Thursday, March 29, 2018

3 Hair Disorders and 7 Skin Disorders

I am continuing with autoimmune disorders that affect different parts of the body. the brain, the musculoskeletal system and the digestive system and which autoimmune disorders affect the. Today's post is about the hair and the skin. But first, did you know that Autoimmune disorders are broadly grouped into two categories? They are
  • “organ-specific” means one organ is affected, and
  • “non-organ-specific” disorders, multiple organs or body systems may be affected.
Here are some examples of organ-specific and non-organ-specific:
  • Diabetes (Type I)– affects the pancreas. Symptoms include thirst, frequent urination, weight loss and an increased susceptibility to infection. (Organ specific)
  • Graves' disease– affects the thyroid gland. Symptoms include weight loss, elevated heart rate, anxiety and diarrhea. (Organ specific)
  • Inflammatory bowel disease– includes ulcerative colitis and possibly, Crohn's disease. Symptoms include diarrhea and abdominal pain. (Organ specific)
  • Psoriasis– affects the skin. Features include the development of thick, reddened skin scales. (Organ specific)
  • Rheumatoid arthritis– affects the joints. Symptoms include swollen and deformed joints. The eyes, lungs and heart may also be targeted. (Non-organ-specific)
  • Scleroderma– affects the skin and other structures, causing the formation of scar tissue. Features include thickening of the skin, skin ulcers and stiff joints. (Non-organ-specific)
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus– affects connective tissue and can strike any organ system of the body. Symptoms include joint inflammation, fever, weight loss and a characteristic facial rash. (Non-organ-specific)
  • Multiple sclerosis– affects the nervous system. Depending on which part of the nervous system is affected, symptoms can include numbness, paralysis and vision impairment. (Non-organ-specific)
With so many autoimmune disorders being “non-organ-specific” we will probably see the different disorders showing up in other groupings. Autoimmune Disorders that Affect the Hair and Skin #autoimmune #lupus #hashimoto's

Autoimmune Disorders that Affect…

The Hair

  • Lupus. Lupus can cause the hair on your scalp to gradually thin out, although a few people lose clumps of hair. Loss of eyebrow, eyelash, and beard and body hair also is possible. In most cases, your hair will grow back when your lupus is treated. But some people with lupus develop round (discoid) lesions on the scalp.
  • Hashimoto's Disease. Hair loss is a distressing symptom experienced by women with Hashimoto’s. For women, our hair represents our femininity, and losing our hair is a constant reminder that something is off and that we are not well. Iron deficiency is one of the most common reasons for hair loss in pre-menopausal women. People with Hashimoto’s often have poor levels of stomach acid, which is required to extract iron from foods.
  • Alopecia Areata describes an autoimmune disease caused by the body's immune system attacking the hair follicles. When white blood cells attack hair follicles, they interrupt hair growth leading to small round patches of hair loss.

The Skin

  • Scleroderma. The skin is just one area that is affected by scleroderma, which is actually a widespread condition that affects all of the body’s connective tissue. Since this autoimmune disorder extends throughout the body, patients can experience not only skin changes, but also symptoms in blood vessels, muscles, and organs. A localized form of scleroderma results in patches of thickened skin, while systemic scleroderma is the form that has the greatest impact on people’s lives.
  • Psoriasis. This is a chronic autoimmune disorder that manifests as skin redness and irritation. There are five different types of psoriasis: guttate, plaque, inverse, erythrodermic, and pustular. The most common is plaque psoriasis, in which raised, red skin patches are covered by flaky, silver-white patches of dead skin, known as scales.
  • Dermatomyositis.This autoimmune disorder is primarily muscular in nature, but because dermatomyositis also affects the skin, it is sometimes categorized with skin-related autoimmune conditions.
  • Epidermolysis Bullosa. There are many forms of epidermolysis bullosa, but only one, epidermolysis bullosa acquisita, is considered autoimmune in nature. All forms of epidermolysis bullosa causes fluid-filled skin blisters to develop in response to injuries that don’t normally warrant that type of reaction. For example, gentle rubbing of the skin or even an increase in room temperature can cause blisters to form.
  • Bullous Pemphigoid. This chronic autoimmune disorder involves skin blisters that range in severity. In some cases, the patient may experience only mild redness or irritation of the skin, while other, more severe cases involve multiple blisters that can break open and form ulcers.
  • Polyarteritis Nodosa. PAN is a multisystem disease that may present with fever, sweats, weight loss, and severe muscle and joint aches/pains. The disease can affect nearly any site in the body, but it has a predisposition for organs such as the skin, kidney, nerves, and gastrointestinal tract.
  • Lichen’s Sclerosis. This autoimmune disorder can affect the skin on any part of the body.
I have Lichen's Sclerosis all over my body. Some areas itch and others are just discolored or lumpy. This is a nasty one for me. Action Step: Many of these autoimmune disorders in this post are new to me and probably new to many of my followers. Please share your experience with how your hair and skin are affected in the comment section below. Autoimmune Disorders of the Hair and Skin #autoimmune #autoimmunewellness #lupus #Hashimoto #alopeciaSource:

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

8 Autoimmune Disorders Affecting the Musculoskeletal System

Many of the autoimmune disorders affect multiple organs and the musculoskeletal system. The musculoskeletal system provides form, support, stability, and movement to the body. It is made up of the bones of the skeleton, muscles, cartilage, tendons, ligaments, joints, and other connective tissue that supports and binds tissues and organs together.

Some of these autoimmune disorders are new to me and I want to learn more about them. 8 Autoimmune Disorders that Affect the Musculoskeletal System

8 Disorders

Lupus affects connective tissue and can strike any organ system of the body. Symptoms include joint inflammation, fever, weight loss and a characteristic facial rash.

The Lupus Encyclopedia
The Lupus Encyclopedia

Scleroderma affects the skin and other structures, causing the formation of scar tissue. Features include thickening of the skin, skin ulcers and stiff joints. Swelling of the fingers, intermittent coolness and blue discoloration of the fingers, joints freezing in permanent (usually flexed) positions (contractures), and damage to the gastrointestinal system, lungs, heart, or kidneys may develop.

  The Scleroderma Book

The Scleroderma Book: A Guide for Patients and Families

Rheumatoid Arthritis. Affects the joints. Symptoms include swollen and deformed joints. The eyes, lungs and heart may also be targeted.

  Your Live with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Your Life with Rheumatoid Arthritis

Polymyositis is one of the inflammatory myopathies, a group of muscle diseases that involves inflammation of the muscles or associated tissues, such as the blood vessels that supply the muscles. Polymyositis usually does not affect most internal organs other than the throat and esophagus. However, the lungs and heart may be affected, causing abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), shortness of breath, and a cough.

Dermatomyositis Muscle weakness at the shoulders or hips.

  Connective Tissue Diseases

Connective Tissue Diseases

Sjogren's Syndrome white blood cells can infiltrate and damage glands that secrete fluids, and sometimes other organs can be damaged. Sjögren's syndrome can dry out the mucous membranes lining the nose, throat, digestive tract, voice box (larynx), windpipe (trachea), airways of the lungs, vulva, and vagina. Dryness of the vulva and vagina can make sexual intercourse painful. Dryness of the trachea can cause cough. Nerve, lung, and other tissues may be damaged by the inflammation.

  Sjogren's Syndrome Survival Guide

The Sjogren's Syndrome Survival Guide

Relapsing Polychondritis is a rare disorder characterized by episodes of painful, destructive inflammation of the cartilage and other connective tissues in many organs. The ears or nose may become inflamed and tender. Other cartilage in the body can be damaged, leading to various symptoms, such as red or painful eyes, hoarseness, cough, difficulty breathing, rashes, and pain around the breastbone.

Eosinophilic Fasciitis  is a rare disorder in which the skin and tissue that lies beneath the skin become painfully inflamed and swollen and gradually harden in the arms and legs.


Populations Affected by These AI Disorders

Populations affected by AI Disorders affecting multiple organs including the musculoskeletal system - - autoimmune disorders/diseases

Lupus According to the Lupus Foundation of America, approximately 1.5 million people in the U.S. have lupus. People of African, Asian, and Native American descent are more likely to develop lupus than are Caucasians. Although it can occur in both men and women, 90% of people diagnosed with the disease are women.

