Category: chronic illness

toy pig eating cake

The Effects of Processed Foods on our Mental Health

This post is written by a talented young writer, Patrick Bailey. He writes mainly about mental health and does so to overcome the stigma often associated with mental illness. 


Processed foods do a lot more to us than you think. Not only can they affect our general physical health, but they can affect our mental health, as well. The food that you eat is the fuel that you need to make it through the day and do many different things throughout that day. It is only natural that processed foods that are not wholesome are not going to be good for your mind or body.

Eating well may be associated with the feeling of well-being, which is what many want when they are trying to eat healthier, lose weight and feel better about themselves overall. The importance of having a good nutritional food intake is increasingly important when it comes to how you feel and how well you want to feel.

Eating saturated fats and processed foods have been shown to increase negative emotions, while also increasing fat and depression in some. This then leads to a poorer diet and worse-off physical and mental health in the person.

Some people believe that eating comfort foods brings the feeling of happiness with it. This, however, is untrue. It has been shown that these foods, while rewarding during the time you are eating them, they are actually providing negative effects in the body after you are done eating them. This then causes you to feel worse. Thus, making you want the feeling again. This is how many people find themselves gaining weight through comfort eating.

The Food You Eat

Affects How You Feel

The food that you put into your system is going to affect the outcome of how you feel. This is because 95% of the serotonin that is found in your body is found through the gastrointestinal tract. With thousands upon thousands of neurons found in this tract, they send impulses throughout your body to your brain. This tract works to not only digest your food, but also regulate the emotions that you feel.Unhealthy_snacks_in_cart

In line with these findings, it has also been shown that those that eat a traditional meal plan, such as a Japanese diet or a Mediterranean diet over a Western diet, have over a 30% less chance of having depression.

Depression is the second leading cause of disability, right after heart disease. This means that the diet, and what you put in your mouth, is going to affect how you feel. When the body is not getting enough of the vitamins and minerals that it needs to uplift itself, this is when the negative affects are seen in the body and emotions. The same would happen for someone who is not getting enough sunlight or fresh air on a regular basis. Their body and mind would be affected by this.

It has also been shown that depression is not the only risk that those take in getting when not eating a well-balanced diet. Those that do not have an adequate meal plan or diet are also shown to have a heightened risk of anxiety. This is something that many more physicians are paying attention to, as changing a diet and introducing new fruits and vegetables can completely change the mental illnesses that some individuals are dealing with.

Kids are Seeing the

Results of Poor Diets

Adults are not the only ones that are affected by this. More than 17  million kids throughout the US are affected by some type of mental illness. This number has risen and continues to rise throughout the years, causing further issues. The risk of depression in these kids increases to up to 80% in kids that have a poor diet, as compared to those that eat a nutritionally balanced diet full of vegetables, fruits and the right balance of vitamins and minerals.highly processed breakfast cereals

Another great study that was done showed that even mothers who ate a better diet while pregnant with the children had a better chance of providing the child with less health and emotional problems as they age. The more appropriate the nutritional value for the mother and wholesome it is, the better it will be for the unborn baby in the womb. Studies show that these children that receive adequate nutrition as early as in the womb have a much lesser chance of developing anxiety, depression, or other mental illnesses as they grow.

Providing children with more junk food during the first years of life is linked to poor behavior, more emotional outbursts, and other emotional problems that the children go through.

In a study that was conducted with 120 kids, it was shown that children with poor diets were more likely to show symptoms of ADHD or attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Though this is not something that has been put down on paper indefinitely, it has been shown and thought that diet can play a crucial role in the mental health of those children that are not getting adequately fed or not being fed the right combination of foods in a regular, healthy diet.

What Foods Should You

and Shouldn’t You Eat?

In order to get a well-balanced diet and the best nutrition plan to reduce the chances of having mental illnesses, depression or anxiety then you should know what to remove from the diet and what to include.

Any highly processed foods that are high in sugar or are fried should not be consumed. If they are, they should not be consumed often. Having high amounts of these foods can increase the chances of having depression, anxiety or other mental illnesses.peeling-zuccini

Those that want to reduce the chances of having any of these mental illnesses can increase their vegetable and fruit intake. It is important to stay away from some of the fruit that have high natural sugars in them, as they can cause the body to get too much sugar, such as grapes. Nuts, whole grains, legumes, fish and unsaturated fats are ideal to add to the diet, as these can add additional nutrients and vitamins to the body that the fruits and vegetables are unable to provide.

