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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4 tried and true tips for enjoying the season!

Hailey Hudson is a young author, blogger, and freelance writer from the mountains of north Georgia. She loves softball, Harry Potter, and her beagle puppy, Sophie. Click here to buy her debut book and follow along as she pursues her career in writing and children’s ministry by following her blog:

When I was younger, Thanksgiving and Christmas were my favorite times of the year. I loved the parties, the lights; anything and everything associated with the holidays. But two years ago, I was diagnosed with a chronic fatigue illness, and things changed. Many times, I was just too tired to enjoy all the holidays. Through trial and error, I’ve discovered a few tips to help me: I’d like to share them with you with you in the hope that what works for me might help you enjoy the upcoming holidays.

Have an escape plan. You may need to have an escape or a backup plan for the season. Tell everyone that your plans need to be tentative and why: over partying and stress bring flares. Never missing an opportunity to educate, explain why committing to everything can be stressful and how stress affects you.

Or, you may need a backup plan for each event. For example, if I have a party or an activity in the evening, I try to get someone else to drive me, because I know I might be too sleepy to drive when the party ends.

Tell people what to expect Do you need a nap each afternoon? Do you have food sensitivities? Does your medicine need to be taken exactly thirty minutes before a meal? What a tremendous opportunity to educate other people. For example, while assisting the hostess prepare hors d’oeuvres, you can tell her that you’re unable to eat ‘x’  because it affects how a medication that you take, works. Bu, tell her that that won’t affect her because you brought a few things that you can pop into the microwave.

More than likely, people will be happy to accommodate you so you’ll enjoy the festivities. If you’re on a restricted diet and have enough energy, bring food so that you know you’ll have at least a few things to eat.

As much as possible, try to space things out. I do this all year round—if I have an all-day event, I know that I’ll need to rest for the entire next day. So, I try to leapfrog days when I’m planning out my calendar. For example, if I have the option of a holiday party one night and breakfast with a friend the next morning, ideally I would choose only one of those events so that I don’t get too run down. No one will mind if you miss something in order to rest. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself, even if that means sitting out on something fun. You, more than anyone else, knows when your body needs rest. Today’s sniffles could be tomorrow’s full-blown flu without proper care.

Self-care is important—but don’t put it into a box. I spent many evenings forcing myself to take a bubble bath and drink tea and calling it ‘self-care’ because that was what everyone preached—completely disregarding that I disliked both! Finally, I wised up and realized that self-care is not synonymous with a bubble bath—self-care is anything that relaxes you. I began reading and painting in the evenings, and found it much more relaxing than sitting in a tub of water; the water is bound to get cold!

Only you know your body. How you relax is 100% your call, but if you’re like me, in an attempts to be everything to everyone, you’ll forget YOU. So, make sure to make time for whatever relaxes ‘you;’ write it on your calendar if you need to. If you’re not proactively taking care of yourself, you will crash and burn and regret it. I’ve been there and trust me, it’s not pretty!

The bottom line here is this: the holiday season is hectic, but make your health a priority. If you take care of yourself, you will be able to enjoy the holiday, and you’ll love the season and all it has to offer once again. Happy Holidays!






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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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