Tapping into local expertise for everyday health & well-being.
October 2022
Health & Harmony from the Inside Out
Inflammation: Good & Bad
What comes to mind when you hear the word Inflammation? Skin irritation from a burn, frostbite or a wound infection. Inflammation is so much more – good and bad and we are going to discuss them all. If you are feeling less than stellar, experiencing hair loss or suffering from brain fog, you may have inflammation in your brain or your body. Some inflammation is acute, and potentially reversible like sexual dysfunction, stiff joints or the inability to focus. On the plus side, sometimes inflammation serves a purpose. When you are sick or injured, your immune system cranks up the white blood cells to fight any infection and heal injuries, thus triggering an inflammatory response. This is another example of acute inflammation. Other types of inflammation are chronic and continue to cause damage, as with Alzheimer’s. Some people are also genetically predisposed to brain inflammation by having an overactive immune system like in those with multiple sclerosis or encephalitis, which is a type of acute inflammation in the brain. Any time you feel “off” you should consult with your care team. However, there are some easy ways to reduce inflammation, so your inner self and outer self are more aligned.
Tip #1: IN & OUT
What you put in your body greatly affects what you get out of your body. Hydration is essential! Eat a diet heavy on fruits and vegetables, especially pineapple (and low on red meat and processed foods). Enjoy lots of garlic, tart cherry, ginger, cinnamon, cayenne pepper, turmeric, olive oil and other healthy fats like avocados. All of these foods have strong anti-inflammatory properties that will lower your inflammation and aid your digestive system – and they taste good too!
If your inflammation is manifesting on the outside and your skin needs some TLC try a home remedy. Aloe plants, chamomile, witch hazel, and nettle have soothing properties, with no artificial colors or perfumes. Echinacea, ginkgo, yuca and chicory are other options. Many are found in herbal teas as well. So you’ll feel warm, cozy and more relaxed in no time.
Tip #3: GET UP & GO
Moderate exercise is an amazing way to reduce inflammation. Yoga and Pilates focus on posture and stretching which forces you to slow down and think about your breathing. A 20-minute brisk walk has been proven to lower physical stress. Water aerobics and swimming keep you active without over-stressing the joints. Dancing is a fun exercise option that improves your mental state as well as your physical state. No matter your exercise of choice, staying hydrated is essential. Get out there and boogie!
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Inflammation & Arthritis
Can you have a healthy sex life when you’re dealing with a chronic inflammatory condition? The answer is yes, yet several studies have found that patients with chronic pain disorders often struggle in this area. Oftentimes studies have homed in on one specific condition, such as rheumatoid arthritis, but new analysis, published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, attempted to cast a much wider net — and came to the conclusion that sexual health problems often plague people with psoriatic arthritis, Sjogren’s syndrome, and lupus, too. 

This new research was a meta-analysis that reviewed 55 earlier studies of patients with inflammatory arthritis as well as disorders like lupus that often cause arthritis. The researchers concluded that “sexual dysfunction appears highly prevalent amongst men and women.”

Disease activity seemed to be directly related to sexual problems for many people, thanks to the pain and fatigue that tends to accompany arthritis. Many people also reported that their condition caused psychological distress, reduced self-esteem, and body image issues that, in turn, took a toll on their sex life. Medications used to treat arthritis were a factor, too, as a number of drugs carry common side effects like fatigue, loss of libido, vaginal dryness, and/or erectile dysfunction. 

Many patients in these studies reported that their intimate relationships had become less physical over time, but that this change didn’t always pose a major problem: Some had partners who were understanding of the impact of arthritis and the resulting limitations; those with partners who were not as understanding were more likely to say that they felt tense and fearful about the stability of the relationship. 

If arthritis or another inflammatory condition is getting in the way of your sex life, you have some options: Trying a new position to minimize physical discomfort and simply talking to your partner about the problem so you can attempt to work through it together may make a big difference. Talk with your primary care as well. Rush Oak Park has Rheumatoid Arthritis Care Providers that can help you ease discomfort and intimacy side effects. Call Rush Oak Park Hospital today.
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Depressed? Check Your Gut Health.
An upset stomach can make you feel terrible, but can your gut health really influence your mental condition? Some doctors and dietitians are making bold claims that a contributing factor to mental health is gut inflammation. The gut-brain connection is no joke. Have you ever had a "gut-wrenching" experience? Do certain situations make you "feel nauseous"? Have you ever felt "butterflies" in your stomach? We use these expressions for a reason. Our gut is sensitive to emotion. There is still work to be done in terms of researching gut-specific treatments for mental health conditions, but the known link between the brain and gut suggests a promising avenue for mental health treatment. Never ignore your inner voice telling you to seek professional help for unbalanced gut health or depression.

