Emma | Preppy | Law Student | Sewist | Traveller | Spoonie

Let’s Talk About: Other Illnesses

Let’s Talk About: Other Illnesses

Other Illnesses

It’s an odd concept, and one that’s not widely broadcasted – but heads up, there’s a good chance you have other stuff going on, that’s more than just CPS and CFS. Doctors don’t really like to give you the whole list up front, in fear that we may ‘develop’ said illnesses under false pretenses. But hey, I’m no MD, so here; have the list.

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This list consists of illnesses that are invisible by nature but have devastating consequences. Not all of them are super severe, and not all of them happen to everyone or anyone. For instance, I tick about 5 of the boxes – if you’re lucky, you might only tick one or two.

Remember: I’m not a doctor, and this is not a medical diagnosis. I am simply providing a fact sheet for your knowledge. If you feel that one of these applies to you, do some more research (IN MEDICAL JOURNALS NOT ON GOOGLE) and take that to your GP. 

IBS

Let me tell you some things. Irritable Bowel Syndrome is more of a bitch than I am on my period. It’s genuinely a really damn rude illness, and it sneaks up on you faster than Neville did puberty.

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IBS is an intestinal disorder causing pain in the belly, gas, diarrhea, and constipation. Some people can control their symptoms by managing diet, lifestyle, and stress. Sometimes, medication is required. Most, however, use the ‘elimination diet’ as a means of controlling their symptoms. You can go to your doctor for this, but a dietician is most likely going to be the most help to you.

Paresthesia

Nerve Paresthesia covers all those abnormal sensations that you get in your limbs, like prickling, tingling, itching, burning or cold, skin crawling or impaired sensations. It does not, however, cover pins and needles – sorry kids.

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Paresthesia is fairly common, and there isn’t really anything you can do about it, especially if it’s minor. Like all things, if it’s impacting your quality of life, then you need to see a doctor. Otherwise, your weird sensations now have a name.

Depression

Ah depression. So fun; so dark. Depression, most of the time, is a symptom of a chronic illness, rather than a cause or stand-alone factor. I will always talk very openly about depression because here’s the thing; how the hell should you be expected to not be depressed when your health is in the toilet? If I was always a bundle of sunshine, you would expect to be worried.

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CLINICAL depression is a mental health disorder characterized by persistently depressed mood or loss of interest in activities, causing significant impairment in daily life. You shouldn’t be diagnosing depression from Tumblr kiddies. Although widely romanticized, depression is not something that’ll just go away, especially if it’s major. Seeing a doctor or psychologist is a really good idea. Remember – you aren’t alone. More than 3 million people in the US are treated for depression annually.

Anxiety

Anxiety is another one of those sneak-up-on-you-in-the-middle-of-a-nap kind of illnesses. Don’t get me wrong, it’s an illness, but like depression, it’s more a symptom than a cause. Again, like depression, when your body is constantly fighting you and you’re constantly having to take a mile-long-list into your GP, you’d expect to be more than a little on edge.

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Common characteristics of an anxiety disorder include feelings of worry, anxiety, or fear that are strong enough to interfere with one’s daily activities. Anxiety includes panic attacks, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and also encompasses post-traumatic stress disorder. These can occur due to trauma (bullying, for example, is a trauma. So are multiple major surgeries), genetics or simply luck. Again, this illness (SAY IT AGAIN, ILLNESS) is diagnosable by a medical professional and should be treated by one.

 Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

CFS is, of course, one of my many illnesses. If you’re in this category say ‘I am in a relationship with my bed’

Chronic Fatigue Syndrome is a disease characterized by profound fatigue, sleep abnormalities, pain, and other symptoms that are made worse by exertion. Mainly affecting women, the cause is unknown but could be either environmental or genetic.

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For more information, you can find my full fact sheet here

Fibromyalgia Syndrome

Fibro is characterized by widespread muscle pain and tenderness. It also includes symptoms such as excessive fatigue. Other symptoms include altered sleep, memory, and mood.

