Posted in Awareness

World Sickle Cell Awareness Day June 19, 2021

This World Sickle Cell Day (observed every year on June 19), find new stories and resources about sickle cell disease!

So many people I have met that have sickle cell disease also have Osteonecrosis aka Avascular Necrosis.

Sickle Cell is an inherited blood disorder that causes “sickle” shaped red blood cells that can stick together, blocking blood flow and oxygen from reaching all parts of the body. People with SCD can experience pain, anemia, infection as well as many other health issues like Osteonecrosis, Vision Loss , Anemia,DVT and Extreme pain.

According to some of my Osteonecrosis group members : Living with sickle cell disease can be a challenge. But there are steps you can take to live the healthiest best life possible.

Here are some tips from the CDC web page

It is very important that every person or family with a young child with sickle cell disease have a plan for how to get help immediately, at any hour, if there’s a problem. Be sure to find a place that will have access to your medical records or bring a copy.

Go to an emergency room or urgent care facility right away for:
  • Fever above 101° F
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Chest pain
  • Abdominal (belly) swelling
  • Severe headache
  • Sudden weakness or loss of feeling and movement
  • Seizure
  • Painful erection of the penis that lasts more than 4 hours
Call a doctor right away for:
  • Pain anywhere in the body that will not go away with treatment at home
  • Any sudden problem with vision

People with sickle cell disease can live full lives and enjoy most of the activities that other people do. The following tips will help you, or someone you know with sickle cell disease, stay as healthy as possible.

Find Good Medical Care

Sickle cell disease is a complex disease. Good quality medical care from doctors and nurses who know a lot about the disease can help prevent some serious problems. Often the best choice is a hematologist (a doctor who specializes in blood diseases) working with a team of specialists.

Get Regular Checkups

Regular health checkups with a primary care doctor can help prevent some serious problems.

  • Babies from birth to 1 year of age should see a doctor every 2 to 3 months.
  • Children from 1 to 2 years of age should see a doctor at least every 3 months.
  • Children and adults from 2 years of age or older should see a doctor at least once every year.

Osteonecrosis is common in patients with sickle cell disease, with an incidence ranging from about 2 to 4.5 cases per 100 patient-years. Patients with the hemoglobin SS genotype and α-thalassemia and those with frequent painful crises are at highest risk. The overall prevalence is about 20-30 percent.

Osteonecrosis, a form of ischemic bone injury that leads to degenerative joint disease, affects ∼30% of people with sickle cell disease. Although osteonecrosis most commonly affects the femoral head (often bilaterally, with asymmetric clinical and radiographic progression), many people with sickle cell disease also present with multifocal joint involvement. Meaning it can be in the femoral head or hip as well as knees, shoulder, ankle etc…

Eat healthy with sickle cell more fruit and vegetables less processed junk and stay hydrated

References

CDC https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/sicklecell/index.html

Ash Publications https://ashpublications.org/hematology/article/2019/1/351/422583/Osteonecrosis-in-sickle-cell-disease-an-update-on

Eat right . Org https://www.eatright.org/health/allergies-and-intolerances/food-intolerances-and-sensitivities/nutrition-for-the-child-with-sickle-cell-anemia

Boston Medical Center https://www.bmc.org/sites/default/files/About_Us/Features/Sickle_Cell_Disease_Treatment_at_BMC/field_Attachments/SickleCellDisease-EatingHealthy.pdf

Posted in Awareness, Eat Healthy, exercise, Family Time

What will you be doing June 12,2021

Family Health & Fitness Day will be held on June 12, 2021! Celebrated the second Saturday in June each year, this special day promotes the importance of staying fit and getting outside the entire family!!

The day promotes family involvement in physical activity

When families strive to be healthy together, the success rate increases.

