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Our cause awareness blog provides knowledge and educational information to advocate for cancer, medical, social and psychological illnesses and/or causes. 

Filtering by Tag: pain

World Psoriasis Day

Davis Orr

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Today is World Psoriasis Day!

World Psoriasis Day's primary purpose is to act as a focus for people - patients, doctors, nurses and the general public - to raise awareness of psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis and to give people with psoriasis and/or psoriatic arthritis the attention and consideration they deserve. World Psoriasis Day (WPD) is also useful as a channel to encourage health authorities to offer better access to the most appropriate treatments.

While scientists do not know what exactly causes psoriasis, we do know that the immune system and genetics play major roles in its development. Usually, something triggers psoriasis to flare. The skin cells in people with psoriasis grow at an abnormally fast rate, which causes the buildup of psoriasis lesions.

Men and women develop psoriasis at equal rates. Psoriasis also occurs in all racial groups, but at varying rates. About 1.9 percent of African-Americans have psoriasis, compared to 3.6 percent of Caucasians.

Psoriasis often develops between the ages of 15 and 35, but it can develop at any age. About 10 to 15 percent of those with psoriasis get it before age 10. Some infants have psoriasis, although this is considered rare.

Psoriasis is not contagious. It is not something you can "catch" or that others can catch from you. Psoriasis lesions are not infectious.

(Content: psoriasis.org Image: deviantart.com)

#psoriasis #worldpsoriasisday #skin #skincare #dermatology #autoimmune #red #rashes #pain #burning #itchy #redness #scales #skindisease

Pain Awareness Month

Davis Orr

September is Pain Awareness Month!

Nearly 100 million Americans experience chronic pain — more than those who have diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined. Chronic pain is often defined as any pain lasting more than 12 weeks. Whereas acute pain is a normal sensation that alerts us to possible injury, chronic pain is very different. Chronic pain persists — often for months or even longer.

Chronic pain may arise from an initial injury, such as a back sprain, or there may be an ongoing cause, such as illness. However, there may also be no clear cause. Other health problems, such as fatigue, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite, and mood changes often accompany chronic pain. Chronic pain may limit a person’s movements, which can reduce flexibility, strength, and stamina. This difficulty in carrying out important and enjoyable activities can lead to disability and despair. Pain is a very personal and subjective experience.

With chronic pain, the goal of treatment is to reduce pain and improve function, so the person can resume day-to-day activities. Patients and their healthcare providers have a number of options for the treatment of pain. Some are more effective than others. Whatever the treatment plan, it is important to remember that chronic pain usually cannot be cured, but it can be managed.

The following treatments are among the most common ways to manage pain:
Medications, acupuncture, electrical stimulation, nerve blocks, or surgery are some treatments used for chronic pain.

(Content: medicineplus.gov. Image: Favim.com tumblr image.) 

#pain #painhurts #chronic pain #injuries #illness #prescriptiondrugs #medications #acupuncture #electricalstimulation #nerveblocks #surgery #joints #backpain #babyboomers

Psoriasis Awareness Month!

Davis Orr

August is Psoriasis Awareness Month!

Unpredictable and irritating, psoriasis is one of the most baffling and persistent skin disorders.  Psoriasis is characterized by skin cells that multiply up to ten times faster than normal. As underlying cells reach the skin's surface and die, their sheer volume causes raised, red plaques covered with white scales. Psoriasis typically occurs on the knees, elbows, and scalp, and it can also affect the torso, palms, and soles of the feet. It can be itchy, painful, and may crack and bleed. 

Psoriasis can also be associated with psoriatic arthritis, which leads to pain and swelling in the joints. The National Psoriasis Foundation estimates that between 10% to 30% of people with psoriasis also have psoriatic arthritis.

A variety of factors, ranging from emotional stress and trauma to streptococcal infection, can cause an episode of psoriasis. Recent research indicates that some abnormality in the immune system is the key cause of psoriasis. As many as 80% of people having flare-ups report a recent emotional trauma, such as a new job or the death of a loved one. Most doctors believe such external stressors serve as triggers for an inherited defect in immune function.

Injured skin and certain drugs can aggravate psoriasis, including certain types of blood pressure medications (like beta-blockers), the anti-malarial medication hydroxychloroquine, and ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin, etc.).

