How I Minimized my Osteoarthritis Symptoms

In the Fall of 2016, I started experiencing pain, tingling, and numbness in my arms and hands. It was both sides from the shoulders all the way down to my fingertips. At night the tingling would wake me up after only a couple of hours of sleep. I would lie awake with so much discomfort, that I couldn’t go back to sleep for a long time.

When I woke up in the morning, I was unable to make a fist with my right hand for several hours. In fact the best I could do was bend my 5 fingers on the right hand a little bit. Left hand was better because it would almost close.

I also had *a lot* of trouble turning a door knob to open a door. Sometimes I couldn’t open a door at all because of the pain in my wrists. I couldn’t carry heavy bags with either hand, and the pain in my wrists prevented me from lifting anything even a little heavy.

I did the best I could with the discomfort by wearing a wrist and forearm brace to lift heavy oI bjects, to rest my forearms, wrists, and hands, or while on the computer. I also slept on two folded blankets at night to cushion my aching limbs so that I could stay asleep longer.


I saw my primary care physician in April 2017 and after an examination, she told me that I had carpal tunnel syndrome, tendinitis, neuritis, and osteoarthritis. She added that over time and with some care, the carpal tunnel, tendinitis, and neuritis should go away, but the osteoarthritis will only get worse. The best I could do is slow it down, but it will never go away or improve.

In July 2017, I went to see a hand specialist, who took x-rays of both hands. I wanted to know for sure and absolute if I really have osteoarthritis. He said, yes, I definitely do, but not very much — yet. Overall, the bones in my hands looked healthy and strong except for the top joint in my right little finger that showed some wear causing my little finger to permanently bend at that joint. There were also a few cysts (signs of osteoarthritis) in both hands, but not much else.

With rings on her fingers and bells on her toes  . . . .

I experienced a lot of pain given how good my x-rays looked, but the doctor said that was normal (I was skeptical).

He gave me a prescription for hand therapy. I asked him if after doing hand therapy for some time if I would be able to reduce the swelling in my fingers enough so that I could start wearing my rings again. He said that it is is very, very possible.

In August 2017 I retired from my job as a technical writer because I felt that being on a keyboard all day was at the root of my shoulder, arm, wrist, hand, and finger problems. This way, I would remove what I thought was the cause and focus on whatever cure I might be able to accomplish. I have to say I am very happy with the results so far.

In August 2018, I found that I could get my rings on my fingers again.


I practice yoga every day, and have the book Yoga for Arthritis – The Complete Guide by Loren Fishman. The almost daily practice of hand therapy combined with my weekly yoga class, daily home yoga practice, and the advice in Dr. Fishman’s book, have helped so much that today my carpal tunnel, tendinitis, and neuritis have all resolved. My discomfort from osteoarthritis is now minimal and my dexterity has improved quite a lot.

Diet and Supplements

I also made a few changes to my diet towards a more anti-inflammatory diet, and adopted some herbs and supplements as suggested in Dr. Susan Blum’s book Healing Arthritis: Your 3-Step Guide to Healing Arthritis Naturally.

Hand Therapy

Hand therapy is wonderful. It strengthens your wrists, hands, and fingers, reduces the pain, and increases dexterity. To see results you have to do it every day (with only a few misses). At least that was the case for me.

Hand therapy consists of simple exercises for your wrists, hands, and fingers. Once you learn the exercises, it takes only a few minutes to do them all. I often do them while doing things like watching television, sitting in a waiting room, or watching a movie.

Hand exercises can help strengthen the muscles that support the hand joints. See Ten Ways to Exercise Hands and Fingers for some exercise suggestions.

Soaking your hands in warm water for ten minutes or so before beginning exercises can warm them up and increase flexibility.

Treating your hands with a warm paraffin wax bath can also be very helpful. Everything you need for a warm paraffin wax (tub and paraffin) can be purchased online or at many pharmacies. See The Best Paraffin Baths for Soothing Arthritis Aches and Pains.