Get out and play as a family. It’s important to do something physical every day. Whether the family goes for a walk, throws a Frisbee, or plays with the dogs, get the heart rate up. Another thing to do is learn portion sizes. Then go through the house and reduce or eliminate the unhealthy snacks in the house. Replace them with fruits and vegetables. Start cooking together. Aim for at least one meal week and work up to cooking every day together.

Posted in Advocate, Awareness, Bone Health

VIM Pain Mgmt App from The Arthritis Foundation

This is a really good app, it’s new released by the arthritis foundation just a couple weeks ago. 

It’s a great way to connect with others that understand what it’s like to live with pain. 

It provides tips to help ease the stress and anxiety that come with chronic pain. 

Discusses various treatments from diet to meditation, to acupuncture to prp and stem cell injections to joint replacement .

The app tries to help those living in pain have options to have a better quality of life. It helps track your pain so you can discuss this with your doctor or surgeon.

It also gives you ways to register to get connected with National and at Some point Local connect groups in your area . All this is free. Ypu can even link to the podcast. 

I am the Facilitator for the Boardman Ohio LIVE Yes Connect. I try to provide support, and patient education via information as well as guest speakers as well as group interaction. 

Right now we are on zoom, but will be at some point back face to face as well as remain on zoom also. I think zoom is good because you can attend right from your hone or work or pulled over in your can. 

That’s why I volunteer for the Arthritis Foundation, they provide so much to so many. 

Give it a try…. one of the best apps I have. 

If you use it. Use the same email as your arthritis.org email for Live Yes Connect. That way you can be up to date and linked to all great things the AF has to offer in one easy app. 

Wishing you all a pain free day

Deb

Posted in Awareness

What’s the Right Injection for My Joints?

I love modern medicine, new ways to help joint pain, inflammation and help us all have a better quality of life.

But we don’t always get the cons on a treatment and we always get the pros. Like to know both and make an informed decision so today I’m gonna share the cons on a few treatments.

Having osteoarthritis and osteonecrosis in my right knee and OA in left, arthritis in hands and Spondylolisthesis in my back I want to be aware of my options when it comes time for pain relief.Especially when we are taking injections.

For me injections are a no no for my back, had them years ago trigger points injections and I swear it weakened my back and leading me to develop bilateral pars fractures and spondylolisthesis. So unless my life depends on it steroids are a no for me.

I had a couple of these injections in my back and knee and honestly I felt worse after, my pain was no better and steroid injections in my opinion mask the pain and can cause Osteonecrosis and according to many articles they can have many side effects

This post is to raise awareness about all injections and make you aware that everything has possible side effects.

Cortisone shots are injections that can help relieve pain and inflammation in a specific area of your body. They’re most commonly injected into joints such as your ankle, elbow, hip, knee, shoulder, spine or wrist. Even the small joints in your hands or feet might benefit from cortisone shots. But they have many potential side effects.

Steroid Injections Most notably, cortisone is known to break down tissues, such as articular cartilage in the joint.1-3 Cartilage is crucial to joint health, acting as a shock absorber and reducing friction between bones when a person moves.

All patients need access to all the information and told the advantages and disadvantages so we make a better decision and voice our concerns to our physician.

Injections are no cure all, although some doctors seem to use steroids for every thing. It’s been said it’s the go to drug.

But you can end up with other conditions like

Side effects of cortisone injections can include:

• Cartilage damage.

• Death of nearby bone aka Osteonecrosis aka Avascular Necrosis

• Joint infection.

• Nerve damage.

• Temporary facial flushing.

• Temporary flare of pain and inflammation in the joint.

• Temporary increase in blood sugar.

• Thinning of the skin near that area

• Tendon weakening or rupture.

PRP Injections Platelet Rich Plasma

When treating osteoarthritis with platelet-rich plasma, a doctor injects PRP directly into the affected joint area. The goal is to:

• Reduce pain

• Improve joint function

• Possibly slow, halt, or even repair damage to cartilage

Platelet-rich plasma is derived from a sample of your own blood. The therapeutic injections contain plasma with a higher concentration of platelets than is found in normal blood. Because it’s using your own blood no or less rejection chance.

