Alarming New Canadian Liver Statistics

Obesity Linked to Dramatic Rise in Liver Disease



From the Canadian Liver Foundation


Alarming new statistics show that 1 in 4 Canadians may be affected by liver disease

The obesity crisis is taking its toll on the liver with potentially deadly consequences.


Research shows that 1 in 4 Canadians may be affected by liver disease due primarily to the rapidly rising prevalence of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease linked to obesity, lack of physical activity and poor eating habits.


This progressive disease is predicted to overtake hepatitis C as the leading cause of liver transplants. 


 “Many people still believe that all liver disease is alcohol related,” says Dr. Eric Yoshida, Chairman of the Canadian Liver Foundation’s Medical Advisory Committee.


“With the prevalence of non-alcoholic liver disease however, the odds of anyone, including  adults and children, being affected by liver disease are in the same realm as health conditions like heart disease or diabetes that Canadians  are far more familiar with.”


A review of current liver disease data reveals that as much as 20 per cent of the Canadian population has fat build-up in their livers. ‘Non-alcoholic fatty liver disease’ or NAFLD is a term used for the condition that varies in severity from simple fat accumulation with no inflammation to its most advanced stage that involves inflammation and fibrosis. From this advanced stage, a person can progress to cirrhosis and liver failure. 


“A diet full of sugar, high calorie and high fat foods can lead to excess fat being stored in the liver,” explains Dr. Yoshida. “This fat build-up might never impact the functioning of the liver but it is the first step toward what could be a life-threatening condition.” 


If left unchecked, NAFLD has the potential to develop into cirrhosis, liver cancer and liver failure. 


“NAFLD is already having an impact on the demand for liver transplants but what few realize is that it is also affecting the supply,” explains Dr. Yoshida. “Too much fat in a donor liver can mean that that organ cannot be used for a transplant. This means it is making the organ shortage even worse and we are losing out on the opportunity to save more lives.”

The good news is that NAFLD can often be prevented, or even reversed if it is detected before permanent liver damage has occurred.


The Canadian Liver Foundation is alarmed by the dramatic change in liver disease statistics and wants to alert the public about their increasing level of risk.


“When you bring up the topic of liver disease, it doesn’t take long for someone to say how it has personally affected them or someone they know,” says Gary Fagan, Canadian Liver Foundation president.


“Ten years ago we said that 1 in 10 Canadians were at risk but when you factor in the rise of non-alcoholic fatty liver disease along with prevalence rates for hepatitis B and C, alcoholic liver disease, autoimmune liver diseases, children’s liver diseases,  liver cancer and more, we are now looking at 1 in 4. The numbers show liver disease is relevant to everyone. People can’t ignore it any longer.”


The Canadian Liver Foundation is using this opportunity to encourage Canadians to consider how close liver disease might be to them and those they love and to find out how to get involved in helping themselves and others.

About the Canadian Liver Foundation
Founded in 1969 by a group of doctors and business leaders concerned about the increasing incidence of liver disease, the Canadian Liver Foundation (CLF) was the first organization in the world devoted to providing support for research and education into the causes, diagnoses, prevention and treatment of all liver disease. Today, we are bringing liver research to life by promoting liver health, improving public awareness and understanding of liver disease, raising funds for research and providing support to individuals affected by liver disease.



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Fatty Liver and Cirrhosis

Fatty Liver – This One’s Personal


Dear Reader,

This is a disease that upsets me deeply, as it is the one which took my Mom.  Until the time of her diagnosis, the only thing I “knew” about cirrhosis was that it was a disease which only affected alcoholics and drug abusers.  I was so wrong.


There are, in fact, several paths to liver disease, which I will cover in a separate post.  In my Mom’s case, her cirrhosis developed as a progression from NASH or Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis.  It is also called NAFL (non alcoholic fatty liver), or simply Fatty Liver.


NASH is a common, often “silent” liver disease. It resembles alcoholic liver disease, but occurs in people who drink little or no alcohol. The major feature in NASH is fat in the liver, along with inflammation and damage. Most people with NASH feel well and are not aware that they have a liver problem.


Nevertheless, NASH can be severe and can lead to cirrhosis, in which the liver is permanently damaged and scarred and no longer able to work properly.


Although having fat in the liver is not normal, by itself it probably causes little harm or permanent damage. If fat is suspected based on blood test results or scans of the liver, this problem is called nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD). If a liver biopsy is performed in this case, it will show that some people have NASH while others have simple fatty liver.


NASH is usually a silent disease with few or no symptoms. Patients generally feel well in the early stages and only begin to have symptoms—such as fatigue, weight loss, and weakness—once the disease is more advanced or cirrhosis develops.


The progression of NASH can take years, even decades. The process can stop and, in some cases, reverse on its own without specific therapy. Or NASH can slowly worsen, causing scarring or “fibrosis” to appear and accumulate in the liver.


As fibrosis worsens, cirrhosis develops; the liver becomes seriously scarred, hardened, and unable to function normally.


Not every person with NASH develops cirrhosis, but once serious scarring or cirrhosis is present, few treatments can halt the progression. A person with cirrhosis experiences fluid retention, muscle wasting, bleeding from the intestines, and liver failure.


Liver transplantation is the only treatment for advanced cirrhosis with liver failure, and transplantation is increasingly performed in people with NASH.