An extra bonus of the hand therapy, is that my therapist custom made splints for my worst fingers. I had one made for my bent little finger on the right hand. You wear the splints at night to immobilize the finger(s) to reduce swelling. I also found they help straighten fingers that are not terribly bent.  I still use the one for my little finger daily to keep it straight and help maintain straightness even when I’m not wearing it. The finger is not perfect, but much straighter now than when I started.


Even though the hand therapist told me to be careful and gentle with my wrists, hands, and fingers and to not push myself, I found that gradually pushing my limits slowly over time helped to lessen the pain and increase flexibility and dexterity.

Instead of slowing down the progression of my symptoms, I experienced less and less pain and swelling over time, and my symptoms stopped flaring up. It seemed that from a symptoms standpoint, that I was actually getting better and not just slowing down the progression.

I massaged my hands with olive oil to which I added drop or two of oregano and thyme oil. That would be about 1/3 C olive oil with a drop or two each of oregano and thyme oil. Alternately, you could use a drop or two of just oregano or just thyme oil, or just use olive oil.  I personally found that adding the oregano oil was very soothing.

My body absorbed the oils very slowly, so I ended up massaging my wrists, fingers, and hands for a long time while watching TV (for example). I would gently press and massage where I felt pain until the pain gradually worked itself out. I would also flex my wrists, hands, and fingers in different ways until I felt a little pain, and gently held the position and/or massaged the  area. Gradually over a few days or a week or so I  managed to work the pain out and regain some flexibility and dexterity.


To further improve dexterity, do things like picking up and handling coins, counting change, or anything else that involves handling a number of small things. Experiment and see what works best for your particular situation.

How I’m doing Now

  • I can now sleep through the night without pain waking me up.
  • I do not need to sleep on top of folded blankets.
  • I can turn doorknobs and  open most doors unless the door itself is very heavy.
  • I can carry bags with my hands, although if they are really heavy, I have to use my arms and carry them against my torso.
  • I can make a complete fist with both hands first thing in the morning.
  • My wrists, hands, and fingers are still stiff, but the pain is now minimal.
  • Dexterity in my fingers is much better than it was, but not as good as before. At least not yet.
  • I can spend time on the computer keyboarding again (how else could I have written this?). I do have to limit the time because the stiffness creeps back the longer I keyboard. But, when I stop and stretch my hands, the discomfort recedes.
  • I use a large mouse when I keyboard. It’s large enough to comfortably support my hand without strain.
  • I have a much easier time handling small things like putting coins away and making change.

Going Forward

I plan to continue my program forever if that’s what it takes.  I believe I can continue to reduce the pain and stiffness, increase my manual dexterity, and make myself stronger in my hands, arms, and shoulders.

How I Minimized my Osteoarthritis Symptoms

Henna Hair to Natural Grey – The Steps

The goal is to get to where my hair grows out dark from the indigo, with some red highlights from the henna, and beautifully conditioned from the cassia. When I get to the last step, I will maintain that mix until all of the dark red underneath has been cut off. Then, I will stop using the mix and let the indigo and henna fade to gray little by little every time I wash my hair.

Even though henna is a permanent color, it should fade with the the semi-permanent indigo because I use so little henna with more indigo in Step 6. The goal is to have the indigo and henna fade together. We’ll find out how well that works when I get there.

To go from henna hair to natural gray, I changed the mix in the following steps:

1.   50 gms henna, 20 gms, cassia, 5 gms indigo: Completed 8/8/2018
2.   40 gms henna, 25 gms cassia, 10 gms indigo: Completed 8/25/2018
3.   30 gms henna, 30 gms cassia, 15 gms indigo: Completed 9/9/2018
4.   20 gms henna, 40 gms cassia + 15 gms indigo: Completed 9/25/2018
5.   10 gms henna, 50 gms cassia + 15 gms indigo: Completed 10/9/2018
6.   5 gms henna, 55 gms cassia + 15 gms indigo: Completed 10/24/2018
7.   Continue Step 6 until all dark henna hair grows out and has been cut off 
 After one month, adjusted mix to 8-10 gms henna + 50 gms cassia + 15 gms indigo
9.   Continue Step 8 until all dark henna hair grows out and has been cut off
10. Fade to gray  – tbd

Step 1


50 gms henna, 20 gms, cassia, 5 gms indigo

Before doing Step 1, I went to my hair stylist, William Hopper at Custom Hair Styling in San Jose CA, and had him cut off 2 inches from the bottom.

