, people will continue to suffer
needlessly. Hypertension can be avoided; kidney damage can be avoided. You
just have to know what these things are and what to look out for.

Your kidneys work to remove extra waste and fluid from your body (on
average, they process close to two hundred quarts of blood a day). When you
have high blood pressure, however, this process becomes difficult–if not
impossible. High blood pressure, which can easily become the more serious
hypertension, constricts the blood vessels in your kidneys. With a normal
range, usually one hundred twenty over eighty, fluids are uninhibited, able
to move throughout the vessels. When your blood pressure reaches the level
of hypertension, though, the blood vessels grow small and fluid cannot
escape. This can have devastating effects on your kidneys and the rest of
your body.

This is what hypertension does to you. It can be avoided, however, with a
combination of lifestyle changes and medication. You must, of course,
consult with your doctor before undertaking any new sort of life regimen but
the suggestions below are steps that most people can do:

One: lose weight. I know this is never what people want to hear, but to combat hypertension kidney effects, you should begin an exercise and dieting program and loose those extra pounds. Blood pressure correlates with the strain you put on your body; the more your heart has to work, the higher the numbers will be. You need to start a program that will help you lose weight and maintain a healthier lifestyle. Simple actions like daily walks and cutting back on calorie-heavy foods will do much to help keep your blood pressure under control. This will, of course, help you avoid hypertension kidney troubles.

Two: learn moderation. You must at the very least cut down on vices such as drinking or smoking. It is, of course, recommended that you stop these activities entirely. Hypertension has been directly linked to those with elevated drinking
patterns. Overindulging when drinking and continuing to smoke just puts a greater strain on your body. Another thing to moderate is your salt intake; this is not just a seasoning. In truth, salt plays a vicious part of hypertension kidney
effects. It can easily raise your blood pressure level and constrict blood vessels. There are plenty of other seasonings you can add to food to give flavor such as herbs, garlic or black pepper.

Three: take medication. Consult with your doctor about the value of certain
medications and how they will effect you. Prescriptions like angiotensin
converting enzymes have been proven to provide protection to the kidneys and
keep blood pressure levels in a normal range. Naturally, if you have other
health issues like diabetes, then certain medicines may not be available to
you. Your doctor will be able to direct you to the proper ones.

Of course, you may not need medication at all. If your blood pressure levels
are closer to normal, simple life changes may be enough to maintain a
healthy number and keep hypertension kidney effects from occurring. Many
find that daily exercise and dieting will dramatically lower their blood pressure.
There are some debates over the value of certain diets, however (such as the
vegetarian lifestyle and how it relates to hypertension). Still, you will
find that the changes mentioned above are healthy choices to make when you understand how they work to keep you and your body in top form.

Grab your free copy of Paul Johnson’s brand new Blood Pressure Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to help you find out about hypertension exercise and for information on anti hypertension please visit Natural Blood Pressure Prevention.  

Can a Chiropractor Relieve Your Menopause Symptoms?

Posted in Health & Fitness on March 28th, 2007

Anxiety isn’t the only menopause symptom.  Menopause can also cause a slew of other emotional and physical symptoms including back pain and discomfort.   The good news is that menopausal women who suffer from back problems are finding relief through chiropractic medicine.

What is chiropractic medicine?  It is a treatment that assists in restoring balance, healing and energy throughout the body.  When our bodies lack balance, the hormonal and stress response system are affected.  Thus, chiropractic medicine works by alleviating pressure on the nerve roots of the spine, helping to relieve discomfort.  It detects dislocation (subluxation) and promotes correction by encouraging the function, repair, coordination and communication of the nervous system.   Chiropractic medicine is a non-invasive drug-free treatment that is performed by a chiropractor. 

How is it performed?  First of all, chiropractor treatment will vary for each patient, as different techniques may be used to help alleviate certain symptoms or health conditions.  Therefore, a chiropractor will want to know the medical history of the patient and their current health problems.  Once this information has been processed, treatment will then be provided.

Most chiropractors will use their hands to perform treatment; however, they may also use other treatment methods such as light, heat, ultrasound, electrotherapy and other special adjusting instruments.  You will also likely be provided with information regarding a personalized exercise program, nutrition and lifestyle changes that can help improve your symptoms.

