Nutrient rich foods for multiple sclerosis

Angeli Mayadev, MD

Angeli Mayadev, MD
Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation, Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center

Many multiple sclerosis (MS) patients take supplements for their health. The natural substances that have the most evidence based medicine for health in MS are ensuring adequate levels of Vitamin D, B-12, Omega 3 fatty acids, and Calcium.

Multiple sclerosis patients have lower bone health and getting adequate amounts of Calcium and Vitamin D are important. The topic of diet and nutrient rich foods often come up during office visits. Having a proper diet of antioxidants is helpful in all realms of health. Patients often do not know that kale has 100 mg of calcium per serving or that oranges have calcium. The following foods contain these vitamins and can assist with individuals getting their nutrients through food.

Life with multiple sclerosis for children and parents

Bobbie (Barbara) J. Severson, ARNP

Bobbie (Barbara) J. Severson, ARNP
ARNP, Swedish Multiple Sclerosis Center

A patient of mine said that if he did not tell his children about his MS, he would have missed 10 years of their support.

The article, Informing the Children When a Parent Is Diagnosed as Having Multiple Sclerosis mentions chronic neurological disease in one person affects the entire family and has a significant impact on the lives of children. Typically, when a person is diagnosed with MS, information from the health care provider is disseminated to the "ill" person, who then informs the rest of the family. However, children in the family are seldom the primary recipients of information delivered by health care professionals. Unfortunately, it has been reported that children without "thorough" information about their parents' MS have lower emotional well being than those who are better educated. 

The aim of the article’s study was to gain an understanding of how health care services could support the empowerment of children when a parent is diagnosed with MS. The study focused on what information parents with MS, their partners, and children request from health care providers.

The world is a complex place and if children are not provided with accurate, and age appropriate information, they may develop false assumptions about their parents' MS.

Children have inquiring minds and need to make sense of their world.  For instance, MS is an unpredictable disease that causes great uncertainty for a family. Children who have a parent with MS may harbor anxiety they will make their parent's disease worse. For example, they are afraid to ask their parent to go shopping believing it will contribute to more leg weakness and they might not be able to walk again. It can be equally difficult for children to understand a parent’s cognitive impairments of decreased short term memory and concentration.  As a result, kids may assume a parent's inattention and not remembering the party they went to the day before as signs of not caring about what is happening in their lives. Fatigue, another symptom in MS, can further limit a parents’ ability to participate in school or recreational activities, further isolating children from their peers and making them feel lonely and depressed. 

If a parent decides to keep their MS diagnosis a secret, in order to protect the child, this act can prevent the child from asking questions about the disease.  It can also shut down further communication between a parent and child about other things occurring in their young lives.

Having a social network makes it easier for a child to live with a parent with MS. The child’s social network, along with his/her parent’s health care team and the school network can work together to enhance a child’s sense of well being. Parents will always be the primary resource for the child. The role of the health care team is to equip parents with knowledge and resources for their MS parenting education plan.  An important step is to inform parents about the common needs of children, since not all parents realize their MS affects their children. Removing the MS veil of secrecy promotes communication and understanding between parents and children.

Children’s age and developmental level influence how they cope and adjust.  A working alliance between the parents and the health care team is essential to decide what information a child should learn and how it should be presented. 

Life skills when a parent is diagnosed with MS

  • Parents with MS, their partners, and children benefit when informed about MS.

  • Information should be given to the person with MS and their partner at the time of diagnosis and the children shortly thereafter.

  • The need for information and the type of information shared, changes over time.

  • Information needs to be tailored to the individual and his/her maturity level and offered regularly in a manner appropriate to the disease progression and developmental level of the child.

  • In this study, adolescents preferred dissemination of MS information from the health care professional, since the parent was unable to effectively elaborate on the diagnosis and the child’s many questions.

  • Children want the opportunity to ask health care providers questions without parent involvement.

  • Meeting the health care team reduced a child's anxiety and fear.  For example, talking with the physical therapist enhanced understanding of the parent's disability and functioning.

  • Providing accurate information may result in a better adjusted family.

  • Lack of information can contribute to fear.

  • Having a social, health care, and school support network makes it easier for a child to cope with a sick parent.

  • Emotional and practical support, from the parent without MS, has a positive effect on the child.

  • When MS was no longer a secret, understanding improved between parent and child.

  • Because MS affects the whole family, it is important the health care team directs information to the entire family.

  • Provide the opportunity for individual, family, and group counseling.

  • A working alliance between the parents and health care team is critical in deciding what, when, and how information should be presented.

  • Parents need advice on how to create a climate where children can ask questions and share concerns about MS.