The next day, after completing step 1 (see photo at left), my hair is about the same color, but the roots are a lighter orange/brown (not shown in the photo) that blend nicely with the rest of my hair. It is slightly more brown than burgundy from the addition of the indigo.

IMG_20180816_101245.jpgAfter washing my hair a couple of times over the next week, it is easier to see how my hair is starting to turn brown (see photo at left). At this point it still has some burgundy highlighting, which you can see in the middle of the photo.

The brown color comes from mixing henna with indigo.  You get a nice brown with red highlights.  Also, henna is brightest right after you apply it and gradually fades as you wash your hair. The indigo also slowly fades, which is where I want to  end up with light brown hair with the burgundy color grown out and cut off, at which point I can fade to gray.

Step 2


40 gms henna, 25 gms cassia, 10 gms indigo

Looking a little darker, especially compared to the first picture in Step 1, after applying the Step 2 herbs (less henna and more indigo) to my hair.

Here is how it looks after two hair washings:


Step 3

30 gms henna, 30 gms cassia, 15 gms indigo


Getting lighter with a more even color.




After one washing it is slightly less red (more brown) and a more even color:


Step 4

20 gms henna, 40 gms cassia + 15 gms indigo

IMG_9-26-2018Looking underneath you can see that the hair is getting darker with the henna to indigo ratio changing. Light coming in through a window makes the henna red seem stronger than it actually is.


Step 5

10 gms henna, 50 gms cassia + 15 gms indigo  – Completed 10/9/2018

Step 6

5 gms henna, 55 gms cassia + 15 gms indigo  –  Completed 10/24/2018

Hair is getting darker (less henna compared to the indigo), but the roots are lighter (less henna underneath). The goal now is to let it grow out until all the darker hair is cut off.

Henna Hair to Natural Grey – The Steps

From Henna Hair to Natural Gray

monica_pawlan_73x58.jpgAbout five years ago I decided to start coloring my hair. It wasn’t because the gray creeping into my straight shoulder-length dark brown hair bothered me (see photo at left), but because I could no longer get through a job interview and land the job.  I was working in the Silicon Valley tech industry as a technical writer with a long history of successful, technical, and complex projects, but suddenly something had changed. I found myself being asked a bevy of bizarre questions in interviews to make a case to pass me by for someone else, someone who didn’t have gray hair.

So after doing some research I decided to use pure, natural organic henna from Rajasthan to cover my gray and become a redhead. I loved the color and it worked very well with my coloring. The henna hair developed into a burgundy dark red after many henna applications over several months, and even better, I was back to landing the job, despite being in my mid to late 60’s.  The secret seemed to be that I just wasn’t gray anymore.

Now, 4 years later, retired, and approaching 70, I’ve decided to go back to my natural gray. I have several friends who have gone back to natural gray, and I think they look fantastic. Gray hair is beautiful.

If you have henna hair and want to get back to gray naturally, you can follow this blog, which I will update as I progress through the steps outlined below.

About Henna

Henna is a permanent color that fades very slowly. I couldn’t just let it all grow out over time because I would have two-tone hair: gray and black on top, and orange on the bottom. When burgundy henna fades, it fades to orange as you use less of it.

At first I considered using a chemical-based, non-permanent color over my hair as it grew out, but Darcy Vasudev owner of Henna Guru in San Francisco encouraged me to stay away from the chemicals.  That wasn’t a hard sell for me because I try to live as cleanly as I can. Also, my hair is very fine and chemicals tend to be very hard on it – drying it out and making it break and frizz.

Important note: You cannot use chemical-based anything (permanent colors, permanent waves, hair bleach, etc.) on henna hair when the henna you use contains metallic salts. The metallic salts interact with the chemicals in horrible ways and ruin your hair. Always use pure henna with no metallic salts. Herbs are fine; just no metallic salts. For more information see Henna for Hair.

