The Anonymous Widower

Vitamin D Problems

I found this post in the MedHelp web site.

Under a heading of Huge Problems With Vision, this is said.

Hi at all,
at first sorry for my english. – I´m from Germany and will try my best! I go diagnosesed with a low vitamin D level from 20 and I´m glad to found this forum because I never thought that all theses symptomse could be yust because of a low Vitamin D level. I´m taking 50.000 iU once a week since 3 weeks now. I have most of the symtomse the most of you have like,

– tick with the eye,
-consistently feeling dizzy, like I’ve shifted a couple of inches one direction or the other, without really moving at all – short on air.
-Muscle pain in both sides of the rib area,
-Problems swallowing,
-Joints in my feet and legs were very painful, making it very hard to walk up and down stairs
-Constant buzzing sensation on the souls of my feet now
– Cramps in my legs
– not sleeping well
– sweating during the night
– cant concentrate or even thinking
–  allmost dizzy all the time

What bothered me the most right know is my vision. I can´t drive or do my grocery anymore. I´m allmost at home now for over 2 month. Dos somebody else has problems with their vision too? Do you know how long i takes to get better?

They could be describing my problems.

After my stroke, I had my eyes tested and was banned from driving. As I’d been in hospital for a couple of months, I suspect my vitamin D levels were rock bottom.

January 10, 2017 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Vitamin D Deficiency And Atrial Fibrillation

I’ve just found a paper in the International Journal of Cardiology with this title.

As according to two cardiologists in Cambridge, the reason I had my stroke was atrial fibrillation, I should discuss this with a cardiologist.

I think my story goes something like this.

  • For some reason, I didn’t like the sun and kept out of it.
  • When I was diagnosed as a coeliac, I went gluten-free and didn’t get added Vitamin D in my food.
  • But C dragged me off to the sunnier climes, where now I can stay in the sun without problem.
  • When she died, I retreated into myself and didn’t go to the sun.
  • So did I get low vitamin D?
  • My GP thought so and I decided to drive around in my Lotus with the top down.
  • I eventually, had the stroke, I’d probably been just missing since C died.
  • Atrial fibrillation was diagnosed and it was said to have caused the stroke.
  • Warfarin has been prescribed to protect me!

I’ve added sun and vitamin D for good measure.

Until I can prove otherwise, my father who gave me coeliac disease, wasn’t so lucky and died of a stroke.

Did he have atrial fibrillation and low vitamin D?

May 24, 2016 Posted by | Health | , , | 2 Comments

The Properties Of Turmeric

I’ve often thought that curries seem to perk me up and I posted about it two years ago.

Now there’s this report from Germany, entitled Brain Repair May Be Boosted By Curry Spice. Here’s a flavour.

A spice commonly found in curries may boost the brain’s ability to heal itself, according to a report in the journal Stem Cell Research and Therapy.

The German study suggests a compound found in turmeric could encourage the growth of nerve cells thought to be part of the brain’s repair kit.

I think, I’m off for a curry tonight!

September 27, 2014 Posted by | Food, Health, World | | Leave a comment

Centralised Stroke Care Is Good For You

I had what some doctors have described as a serious stroke, although I think it might not have been that severe, although it did leave me with damaged eyesight.

I had the stroke in Hong Kong and within about an hour, I was in hospital receiving the special clot busting drug.

But if I’d had that stroke in London, I would have probably had that drug in the ambulance and I would have been in hospital within thirty minutes.

In common with Manchester, London has centralised stroke care in what are called hyperacute stroke units or HASUs.  And according to research published in the BMJ, they work well and save lives and money for the NHS. Read all about the system in the Guardian. The article finishes like this.

So what’s stopping this system from being rolled out in other metropolitan areas? It’s a question that Morris’s collaborators are seeking to answer, by studying the potential barriers and facilitators of country-wide stroke unit reconfiguration. Morris himself wants to look at the cost-effectiveness of the exercise: does the improvement in care and reduction in hospital (and hospice) stays make the reconfiguration worthwhile?

There are a few hundred people alive today who would undoubtedly answer “yes”.

My life may not have been saved by a HASU, but I did have similar care.

Admittedly, not every hospital could have a HASU, but most metropolitan areas could and should.

If you take where I used to live near Cambridge, and you draw a thirty-minute ambulance ride area around Addenbrookes hospital, you would enclose about 300,000 people. So it is not just the large metropolitan areas that would benefit.

Everyone possible, should be within range of a HASU.

August 8, 2014 Posted by | Health, News | , | 1 Comment

A Rubbish Bag Failure

I had a rare rubbish bag failure this morning.

A Rubbish Bag Failure

A Rubbish Bag Failure

Despite my stroke, I seem to drop things rarely, but this was caused by a carton of chicken stock, that wasn’t fit for purpose.

