Saturday, September 29, 2007

Diverticulitis and My Mom

We've been doing good since she was hospitalized last December. She hasn't had another attack. My husband and I are leaving for a week and my sister flew in to stay with her for the week we are going to be gone.

I've told mom to eat as if I was a mouse in the corner watching. My sister is not knowledgeable of the symptoms or what can cause an attack of diverticulitis or what to do. I'm just hoping mom will eat as she does when my husband and I are home.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Diverticulitis.....How do the Colon Cleansing Products Stand Up

When you read about products, they call claim to be the best. Whether it's for weight loss, diverticulitis, or acne. This makes it hard to pick which one is REALLY the best. Of course, you can try them all ...but it could get expensive and perhaps all of them don't do what they claim.

I found a site that grades the various colon cleansers. It gives them a grade form A-F. It also gives an explanation on each one. Check it out at this site. Just click on the products listed on the right and each product will show you the grade and explain the product.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Fiber Helps Prevent Developing and Having a Diverticulitis Attack

I'm so happy today. I got my mom to eat a plum. It's so hard to get her to eat the right foods. She has been doing great and hasn't had another diverticulitis attack.

When I try to get her to eat fruit, she usually says, "Later." I don't like being the wicked witch from the West and keep harping on her so I just let things slide. Today, she agreed right off the bat.

Fiber is in plants and normally not digested or absorbed by the body. There are different types of fibers. They are usually grouped into two different categories. The two types are water soluble and insoluble fibers.

Water soluble fibers normally associated with treatment of diabetes, obesity, and also high cholesterol. Water soluble fibers are found in bran, potatoes, seeds, apples, oranges, and grapefruit to mention a few.

Insoluble fibers hold water which inturn produces a softer, bulkier stool. You can find these types of fiber in wheat or corn brans, nuts, and various fruits and vegetables.

Insoluble fibers have also been shown to help in preventing colon cancer.

The bottom line need to eat more than meat and potatoes. Keeping yourself regular will help prevent another diverticulitis attack. If you don't already have it, keeping yourself regular will keep you from ever getting diverticular disease.

Monday, September 17, 2007

First Diverticulitis Attack = Hospital

Approximately 1/3 of people who have their first attack of diverticulitis is hopsitalized. (My mom was in this catergory. She was hospitalized for a week.) Usually they are sick enough to need intravenous antibiotics, and intravenous fluids which will prevent dehydration. A CT scan will show how severe the disease is. (They gave my mom a colonoscopy.)

Needless to say, the severity of the disease will determine the treatment necessary to relieve the symptoms. Small abscesses ranging from 1-2 centimeters usually are treated successfully with antibiotics. Large abscesses may need to be drained or surgically removed.

The Institute of Medicine recommends young adult women consume 25 grams of fiber daily while women over 50 need to consume 21 grams each day. Young adult men need to consume 38 grams of fiber while men over the age of 50, need to consume 30 grams.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Diverticulosis...Is It Hereditary?

The fact is if you are over 60 there is a good possiblity you'll develop diverticulosis. It's actually a 50-50 chance. (I know how my luck runs) But if you're younger and think you don't have to worry for many better think again. Studies have shown diverticulosis may be partly hereditary. That means it's possible for people in their twenties to be effected with digestive problems just like the older folks.

If you don't have diverticulosis, then you are lucky. If you do have diverticulosis, you need to try and prevent an attack. In both cases with or without diverticulosis, you need to stick to a diet that includes plenty of NATURAL fiber from whole foods.

Diverticulitis has been on the rise because of the increased consumption of processed foods that are a stripped of their natural fiber. Next time you think about having a Twinkie or donut....grab an apple or some grapes instead.
Adding fiber to one's diet is good for you as well as tasting good. It's just a matter of changing your habits.

Friday, September 7, 2007

Changing Mom's Diet Isn't So Easy

Since mom has been diagnosed with diverticula, I have been trying to change her diet. She was hopitalized the first time for a week and this last time we went to two emergency rooms the same night she was in so much pain.

She eats like a bird. She says she can't eat much for breakfast. One morning I made her bacon, eggs, and toast (high fiber bread), she said her stomach hurt after she ate. She ended up taking a pain pill and layed back in her recliner most of the day(those pills knock her out). That was the last time she let me fix her breakfast.

I had to give in and let her go back to her three little powdered donuts each morning. I tried to get her to take a Benefiber pill each morning. They have a good flavor and are chewable. That didn't work either....she said it filled her up and then she couldn't eat anything.

