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3 Tips for Surviving a Stressful Job Despite Chronic Illness

Surviving a Stressful Job Despite Chronic Illness

Living with a chronic illness can be extremely difficult, when you work in a high stress field you may find your health quickly taking a nosedive. So, what do you do?

While some may be forced to quit their jobs due to their health, some people manage to find their own delicate balance that allows them to keep working in high stress environments. Here are three important tips that help me keep my balance.

You Are What You Eat

Diet cannot be stressed enough, but between having little to no time for meal prep and the unpredictability of breaks, eating healthy can be a challenge. While a complete diet overhaul would be best, in most cases it is not necessarily feasible. So the next best thing is finding and eliminating your food sensitivities.

There are numerous articles and lists on the internet telling you what foods you should avoid for every type of illness under the sun, so do some research for your particular illness. Then narrow down those lists by paying attention to what your body is telling you, find what your personal triggers are and avoid them.

A food diary can be invaluable when you are discovering your dietary sensitivities. Write down what you eat each day as well as how you are feeling, then look for patterns.

Do your joints ache the day after you eat a steak or burger? What about after pizza or spaghetti? Once you discover what you need to avoid, look for substitutions. Tomatoes make you ache? The internet has many tomato-free recipes, so you can have your pizza and eat it too.

Give Yourself Permission to Rest

Stress is the enemy, it can quickly exacerbate chronic illnesses and can be extremely detrimental to your health. We often deal with irate customers and tight deadlines, if we aren’t careful this constant stress can not only weigh us down but also follow us home.

That is why we all need an outlet, so take a moment to think of things that soothe you. It can be as simple as going for a walk on your lunch break or as creative as writing music. The idea is to release those emotions and stress so they can’t bottle up.

Your mental health is just as important as your physical in managing an illness. So give yourself permission to take the occasional evening or weekend off with no cell phone, leave work where it belongs and giving yourself some personal time.

Admit You Are Not a Super Hero

Yeah, that’s a tough one to swallow; you are amazing but you aren’t invincible. The 40+ hour work weeks of the past might no longer be within your capabilities.

That doesn’t necessarily mean you have to quit, but maybe it’s time to reevaluate. Work with your employer, maybe you can cut back your hours by working shorter days without hurting yourself.

You need to be honest about what your health will allow you to do at this point.

It’s better to cut down your hours for now than to work yourself so far into the ground that you are forced to quit. Listening to what your body is telling you is vital. So pay attention to how you feel each week and be open to adjustments.

Finding the Balance

When you are diagnosed with a chronic illness you quickly discover that long hours and bad nutrition are no longer an option. Incorporate some of these changes into your daily routine. Your body may seem like the enemy but it can also be your greatest ally.

Listen to what your body is telling you and act accordingly, small changes can result in big improvements. It’s a daily struggle, but once you find that balance you may just find that you can maintain your health and keep your high stress job too.

Candice Hardman is a writer who uses her experiences as a healthcare worker and patient to bridge the gap in health communications. She provides professional writing services that help improve patient understanding and outcomes through her website.

 

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What is Factor V Leiden mutation?

Factor V Leiden-guest post and reposted with permission of the author, Cassandra Schnupps

 

BASIC FACTS about Factor V

  • Factor V Leiden is an inherited blood clotting disorder. It is a specific gene mutation that can result in thrombophilia (an abnormality of blood coagulation that increases the risks of blood clots forming in blood vessels).
  • People who are heterozygous (carry one gene mutation) or homozygous (carry two gene mutations) are at higher risk of developing a DVT (deep vein thrombosis).
  • Factor V Leiden is the most common clotting disorder. 3-8% of Caucasians in North America carry the gene mutation.
  • Factor V Leiden can cause miscarriages. Pregnant women with Factor V are considered high risk and need to be on a course of low molecular heparin or it’s derivative, Enoxaparin Sodium (generic name is Lovenox), during pregnancy.

