HERBS FOR HEALTH MANAGEMENT

Herbs are a foundational root in medicine and health treatments, dating back thousands of years throughout every culture around the world. Modern Western herbalism comes from ancient Egypt. The Greeks developed a comprehensive philosophy of herbal medicine by 100 BCE and the Romans built upon it to create a variety of medical practices, some of which are still used today.

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ALTERNATIVE MEDICINE IMPACTS PSYCHOLOGICAL HARDINESS

Psychological hardiness is an individual’s resistance to stress, anxiety and depression. It includes the ability to withstand grief and accept the loss of loved ones. Alternative medicine is a more popular term for health and wellness therapies that have typically not been part of conventional Western medical approaches but are often used along with conventional medicinal protocols.  Coping and dealing with stress in a positive manner play a major role in maintaining the balance needed for health and well-being.

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ALTERNATIVE REMEDIES FOR ANXIETY AND DEPRESSION

Interest in complimentary and alternative medicine (CAM) is increasing as consumers and health care professionals search for additional ways to treat anxiety, depression and other mental health disorders. Some of these remedies include:

St. John’s Wort.  More than 30 studies show it to be effective for treatment of mild forms of depression,…

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Remission is possible in certain cases, says Dr. Jennifer Larsen, a diplomate of the American College of Veterinary Nutrition and professor of clinical nutrition at the University of California Davis. “In cats, the loss of body fat can result in remission, while for dogs, improved control [of symptoms] is an important goal,” said Larsen. “Likewise, reversing inappropriate or unwanted weight loss in a thin dog or cat is also important.”



DIABETES AND YOUR PET


Cats

Diabetes in cats is thought to be an autoimmune disease, says Merck Animal Health. Most cats are older than 6 years when they develop diabetes. If you monitor your cat and it does not have any other health problems, it should be able to have a normal life expectancy. Some cats who start out with insulin-resistant type 2 diabetes can progress to insulin-deficient type 1 diabetes over time. Reducing total carb intake or adding fiber may help reduce the insulin dosage. For type 2 diabetes, insulin may be necessary to control hyperglycemia.


Dogs

Dogs are usually between ages 4 to 14 years old when diagnosed; most are diagnosed at about age 7 to 10 years. Diabetes occurs in female dogs twice as often as in male dogs. Certain dog breeds are predisposed to diabetes, according to PetMD and the American Veterinary Medical Association. A high-fiber diet is usually recommended. Avoiding snacks in between meals is important for dogs.

 


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WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOUR PET HAS DIABETES?

ANGELA S. HOOVER





Angela is a staff writer for Health & Wellness magazine.

Symptoms of diabetes in pets include excessive water drinking, increased urination, weight loss, decreased appetite, lethargy and poor coat condition. Keeping your pet’s blood sugar near normal levels and avoiding life- threatening levels that are too high or too low is the foundation for treating their diabetes. This will entail regular exams, blood and urine tests and watching your pet’s weight, appetite, drinking and urination. Your vet will likely prescribe insulin, but it can take some time to find the perfect dose. The dose may be adjusted periodically, based on results from monitoring. Insulin injections are given twice a day, usually with a meal. (Feed your pet at regular times to help keep blood sugar levels balanced.) Signs of insulin overdose include weakness, tremors or seizures and loss of appetite. Contact your vet or an emergency clinic immediately if you observe any of these signs.


High-fiber diets are beneficial for both cats and dogs with diabetes. Wet food is preferable as it is generally lower in carbohydrates. And just like for humans, daily exercise is recommended.


Your vet will monitor your pet for long-term complications such as cataracts, hind leg weakness due to low blood potassium, high blood pressure or lower urinary tract infections.

It’s estimated that one in 300 adult dogs and one in 230 cats in the United States have diabetes, according to Merck Animal Health. Diabetes can develop in cats and dogs of any age, although it is more common in older pets. There is no clear distinction between type 1 and type 2 diabetes in animals, says the American Veterinary Medical Association. Diabetes in cats and dogs is more fluid. Risk factors, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment are the same in both dogs and cats.


There is no single cause of diabetes in cats and dogs, but steroid medications can induce it, according to PetMD. Underlying conditions such as pituitary or adrenal disease, overactive thyroid gland in cats and overactive adrenal glands in dogs can contribute to the development of diabetes. Obesity can be a risk factor and/or significantly affect a pet’s response to diabetes treatment. Blood work and urinalysis will confirm which condition is afflicting your pet.


Managing your pet’s diabetes is very similar to that of humans. There are similar medications, equipment and monitoring methods. With proper monitoring, treatment, diet and exercise, your pet can lead long, healthy life. Left untreated, diabetes can lead to liver dysfunction and a life-threatening condition called ketoacidosis. Without aggressive treatment, diabetic ketoacidosis can cause brain swelling, kidney failure, pancreatitis and death.