Exercise Packs a Punch

Jim Roose is a former competitive powerlifter and gym owner. He is very zealous about physical fitness and healthy eating. He regularly writes about fitness secrets and much more at

4 Exercises for people with Lupus

Lupus is a disease commonly known as “the great imitator,” a chronic autoimmune disorder that can affect anyone regardless of the sex; although research shows that women are more prone to developing lupus. It can affect any organ of the body and the skin. Sometimes, the symptoms of lupus are very vague; one reason why diagnosis is hard to diagnose. Because of this, many people don’t treatment is delayed; so, their path to recovery is often more lengthy. Some common symptoms of lupus are skin ashes, skin irritations, mood swings, chronic fatigue, headaches and body pains and aches.

You might not want to go outside, breathe fresh air, stretch and do some light exercises. Even when there is some discomfort,‘stirring your stumps’ is a good  thing to do for your health. When you have a flare, you may not have a lack the desire to exercise; but if you do exercise regularly, you can get rid yourself of the stiffness and depression that you might feel after a flare; improving your sense of well-being and improving your mood. Here are a few exercises that you can do to help yourself get rid of a few effects caused by lupus or another autoimmune diseases.


Range of motion is the extent to which a joint can move. The benefits of moving your joints through their full range every morning can’t be stressed enough. Having flexible joints is essential, so try incorporating range of motion exercises regularly. 

Stretching Exercise

Stretching exercises help flexibility and makes sure that the muscles and joints are ready to be used. Start with gentle stretches all over the body. I start from my head and move to the neck and move in the direction of my toes, all the while giving a very gentle stretch to every muscle.

Endurance Exercises

Endurance exercises are also known as aerobic exercises and they might involve slow to brisk walking, jogging, running, stair climbing and dancing. They target large muscle groups and they also help with depression by releasing endorphins (the body’s ‘feel good’ chemical) into your bloodstream. They also help to improve your cardiovascular system helping to decreasing progression of disease. They reduce the blood cholesterol, increase HDL, and also helps to improve your sugar levels.

Our amazing stair stepper guide might help you out on this.

Strengthening Exercises

When you have pain in your joints, just thinking about moving, hurts; but if you don’t move them, the muscles surrounding the joints become weak and atrophy. Atrophy results in more disability, dysfunction, joint pain, and sometimes increased dependence on others to do what you’re unable to do because of weak muscles. Strengthening exercises should be a part of your everyday routine.

Lupus patients are at a higher risk for developing osteoporosis due to the use of steroids medications. Patients with lupus are at a much greater risk of developing brittle bones which often result in painful bone fractures. One way to prevent this is by doing daily strengthening exercises such as light weightlifting, squat, leg press with light weights and wall squats.


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Do I need a Primary Care Physician?

Many people think that now they are adults, they don’t need a primary care physician; when, in actuality, the important role that this doctor plays can’t be overstated. 

Besides doing your yearly physical, your primary care physician is often your first stop in identifying autoimmune disorders such as chronic fatigue syndrome, psoriasis, lupus, thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis and more.

Think again if you feel that only children need regular check-ups. Adults need them, too. They need regular visits to their primary care physician or to Los Gatos Doc’s primary care physicians. These visits result in better health care management because during them, you get to know your doctor and vice versa. They also result in better health care management because of the chronicity of autoimmune diseases. Your primary care physician can give you ideas which will result in a better quality of life!

A relationship with your primary care physician often gives both patient and doctor a chance to get to know each other. The relationship becomes special and built on a foundation of trust. Nurture the relationship now because it might be much easier to discuss possibly uncomfortable health issues later if you have developed a bond with your primary care physician. 

Research has shown that people who visit their primary care physicians regularly experience the benefits of better overall health, lower health care costs and have more satisfaction with their health care and lives. It is especially important to discuss how lifestyle changes can have a major effect on autoimmune disorders.

A major benefit of your relationship with a primary care physician is that it’s so much like having your own ‘health care hub’. Other physicians in the practice can access, provide vital information and coordinate all of your care in one place.