Although NASH has become more common, its underlying cause is still not clear. It most often occurs in persons who are middle-aged and overweight or obese.


See Alarming New Liver Statistics


Many patients with NASH have elevated blood lipids, such as cholesterol and triglycerides, and many have diabetes or pre-diabetes, but not every obese person or every patient with diabetes has NASH.


Furthermore, some patients with NASH are not obese, do not have diabetes, and have normal blood cholesterol and lipids. NASH can occur without any apparent risk factor and can even occur in children. Thus, NASH is not simply obesity that affects the liver.

My Mom was 73, and had most of the risk factors for NASH, including age, obesity, sedentary lifestyle, insulin resistance and high triglycerides.  Doctors see NASH often, and usually call it “Fatty Liver.” 

Perhaps because it is fairly commonplace, it seems that most physicians don’t adequately impress on the patient the need to make the necessary lifestyle changes to reverse the condition before it potentially progresses to non-reversible cirrhosis of the liver.


Fatty Liver can be potentially reversed by weight reduction (if overweight), activity and healthy diet, and avoiding alcohol and unnecessary medications.  Most importantly, a major attempt should be made to lower body weight into the healthy range. Weight loss can improve liver tests in patients with NASH and may reverse the disease.


These are standard recommendations, but they can absolutely make a difference. They are also helpful for other conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol.


People with NASH often have other medical conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or elevated cholesterol. These conditions should be treated with medication and adequately controlled; having NASH or elevated liver enzymes should not lead people to avoid treating these other conditions.


Experimental approaches under evaluation in patients with NASH include antioxidants, such as vitamin E, selenium, and betaine. These medications act by reducing the oxidative stress that appears to increase inside the liver in patients with NASH. Whether these substances actually help treat the disease is not known, but the results of clinical trials should become available in the next few years.


Over time, more research will help physicians to better understand the liver injury found in this disease. When the pathways that lead to the injury are fully known, safe and effective means can be developed and used along with lifestyle changes to reverse these pathways and help patients with NASH. Recent breakthroughs in mapping the human genome and uncovering the individual steps by which insulin and other hormones regulate blood glucose and fat could provide the necessary clues.


My Mom was told that she had fatty liver by her doctor many years ago, but that information was accompanied by only the advice to lose some weight.  It haunts me to think that the disease could have been reversed if she had been warned of the potentially fatal consequences of ignoring it.  I wish somebody had frightened her into changing her lifestyle when it could have made a difference in her future outcome.

It is a sad thought, indeed, that I lost my Mom to a lifestyle disease which could have been prevented or reversed.



Please share your thoughts or experience with liver issues in the comment section below.



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Symptoms of Cirrhosis of the Liver

Symptoms of Cirrhosis of the Liver





Cirrhosis of the Liver, or Chronic Liver Disease, is often asymptomatic until the liver is extensively damaged, and therefore symptoms are not common during the early stages of cirrhosis.  However, as scar tissue accumulates the liver’s ability to function properly is undermined.



How We Discovered That My Mother Had Cirrhosis


My mom’s very first sign of liver cirrhosis was edema – fluid buildup in the ankles, feet and legs.


She mentioned this numerous times to her physician, who prescribed diuretics (water pills) to help flush out the extra water. 


My mother was not a drinker, but she was overweight, sedentary and pre-diabetic with high lipids (sometimes called Metabolic Syndrome or Syndrome ‘X’).


Mom had been diagnosed with fatty liver some years before, but that is quite common, and had not set off any alarms.


At this point though, her doctor should have done a simple liver enzymes blood test, as chronic edema is considered one of the early signs of liver decompensation. 


But he didn’t.


I imagine he assumed the swollen feet and ankles were caused by other, more common, benign factors.


Mom suffered with uncomfortable and unsightly swollen legs for around five years before a much more serious symptom emerged…


ascities – fluid buildup in the stomach.  In her case, the fluid was pushed by her diaphragm up into the lining around her lungs, and she began having a hard time getting a full breath of air.


When she saw the doctor for this, he sent her for a chest x-ray that day.  The x-ray indicated a problem, and mom was told to go to emergency immediately for more testing.  She was admitted briefly to the hospital for a battery of tests, which ultimately confirmed she had cirrhosis of the liver.  At that point, the cirrhosis was considered advanced.


That was only the beginning of a two year nightmare, involving nearly all of the symptoms listed below at some point or another. 


While there were some periods of time when her health would rally somewhat (my sister and I called these ‘reprieves’), the disease was unrelenting in its progression. 


Mom was in an out of the hospital, and eventually had a TIPS procedure to bypass the liver’s portal vein and help with the fluid buildup.  It only helped for a few months.


In the end, mom was admitted to hospice, where she suffered a fatal variceal bleed (internal bleeding caused by increased blood pressure in the portal vein system).


The presence of enlarged veins (varices) usually causes no symptoms.


Until they bleed.


And then it becomes an emergency.


Sometimes a surgeon can tie off or cauterize the bleed.


In my mom’s situation, she was already so weak and ill that her body would not have survived any kind of invasive medical intervention.


So with that said, these are the signs and symptoms may occur in the earlier stages of cirrhosis:


  • Blood capillaries become visible on the skin on the upper abdomen
  • Fatigue
  • Insomnia
  • Itchy skin
  • Loss of appetite
  • Loss of body weight
  • Nausea
  • Pain or tenderness in the area where the liver is located
  • Red or blotchy palms
  • Weakness.