WHAT ISN’T WIDELY DISCUSSED/KNOWN

  • Factor V Leiden along with other blood clotting disorders has been DIRECTLY linked to Osteonecrosis/Avascular Necrosis.  There are several clinical papers I have included on this blog concerning this fact.
  • If you have Factor V you should NEVER take steroids. Even a 20 day use of high dose Prednisone can cause ON/AVN.
  • If you have Factor V NEVER take drugs with estrogen, ie, the Pill.

Much of this information has been obtained from Dr. Charles Gleck who has worked consistently in the area of metabolic disorders. Dr. Glueck is an endocrinologist in Cincinatti, OH and is recognized internationally as an expert in treating and preventing osteonecrosis.[

Ms. Schnupps has a blog at osteonecrosis.me . Her blog is solely devoted to osteonecrosis/avascular necrosis. But, why do I place a post about Factor V in this the musculoskeletal category? Factor V increases the body’s likelihood of developing a clot and clot formation greatly increases the chance that a blood clot will form, obstruct circulation to the bone and depriving it of life-sustaining oxygen and nutrients. When deprived of oxygen or nutrients for a long-enough period of time, the bone dies: osteonecrosis (bone death) or avascular (without blood) necrosis.

Also of note, for obstetric patients who have lupus or another autoimmune disease, they may be considered ‘high risk’ because if there is likelihood of increasing clotting ability, the placenta may be blocked with a clot and oxygen and life-sustaining nutrients don’t get to the baby. Thus there is a high degree of miscarriages among patients with Factor V.

 

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To sleep: with cats or dogs?!

Many western societies have a taboo on non-romantically involved people sleeping together. This forces singles to sleep alone even if they do not want to. Feeling anxious sleeping alone is natural and nothing to be ashamed of. But there are cultures in which  it is acceptable for people to look for partners just for sleep company, even if there is no serious relationship.

Pets can be a great help for the single person who has night time anxiety or just does not enjoy sleeping alone. Pets can help improve your sleep by laying by your side at night and enriching your life by giving you genuine companionship during the day.

Since there are reasons which help the functioning of your immune system, I felt that a post about sleeping with pets had a place here. A friend finds comfort when her dog curls up on the bed and takes her half out of the middle; but the dog eventually finds his space in the crook behind my friends’ knees. But, your preference might be with cats.

CATS AND THE PURR FACTOR:

For space-saving reasons, cats make better sleeping mates. A person sleeping alone is more likely to own a single bed. So, space is an issue and cats take less of it than most dogs. Cats are soft  balls of fur that can either fit in between that crook between your arm and chest, lie on top of you or slide in between your shins without disturbing your sleep at all. Add to that the seemingly magical relaxing powers of the cat’s purr and you will see why they are the most popular pets to take to bed. Studies have shown that a cat’s purr helps reduce stress and can reduce the risk of heart disease. To put the cherry on top of the cake, cats can also serve as excellent feet warmers!

On the other hand, cats will come and go as they please and won’t lie there unconditionally to give you warmth and company. Another drawback is that their smaller size won’t allow you to hug them while you sleep if that is something that helps you. Finally, cats cannot give you the same sense of security as a dog, as you cannot really count on a cat to fight off an armed robber unless it is a large cat with claws!

DOGS

The larger size of dogs allows you to hold on to them which helps some people sleep better; in fact they may enter REM sleep sooner. Dogs, being loyal as they are to their owners, are more likely keep lying next to you, even if they wake up, giving you a sense of security and comfort throughout your sleep.

Of course, size may become a factor if they take up most of the space. All that love in those hearts of gold may become a problem for they will want to lie on top of you which isn’t real comfortable especially if your dog is a  huge Irish Wolf Hound or Bullmastiff.

And the winner is……Both of these pets are excellent sleep aids, if you are suffering from anxiety and stress caused by sleeping alone and we all know that that stress can trigger a flare. In my view, cats win this battle because of their smaller size and purring. Maybe you have a different winner of this battle. So, take a look at both the pros and cons of each and decide who wins!