This blog chronicles my journey from the first step, which I took on August 8, 2018, to when I reach my final natural gray at some point in the future.  I will update this blog every 2 to 3 weeks as I take each step, and describe any modifications I make to the process along the way.


Before I started, I was using 75 grams of henna mixed in about 1 cup of hot chamomile tea.  The herbal tea activates the henna and turns it into a paste, which I applied thickly to my hair and washed out 1 to 2 hours later.

Note: Henna that contains herbs can be mixed with hot water instead of chamomile tea. Henna needs to be mixed with something acidic like black tea, herbal, tea or herbs to activate.

I worked with Darcy at Henna Guru to map out a way to get me from burgundy to natural gray using sliding proportions of henna, cassia, and indigo.  The cassia and indigo activate the henna, so no need to use herbal tea.

We decided to do it like this:

  • Lighten the burgundy/orange tones of the henna by gradually decreasing the amount of henna from 75 gms to 5 gms.
  • Darken the orange tones in the henna by adding a small amount of indigo that I gradually increase as I progress through the steps. As Darcy explains on her site, hair that has a lot of gray, needs some henna to bind the indigo to the hair.
  • Add enough neutral colored conditioning cassia to bulk up the mix so it covers all of the hair without adding color.

I also use Triphala shampoo by SoulTree, as a second wash to my hair after washing out the herbs with my regular shampoo. Triphala shampoo contains shikakai, which is an herb that darkens henna hair.  Interestingly, this shampoo also contains some henna in a lesser amount. Anyway, if you want to tone down the brightness of the henna, I find that this shampoo, and probably any shampoo that contains enough shikakai, helps to do that.


See Henna Hair to Natural Gray – The Steps.

From Henna Hair to Natural Gray

Cataract Surgery – My Story

I recently had the lenses in both of my eyes replaced with Intraocular Lenses (IOLs).  I had very thick and dense brown and yellow cataracts by the time I had the surgery because I was having a hard time deciding what kind of IOLs to get.  There are a lot of choices, but no single option completely restores your vision. There are pluses and minuses to every option.

Some people ask how to know when you need to have cataract surgery such that it qualifies for your medical insurance to help pay the expenses. Your optometrist can tell you, or you can visit an ophthalmologist to find out.  One way to know you need surgery is when your optometrist can no longer correct your vision with glasses to get you to a 20-40 correction for driving. Another way is to have your cataracts examined by an ophthalmologist, and if they reach a certain size and/or density or both, it’s time. For most people this happens in their middle to late 70’s. Other people go much longer before they need it, and many people need it much sooner.

Don’t assume that your insurance will pay for everything. Typically, they pay for basic monofocal lenses, the surgery, and put some money towards one pair of glasses if you need them after the surgery.  Currently as of this writing, Medicare does not pay for laser surgery to remove your cataracts, and they don’t pay for any type of lens other than the standard monofocal lens. If you want either of these or both, you pay for it yourself and the costs can be quite high. If you have insurance other than Medicare, it might cover the laser.

Thankfully, my optometrist made the decision of which lenses to get easy for me, as I describe in Here ‘s How I Decided. But first, an overview of the basic IOL choices.

Lense Options

Conventional Monofocal lenses use a single focal point and are typically spherical in shape.  They can be set to any distance you want. Most people choose to have both eyes set to distance and then use reading glasses. Another option is to have both eyes set to near, and then use glasses for driving, for when you need to read something in the distance, or to watch TV if your TV is more than 7 or 8 feet away. Some people choose monovision, which is when you have one eye set to near and the other eye set to far. The brain adjusts and learns which eye to look through depending on the distance. This works about 70% of the time with about 30% of people never fully adjusting.

Premium aspheric IOLs use a single point of focus and match the asherical shape and quality of the natural eye more closely. This means they can provide sharper vision in general, sharper vision in low-light conditions, and sharper vision for people with large pupils. Premium aspheric IOls include toric lenses (astygmatism correction built into the lens) and accommodating IOLs (slightly flexible lenses to make near objects appear sharper). My husband got toric lenses  set to the near-point and loves them because now he only needs glasses for driving.

