Have you noticed how chronic illness is emerging into the society? Everyone I know is sick with something it seems. I don't remember it being like this when I was young. My parents weren't sick. My friend's parent weren't sick. Now it seems like everyone and their kids are all chronically ill. What bothers me, is that even though each person has a different label or name to their disease, everyone has the same symptoms!
I believe it is time we open our eyes an figure this out. I believe there is a connection to the chem trails, the pesticides we use, the toxins in our foods, the preservatives, and all the chemicals that are being dumped into our body and environment everyday. This is just my opinion of course, and I'm interested in hearing yours. Please share you thoughts on this and if you are ill too.
To learn more about invisible illnesses Click Here.
and another good article: Challenges of Living With Invisible Illnesses and Pain.
MS, Lyme, Parkinsons, Chronic Fatigue, Fibromyalgia, Lupus
There are several things that make invisible illness hard. First, we don't look sick. That means everyone questions us, doctors, family, friends, and everyone. You find yourself explaining again and again to people after they say the inevitable, "but you look great," that just because you look good on the outside, does not mean your feel good on the inside.
I have found some articles that really could help spread some light on "what not to say to a chronically ill person." Check them out.
The first one was written by a father. His daughter has Lyme Disease and he didn't believe her at first. He later changed his mind after doing his own research and wrote this to his daughter. It will touch home for anyone who has been rejected by someone close to them because of their illness. Click Here to read the "Letter From Lymedad."
"But You "LOOK" Good!" How many times do we hear this and just cringe? Here is a website that deals with this matter. I will pull a couple points out of one of their articles they wrote. For further info please check out Invisible Diseases Association
What exactly is an Invisible Illness?
An invisible illness could be any number of diseases. It doesn't matter the name. It is when you have lost many months or years to an illness that was probably hard to diagnose, and might even be controversial. It is a disease that takes away your ability to work, to care for your family, do any of the daily routines, like showering, that used to be part of your routine. It is any illness that takes away your drive, energy, and even hope. It is an illness that physically drains you of any strength you had. You are in constant pain or having constant neurological problems. You start to feel isolated, depressed, anxious. Yet, it seems, there is no obvious changes to anyone who looks at you. We hear over and over again how great we look. And someone who is not ill might not understand why that hurts us when people say it. It's because we feel like you don't believe us, or you think because you saw us out at the store for an outing that we are now fine.
Unfortunately, when you have an invisible illness, family and friends are rarely supportive or understanding, because they do not see a any physical changes, our hair doesn't necessarily fall out, we don't turn blue, or have any obvious outward symptoms. Or we are just good at hiding them or covering them up. It is a constant feeling of feeling judged.
Remember that people do not "give in" to illness. It is ingrained in our nature to fight to survive as hard and as long as humanly possibly. If you
believe that your loved one is "giving in" to the illness, because they have given up their usual activities, this is just your perception of how they are handling their limitations.You need to realize that they CAN'T do the activities anymore because of their disease, not because it is just their choice that they don't want to do it.
When a person first experiences the effects of a chronic illness, they have a strong positive attitude about conquering it. They feel strong and invincible. As the disease slowly progresses, they will continue to fight to live the way they planned their lives to be and, will stay persistent in the battle until their bodies force them to make limitations. Please understand that creating limitations for oneself is one of the hardest things a person can do. Giving up on all your dreams and everything you worked for your whole life is not easy. It goes against everything we are and everything we ever hoped to be. No one wants to be sick and no one ever chooses to give up those things in life. Please respect their choice and be supportive when they have to say "no."
Also, a chronic illness is not just like having a cold. It is being so sick you can barely sit up or talk, having a fever that makes every muscle ache and your bones feel like they are being crushed. It is hard to even be upright. You have neverending dizziness, head pounding, ear ringing and pain. Picture your worse flu or hangover. Could you get up and function? Just imagine feeling that way every single day, week after week and year after year.
People with chronic illness often have what we call, "a good day." Now a good day to us, means generally that we were functional. We maybe took a shower or ran to walmart, or drove for the first time in three months. Sometimes it just means, I walked the dog today. Or I didn't sleep for twelve hours straight get up for an hour and go back to sleep. These are what we consider good days, to be somewhat functional. To have ten symptoms instead of thirty. So when you see us out and about trying to function out there in the real world, please don't run up and say, wow you look great, I'm glad to see you're better. I can guarantee that person is trying NOT to faint, or to hurry and get done before they burned out all their energy and they won't be able to drive home.