She is only able to eat small amounts at each meal. She starts hurting if she eats what I consider a "normal" size meal. I try to get her to snack on fruit during the day.

1. Only use fresh or frozen vegetables (every meal now)
2. Changed to "Ezekiel" bread (found at health food stores) It is a sprouted grain bread and is made without ANY flour. Contains 3% Fiber and no sodium
3. I have added fresh plums, watermelon, nectarines and peaches to her diet

She has also increased the amount of water she drinks every day. I know she still isn't drinking the recommended amount (8-10 glasses), but she's doing better.

It's like anything we do in our life. Change is never easy. Whether is a change in diet to lose weight or a change in diet to prevent another diverticulitis attack.

We're just taking it one day at a time.

Diverticulitis.....Can It Cause Death?

I always said, "If you don't have your health, you don't have anything." I remember years ago, when I was sitting in the coffee shop in my little town. There was a big table in the center of the resturant which everyone called the "farmer table." It wasn't necessarily farmers that sat there, but it was always men.

The reason that particular day stands out in my mind, there was a rather wealthy (older) real estate man sitting there talk with the group. He said, "I'd give every dollar I have away, if I could just get my health back." (It never happened and he died a few months later)

I'd like to remind everyone not to take their health lightly. Diverticulitis has been known to kill over 3,000 people EVERY year!! Over 10% of Americans over the age of 40 have diverticulitis. As we get older, the condition becomes more common.

Millions of Americans may not even know they have diverticulitis because they chalk it up to indigestion. The American diet is so processed, stripping foods of enzymes and nutrients, that poor eating habits compound the problem.

Other factors that may contribute to the problem are:

1. Gallbladder Disease
2. A family history of the disease
3. Coronary artery disease
4. Obesity

The bottom line is.....go see your doctor if you're not feeling well. It may be more than just a stomach ache.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Diverticulitis......Will You Need Surgery?

People with diverticulitis are usually hospitalized and treated with intravenous antibiotics to get rid of the infection. Surgery may be come necessary fo people with divertiulitis who do not respond appropriately to the antibiotics. This is about 20% of patients.

When medication fails to clear up the infected area, is the only option. In these cases, the doctor will remove the affected area of the colon and the remaining sections of the colon are joined together.

Signs of the "Golden" Years---Diverticular Disease

We all look forward to the time we can retire and have time to call our own. With this aging, comes new adventures we must face. One of these being diverticulosis. At least half the population over 65 is thought to have diverticular disease. Many will never know because they don't show symptoms.

It is estimated approximately 25% of sufferers find out the painful way (exactly how my mom found out).

1. Severe abdominal pain
2. Intermittent diarrhea and constipation
3. rectal bleeding (if infection sets in)
4. Fever

The symptoms may be severe enough to require hospitalization.(mom was in the
hospital for a week)

Infected Diverticula.....What should you eat?

If you have infected diverticula, it often needs treatment with antibiotics and pain pills. While clearing up the infection, you should be eating a low-fiber diet.

Things you SHOULD eat while clearing up the infection are:
1. White Rice
2. Pasta
3. White fish
4. Chicken
5. A few cooked fruits and vegetables


Things you should AVOID while clearing up the infection are:
1. Vegetables and fruit with seeds (tomatoes, courgettes, marrows, grapes)
2. Gas-inducing vegetables (brussels sprouts, cabbages, beans/lentils)

Once the infection is cleared up....slowly build up the fiber in your diet.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Diverticulosis Diet is Different from Other Diets

There are so many diets to chose from today. I think most of us are aware of all the diets out there for weight loss. It s multi-billion dollar business. You just don't hear much about diets designed for example: diverticulistis, kidney stones, and liver disease.

The diverticulitis diet is all about fiber. This is a HIGH fiber diet. A regular diet should also be high in fiber. The typical American eats far less fiber than is recommended.

The goal of a diverticulosis diet is to increase the amount of fiber in your diet. On an average, the normal American consumes 12-15 grams of fiber in a day. The medical field recommends 20 to 35 grams of dietary fiber each day.

Increasing fiber in your diet should be gradual. Figure out how many grams you have been eating per day and increase from there. So this is going to be an individual change in fiber intake. If you increase your fiber intake too quickly, it can cause abdominal gas as well as diarrhea.

The benefits of increase fiber in your diet are:
1. help food move through intestines easier
2. allow normal bowel movements
3. reduce abdominal pain

Remember to drink plenty of water, as it helps food pass through the intestines as well. Our bodies are made up of 70% water. It only makes sense we need to drink plenty every day. The average amount of water should be 8-10 glasses per day.