Is treatment painful?  No.  Most people find chiropractic medicine to be quite relaxing.  What may be unnerving to some patients are popping sounds that joints make when they are adjusted.  This popping noise is the sound that occurs when a gas bubble between the joints pop.  It’s the same sound and feeling that happens when you crack your knuckles. 

How can a chiropractor help during menopause?  Chiropractic medicine can relieve a variety of painful and uncomfortable menopause symptoms related to estrogen deficiency including:
• Back pain
• Headaches and/or migraines
• Stress and tension
• Neck problems

Chiropractor treatment is also considered beneficial for treating the beginning stages of osteoporosis.  It is incredibly effective at restoring flexibility to joints and decreasing muscular tension and pressure on nerves.

Chiropractic treatment can provide relief fast, which is often why it is one of the most celebrated alternative remedies.  That being said, you will need more than one chiropractic treatment.  The average patient has eight annual visits, but this number will vary depending on the health concern.

Are their any risk?  It is extremely rare for complications to occur during chiropractic treatment, especially if performed by an experienced and qualified chiropractor.  Therefore, it is a low risk, non invasive therapy that is virtually safe for everyone.

How do I find a chiropractor?  Although you don’t need to be referred to a chiropractor by your doctor, it is a good idea to first consult your health care provider to find out if he/she has any recommendations.  You should also speak to others who have had chiropractor treatment to learn about their experiences and ask them about their chiropractors. 

You can find chiropractors to help treat your menopause symptoms by checking your local yellow pages, phoning your local hospital, or doing an online search with your city and “chiropractor” as the main keywords.
Grab your free copy of Kathyrn Whittaker’s brand new Menopause Newsletter - Overflowing with easy to implement methods to relieve menopause symptoms & help you find out about menopause symptom and for information on menopause treatments please visit Natural Menopause Relief Secrets.

Why It Can Be So Difficult to Get an Autism Diagnosis

Posted in Health & Fitness on March 19th, 2007

An autism diagnosis can still be difficult to obtain despite the studies that have helped people better understand autism.  The reason is because there are many factors that need to be considered when making a diagnosis. 

First of all, there is more than one type of autism disorder and there are other disabilities that are closely related to autism such as Asperger’s Syndrome and Pervasive Development Disorder- Not Otherwise Specified (PDD-NOS).  Second, autism is particularly difficult to diagnose in young children, due to the fact that they are still developing speech and reasoning skills.

Therefore, since an autism diagnosis can be a challenge, as a parent, it is essential that you have your child’s development, social and communication skills properly evaluated and accessed by a doctor. 

How is autism diagnosed?  Usually an autism diagnosis is made when a person shows signs of 6 or more of 12 specific symptoms characteristic of the disorder.  The 12 main symptoms are focused in three primary areas –
 
1. Social interaction – Autistics generally have little interest in others and pay little or no attention to those who may be present in the room with them, regardless of their age.  They do not seek comfort if they are troubled or hurt and prefer to be on their own.  On the other hand, autistics that do show an interest in social interaction have difficulty initiating contact with others and developing friendships.  It is also common for an autistic to avoid eye contact.
2. Behavior – Most autistics find change and new situations to be incredibly stressful.  In addition, they tend to develop unusual rituals or routines and repetitious physical gestures such as rocking back and forth, flapping the hands, etc.
3. Communication – It is estimated that 50% of those diagnosed with autism are unable to develop speech, and those who do cannot engage in long conversations unless they are based on extremely specific topics insisted upon by the autistic.  Autistics often tend to echo words or phrases and have difficulty with pitch and changing the inflection of their tone.

There should be at least 2 symptoms present from social interaction, and at least one symptom from both behavior and communication for an autism diagnosis to be made.  Hence, if a person exhibits some of the symptoms, but does not meet the criteria for an autism disorder, they may then be diagnosed with another similar disability such as Asperger’s syndrome or PDD-NOS.

The following are 5 tips parents can keep in mind when talking with a health care provider to ensure their child receives a proper evaluation:

1. Find out everything there is to known about autism – In order to talk to doctors and receive the most effective evaluation of your child, you need to educate yourself about autism and know what to ask.  You should never seek an autism diagnosis if you have no idea what the condition is all about.  This will make it easier for a doctor to generate a wrong diagnosis.