September 23, 2013 Posted by | Health, World | , | Leave a comment

I’m Finally Feeling Better

The rain yesterday seemed to get into my body and for the first time since probably last September, I’m starting to feel better and my nose has almost stopped running with its chronic rhinitis. My gut, which hasn’t been of the best since my stroke, has now returned to good health and any gastro-enterologist would hate all his patients to have such a healthy one.

So my left hand is still a bit gammy, but then it always has been since my arm was broken by the school bully. I can use it for the shift key as I type, but in most instances, I just span with my right. The only thing, I have done a lot with the left is fly an aircraft and ride a bike. Perhaps I should do both of these again?

My skin still itches and my scalp is tight from getting too dry over the winter, but a few days in the rain without a hat will help to cure that.  Thinking about it, I’ve always liked being in the rain and rarely used to carry an umbrella.  C used to think I was mad sometimes. I once joked to her, that I was short because I spent too much time in the rain.

But I’m getting there and I think more and more, that a lot of my troubles were caused by changes I made on the death of C, like the duvet and extra radiators I put in at the previous house, and the very dry atmosphere I have lived in since the stroke. In Hong Kong, the hospital had large picture windows, where the sun streamed through and guess what, it is the same in this house.  The air has been particularly dry outside all last winter and only now is it getting more humid.

Quite a few of my eye problems have gone away too, although I still have the left lower vision loss from the stroke.  My eyes are at last getting wetter more of the time. i think I could probably get my driving licence back! But why bother?

I shall make sure I don’t repeat drying myself out!

August 25, 2013 Posted by | Health | , | Leave a comment

Conclusions From Self Testing My INR Daily

Tomorrow, it will be eleven weeks since I started self testing my INR on a daily basis. The results are here.

I should say that after I had my stroke, an eminent cardiologist said that if I got my Warfarin right, I wouldn’t have another stroke.

So can I come to any conclusions from the tests I have been taking?

I did miss one day early on, but otherwise I’ve taken the test successfully on a daily basis.

I’ve now developed a daily routine in the morning, where I do my stretching and exercises after checking my computer, then have a shower and breakfast, before doing the washing-up by hand, which warms my hands.  I then take the test and only rarely do I fail first time and need a second strip.

So the first conclusion, is develop a routine for when you do your tests, that suits your personality and lifestyle.

One thing that you notice from the tests, is that there is quite a large variation between days.  A change of 0.5 in the INR, either up or down is not uncommon. This is not a problem, but it could with some people worry them and then they might start to chase their target INR, by constantly changing the dose.

Hot days incidentally, do seem to try to force the INR upwards and although you won’t find this on the Internet, a medical professional has told me that it happens.

I use a very simple manual algorithm, based on my training and experience as a Control Engineer. I know from when I was living in Suffolk, that a Warfarin level of 4 mg. a day is about right to meet my target of 2.5.  So I use a simple algorithm, summarised as follows.

INR less than or equal to 2.2, take 5 mg.

INR higher than or equal to 2.8, take 3 mg.

INR between 2.2 and 2,8, take 4 mg.

So how has my INR behaved?

If I look at the average value of the last 28 days, it is 2.56 and this rolling 28 day average has been within 0.1 of 2.5 for the last seven weeks. I couldn’t calculate it before, as I didn’t have enough data. An interesting figure is that the standard deviation of the readings is about 0.3. Effectively this says that nearly all of the readings are within 2.2 and 2.8, which is within my target range of between 2 and 3.

So as the patient, I think I could safely say that my simple algorithm works.

But perhaps what is most interesting is that the 28 day average for the dose I’m taking is around 3.8 mg. So rounding this to the nearest tablets, that means if I can’t take a reading for some reason, then I should take 4 mg.

So I can conclude that the daily testing has given me a very sensible daily dose, which is virtually the same, as I took, when the tests were done by nurses, hospitals and laboratories, at great expense to the NHS.

So should all those going on Warfarin be assessed to see, if they could self-test their INR levels?

I believe they should!  And it’s not just me!

An organisation called the Anticoagulation Self-Monitoring Alliance is pushing for more self testing. Be cynical if you like, but it is part-funded by Roche, who make the self testing meters.

On the other hand, how many diabetics test their blood sugar levels regularly and have a better lifestyle because of it?


August 2, 2013 Posted by | Health | , , | Leave a comment

Thoughts On My Left Arm

My left arm isn’t good and it has never been since the humerus was broken by the school bully. My son asked me why I don’t floss my teeth and I think the answer is that my left hand can’t do it.  After all, the only thing it’s done successfully with it, is fly an aircraft. A friend told me, that when she met me, she was surprised at the way I typed. I also always used to sit in the cinema or theatre with C to my right, so as that was for forty years, I’ve probably protected that arm all the time. One eminent doctor, said I was suffering from neglect syndrome, which is generally stroke-related.  But I’ve avoided using my left arm for years and I’m very right-handed. Even playing tennis, I tend to run round my backhand and if I ever do a backhand it is two-handed.