Sjogren's Syndrome More than 200,000 US cases per year of sjogren’s syndrome. Sjögren’s syndrome can affect people of either sex and of any age, but most cases occur in women. The average age for onset is late forties, but in rare cases, Sjögren’s syndrome is diagnosed in children.

Rheumatoid arthritis About 1.5 million people in the United States have rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Nearly three times as many women have the disease as men. In women, RA most commonly begins between ages 30 and 60. In men, it often occurs later in life.

Scleroderma The systemic form of Scleroderma is thought to affect from 40,000 to 165,000 people in the United States. The disease is three to four times more common in females than in males. Scleroderma may occur at any age but the symptoms most frequently begin during midlife.

Dermatomyositis occurs in adults from the late 40s to early 60s, but can also occur in children. Females are most affected. Fewer than 200,000 US cases per year

Polymyositis (PM) is rare. Incidence is estimated to be somewhere between 1-8 cases per million people. Women are twice more likely to be affected than men. PM typically occurs during middle age and is rarely seen in people younger than 30 years.

Relapsing polychondritis occurs as often in men as in women. In a Mayo Clinic series, the annual incidence was about 3.5 cases per million. 8 Autoimmune Disorders that Affect the Musculoskeletal System #autoimmune #musculoskeletal Source:

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

7 Autoimmune Disorders that Affect the Digestive Tract

Give me good digestion, Lord, And also something to digest; but where and how that something comes I leave to Thee, who knoweth best.                                                      Mary Webb
I hate it when any part of my digestive system isn't working properly. With Sjogren's I don't have saliva, so I have to drink large amounts of water with every bite. Sometimes I will drink two quarts of water just to make it through breakfast.

Sjogren's also causes problems with swallowing. I will get food caught in my esophagus and it will try to come back up. The pain is excruciating when this happens. My chest, back, jaw, and head hurts from the pain. The last time this happened I had to be hospitalized for a day. I had a piece of chicken get caught in my esophagus. That was the most expensive piece of chicken I have ever eaten.

After I eat, sometimes my stomach will hurt because I had to drink so much water with my meal.

Enough about me. Let's look at the digestive system and the seven autoimmune disorders that affect the digestive track.
7 Autoimmune Disorders that Affect the Digestive System

The major parts of the digestive system:

  • Salivary glands
  • Pharynx
  • Esophagus
  • Stomach
  • Small Intestine
  • Large Intestine
  • Rectum
  • Accessory digestive organs: liver, gallbladder, pancreas
Parts of the Digestive Tract - - autoimmune disorders/diseases

7 Autoimmune Disorders that Affect the Digestive Tract

7 Autoimmune Disorders that Affect the Digestive Tract #autoimmune #lupus #celiac #crohn's #autoimmunehepatitis #diabetes

Systemic Lupus Erythematosus The digestive system is responsible for extracting nutrients from the food you eat and ridding your body of waste products. Lupus can affect the entire digestive system, beginning with the mouth. People with lupus are prone to lesions on the inside of the cheeks, the lower lip, or the roof of the mouth. Certain medications prescribed to treat lupus can increase your risk for oral lesions. When the esophagus is inflamed, stomach acid can be forced back into the esophagus (acid reflux), causing heartburn and gas. It can also make swallowing difficult (dysphagia).

Some people with lupus take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This can increase risk of bleeding ulcers in the stomach lining or where the stomach meets the bile duct, pancreatic duct, and small intestine (duodenum). Helicobacter pylori bacterium also can cause ulcers, a common problem for people with lupus.

Inflammation can cause fluids to build up in the lining on the inside of the abdomen (peritoneum). Symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, fever, and constipation. Lupus patients are at increased risk for inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis). Use of diuretics, immunosuppressants, or corticosteroids increases this risk.

Digestive symptoms include constipation, diarrhea, and nausea. These problems can be aggravated by the use of corticosteroids or NSAIDs. Ulcers that form in the colon and rectum may cause bloody diarrhea.

Polyarteritis Nodosa PAN is a multisystem disease that may present with fever, sweats, weight loss, and severe muscle and joint aches/pains. The disease can affect nearly any site in the body, but it has a predisposition for organs such as the skin, kidney, nerves, and gastrointestinal tract.