We DO need validation and compassion. We are not asking for pity or for you to wait on us hand and foot. We aren't looking for "attention" for attention's sake. We don't want to be questioned. We are not lying, we are not making up our crazy symptoms for kicks. We are suffering inside, and want to be respected. Please do not offer the latest "cure" you clipped out the magazine. Trust us when we say we have tried everything, and we are up to date on what current treatments are out there. The best thing you can do is just let us talk about what we are going through and listen to us. You don't have to understand because you can't, you don't have to "fix" us. Just listen. We would be so grateful for that.
Things that will help us are the simple things. First and foremost, just listening. You don't have to give us any advice, just listen to our feelings. This helps us feel validated and not judged. Doing any little things for us that most of us take for granted really helps. Like if you see a couple dishes in the sink, or pick up the milk at the grocery store. There little things are huge to someone who is chronically ill. You don't realize what you take for granted until you lose it. I remember one day freezing all day because I was too sick to reach over five feet and shut the window. So yes, these little thing can be done and we would sure appreciate them. Also a little hint, don't ask. We still have pride, and will say, no, I can do it. Even though inside we are thinking, please!!
'Signs" - A slideshow about compassion, judging, and love.
In Latin, fibro means fibrous tissues or muscles muscle and algia means pain. Fibromyalgia is considered a medical disorder that is characterized by chronic widespread pain that is not being obviously provoked by anything, and a heightened and painful response to pressure.
Cause: The cause of fibromyalgia is currently unknown. The theories that are being considered include "central sensitization". This theory proposes that fibromyalgia patients have a lower threshold for pain because of increased sensitivity in the brain to pain signals. Research conducted in the last three decades has revealed abnormalities within the central nervous system affecting brain regions that may be linked both to clinical symptoms and research phenomena. Fibromyalgia is considered either a musculoskeletal disease or neuropsychiatric condition.
Fibromyalgia is a controversial diagnosis which lacks scientific consensus.Some members of the medical community do not consider fibromyalgia a disease because of a lack of abnormalities on physical examination and the absence of objective diagnostic tests.
Difficulty With Swallowing
Bowel and Bladder abnormalities
Numbness and Tingling
Brain Fog (Fuzzy Thinking)
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Tests There are currently no real tests for Fibromyalgia. Doctors will feel certain pressure points. There are 18 designated possible tender points. The patient must feel pain at 11 or more of these points for fibromyalgia to be considered.
Usually a Combination Therapy is used with Fibromyalgia. Psychological/behavioural therapies, physical therapy and meds such as anti depressants, muscle relaxers, anti-seizure, and Opoids are usually given. There are three medications that have been approved by the FDA for treatment of Fibromyalgia. Pregabalin was approved in June, 2007, duloxetine was approved in June, 2008, and milnacipran was approved in January, 2009. Pregabalin and duloxetine have been shown to reduce pain in a substantial number of patients with fibromyalgia, but there were others who didn't benefit.
Although it is not considered to be degenerative nor fatal, the chronic pain of fibromyalgia is chronic and persistent. Most fibromyalgia patients report that their symptoms do not improve over time.
* Fibromyalgia affects more females then males.
* There is a high aggregation of fibromyalgia in families.
* Doctors consider Fibromyalgia a controversial disease because there is no cause proven or testing for it.
* More Women are affected then men.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
This is an illness characterized by severe fatigue when not having exerted yourself or not having any other medical factors to contribute to the fatigue.
Widespread muscle and joint pain
Cognitive difficulties (brain fog)
Increased Sensitivity to Light, Sounds and Smells
Difficulty maintaining upright position (orthostatic instability, irregular heartbeat, dizziness, balance problems or fainting, POTS)
Cardiac and Respiratory Problems
* Many people do not fully recover from CFS even with treatment.
Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, a form of psychological therapy .
Graded Exercise Therapy is a form of physical therapy.
Pacing is an energy management strategy which encourages behavioral change while acknowledging patient fluctuations in symptom severity and delayed exercise recovery. Patients are advised to set manageable daily activity/exercise goals and balance activity and rest to avoid over-exertion which may worsen symptoms.
A 2003 review states that studies have reported between 7 and 3,000 cases of CFS for every 100,000 adults. The Centers for Disease Control reports that more than 1 million Americans have CFS and approximately 80% of the cases are undiagnosed.
* More women than men get CFS - between 60 and 85% of cases are women.
* The illness is reported to occur more frequently in people between the ages of 40 and 59.