The following signs and symptoms may appear as liver cirrhosis progresses:


  • Abdomen fills up with fluid, giving the patient a large tummy (ascites)
  • Accelerated heartbeat
  • Altered personality (as blood toxins build up and affect the brain)
  • Bleeding gums
  • Body and upper arms lose mass
  • Body finds it harder to process alcohol
  • Body finds it harder to process drugs
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness
  • Fluid buildup on ankles, feet and legs (edema)
  • Hair loss
  • Higher susceptibility to bruising
  • Jaundice (yellowing of the skin, whites of the eyes, and tongue)
  • Loss of libido (sex drive)
  • Memory problems
  • More frequent fevers (susceptibility to infections)
  • Muscle cramps
  • Nosebleeds
  • Pain on the right shoulder
  • Panting (breathlessness)
  • Stools become black and tarry, or very pale
  • Urine becomes darker
  • Vomiting blood
  • Walking problems (staggering).




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Causes of Cirrhosis of the Liver



 If you’re like me, you probably associate Cirrhosis of the Liver with alcoholism.

It was an terrible surprise to learn that my mom, a non drinker, had developed this deadly disease.  In her case, the cirrhosis developed as a result of NASH (nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or Fatty Liver disease).


In fact, cirrhosis has a variety of causes, and many people with cirrhosis have more than one cause of liver damage.


The list below shows common causes of cirrhosis in the United States. While chronic hepatitis C and alcohol-related liver disease are the most common causes of cirrhosis, the incidence of cirrhosis caused by nonalcoholic fatty liver disease is rising due to increasing rates of obesity.


Chronic hepatitis C. Hepatitis C is due to a viral infection that causes inflammation, or swelling, and damage to the liver. The hepatitis C virus spreads through contact with infected blood, such as from a needlestick accident, injection drug use, or receiving a blood transfusion before 1992. Less commonly, hepatitis C can be spread by sexual contact with an infected person or at the time of childbirth from an infected mother to her newborn.


Hepatitis C often becomes chronic, with long-term persistence of the viral infection. Chronic hepatitis C causes damage to the liver that, over years or decades, can lead to cirrhosis.


Advanced therapies for chronic hepatitis C now exist, and health care providers should treat people with chronic hepatitis C before they develop severe fibrosis or cirrhosis. Unfortunately, many people first realize they have chronic hepatitis C when they develop symptoms of cirrhosis.


Alcohol-related liver disease. Alcoholism is the second most common cause of cirrhosis in the United States. Most people who consume alcohol do not suffer damage to the liver. However, heavy alcohol use over several years makes a person more likely to develop alcohol-related liver disease. The amount of alcohol it takes to damage the liver varies from person to person.,fl_progressive,q_80,w_800/gbigr28lwjypbyz1mmgk.jpg


Research suggests that drinking two or fewer drinks a day for women and three or fewer drinks a day for men may not injure the liver. Drinking more than these amounts leads to fat and inflammation in the liver, which over 10 to 12 years can lead to alcoholic cirrhosis.


Recommended: The Alcohol Free Forever program.


Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) and nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). In NAFLD, fat builds up in the liver; however, the fat buildup is not due to alcohol use. When the fat accompanies inflammation and liver cell damage, the condition is called nonalcoholic steatohepatitis, or NASH, with “steato” meaning fat, and “hepatitis” meaning inflammation of the liver. The inflammation and damage can cause fibrosis, which eventually can lead to cirrhosis.



Extra fat in the liver is more common in people who:



  • are overweight or obese.
  • have diabetes—a condition characterized by high blood glucose, also called high blood sugar.
  • have high blood cholesterol and triglycerides, called hyperlipidemia.
  • have high blood pressure.
  • have metabolic syndrome—a group of traits and medical conditions linked to being overweight and obese that makes people more likely to develop both cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. Metabolic syndrome is defined as the presence of any three of the following: large waist size, high triglycerides in the blood, abnormal levels of cholesterol in the blood, high blood pressure, and higher than normal blood glucose levels. NASH may represent the liver component of the metabolic syndrome.


See The Fat Loss Diet I Recommend.


NASH now ranks as the third most common cause of cirrhosis in the United States.


Chronic hepatitis B. Hepatitis B, like hepatitis C, is due to a viral infection that causes inflammation and damage to the liver. Chronic infection can lead to damage and inflammation, fibrosis, and cirrhosis.


The hepatitis B virus spreads through contact with infected blood, such as by needlestick accident, injection drug use, or receiving a blood transfusion before the mid-1980s. Hepatitis B also spreads through sexual contact with an infected person and from an infected mother to child during childbirth.


In the United States, hepatitis B is somewhat uncommon, affecting less than 1 percent of the population, or fewer than one in 100 people.


In many areas of the world, however, hepatitis B is common. In some parts of Africa and in most of Asia and the Pacific Islands, about 5 to 7 percent of the population has chronic hepatitis B. In some parts of Africa, more than 8 percent of the population has chronic hepatitis B. For these reasons, hepatitis B is likely the major cause of cirrhosis worldwide. However, in the United States, hepatitis B ranks well behind hepatitis C, alcohol-related liver disease, and NASH.