Platelet-rich plasma injections may not be appropriate for a patient who: Has a medical condition that could worsen or spread with injections, such as an active infection, a metastatic disease, or certain skin diseases. Has certain blood and bleeding disorders.

Hyaluronic Acid Injections Not all studies conducted to test the effectiveness of hyaluronic acid injections in treating knee osteoarthritis have reported positive results. That is way some doctors may not recommend this treatment.

Research suggests that hyaluronic acid injections may work in several ways to reduce knee osteoarthritis symptoms.For example, hyaluronic acid injections may reduce inflammation and friction; and the slow the degeneration of cartilage and bone.

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of this medicine. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

• Allergy to bacterial proteins, gram positive or

• Allergy to hyaluronate preparations or

• Skin or knee joint infections or other problems at the place where the injection is to be given Should not be given in patients with these conditions.

• Joint effusion (too much fluid in the knees)—Patients with this condition should be treated first before receiving this medicine.

Stem Cell Injections known as the gold standard Stem Cell Therapy Safety

Most stem cell therapy using adult stem cells are considered safe because the stem cells are collected from the patient, minimizing the risk of an unwanted reaction. The most common side effects are temporary swelling and pain.

Our own stem cells is a cell or group of cells which have the capability or potential to differentiate themselves into any specialized cell of the human body and that those new cells perfectly fulfill the functions that correspond to them. These cells are very important in the early stages of life because, thanks to their differentiation, the different organs and systems can be properly formed and the human body can grow.

But injections gave the pros and cons

Other potential safety concerns for unproven treatments include:

The cost is expensive and most often not covered by insurance

• Administration site reactions,

• The ability of cells to move from placement sites and change into inappropriate cell types or multiply,

• Failure of cells to work as expected, and

• The growth of tumors.

Even if stem cells are your own cells, there are still safety risks such as those noted above. In addition, if cells are manipulated after removal, there is a risk of contamination of the cells.

There are risks in all treatments, I wish when doctors were explaining all the great benefits of something they would also inform us of the cons.

I hope this helps

References

Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/cortisone-shots/about/pac-20384794

Arthritis-health https://www.arthritis-health.com/treatment/injections/potential-pros-and-cons-prp-injections

Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/drugs-supplements/hyaluronic-acid-injection-route/description/drg-20074557

Cleveland Clinic https://health.clevelandclinic.org/stem-cell-injections-emerging-option-for-joint-pain-relief-2/

Knee injection
Posted in Awareness

The Gallbladder

That small organ that releases bile to aide in digestion is a great thing until it becomes angry, very inflamed and turns on you repeatedly no matter how much you change your diet.

Then it’s like a organ from hell.

I recently had gallbladder removal surgery and I am so glad I did it took way to long to get it removed, but I think after age 55 doctors must be afraid your gonna die in the table so they order every test known to man as a prerequisite to having surgery.

In the meantime I’m suffering every blasted day, afraid to eat for fear of another attack. This shit has been honing on since August 2020 and I am glad I am now post op.

I apologize for being not as active but the pain was just more than I can take on top of the every day pain I live with from bone and joint issues. But thankfully I am now on the mend and I will be seeing you all again soon.

Stay tuned.

Posted in Awareness, spondylolisthesis

Living with Spondylolysis and Spondylolisthesis

If you have a low back problem and you’ve been told you have spondylolisthesis, you should learn all you can about it, and the simple measures you can take to protect your low back health.

I have had a back problem since I was 12 when I fell during track practice in jr high school, my foot actually got caught up on a hurdle and I landed on my tailbone.

It didn’t phase me much as a kid, it became really bothersome in my 20s which was in the 1980s and it really seemed to get worse in 2001 after I was rear ended and then pushed into the car in front of me while I was sitting at a red light.

Throughout the years I did what doctors told me, try this and that here do this, no do that some doctors were just rude and just thought because I was in my 20s in the 1980s I was looking for pills. I hate pills. None of them listened to what I was saying.

