Season Two: Episode Six

MARCH 28, 2021

This week I had an eye appointment for my new glasses. My eyes have gotten a little worse in the last three years. In the past year, I’ve been getting headaches from wearing my glasses so I knew I needed a new prescription. I’m glad I’m getting new ones.

My ophthalmologist said that the pressure in my eye is borderline high. I’m not sure how I can lower the pressure in my eye, but he said that’s the only problem he sees with my eyes right now, so I’m really glad that even though my diabetes still isn’t under control, it isn’t completely messing up my body yet.

On Friday, I had my appointment with my endocrinologist. Not very helpful. He wants to try and put me back on Ozempic. I told him that we were doing better financially but I don’t think we’re that great yet. I mean $800 per pen for only a month’s worth. Not sure how I feel about it but I said I would try. I’m not sure if he’s also giving me the fast-acting insulin too or if I’m even still going to be taking my Lantus with the Ozempic. I have to give his office a call this week to clarify my drug usage.

I’ve been feeling unwell the last couple of days. I haven’t been in to work much but I’m still working from home. I woke up with a sore throat a couple days ago and it went away, then the next morning it was worse and didn’t fully go away. Then this morning at 4:30 I woke up and couldn’t breathe or swallow and I was coughing. And I’m not going to lie to you, I thought I had COVID. I started crying and I couldn’t go back to sleep for a long while. But after sitting up for a while and drinking water, my cough got better and I was able to swallow a bit more.

My husband bought me cold and cough medicine when he came home from work and I took some and felt a lot better. I’m still coughing here and there but I can breathe. I’m still worried it’s COVID. We don’t have free COVID testing until Wednesday and that’s a bit too long to be out of work I think. But we’ll see what happens when I wake up in the morning on Monday, because apparently it happens while I’m asleep.

I’ll give you folks an update next Monday here on the blog or earlier on my Facebook page. I don’t know what’s going on with me, but if tomorrow I feel worse, I’m going to go to Urgent Care to see what the heck is up with my body. Wish me luck folks.

Why I Think Seeing a Dietician is Beneficial for Diabetics

Last year, I wrote a blog post about having your Diabetes Care Team and why it’s so important for you to choose the right people. Choosing the right people that support you and are helpful and sensitive to your current condition is so important. I’m part of a diabetes support group for women on Facebook and it’s always so sad seeing some women being mistreated by their doctors and wondering if what they’re doing is even right because their doctors make them feel dumb and inadequate. Having the right people by your side should NOT make you feel less than the amazing person you are.

Your Diabetes Care Team should consist of a Primary Care Physician (PCP), Endocrinologist, Certified Diabetes Educator, Opthalmologist, Podiatrist, Dentist, and a Registered Dietician. All of them specializing in fields that can help monitor and manage your diabetes.

Since I was diagnosed with Type 2 in February 2017, I have really slowly built my team. Like really slowly. I had my PCP who diagnosed me and started me on oral medication in hopes that by losing weight and eating better would naturally bring me back around,which it didn’t.

In 2018, I went to a diabetes education class with a diabetes educator. I learned a lot at that class and I’m really glad I went, but I don’t know if the lady that headed the class is still working there anymore. Also in 2018, I got my opthalmologist and podiatrist. They’ve been keeping an eye on how my diabetes has been affecting my eyes and feet, which so far has been good.

In 2019, I was referred to an endocrinologist who put me on insulin which I’ve been using ever since. My dose has gone way up to the point that he may have to prescribe me another insulin on top of that.

And finally in 2021, I got a dietician. My PCP was supposed to work it out for me but that never happened so I had to do it on my own. Thankfully I’ve been taking classes and other services from a local nonprofit that provides classes about diabetes, hypertension, and healthy eating among other subjects. They also work with dieticians and other specialists to bring their services to the Native Hawaiian population. I’m very grateful for their services.

Nonprofit organization that serves the Native Hawaiian health care system on Hawaii Island. They provide medical, behavioral health, and community education services.

Here’s why seeing a dietician is so important. Going to classes about healthy eating and diabetes will always go over what you should and shouldn’t eat. You can ask the instructor questions but you can’t have a conversation with them during class because there are others there as well. I suggest seeing a dietician so you can sit with them, one on one, and really get to the nitty gritty.