Therapies for chronic hepatitis B now exist and health care providers should treat people with chronic hepatitis B before they develop severe fibrosis or cirrhosis. Unfortunately, many people first realize they have chronic hepatitis B when they develop symptoms of cirrhosis.


Hepatitis B is also a preventable disease. Since the 1980s, a hepatitis B vaccine has been available and should be given to newborns and children in the United States. Adults at higher risk of getting hepatitis B should also get the vaccine.


Less Common Causes of Cirrhosis:


Autoimmune hepatitis. In this form of hepatitis, the body’s immune system attacks liver cells and causes inflammation, damage, and eventually cirrhosis. Normally, the immune system protects people from infection by identifying and destroying bacteria, viruses, and other potentially harmful foreign substances. In autoimmune diseases, the body’s immune system attacks the body’s own cells and organs.


Researchers believe genetics, or inherited genes, may make some people more likely to develop autoimmune diseases. At least 70 percent of those with autoimmune hepatitis are female.


Diseases that damage, destroy, or block the bile ducts. Several diseases can damage, destroy, or block the ducts that carry bile from the liver to the small intestine, causing bile to back up in the liver and leading to cirrhosis.


In adults, the most common of these diseases is primary biliary cirrhosis, a chronic disease that causes the small bile ducts in the liver to become inflamed and damaged and ultimately disappear. Primary sclerosing cholangitis is a disease that causes irritation, scarring, and narrowing of the larger bile ducts of the liver.


In infants and children, causes of damage to or disappearance of bile ducts that can lead to cirrhosis include:


  • Alagille syndrome, a collection of symptoms that indicates a genetic digestive disorder and leads to a loss of bile ducts in infancy.
  • biliary atresia, a life-threatening condition that affects newborns in which bile ducts are missing. The cause is unknown. Biliary atresia is the most common reason for liver transplantation in children.
  • cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease of the lungs, intestines, pancreas, and bile ducts in which the body does not produce enough fluid and mucus becomes thick and blocks off small bile ducts. This blockage of the bile ducts can lead to cirrhosis.


Long-term blockage of the bile ducts by gallstones can also cause cirrhosis. Cirrhosis may also develop if the bile ducts are mistakenly tied off or injured during surgery on the gallbladder or liver.


Inherited diseases that affect the liver. Inherited diseases that interfere with how the liver produces, processes, and stores enzymes, proteins, metals, and other substances can cause cirrhosis.


These diseases include alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency, hemochromatosis, Wilson disease, galactosemia, and glycogen storage diseases.


Rare viral infections of the liver. Hepatitis D, or hepatitis delta, and hepatitis E are two rare viral infections of the liver. Hepatitis D infection occurs only in people who have hepatitis B. People infected with chronic hepatitis B and chronic hepatitis D are more likely to develop cirrhosis than people infected with chronic hepatitis B alone.


Hepatitis E is a virus found in domestic and wild animals, particularly pigs, and can cause hepatitis in humans. People with weakened immune systems, including people who are liver or kidney transplant recipients or who have acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS), can develop chronic hepatitis E. Chronic hepatitis E can cause scarring of the liver and cirrhosis. Current treatments for chronic hepatitis D and E are experimental and only partially effective.


Other causes. Other causes of cirrhosis may include:


  • reactions to medications taken over a period of time
  • prolonged exposure to toxic chemicals.
  • parasitic infections.
  • chronic heart failure with liver congestion, a condition in which blood flow out of the liver is slowed. Liver congestion can also occur after surgery to correct a congenital heart problem—a heart problem that is present at birth.


Trauma to the liver or other acute, or short term, causes of damage do not cause cirrhosis. Usually, years of chronic injury are required to cause cirrhosis.


If you believe you may be at risk for liver disease from any of these causes, see your doctor as soon as possible.  A simple blood test of your liver enzymes can alert your physician to liver dysfunction which would warrant further investigation.


Do you have any of the risk factors for Cirrhosis of the Liver?  Or do you or someone you know have liver disease?  Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below.


why you need to stop drinking


If you think you may have a problem with alcohol, please see your doctor as soon as possible to discuss it.  I also recommend that you download this free PDF Report: Why You Need to Stop Drinking … and how to get started TODAY!  I believe you will find it informative and helpful.

Do you have any of the risk factors for Cirrhosis of the Liver?  Or do you or someone you know have liver disease?  Please share your thoughts and experiences in the comment section below.






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To My Friends Who Still Have Their Mothers


This will be my first Mother’s Day as a motherless mother.

For what it’s worth, my personal insight is this: as affectionate, imperfect, difficult – even dysfunctional – as your mother-daughter relationship may be, it still has a value you will only fully recognize when you are motherless.

I found this article by Jessica Wolstenhom on the Huffington Post recently, and felt like, in many ways, it could have been written by me. My story is a little different from Jessica’s in that my mother was terminally ill for two years after her diagnosis of cirrhosis of the liver (caused by non-alcoholic fatty liver).

Whether sudden or a long goodbye, whether a wonderful relationship or a difficult one; the eventual loss of your mother will change your perspective on life, and inevitably leave you with at least a few regrets.

I hope those of you who still have your mothers will take this advice to heart.



Dear friends who still have their mothers,

It came like a thief — 10 months almost exactly from the day she was diagnosed until the day she left us. Cancer has a way of doing that, robbing its victims and their families of health and freedom. One day we’re doing life together, making plans for the future — and the next we’re fighting this battle and eventually saying goodbye.