Some of the services provided by your primary care physicians can include:

  • Autoimmune disease management
  • Preventative care; disease prevention and screening
  • Checking for hypertension (high blood pressure)
  • Checking for hypoglycemia (low blood sugar/diabetes)
  • High cholesterol
  • Checking for cancer
  • Depression
  • STD’s
  • Help manage your chronic conditions
  • Give recommendations
  • Discuss sensitive and private concerns
  • Make referrals to specialists
  • Inoculations
  • Physicals

Your primary care physician is quite knowledgable in all of these areas and many more. Discussing preventative measures and developing strategies for dealing with health issues is one of the biggest reasons for making regular visits to Los Gatos Doc’s family clinic  or to your primary care physician. When we know who you are what your baseline is, we can easier detect changes or patterns which make diagnosing more accurate.

A major advantage of having a primary care physician is in having a team organizer, the hub of a health care wheel. The primary care physician has the ability to identify a patient’s need for a specialist. If you need an allergist and/or a pulmonologist, your primary care physician will point you in the right direction and assist you in understanding what your part might be as you  work together to achieve your health goals. Your primary care physician might also point you towards a rheumatologist who he/she has worked with before, if you need this specialty.

When you go to Los Gatos Doc’s primary care physicians, we treat you as a person and not a disease. If you want to live longer and have better health we are here to advocate for you, to treat you with compassion and to help guide you through your individual health care journey.

About the Author: Arun Villivalam, MD is a concerned and caring family physician and primary care doctor serving the community of Los Gatos, CA. Dr. Villivalam attended Thomas Jefferson University, where he received his medical degree, and completed his residency in family medicine at Cook County Hospital. Dr. Villivalam provides a variety of services to ensure the health and wellbeing of his patients, including physicals for all ages, chronic care management, stress management, urgent care, medicare wellness visits, school physicals and more.


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Celiac Disease for caregivers of the elderly

Celiac Disease and Aging

Olivia Jones is psychologist and entrepreneur from Brisbane. Mother of two beautiful children and proud owner of two silly boxer dogs, Teo and Mia. She is passionate about writing and always inspiring her readers to be clever in their lives. Her motto is “Be the change you want to see in the world”.

Some autoimmune diseases aren’t accurately diagnosed until the ‘golden years;’ Celiac Disease is one of these. People may have had symptoms for years, but the symptoms may have been too vague to make a definitive diagnosis.

Caregivers of Celiac patients need to recognize many of it’s nearly 200 symptoms, reporting them to the doctor. If you are the caregiver or if you are new to Celiac Disease in older adults, read on to find out ways to help older adults manage this disease.

Know the symptoms

As people age, Celiac’s gastrointestinal symptoms (bloating, diarrhea and cramps, amongst others) are often attributed to normal aging or an upset stomach, so they may have received sub-optimal treatment. Also, since many medication can cause an inability to absorb nutrients properly, the Celiac patient’s health may decline.

Throughout the years, this mis-management may have led to unnecessary medications being added. Studies have shown that many subtle and not-so-subtle symptoms go unnoticed, disregarded or poorly managed for 17 years on average.

Diet changes

The most significant dietary change involves gluten: it just became a ‘no-no-.’ What is gluten? Gluten is a protein found in many grains. As the caregiver who is likely to be doing the marketing you’ll need to be very careful when reading food labels, ensuring that every ingredient on the menu is truly labeled as “gluten-free”. Seeing a professional nutritionist is mandatory.

Elderly patients often take nutritional supplements because they may have osteoporosis and nutrient deficiencies and they usually benefit from these. However, the shopper must be aware that supplements can also contain trace or ‘hidden’ gluten. Condiments, iced cream and processed foods can also be sources of hidden gluten.

There may come a time when family members need help managing this disease; your loved ones might benefit from in-home care services which offer quality meals with all their limitations. Any family gatherings may be a challenge because gatherings tend to involve food. Even though hostesses may make a gluten-free menu, seniors still want to eat their like their old family recipes. So this diet transition can be hard on them, hard on you! Please have patience with them.

Budget concerns

Another issue with the gluten-free diet is expense; especially  while seniors are still learning what to eat, what not to eat and discovering which foods they like. They may be wondering, “how am I going to afford this?