Author bio: Eugene Gabriel has his BSc (Hons.) Degree in Psychology. He has always been fascinated by the effects of good quality sleep, or the lack of it on human productivity and overall well-being. He has helped thousands of individuals suffering from sleeping problems by teaching them about the healthy changes they need to make in their lifestyle in order to sleep peacefully. Read his post on perfect sleep quantity. You can also follow him on twitter @eugenegabrielj

 

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Sleeping alone and autoimmune disease

Anxiety when sleeping alone is an issue often thought of to be an issue limited to children. However, many adults feel it, too. It is not much different than being afraid of the dark but when you’re the one experiencing it, the intensity. is greater. More common in women, men do experience it, though often they are too embarrassed to admit it.

Scientists have long discussed the benefits of sleeping alone on one’s health and quality of life. Some just hate sleeping alone, though-and it is not just a matter of choice. Right now, the more cynical reader might be thinking “So? Why doesn’t the person just find a more suitable partner?” But, no! (sic ,tongue in cheek) What about those wonderful tax incentives?

Pets are Chicken Soup for the Sleepers (less) soul

As they calm the high-strung, a pet can bring comfort as you drift off to sleep. Studies have shown that pets can be the tonic the doctor ordered. Yes, who’d have thunk that Fido could help the restless drift off more easily and stay in dreamland
longer? EEG activity doesn’t lie, though. Sleep patterns are such that these people enter REM sleep stages with greater regularity.

Some cringe at the thought of an animal occupying the same bed; but those same people don’t seem to have a problem with pets in the home. They also see the health benefits of having pets. Many people are concerned about germs from house pets (and possibly rightly so!); well, as it turns out the bed is already one of the most germ infested places in the house so Fido will not make much of a difference.

Germs or no germs, most Americans are comfortable with pets in their beds. Surveys say that most people claim that pets don’t disrupt sleep and even more said that they were helpful in relaxing so they could fall asleep and stay asleep.

It needs to be remembered that the couples surveyed, did not have issues sleeping alone. It can be easily ascertained that for people who are distressed sleeping alone, pets can help them relax and might improve the quality of their sleep.

Anxiety and sleeping  alone

Recently singled people find it difficult to adjust to new sleeping arrangements, to living alone, to sleeping alone. The newly single person forms a form of “attachment anxiety” and a pet can be an excellent option to ease into the new situation, by giving them company and helping them sleep better. We will stop shy of saying they might be a great replacement. Recent studies have shown that loneliness may adversely affect quality of sleep. With that in mind, pets may also indirectly help sleep by giving you company.

About the Author
Eugene Gabriel is a passionate blogger. He has always been fascinated by sleep and how it relates to health and wellness. Read his post on Sleep and Room Temperature. You can follow him on twitter@eugenegabrielj

  Contact: eugenegabriel.j@gmail.com

 

 

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Alcohol Directly Affects your Immune System

The Importance of Alcohol Addiction Recovery and the Impact of Alcohol on the Immune System

Normally, our immune systems attack and kill invading cells; thereby keeping us safe from infection and disease. But, in autoimmune diseases, peoples’ immune systems attack the healthy cells of the body, not just foreign invading cells. Why does this happen ?

Many theories abound about the cause of autoimmune diseases; one theory is that there is a familial link. There are over 80 types of autoimmune diseases, some having similar symptoms, but they are each unique.

When you have an autoimmune disease, lifestyle changes need to be made, particularly to your diet. Why? Immune function fluctuates greatly depending upon the body’s nutritional status. People give up gluten, sugar, and dairy because of their negative impact on well-being. Some are able to have an occasional serving of alcohol without ending up in crippling discomfort. But, the alcoholic is unable to stop at that one drink and the amount of alcohol consumed by someone with an alcohol addiction is decidedly dangerous.

In addition to the health risks associated with alcohol dependence and addiction, patients who have as autoimmune diseases face a series of specific consequences that can jeopardize their health and therefore can make worse an already uncomfortable condition. For this reason (among others), people with an autoimmune disease who also have an addiction have to seek out addiction treatment as soon as possible.