Celiac disease Affects about 1 person in 200, occurs when a person becomes intolerant to gluten, a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley products. In people with celiac disease, the ingestion of gluten causes the immune system to attack villi, the tiny structures lining the small intestine.

Crohn's Disease This condition occurs when the immune system attacks parts of the digestive tract, causing inflammation, swelling, and even scarring.

Ulcerative Colitis the "cousin" of Crohn's disease, and explains that it happens when the immune system attacks the lining of the rectum and colon, causing ulcers. The ulcers can then bleed and produce pus.

Autoimmune Hepatitis Unlike most types of hepatitis, which are caused by viruses, autoimmune hepatitis happens when the body's immune system attacks liver cells, causing inflammation.

Diabetes The partial paralysis of the stomach, which causes delayed gastric emptying. This delayed emptying is most often associated with poorly controlled diabetes. There are more autoimmune disorders that affect the digestive tract and I will be discussing them during the month of April. 7 Autoimmune Disorders that Affect the Digestive Tract


Monday, March 26, 2018

5 Autoimmune Disorders that Affect the Brain

Autoimmune Awareness Month

Autoimmune Awareness Month 

 Not only is March Multiple Sclerosis Awareness month it is also Autoimmune Awareness Month. So, I am going to blog the rest of this month and all of April about all of the different types of autoimmune diseases/disorders. I made this nifty logo for it.

I am amazed every time I learn more and more about autoimmune disorders and how destructive they can be on our body. I think it is scary and I find being more scared of the effects on the brain. 5 Autoimmune Disorders that Affect the Brain

Autoimmune Brain Disease

Autoimmune Brain Disease or "AIBD" consists of a syndrome of the central nervous system which is caused by antibodies or immune cells which are attacking the brain.

How common is autoimmune brain disease?

ABD is rare, probably accounting for less than 1% of all cases of central disturbances.


The diagnosis is based on history, findings on physical examination, blood tests, and the results of other tests.


Several things can be done to treat AIBD. In cases with a rapid progressive impairment, a trial of steroids (Prednisone or Decadron) for 4 weeks may be tried. In people who respond to steroids, in most cases a chemotherapy type of medication such as Cytoxan or Methotrexate will be used over the long term ). It has also recently been reported that plasmapheresis may be beneficial. Plasmapheresis is a new medical term to me. Here is the definition: This procedure replaces blood plasma with new plasma to stop antibodies from attacking healthy cells. This procedure may need to be repeated several times.

Autoimmune Encephalitis

AE is a serious medical condition in which the immune system attacks the brain, impairing function. With rapid diagnosis and appropriate treatment, many patients recover most or all functions. However, not all patients experience full recovery; with approximately 6% mortality and other patients who never regain significant brain and/or bodily functions.

Have you seen the movie "Brain on Fire"? This movie is based on the true story of a woman who had AE. This movie is riveting to watch and I felt very bad for the patient. When the doctor who could help her came into her life, he was like that knight in shining armor.

The movie Brain on Fire is a true story that is about a patient with this disease and how it was discovered and treated.


The direct cause of most cases of AE remains unknown. However the following have been shown to trigger AE:
  • a teratoma ( a type of tumor, generally found in the ovaries). A teratoma or cancer is found only in a small minority of AE patients.
  • the presence of a cancer in the body , that indirectly triggers an autoimmune response (this is called a “paraneoplastic syndrome”)
  • exposure to certain common bacteria, including, but not limited to, streptococcus and mycoplasma pneumonia, with or without active infection.
It is unfortunate that the immediate trigger of many episodes of AE remains unknown.


