Bettering Your Immune System

Treat your immune system well!

According to the National Institutes of Health:

“The overall function of the immune system is to prevent or limit infection. An example of this principle is found in immune-compromised people, including those with genetic immune disorders, immune-debilitating infections like HIV, and even pregnant women, who are susceptible to a range of microbes that typically do not cause infection in healthy individuals.”

“The immune system can distinguish between normal, healthy cells and unhealthy cells by recognizing a variety of ‘danger’ cues called danger-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). Cells may be unhealthy because of infection or because of cellular damage caused by non-infectious agents like sunburn or cancer. Infectious microbes such as viruses and bacteria release another set of signals recognized by the immune system called pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs).”

“When the immune system first recognizes these signals, it responds to address the problem. If an immune response cannot be activated when there is sufficient need, problems arise, like infection. On the other hand, when an immune response is activated without a real threat or is not turned off once the danger passes, different problems arise, such as allergic reactions and autoimmune disease.”

“The immune system is complex and pervasive. There are numerous cell types that either circulate throughout the body or reside in a particular tissue. Each cell type plays a unique role, with different ways of recognizing problems, communicating with other cells, and performing their functions. By understanding all the details behind this network, researchers may optimize immune responses to confront specific issues, ranging from infections to cancer.”

The Mayo Clinic notes the following:

“Primary immunodeficiency disorders — also called primary immune disorders or primary immunodeficiency — weaken the immune system, allowing infections and other health problems to occur more easily. Many people with primary immunodeficiency are born missing some of the body’s immune defenses or with the immune system not working properly, which leaves them more susceptible to germs that can cause infections. Some forms of primary immunodeficiency are so mild they can go unnoticed for years. Other types are severe enough that they’re discovered soon after an affected baby is born. Treatments can boost the immune system in many types of primary immunodeficiency disorders. Research is ongoing, leading to improved treatments and enhanced quality of life for people with the condition.”

Symptoms

“One of the most common signs of primary immunodeficiency is having infections that are more frequent, longer lasting, or harder to treat than are the infections of someone with a normal immune system. You may also get infections that a person with a healthy immune system likely wouldn’t get (opportunistic infections). Signs and symptoms differ depending on the type of primary immunodeficiency disorder, and they vary from person to person.”

“Signs and symptoms of primary immunodeficiency can include: Frequent and recurrent pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections, meningitis or skin infections. Inflammation and infection of internal organs. Blood disorders, such as low platelet counts or anemia. Digestive problems, such as cramping, loss of appetite, nausea ,and diarrhea. Delayed growth and development. Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or type 1 diabetes.”

Prevention

“Because primary immune disorders are caused by genetic defects, there’s no way to prevent them. But when you or your child has a weakened immune system, you can take steps to prevent infections:

        • Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands with mild soap after using the toilet and before eating.
        • Take care of your teeth. Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
        • Eat right. A healthy, balanced diet can help prevent infections.
        • Be physically active. Staying fit is important to your overall health. Ask your doctor what activities are appropriate for you.
        • Get enough sleep. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time daily, and get the same number of hours of sleep every night.
        • Manage stress. Some studies suggest that stress can hamper your immune system. Keep stress in check with massage, meditation, yoga, biofeedback or hobbies. Find what works for you.
        • Avoid exposure. Stay away from people with colds or other infections and avoid crowds.
        • Ask your doctor about vaccinations. Find out which ones you should have.”

Other Immunity System Resources from the New York Times

To access the immunity system resources below, either click the image OR click the link of an individual resource.

Bettering Your Immune System
ILLUSTRATION BY SUPER FREAK

 

PLEASE Support My Lustgarten Foundation Walk to Find a Cure Pancreatic Cancer

We need YOUR support to find a cure for this deadly disease. Thanks.

Hello colleagues and readers:

I am a VERY blessed four-year survivor of pancreatic cancer. After this amount of time, I am among the only 5-7% of those with PC who is still alive. The fatality statistics for those afflicted with PC are truly staggering.

According Cancer.net:

In 2019, “an estimated 56,770 adults (29,940 men and 26,830 women) in the United States will be diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.  Incidence rates are 25% higher in black people than in white people. It is estimated that 45,750 deaths (23,800 men and 21,950 women) from this disease will occur this year.”

“While pancreatic cancer is the ninth most common cancer in women and the tenth most common cancer in men, it is the fourth leading cause of cancer death in men and women.”

Here is the link for Team Joel: https://events.lustgarten.org/team/232854

This year, I will be walking on October 6, 2019 in the annual Lustgarten Pancreatic Cancer Research Foundation walk on Long Island. If you want to walk with me, I welcome you to Team Joel.