I never imagined I’d lose my mom this way or so soon. I couldn’t have planned or prepared for it. Her fate swooped in like a thief and took her away before I ever had the chance to fully realize what was happening.

And because of my faith I stand with peace and continue to hope but still…

This Mother’s Day, I am — for the first time — a mom without a mother. I will receive cards and gifts and lots of love, but I cannot give them. I cannot express my gratitude, despite her imperfections, with lavish love. I cannot thank her for all she taught me about being a mom, both good and bad. I cannot share how much she’s impacted my life, as a mom and a wife and a woman.

So dear friends who still have their mothers,

Whether you walk extremely close or there’s a valley of difference between you, reach out to your mother this week.

Whether you see eye to eye or you can’t agree on much of anything, look your mother in the eyes if you can and tell her how special she is.

Whether she’s loved you well or lacked in affection, tell her how much you appreciate her and linger in love through words or embrace.

Whether she’s been your role model or she’s shown you what not to do, tell her how much you’ve learned from her.

Whether she’s been a near perfect mother or a much less than perfect one, she’s still here and that fact alone leaves so much potential for you both.

Call her, embrace her, surround her with your love whether it comes easy or along with tons of baggage.

Reach out for reconciliation if you are estranged.

Reach out in compromise if you are indifferent.

Reach out with time and attention if you are busy.

Reach out with affection if you are reserved.

Reach out with generous love even if you already do it regularly.

This time last year, I never dreamed I’d spend Mother’s Day without my mom. Please, don’t let another day slip by without connecting with yours.

Happy Mother’s Day, friends. May you find grace to give and receive so much love.


Jessica Wolstenholm Jessica Wolstenholm is an author and freelance writer who blogs about motherhood and life at


Coping With Grief

Shoes and Slippers for Swollen Feet

Shoes and Slippers for Swollen Feet


My mom’s very first sign of liver cirrhosis was edema –

fluid buildup in the ankles, feet and legs.





As I discussed in my post on cirrhosis of the liver, my mom suffered with swollen feet, ankles and legs from early on in her disease process.

In fact, swollen feet (edema) is extremely common among many diseases, including heart and kidney disease.  It can also be caused venous insufficiency (poor circulation), blood clots, and many different kinds of medication.  If you are reading this and you or a loved one has developed chronic edema, please make sure this addressed by a physician.


As my mom’s feet and ankles became more swollen, she was unable to wear most of her shoes. 

She had a pair of favorite slippers, which she wore every day at home; they were big, loose slippers, but they offered no stability and could easily come off.  She also wore a pair of running shoes, which she wore tied very loosely when she went out. 

It was difficult for her to bend and move, so my dad helped her put on and tie up her shoes whenever she needed to leave the house.  My dad has a sore back, so this was an additional strain.  Eventually, the laces of the running shoes could not be tied at all, and it very uncomfortable for Mom to squeeze her swollen feet into them, even with the laces spread open.

When she was admitted to the hospital, she was offered long socks with grips; but they only had one size, and were not meant for  legs and feet which were so swollen and sore.  It was almost impossible for my dad to put them on her, and they were just too tight.  The hospital also offered her some disposable adjustable slippers, but they were so flimsy and difficult to adjust that they were completely useless.

Mom could not stand to wear the hospital grip socks or the flimsy disposable slippers, so she wore her old big slippers from home most of the time. 

They were not really safe because they did not fit properly and offered no support, but it was all she had. The slippers were more of a hindrance than anything as she shuffled to the bathroom and around the ward with her walker. I can remember family members commenting and asking if she was okay walking in those, but no one had any immediate better solutions.




Specialized Footwear for Swollen Feet


In my research of products to help make life easier when suffering with symptoms of serious illness, I came across  specialized footwear for people who have edema or who have difficulty doing up laces due to other issues such as painful joints.

I wish I had thought to investigate these products when my mom needed them, but there was so much going on, and so many other immediate needs, that it just never occurred to me.  I see now in hindsight, that special slippers and shoes would have really made a difference for both my parents at that time.

If your loved one can’t fit into their regular shoes, or has difficulty tying laces (or has to ask someone else to help them with their shoes all the time), it would be a good idea to look at some footwear designed for this purpose.






Shoes and Slippers with VELCRO® Strap Brand Closures


There are special shoes and slippers with VELCRO® strap brand closures that can help make swollen feet feel better.

These shoes and slipper can be put on easily and adjusted to the foot width to accommodate swelling.

Many of them also have non-slip or non-skid soles to help prevent accidental falls and injuries.


















I highly recommend considering purchasing a pair of slippers and a couple pair of shoes that will fit, support and be easily adjusted.  It may seem like a small thing, but I know from personal experience that it can make a big difference, in comfort and mobility for the patient and the convenience and peace of mind for the caregiver.

These slippers and shoes are available in a wide selection, in both women’s and men’s styles.



Socks for Swollen Feet and Non-Slip Socks



  Also, if the task of putting on a sock is a chore, or it is impossible to find any that feel comfortable, consider a wider fitting non-constrictive hospital-style sock with grips.  These socks can be put on with relative ease and offer traction for patients who need sip prevention.






Thanks for visiting and reading … I hope this article provided some helpful ideas.  I welcome your comments below.







