Tag Archive | Health

I Have Lupus: Should My Child Be Tested?

To test or not to test? Here are several reasons that research doesn’t support testing of all children born to mothers with lupus.

Approximately 25 % of children who have mothers with lupus will test positive for ANA (antinuclear antibodies). But, most of these 25% NEVER develop lupus. Just imagine the unnecessary lifetime of anxiety that these children and their parents would face if they tested positive-and then never developed lupus.

The opposite can be also be true. If children born to mothers with lupus tested ANA negative, they and their parents might develop a false sense of security about not developing lupus. The fact is, they can become ANA positive at any time in their lives. This could cause them to completely ignore symptoms.

Possibly, the better way to deal with the testing concern is for these children to learn the symptoms of lupus and also learn what the common triggers are. If a child is strongly enough genetically predisposed to the developing lupus, keeping the child in a ‘bubble’ isn’t going to prevent the onset of lupus. But knowing environmental triggers can give new meaning to ‘forwarned is forearmed.’

  • They ought to be urged to avoid unnecessary treatment with antibiotics, particularly those with Sulfa or Penicillin bases (like Bactrim™ or Septra or Penicillins)

  • They should be taught to wear sunscreen, in all seasons.

  • Speaking of sunscreens, they should never use tanning booths and should minimize direct exposure to the sun

  • Their diets should be right in Omega-3 fatty acids

  • After testing that their vitamin D levels aren’t high, they should take daily supplements of this vitamin because of the essential role that Vitamin D plays in immune and bone health, as well as in the cell itself.

  • exposure to ultraviolet light (UVA and UVB)

  • avoidance of certain medications (Drug-induced lupus) like estrogens (in the presence of antiphosphoiipid antibody syndrome), Apresoline, procainamide (often used for irregular heart rhythms), and isoniazid (used often for treatment of tuberculosis

  • cigarette smoking is hard enough on a pregnancy, but for a person with lupus who may have antiphospholipid syndrome, the pregnancy has greater risk.







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What causes lupus?

Many scientists, but not all, believe that lupus is the result of a combination of factors within the body (internal triggers -meeting factors outside the body (external triggers). One of those internal factors/agents might be a hormone. An example might be an individual with elevated hormone levels (internal agent) who encounters any number of environmental triggers.

These same scientists have not identified a specific environmental trigger, but their theory seems plausible and from where I sit, possible. Assuming hormones are one of those internal agents, they can make an individual more susceptible to developing lupus, particularly the hormone, estrogen. Both men and women have hormones, but they are present with more regularity in women.

If this hormonal theory is correct, is it any wonder, then, that more women than men (90%) develop lupus? It has also been seen that before and during their menstrual cycles (when estrogen production is higher). This also occurs in pregnancy. But, this cause/effect theory is hard to prove, because there are many women with lupus who take birth control pills (heavy with estrogen), or other forms of estrogens and they don’t see an increase in their lupus symptoms-or many don’t have lupus, at all.

There is no specific gene that one can test for that is a predictor of lupus; but lupus can run in families. A genetic link with environmental factors has some thinking; when fraternal twins are raised in the same environment, only one may develop lupus. But if the twins are identical, there is a much greater chance (about 25%) of lupus developing.

So what of environmental triggers? As discussed earlier, it is hypothesized that susceptible individuals need to be confronted with environmental triggers before lupus develops. What might some of these environmental triggers be? They can be ultraviolet rays from sun and even fluorescent light bulbs. medications which cause sun sensitivity (like tetracycline), sulfa drugs (Bactrim and others), penicillin or some other penicillin-based antibiotics, stresses on the body (physical and emotional) or pregnancy.

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How Can I Learn to Accept My Lupus?

Once a patient learns he has lupus, possibly the next question that arises is how to make a living with lupus. A diagnosis of lupus stays with you for the rest of your life. That is the reason that figuring out how to live with lupus includes making a few changes-physical, emotional, otherworldly and possibly spiritual-inside your family, at work and inside your social circles. As a rule, these changes will change how you see yourself.

It is vital to understand the critical distinction between seeing yourself as a person who happens to have a chronic disease and seeing yourself as a person who is defined by being a chronically ill individual whose ‘lot in life’ is to be sick. I’m here to help you learn to see yourself as that individual who happens to have a chronic illness.

What do I need to do to continue working with lupus?

Whether you were newly diagnosed with lupus or are a long time lupus patient there are some vital points to remember that are critical for your overall well being. Besides, establishing a good relationship with your doctor and having a support from your family and understanding the basics of the disease very well. These are some important tips to towards a happier life with lupus.