As soon as a patient is diagnosed with AE, they should receive one or more of the four first-line treatments.
  1. removal of a teratoma (if present) that could be triggering the autoimmune response
  2. steroids to reduce immune response and inflammation
  3. plasmapheresis to remove harmful antibodies from blood
  4. intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG), which is believed to occupy the binding sites where harmful antibodies attach to brain cells.
“Second line” treatments—immunosuppressant drugs—should begin promptly if first-line treatments fail to improve symptoms. The three most commonly used drugs are:
  1. Rituximab: is cell-targeted antibody injection that helps the immune system destroy certain blood cells that may cause the immune system to create autoantibodies.
  2. CellCept: is an oral immunosuppressant, originally prescribed to patients undergoing organ transplant surgery, but now is recommended as a possible “second line” defense in AE. CellCept interferes with the formation of DNA in certain immune system cells that become overactive in cases of autoimmune disorders.
  3. Cytoxan(cyclophosphamide): is a chemotherapy drug that comes in tablet or injectable form. It works by slowing or halting the growth of immune system cells. Common side effects include nausea, vomiting, and hair loss. Less common but more serious side effects include damage to the bladder, fertility problems, and bone marrow suppression.
5 Autoimmune Disorders that Affect the Brain #autoimmune #braindisorders #autoimmunewellness


This sounds very serious to me. Vasculitis is an inflammation of the blood vessels of the brain; which can cause confusion, seizures, headaches, and unconsciousness. Vasculitis of the central nervous system (CNS) is the inflammation of blood vessels in the brain and spinal cord.


Vasculitis anywhere in the body is usually accompanied by systemic symptoms like fever, involuntary weight loss and/or fatigue. Symptoms that may accompany vasculitis in the brain include:
  • severe headaches
  • stroke-like symptoms
  • difficulty with coordination
  • confusion
  • or other changes in mental status.
Vasculitis of the spine may cause shooting pains in the arms and legs, numbness and asymmetrical weakness. In some cases, the disease may be acute for a time, and then enter periods of remission. In other cases, vasculitis may be chronic. Just like with other autoimmune disorders and the immune system being attacked because it doesn't recognize healthy body parts, vasculitis, misidentifies parts of blood vessel walls as harmful and attacks the vessel walls, causing them to become swollen and inflamed.


Surgical treatment for vasculitis may be necessary when vasculitis causes an aneurysm to develop. Aneurysm treatment may include clipping, (Clipping is a way to treat an aneurysm by placing a small metal clip across the neck of the aneurysm- the base of the bulge. The aneurysm is thereby sealed off from the blood flow; it cannot burst or spill blood into the brain.) coiling, (a technique that places a stent at the point of the aneurysm and inserts a coil into the bulging blood vessel. The coil forms a clot that treats the aneurysm.) or flow diversion. To learn more about vasculitis visit the


Lupus is so damaging and seems to be able to attack any part of the body. I already don't like it that it can affect the heart, but I really am not that thrilled that it can affect our brain. Lupus can affect both the central nervous system (the brain and spinal cord) and the peripheral nervous system. Lupus may attack the nervous system via antibodies that bind to nerve cells or the blood vessels that feed them, or by interrupting the blood flow to nerves.


Signs of this are:
  • confusion
  • problems concentrating or remembering things
  • and trouble sharing thoughts.
One out of five people with lupus have headaches, dizziness, memory loss, stroke, or mood swings that result from changes in the brain or spinal cord. These people have central nervous system lupus. Other symptoms can include:
  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • seizures
  • stroke
  • problems with memory
  • problems with vision
  • depression (deep sadness, hopelessness, loss of pleasure)
  • mania
  • schizophrenia
  • and psychosis (delusions, paranoia, hallucinations).


A doctor can recommend a combination of treatments that include:
  • anti-inflammatory and anti-malarial medicines
  • blood thinners
  • drugs to ease tiredness and depression
  • and counseling

Rheumatoid arthritis

RA is best known for causing painful, swollen joints. Research shows that many people with RA say they also have to deal with symptoms like forgetfulness, trouble concentrating, and difficulty thinking clearly. A sense of mental slipping is known as “brain fog.”
  Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms and Disorders - - autoimmune disorders/diseases

Click to watch video


There are a few possibilities thought to be a cause of the “brain fog”, but none of them have been proven.


  • Get a full night’s sleep. This is a natural way to treat “brain fog”. Go to bed and get up in the morning at specific times. Use ambient music to help you sleep and keep the room dark and cool.
  • Certain medications may improve or prevent "brain fog". By relieving pain, medication can also provide relief from the constant distraction it causes.
  • Be organized. Make a to-do list for your daily tasks. I find it so much easier to work from a list! It is a great source of stress relief to have my tasks written down and organized.
So there you have it. Five autoimmune disorders that affect the brain. Lupus, vasculitis, rheumatoid arthritis, autoimmune encephalitis, and autoimmune brain disease.