Another benefit besides a reduced risk of depression, anxiety, and other mental illnesses is that when you eat healthier, you feel better, you look better and you have a better immune system. This healthy food gives your immune system the boost it needs to keep you healthier and more active.

By taking note of how eating makes you feel, you can find out what foods might cause a bad reaction not only in your body but with your mind. You can also find out what foods uplift you and put you in a good mood. The new name for this phenomenon that is sweeping the nation is “nutritional psychiatry.”

Having depressing feelings is not normal. When you are depressed, you are also much more likely to use alcohol or drugs in a recreational way, causing an addiction that can be tough to get rid of. There are many things that can happen when diet is not something that you think about or put much thought into. A healthy diet is important for so many reasons, make sure that you are eating a well-balanced, healthy diet to reduce the chances of having something happen or the cause of a mental health issue that you may develop or already have.

 

Patrick Bailey info

flu still life

What To Know About Flu, Colds & Chronic Illness

Since so many of us with chronic illnesses stay at home most of the week, we aren’t exposed to the upper respiratory germs that people in the workplace run across daily*. Additionally, many chronic illnesses also include an immune system dysfunction.

It can be a shock to find out a family member, friend or caregiver has passed along a bug that hits you hard. Suddenly your nose starts to run, your throat is a bit scratchy and you may even feel overheated. Do you have the dreaded flu or a cold?

Many people think a fever occurs only with flu, but there is a huge overlap between non-flu viruses and those produce by classic influenza. That said, there are some predictable differences between the two contagious illnesses.

Symptom

Influenza

Common Cold

Other Viral

Onset

Quick, An Hour or Less

Several Days of Increasing Symptoms

Can Be Within Hours

Cough

Dry, Nonproductive

Wet, Produces Mucous

Fever

Yes

yes

Body Aches

Like You Were Run Over by a Truck

Slightly to Moderately Increased

Head Congestion

Some

Severe, Often Sinuses Inflamed

Sore Throat

Some

Often With Swollen Neck Glands

GI—Nausea, Diarrhea, Stomach Ache

No

No

Yes

Just about everyone in the medical community, as well as many bloggers, say it’s crucial everyone get a flu vaccination—preferably before the end of October. The flu shot’s effectiveness can vary from about 50% to 90% depending on how well vaccine manufacturers determined which strain of flu would be most active in the 2018-19 Flu Season.

Experts say that even if the vaccine is only 30-40% effective someone with it will have a quicker and easier time getting over the flu. Another reason frequently discussed is that vaccinations save lives. The rationale is that by vaccinating yourself, you’ll be much less likely to acquire and spread it to at-risk groups.

But say you are one of the millions of people with a compromised immune system. What to do? This was the subject of a recent, very long thread on the subject on a Facebook group I frequent for people with ME/CFS.

By the time the thread closed, there was no clear consensus. People spoke about how many months (usually three to four) they took to recover from flu and swore they would never go without a vaccination again. Others said they were down for three to four weeks with immune system activation after receiving a vaccination for flu.

Personally, I use the Mayo Health System. Inexplicably, Mayo still recommends the discredited results of an infamous research study–graded exercise therapy (GET) and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) as the primary treatments for chronic fatigue syndrome. Sadly, it does not list myalgic encephalomyelitis as a disease or condition.

I have a Masters in Nursing Science and worked as a Nurse Practitioner in South Carolina, Colorado, and Wisconsin before contracting this damn disease (ME/CFS). I do my own research and, since Mayo still clings to outdated and erroneous recommendations based on the highly flawed PACE Trial in the UK, I make up my own mind as far as my own health issues go.

So, as I have done many times in the past when faced with a decision, I wrote out the pros and cons.

FOR FLU VACCINATION (PRO)

AGAINST FLU VACCINATION (CON)

May help hubby, on O2 for COPD, avoid getting the flu

May trigger extended (2-4 wks) immune system reaction

Maybe bedridden for months if I get the flu

I have not had flu since contracting ME, actually not since I was a young woman

Chronically ill with a disease that began with a coxsackievirus infection

I am seldom ill from community-acquired infections, even when I was not homebound

I am chronically ill with a disease that began with a coxsackievirus infection, some specialists believe a subclinical enterovirus infection is at the root of ME

As Leslie Kernisan, MD MPH wrote in response to a question asking if flu vaccination making autoimmune diseases worse, “The CDC and other experts generally recommend that people with autoimmune diseases get the seasonal flu vaccine. This is because people with autoimmune conditions are at higher risk of having flu complications, and it’s estimated that the overall risk of being harmed by the flu is higher than the small risk of developing an autoimmune exacerbation related to the vaccine.