  • Maintain a Positive Attitude

Having a positive outlook and forward thinking are perhaps the two biggest steps towards living as happily as possible with lupus.. Your attitude plays a key role in your symptoms because stress, anxiety and negative thoughts impact your overall state of wellness. Choosing a positive attitude and making a commitment to enhance the quality of your life will ultimately lead you to cope up with the daily and ongoing challenges of living with lupus.

Sometimes maintaining that positive attitude is hard, very hard and seems to be impossible, but this is why it is important that you build into your life a support system; this system may include your church, friends and loved ones who understand what lupus is, if only marginally, and how lupus affects what you do and prevents your from doing the things that you used to love to do. They should also understand how not being able to do those things affects you. Equally as important is to understand that as of now, there is no known cure for lupus and that learning to live and cope with lupus and its challenges needs to be part of your lifestyle.

  • Maintain a Healthy Relationship With Your Doctor

Since Lupus is an ongoing, chronic disease you will be spending a great amount of time with your doctor over the years. Learn to make it quality time. It’s also very important to develop an honest relationship with your doctor and develop an ability to discuss each and every issue related to lupus. It is also very important to visit your doctor regularly and follow the medication regimen he or she prescribes; as well has have all the blood and lab tests he deems necessary, on regular basis.

  • Develop Strong Relationship With Employers, Coworkers and Family Members

A strong and reliable support network is important when dealing with lupus. Teaching family, loved ones, employers, coworkers and those closest to you what lupus is, will make them to understand the disease well and what you are going through. This will help them to extend their support and love towards you. They will then understand that you have ‘good’ days and ‘bad’ days and that you can be counted on to ‘give more than your all’ on ‘good’ days.

A strong and reliable support network is important when dealing with lupus. Ssupport group and online networking with other lupus patients will help you to reach out and share the information and inspire each other. Teaching family, loved ones, employers, coworkers and those closest to you what lupus is, will make them to understand the disease well and what you are going through. This will help them to extend their support and love towards you. They will then understand that you have ‘good’ days and ‘bad’ days and you will give more than your all on ‘good’ days. And also, support group and online networking with other lupus patients will help you to reach out and share the information and inspire each other.

  • Take An Active Role to Remain Healthy

Lupus patients need to take an active role to remain healthy throughout their life. One of the best approaches is to keep a diary of how your body feels. Paying close attention to your body, symptoms you may experience and documenting those symptoms is an important way to determine which medications work better for you and what trigger your symptoms.

  •  Include Exercise In Your Daily Routine

Exercising/working out is an essential part to make a happy living with Lupus. Talk to your doctor to the safest exercise options and include them in your daily routine, but some form of exercise is a must. See about including walking, yoga or Pilates are any kind of exercise, which improves your muscle strength and decreases stress.

  • Follow Precautions While You Are In The Sun

It’s best to develop the habit of applying sunscreen while you outside and reapply it for every 2-3 hours while you are in the sun. And also wear a wide brimmed hat to protect your face and neck. It has even been suggested that sunscreen should be worn indoors, too.

Obviously no one wants to have a chronic disease with no current cure. But today people who have lupus are living longer and can set attainable goals. But, ge kind to yourself and know that you are not alone and don’t set unattainable goals. Work closely with your doctors for a wellness plan and reach out to those who love you and stay motived and positive. And if in the case of any emergency please make sure to have an EHIC card with you for a medical treatment if you don’t live in the US.

~Ruby Andrew lives in Bristol, UK and is an avid reader and blogger. Since her early years she’s had a passion for writing. Her areas of interest are food, reviews (Book/Movie), Travel, Fashion, Lifestyle,Fitness and Wellness. She works as a guest blogger on her chosen areas of interest and currently writes on behalf of EHIC Card.

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Manage chronic illnesses before they manage us!

Some of us have the dubious luck (?) of having several chronic illnesses. The following post is a guest article addressing life with chronic illnesses. Written by Larry Berkelhammer PhD, we learn what Dr. Berkelmmer learned as he lived much of his life with mysterious chronic illnesses and finally was told, after much testing, that all was not in his head. Now he‘practice what he preaches’ as a psychotherapist.
He has a complete channel of videos on YouTube, which I found incredibly enlightening, at http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLl4I8NebrOvzpF77YSyKHgS-Vv_ISk7VH and d his website is at: http://www.larryberkelhammer.com

Giving and Receiving Improve Health and Wellbeing

By Larry Berkelhammer, PhD

 The helpless victim mentality

In all my years of working with people who were living with chronic, debilitating medical conditions, the single most significant problem I observed was the longer someone had been in the system and being cared for by various healthcare providers, the more likely they were to have adopted a passive, helpless, victim mentality. Even the term patient implies passivity. My goal has always been to empower those that are seeking help to become proactive in their self-care and in their lives in general.