Saturday, March 24, 2018

Self-Care Saturday 3-24-2018

Self-Care Saturday: March 24, 2018

12 Activities for Self-Care Saturday

I really like Dr. Aaron Boster's list of 20 Tips to Tackle Depression in MS. I decided to take twelve of the twenty items and create a list of things that we can all try for our Self-Care Saturdays.
  1. Clean up your diet. Cut the sugar! - If you are struggling with your weight or you are just needing to do something new with your eating, how about taking some time to investigate a new eating program? There are so many to choose from.
  2. Improve your sleep. Are you having trouble sleeping? Have you ever considered a sleep mask or a noise machine to help you fall asleep? I have to have noise to fall asleep. My favorite thing is the sound of rain. Have you ever heard of Rainy Mood? Check this out!
  3. Exercise. Do you feel like exercising today? I feel lazy if I don't get at least thirty minutes of exercise. I know that I feel so much better after going for a walk. If you are going to exercise, what will your exercise of choice be? Here is one of my favorite indoor walks.
  4. Don't spend all your time alone. Read a book at a coffee shop or at a park.
  5. Create a routine. Create structure for your day. Make a "To-Do" list before you go to bed for the next day. Start marking things off as you accomplish them. This will give you a great feeling and you will have structure.
  6. Set goals.
    • Try the SMART technique for setting your goals.

    • Specific: goals can not be vague Measurable: otherwise how will you know when you succeed? Attainable: realistic Relevant: to the problem you identified Time-based: so that it doesn’t get “put off” forever For example, a goal of exercising everyday would not be a SMART goal. 
    • Using the SMART technique you might arrive at these goals instead: 
    • S: Swimming (specific type of activity). 
    • M: 30 minutes, 2 x/week (measurable).This is a goal you can work toward, because 10 minutes is all you can do right now. 
    • A: You’ve planned on pool access and transportation (realistic). If not, you may need to decrease time, frequency, or even change specific activity. 
    • R: You’ve identified your basic problem as decreased activity (swimming is relevant). 
    • T: You look to accomplishing your measurement goal within 2 months (time). Read more...
  7. Keep a journal. This can be very rewarding. I have a journal you can start with. Click here, to get it and print it off. You may want to pick up a really nice ink pen to go along with your journaling. There is something nice about a new pen and it is a great gift for yourself.
  8. Start a garden. Keep it small like a box or window garden.
  9. Get a pet. Visit your local SPCA to find a new friend. They will help you create structure for your day and encourage exercise.
  10. Talk therapy. Sit down with an objective trained listener. Pastor, Rabbi, counselor, etc. Like the person that you are doing your talk therapy with.
  11. Reach out to your family and friends. When you make contact with your family and friends it isn't necessary to start unloading on them. Get in touch with them to go out and do something. Invite them over for coffee. Just be with the people you love.
  12. Try to do something fun. What do you consider to be fun? One thing that I think is fun and I do it with my husband, is to go look at model homes. We have new neighborhoods that are being built and I love going to look at the new houses to see what the new colors are for the walls and trim. I love to see how they are staged and to get ideas for my own home.
There are so many things we can do to thrive as we live with autoimmune disorders. Don't just survive! Choose one thing to do from the list and see how things go.
  12 Activities for Self-Care Saturday #self-care #autoimmunewellness #autoimmune

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Multiple Sclerosis and Depression

What is Depression?

Depression is a term commonly applied to a wide variety of emotional states ranging from feeling down for a few hours on a given day to severe clinical depression that may last for several months. 

Being diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder can lead to depression. After becoming sick and not knowing what is wrong with us, we can feel a weight being lifted off of our shoulders when we get the correct diagnosis. After we get the diagnosis of MS or another autoimmune disorder, we can get depressed because of what we do and do not know about the disease and how it will affect our future. Depression can affect our daily activities and our relationships.

Studies have suggested that clinical depression—the most severe form—is more frequent among people with MS than it is in the general population or in many other chronic illnesses.