One way to lower the cost is to purchase goods online! Many websites like offer discounts and less-expensive alternatives to store-bought items. Or purchase an Amazon Prime ® membership and order from their Pantry. Some very good gluten-free bargains can be had there! Most Celiac diets revolve around plenty of vegetables and fruits, but canned (gluten-free, of course) can be just as healthy, and much more affordable.

But, seniors don’t need to stick to pre-packed and processed gluten-free products. Instead, caregivers can help find natural gluten-free foods, find proper substitutions, and help manage their budget with new dietary restrictions. They’ll really need your help as they transition to a diet with NO wheat or wheat products!

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Bone Fractures in lupus and other immune diseases

Short post departmemt. I just watched several videos on YouTube (where we all go for health informatIon!!) NOT 😐  The videos I found were more than interesting; both were of interviews with physicians at the meeting of the ACR (American College of Rheumatology) attended by some 15000 members.

One physician spoke of bone fractures and lupus. Were you aware that people with lupus are at an 8 times greater risk for sufferring from bone fractures? That the risk of lupus with kidney disease is more than 10 times? I sure wasn’t; the video:

Then, another physician sampled some 3000 individuals taking plaquenil (hydroxycholorquine). All lupies know of the connection between peripheral field blindness and Plaquenil and the need to have visual field studies every 6 months. Right? Read on! Of 3,000 lupus patients taking plaquenil, 0 suffered from visual field problems which lead to blindness. The blindness resulted was due to other conditions, possibly diabetes or macular degeneration.





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Virus in blood – Scanning Electron Microscopy stylised

Finally, the combination of methotrexate, prednisone and Plaquenil™ had been titrated for my Rheumatoid Arthritis and worked ‘like a charm.’ But, after about 8 consecutive months on this ‘cocktail,’ I developed pneumonia. Strange thing; I had also been on these same meds a year ago, when another type of pneumonia was diagnosed.

In both peumonias, the ‘culprit’ was determined to be methotrexate. Methotrexate causes pneumonia? Not directly but when the immune system is suppressed by methotrexate, the body is susceptible to other germs. Not only is this true of methotrexate, but of prednisone, Humira™, Rituxan™ and other medications used in the treatment of autoimmune diseases. This supression of the immune system: immune-suppression.

These meds really stop inflammation, but at an expense. That expense? They can leave your immune system unable to mount a defense against foreign invaders. That’s why you see this admonishment in advertisements for the above meds: “make sure that you tell your doctor about any infections you have and avoid going to large public places.” My solution: have an intimate dinner at home and invite a few friends-who don’t have colds! Continue reading

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Steroids-“when they’re good, they’re very, very good; but when they’re bad, they’re horrid”


I used to be skinny, so skinny, that jokes followed me around. Yep, people said, “she’s like a McDonald’s hamburger; so skinny, she only has one side;” that sort of thing. Then I was diagnosed with lupus and all that changed Why?

Meds commonly used for autoimmune symptoms are often non-steroidal anti-inflammatories drugs or NSAIDs. While they don’t pack on the pounds, if symptoms worsen and other meds which include  prednisone, Decadron™ or Solu-Medrol™ are used, watch the scales for weight gain which can increase the problems one has with ‘carting around’ extra weight.

It is known that steroids cause fluid retention and an increased appetite; both of which will increase weight rapidly. All of a sudden eating that second piece of pie is completely normal behavior! Another way is theorized: interference with fat metabolism and a redistribution of body fat.

But, steroid medications do have a good effect, one so good that having the moon face and other side effects of steroids is sometimes worth the side effects. Steroids are so good at relieving the inflammation which causes the discomfort and some of the life-threatening side effects from autoimmune disease (for example, the joint pain from RA) or the inflammation of the lung lining: pleurisy. Without them there would be more pain and aches.

Steroids also play a huge role in the treatment of asthma. The asthmatic would also have to make the choice to suffer the side effects of steroids or to breathe. Kind of an untenable choice, don’t you think? But there is an increased risk of osteoporosis due to their effects on the bones. 

Also, because there is redistributing of fat, you don’t have to take steroids for autoimmunity. Ashley Judd took high dose of steroids for a sinus infection and as beautiful as she is, you can see the impact of steroids on her face.

But there are ‘new kids on the block’ which don’t have the risk/side effects of steroids; Rituxan™, methotrexate™, Benlysta™ and a host of others.












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