I saw my dietician for the first time yesterday and we talked about when I usually eat, what I ate in the last 24 hours, what my glucose reading was, what my concerns were, if there were any changes recently in appetite or anything really, and she gave me suggestions on what I could change. Talking to someone one on one is really getting the information to sink in better than during all of the classes I took.

I have to go back in and see her in a month to see if any of the changes I’ve implemented are working. The changes I’ve agreed to make are to eat brown rice instead of white rice, try whole grain bread instead of white bread, get more fiber in my diet is the big goal, try to incorporate more vegetables in to my diet, and continue to walk AT LEAST 15 mins for AT LEAST 3 days (the more the better).

I’m going to have to increase how many times a day I check my blood sugar which might now be about six times a day at least. I think my endocrinologist might also want me to check before and after I eat now too. But I’m willing to do this now more than ever! Why? Because I’m so close to breaking 200lbs! I haven’t been less than 200lbs since 2012. There was a short stint in 2019, but I gained it all back because of stress. I want to break 200lbs once and FOR ALL!

If you haven’t seen a dietician, I really suggest you do. They can come up with a menu of things you should eat more of as well as what kind of physical activity you can do to bring your blood sugar down. The one on one experience will also benefit you as well, I think.

I would love to hear your stories about your journey with diabetes. Feel free to submit your story. You can submit it anonymously if you want. I just really want to know that I’m not going through this alone, that others out there are going through similar experiences like I am.

Season Two: Episode Five

MARCH 15, 2021

I have my Endocrinologist appointment set for next week Friday. I just went and got my lab work done this past Saturday. I forgot how much I hate needles. It hurt like a bugger. I had to make an appointment with our lab to do my blood stuff and the whole night before my arm was so sore and I was freaking out about the needle. The morning of I was scared and my arm was sore.

I’m so glad that even though I freak out about needles, as long as I don’t look at it, I don’t flinch. Do you know how much more sore it would be if I flinched? My goodness that would be painful.

I have to wait a couple of days for my results to be available through my portal and I can see what my A1C is. I’m not looking forward to that at all. I’m sure it’s high, like over 9. I’m so upset at myself. Yes I’ve lost weight but I haven’t been watching what I’m eating and my sugar has been elevated. I was in a rush this morning and I forgot to take my blood sugar before I left the house.

I swear my diabetes management has gotten worse this past year. I need to exercise and eat better so I can get my blood sugar down and maybe I won’t need to take the second insulin, which thanks to the Stimulus check I will be able to afford for a short time. But I can’t keep paying for two insulins and I need to work on myself too.

I’m really scared of needles and I don’t want to take two insulins and inject like three times a day. I don’t like this at all. I’ll let you folks know how my appointment goes in a couple weeks. But I’m sure he’s going to prescribe the second insulin.

Season Two: Episode Two

JANUARY 10, 2021

I had my eye doctor appointment this past week. Turns out my eyes are okay. Thank goodness. I was a little worried when I took an eye test that gauged my peripheral vision. I could hardly see most of the lines with my left eye, but my doctor said I was nearly perfect which was good considering it was my first time doing that test. Though I do remember when I was a kid, I did something like it at my pediatrician’s doctor office. Gosh that was a memory from a million years ago, I still remember how the doctor office looked it never changed, and it actually still hasn’t changed to this day. The same doctor is there still practicing.

My gynecologist is the same doctor that delivered my sisters and I. It’s pretty crazy living in a small town. Hardly anything changes here, but when you really look, everything has changed.

I am currently making changes to my life. I think it’s been pretty positive so far. I have consciously made the decision to eat less rice. Before I would eat rice every meal of the day, but now it’s only once or twice a day, mostly once though. As I write this on Sunday night, I had a fruit salad for dinner because I had a pretty heavy breakfast, medium lunch, and I just didn’t feel like eating a lot for dinner so we went and got fruits. I wanted apples, but I ended up eating the fruit salad instead tonight.

This morning, I was the lightest I’ve been since May 2020. I weighed in at 207.9lbs. I’ve been plateaued at 212 for a long time and I’m really glad that cutting out rice has really made me feel lighter and less bloated. Sometimes I’m weak and eat a bunch of rice, but now I feel awful afterwards and completely regret it, so I’m learning a little at a time. I’m getting there.