Multifocal lenses provide two or more focal points by splitting light between distance, intermediate, and near.  Your brain learns to focus only on one distance at a time, and that leaves the blur from the other focal points to possibly cause halos and flare.  These lenses can provide better near vision than accommodating IOLs, but are more likely to cause flares and halos or slightly blurred distance vision as a trade-off.

EDOF-IOLs (extended-depth-of-focus) create one elongated focal point that provides improved near and intermediate vision without the trade-off of blurred distance vision. See Discussion of  extended depth of focus IOLs  and  FDA Update: Next Generation IOLs for more information.

With multifocal  or EDOF IOLs you might not need to wear glasses as much as you might with monofocal lenses, but you might not have the sharpest vision possible and you might also need glasses for reading small print or for driving at night.

Everyone’s eyesight changes as they age because the visual machinery we all have is more than just the lens. So it’s possible to spend a lot of money on multifocal lenses and not need glasses very much for awhile, but have that change as you age.

See Intraocular Cataract Lenses for more information about lens types and options.

Here’s How I Decided

The final decision on lenses depends on your personal visual needs and your lifestyle. It also depends on your budget. Here is one way to determine what that might mean for you.

At my last eye appointment when my optometrist me told it was time because he could no longer correct my vision so I would be legal to drive, I asked how to decide on the lenses. My optometrist started asking me questions. He of course knew that as long as I have needed glasses, it has been for driving only. I have always had good close-up vision. So his questions to me went something like this:

  1. Do you like the vision you have now? (Yes)
  2. Do you like not having to wear glasses for things like reading, cooking, washing, or picking out your clothes? (Yes)
  3. Do you mind wearing glasses for driving, or are you okay with that? (I am fine with just wearing glasses for driving)

So, he said to me, get monofocal lenses set to the vision you have now (I don’t have much astigmatism so I don’t need toric lenses). That would be each lens set to close-up about 18 inches out for where I would have the sharpest focus. I asked if I would be able to use the computer without glasses, and he asked me if I can do that now, and I said yes. So, he said then you would be able to do it after the surgery too because you would be getting the vision you have now.

I asked him what is wrong with multifocal lenses, and he just said, then you won’t have the sharpest possible vision at any distance. (See the discussion of multifocal lenses above to understand why. ) Also, premium, multifocal, and EDOF  lenses are expensive and insurance doesn’t cover them so you pay out of pocket thousands of dollars for each eye. What he was recommending for me would give me the sharpest possible vision near and far (with glasses).

Note: Can’t comment personally about any of the other lenses, but anyone who has them and wants to weigh in in the comments section, please do!

Most people get monofocal lenses with correction for distance. That way you have very good vision after about 2 to 3 ft. from your face all the way out. You get more vision than you do with them set to the near point (like I did) and don’t need glasses for driving, but most people with this setting need glasses for reading and anything else that involves close up details. Basically you have a blur around you at the near point until you put on your reading glasses. Depending on your lifestyle and personality, you might be okay with that or not. Some people don’t even notice it until they try to read something.  But if you spend a lot of time doing close-up things and much less time driving or doing other distance-related activities such as sports, you might prefer the near correction over the distance correction. For example, you might ask yourself, how much would it annoy me to have to put on glasses to read my shampoo bottle in the shower?

My glasses with a chain I made from an old necklace chain and two necklace clasps that I bought at a crafts store.

I wasn’t okay with the idea of having a close-up blur around me. As an older person, I don’t drive as much as I used to and spend way more time at home doing close-up things and being on the computer.  When I go out for walks, I can see fine even though it’s somewhat blurred in the distance.  I can admire plants, see cars coming, and see down the street. The sunnier the day, the better I see in the distance, and the less I notice the distance blur.

If I want to read a sign or just see details in the distance, I put my glasses on, which I wear around my neck on a chain. It’s a much better lifestyle choice for me to mostly just use glasses for driving.

One thing I’ve noticed is after doing a lot of close-up work, the distance blur  is worse for me than when my eyes are relaxed.  After some minutes as my eyes relax, I am able to see better in the distance.