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For more information, you can find my full fact sheet here

CRPS/RSD

Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy; that was my first diagnosis, at the age of 10. Now called Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, it’s a nasty one, and though a minor chronic illness, it can alter your life in a big way.

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Characterised by chronic arm or leg pain developing after injury, surgery, stroke, or heart attack, this illness is hypothesized to involve abnormal inflammation or nerve dysfunction.

According to Google, CRPS is characterized by pain that is greater than would be expected from the injury that causes it. Treatment usually consists of medications, heat or cold therapy, physical therapy, and biofeedback.

Tension headaches

A mild to moderate pain often described as feeling like a tight band around the head. Very common in Fibromyalgia and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

Dysmenorrhea

Dysmenorrhea is basically painful periods or menstrual cramps. Symptoms typically last less than three days. The pain is usually in the pelvis or lower abdomen. You can read my review on the Livia, which helps with painful periods, here.

Restless leg syndrome

RLS is a condition characterized by a nearly irresistible urge to move the legs, typically in the evenings. For me, it was at night, and it was stopping me sleeping. Getting up and moving around can help temporarily. Lifestyle changes and medications can help.

Endometriosis

Gentlemen, you can flick past this one, I don’t think it’ll be a problem for you. Ladies; listen up.

Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrial tissue – that is, the lining of the uterus – is found outside of said uterus, potentially in the Fallopian tubes or outer uterine layer. This causes intense pelvic pain, especially during times of menstruation. It is characterized by this pain, plus irregular cycles. It can only really be identified by an MRI, specialist ultrasound or keyhole biopsy.

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When left long enough, this tissue can cause the organs to ‘stick’, as it is not being disposed of effectively. It can be treated by your GP with the pill or other progesterone hormones (like, the stronger pill) (I know how horrifying); there are also surgical options available.

So, with that in mind, clap your hands with me.

Chronic. Debilitating. Menstrual. Pain. Is. Not. Normal.

AND AGAIN

Chronic. Debilitating. Menstrual. Pain. Is. Not. Normal.

I am v passionate about this subject, so excuse my language for like half a paragraph. I do not give a flying fuck what your trusted family doctor says about those cramps you get. If you are paralyzed by that pain, it’s not normal. You do need to exhaust other avenues before you follow this route. It might not be Endo – it could be PCOS or fibroids or cysts or whatever else – but get checked out.

PS; all MRI scans are not the same. Do your homework on specialists.  More posts on this to come.

Leaky Gut

There’s a lot of speculation around leaky gut and here’s why. Lot’s of people have found a huge amount of relief in the diagnosis and consequent treatment of Leaky Gut; I have friends who swear by allergy tests and elimination diets while scoffing down beef broth.

WebMD states that it is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, causing undigested food particles, toxic waste products, and bacteria to “leak” through the intestines and flood the bloodstream. However, there is very little evidence to prove this credible. The supposed cure is to increase the amount of good bacteria in your stomach.

Personally, I tried it, and I wasn’t a fan – I took an allergen test that eliminated about 70 things from my diet (like salmon. Who can’t eat salmon?) and made me skinnier, and not in the least bit healthier. You’ll find me in the non-believer isle, but I do believe in giving everything a chance – if it works for you, then who gives a flying Pygmy Puff what I say.

Adrenal Fatigue

Not a real thing. First of all. It’s a fancy term for not Chronic Fatigue but super tired. Even my chrome browser had trouble getting along with this one.

Adrenal Fatigue is an alternative medical suggestion that the adrenal glands are exhausted and unable to produce adequate quantities of hormones, primarily the glucocorticoid cortisol, due to chronic stress or infections.

The problem is, you can’t really run out of adrenaline, not can those glands become ‘fatigued’. There is no scientific proof of this as of yet, so you’ll only find this term in alternative medicine. However, if this is your medical diagnosis (as in, from an MD), get a new doctor.