I still haven’t contacted my endocrinologist. I’m going to get a raise at my job, so maybe that’ll be able to help pay for the second insulin, but really, I don’t think I can afford it. Oh and my pharmacist gave me a different needle from the one I’ve had and I HATE IT. It says it’s the same length as my other needle but that is a bull lie, it looks so much longer! When I inserted the needle in my thigh, I felt the whole thing and it kind of felt like it popped something when the whole needle went in, I don’t know how else to describe it. When I was injecting the insulin, I could feel every single click of the plunger as each unit went in and I HATED THAT MOST. It’s not been a good experience.

I’m working and studying to get my securities license. I’m trying to really work on my business and it’s going to be a long road, but I have to keep reminding myself why I’m doing it. The studying is like learning a whole new language but I’m excited about it.

My blood sugar still hasn’t been in range all that much lately, but I’m getting there. I wish I wasn’t diabetic. I wish I could have a child and a house of our own. I wish I wasn’t fat and I had an actual butt. Wishing can only get you so far. You have to put in the work and make your wishes come true. You can shout your wishes to the Universe, but YOU have to meet the Universe halfway. I’m trying to meet the Universe halfway and it’s a lot of work, but I have so much to fight for. I have to fight for it, no matter what.

The Journey: Episode Twenty-Seven

NOVEMBER 16, 2020

Well there isn’t really anything to update. A couple weeks ago, we bought an ice cream/rice scooper with the little wiper thing. Last night, I finally used it to help my portion control with my rice. Usually I pile the rice on however much I THINK I need, which is way too much. So last night I used my scoop and made two small scoops. They were small like I could put them in my hand and roll them into little rice balls. We had breakfast for dinner, eggs, bacon, and Portuguese sausage with rice. My two scoops were just the right amount! I am so upset by how much I have been overeating rice in my life. My blood sugar didn’t really reflect the lower amount of rice, but I’m sure in the long run it’ll start showing.

In Hawaii, it’s common for people to lose weight when they eat less rice or no rice at all. I’m definitely going to be eating a lot less rice, so we’ll see how much weight I lose, if any at all.

As of today, I’ve gotten two orders on my Etsy shop and I’m super excited that I’ve even gotten that much. My hopes of selling stickers and other merchandise to keep my blog running is working pretty okay right now. If I can sell four or five stickers, then I have enough to order a new sticker design or another batch of stickers so I’m really excited for that! I’ve saved enough that I can order one or two new designs to put up on the shop in the coming weeks. Since you’re my follower, you get to see what’s new first. You can also follow my Instagram and Facebook to see updates too!

My sister thinks I should make car decals. While I think that’s a great idea, I do have to find suppliers and keep it within budget. I do have plans to expand to pins and notebooks one day. If I do decide to do decals, I have a friend who makes decals on her cricut and I could maybe ask her to make a batch for me, that way I can keep things local and the money in Hawaii’s economy. That would be great. But we’ll see what happens. It’s only been a little over a week now and I’m doing okay so far.

I’m running low on Lantus prescriptions so I’d have to call my endocrinologist to renew my prescription for another year’s worth of insulin. 95 units seems to be where it’s at unfortunately. If I can bring my weight down and my blood sugar under control, then maybe I can lower my insulin dosage, but I haven’t been within range with 95 units enough times yet and I’m terrified to go up to 100 units. 95units already hurts a lot and I am not a fan of double injections on the same night.

In fact, my left thigh has still been sore recently so I’ve decided to do 20 injections in my right thigh for now. I’m making sure the last ten are staying at least one inch below the first ten and at least 1/4 inch away from each other. So far this arrangement has been working out as I just did injection 16 last night. I just hope that my left thigh will be okay for injections to start soon. It’s been really tender and sore to the touch on some places. The bruises have faded away but there are still bumps from old injections that still haven’t gone away yet. It’s pretty frustrating.

I’ve been pretty proud of myself. We still have a lot of Halloween candy in the house since October and I haven’t been going off on them like I thought I would. In fact, the most chocolate I ate in the past month was yesterday and it was because of my period and even then it was maybe 2 ounces of chocolate.