Depression is equally common in other immune-mediated, neuroinflammatory diseases (such as rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease) suggesting that inflammation is a contributing factor to depression in these conditions.

Read more about what you are to do when you are feeling depressed, by clicking here.

A discussion on depression for people living with MS with Tracy and Tom Kimball

Understanding Depression

A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones. Proverbs 17:22

How to Cope with Depression

There are a few things you can do when you have the blues and you need to get out of a funk. Looking at your overall health and how you can improve different areas may help.
  • Exercise - Finding the right exercise for you can make all the difference. Discuss which type of exercise you should be doing with your doctor.
  • Reduce your stress. I don't care who you are, everyone has stress. There are many different ways to reduce your stress you need to decide how and when you are going to do it. Here are a few ideas:
    • Take a bubble bath.
    • Read a good book in a quite setting.
    • Listen to soothing music.
    • Journal.
  • Stay in touch with your family and friends. You may need a Self-Care Saturday to reconnect.
  • Stay connected with your doctors. Don't miss your appointments and make sure to write down all of your questions before going to your appointment so you don't forget anything.
  • Recognize your feelings. Get a journal and keep track of how you are feeling. Track what triggers them and what helps relieve them.

Anxiety weighs down the heart, but a kind word cheers it up. Proverbs 12:25

20 Tips & Tricks to Tackle Depression in MS by Dr. Aaron Boster

20 Tips and Tricks to Tackle Depression in MS

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

To learn more about depression and MS, the National MS Society has created this helpful brochure.
Depression and Multiple Sclerosis Brochure 

Philippians 4:8

MS and Depression #MS #MultipleSclerosis #Depression #autoimmune  


Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Improve Your Memory with MS

Changes in Cognitive Thinking

As I'm getting older I am starting to see changes in my memory. Words aren't coming as quickly as they use to. I'm still pretty sharp in many areas, but I am seeing a few changes.

Living with MS can bring cognitive changes and that may be the first symptom people may experience. Cognitive changes are a common symptom of MS — more than half of all people with MS will develop problems with cognition.
  Multiple Sclerosis and Your Memory #MS #multiplesclerosis #autoimmune #autoimmunewellness #autoimmunedisorders #autoimmunediseases

Certain functions are more likely to be affected than others:
  • Information processing (dealing with information gathered by the five senses)
  • Memory (acquiring, retaining and retrieving new information)
  • Attention and concentration (particularly divided attention)
  • Executive functions (planning and prioritizing)
  • Visuospatial functions (visual perception and constructional abilities)
  • Verbal fluency (word-finding)
A person may experience difficulties in only one or two areas of cognitive functioning or in several. Read more...

  Mood and Cognition in MS: What You Can Do - Video

5 Ways to Improve Your Memory #MS #MultipleSclerosis #autoimmunedisorders #autoimmune

5 Ways to Improve Memory

  1. Eat healthy - I already talked about nutrition basics for MS in an earlier post. Eating a healthy diet will also help keep your memory at its best.
  2. Get plenty of rest - Get into a routine of going to bed at the same time. Make your bedroom a place of rest. You want an atmosphere that is calming and relaxing so you will fall asleep fast.
  3. Exercise - Getting the proper activity into your daily routine will help the creativity juices keep flowing.
  4. Learn something new - This may be the time in your life to learn how to dance, play the piano, sail, or go camping. You get the idea. This will give your brain a boost and give you a feeling of accomplishment.
  5. Manage your stress - There are many ways to reduce your stress. One positive way is to start a journal to keep track of everything you are grateful for. Write down you thoughts, goals, accomplishments, conversations, etc. Write things down so you can go back and reflect on them. Another way to reduce your stress is to listen to yourself when you speak. Are your words positive or negative? That will make a difference in your stress level. Read more about reducing your stress by changing your negatives to positives here.