* Blood relatives of people who have CFS appear to be more predisposed. There is no direct evidence that CFS is contagious, though it is seen in members of the same family. This is believed to be a familial or genetic link but more research is required for a definitive answer.
CFS is an illness with a long history of controversies. There has been much contention over the etiology, pathophysiology, and diagnostic criteria. Controversies still exist over funding for research and treatment of physiological versus psychological and psychosocial aspects of the illness. Some doctors think it is psychosomatic.
* CFS is considered controversial because there is no cause or tests.
* CFS is common in families although it is not considered contagious.
* More women then men are affected by CFS.
Lyme disease is a spirochetal infection passed on to animals or humans through a tick bite. It is also passed in utero. Lyme is considered a muscular/skeletal and a neurological disease.
Bull's Eye Rash
Pain in Joints and Muscles
Back and Neck Aches
Swollen Lymph Nodes
Brain Fog or unclear thinking
Numbness and Tingling in various places
Tests Testing for Lyme Disease is through blood testing. Unfortunately the tests that are used currently are very unreliable. In some cases they have been found less then 50% accurate, leaving many people undiagnosed.
There are many treatments for Lyme Disease. The IDSA suggests three weeks of Doxycyclene although this has become quite controversial since patients are remaining sick. Many patients have to get picc lines to take intravenous antibiotics. Some turn to natural treatments when Western Medicine fails. For more information on Lyme treatments please go to Lyme Disease Treatments.
Prognosis: Unless Lyme Disease is caught in the early stages most patients remain sick for years. The best chances for curing Lyme is to treat it aggressively the first month you were infected. After that it disseminates through the organs and brain and becomes difficult to treat.
* Lyme affects more women then men.
* Several members of the same family seem to be infected. Researchers are unsure if this is because families are in the same area and all get bit at the same time or if something more sinister is happening and it is possible sexually transmitted.
* Lyme Disease may be the most controversial disease since Aids. Doctors are put in the middle, dictated by the IDSA guidelines to only treat it for three weeks. While patients are being refused the proper treatments because doctors are scared to treat it long enough, and insurance companies, who all go by the IDSA guidelines, refuse to pay for more then three weeks of treatment.
Lyme Disease YouTube Videos
As many of these 'Invisible Illnesses are emerging several of us who are suffering are having to become our own health advocates. It seems each physician can have a different idea of what you have. It's amazing how similar the symtpoms are between all these conditions.
Have you been diagnosed with any of these?
Chronic Illness Poll
What has someone said to you that has hurt your feelings?
Multiple Sclerosis is an inflammatory disease in which the fatty myelin sheaths around the axons of the brain and spinal cord are damaged, leading to demyelination and scarring as well as a broad spectrum of signs and symptoms. MS affects the ability of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord to communicate with each other effectively. Nerve cells communicate by sending electrical signals called action potentials down long fibers called axons. These are contained within an insulating substance called myelin. In MS, the body's own immune system attacks and damages the myelin. Once the myelin has been lost, the axons can no longer effectively conduct signals. The name multiple sclerosis refers to scars or lesions in the white matter of the brain and spinal cord, which is mainly composed of myelin.
Cause: Even though much is known about the mechanisms involved in the disease process, the cause remains unknown. Some researchers think it is genetics or infections. Different environmental risk factors have also been found.
Almost any neurological symptom can appear with the disease. and often progresses to physical and cognitive disability. There are a couple forms of MS. One form is called "Relapsing," where new symptoms occur in discrete attacks. A second from is "Progressive," where symptoms slowly accumulate over time.Between attacks, symptoms may go away completely, but permanent neurological problems often occur, especially as the disease advances. There is no cure for MS.
Treatments:Treatments attempt to return function after an attack, prevent new attacks, and prevent disability. MS medications can have adverse effects or be hard to tolerate. Many patients try alternative treatments.
For acute attacks: administration of high doses of intravenous corticosteroids, such as methylprednisolone, is the routine therapy for acute relapses.
Disease-modifying treatments are expensive and most of these require frequent (up-to-daily) injections. Others require IV infusions at 1-3 month intervals.
Fingolimod, Interferon beta-1a, interferon beta-1b, glatiramer , mitoxantrone, natalizumab are all meds for MS. The interferons and glatiramer acetate are delivered by frequent injections, varying from once-per-day for glatiramer acetate to once-per-week for Avonex. Natalizumab and mitoxantrone are given by IV infusion at monthly intervals. All six kinds of medications are modestly effective at decreasing the number of attacks in relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) while the capacity of interferons and glatiramer acetate is more controversial. Studies of their long-term effects are still lacking. Treatment of progressive MS is more difficult than relapsing-remitting MS.