People with autoimmune conditions should not get the live attenuated flu vaccine. (But that one is not recommended in the US this year, anyway.)

I think there are certainly some doctors who believe it’s risky for people with autoimmune issues to get the flu shot. I was not able to find much scientific evidence regarding the risk, however, so I’m not sure we really know what the risk is.

I would recommend you discuss your questions regarding the likely benefits and risks of flu vaccination with your own doctors. You may want to discuss this question with a rheumatologist, as they may have a better understanding of the guidelines and research evidence on this topic.

Good luck!”

I respect Dr. Kernisan and so if she could find no contradictions for a person with a (presumed) autoimmune disease receiving an annual flu vaccination, I can’t argue with it.

I will be doing a 16-day Buddhist practice for my health starting this weekend. Not wanting a possible reaction to immune system triggering from the vaccine during this time of prayers and meditation, I will not get vaccinated until after the retreat finishes on November 5th.

I’ll let you all know if I have any sort of reaction to the vaccination. But what about you? Have you had a reaction to flu shots? Do you get an annual flu vaccination?

*I’m talking about folks who are deemed disabled by the Social Security Administration. If you are in the process of applying for disability or have just been denied benefits, there is an excellent post on how to appeal a disability denial as well as a host of other valuable information. Check it out on this website howtogeton.wordpress.com/.

netflix-logo-print_pms

Netflix “Afflicted” Series Deliberately Misrepresents Chronic Illness

The stars of the new Netflix series, Afflicted, are up in arms about how their conditions were misrepresented. The documentary series follows six people living with chronic illnesses.

A Los Angeles-based documentary company, Doc Shop, which works with National Geographic, CNN, Discovery, A&E, AMC, and Travel channel, produced the series.

According to all of the people portrayed in the documentary, the producers promised them a compassionate look at chronic illness. Every participant in the series had to have a diagnosis from a physician and be determined mentally healthy by a behavioral health specialist before filming started.

The participants collectively responded in an article posted on Medium. Individually, others wrote blogs about their experience or posted a live YouTube video.

We were all told that we would be participating in a project that would show our lives and our struggles with illness through a “compassionate lens.” We participated because our diagnoses are misunderstood and stigmatized. We thought that revealing some of the most intimate moments of our lives would lead to greater public understanding. We hoped that with it might come investment in research to find biomarkers and better treatments. We never fathomed that we were participating in a project that would instead expose us and our communities to further ridicule and disbelief.

MediumThe Truth Behind Netflix’s ‘Afflicted’

I stopped watching the series after the first episode because it was so clear that the producers went for sensationalism over realism. They consistently showed the people suffering from severe conditions as mentally ill and having psychosomatic illnesses.

Jamison Hill, a writer with ME, wrote a blog post about his experience.

One such episode was devoted to “Identity,” suggesting that those of us with chronic illnesses spend so much time in poor health we become consumed by the lifestyle and don’t know how to live any other way, which is a completely asinine point to make. It’s unfair to categorize people like this because they “become” their illness. If giving all of your surplus energy to try to make yourself better is “becoming” an illness, then sure we “become” it, but if we’re talking about finding some sort of clandestine enjoyment or comfort in living as a sick person because we don’t know how to live any other way, well, that’s one of the most idiotic things I’ve ever heard; that’s not us.

https://jamisonwrites.com/2018/08/20/netflix-and-hill-the-true-story-behind-afflicted/

Jake Sidwell, who has chronic Lyme disease, posted an hour-long YouTube video about the making of the show and how unfortunate the experience has been. In it, he discusses questions posed by people who saw the documentary.

Scientists with deep knowledge of the research literature — including several from the Open Medicine Foundation’s “Community Symposium on the Molecular Basis of ME/CFS” at Stanford, which the film crew did shoot — were either not interviewed or their interviews ended up on the cutting room floor. Instead, Afflicted frequently relies heavily on the skeptical voices of “experts” who have no relevant professional or academic expertise in our diseases.

MediumThe Truth Behind Netflix’s ‘Afflicted’

“Acknowledging” skepticism doesn’t make people take us more seriously, especially when the evidence of their biological basis – both my abnormal lab results and the broader research – is purposefully excluded. There’s a big difference between acknowledging the skeptical perspective and, say, devoting three entire hour-long episodes to psychobabble sound bites about it, which is precisely what the producers did.

https://jamisonwrites.com/2018/08/20/netflix-and-hill-the-true-story-behind-afflicted/

Did you see Afflicted? What was your reaction to it?