Psoriasis tends to run in families, but it may skip generations; a grandfather and his grandson may be affected, but the child's mother never develops the disease. Although psoriasis may be stressful and embarrassing, most outbreaks are relatively harmless. With appropriate treatment, symptoms generally subside within a few months.

#psoriasis #itchyskin #autoimmunedisease #autoimmune #skindisease #skindisorder #dermatology #rheumatology #plaque #pain #redness #otezla

Invisible Illness Awareness

Davis Orr

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Here's a little Invisible Illnesses Awareness to kick off your weekend!

Oh my gosh, you guys… I’m excited for today’s awareness blog post. I’ve received quite a few emails since my post two weeks ago about chronic illness and my synopsis of Spoon Theory. To be completely open with you all, it was a really important blog entry for me to write as someone who falls into the #spoonie category. Like many of you, I have struggled to find the words to accurately explain what chronic illness feels like to friends and family. When I found Spoon Theory, it was like all the sudden everything clicked. It’s powerful to be able to feel so represented by another person’s experience, and I was so grateful to finally have something to forward to people that captured the essence of the daily struggle. Finding the words to explain my chronic illness was difficult until I found Spoon Theory, and finding the #spoonie community was a complete game-changer. When you’re deal with multiple diagnosis, and rare conditions or abnormal presentations of illnesses, it can start to feel like you’re some kind of one-in-a-million freak. One of the greatest comforts I have found in the #spoonie community is that I’m really not that special. That sounds like a negative thing, but it’s actually very liberating to feel like there’s a group of people out there who are all just like you. You’re not the only weirdo, there’s actually a whole bunch of you. It makes the world suddenly less lonely, your conditions less scary, and it allows us to feel understood without explanation, finally. So, today’s awareness blog entry is going to expand on the chronic illness topic, because I see that it has connected with a lot of you.

Today we’re gonna talk about invisible illnesses/invisible disabilities. A huge chunk of the chronic illness community is suffering from an invisible illness or invisible disability. Invisible illness can sometimes be more difficult to deal with socially, because you get a lot of people who don’t take you seriously since, “you don’t look sick.” Not “looking sick” can be a double-edged sword. On the one hand, it’s nice that you can pass as a healthy person. It gives you a certain sense of freedom to be able to choose with whom you share your story, because others will not recognize that you are sick. There’s kind of a luxury to being able to go back and forth between the realm of the healthy and the realm of the chronically ill. It’s kind of like being a spy. You have a double life. On the other hand, it can make things much more difficult. In my own experience, I have had to convince people that I was actually sick. People assume that you are either weak or exaggerating since there are no physical signs that you are suffering. Another really fun assumption that people make about you is that you’re not experiencing fatigue, you’re just lazy. Even doctors, who should know better, sometimes don’t believe you. It’s pretty sucky to have to prove that you’re a member of a club that you don’t want to belong to in the first place (chronic illness/invisible illness being the club).

I’ll quickly share a personal story, which I don’t normally do, but it illustrates the issue. A couple months after I got my license, I decided to drive down to the coffee shop with my brother. I had been very sick and hospitalized off and on for months before that. Going to the coffee shop was a big outing for me at the time, sadly. I had a handicapped placard, which I needed. When I got there, I parked in a handicapped spot. There were a couple other handicapped spots open, but the regular spots were all full. When my brother and I got out of the car, a group of older people (seniors) started loudly talking to each other about me, essentially calling me a disrespectful teenage dirtbag (I was an honor roll kid, not a thug). As we got closer to them, one of the women started shaking her head at me in disgust, and said, “You know you can get a ticket for that, I should call the police.” I was completely frozen. I was so shocked that this group of adults was shaming me, and I didn’t know how to react. I was so full or rage and scared at the same time. What if the police came and didn’t believe me either? My brother looked at the woman and said, “She needs to park there.” I was relieved he said something because I didn’t know what to say. The woman then said, “She sure doesn’t look sick,” to which I replied, “thank you,” and walked inside. I could see that my response made her recognize that she had been wrong. The group quickly left before we came back out. This may not sound like that big of a deal, but there have been hundreds of situations like this in my life. Let me tell you, over time it fills you with anger and anxiety, and makes you defensive by default. It sucks to have to explain yourself to strangers that don’t deserve to know anything about you. It sucks to be judged by people who assume you’re a crappy person when you encounter them, while just trying to live your life. This is just one example of a scenario that people with invisible disabilities face constantly. It’s why this awareness blog is so important to me.