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About Me

Create Your Own Blog


        I started this blog about 4 weeks after my mom passed.    Before her death, Mom suffered with a terminal illness for more than two years (she suffered from non alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver caused by fatty liver).    Our family experienced more than two years of witnessing her long hospital stays and deterioration, while

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Studies Show Blackcurrant Seed Oil Helps Arthritis

Studies Show Blackcurrant Seed Oil Helps Arthritis



Blackcurrant is a shrub native to Europe and Asia. It has yellowish white flowers and black fruits. Blackcurrant seed oil as the name suggests is extracted from the seeds of these fruits. Jams, jellies, juices and even dietary supplements are prepared from blackcurrant.

The fruits are rich in Vitamin C, flavonoids, anthocyanins, proanthocyanidins etc. The oil contains around 15-19% fatty acids: gamma and alpha linolenic acid and stearidonic acid as well as anthocyanidins and flavonoids.

In Chinese folk medicine, blackcurrant has been used as a dieuretic, diaphoretic and anti-pyretic. Traditionally they have been used to treat cold and flu.

The leaves are used to treat diarrhea, spasmodic cough and sore throat. Blackcurrant seed oil has antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, cardioprotective, immunostimulant, skin protective properties.

Blackcurrant seed oil is found to beneficial for immune system, heart health, dry eyes, premenstrual syndrome and psoriasis.

Blackcurrant seed oil contains around 15-20g of gamma linoleic acid and 12-14g of alpha linoleic acid which have an anti-inflammatory effect. If taken in high doses, blackcurrant oil can worsen inflammation, but at small doses it works as anti-inflammatory agent.



Studies Prove Blackcurrant Seed Oil Helps Arthritis



Blackcurrant Seed Oil Reduces Inflammation


Polyunsaturated fats are considered healthy fat since they are beneficial for metabolic and heart health. Blackcurrant seed oil serves as a source of PUFAs which aid in treatment of inflammation.

Blackcurrant seed oil is rich in an essential fatty acid called Gamma Linolenic acid(GLA). GLA is produced in the body from linoleic acid which is further metabolized to dihomogamma linolenic acid.

This is further metabolized by inflammatory enzymes COX and LOX to anti-inflammatory chemicals called eicosanoids. GLA and its metabolites also affect various genes that control immune function and cell death. Thus GLA works as anti-inflammatory agent.

GLA supplementation is found to inhibit activation of immune cells and prevent release of inflammatory chemicals from the immune cells of rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Synovial fluid is the fluid present in joints that lubricate the joints and reduces friction. Dihomogamma linoleic acid, a metabolite of GLA is found to reduce synovial fluid inflammation in arthritis.

A 6 month clinical trial was conducted where patients with rheumatoid arthritis received 2.8g GLA per day. 14 out of 22 patients showed improvement in GLA treated group while at 12 months 16 out of 21 showed meaningful improvement.

Researchers concluded that GLA is a safe and effective treatment for rheumatoid arthritis, and a combination of omega 3 fatty acids and GLA is found to be beneficial in treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.


Shop for Blackcurrant Seed oil on Amazon.




Blackcurrant Seed Oil for Arthritis Pain Relief


Clinical trials investigating the effect of blackcurrant seed oil in arthritis demonstrate that it can reduce symptoms of arthritis as well as inflammation on long term. It also suppresses inflammation in gout.A review examining different herbal therapies for arthritis mentions that blackcurrant seed oil does relieve symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.Leventhal et. al conducted a clinical trial of 24 weeks where patients with rheumatoid arthritis were treated with blackcurrant seed oil capsules. Reduction in signs and symptoms were seen in group receiving blackcurrant seed oil.

However many patients withdrew from the study because it involved consuming large number of capsules.

A study was conducted where individuals suffering from rheumatoid arthritis were given dietary supplements of blackcurrant seed oil. A significant improvement in morning stiffness was observed with blackcurrant seed oil consumption.

When immune cells of these volunteers were studied, it was observed that these immune cells produced reduced amounts of inflammatory chemicals. In other words it was observed that blackcurrant seed oil supplementation reduced inflammation in rheumatoid arthritis patients.

Animal studies show that GLA and blackcurrant seed oil suppress inflammation in gout.



Blackcurrant Oil Improves Metabolic Health


A 2 month clinical trial on elderly individuals demonstrated that blackcurrant seed oil improves immune function.

Animal studies show that blackcurrant oil consumption improves antioxidant status, reduces liver fat, improves blood lipids and reduces cholesterol levels.

Tahvonen et. al in their clinical trial reported that 3g of blackcurrant seed oil per day improves the blood lipid profile and reduces the level of bad cholesterol. Blackcurrant seed oil is also proven to be beneficial for blood pressure control.


What does this mean?
Blackcurrant seed oil supplementation brings about favorable change in metabolic health and also boosts immune function.





Blackcurrant seed oil is available in bottles as well as capsules. Blackcurrant seed oil can also be used topically for inflamed joints and skin irritation.

In the clinical trial blackcurrant seed oil has been used to a dose of 525 mg of gamma linolenic acid and 10.5g oil in another study. A dose of 1g of blackcurrant oil daily is recommended and found to be safe.

If taking capsules follow the dosage as prescribed by manufacturer or consult a doctor.


Shop for Blackcurrant Seed oil on Amazon.