Awful truth about ME

The Awful Truth About ME

Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (ME) is a body-wide disease affecting the nervous and immune systems that is characterized by a severe worsening of symptoms after minimal exertion. It affects approximately 2.5 million people in the United States and an estimated 20 million worldwide.

Although research has shown that ME is about two to four times more likely to occur in women than men, the disease strikes people from every age, racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic group.

This awful, devastating, life-crushing and debilitating disease is largely ignored by the medical establishment in the US and other countries and has been for decades. It is trivialized with the name Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) in the US–as if a good night’s sleep is all that is needed.

young woman looking out a window  holding a cup
More women than men have ME but the disease can strike anyone from school-age to retirement. Most people with ME are in their prime productive years.

Many Doctors Believe ME Is “All In The Imagination”

The dismissive name, chronic fatigue syndrome, contributes to many doctors believing it is a psychosomatic problem (all in your head) or due to deconditioning. To think someone would fake the debilitating symptoms and bone-crushing fatigue of ME is simply beyond what anyone who has the disease can imagine!

Until early in 2018, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended counseling and an exercise program as the treatment! While counseling may be helpful in coming to terms with the loss of a career, a parental role and a future, exercise with no accommodation for symptoms is the absolute worst thing for someone with ME.

The disease arises after someone–adult or child–does not recover from a flu-like illness, Epstein-Barr Virus, Mononucleosis, any of numerous herpes viruses, Q fever, or other infections. Rarely, ME has been triggered by environmental toxins, getting a vaccination, or surviving a major trauma.

Regardless of the onset, our health is never the same. People with ME experience numerous symptoms and severity which fluctuate day to day, week to week, month to month, year to year and decade to decade.

Although privately funded research studies are finding diagnostic clues called biomarkers, diagnosis is still made based on excluding other diseases and illnesses.

Feeling Like You Have The Flu

young woman looking window cup
People with ME experience body aches, digestive problems, and unrelenting fatigue that is more powerful than anything experienced before the illness.

In most cases, a person reports feeling exhausted most or all of the time, plus having problems concentrating and carrying out daily activities. Most people also report symptoms such as unrefreshing sleep, frequent sore throats, fevers, tender lymph nodes, diffuse pain, muscle weakness, headaches of a new severity, type or pattern and joint pain.

Further, these symptoms are not relieved by a good night’s sleep. The burden this places on people often results in reducing or eliminating previous levels of job-related, educational, social and personal activities. Approximately a quarter of all people with ME are homebound or bedridden. Many use wheelchairs to conserve energy or because they do not have enough energy or stamina to walk more than a few steps.

The disease can last for 30 years or longer. Very few people recover. Sometimes ME is mild enough to allow working part-time. Some people will have a relapse, usually due to overexertion or stress, and they will come back to a new lower baseline of function. Others have a more progressive pattern of slow decline. A small percentage are so sensitized to external stimuli that they must remain in a dark, silent room.

People With ME Have A Lower Quality Of Life

A 2018 study comparing people with ME and those with MS to healthy controls found that the ME group experience a greater impact of their disease on life functioning than those with MS. Additionally, researchers found that people with ME are more likely to be unemployed or only able to work part-time than participants in the other two study groups.

Despite there being twice as many people with ME in the US as have MS (multiple sclerosis), ME receives only about $2/person in research funding while MS gets about $235/person. HIV/AIDS receives $2,500/person in federal medical research funding. (These figures are based on FY2015 data.) MS is used as a comparison because it also is an illness with a primary symptom of fatigue and involves significant nervous system damage.

Clearly, millions of people are suffering needlessly.

These graphs show how little federal research funding is allocated to ME/CFS and how great our disease burden is compared to other illness.

Many thanks to #MEAction.net, Solve ME/CFS, and ME-Pedia.org for the material used on this site.

What is your own experience with ME? Can you add to this post? Let me know below.

The IoT Device Disabled People Are Waiting For Is Here–On Sale!

The Internet of Things (IoT) already is making life easier for tech-savvy folks with disposable income. However, many of the devices you can set from a smartphone aren’t always useful for those of us who are home all day. The IoT just wasn’t practical for many people with chronic illnesses–until now.

Amazon has developed a hands-free, voice-activated device disabled woman in wheelchairthat does just about everything someone who is confined to bed or a wheelchair could want.

The Echo Show is a great idea for someone who is disabled, has a fatiguing illness or is otherwise unable to use their hands. I do not own one of these devices, but I’m seriously considering buying it next Monday when Amazon has its Prime Day sales.