Prognosis The prognosis for a person with MS depends on the subtype of the disease, the individual's sex, age, and initial symptoms, and the degree of disability the person experiences. Female sex, relapsing-remitting subtype, optic neuritis or sensory symptoms at onset, few attacks in the initial years and especially early age at onset, are associated with a better course. The life expectancy of people with MS is 5 to 10 years lower than that of unaffected people. Suicide has a higher prevalence than in the healthy population, while infections and complications are especially hazardous for the more disabled ones. Most MS patients lose their ability to walk eventually.
Epidemiology: MS usually appears in adults in their thirties but it can also appear in children. MS is more common in women. Although people after the age of fifty is equal. MS is less common in people living near the equator. This indicates that other factors such as environment or genetics have to be taken into account to explain the origin of MS.
* It usually occurs in young adults, and it is more common in women.
* Less people born in November have it then born in May, researchers are finding a connections with location and seasonal differences.
* The risk of acquiring MS is higher in relatives of a person with the disease than in the general population, especially in the case of siblings, parents, and children. The disease has an overall familial recurrence rate of 20%.
Dr E. Murakami on Lyme and MS Incidents
Lupus is a autoimmune chronic inflammatory disease that can affect various parts of the body, especially the skin, joints, blood, and kidneys. Symptoms of this disease can affect many different body systems, including joints, skin, kidneys, blood cells, heart, and lungs. Four main types of lupus exist - systemic lupus erythematosus, discoid lupus erythematosus, drug-induced lupus erythematosus, and neonatal lupus erythematosus. Of these, systemic lupus erythematosus is the most common and serious form of lupus.
What are the symptoms of lupus?
The signs of lupus differ from person to person. Some people have just a few symptoms; others have more. Lupus symptoms also tend to come and go. Lupus is a disease of flares (the symptoms worsen and you feel ill) and remissions (the symptoms improve and you feel better).
Common signs of lupus are:
Joint pain and stiffness, with or without swelling
Muscle aches, pains, or weakness
Fever with no known cause
Feeling very tired
Butterfly-shaped rash across the nose and cheeks
Other skin rashes
Unusual weight loss or weight gain
Trouble thinking, memory problems, confusion
Kidney problems with no known cause
Chest pain when taking a deep breath
Sun or light sensitivity
Purple or pale fingers or toes from cold or stress
Less common symptoms include:
Sores in the mouth or nose (usually painless)
"Seeing things", not able to judge reality
Dry or irritated eyes
Cause: No one really knows. While no gene or group of genes has been proven to cause lupus, Lupus does appear in certain families, and when one of two identical twins has lupus, there is an increased chance that the other twin will also develop the disease. These findings, as well as others, strongly suggest that genes are involved in the development of lupus. While a person's genes may increase the chance that he or she will develop lupus, research finds it takes some kind of environmental trigger to set off the illness or to bring on a flare. Some things that seem to set off Lupus are, ultraviolet rays from the sun, ultraviolet rays from fluorescent light bulbs, and sulfa drugs, an infection, running yourself down, exhaustion, an injury, emotional stress, such as a divorce, illness, death in the family, or other life complications
anything that causes stress to the body, such as surgery, physical harm, pregnancy, or giving birth.
Lupus can be hard to diagnose. It's often mistaken for other diseases. Many people have lupus for a while before they find out they have it. If you have symptoms, tell your doctor right away. No single test can tell if a person has lupus. But your doctor can find out if you have lupus in other ways:
Blood tests- Blood and urine tests. The antinuclear antibody (ANA) test can show if your immune system is more likely to make the autoantibodies of lupus. Most people with lupus test positive for ANA. But, a positive ANA does not mean you have lupus. About five to ten percent of healthy women test positive for ANA.
Skin or kidney biopsy- Doctors will remove a sample of tissue. The tissue is then viewed under a microscope. Skin and kidney tissue looked at in this way can show signs of an autoimmune disease.
Who get Lupus?
. About 9 out of 10 adults with lupus are women ages 15 to 45. African-American women are three times more likely to get lupus than white women. Lupus is also more common in Latina, Asian, and Native American women. Men are at a higher risk before puberty and after age 50. Despite an increase in lupus in men in these age groups, two-thirds of the people who have lupus before puberty and after age 50 are women.