Alcohol Directly Affects Your Immune System
Your immune system has specialized cells called “natural killer cells” whose affects are decreased when alcohol is consumed. It is the job of these killer cells to bind to cells infected by viruses and kill them. They do this quite nicely when alcohol isn’t present in the bloodstream; this ability is diminished in effectiveness when alcohol is involved.

Your Autoimmune Disease Makes You Particularly Sensitive to a Leaky Gut
All people who suffer from an autoimmune disease are prone to developing what is called a ‘leaky gut.’ In leaky gut, the consumption of alcohol in large amounts has quite an effect on the gut’s permeability. Because of this, there is an increase in substances that leak out of the gut. These substances trigger the  immune response of inflammation and, in addition, harm the liver.

Alcohol Addiction Treatment Is an Ideal Solution
Even moderate amounts of alcohol affect the immune system, but the large-scale usage that accompanies an alcohol addiction exacerbates these issues. So, a person with an autoimmune disease will not only have the physical consequences of drinking (for example, the poor decision-making and hangovers), they will also have to deal with acute inflammation, increased illness, and inability to heal.

The ‘social drinker’ is likely to be able to make the choice to stop drinking, but the true addict will continue drinking- because their need to drink is so compulsive.  If you are abusing alcohol, you know this to be  the case. Because the use is compulsive and there are so many health concerns involved, cutting back using ’will-power’ alone is unlikely to be effective. Instead, it is best to look for a professional, qualified alcohol abuse treatment center .Below we’ll briefly discuss what you ought to expect from a treatment program as well as some things to look for.

Look for a Dual Diagnosis Program
When a person has one or more diseases or conditions in addition to an addiction, they are termed co-morbid, or co-occurring. So, your specific autoimmune disease would be a co-morbid condition to your alcohol addiction. So, in obtaining treatment,you should search for an addiction treatment program that can address BOTH of your conditions. These are called dual diagnosis programs.

Because alcoholism impacts your autoimmune disease and the reverse is also true, treating one will affect the other. Ideally, both should be treated simultaneously, which requires that you attend a rehab program which is capable of properly addressing both your autoimmune disease and your addiction. Most centers will be perfectly prepared to treat alcohol addiction, but you need a specialized medical staff in order to make sure your autoimmune disease is correctly treated: This would be a dual diagnosis program.

Here,  you should find should medical doctors on the staff who are knowledgeable about your particular autoimmune disease and its care. They can help prescribe appropriate medications, administer treatments, and design a diet that will limit the amount of discomfort you experience during rehab. They ought also to know the particulars of alcoholism and how it is affected by autoimumme disease. However, don’t assume this is the case. Be sure to ask questions of all potential dual diagnosis programs before choosing one.

As you transition from alcohol detox into proper treatment, your immune system will begin strengthening. Continuing to abstain will help to reverse some of the negative effects. Greater healing will take some time. It will also be necessary to accept that damage to your liver or kidneys may never be completely reversed. For this reason, it is critical that you seek out treatment as soon as possible.
Sylvia Maynard is a writer with a background in immunology. She worked as a nurse in acute care for patients with renal failure. Now, she works with those who suffer from autoimmune diseases to help them better their overall health and to live full lives. She is currently studying the paleo diet and its applicability for people with an autoimmune disease.

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The Importance of Sleep if you Have Lupus

Sleep is essential for overall well-being and it plays a vital role in improving both physical & mental performance, and the quality of our lives.

Quality sleep boosts our mood, focus & attention span, memory, creativity, immune system, and curbs inflammation, depression and anxiety.

But for people suffering from chronic illnesses, the importance of sleep can’t be over-stated. A 2009 National Sleep Foundation poll found that people in poor health who do not get enough sleep, exercise & work less efficiently when compared to people in good health.

Lupus is a disease of remissions (symptoms improve and you feel better) and exacerbations (symptoms worsen and you feel ill). The most common symptoms of exacerbations (or flares) are fatigue, pain and inflammation and they are are commonly triggered by stress and chronic lack of sleep. Therefore, it is very important for a person suffering from lupus not to cut corners and to sleep the recommended 7-8 hours every day.