Riveredge Hospital has numerous programs for adults and children available to help find the underlying cause of depression and other mental illnesses. Riveredge Hospital treats patients as individuals, developing a treatment plan designed around each person’s individual needs. Our continuum of care allows individuals to get the treatment they need based on the level of care they need, whether that’s inpatient psychiatric care, intensive outpatient program, or one of our outpatient groups. 

CLICK HERE to learn more about our approach to treatment.

As the researchers continue investigating relationships between foods, moods, and brain processes, here's to hoping they find more good news (like that chocolate boosts memory) than bad (apparently sugar might lead to dementia).
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Tired of Being Tired? B-Health Can Fix That!
What comes to mind when you hear the word inflammation? Tummy bloat, irritable bowels, brain fog, skin rash, stiff joints? If you guessed all five, you are correct. Inflammation manifests in various ways and is a tell-tail sign of persistent "fires" that your body cannot quench. The root causes are many, including toxins, food allergies, metabolic syndrome, excess weight, hypertension, infections, trauma, poor diet, and stress, to name a few.

If you have chronic inflammation, your immune system is always on overdrive and can lead to severe diseases like Alzheimer's, heart disease, cancer, diabetes, depression, arthritis, sexual dysfunction, and more.

B-Health has a Certified Health Coach & Nutritional Counselor who can provide testing to identify food intolerances, check gut microbiome, and examine blood test markers for a deeper dive into potential root causes and assess whether a five-day protocol called Prolon is suitable for you. In addition, she can establish an elimination plan to target specific foods that may trigger brain fog, depression, and sore and stiff joints. Eliminating these targeted foods can lessen your symptoms and improve your overall health and well-being. In conjunction, our physical therapist can work with you to relieve physical discomfort and improve your daily living.

If you are tired of being chronically uncomfortable, CLICK HERE to set up your complimentary appointment today with B-Health. It will change your life.
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Keeping Your Belly Happy & Healthy
If you’re living with a Chronic illness, you may be living with chronic inflammation. Conditions associated with chronic inflammation include Crohn’s disease, heart disease, high blood pressure, irritable bowel disease, Multiple Sclerosis, obesity, psoriasis, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcerative colitis and type 1 diabetes. 

Gluten and dairy may play into bowel inflammation as does caffeine for some people. Corn has strong inflammatory properties for the entire body. Nightshades can be inflammatory for arthritis, but it is essential that each individual discover their own trigger foods.

Even if you don’t have a chronic condition, food sensitivities can cause inflammatory responses if eating something one shouldn’t. (Ie., excessive gas, migraines, brain fog, skin rash, etc.) When you have an immune response, your antibodies rise, causing inflammation. Your body views the “bad food” as a foreign body and starts working to eliminate it and fight if off. Keep in mind, reactions to food sensitivities are subjective and vary greatly from person to person. Keep in mind, although you may not experience a physical sign of inflammation, all processed food can lead to some form of internal inflammation, so it is best to stick with foods in their whole original state.
American House Oak Park has dietitians on hand and multiple kitchens to accommodate your dietary needs. Speak with them regarding anti-inflammatory diets, food sensitivities, food allergies and more. American House wants you to feel at home so accommodating your needs is what they do best.
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Prevention is Key, We Can Help!
Alzheimer’s is a form of chronic brain inflammation and there are tell-tale signs if you know what to look for. Preventative measures are essential, early diagnosis is key, and getting the right help is beneficial for the entire family. Right At Home is here for this transitional period. We strive to keep our seniors in their familiar surroundings. Please call us today to discuss options and our services. 
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Eliminating Inflammation
You don’t see it. You don’t feel it. Inflammation is a hidden condition that can cause long-lasting damage to your body and may lead to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, bowel diseases, Alzheimer’s and infectious disease. 
Our body is designed to heal itself and inflammation helps to fight injury and infection. Inflammation can also be problematic when your immune system goes haywire if there is no injury or infection and may lead to chronic inflammation. 
To read the rest of the article, CLICK HERE.
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Wellness Wednesdays are a supplement to the annual Community Health & Wellness Fair which connects our Chamber Members in the Health & Wellness sector to clients and consumers throughout Chicagoland's western suburbs.
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