  • Health care providers can equip the child with knowledge and emotional support that will strengthen their ability to deal with their life situation now and in the future.

In conclusion, the study recommended it be the health care provider responsibility to provide information not only to the person with MS, but also his/her partner and family.  Well informed parents can support their children and create an atmosphere where questions are easier to raise. Accurate and age appropriate information will enhance understanding and reduce false beliefs about MS.

Sharing Knowledge With Nursing Colleagues In China

Nancy Thompson

Nancy Thompson
Director of Quality and Clinical Practice, Swedish Cancer Institute

As the Swedish Cancer Institute’s (SCI) Director of Quality and Clinical Practice, I  recently went to China to advocate for the nurses role in cancer supportive care and patient education.  Sponsored by Merck Oncology, I spoke at the Chemotherapy Induced Nausea and Vomiting (CINV) Summit in Beijing to 200 providers from across China. 

As the only international oncology nurse on the agenda, I presented with other physicians and pharmacists about the importance of nurses on a multi-disciplinary team, the nurses role in quality of life for patients and the importance of nursing in symptom management.   

At the completion of the 2 day Summit, I went to 3 cancer hospitals in China including ...

Dealing with vaginal prolapse (pelvic organ prolapse)

Lora Plaskon, MD, MS

Lora Plaskon, MD, MS

Women's bodies change with time, and as I advise my patients, it takes conscientious effort to counteract gravity, aging, and time's effects on our bodies. One of our most vulnerable places for feeling the pull of gravity over time, is our vaginal support. When the vaginal supports fail, this is called vaginal prolapse, or pelvic organ prolapse (POP).

Over half of women after menopause have some degree of prolapse, but it's mostly asymptomatic and doesn't require any intervention. If the prolapse advances to the point of the vaginal opening, women may experience ...

Walk MS 2015 a Success for the Swedish MS Walk Team

Mallory Higgins

Mallory Higgins
Education Coordinator and Marketing Specialist, Swedish MS Center

Thank you to all who walked in the National Multiple Sclerosis Society Walk MS event to raise awareness about MS and help fund a cure. With over 170 team members, and over $15,000 raised, the Swedish MS Center, Neuro-ophthalmic Consultants of NW, and Seattle Radiologists team well exceeded the fundraising goal of $10,000. To kick off the event, the “Swedish Smyelin Babes” running team lead by Neurologist, Lily Jung Henson, ran the inaugural 5K race at 8 a.m. Around 10 a.m., the Swedish MS Walk Team along with nearly 5,000 individuals walked along the Burke Gilman Trail in support of MS, family members, friends and colleagues.

This year the Swedish booth won best decorated tent with a whimsical “under the sea” theme. Thank you to all who volunteered, donated and walked. We are looking forward to outdoing ourselves next year!

Musician David Osmond Tours the Multiple Sclerosis Center With Dr. James Bowen

Mallory Higgins

Mallory Higgins
Education Coordinator and Marketing Specialist, Swedish MS Center

Musician David Osmond, from the famous musical Osmond family, visited the Swedish Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Center, touring the clinic with medical director, James Bowen. Having been diagnosed with relapsing-remitting MS in 2005, Osmond was interested in learning more about comprehensive care for MS.

While on the tour, Osmond learned about the MS Center’s physical rehabilitation program and wellness offerings including gym access with specialized equipment for MS patients, exercise training, Pilates, and Yoga. Dr. Bowen explained the MS Center’s emotional wellness offerings including psychology, psychiatry, support groups, music and pet therapy, and the annual art show. Other areas covered during his visit were elements of community wellness including social work, vocational counseling, workshops on stress management, and social events such as the MS Center summer BBQ and winter seasonal celebration. These programs assist with keeping individuals with MS involved in the broader community.

Earlier in the day, Osmond spoke  ...

Lunge for Life: Save Lives by Becoming an Organ Donor

Andrew F. Precht
In the United States, nearly 124,000 men, women and children are on the waiting list for an organ transplant. Every day, an average of 21 people die waiting for organs they need. Here in the Pacific Northwest, there are approximately 3,000 people on the waiting list.

Jimmy Murphy, a patient at Swedish, used to be one of them. But Jimmy was lucky enough to have a family member who was an eligible match for a kidney transplant.

Jimmy’s journey to health started two years ago, on his 21st birthday, when he began to notice signs that he didn’t feel right. He went to the emergency room and was diagnosed with Goodpasture Syndrome, a rare autoimmune disease that attacks the lungs and kidneys. Within 2-3 days of diagnosis, Jimmy’s kidneys were severely damaged.

Before Jimmy could be eligible for a transplant, he had to ...
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