Importance of Nutrition for Those with Special Health Needs

by Jim Duffy

Everyone needs good health and good nutrition to live their optimal life. There are some people for whom good nutrition is even more important, including those who have developmental disabilities and special health care needs. Nutrition is often an overlooked aspect of these people's life, but can help to keep them healthier and allow medications to work better.

Shawn is 28 years old and has Down syndrome. He is working at a local pizza shop and enjoys outings with his friends. Although his mother was against the idea at first, Shawn recently moved into an apartment with three other young men who also have developmental disabilities. Like other fellows their age, they do not always eat the healthiest diet and occasionally they do not eat at all.

Shawn and his roommates do have an agency that sends in staff to help plan and cook meals, however, the four men are rarely home at the same time and each have different nutritional needs and desires. Shawn enjoys his job, including one of the perks, which is free pizza that he gets to eat with the others who work at the shop. He has gained thirty pounds in the first three months of working there, which is worrisome for his mother for a number of reasons.

The American Dietetic Association's research indicates the need for better programs for those not only with developmental disabilities but with other special health needs and considerations, not only for their weight but for the physical, behavioral and psychological problems that excessive weight gain may have for them. (Source: Science News)

Down syndrome occurs in 1 in every 700 births, with the greatest risk being for children born to older women. This syndrome is the most common chromosomal abnormality and is the cause of nearly 40% of all cases of moderate to severe mental retardation. Babies with Down syndrome have brains that appear normal at birth but tend to shrink in their early childhood years, most typically in the hippocampal area of the brain, which causes cognitive difficulties and dysfunction.

In the past, babies with Down syndrome were institutionalized and left alone, however, they are now given far better prognoses, with many of them like Shawn moving out to live far more independent lives. Life expectancy has increased as well, with many people with Down syndrome living into their 60's. They do have an increased risk of certain conditions, including Alzheimer's disease, leukemia, and cardiovascular disease, and are more likely to die from these conditions sooner. (Source: Papalia, Olds and Feldman)

When Shawn was small, he had a problem with his heart which was treated with surgery and medications. During his youth and rebellious teen years, his mother has tried to help him stay on track with his health and his weight, but he has always had a taste for sweets and heavier foods, so his weight has always been an issue. Now that he is working and on his own, there is less direction for him and he is gaining weight because of it. The ADA would like to see more emphasis on training and educating Shawn and others like him about the importance of making healthier food choices. In addition, it is important to educate the facilities and the agencies that are charged with helping these individuals so that they can assist in making the right choices for foods. It is not about taking away rights or making choices for anybody, it is about helping people to make better choices for themselves.

Shawn and his roommates are different in their needs, including David, who has food allergies. Because he is continually losing weight related to his own condition, a third roommate is looking at the prospect of having a feeding tube to supplement his oral feeding, something he is working to avoid. The fourth roommate, like David and Shawn, is overweight and would like to lose some of his weight.

One of the benefits of the area that they are living in is a sheltered workshop, which not only has helped these four young men to get jobs and to find staffing to help them live in their own home, but also offers enrichment courses so that they can continually learn new information at their own level. They agree to enroll in nutrition courses, where they learn the importance of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins as well as the different vitamins and minerals that they need to have in their daily diet. Shawn, his staff, and his mother also go to a nutritionist to get a customized eating plan that he can try to follow. He will learn what foods he should eat more of and which he should eat less of, including how to make his daily pizza a little healthier, for instance, by limiting the cheese, boosting the sauce and using veggies instead of meat toppings on the slices that he eats.

Part of the reason that he is eating so much when he gets to work is because he is not eating a very big breakfast and is starving by the time his break comes along. One of the things that he will change is eating a bigger and healthier breakfast before leaving the house. By eating a morning meal that has protein and carbohydrates, he has the energy that he needs to get the day started and is not starving at lunchtime. He is also going to pack a small snack to eat at his first short break before lunchtime comes along. He is also packing fruit to eat with his pizza so that he does not have to eat as much.

Shawn and his roommates are all using Profect, a protein supplement from Protica, which will also keep him from feeling like he is starving during the day when used as a between-meal snack. Each serving has 25 grams of protein and only 100 calories. Even Shawn's roommate, David, who has food allergies, has found a Protica supplement that he can use. Proasis, the first all-natural liquid protein supplement, is free from lactose, aspartame, GMO, egg, yeast, wheat, and gluten. In addition, Proasis is stimulant, preservative, and cholesterol free. Both Proasis and Profect come in a number of sizes and flavors so that each of the men can find the flavor that they like the best.