The Outcome

If you are a myope like me and want to go with near vision, you will need to work with your optometrist and/or ophthalmologist to decide where to set the focus. About 18″ out worked out to be perfect for me. I can read most print unless it’s very, very tiny (then I use a magnifying glass) and I can see and work on the computer just fine.

Right now I have excellent close-up vision that is about 20-20 at the near point, and with my glasses I am about 20-15 or so for distance. Also, if as I age my distance vision gets worse, I can get stronger glasses for the distance and keep driving.  So, if you don’t mind wearing glasses some of the time, you get the sharpest vision at two points with monofocal lenses plus glasses with both eyes set at the same distance (either near or far). If you have a lot of astigmatism, go with toric lenses, which are monofocal lenses with astigmatism correction.
If you go the nearsighted route, you might or might not be able to see the TV. Our TV is about 9 ft. away, and I can see if just fine. It’s not crisp and clear, but I don’t mind that. I can read most of the text on the screen, but not the program guide unless I’m feeling very, very relaxed at which time, the program guide comes in clear enough so that I can read it without leaning forward or walking a few steps closer. If it really bothers me, I can also put my glasses on to read the guide. Black and white and/or subtitled movies require that I wear my glasses.
Also, even though multifocal lenses are known for halos and flare at night, both my husband and I experience them with our monofocal lenses – which are supposed to be better about that. I had considered getting multifocal lenses because I really liked the idea of not needing glasses so much, but I’m glad I didn’t spend $9,000 for both eyes for multifocal lenses because not only would I have likely had more flare and halos than I have now with the monofocal lenses, but given that I have very small pupils, I would have probably always needed to wear glasses for driving at night.  It wouldn’t have been much of an improvement over what I have now and would have cost us a lot of additional money.

The Surgery

The surgery itself is nothing to be afraid of. They had me on a hospital bed under nice warm covers with a cap on my head. They give you drugs so that you don’t feel the surgery and are not aware of anything happening to your eye. You can hear the doctor if he or she says anything or asks you a question, and you can reply, but you don’t feel the surgery. You feel completely relaxed and content.

Cataract Surgery – My Story

An End to Alzheimer’s?

The most interesting book I read in 2016 is The End of Alzheimer’s: A Differential Diagnosis Toward a Cure, which you can get from Real Health Clinics, by Thomas J. Lewis, PhD and Clement L. Trempe, MD.

Note: Another book that was published in 2017 is  The End of Alzheimer’s: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline.  It is very worth the read.

The rest of this post provides a very high-level summary of the message in this 482 page book that is packed with research studies, advice, and other information. The real point is that there really is something you can do to keep yourself from getting Alzheimer’s, and if you already have it, there is plenty you can do to stop, reverse, or slow down the progression.

The tips for AD also apply to other similar diseases such as Parkinson’s, vascular dementia, and other forms of dementia.

  • When someone shows signs of Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), it is very important to understand the person’s overall health.
  • Some disease frequently occur at the same time or before AD, such as type 2 diabetes, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and cardiovascular disease.
  • Many conditions have the same symptoms as AD, but can be treated and cured such as head injury, acute infections, hydrocephalus, brain tumors, toxic exposure, metabolic disorders, and others.
  • Many diseases are related to AD or appear with it due to common risk factors and root causes.
  • Every AD patient has a different set of underlying health issues that can show up as an AD diagnosis.
  • Differential diagnosis is key to getting to the root cause of an individual’s symptoms. A differential diagnosis is the process used by doctors to differentiate between two or more conditions that share the same or similar signs or symptoms.
  • Treatments aimed at the underlying disease conditions can make the patient healthier and reduce or remove the symptoms of AD.

Beta Amyloids

The current thinking is that the accumulation of Beta Amyloids in the brain cause AD. However, drugs aimed at removing Beta Amyloids do not help patients with AD in any meaningful way.

More likely the presence of Beta Amyloids indicates that a deeper underlying health problem exists. Some researchers have concluded that our bodies produce Beta Amyloids as an immune response to hostile microorganisms.

In all likelihood, Beta Amyloids are one biomarker for AD among others.