Whether or not you can do the walk, please make a donation. 100% goes directly to research. Not administrative expenses. A donation of ANY amount would be greatly appreciated. 😊

At Lustgarten, “Thanks to separate funding to support administrative expenses, 100% of your donation goes directly to pancreatic cancer research. We are the only pancreatic cancer organization that can make this claim. The Lustgarten Foundation meets the highest standards established by Charity Navigator, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) Wise Giving Alliance, and GuideStar. In fact, we have received a 4-star rating from Charity Navigator for ten consecutive years, which only one percent of charities evaluated have achieved. We are a fully accredited charity with the BBB Wise Giving Alliance and have a platinum transparency rating with GuideStar.” 

Thank you. You have my full gratitude.

Regards

Joel, a very lucky pancreatic survivor striving to give back!!!!!

P.S.: You can also click on my image to go to the Team Joel page.

PLEASE Support My Lustgarten Foundation Walk to Find a Cure Pancreatic Cancer
 

Reader’s Digest on Health

Great information and advice.

The Reader’s Digest has an excellent Web site dedicated to health-related issues: https://www.rd.com/health/. As the site notes — “Learn the latest health news along with easy ways to adopt a healthy lifestyle. From diet and weight loss tips to advice on managing and preventing diabetes, we’ll keep you looking and feeling your best.”

Here are a few recent posts:

Click the image to read more.

Reader's Digest on Health
 

New Hope for Those with Pancreatic Cancer

Mayo Clinic providing new options.

For those who follow this blog, you know that I am a VERY fortunate pancreatic cancer survivor. Since my cancer was diagnosed early, I was able to have a successful Whipple surgery. For most, the outlook is not as positive.

But, new research presents greater hope for the future. As Erika Edwards reports for NBC News:

“Historically, doctors have given pancreatic cancer patients chemotherapy or radiation hoping it would cause the tumor to shrink or pull away from the artery or vein it’s ensnared. Dr. Mark Truty, a surgical oncologist at Mayo Clinic, believes that’s the wrong approach. ‘You’re going to be sorely disappointed if that’s what you’re expecting’, Truty told NBC News.”

“About a third of pancreatic cancer cases are found at stage 3. Truty estimates about half of his pancreatic cancer patients diagnosed at this stage seek his care after other physicians said their tumors could not be surgically removed. His team’s approach to treating stage 3 pancreatic cancer is different from most other oncology practices”

“The Mayo Clinic approach works like this. Patients are given extended, personalized chemotherapy until levels of a tumor marker in the blood called CA 19-9 fall to a normal range. Then if a PET scan shows the tumor is destroyed, doctors move forward with radiation and surgery.”

“Among 194 pancreatic cancer treated this way at the Mayo Clinic, 89 percent lived longer than the expected 12 to 18 months. The approach has pushed average survival to five years after diagnosis, according to a study by the Mayo Clinic.

To learn more, watch the following video. Note: The beginning of the video may be a downer. But the overall video is hopeful.


 

Surprising Bad Habits and Cancer

Please be good. 🙂

In prior posts we looked at: Sometimes Overlooked Cancer Causes. Can We Outsmart Cancer? And Cancer Health. Today, we examine surprising bad habits and cancer.

As Beth Ward writes for Sharecare:

“While quitting smoking and eating right are certainly important to your health, they aren’t the only habits to consider. There are many seemingly harmless things you do every day that could be bad for you—so bad that they could up your cancer risk.”

Click the image below for a short Sharecare slideshow and see  what habits you may want to rethink to stay as healthy as possible.

Surprising Bad Habits and Cancer

 

Online Mayo Clinic Resources

Great resources and information.

According to U.S. News & World Report, the Mayo Clinic is ranked as number one on its Best Hospitals Honor Roll:

“It is nationally ranked in 15 adult and 7 pediatric specialties and rated high performing in 1 adult specialty and 9 procedures and conditions. It is a general medical and surgical facility. What became the Mayo Clinic was founded in 1889 in Rochester, Minnesota. The Mayo Clinic opened hospitals in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1986 and Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1987. The Mayo Clinic Health System was established in 1992 and owns 19 hospitals in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. The Mayo Clinic School of Medicine is the teaching arm of the Mayo Clinic. The hospital’s two Rochester campuses include the Mayo Eugenio Litta Children’s Hospital. The Mayo Clinic has a large integrated transplantation program.”

All of this means that the online Mayo Clinic resources are quite valuable. Check them out.
 

Mayo Clinic Main Web Site

At its main Web site, the Mayo Clinic provides a lot of information. Click the image to visit the home page.

Online Mayo Clinic Resources

Mayo Clinic YouTube Channel

The Mayo Clinic has its own YouTube channel with numerous videos. Here is one example.

Mayo Clinic News Network

At this Web site, the Mayo Clinic:

Here is an example.