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, about 50 to 60 percent of lupus sufferers experience poor sleep and suffer from sleep related problems such as insomnia and sleep apnea. In another study, it was found that lupus patients have more sleep problems than people in normal health. This is a serious issue as lack of or poor sleep can further weaken the immune system and cause worsening of lupus symptoms such as inflammation, pain and cognitive dysfunction. Anxiety and depression were also common. Here are a few tips to improve sleep to prevent lupus flares.

Make sleep a priority

Make sleep a priority in your life. Often, in today’s world, sleep is too often seen as an unnecessary waste of time, resulting in our putting other activities taking priority over sleep. Too often and to frequently, we prioritize our work, family, social life and even regular household chores over sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation also found that only about 40 percent of Americans feel that sleep is as important as exercise or eating well to overall health and well-being. Once we know the importance of sleep in our lives; then we can go about the business of making it a priority.

Be Evaluated by a Sleep Expert

If you are facing long term sleep problems that have lasted a few weeks or you are experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness then it’s important that you obtain an evaluation from a sleep expert. This can also help to figure out if a medical condition unrelated to lupus such as sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome, is the real culprit behind your sleep problems.

Schedule your Sleep

Set a bedtime schedule and follow it strictly even on weekends. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up around the same time every day. This way your body clock will also adjust to your sleep schedule, making you easier to fall asleep close to bedtime.

Napping

A short afternoon nap can really help to alleviate fatigue and refresh you. But be wary of taking long naps as they might leave you sluggish for the rest of the day and awake at night, and can disrupt your regular sleep schedule.

Exercise

Exercise, playing a sport or any physical activity for that matter improves the quality of your sleep. According to a survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, people who exercise regularly report sleeping better as compared to those who don’t exercise even if they get the same amount of sleep. So take out at least 20-30 minutes for physical activity every day. Also, it’s important to exercise 5-6 hours before bedtime.

Indulge In Sleep Inducing Foods

Diet really affects your sleep so it’s important to make healthy dinner choices that can promote a good night’s sleep. Avoid caffeine rich drinks such as coffee, tea and cola drinks. Also stay away from alcohol which is more of a sleep disrupter and results in poor quality fragmented sleep. Instead go for sleep inducing foods such as milk, turkey, lettuce, cherries and other options.

Meditate

Meditation is a great way to unwind after a hectic, stressful day to prepare for sleep. According to a recent study published in JAMA Internal Medicine, mindfulness meditation can significantly improve sleep quality and daytime impairment.

Steer Clear of Electronic Devices

Avoid watching movies, checking your emails or playing any video games at least 30 minutes before bedtime and shut off any electronic devices such as your laptop, tablet and phone if you want to get good sleep. The light from these screens send the wrong messages to your brain, keeping it alert and leaving you sleepless.

Unwind before bed

Include something relaxing to you, such as reading, a warm bath, inducing essential oils or any other relaxing activity right before bed to help you settle for sleep.

Set the Scene

Turn off the lights, wear comfortable clothing and control your room temperature. Research suggests that a temperature between 16 – 18 degree centigrade is perfect to help you fall asleep.

These tips should help you to take control of your sleep to avoid any lupus flares; but If sleep problems persist, it’s best to consult your rheumatologist.

About the Author
Eugene Gabriel is a passionate blogger. He has always been fascinated by sleep and how it relates to health and wellness. Read his post on Sleep and Room Temperature. You can follow him on twitter @eugenegabrielj.

Sources:

The Lupus Foundation of America magazine

The Journal of Clinical Rheumatology

Sleeping Too Hot? Try These Cool Ideas

 

 

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Lupus and the Importance of Sleep

Sleep is essential for overall well-being and it plays a vital role in improving both physical & mental performance, and the quality of our lives.

Quality sleep boosts our mood, focus & attention span, memory, creativity, immune system, and curbs inflammation, depression and anxiety.

But for people suffering from chronic illnesses like lupus, sleep is ever more critical. This can’t be under-stated. A 2009 National Sleep Foundation poll found that people in poor health who do not get enough sleep, exercise & work less efficiently when compared to people in good health.