Enough about me, let’s get clinical. Invisible disabilities are usually caused by chronic illnesses. Having an invisible disability means that your normal daily activities are significantly impaired. Wanna hear a surprising statistic? Something like 96% of people living with a chronic illness do not have any outward signs that indicate that they are sick. That’s a gigantic number of people who are living with invisible illnesses. About 10% of people with a chronic illness are considered to be disabled from it. Invisible illness can be defined as a mental, physical, or neurological condition that impairs the person’s ability to move, affects their senses, or inhibits their ability to perform daily activities, that is not readily apparent to an onlooker. Having an invisible disability does not necessarily make the person disabled. That is an important distinction because sometimes people with invisible disabilities can often still work, maybe part time, or with accommodations. Sometimes the disability will improve and sometimes its severity will wax and wane. Each person’s unique invisible disability will affect them differently. So, just because you know one person with MS who was able to go back to work, doesn’t mean another person with MS struggling with an invisible disability will be able to. Many people with invisible disabilities are still active, and maintain involvement with their family and friends, even hobbies or sports.

Invisible disability symptoms can be chronic pain, chronic fatigue, cognitive impairments, or cognitive dysfunction, weakness or dizziness, brain injuries, mental health disorders, learning disabilities, hearing or visual impairment, and the list goes on. One of the major struggles for people with invisible disabilities is that people tend to have higher expectations of them because they cannot see, or forget that the disability exists. As a result, there are often issues with miscommunications, misconceptions, and misunderstandings. Never judge a person by what they look like. A person may look like they are unable to do something, when they are actually completely capable of it. Likewise, a person who may look capable of something may not be. Disability does not depend on outward appearance. Remember that.

Thanks for reading! I hope this unusually personal awareness blog entry helped to shed light on what it can be like for people living with invisible illnesses or invisible disabilities. I hope that some of you feel like I captured an important aspect of life with chronic illness well, and accurately. Feel free to send me an email about it. =)

See you all next week!

If you’re a first time reader, let me take a minute to tell you a little bit about ourselves and why we started this awareness blog. We are Personalized Cause, an awareness accessory company specializing in custom awareness ribbons. Custom awareness ribbons are a unique product that allow our customers to personalize their awareness ribbons with any name, date or message they want. Custom awareness ribbons come in all colors, and are engraved with your choice of personalization. Custom awareness ribbons are a wonderful way to express support when you may not know what to say. Awareness ribbons are a powerful symbol of hope and inspiration to others, as well as the person wearing it.

At Personalized Cause, we believe in the power of awareness. We have seen how one custom awareness ribbon can impact an entire community, and create a culture of compassion and understanding. Raising awareness is our mission. Only through raising awareness do we make progress in funding, research, and cures. We want to empower you, through our awareness products, to become an advocate for yourself or others. We use our awareness blog as a way to educate people about health issues that affect millions of people, in hopes that it may help them to recognize symptoms and prevent illness. We hope you’ll come back next week for our next awareness blog entry.

Invisible illness is represented by a peach awareness ribbon. To order a custom peach awareness ribbon, visit:

https://www.personalizedcause.com/personalized-awareness-ribbons/peach-awareness-ribbon-pin-personalized?rq=invisible%20

#invisibledisability #chronicillness #chronicpain #chronicfatigue #spoonie #spoonielife #invisibleillness #awareness #awarenessribbon #awarenessribbons #cancerribbons

Arthritis Awareness Month

Davis Orr

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May is Arthritis Awareness Month!

Hey you guys! Thanks for stopping by! I hope that everyone out there is pumped to have a little knowledge dropped on their… face, or whatever. Hopefully last week’s post full of poop puns didn’t scare too many of you off. I’m sorry, you just can’t write an awareness blog post about Irritable Bowel Disease without a few jokes. Honestly, I think a little humor can make a world of difference when it comes to shitty health conditions. (LOL, sorry. I’m done, I swear!)