For those of us who need to spend considerably more time than the average person going to medical appointments and engaging in self-care, it is easy to become somewhat self-absorbed. One of the things I learned was that the more self-absorbed we are, the worse our health outcomes, and that the more engaged we are with others, the better our health outcomes. The opposite of self-absorption, which is curiosity and open-heartedness toward others, correlates with better health outcomes.

How can I help?

The most common question asked of me in my talks and in the Q&A column on my website is some version of: How can I get my family member or friend to become proactive and to practice better self-care?

My answer starts with identifying personal life values and goals and then acting in harmony with those values and goals.

However, I have found the very best solution to be: Find an opportunity for your loved one to help others. The act of serving others is very empowering and contributes to a sense of mastery and wellbeing. It may sound strange, but for some people it can be hard to become proactive in managing their own health until they begin to help others. This is most likely the result of greater valuing of oneself when helping others. In other words, when people have low self-esteem they may not be proactive because they don’t think they are worthy of that kind of attention and care. Simple daily acts to help others can make enough of a difference to their self-esteem to catalyze a proactive approach to self-managing their lives.

Two essential practices to improve health and wellbeing

In my thorough literature reviews and years of working with people living with chronic health challenges I left no stone unturned in order to uncover the variables that contribute to improved health, beyond the usual suspects such as diet, exercise, sleep, and stress management. I discovered two things that consistently correlated with better health and wellbeing. After controlling for confounding variables, research clearly pointed to the importance of the following two variables:

  • Social support
  • Meaning and purpose.

Social support can take many forms, such as family, friends, support groups, group therapy, co-workers, volunteer projects, and relationships involving a shared professional or recreational interest.

Meaning and purpose can come from performing any activity that provides us with a sense of accomplishment. It can be found by working toward personal goals or living in harmony with personal values. It can even be found by redefining undesirable external circumstances that we are powerless to change.

Serving others in some capacity seems to help us to meet our needs for social support as well as meaning and purpose. Considerable research has found strong associations between altruism and health. Altruistic acts help us to feel better about ourselves and about life in general. Those acts tend to give our lives meaning and purpose. When we do volunteer work within our communities, social support is one of our rewards.

Being part of something larger than ourselves

The meaning and purpose and social support that we receive from performing altruistic acts in turn contribute to decreased suffering from chronic symptoms such as pain, fatigue, and malaise. One reason is that helping others takes our minds off our own complaints. Another reason is that helping others leads to feeling better about ourselves, which then serves to reduce emotional distress and its concomitant physiological stress. Still another reason is due to the resulting improved self-care, which results from the improved self-esteem.

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Lupus and Holism

LUPUS NOVICE: Toward Self Healing (via http://www.73575.com)

Recommended by Andrew Weil in Natural Health, Natural Medicine, Lupus Novice gives a moving account of the author’s successful struggle with “incurable” SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus), affecting mostly women. Ms. Chester shares the personal discoveries behind her recovery, and a meditation…

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Possible downsides of HCG in weight loss?

Those of us with lupus or other chronic illnesses, have seen claims for ‘ cure-alls,’ or claims like “THIS POTION WILL HELP YOUR SYMPTOMS..” Others have fallen hook, line and sinker, for the “THIS WILL CURE YOUR DISEASE. Dr. Lederman, has written an article dispelling several myths about the claim that HCG is the ‘cure-all’ for wieght loss.

Why do I include this in my lupus blog? Because those with lupus,. there is a need to exercise, a need for daily exercise. That is a tall order considering that in many autoimmune diseases, the sheer act of getting out of bed is painful But the need to exercise is REAL. Following, is a guest article about some pros and cons of the use of HCG (Human Chorionic Gonadotropin)

HCG for jaw dropping quick Weight Loss: Fact or Fiction?

“Despite severe criticism from FDA and the media, neither the makers or the users of HCG are deterred. Ads like-‘30 pounds in 30 days’,‘Lose an inch everyday’,‘45 days to a flat belly’ may sound outlandish, but the popularity of Human Chorionic Gonadotropin a.k.a HCG isn’t plunging one bit.

HCG, a hormone secreted by women during pregnancy was actually discovered in the 1950’s by Dr. Albert T. W. Simeons, an English Endocrinologist.

Let’s explore why it’s criticized, why it’s believed in and why it loves to court controversy.

Deciphering the Elusive Medicine

Usage of HCG involves an intake of 500 calories per day, followed by HCG injections, serum drops or pills. The rest of the calories are squeezed out of the stored fat in your body without letting your muscle mass getting the wind of it. So, after HCG’s consumption your blood doesn’t signal your brain about the hunger as you don’t feel it.