I’ve also decided to get back in to intermittent fasting as well. I already don’t eat after a certain time anyway so making it to 16 hours usually isn’t that difficult, but I want to make it a regular thing more often. I’m going to keep trying. Somehow I’ve had this sudden spurt of inspiration and determination that is propelling me forward with eating better and moving around more. I don’t know where it came from, but I want to jump on it and try to turn it in to good habits before I lose it, you know?

I guess I did have updates on my journey today. I’m really glad you’re sticking around. Your support is giving me the motivation to continue working on myself to be better. Suddenly sitting in front of a couple dozen people make being accountable all the more easier to do. Thank you so much for supporting me, especially through this pandemic. It’s been hard but I’m really glad that I’m doing this. It’s never too late to want to make yourself healthier.

History of Diabetes

This is a short history of diabetes. From the times of the Ancient Egypt, Greece, and Rome to modern day, diabetes has been present throughout our history.

Diabetes mellitus comes from the words diabetes (Greek) meaning siphon, to pass through, and mellitus (Latin) honeyed or sweet. This is a reference to the excess sugar found in the blood and urine of someone with diabetes. In the 17th century, diabetes was known as the ‘pissing evil’ because of the excessive urination and thirst.

It was first recorded in English in a medical text around 1425 though the symptoms of diabetes were recorded as far back as Ancient Egypt. In the Middle Ages, diabetes was believed to be a disease of the kidneys, but in the late 18th century they found it occurred in people who experienced an injury to the pancreas. Before proper research and treatment, when someone had symptoms of diabetes it was often thought as a death sentence as they would often die within weeks or months of symptoms appearing.

In 1889, Joseph von Mering and Oskar Minkowski discovered the role of the pancreas in diabetes through research with dogs. They would remove the pancreases of multiple dogs and observe the symptoms of diabetes develop in the dogs before they passed away.

In 1910, Sir Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer found that diabetes was a result from a lack of insulin.

In 1919, Dr. Frederick Allen introduced a therapy of strict dieting or starvation treatment as a way to manage diabetes, not unlike the treatments that were used by others in history.

In 1921, Sir Frederick Grant Banting and Charles Herbert Best repeated the work of von Mering and Minkowski. They also gave the diabetic dogs insulin extracts from healthy dogs and found the results to be in their favor. In 1922, they purified insulin from pancreases of cows and created an effective treatment for diabetes available. This earned them a Nobel Prize in 1923.

January 1922 saw the very first patient to receive insulin injections, a 14-year-old named Leonard Thompson. He lived another 13 years before he died of pneumonia at age 27.

In 1936, Sir Harold Percival Himsworth published his work about differentiating between type 1 and type 2 diabetes.

In 1982, the first biosynthetic human insulin, Humulin, was created that was identical in chemical structure to human insulin. It was mass produced and available globally.

In 1988, metabolic syndrome was discovered by Dr. Gerald Reaven. Metabolic syndrome is a group of risk factors that raises risk of heart disease, diabetes, stroke, and other health problems. Metabolic syndrome is a serious health condition. It is diagnosed when any three of the following five risk factors are present:
• High blood glucose (sugar)
• Low levels of HDL (“good”) cholesterol in the
blood
• High levels of triglycerides in the blood
• Large waist circumference or “apple-shaped” body
• High blood pressure

In the centuries that diabetes has been present in human history, we as humans have come so far. In Ancient Greece, they prescribed physical activity and a change in diet, just as we do today. Where they might only have lived weeks or months with their condition, now we can survive many years and thrive with diabetes.

Perhaps someday we can find a cure to diabetes instead of preventative measures. There are many organizations around today doing research in diabetes to find a cure. You can help donate to their efforts.

American Diabetes Association
Cures Within Reach
American Society of Nephrology


References

American Heart Association
News Medical: Life Sciences
Medical News Today


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The Journey: Episode Twenty-Six

NOVEMBER 8, 2020

Well nothing really good has happened. My endocrinologist has decided he can’t help me if I can’t afford my medication. Like thanks, man. I can barely afford my Lantus every two weeks and another insulin would be pushing it. I finally met the deductible for my health insurance this year and it only lasts until December 31, 2020 then my deductible starts all over again. I have to pay $6500 before they pay for anything. I’m not sure if my deductible will change next year.

So whenever I get a job and I’m able to pay for additional medication, he said I can give him a call and we can get started on another insulin. I’m hoping that I can get my blood sugar under better control before then so I won’t need it. I was doing so well with my blood sugar before and now it’s so out of control.