Because of his heart condition, Shawn needs to make sure that he sticks to his new, healthier eating plan and try to lose the weight he has gained. In addition to the new food, he should also start a new exercise program. He has always been thrilled to go swimming, so he will be going twice a week and trying to get a walk in several additional times a week. He might even ask one of the girls that works at the pizza shop to walk with him during their lunchtime instead of scarfing down second helpings of the pizza.

About the Author:

Protica Research (Protica, Inc.) specializes in the development of Capsulized Foods. Protica manufactures Profect, IsoMetric, Pediagro, Fruitasia and over 100 other brands, including Medicare-approved, whey protein shots for weight loss surgery patients. You can learn more at Protica Research - Copyright

What You Should Know About It - Leukemia

By Veronica Carrillo

There are many different types of leukemia, but all are a malignant disease of the white blood cells of the body. The cause of all types is still uncertain. Each type is determined by the specific blood cell involved and the length of time the illness lasts. Leukemia exists in both an acute ad chronic form: it is detected when the blood is examined. When the cell group known as the lymphocytes is affected, the disease is called lymphocytic leukemia. When the monocytes are involved, it is known as monocytic leukemia. And when the polymorphonuclear cells are involved, it is called myeloid leukemia.

The British Journal of Cancer reports optimistic news for vegans. British scientists studied the diets of over 61,000 men and women for 12 years. At the end of 12 years, the scientists recorded how many subjects developed stomach, bladder, ovarian, and lymphatic cancers in the three dietary categories reviewed: vegan, pescetarian, and omnivore. For each type of cancer tested, vegans developed a significantly lower number of cases than did meat eaters.

Symptoms. In acute cases, the onset is usually quite rapid and resembles an acute infectious disease. The earliest symptoms may be high fever, diffuse aches and pains, and severe weakness. Painful ulcerations of the mouth are not uncommon. There may be bone pain. The course is unusually rapid, progressive, and downhill. There are hemorrhages of the mucous membranes of the mouth and into the skin. In the chronic case the disease develops stealthily and is discovered often during the course of a routine medical examination. The patient loses weight, appetite, and strength. He has night sweats and feels weak.

Causes of Leukemia There are no visible reasons of Leukemia as such but still artificial ionizing radiation, different type of viruses that cause the blood platelets balancing problem and also the smoking or tobacco habit is the reason of this disease to occur to certain extent.

Complications. Because of the diminished resistance of the patient, he is subject to complications from secondary infections. Another serious problem is hemorrhage, frequently into the intestinal tract. Or it may involve any organ system.

Prevention. There is no way to prevent the onset of leukemia. There are many courses of treatment available which can prolong the life of the patient and even permit him to carry on his normal activity. Care must be taken to avoid secondary infection. There is no known cure, but with new research the outlook for patients with this illness continues to improve. - 30239

About the Author:

Understanding MDS

By Juno Pinkerson

Majority of people are aware of the different types of cancer like leukemia and MDS that affect a number of people. However, there is a lack of general knowledge on the causes of these diseases and the options for treatment that are available. It is therefore very advantageous to completely understand the myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS) before going to the procedure of asking regarding leukemia and all its forms.

MDS are a combined constitution of different hematological conditions that are integrated when there is an absence of adequate amounts of red and white blood cells in the body. MDS results from the bone marrow stem cell, causing a disorderly production of blood cells in the bloodstream. For many years this fatal form of cancer has commonly been called as "preleukemia" because it almost always leads to the development of leukemia, which is the cancer of the blood.

MDS Causes

Abnormal production and reproduction of blood cells is experienced by patients suffering from MDS. This defect in the blood-formingcells often worsens over time resulting in the gradual deterioration of the bone marrow.

Genetic factors play a huge role in the the development of MDS, specifically in children who suffer from the disease. However, effects from the environment can also cause healthy cells to develop abnormalities and to produce cancer-causing cells in the long run.

One of the most common causes of cancer development in the body's cells is the exposure to the chemical Benzene, which is a toxic chemical used in manufacturing different products such as gasoline, sodas and cigarettes. Most of the time, the people who develop MDS as a result from exposure to Benzene are not even aware that they have already been negatively affected by the chemical until it's already too late.

Caution Signs for MDS

Studies show that of all MDS patients, about one-third suffer from deteriorating health after their preliminary diagnosis; these patients are also very likely to develop acute myelogenous leukemia or AML. Some of the most common MDS symptoms include:

*Paleness of skin

*Bruising and/or bleeding

*Fatigue that is extreme

*Recurring infections

If you have been exposed to benzene and are now experiencing symptoms of MDS is is important to speak with an experienced benzene attorney to have your case evaluated. - 30239

About the Author:

Sign Up for our Free Newsletter

Enter email address here