Those are the doctors I fired. How dare they assume that because of my age I was a drug seeker.

I mean they could have at least gave me an X-ray or MRI of my back they just assumed ……and I was dismissed or offered a cortisone shot and if I refused which I did I was ignored and called a non compliant patient. I swear this went on for at least a year or two.

Also after my car accident it got to where I could hardly hold a cup without it falling out of my hand.

I thought the problem was me. I thought maybe I am not explaining myself or my symptoms right.

If only I could just find the right combination of words, maybe then doctors would understand and listen and not think I am a pill seeker and provide me with the treatment I needed. I’m just asking to look at it take an X-RAY or an MRI DO SOMETHING!

I didn’t want any damn pill, and I sure as hell didn’t want a short of cortisone. I rarely took an Advil let alone any other pill.

Pills always seemed to have more complications connected to them then they were worth.

Yes I was one of the nerds that would read any inserts, or talk to a pharmacist about any meds and often left without the pills prescribed because often the side effects were not worth it at the time.

In the 1980s I was  a young mom who didn’t wanted to feel in the fog, I drove her to school, dance class and just would never chance the effect of a pill to kill my day…..plus my 1st husband was abusive so I had to be on guard at all times.

But that’s a story for another time.

When I finally went to a doctor that actually listened to me I was thrilled she was an Osteopath she gave me exercises that would help the back and muscles, she sent me for an x-ray had me walk and said my gait was off so I got and insert for my shoe that she made foe me free out of foam, she also told me my one leg was 1/2 inch different in length so she made me an insert for heal 1/4 inch thick dense foam, it helped for awhile but didn’t take away all my pain.

I was sad when she moved to another state and she referred me to a PT.

For years my pain was improved but not gone, I followed and completed my exercises daily or a few times a week as I was told by my PT was told it was most likely arthritis , then osteoarthritis but one day in 2005 I was really hurting and my Doctor scheduled me for an MRI vs X-ray as I was having more and more pain.

I was told I most definitely had osteoarthritis but little did I know I had something worse that I didn’t find out for years later, even though it was written in my chart.

I actually had something called Spondylolysis in My L5 S1 area and also above it.

What is spondylolysis?

A spinal disorder in which a bone (vertebra) slips forward onto the bone below it.
Spondylolisthesis risk factors include sports that put stress on the bones in the lower back, such as gymnastics , track and field and football. Genetics may put some people at increased risk.

I was also diagnosed with Spondylolysis – Spondylolysis. Pars defect. Stress fracture. These three terms are used interchangeably, all referring to the same condition. Spondylolysis is a stress fracture through the pars interarticularis of the lumbar vertebrae. The pars interarticularis is a thin bone segment joining two vertebrae. It is the most likely area to be affected by repetitive stress. This condition is fairly common and is found in one out of every 20 people.

What are the symptoms of spondylolysis?

Spondylolysis doesn’t always have symptoms. When it does, the only symptom is usually back pain.

The pain often gets worse with activity and sport, and is more notable when bending backward.

Generally, the pain doesn’t interfere with everyday activities. If it persists, it is recommended to seek medical attention.

It’s very bothersome when I walk more than say a mile. It also hurts when the weather changes.

What are the risk factors for spondylolysis?

Being human and walking upright is the most basic risk factor for spondylolysis.

The natural inward curvature of the lower back puts stress on the pars interarticularis.

Certain sports that involve excessive or repetitive bending backward may increase the risk of spondylolysis.

Examples include gymnastics, football and soccer.

Young athletes may sometimes develop spondylolysis as a result of over use and hyperextension of the lower back. Genetics could also be a risk factor for some people.;

Spondylolysis Diagnosis

If you have long-lasting, localized low-back pain, it could be due to spondylolysis.

An X-ray is sometimes sufficient to defect a stress fracture. However, if pain persists despite rest and physical therapy, additional imaging may be necessary.