I suspect it started after my dog had a stroke and I was up most of the night and day keeping an eye on her to make sure she didn’t get hurt or crawl under the bed. Her condition didn’t improve and we had to put her down on October 27th and my blood sugar still hasn’t improved. I really miss her and her death hit me pretty hard. I’m getting better though and since I no longer have to take care of her, I can now apply for a job, but with coronavirus, they’re pretty slim pickings and I’m concerned for my own health with my compromised immune system.

All I can do right now is take care of myself. I need to make sure I eat healthier, sleep better, and exercise more. If I can find a job, we could hopefully move out of my grandma’s house and find a place of our own. I’ve been really stressed so I also need to better manage my stress. It’s all a bit much but I can do it. I am also taking an online hypertension management class offered through a local program. It’s only on Thursday night for three weeks but I’ve already learned a lot from the first class.

I am a little more motivated to work on my diet now. I am aiming for a low-fat, low-sodium, and low-carb diet to help manage my hypertension (high blood pressure) and diabetes. They are also going to sign me up for a nutrition class they offer and get me in contact with one of their dieticians. I haven’t been able to meet with one since my diagnosis three years ago so this will be great.

I am also going to make an effort to eat more fruits and veggies as well as exercise more. Just getting out of the house will do me good I think.

Other than that, I’m pretty much in a worse place than a couple months ago and there’s a lot of work I have to put in to get back to where I was and improve on that. Right now, I weigh about 211 pounds so I have a lot of work to lose 10% of my body weight, which is my goal.

Money is always going to be a problem for my husband and I right now during this pandemic and the only way to remedy it is for me to find a job. Until then, I am also selling stickers on my Etsy shop. It’s not much but it can help keep my blog running without using my own money.

I have three designs ready to print, I just need the money for them, which I’m saving up for. I’m also designing a couple more. I really like making the stickers. It’s a lot of fun. I am also thinking of making enamel or acrylic pins using the same designs. This is very exciting!

Diabetes Awareness Month

November is Diabetes Awareness Month and it is very important. Diabetes affects so much more people today than a century ago. As obesity affects more and more people each year, diabetes diagnoses are on the rise. I really hope that the information I share on my blog can help you better understand diabetes as well as inform you of some early signs of diabetes. The earlier your doctor can find your diabetes, the better your chances are of controlling and possibly reversing your diabetes.

This month, I want to help in the diabetes research advances and donate to their efforts.

11/8-11/14: American Diabetes Association
11/15-11/21: Cures Within Reach
11/22-11/28: American Society of Nephrology
11/29-12/5: Good Sports

I have launched my Etsy shop and I will be selling my stickers there. 10% of profits from each order will be donated to each organization at the end of each week. The minimum will be $20 whether I sell stickers or not that will come out of my own pocket but I do encourage you to check out my stickers and maybe make a purchase to help donate OR you can go to each organization and donate for yourself!

Also, November 14th is World Diabetes Day so stay tuned for more about that!

This month, we are wearing blue on Fridays in solidarity with diabetics around the world. I will publish another article about the significance of blue with diabetes. Until then, I encourage you to search on your own what diabetes awareness means to you and hopefully one day we can help bring a cure for diabetics everywhere.

The Journey: Episode Twenty-Three

SEPTEMBER 13, 2020

So I’m just waiting to get paid so I can get my new insulin. So far the Lantus is just barely working. I think the cinnamon tea really is helping. However, my dog’s health is in trouble and so I’ve had very little sleep in the last couple nights watching her and making sure she isn’t falling over. I’m so tired and I haven’t been able to eat anything that requires being away from her for too long so it’s not very healthy food the last couple of days and I know that it’s taking it’s toll on my diabetes. My blood sugar was high this morning from last night, 160 mg/dL.

I’m definitely not living the life right now. I’m also studying to take my SIE exam, hopefully next month. The SIE is a financial securities exam, it’s the entrance exam for the Series 6 and 63 that I need to take to become fully licensed and able to sell securities. It’s a bit difficult with all this new language to learn. But because of my dog’s health, I’ve put my studies on hold to take care of her.