2. Analyze your child’s behaviour – Based on the information regarding social interaction, behaviour and communication above, carefully analyze and make note of your child’s behaviour in a journal.  Study how your child interacts with others and present your findings to the doctor.

3. Find a health care professional who is experienced with autism diagnosis – It is important to find someone who has had experience in autism diagnosis.  You should not rely on the advice or diagnosis of a doctor who is not specialized in this field.  The best way to find a doctor is to locate a local support group and find out what doctors other parents take their autistic children to.

4. Ask questions – Asking and answering questions is part of effective evaluation.  The more information you obtain and the more detailed answers you can provide your doctor about your child’s behaviour helps assist in diagnosis.

5. Get a second opinion – If you don’t agree with a doctor’s opinion or want more assurance, don’t be afraid to question the doctor’s diagnosis or treatment recommendations, and seek the advice of another health care provider.   Doctors are human beings, and can be wrong.  Consulting with other doctors is not a bad idea.

Keep in mind that evaluation and assessment is not a fast process and is ongoing, even after an autism diagnosis is determined.
By Rachel Evans - For more information on how to go about getting an autism diagnosis sign up for the free newsletter, where you’ll also discover the signs and symptoms of autism and the various autism treatments.

Pregnancy During Menopause Can it happen?

Posted in Health & Fitness on March 8th, 2007

Menopause is the time in a women’s life when her reproductive system shuts down and her reproducing days are over…or are they? For some women, pregnancy is still a concern during menopause. How is this possible? There may be more than one factor that plays a role in the possibility. For this reason, the best way to understand how pregnancy can occur in menopause is to understand what happens to a women’s body during this change of life.

For starters, menopause occurs when a women has gone 12 consecutive months without a period cycle. The lack of menses is a sign that estrogen and progesterone production have stopped. The ceasing of these hormones means that the ovaries will no longer produce eggs. However, sometimes, even though a woman is menopausal, she may still produce enough estrogen for an egg to be implanted within the uterus lining.

The reason why hormone production can still occur is due to the fact that menopause is not characterized by a single event. It is better described as a process that takes place over a few years. Therefore, it is not unheard of for a woman to have fluctuating hormones for as many as five years after she becomes menopausal. At any time during this five year period when hormones are unpredictable, it’s possible for a woman to become pregnant during menopause.

Thus, if there is no other reason why a woman cannot become pregnant (I.E. previous hysterectomy or medical condition), she may want to consider talking to her doctor about birth control during menopause if pregnancy is a concern.

Women cannot become pregnant naturally when they are post menopausal (after they have completed menopause). This is because they no longer produce the hormones that are required for menses to take place. Women who believe they have become pregnant after menopause actually became pregnant during menopause because it is not possible to become pregnant without medical intervention after menopause. It is simply impossible, because pregnancy can only occur if estrogen and progesterone are being produced.

Women who have experienced an early menopause (usually before the age of 45) and who had difficulty becoming pregnant or wished to start a family later on in life, can still become pregnant with hormone therapy during menopause and through an egg donation procedure after menopause. However, it is important for women who are of an older reproducing age (I.E. 35 and up) to understand that there are certain risks involved in becoming pregnant.

Women who become pregnant during menopause are at a greater risk for miscarriage, infection, hemorrhaging, embolisms, gastrointestinal diabetes and developing hypertension disorders. In addition, strokes, seizures and eclampsia are also risk factors for older pregnant women. Furthermore, medical research has discovered that 40 year old women put themselves at high risk of developing these health conditions if they become pregnant, and the risk grows even higher with each passing year after 40.

As you can see, although it is rare for a woman to become pregnant during menopause, it is plausible. That being said, pregnant menopausal women need to be kept under the watchful eye of their doctor to protect the health of the expectant mother and the heath of her unborn fetus.

Keep in mind that while a women can become pregnant during menopause this is a rare occurrence. Therefore, despite what you may read in magazine articles or online, if you have concerns about becoming pregnant, or suspect that you are pregnant the best person to speak with for advice is your doctor or gynecologist.

By Kathryn Whittaker. Sign up for a free newsletter and discover how to banish unpleasant menopause symptoms fast. You’ll learn ways to put an end to hot flashes and which natural menopause treatments will bring results.