Your doctor may need to order an MRI, a CT scan or SPECT scan of spine for a definitive diagnosis.

Spondylolysis Treatment

Spondylolysis treatment focuses on managing the pain and helping you return to your daily activities. This condition doesn’t typically put you at risk for spinal cord injury or nerve damage.

Depending on the degree of pain, treatment options include:

  • Rest/break from sports
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Physical therapy for muscle strengthening and general conditioning
  • A lumbar brace

Surgery to repair the fracture is rarely needed, as the pain is expected to fade over time in most cases.

Surgery for Spondylolysis

Surgery may sometimes be an option for adolescents with lumbar spondylolysis. The fracture can be repaired by using a strong titanium screw. This surgery is done by making a 2- to 3-inch incision in the middle of the lower back. The screw is placed to secure the two sides of the fracture together, providing some compression across the area. Then a bone graft (a piece of bone from elsewhere in the body) could be used to further support the repair.

The surgery takes three hours, followed by two or three days in the hospital for recovery.

I will pass on any surgery unless it’s a must!!!

Your doctor may also recommend a surgical procedure such as spinal fusion if it’s found that spondylolysis has caused your vertebra to slip forward. This slippage is called spondylolisthesis, which is a different but related condition.

Mine has slipped forward and yes it’s a nagging constant all day just about every day pain.

Spondylolisthesis Is Not The Same As A Slipped Disc—But Does Involve Slippage

Slippage is a key element of spondylolisthesis.

They like using the word “slippage” because it conjures up a visual image of what’s happening in the body. He explains, “When you have spondylolisthesis, one of the vertebrae—the bones that make up your spine—slips out of place over another.”

However, it’s not the same thing as a slipped disc.

It’s gotten to the point that, I have lived with so much pain all the time the average person would be in agony and I am still doing what I can throughout my day. I would probably try to run a marathon if I had a totally painful day.

The grades

Grades of Spondylolisthesis:
  • Type I (less than 35%)
  • Type II (25-50%)
  • Type III (50-75%)
  • Type IV (75-100%)
  • Type V (spondyloptosis)

Reference

https://physicaltherapyfirst.com/blog/2020/10/19/spondylosis-spondylolysis-and-spondylolisthesis/

Posted in Awareness, Blessed, Chronic Pain, Grateful

Happy New Year

Being an advocate for bone and joint pain and personally living with osteoarthritis osteonecrosis and spondylolisthesis pain .

I saw our community struggle in new and ways besides living and dealing with daily pain.

People suddenly couldn’t access routine care because of lockdowns, fear and added anxiety.

They became more isolated than ever before. They and their family members faced job losses and financial hardship.

As an advocate for arthritis and a facilitator for my local LIVE YES Connect Group, I had to cancel or postpone in-person programs and events.

But on the plus side we went virtual on Zoom

Some members and their families faced added strain, whether dealing with virtual school or safety concerns for loved ones in nursing homes.

It’s a year most are happy to see come to an end.

But as a person with pain, I am always compelled to find silver linings. Even in the mist of challenging of times.

In 2020, I got to travel to Washington D.C participate in a focus group and then speak on Capital Hill.

I met some fantastic people from our state representatives to other leaders and advocates who work so hard to create a strong support system for so many causes and conditions.

I got to stay in a great city and tour the beautiful historical city of Washington D.C

We made great strides in accessibility, as health care system finally embraced telehealth and more companies allowed remote work.

Many disabled now gave hope to possibly getting a part time job working from home now because we see it is doable.

We seen a President work tirelessly to get pharmaceutical companies to create a vaccine quickly that will be safe for the USA and world.

We gave witnessed the power of science and innovation with the development of promising treatments and vaccines.

We saw our neighbors and communities come together to support one another in their time of need.

Despite the news only showing negativity there was a lot of positive happening.

2020 shown how resilient we are. And to never lose faith. Be grateful for everyday.