I can remember going back to around twenty and when I drove my old Morris Minor, I’d often do the gear-changing without using the clutch. Did this mean that my left arm didn’t have to apply so much pressure?

June 21, 2013 Posted by | Health | | Leave a comment

Are There Indirect Consequences Of Bereavement Or Divorce?

Yesterday, I met someone, who has divorced after a fairly long marriage.  I’m not sure how long ago it was, but they did move house  in the last year.

I first noticed their nails and they appeared to be short and brittle just like mine below. They also had similar bumps to those I have on my index finger.

My Left Hand

My Left Hand

On questioning, they revealed that they lived in a south-facing flat, although it doesn’t have under-floor central heating, like my house.

So are they living in a hot, dry atmosphere, like I have for a lot of the time, since I moved into this house? There is only one way to find out and that is buy one of these.

Maplin Hygro-Thermometer

Maplin Hygro-Thermometer

I got mine from Maplin. Click here for details.

Since the begining of January, I’ve kept the temperature most of the time in the range of 19-21 °C, with the humidity as high as possible. Admittedly, it’s a bit hotter this morning, but then the sun is on and both the heating and air-conditioning are off.

The consequences for my gut have been dramatic. Ever since my stroke in 2010, my gut has been lively, which an expert neurologist said was strange, as if stroke sufferers have a problem it’s usually constipation. For a long time, I thought I’d been glutened in hospital.

Now I was married for forty years and my lunch companion had probably been married for a long time, although they had got divorced.  So the nails and the hands got me thinking.

Could it be, that when you are living with someone, you get into habits and a pattern of living? C and myself, were a couple, who did things together, but she was very definite in what she wanted. She always slept on the same side of the bed, kept the temperature of her car at a precise 22.5 °C and always liked to eat at particular times. She also was the first to complain, if the inside of a house or hotel room was too hot, and I would be told to do something about it.

I was happy to live at her temperature, but she always complained that my office or car was too hot.

After she died, I decided to warm the house up.  I changed radiators and also switched from blankets to duvets in a quest for more warmth.

Unfortunately, I didn’t do any before and after measurements, but it was about this time that my rhinitis or as I thought at the time, hay fever, started.

This rhinitis got very much worse after the stroke in Hong Kong.  My hospital room, had a big picture window and the sun streamed through.  Could it have been very hot and dry?

When I moved to this house, it was very hot and I started to feel unwell and even thought the house was trying to kill me.

I have now got air-conditioning and control the temperature and humidity as tight as I can. But all of this does illustrate the chain of events from C’s tragic death, that ruined my health.

There may also be other factors, that come in on either bereavement or divorce, or even just moving house.

I hate gas cookers with a passion, as I don’t like naked flames anywhere, but others won’t cook on anything else. C and I, were both very happy with an AGA.

I don’t like draughts either and generally keep the windows shut and go for a walk if I want fresh air. After a bereavement or divorce, you may have a tedency to shut yourself away, so perhaps acquiring a dog that needs to be walked is maybe a good idea. I haven’t gone for the dog, but I do walk quite a bit.

How many women after a divorce, go from a comfortable air-conditioned car to an affordable hatchback, as the settlement is not in their favour?

There are obviously other factors, and if anybody has any ideas, I’d be pleased to hear them.

But I always remember a story of a couple, who moved a mile or so from their new sealed house, with fitted carpets in the town centre, to a country cottage with stone floors and ill-fitting windows.  Their son’s asthma disappeared after the move.

So are there any scientific papers on the effects of temperature and humidity on health.

I found this paper from Harvard, entitled Hospital admissions for heart disease: the effects of temperature and humidity. Read the summary. It seems to indicate, that in their specific study, temperature was important, but humidity wasn’t.

My only advice would be to get yourself, one of Maplin’s meters, so that you know your preferred temperature and humidity.

May 12, 2013 Posted by | Health, World | , , , | 2 Comments

How To Cut Strokes

I like to think, I’m more or less following what is said in this story. Here’s an extract.

Increasing potassium in our diets as well as cutting down on salt will reduce blood pressure levels and the risk of stroke, research in the British Medical Journal suggests.

One study review found that eating an extra two to three servings of fruit or vegetables per day – which are high in potassium – was beneficial.

Funnily enough though, I’ve never really liked salt on my food.  Perhaps, it was because my late mother-in-law used it so liberally, but I think the preference goes back further than that.

In some ways though, the older I get, the more I believe that a gluten-free diet is good for you. I suppose Novak Djokovitch would agree!

April 5, 2013 Posted by | Food, Health | , | Leave a comment