POTS

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome. It’s a bloody mouthful, but it explains a lot. It’s a relatively rare syndrome, in which the symptoms are related to the reduced blood volume that occurs when standing up. Basically, when you stand – even when you stand slowly – everything goes a little spinny and a little black. Other symptoms include lightheadedness, fainting, and rapid heartbeat. 

Tachycardia

A medical term that means an abnormally rapid heart rate. Use if you want to impress a cute nurse.

PCOS

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome is a hormonal disorder, causing enlarged ovaries with small cysts on the outer edges. Like most of these illnesses, the cause isn’t known but could be nature or nurture. This is a ladies-only club, with symptoms including menstrual irregularity, excess hair growth, acne, and obesity. Treatments range from the pill to hormones. This illness can, however, increase the risk of high cholesterol and diabetes.

Crohn’s disease

Crohn’s disease is a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that affects the lining of the digestive tract. Although the explanation is fairly simple, it can cause life-threatening complications. Though some sufferers can be symptoms free, and others get chronic symptoms, the illness can cause abdominal pain, diarrhea, weight loss, anemia, and fatigue.

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Medications such as steroids and immunosuppressants are used to slow the progression of the disease. If these aren’t effective, a patient may require surgery. Google also states that additionally, patients with Crohn’s disease may need to receive regular screening for colorectal cancer due to increased risk.

Autoimmune diseases

An autoimmune disease is a series of illnesses in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy cells. Most of these don’t happen with invisible illnesses, but rather ARE invisible illnesses.

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Rheumatoid Arthritis

A chronic inflammatory disorder affecting many joints, including those in the hands and feet.

Lupus

An inflammatory disease caused when the immune system attacks its own tissues.

Celiac Disease

An immune reaction to eating gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley, and rye.

Sjogren’s Syndrome

An immune system disorder characterized by dry eyes and dry mouth.

Polymyalgia Rheumatica

An inflammatory disorder causing muscle pain and stiffness around the shoulders and hips.

Multiple Sclerosis

A disease in which the immune system eats away at the protective covering of nerves.

Psoriasis

A condition in which skin cells build up and form scales and itchy, dry patches.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Inflammatory arthritis affecting the spine and large joints.

Type 1 Diabetes

A chronic condition in which the pancreas produces little or no insulin.

Alopecia Areata

Sudden hair loss that starts with one or more circular bald patches that may overlap.

Vasculitis

An inflammation of the blood vessels that causes changes in the blood vessel walls.

Temporal Arterius

An inflammation of blood vessels, called arteries, in and around the scalp.

For more information on Autoimmune Diseases, you can visit here

Food Sensitivities

Not really a disease but food sensitivities are characterized by digestive problems that occur after a certain food is eaten. Usually, it’s gluten or lactose. Or onion. Onion is a bitch.

Mesenteric lymphadenitis

Mesenteric Lymphadenitis is an inflammation of lymph nodes in the stomach. It is commonly mistaken for appendicitis. The most common cause is an infection.

Osteoarthritis

A type of arthritis that occurs when flexible tissue at the ends of bones wears down. Worsening with age, osteoarthritis is the wearing down of the cartilage in the hands, neck, lower back, knees, or hips. Medications, physical therapy, and sometimes surgery can help reduce pain and maintain joint movement.

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Neuropathic itch

I’m literally writing this a day out of an itch episode. It doesn’t sound particularly convincing, does it; an itch. It’s not really an itch. It’s more a rip-your-skin-off and find-yourself-a-new-body while bathing-in-ice pain, than it is an itch. Except that would be weird and the ice would suck. But it’s a really really bad itch that is usually caused by ‘Multiple Clinical Syndromes’. Yes. That is a thing. You can get an illness from having too many illnesses. 

For more info you can keep updated on my health page 




The Pacific Blonde, 2017