I’m hoping that when I get securities licensed I can sign people up for retirement accounts and savings accounts so I can make some income that I can use to build up the Young and Diabetic’s sticker inventory. By the way, I’m still taking pre orders for my first 6 stickers. I decided to keep it open a little while longer. If you want to check them out or place an order, you can check out my Instagram page and DM me.

So I had the blood test a week ago and then on Thursday, I had my doctor appointment and thankfully, my high blood pressure the week before was stress related, not health related. My blood pressure was much better at my appointment. My doctor said my liver function was elevated, I’m still not sure what that means. If you know, can you comment below and help a girl out? I have no idea how bad that is, he made it sound like it was bad.

It feels like everything’s kind of coming apart in my life right now and I know everything will be okay but at the same time, I feel like I don’t want to keep doing this. I wish time could stop, everything could stop and I can catch my breath and prepare myself for what’s ahead. Time is moving way too fast right now and yet each second ticks by devastatingly slow. It’s confusing and frustrating all at once.

What are some things I can control?

I can control when and how I take a shower. If Waiemi watches our dog, I can take my time in the shower to take care of myself and today I felt like I needed it.

I can control how much water I drink. I haven’t been very thirsty lately and that’s a really good sign with my diabetes since diabetes can cause dry mouth.

That’s kind of all I feel like I can control in my life right now, but I’m working on this. Mental health is so important and I haven’t paid enough attention to my mental health and with my dog’s health being what it is now, I know I’m going to hit a low soon and I need to prepare myself for it. She’s been the sunlight of my life for the last 16 years. I’m turning 26 next month, she’s been with me for more than half of my life. It’ll break my heart when she’s gone but I know that the last year of her life, she could have been in a worse off place but my husband and I brought her with us when my mom moved and she’s been living a comfortable life for the last year. She’s my baby and I love her so much.

The Toll of Diabetes on Your Mouth

Diabetes can affect a lot of organs and systems in your body, I’m sure you know that. The nervous system, your kidneys and liver, your heart, even your immune system. But do you know the effects of diabetes on your mouth?

If your diabetes is left untreated, it can take a huge toll on your mouth.

  • You may have less saliva, causing your mouth to feel dry.
  • The absence of saliva puts you at a higher risk of tooth decay (cavities).
  • Gums may become inflamed and bleed often (gingivitis).
  • Problems tasting food.
  • Delayed wound healing.
  • Susceptible to infections inside of your mouth.
  • For children with diabetes, teeth may erupt at an earlier age than is typical.

Tooth decay (cavities) occurs when you ingest starchy and sugary foods and drinks. They interact with the bacteria in your mouth and create a sticky film known as plaque on your teeth. The acids in plaque attack the surfaces of your teeth (enamel and dentin) making it easier for bacteria to get within your teeth. This can lead to gum disease.

Early gum disease (gingivitis) occurs when plaque is not removed by brushing and flossing enough. The plaque hardens under your gumline into tartar (dental calculus). The longer the plaque and tartar remains on your teeth, the more they irritate the gums around the base of your teeth, called gingiva. In time, your gums become swollen and bleed easily.

Advanced gum disease (periodontitis) is when untreated gingivitis becomes worse and causes a more serious infection. Periodontitis destroys the soft tissue and bone that support your teeth. Eventually causing your gums and jawbone to pull away from your teeth, which causes your teeth to loosen and possibly fall out.

Periodontal disease is a chronic, inflammatory disease that can destroy your gums, all the tissue holding your teeth, and even your bones. It is the most common dental disease affecting those living with diabetes. People with diabetes are at a higher risk for gum problems because of poor blood sugar control. Serious gum disease may cause blood sugar to rise. This makes diabetes harder to control and makes you more susceptible to infections and are less able to fight the bacteria invading the gums.

To avoid gum disease, get on a Dental Health Action Plan. This includes:

  • Controlling your blood sugar levels. Change to a healthier diet, exercise more, and brush your teeth. Good blood sugar control will help your body fight any bacterial and fungal infections in your mouth and help relieve dry mouth caused by diabetes.
  • Avoid smoking.
  • If you wear any type of denture, clean it each day.
  • Make sure to brush twice a day with a soft brush and floss daily.
  • See your dentist for regular checkups.

Diabetes lowers the body’s ability to fight infection and slows the healing process making periodontitis a larger and dangerous possibility for diabetics.


REFERENCES

Mouth Healthy
Mayo Clinic