The Medical Profession continues to search for better ways to care for and treat people with lupus. Some are using medications to manage systemic lupus erythematosus patients. such as Anti-Inflammatories, Corticosteroids, Antimalarials, Immunosuppressives medication and Anticoagulants in the treatment of your lupus symptoms.
There is no cure for Lupus of now. Many people live long, productive lives with lupus. However, it can be fatal for some people. It depends on the severity of illness, how the body responds to treatments, and other factors. Infections are the leading cause of death in people with lupus. Studies show that people with lupus are living longer lives compared to decades past.
Crohn's disease is thought to be an inflammatory autoimmune disease, in which the body's immune system attacks the gastrointestinal tract, causing inflammation. it is classified as a type of inflammatory bowel disease
Who Does Crohn's affect? Crohn's disease affects between 400,000 and 600,000 people in North America. Crohn's disease tends to present initially in the teens and twenties, with another peak incidence in the fifties to seventies, although the disease can occur at any age. There is no known pharmaceutical or surgical cure for Crohn's disease. . There is evidence of a genetic link to Crohn's disease, putting individuals with siblings afflicted with the disease at higher risk Males and females are equally affected. Smokers are two times more likely to develop Crohn's disease than nonsmokers.
Abdominal pain may be the initial symptom of Crohn's disease. It is often accompanied by diarrhea, especially in those who have had surgery. The diarrhea may or may not be bloody. Vomiting and nausea may indicate the beginnings of small bowel obstruction. Crohn's disease, like many other chronic, inflammatory diseases, can cause a variety of systemic symptoms. In children it can stunt their growth.
The diagnosis of Crohn's disease can sometimes be challenging and a number of tests are often required. Even after all the tests, it may not be possible to diagnose Crohn's with complete certainty. Colonoscopy is approximately 70% effective in diagnosing the disease, with further tests being less effective.
Treatment options are restricted to controlling symptoms, maintaining remission, and preventing relapse.
There is no cure for Crohn's disease and remission may not be possible or prolonged if achieved. In cases where remission is possible, relapse can be prevented and symptoms controlled with medication, lifestyle changes, and, in some cases, surgery. Adequately controlled, Crohn's disease may not significantly restrict daily living. Treatment for Crohn's disease is only when symptoms are active and involve first treating the acute problem, then maintaining remission.
Crohn's disease is more common in northern countries, and shows a higher preponderance in northern areas of the same country. The incidence of Crohn's disease is thought to be similar in Europe but lower in Asia and Africa. It also has a higher incidence in Ashkenazi Jews and smokers. The disease tends to strike people in their teens and 20s, and people in their 50s through to their 70s, and ages in between due to not being diagnosed with Crohn's and being diagnosed instead with irritable bowel syndrome. It usually strikes females who are pediatric patients more severely than males. Parents, siblings or children of people with Crohn's disease are 3 to 20 times more likely to develop the disease.
* All autoimmune diseases are a consequence of impaired immune function that results from interactions of genetic and environmental factors.
* Genetically-susceptible mice develop a lupus-like condition when dosed with mercury, silver, or gold.
* Seventy-five percent of autoimmune diseases occur in women, and most frequently during the childbearing years. Higher estrogen levels seem to stimulate the immune system, which may explain why men are less affected.
* Viruses, bacteria and mycoplasma, are implicated in autoimmune diseases. Often a bout of illness with a virus such as the Epstein- Barr virus triggers the onset of an autoimmune disease.
* An estimated twenty-five percent of us have some form of heavy metal poisoning. Studies have shown that exposure to toxic metals such as mercury, cadmium, lead, arsenic, aluminum, nickel and other heavy metals can be linked to the autoimmune process.
* Toxins such as pesticides, solvents, industrial chemicals, even household cleaners and hair dyes are being implicated in autoimmune diseases.
* Scientists have found a connection between some autoimmune diseases and vaccinations. In the February 2000 issue of Autoimmunity, ten research articles evaluate the causal link between vaccinations and autoimmune disease. For instance, the controversial anthrax vaccine has been causally linked to the development of autoimmune diseases.
* Many people have noticed a direct link between a major stressful life event and the development of an autoimmune disease six to twelve months later.
* Poor diet is an important factor in autoimmunity because poor nutrition compromises the immune system. Processed foods are loaded with chemicals, hormones, steroids, trans-fats and sugars, which promote the creation of free radicals in the body, which in turn damage the cells.
To learn more go to: EvenBetterHealth.com