I don’t know what 2021 will bring;

I’m hoping it will be a fantastic year.

I just want to Thank you for your support, and following me on IG, Blog, and all social media platforms I promise to bring you current and uplifting information in 2021 and I wish you all a safe, healthy, prosperous and happy new year

Deb

http://www.ChronicallyGratefulDebla.com

avascularnecrosiseducationcom

Posted in Awareness

Today is Avascular Necrosis Osteonecrosis Awareness Day

Today is a special day for me , it’s the second annual Avascular Necrosis Osteonecrosis Awareness Day.

The am still working hard to get every state to work with the others so we all have one date to raise awareness and bring recognition to the painful disease called Osteonecrosis which goes by several others names.

It’s a slow yet rewarding experience

More people are learning about Osteonecrosis , what it is how you get it in many cases. And that’s what it’s all about. To get people to listen to us, learn about it. That way we can get better options for treatment and pain.

Some of the faces of AVN women is this picture

Osteonecrosis

Avascular Necrosis

SONK

SPONK

Ischemic Necrosis

Aseptic Necrosis

Legg Calves Perthes – Avn children

Kienbock’s Disease Avn wrist

Kümmell disease Avn in vertebrate

ONJ Osteonecrosis of the Jaw

and so many more …….

Osteonecrosis is a disease caused by reduced blood flow to bones in the joints. In people with healthy bones, new bone is always replacing old bone. In osteonecrosis, the lack of blood causes the bone to break down faster than the body can make enough new bone. The bone starts to die and may break down.

You can have osteonecrosis in one or several bones. It is most common in the upper leg. Other common sites are your upper arm and your knees, shoulders and ankles. The disease can affect men and women of any age, but it usually strikes in your thirties, forties or fifties. 

At first, you might not have any symptoms. As the disease progresses , you will probably have joint pain that becomes more severe. You may not be able to bend or move the affected joint very well.

No one is sure what causes the disease. Risk factors include 

  • Long-term steroid treatment
  • Alcohol misuse
  • Joint injuries
  • Having certain diseases, including arthritis and cancer

Doctors use imaging tests and other tests to diagnose osteonecrosis. Treatments include medicines, using crutches, limiting activities that put weight on the affected joints, electrical stimulation and surgery.

To read more about Osteonecrosis go to

http://avascularnecrosiseducation.com

Posted in Awareness

Women’s Right To Vote

Vote

Can you imagine how empowered our female ancestors felt in 1920?

Finally given the right to vote after fighting before it for so long.

I know the I feeling I get when I vote whether it’s a major or minor election.

The sense of pride and empowerment and yet humbled that my voice , all our voices will be heard and count.

Women were always told they belonged at home , in the kitchen with no voice allowing their husbands to speak for them.

I was lucky enough to get to go to Washington D.C in February 2020 and speak on Capital Hill for Rare Week 2020.

I stayed a few days and visited all the Smithsonian Centers

It was emotional for me to see how many brave women fought for the right to vote. Just think it’s only been 100 years. And for many African American women it’s only been only 35-40 years because even thought the ratification of the 19th Amendment happened in 1920. Not all states allowed blacks to vote.

The 19th Amendment did not eliminate the state laws that operated to keep Black Americans from the polls via poll taxes and literacy tests nor did the 19th Amendment address violence or lynching. Some African-American women will vote with the 19th Amendment. Some are already voting in California, New York and Illinois where state governments have authorized women’s votes. But many Black women faced the beginning of a new movement for voting rights in the summer of 1920, and it’s a struggle they will wage alone because now the organizations that had led the movement for women’s suffrage were then disbanding.

Voting today is happening because of our strong grandmothers great grandmothers and great great grandmothers who stood up to others holding them back

They were jailed , beaten when all because they voiced their opinions all for wanting to be included.