Today’s topic for the awareness blog is way harder to make puns about, so you’re all safe for now. Today, were gonna talk about one of the most common health issues out there. Drumroll, please… Arthritis! This month is Arthritis awareness month, and considering how many people are affected by it, I think it’s about damn time we get around to discussing it.

So, I’m guessing that everyone knows someone with arthritis. What you may not know is that there are different types of arthritis, and the effects of each kind can vary greatly. So, let’s break it down, shall we?

Arthritis is divided into three groups: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis and psoriatic arthritis. Within those three types of Arthritis, there are subsets of the condition, or diseases that cause the condition. There are more than 100 specific kinds, so I won’t bother listing them.

Osteoarthritis is typically an age-related issue that occurs over time as wear and tear begins to damage the joints and surrounding tissue. Osteoarthritis commonly affects the joints that get the most use, meaning hands, feet, and weight bearing areas like spine, hips or knees. As we age, our cartilage gets worn out, which leaves us with less and less cushion to absorb the shock of everyday physical activity. As you can imagine, given what we’ve just learned about wear and tear, obesity is a major cause of osteoarthritis in those younger than the average osteoarthritis patients. Because there is so much extra pressure on the joints, the cartilage gets worn down more quickly. Osteoarthritis causes the joints to become painful. Over time, function of the specific joints affected may decrease.

Depending on the joint, there may be surgical options available, when medication no longer helps or function is too poor. Some joints can be completely replaced with new artificial joints so that the patient can get back to their normal physical activities. Hip replacements have come a long way from what they used to be, might I add. Other types of joint replacements include knee replacement, shoulder replacement, and even finger joint replacement (called PIP). Of course, joint replacements aren’t right for everyone, and some may not be healthy enough to undergo the surgery. Osteoarthritis is kind of one of those unavoidable health issues, it’s just a matter of what age it will begin and what joints it will affect. It usually begins in the joints that get the most use.

Osteoarthritis is usually managed with NSAIDs (anti-inflammatory medications that are not a steroid), over the counter pain relievers, analgesics (to numb the affected area), dietary supplements for joint health, and even with narcotics, as a last resort. Surgery is also an option for some. There are many self-care options, too, like icing the joint (which is a good idea because it reduces inflammation), products like Bengay or IcyHot, weight loss to reduce pressure on the joints, and exercise (even though it sounds counterintuitive, it keep the synovial fluid moving which helps).

Rheumatoid arthritis is different from osteoarthritis in pretty much every way except for the painful joints. Rheumatoid arthritis, also called RA, is an autoimmune disease, which means that the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks it’s own healthy cells instead of invaders such as a virus or bacteria. With RA, the immune system attacks the joints in particular. Over time, the immune system attacking healthy cells leads to inflammation, and inflammation can lead to permanent damage. This is why treatment and early diagnosis is crucial to preventing long-term damage, which can be potentially debilitating in some cases. RA can appear at any age, even children, which is it’s own classification of the disease, called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. RA is not caused by normal wear and tear, but by the immune system, so age doesn’t discriminate either for or against it. RA can appear out of the blue, suddenly, or gradually over a long period of time.

Symptoms of RA are different than osteoarthritis. Typically, the pain in the joints is worse than that of osteoarthritis, and is accompanied by a deep, aching pain. Joints can become stiff, especially noticeable first thing in the morning, easing as the morning goes on. It can cause the joints to look red and swollen, even warm to the touch. These are all indications of the damaging inflammation. It may also affect range of motion, limiting the joints function. One of the less common symptoms is something called rheumatoid nodules, affecting around one in five RA patients. Rheumatoid nodules are bumps that occur over the joints that are under the most pressure. You’ve most likely seen images of them affecting the knuckles. They can be red and just appear as if the joint itself was very swollen, or they can also present as smaller bumps along the joint. Either way, they are a telltale symptom of RA. Another characteristic of RA is that there tends to be symmetry to the affected joints, meaning that if a patient has it in one knee, they likely have it in the other knee as well. Over time, if the disease is not managed or isn’t well controlled other joints will become affected by the disease because RA can be progressive in nature. People with RA can experience chronic fatigue, loss of appetite, and fibromyalgia. As if all of this weren’t enough, RA can also involve other organs, such as eyes, lungs, or even heart.