But quite intriguingly, if you take HCG out of the equation, a low-cal diet such as this would leave you famished. And that’s the bone of contention- as skeptics say it suppresses your appetite which can be devastating for your body.

Whereas HCG experts argue that weight loss is brought into effect only by adjusting or resetting your metabolism.

What’s the danger?

There’re no quick answers.

Scientific researches say that HCG puts your body in a starvation state, which is harmful in any case. Some of the common conditions the body can face-:



  • Bloating (mild, moderate or severe)
  • Severe Stomach or Abdominal pain
  • Bloating
  • Difficulty in Breathing
  • Decreased amount of urine
  • Vomiting, nausea or diarrhea (continuing or severe)
  • Indigestion
  • Severe Pelvic pain
  • Swelling of feet or lower legs


  • Acne, Flushing of skin, rashes
  • Welts or Hives
  • Difficult or labored breathing
  • Slurred speech
  • Large, hive-like swelling on tongue, throat, face, eyelids, legs, feet, hands,  lips, vital organs
  • Sudden severe headache
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Sudden severe weakness or numbness in legs or arms

Apart from the above, gallstone formation, irregular heartbeat, electrolyte imbalance, even blood clots can happen. However, it’s also true that no lethal harm has been detected till now. That’s because studies are still going on to fathom what HCG can do to the body.

So, if people don’t care about how they lose weight at such an incredible speed, and don’t even realize how unhealthy they can become in the process, they’re treading a risky path.

HCG- The eye of the storm

If you’re on HCG or are planning to take it, you must be knowing that its usage is unquestionably questionable .

In fact, it was FDA’s disapproval that has led more fuel to the fire. Even renowned doctors are heard saying- it’s too good to be true.

But be that as it may, there aren’t just detractors but endorsers of HCG too. And not just its users but opinion makers like Doctor OZ– the popular television host, Cardiothoracic surgeon and author who says- HCG makes him curious .

 Wrapping up

The statistics of  obesity in North America especially in the US are not just uninspiring but worrisome. It is found that two-third of the average American adults are always on some sort of diet. Besides there’s an awful lot of money that’s spent on ineffectual dieting products. HCG too is quite a costly remedy for weight loss and should only be consumed under a medical practitioner’s supervision.

So not only health, even from an expense point of view, use HCG on your own peril.”

Dr. Michael Lederman, N.D., is a licensed Naturopathic physician in British Columbia. Since 1999, Dr. Lederman, has been practicing as a primary health care physician offering individualized treatment programs for patients of all ages. Dr. Lederman merges safe and effective natural therapies with current advances in modern medicine. You can reach him at: info@drlederman.com



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Lupus and “Les Miserables?”

“There’s a grief that can’t be spoken, there’s a pain goes on and on…” Those words from a song in the musical/play/movie, “Les Miserables” resonated with me this morning. In 30 seconds I made a decision which will likely change the way I experience life.

What was this decision? Well, it revolves around how I experience losses. The decision I made was to feel the loss and the grief; without allowing them to penetrate everything I do for the rest of my life.

For example, because of my illness, I am no longer able to be as active as I used to be,  and too often I sit in a chair too sedentary for my own health. Rather than realize that fact that there is little I can do to walk and be more active, I’ve started spending time thinking of ways to overcome my too sedentary lifestyle. I need some exercise to tone my muscles and heart ad lungs.  You’d be amazed at how much exercise can be had in a seated position in a chair with cans of soup and bands!

In my new life, there’s no room for toxic emotions, like anger. They only pave the the way for permanent feelings of self-pity. Many of you have heard me say that self pity and getting on our ‘pity-pot’ is alright. It is, but we need to give sitting on out ‘pity-pot’ a  ‘statute of limitations. We do need to grieve our losses, then get off the pity-pot and move forward; realizing that just because we grieved our losses, the sadness, the ache can be with us for our whole lives.

After forty-five years of fighting, ‘tooth and nail,’ refusing to accept the losses that each chronic illness has brought, I finally decided to accept them. It may have been kicking and screaming, fighting tooth and nail; but I accepted. I made the choice to accept my losses and play the hand I was dealt. Inside, I felt so much peace when I decided to stop digging in my heels. And just think; this was all accomplished in 30 seconds, but it represents a change in the way I think, behave; a lifelong change.

But, replacing those dreams creates a void where other dreams went, so now I can look at life as a ‘do-over.’ for all of us with chronic illnesses. Most people don’t have  the ability of trying more than one set of dreams. But, those of us with chronice illness have been granted a second chance in the dream/do-over department.

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