People wanted to silence them because of their own fears. ‘The Night of terror’: The suffragists who were beaten and tortured for seeking the vote. The women were clubbed, beaten and tortured by the guards at the Occoquan Workhouse. … The suffragists dubbed their treatment Nov. 14, 1917, as the “Night of Terror,” and it helped galvanize public support of the suffrage movement.

These brave selfless independent women were thinking and fighting for the future generations of women. And so today it is our duty to honor their fight and go and vote for what ever candidate you identify with and their policies.

Personally I don’t care who you vote for. Just vote.

We needed their example and because of the suffragists we women all over this great nation get to vote.

They ( men and many women alike) didn’t think women should be involved in politics.

We women have come a long way and yet still have a long way to go.

No matter if we agree or disagree on whom to vote for the important thing is to vote.

It’s the most and least we can do for our country.

To all these young women who get to vote for the first time today co congratulations and thank you for doing your part.

The male guards at the Northern Virginia prison manacled the party’s co-founder Lucy Burns by her hands to the bars above her cell and forced her to stand all night. Dorothy Day, who would later establish the Catholic Worker houses, had her arm twisted behind her back and was slammed twice over the back of an iron bench.

The guards threw suffragist Dora Lewis into a dark cell and smashed her head against an iron bed, knocking her out. Lewis’s cellmate, Alice Cosu, believing Lewis dead, suffered a heart attack and was denied medical care until the next morning.

The suffragists dubbed their treatment Nov. 14, 1917, as the “Night of Terror,” and it helped galvanize public support of the suffrage movement.

Posted in Awareness

New Possible Blood Test For Fibromyalgia

For those who live with possible #fibromyalgia that has not been confirmed, new test is on the horizon
#OhioStateWexner – hopefully leading to better treatments.
https://wexnermedical.osu.edu/mediaroom/pressreleaselisting/blood-test-spots-fibromyalgia

So many women and men live with this painful disease and now maybe a confirmation via blood test is not to far off.

What is fibromyalgia?

Fibromyalgia (fi·bro·my·al·gi·a) is a condition that causes pain all over the body (also referred to as widespread pain), sleep problems, fatigue, and often emotional and mental distress. People with fibromyalgia may be more sensitive to pain than people without fibromyalgia. This is called abnormal pain perception processing. Fibromyalgia affects about 4 million US adults, about 2% of the adult population. The cause of fibromyalgia is not known, but it can be effectively treated and managed.

What are the signs and symptoms of fibromyalgia?

The most common symptoms of fibromyalgia are

  • Pain and stiffness all over the body
  • Fatigue and tiredness
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Sleep problems
  • Problems with thinking, memory, and concentration
  • Headaches, including migraines

Other symptoms may include:

  • Tingling or numbness in hands and feet
  • Pain in the face or jaw, including disorders of the jaw known as temporomandibular joint syndrome (also known as TMJ)
  • Digestive problems, such as abdominal pain, bloating, constipation, and even irritable bowel syndrome (also known as IBS)

What are the risk factors for fibromyalgia?

Known risk factors include:

  • Age. Fibromyalgia can affect people of all ages, including children. However, most people are diagnosed during middle age and you are more likely to have fibromyalgia as you get older.
  • Lupus or Rheumatoid Arthritis. If you have lupus or rheumatoid arthritis (RA), you are more likely to develop fibromyalgia.

Some other factors have been weakly associated with the onset of fibromyalgia, but more research is needed to see if they are real. These possible risk factors include:

  • Sex. Women are twice as likely to have fibromyalgia as men.
  • Stressful or traumatic events, such as car accidents, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Repetitive injuries. Injury from repetitive stress on a joint, such as frequent knee bending.
  • Illness (such as viral infections)
  • Family history
  • Obesity

Learn more about fibromyalgia

Posted in Awareness

Domestic Violence Awareness – Power and Control Break Free From Abuse

October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month today we learn about Power and Control

Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors used to gain or maintain power and control. At The Hotline, our frame of reference for describing abuse is the Power and Control Wheel developed by the Domestic Abuse Intervention Project in Duluth, MN. In the diagram below, the Power and Control Wheel assumes she/her pronouns for the victim and he/him pronouns for the perpetrator, but the abusive behavior that it details can happen to people of any gender or sexuality.