Inflammation is the body’s first line of defense against toxins, infections, and injuries. Chronic inflammation is when the body’s inflammatory response goes on too long and causes damage to the heart, brain, and other organs and cause diseases like cardiovascular disease,  cancer, and Alzheimer’s Disease. smoking, obesity, chronic stress and drinking alcohol excessively can cause chronic inflammation.

Lifestyle imbalances create chronic inflammation, which causes diseases, and in turn more disease. Chronic inflammation weakens our immune systems. New research points to inflammation as playing a major role in AD, and suggests that targeting inflammation can help to prevent and even cure AD.

Cardiovascular Disease

Cardiovascular disease generally refers to conditions that involve narrowed or blocked blood vessels that can lead to a heart attack, chest pain (angina) or stroke. Other heart conditions, such as those that affect your heart’s muscle, valves or rhythm, also are considered forms of heart disease. 
                                                                                               — The Mayo Clinic

Cardiovascular disease reduces cerebral blood flow (CBF), which worsens the vascular stability of the brain. This can cause or worsen cognitive problems. Risk factors for cardiovascular disease such as high blood pressure and diabetes are also risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease.


Type 2Diabetes is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. Diabetes is a type of metabolic disorder that is now believed to be caused by inflammation. Insulin resistance in the brain triggers AD.

Many researchers have started referring to Alzheimer’s Disease as Type 3 diabetes because insulin deficiency and insulin resistance lead to a type of neurodegeneration that is common to AD.

Eye Diseases

The retina is an extension of the brain, and examining the eye can uncover the very early signs of changes in the brain – changes that can lead to Alzheimer’s Disease. Early diagnosis can lead to making appropriate lifestyle changes early enough to prevent or stop the progression of, or reverse the disease.

The following list of eye diseases shows how they are associated with chronic disease. This list is reproduced from The End of Alzheimer’s: A Differential Diagnosis Toward a Cure:

Nuclear cataract: Associated with increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Cortical cataract: Associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
Glaucoma: Now considered Alzheimer’s disease of the eye.
Macular degeneration: Those with this disease are at increased risk of both cardiovascular disease and Alzheimer’s.
Loss of visual acuity: Sudden or steady vision loss is associated with increased risk of all cause mortality.

Lifestyle Changes

You can start right away with the lifestyle changes listed below that can get chronic inflammation under control. Through diet and exercise, you can start to build up your immune system so you cure, reduce, or never get chronic inflammation.

!! You can also get in touch with RealHealth Clinics for testing and individually targeted advice for your particular situation.

  • Avoid high carbohydrate diets and increase essential fatty acids. See Top Ten Foods Highest in Carbohydrates. high carbohydrate foods are sugary cereals, crackers, cakes, flours, jams, preserves, bread products, refined potato products, and sugary drinks. Healthy high carbohydrate foods include vegetables, legumes (beans), whole grains, fruits, nuts, and yogurt.
  • Reduce high glycemic food intake: avoid sugar, and increase fat
  • Get anti-oxidents from green leafy vegetables, don’t supplement
  • Eat diverse foods that are fresh and have a lot of minerals and vitamins
  • Eat cheeses, cold water fish, fermented foods, yogurt, and a reasonable amount of salt (for iodine)
  • Make sure you are not Magnesium deficient
  • Make sure you get enough Vitamin D.
  • Increase essential fatty acids (EFA), which are the omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids found in plant foods. Omega-3’s reduce inflammation and Omega 6’s promote inflammation when eaten excessively. You need both, just be care not to eat an excess of the Omega -6’s.  See Top 10 Foods Highest in Omega 6 Fatty Acids.
  • Get periodontal disease under control.
  • Keep your gut bacteria in balance
  • Exercise regularly.
  • If you smoke, stop.
  • If you have high blood pressure, get it under control
  • Blood pressure lowering drugs reduce blood flow to brain, find out why you have high blood pressure and deal with the problem
  • Many studies indicate that elderly people with calcified and stiff vessels that a blood pressure of 150/95 is not a risk for AD, but probably helps get blood flow to the brain.
  • Don’t take proton-pump inhibitors
  • Don’t take statins — your brain needs cholesterol
An End to Alzheimer’s?