Last, but not least, we have psoriatic arthritis. Psoriatic arthritis, like rheumatoid arthritis, is also an autoimmune disorder. Generally, people who suffer from Psoriasis are the ones that develop Psoriatic arthritis. Psoriasis is an autoimmune skin condition that commonly presents over joints, like the elbows. Psoriasis has a red, scaly, patchy appearance, often accompanied by white spots that can flake off. Having psoriasis does not necessarily mean that one will develop Psoriatic arthritis, though. About one third of psoriasis patients end up developing psoriatic arthritis. And, generally, people develop the skin condition before psoriatic arthritis, rather than the other way around. Of course, there are exceptions to that, and some will develop psoriatic arthritis before psoriasis.

Psoriatic arthritis can sometimes be misdiagnosed, particularly because it can look similar to the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis or gout. It also seems to run in families, like many of the autoimmune diseases. In fact, up to 40 percent of those with psoriatic arthritis have blood relatives with a skin or joint condition. Patients are usually diagnosed between the ages of 30 to 50, but it can occur in children and young adults.

Treatment for both RA and psoriatic arthritis are similar because they are both autoimmune diseases. With autoimmune diseases, treating the disease usually means trying to get the immune system to stop attacking itself, and that is done using the same pool of medications for many of the diseases. The first line of defense is usually NSAIDs and over the counter pain medicines (for inflammatory issues, ibuprofen is best). Steroids can be very effective in reducing inflammation, but they come with a lot of side effects. Biologics and DMARDs (disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs), and even some forms of chemotherapy (usually methotrexate) are used to threat them as well. The treatment depends on severity, which is why it is so important to get it under control early on, so that you can avoid the drugs with more serious side effects. Some people also find improvement with natural supplements. One supplement people with autoimmune diseases find particularly helpful is tumeric. Tumeric supplememnts work on a multitude of health issues, which you can learn about here.

That’s the deal, folks. This was just a brief overview, and each type of arthritis could easily be a separate post. I’m sure I’ll get to do that at some point, too. I hope this was an easy to digest run-down of the differences and basics of each kind of arthritis. People tend to find there is more to it than they thought.

To wrap things up, I’d like to very quickly explain a little bit about our awareness blog. This awareness blog is dedicated to raising awareness about many different kinds of illnesses and causes. We tend to choose our post topics based on current awareness observances, like awareness months or awareness days recognized in the U.S. or worldwide. The awareness blog is run on behalf of Personalized Cause, who also hosts the awareness blog on their website.

Personalized Cause is an awareness apparel company that specialized in custom awareness pins. Personalized Cause is the only U.S. company to offer their customers low volume personalized awareness ribbons. Customers can choose any name, date, phrase, or message they want to be engraved on a cloisonné awareness ribbon pin. The pins are beautiful quality, and very affordable. Custom awareness ribbon pins are a powerful way to support someone going through a health crisis, or lifelong health journey.

Arthritis is represented by a blue awareness ribbon, but there are special ribbons to signify rheumatoid arthritis or psoriatic arthritis. RA is represented by a purple and blue awareness ribbon. Psoriatic arthritis is represented by an orange and lavender awareness ribbon.

To order a blue awareness ribbon, click here:

https://www.personalizedcause.com/personalized-awareness-ribbons/blue-awareness-ribbon-pin-personalized?rq=arthritis

To order a purple and blue awareness ribbon, click here:

https://www.personalizedcause.com/personalized-awareness-ribbons/purple-and-blue-awareness-ribbon-pin-personalized?rq=rheumatoid%20arthritis

To order an orange and lavender awareness ribbon, click here:

https://www.personalizedcause.com/personalized-awareness-ribbons/orange-and-lavender-awareness-ribbon-pin-personalized?rq=orange%20and%20lavender

#arthritis #pain #inflammation #jointpain #chronicpain #chronicillness #fatigue #invisibleillness #seearthritis #arthritis #RA #rheumatoidarthritis #psoriaticarthritis #psoriasis #auntoimmunedisease #osteoarthritis #awareness #awarenessribbon #cancerribbon