Here’s why I think this would be great for anyone who is disabled. With the Echo Show, in no particular order of importance, you can:

  • Watch Amazon Video content
  • See music lyrics on-screen with Amazon Music. Just ask to play a song, artist or genre, and stream over Wi-Fi
  • Play music simultaneously across Echo devices with multi-room music (Bluetooth not supported)
  • View security cameras. Ask Alexa to show the front door or monitor another room with compatible cameras from Amazon and others
  • See your photos
  • Get weather forecasts
  • Just talk to make to-do and shopping lists
  • Browse and listen to Audible audiobooks
  • Call almost anyone hands-free
  • Make video calls to family and friends with an Echo Spot, Echo Show, or the Alexa App
  • Instantly connect to other Echo devices around your home
  • Stream music on Pandora, Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, and more
  • Turn on lights or the TV, set thermostats, control Amazon Video on Fire TV, and more with WeMo, Philips Hue, Sony, ecobee, and other compatible smart home devices

Plus, Echo Show will get smarter and be adding new features, plus thousands of skills like Uber, Allrecipes, CNN, and more.

All hands-free—just ask the device.

The Echo Show has powerful, room-filling speakers with Dolby processing for crisp vocals and extended bass response. With eight microphones, beamforming technology, and noise cancellation, Echo Show hears you from any direction—even while music is playing.

FLASH: we don’t have to wait for Prime Day since they are on sale now!

I get a small affiliate fee if you purchase after clicking the ad.

Your loved one is ready for discharge–but are you?

Are you ready for your loved one to come home from the hospital or rehab facility?

Here are seven things to consider before the big day.

Equipment: Will you need special medical equipment, called DME (durable medical equipment) like a hospital bed, oxygen, a commode, toilet seat riser and grab bars, a bath chair, bathroom handrails, a hand-held shower attachment, transfer aids, and mobility aids like a quad cane, or a walker? Ask the nurses who give the daily care what you will need at home and have them arrange it before the homecoming. Make sure it is all ready to go and in place on the discharge day. Oxygen canisters can be kept outdoors even in the hottest/coldest climates, but the bulky oxygen generator has to be plugged in somewhere inside the house.

Routines: what changes to the daily schedule will be needed to accommodate rehabilitation or comfort care? If you don’t already have one, get a large wall calendar where you can keep track of medical appointments whether coming to you or going to them. You should receive a list of all medications and times at discharge. Sometimes there are so many things at different times during the day and night that it will be easier if you make a chart. Then you can check off when pills, inhalers, and treatments are taken. Will you need to transform the living room into a bedroom for a short time?

Home Health nurses and aides: Be sure to talk with your doctor or nurse practitioner about ordering home health care. Physical therapy is often ordered for a short time, as well. In most cases, there will be at least one visit with a registered nurse to help you get things set up. He or she can also be a resource for any and all questions. The nurse can help develop that medication chart if you are confused about it, too. Also, a home health aide may be available to help with showering or bed baths. These decisions are dictated by Medicare/Medicaid and private insurance regulations, so each situation is unique.

Household chores: Finding the time and energy to house clean and take care of the yard or do snow removal will be much more difficult while you are a full-time caregiver. Consider hiring help either from one of the many home care agencies like Visiting Angels, Seniors At Home or Safe At Home that provide light housekeeping and personal care. Craigslist can also be a source for help, but don’t forget to ask friends and neighbors.

Safety: You may need to remove throw rugs, fasten down area rugs, install handrails on stairs, and generally remove clutter. Look carefully at anything that would interfere with a mobility aid like a walker or cane. If there will be oxygen, then a sign needs to be fastened to the front door warning there is no smoking in this house. This means no candles, either. Doorways may need to be widened if a wheelchair will be needed long-term.

Extra assistance: Someone who can pick up a prescription or get a few things at the grocery store for you will be invaluable. If you don’t have a support network close at hand, look into home delivery options.

Family Medical Leave/state programs: Medical leave is an option for people with full-time jobs that ensure the position will remain open while you take time out to care for a loved one. Talk with your human resources manager about eligibility. Some states have programs that will pay caregivers and provide funds to modify the home to accommodate medical needs. Call your county Aging, Disability Resource Center (ADRC) for information and help if your loved one is elderly or disabled.

Professional care managers are available in larger cities. For a fee, they will help with whatever is needed. Some of the areas where a care manager can assist are helping you plan and get to doctor’s appointments, helping navigate insurance and healthcare decisions, and communicating with your family and medical team. They can arrange for and schedule additional paid in-home help and set up a simplified medication regimen. Find them through a hospital or rehab facility, ADRC or use a search engine to “find care managers near me”.

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