Yoga for Thinning Bones

Two years ago, I started on a journey to improve my bone density with yoga. The results are in, and yes, I did in fact improve my bone density. Following is the whole story.

Bone Density

Bone density is measured with a DEXA scan, which is an x-ray of certain areas of the bones in your body. Because osteoporosis and osteopenia progress slowly, these tests are usually done every 2 years for women 65 and oder and men 70 and older. At least that’s when the insurance starts paying for the scans unless there is a mitigating circumstance that causes a person under those ages to need the scan or to need it more often. If your insurance won’t pay, you can always get the scan and just pay for it. It’s not *that* expensive, and some places do it fairly cheaply.

My last DEXA scan was October 3, 2014, where I found out that I have osteopenia. Osteopenia is the precursor to Osteoporosis. It means your bones do not have “normal” density, but you are not quite bad enough to call it osteoporosis and end up having to take those awful drugs with terrible side effects (which I won’t take).

The “normal” density is between +1 and -1 on the DEXA T-scale. Normal is defined as the bone density of 30-year-old “healthy” white women. Right there, I would say the scale has flaws, because that normal is probably not normal for a naturally small woman, who might never have “normal” bone density on that scale. Smaller people don’t fall as far or take as much weight with them, so their naturally smaller bones might be just fine even if they don’t register as “normal” according to the standard DEXA scan.

First DEXA Scan

In 2014, my doctor ordered the DEXA scan for 2 areas: my lumbar spine and the femoral neck because these are the bones that carry most of the body’s weight. At that time my T scores were -1 (lumbar spine) and –2.3 (femoral neck). A diagnosis of osteoporosis starts at -2.5 so my femoral neck was very close to dropping into the osteoporosis diagnosis. Osteopenia starts at -1 so I was just starting to lose bone density in my lumbar spine.

That same week, I went to see my chiropractor who told me about a woman she knows who does yoga and has maintained her bones that way. When I went home, I searched the web and found Dr. Fishman who had been and continues to be conducting studies on how yoga can improve bone density. I got in touch with him and joined his Yoga for Osteoporosis study.

Second DEXA Scan Two Years Later

This time after 2 years of yoga, my T scores are .6 (lumbar spine, normal) and -2.1 (femoral neck, a little better). I was hoping for a better T score for my femoral neck, but improvement is improvement, and just means I should keep at it. The effects of the yoga are cumulative, and I could eventually over the years get that score to normal or close to it if I keep going with the yoga.

Bone Quality

There is also another measure called bone quality. I haven’t done anything with this, but Dr. Fishman says that bone quality is even more important than bone density. Thin, high quality bones are much less likely to break than “normal” bones that are brittle (poor quality). He has started studying this as well, and apparently, there is a way to measure it. He says that he is finding that yoga helps your body create high-quality bones. 

Hopefully, over these past 2 years my bones have also increased in quality! I’m not participating in the bone quality studies he’s doing.

The Yoga Poses

The osteoporosis study is with specific poses – a sequence he developed that works your spine. I don’t think that just doing a lot of yoga will have the same effect so it’s important to do the specific poses and to do them regularly (at least 4 times a week) and correctly by working with a teacher and attending classes.

I’m sure the first year (at least) of my setting out to improve my bones with yoga, I was not doing the poses correctly. I believe that’s true even though a friend and I paid for 2 private sessions with a yoga teacher (Jito Yumibe) at the Iyengar South Bay yoga studio. Jito got us on the right track, but it was when I started attending regular classes at the studio with Jito and later with Linda Bostrom that I really started to understand how the poses are supposed to be done, and how to get the maximum benefit from my practice at home. It’s something that just takes time and repetition to learn and continue to learn.

This past year (or so) of attending classes and applying what I was learning to my home practice is probably why my bones improved. I’m sure the first year was beneficial, but not as much. Perhaps over the next 2 years, I will see even more improvement in my femoral neck and maintain the improvement in my lumbar spine as I continue to improve and advance in my yoga practice.

More Information

See for more information about what Dr. Fishman is up to with yoga.

You can find out what the poses are, see study results, and watch a video of how to do the poses here:

Yoga for Thinning Bones