Improve Your Memory: A 4 Minute Guide

Improve Your Memory: A 4 Minute Guide

What techniques do you use to improve your memory? Please share them below in the comments section.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The Economic Impact of MS

There is an economic burden for everyone who is living with an autoimmune disorder. I want to take a look at what that burden is globally. Unfortunately the US isn't the only country with a population living with Multiple Sclerosis. The economic burden of MS includes the cost of diagnostics, interventions, and monitoring, and the loss of patient productivity and employment.
  Economic Impact of MS Infographic #MS #MultipleSclerosis #AutoimmuneWellness #autoimmunediseases

Tangible Costs

First let's take a look at the tangible costs of MS. What are tangible costs?

There are two types of tangible costs: Direct and Indirect Costs

Direct Costs are: Medical: – Physicians – Tests – Prescriptions – Hospital – Assistive devices – Therapy – Long-term care

Nonmedical: – Home/auto modifications – Transport – Formal care – Informal care

Indirect Costs are:

Increased Morbidity: – Work loss – Work change

Early Mortality: – Earnings losses

Impact on Family and Friends: – Employment changes – Health effects

Intangible Costs are: – Pain, suffering – Quality of life impacts – Stress – Quality of life impact on family/friends

The MS Population in Each Country

The world is filled with people living with MS. Have you ever thought of how many people in Norway have it? What about Germany or Poland? I found a study that was done in 2008 and it has the statistics. Globally, the median estimated prevalence of MS is 30 people per 100,000.

Here is the breakdown

Countries with the highest estimated prevalence included:
  • Hungary (176)
  • Slovenia (150)
  • Germany (149)
  • United States (135)
  • Canada (133)
  • Czech Republic (130)
  • Norway (125)
  • Denmark (122)
  • Poland (120)
  • Cyprus (110)
2016 Update: In the United States, multiple sclerosis (MS) affects approximately 400,000 individuals, and worldwide, the disease affects 2.5 million individuals, varying greatly by geographic region.

Total Costs of MS by Country

ms-costs-table Read more about this study...

A patient who is newly diagnosed with MS will visit their physician an average of 8 times annually, approximately 3 times as often as an individual without the disease.

Newly diagnosed patients are 3.5 times more likely to be hospitalized, 2 times more likely to have 1 or more emergency department visits, and 2.4 times more likely to have 1 or
more visits for physical, speech, or occupational therapy.

As patients with MS age and their disabilities progress, so do the costs of managing the disease.

The total lifetime cost per patient with MS is estimated to be $4.1 million (in 2010 dollars). This utilization of healthcare services increases with increasing disability, with an average yearly healthcare cost of $30,000 for those with mild to moderate disability; $50,000 for those with moderate disability; and $100,000 or more for those with more severe disability, such as those confined to a wheelchair or bed/chair.

Read more about this study... MS and it's Economic Impact #MS #MultipleSclerosis #autoimmunewellness #autoimmune #autoimmunediseases

Monday, March 19, 2018

Multiple Sclerosis and Children

Children and MS

MS is rare in kids. About 5% of cases of MS are diagnosed in children. MS in kids tends to progress more slowly than MS diagnosed in adults. Read more...

Pediatric MS: Understanding for Today, Hope for Tomorrow - Part 1

According to the National MS Society, estimates suggest that 8,000-10,000 children (up to 18 years old) in the United States have MS, and another 10,000-15,000 have experienced at least one symptom suggestive of MS. Studies suggest that two to five percent of all people with MS have a history of symptom onset before age 18. Pediatric MS: Understanding for Today, Hope for Tomorrow - Part 2

Once diagnosed, almost all children are considered to have relapsing-remitting MS, with most symptoms of MS similar to those seen in adults. There are, however, symptoms experienced by children that are not typical in adults, such as seizures and mental status changes (lethargy).
  Pediatric MS: Understanding for Today, Hope for Tomorrow - Part 3

Pediatric MS: Partnering with Your Child's School

Work together with your child's school to have a realistic understanding of how the family/school partnership can satisfy your concerns for your child’s future.
  Pediatric MS: Partnering with Your Child's School

More resources for parents from the MS National Society

Students with MS and the Academic Setting

Managing School Related Issues with MS

Action Step: If you are a parent who has a child with MS, please share a word of encouragement for others who may have been given the news that their child has multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis and Children
Multiple Sclerosis and Children #ms #multiplesclerosis #autoimmunewellness #autoimmunediseases #autoimmunedisorders