Lupus is a disease of remissions (symptoms improve and you feel better) and exacerbations (symptoms worsen and you feel ill). The most common symptoms of exacerbations, or flares, are fatigue, pain and inflammation and they are are commonly triggered by stress and chronic lack of sleep. Therefore, it is very important for a person suffering from lupus not to cut corners and to sleep the recommended 7-8 hours every day.

According to the Lupus Foundation of America, about 50 to 60 percent of lupus sufferers either experience poor sleep or suffer from sleep related problems such as insomnia and sleep apnea. In another study, it was found that lupus patients have more sleep problems than people in normal health. This is a serious issue as lack of or poor sleep can further weaken the immune system and cause worsening of lupus symptoms such as inflammation, pain and cognitive dysfunction. Anxiety and depression were also common. Here are a few tips to improve sleep to prevent lupus flares.

Make sleep a priority

Make sleep a priority in your life. Often, in today’s world, sleep is too often seen as an unnecessary waste of time, resulting in our putting other activities taking priority over sleep. Too often and to frequently, we prioritize our work, family, social life and even regular household chores over sleep.

The National Sleep Foundation also found that only about 40 percent of Americans feel that sleep is as important as exercise or eating well to overall health and well-being. Once we know the importance of sleep in our lives; then we can go about the business of making it a priority.

Be Evaluated by a Sleep Expert

If you are facing long term sleep problems that have lasted a few weeks or you are experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness then it’s important that you obtain an evaluation from a sleep expert. This can also help to figure out if a medical condition unrelated to lupus such as sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome, is the real culprit behind your sleep problems.

Schedule your Sleep

Set a bedtime schedule and follow it strictly even on weekends. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up around the same time every day. This way your body clock will also adjust to your sleep schedule, making you easier to fall asleep close to bedtime.

Napping

A short afternoon nap can really help to alleviate fatigue and refresh you. But be wary of taking long naps as they might leave you sluggish for the rest of the day and awake at night, and can disrupt your regular sleep schedule.

Exercise

Exercise, playing a sport or any physical activity for that matter improves the quality of your sleep. According to a survey conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, people who exercise regularly report sleeping better as compared to those who don’t exercise even if they get the same amount of sleep. So take out at least 20-30 minutes for physical activity every day. Also, it’s important to exercise 5-6 hours before bedtime.

Indulge In Sleep Inducing Foods

Diet really affects your sleep so it’s important to make healthy dinner choices that can promote a good night’s sleep. Avoid caffeine rich drinks such as coffee, tea and cola drinks. Also stay away from alcohol which is more of a sleep disrupter and results in poor quality fragmented sleep. Instead go for sleep inducing foods such as milk, turkey, lettuce, cherries and other options.

Meditate

Meditation is a great way to unwind yourself after a long hectic stressful day and prepare yourself for sleep. According to a recent study, published in JAMA Internal Medicine and conducted by researchers at the University of Southern California, mindfulness meditation can significantly improve sleep quality and daytime impairment.

Steer Clear of Electronic Devices

Avoid watching movies, checking your emails or playing any video games at least 30 minutes before bedtime and shut off any electronic devices such as your laptop, tablet and phone if you want to get good sleep. The light from these screens send the wrong messages to your brain, keeping it alert and leaving you sleepless.

Unwind before bed

You can include a daily relaxing act such as reading, a warm bath with sleep inducing essential oils or any other relaxing activity right before bed to help you settle for sleep.

Set the Scene

Turn off the lights, wear comfortable clothing and control your room temperature. Research suggests that a temperature between 16 – 18 degree centigrade is perfect to help you fall asleep.

These tips should help you to take control of your sleep to avoid any lupus flares; but If sleep problems persist, it’s best to consult your rheumatologist.

SOURCES:

Journal of Clinical Rheumatology

 

The Lupus Foundation of America

Sleeping Too Hot? Try These Cool Ideas

About the Author
Eugene Gabriel is a passionate blogger. He has always been fascinated by sleep and how it relates to health and wellness. Read his post on Sleep and Room Temperature. You can follow him on twitter @eugenegabrielj.

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