If taken in high doses, blackcurrant seed oil could cause side effects like headache, diarrhea, constipation and gas. If pregnant or lactating, avoid using blackcurrant seed oil.

Blackcurrant seed oil should be avoided with anticoagulants such as warfarin, since gamma linolenic acid can increase bleeding risk. Epilepsy patients and those taking antipsychotic drugs should use blackcurrant seed oil with caution.






Blackcurrant seed oil is rich in essential fatty acid Gamma linolenic acid which is metabolized in the body to produce anti-inflammatory chemicals, thus helping to reduce arthritic pain and inflammation.

Studies show the therapeutic efficacy of blackcurrant seed oil particularly in rheumatoid arthritis and gout, so one can assume it may also be effective as a complementary therapy in treating any form of arthritis.


Recommended: Now Black Currant Oil – 500 mg (70 mg GLA/100 Softgels).   Now Black Currant Oil is rated 4.6 out of 5, and has over 140 customer reviews on Amazon.






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Is The SoClean CPAP Cleaner Worth Buying?


Is The SoClean CPAP Cleaner Worth Buying?



The SoClean is a unique machine that disinfects, sanitizes and cleans your CPAP machine, mask, hose, water reservoir and other accessories without having to take your CPAP apart.


The SoClean CPAP Cleaner and Sanitizing Machine uses activated oxygen cleaning to eliminate any mold, bacteria, and viruses that may be lingering in your home CPAP Machine.

You put your mask (with the hose and straps still attached) in a black box a bit larger than a toaster, set the timer and bacteria and mold are blasted away in a few minutes by “activated oxygen, ” which the machine pumps through the CPAP reservoir, hose and mask. This is a natural process that kills bacteria, mold and viruses upon contact. SoClean is designed to be an environmentally-safe means of avoiding bacteria build-up that occurs over time even with regular soap and water cleanings.





The SoClean comes packed with quite a bunch of features. This machine was built with a sleek design and small footprint in mind.

Probably the best feature of the SoClean is that it will sanitize your entire CPAP without requiring you to remove the mask, hose or reservoir.

The SoClean destroys 99.9% of CPAP bacteria, viruses, and mold, without the use of chemicals or water.  The machine is FDA registered and independently lab tested.

This is a versatile unit, which can connect to your CPAP, Bi-PAP, VPAP or BPAP.

It has an automatic safety shut-off, and does not require any assembly.

There is also a front display alerting you to when it is done cleaning and allowing you to customize what and how long you want it to stay in the cleaner.  The indicator light will come on when the cleaner hits certain spots of the cleaning cycle.




How It Works


Activated oxygen is the formation of an added atom to oxygen (O), this atom is attached to the oxygen we breathe (O2), making it an (O3).  This (O3) is a new molecule that has an stunning ability to destroy germs and organisms through oxidation.  This technology makes the SoClean an effective CPAP cleaner.


The SoClean machine produces “activated oxygen” (O3) and pumps it into you CPAP machine’s humidifier.  It is able to connect to your CPAP by fitting its hose into the humidifier reservoir.


First, the activated oxygen travels and sanitizes the reservoir and water inside
the humidifier.  The (O3) then passes through the main hose which kills germs as it goes through.


Second, the activated oxygen (O3) then travels through your CPAP mask and is released into the compartment that holds the mask.  This ensures that the interior and exterior of the mask comes in contacted with the activated oxygen.


Third,  the activated oxygen is then safely trapped within a special closed system.  This ensures that both the outside environment and the delicated wires and electronics of the CPAP are exposed.

The SoClean machine only needs to run for about five minutes but the items should be left inside for about 2 hours to complete the process.


Timothy Leyva, creator of the device, explains in a press release that “the SoClean allows for daily, hands-free sanitizing of CPAP machines. Having a freshly-sanitized CPAP machine will prevent bacteria build-up helping to avoid respiratory infections and make for a significantly better user experience.”


Leyva added, “Knowing that the CPAP is always clean, ready, and safe to use increases the likelihood that sleep apnea sufferers will wear it every night.”


It is definitely much less labor-intensive than hand-washing everything. In fact, the timer can be set just once for the SoClean to run at the same time each day. Just drop the mask in, close the lid and be on your way.


The best part is that the cleaning occurs without having to disassemble everything (which CPAP users hate doing). The device hooks into the CPAP unit so the reservoir is being cleaned at the same time as the mask via the hose.



SoClean Drawbacks


Though this machine gives you everything you would want out of a CPAP machine cleaner, its price tag leaves more to be desired.  Or should I say less?  The price of this machine is expensive and for some it will break the bank. 

Also, there is a distinct scent that your mask has when it emerges from SoClean. The company describes it as a very mild bleach smell (similar to after a thunderstorm) that can be dissipated by blowing air through the mask for about 15 seconds prior to use.

Read Amazon customer reviews for the SoClean.




Video User Manual for the SoClean 2 CPAP Cleaner & Sanitizer




Final Thoughts


The SoClean adds a new level of convenience to CPAP users’ lives by  sanitizing and disinfects your CPAP accessories such as your mask, hose, and water reservoir (including the water inside) without needing to take any pieces apart.

Full and complete sanitizing is accomplished without any messy chemicals or even the use of water. Your equipment remains completely dry, and the SoClean machine uses safe, natural, activated oxygen to thoroughly sanitize your CPAP system.