Mayo Clinic Facebook and Instagram Pages

The Mayo Clinic participates with a variety of social media, including Facebook and Instagram. Click the images to visit those pages.

Facebook

INSTAGRAM

Online Mayo Clinic Resources

 

Making Hope Long-Lasting

Don’t EVER give up!

Today’s post is dedicated to a couple that is near and dear to me. Both parties have undergone several medical issues over the years. Now the male of the couple is dealing with especially difficult heart issues. All the best to you both.

Making hope long-lasting is an ongoing challenge for many of us. Sometimes, it can be fleeting (ephemeral), depending on how we feel — physically and emotionally. For those of us with major illnesses, it may be difficult to always be hopeful. But it is imperative that we try to be hopeful even if our situation is dire. And even if we have physical limitations.

According to Kirsten Weir, in a report for the American Psychology Association:

“Hope is associated with many positive outcomes, including greater happiness, better achievement, and even lowered risk of death. It’s a necessary ingredient for getting through tough times, of course, but also for meeting everyday goals. Everyone benefits from having hope — and psychologists’ research suggests almost anyone can be taught to be more hopeful.”

“‘Hope doesn’t relate to IQ or to income,’ says psychologist Shane Lopez, Ph.D., a senior scientist at Gallup and author of the book Making Hope Happen. ‘Hope is an equal opportunity resource.'”

“What precisely is hope? Most psychologists who study the feeling favor the definition developed by the late Charles R. Snyder, Ph.D., a psychologist at the University of Kansas and a pioneer of hope research. His model of hope has three components: goals, agency, and pathways. Put simply, agency is our ability to shape our lives — the belief that we can make things happen, and the motivation to reach a desired outcome. The pathways are how we get there — the routes and plans that allow us to achieve the goal, whether that’s adopting a child, finding a better job, surviving a hurricane or just losing a few pounds.”

lona Boniwell notes the following for Positive Psychology:

Hope is a construct which closely relates to optimism, although the two are not identical. Rick Snyder, one of the leading specialists in hope, represents it as an ability to conceptualize goals, find pathways to these goals despite obstacles, and have the motivation to use those pathways. To put it more simply, we feel hope if we: a) know what we want, b) can think of a range of ways to get there, and c) start and keep on going.”

“It’s not hard to guess that being hopeful brings about many benefits. For example, we know that hope buffers against interfering, self-deprecatory thoughts and negative emotions, and is critical for psychological health. In the domain of physical health, we know that people who are hopeful focus more on the prevention of diseases (e.g., through exercising).”

Back to the Wisdom of Jim Valvano Regarding Hope

Last summer, we referred to the wisdom of Jim Valvano. In 1993, he presented a truly inspirational speech shortly before he passed away from pancreatic cancer. That speech is available at YouTube.

His most well-known quote that relates to hope is this: “Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up!”®

The full text of Valvano’s speech is available at the V Foundation’s Web site. Here are some parts of the speech that especially resonate with me. And HOPEfully with you as well [the emphasis below is added by me]:

Time is very precious to me. I don’t know how much I have left, and I have some things that I would like to say. Hopefully, at the end, I will have said something that will be important to other people, too. But, I can’t help it. Now I’m fighting cancer, everybody knows that. People ask me all the time about how you go through your life and how’s your day, and nothing is changed for me.

I’m a very emotional and passionate man. I can’t help it. That’s being the son of Rocco and Angelina Valvano. It comes with the territory. We hug, we kiss, we love.

When people say to me how do you get through life or each day, it’s the same thing. To me, there are three things we all should do every day. We should do this every day of our lives. Number one is laugh. You should laugh every day. Number two is think. You should spend some time in thought. Number three is you should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy. But think about it. If you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day. That’s a heck of a day. You do that seven days a week, you’re going to have something special.

I urge all of you, all of you, to enjoy your life, the precious moments you have. To spend each day with some laughter and some thought, to get your emotions going. To be enthusiastic every day. As Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing great could be accomplished without enthusiasm,” to keep your dreams alive in spite of problems whatever you have. The ability to be able to work hard for your dreams to come true, to become a reality.

We need your help. I need your help. We need money for research. It may not save my life. It may save my children’s lives. It may save someone you love. And it’s very important. And ESPN has been so kind to support me in this endeavor and allow me to announce tonight, that with ESPN’s support, which means what? Their money and their dollars and they’re helping me—we are starting the Jimmy V Foundation for Cancer Research. And its motto is, “Don’t give up . . . don’t ever give up.”

I got one last thing, and I said it before. And I’m gonna say it again. Cancer can take away all my physical abilities. It cannot touch my mind, it cannot touch my heart, and it cannot touch my soul. And those three things are going to carry on forever. I thank you, and God bless you all.

Making Hope Long-Lasting