 Remember that the the filter and check valve should be replaced every six months, so you may also want an extra Cartridge Filter Kit for the SoClean. 

The Cartridge Filter Kit includes one replacement filter and one replacement check valve for the SoClean.

This kit is suitable for all SoClean machines with “1200SC” in the serial number. The cartridge filter converts activated oxygen back to regular oxygen as it leaves the SoClean 2 chamber. The check valve prevents water from your CPAP from damaging your CPAP electronics.


Thanks for visiting and reading …

I hope this article provided you some helpful information on the SoClean.  I welcome your comments below.





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Stroke – What You Need to Know


Stroke – What You Need to Know




When the blood supply to the brain is interrupted or blocked for any reason, the consequences are usually dramatic. Control over movement, perception, speech, or other mental or bodily functions is impaired, and consciousness itself may be lost. Disruptions of blood circulation to the brain may result in a stroke — a disorder that occurs in two basic forms, both potentially life-threatening.


Ischemic strokes – About three-quarters of all strokes are due to blockage of the oxygen-rich blood flowing to the brain. Called ischemic strokes, they are triggered by either a thrombus (a stationary clot that forms in a blood vessel) or an embolus (a clot that travels through the bloodstream and becomes lodged in a vessel).


This type of stroke may be preceded by a brief transient ischemic attack, or TIA — an episodes of inadequate blood flow that may produce these symptoms:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of the body
  • An inability to talk
  • Double or blurred vision in one eye
  • Sudden dizziness or falling

A TIA usually lasts 15 minutes or less. Because these may be signs of an impending stroke, take them seriously and see your doctor immediately.

With a TIA, circulation and the vital oxygen supply are quickly restored and lasting brain damage is usually avoided. With any stroke, however, if the interruption of blood flow lasts long enough to kill brain cells, it can produce irreversible damage.

The second basic type of stroke is a cerebral hemorrhage, or bleeding in the brain. It occurs when a brain aneurysm ruptures or when a weakened or inflamed blood vessel in the brain starts to leak. An aneurysm is a pouch that balloons out from a weakened spot on the wall of an artery. As blood flows into the brain, the buildup of pressure may either kill the tissue directly or destroy cells by impeding normal circulation to the affected region. This typically produces an excruciating headache, sometimes followed by loss of consciousness.


In contrast to ischemic strokes, which are generally survived, massive bleeding strokes are fatal about 40% of the time within the first month.

Because of improved treatment and greater public awareness of the dangers of high blood pressure, the overall death rate from stroke is declining. Nonetheless, stroke remains the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S., behind heart disease, cancer, and lung disease. It is also the leading cause of disability and second only to Alzheimer’s disease as a cause of dementia.

Recovery from stroke depends on the extent and location of brain damage. Although about 25% of patients die within the first year of having their first stroke, some stroke victims recover fully. But in the vast majority of cases, there is lasting physical or mental disability. Weakened stroke victims are also more vulnerable to infectious diseases such as pneumonia. In addition, depression often follows a stroke; unless treated, it can significantly hinder recovery.

What Causes a Stroke?


An ischemic (or clot) stroke occurs when a blood clot obstructs blood flow to a portion of the brain. The blocked vessel is already narrowed by years’ worth of plaque buildup due to atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries). The clot that serves as the final plug may be either a stationary blood clot created on the spot (thrombus), or an embolus composed of blood, plaque, or some other substance that formed elsewhere and traveled to the site.

Embolic blood clots. Emboli are blood clots that start in one location and travel to the brain to do their damage. Stroke-triggering blood clots may be produced when blood flow is sluggish. After a heart attack, for example, clots may form on the damaged heart wall because of slower blood flow there before traveling to the brain.

A common cause of blood clots is an irregular heart rhythm called atrial fibrillation. In atrial fibrillation, the upper chambers of the heart beat rapidly and irregularly. This increases the risk of a blood clot forming in the upper chambers of the heart (atria), which could break off and block an artery of the brain.

Bleeding. Bleeding (or hemorrhagic) strokes may be caused by aneurysms in the brain that rupture or arteries that become weak under the strain of long-term high blood pressure. Bleeding strokes can also result from a leaking arteriovenous malformation, a tangle of overgrown blood vessels in the brain that some people are born with.

The vast majority of strokes afflict people over the age of 60. Men are more often affected than women, and African Americans — possibly because of a greater incidence of high blood pressure — more often than whites. A more recent trend also shows that Hispanics are also more likely than whites to suffer strokes. A younger person is more apt to have a bleeding stroke, while older people usually suffer clot strokes.

The main controllable risk factors for stroke are:

  • Heart disease
  • High cholesterol levels (specifically, high LDL or “bad” cholesterol)
  • Obesity
  • Abuse of stimulant drugs such as amphetamines and cocaine
  • Smoking
  • Excessive alcohol use




F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke. When you can spot the signs, you’ll know that you need to call 9-1-1 for help right away. F.A.S.T. is:

F Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?
A Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?
T Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.


Beyond F.A.S.T. – Other Symptoms You Should Know

  • Sudden NUMBNESS or weakness of face, arm, or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden CONFUSION, trouble speaking or understanding speech
  • Sudden TROUBLE SEEING in one or both eyes
  • Sudden TROUBLE WALKING, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden SEVERE HEADACHE with no known cause

If someone shows any of these symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1 or emergency medical services.



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