The wheel serves as a diagram of tactics that an abusive partner uses to keep their victims in a relationship. The inside of the wheel is made up of subtle, continual behaviors over time, while the outer ring represents physical and sexual violence. Abusive actions like those depicted in the outer ring often reinforce the regular use of other, more subtle methods found in the inner ring.

Posted in Awareness

Tis The Season To Feel Yucky

What is the difference between Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19?

Influenza (Flu) and COVID-19 are both contagious respiratory illnesses, but they are caused by different viruses. COVID-19 is caused by infection with a new coronavirus (called SARS-CoV-2) and flu is caused by infection with influenza viruses.

There are some key differences between Flu and COVID-19.

COVID-19 seems to spread more easily than flu and can cause more serious illnesses in some people. It can also take longer before people show symptoms and people can be contagious for longer. Another important difference is there is a vaccine to protect against flu. There is currently no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. The best way to prevent infection is to avoid being exposed to the virus. More information about differences between flu and COVID-19 is available in the different sections below.

Because some of the symptoms of flu and COVID-19 are similar, it may be hard to tell the difference between them based on symptoms alone, and testing may be needed to help confirm a diagnosis. Flu and COVID-19 share many characteristics, but there are some key differences between the two.

While more is learned every day, there is still a lot that is unknown about COVID-19 and the virus that causes it. This page compares COVID-19 and flu, given the best available information to date.

Similarities:

Both COVID-19 and flu can have varying degrees of signs and symptoms, ranging from no symptoms (asymptomatic) to severe symptoms. Common symptoms that COVID-19 and flu share include:

  • Fever or feeling feverish/chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache
  • Some people may have vomiting and diarrhea, though this is more common in children than adults

Differences:

Flu

Flu viruses can cause mild to severe illness, including common signs and symptoms listed above.

Flu Symptoms

COVID-19

COVID-19 seems to cause more serious illnesses in some people. Other signs and symptoms of COVID-19, different from flu, may include change in or loss of taste or smell.

COVID-19 Symptoms

How long symptoms appear after exposure and infection

Similarities:

For both COVID-19 and flu, 1 or more days can pass between a person becoming infected and when he or she starts to experience illness symptoms.

Differences:

If a person has COVID-19, it could take them longer to develop symptoms than if they had flu.
Flu

Typically, a person develops symptoms anywhere from 1 to 4 days after infection.

Flu Symptoms

COVID-19

Typically, a person develops symptoms 5 days after being infected, but symptoms can appear as early as 2 days after infection or as late as 14 days after infection, and the time range can vary.

COVID-19 Symptoms

How long someone can spread the virus

Similarities:

For both COVID-19 and flu, it’s possible to spread the virus for at least 1 day before experiencing any symptoms.

Differences:

If a person has COVID-19, they may be contagious for a longer period of time than if they had flu.

Flu

Most people with flu are contagious for about 1 day before they show symptoms.

Older children and adults with flu appear to be most contagious during the initial 3-4 days of their illness but many remain contagious for about 7 days.

Infants and people with weakened immune systems can be contagious for even longer.

How Flu Spreads

COVID-19

How long someone can spread the virus that causes COVID-19 is still under investigation.

It’s possible for people to spread the virus for about 2 days before experiencing signs or symptoms and remain contagious for at least 10 days after signs or symptoms first appeared. If someone is asymptomatic or their symptoms go away, it’s possible to remain contagious for at least 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19.

How COVID-19 SpreadsTop of Page

How it Spreads

Similarities:

Both COVID-19 and flu can spread from person-to-person, between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet). Both are spread mainly by droplets made when people with the illness (COVID-19 or flu) cough, sneeze, or talk. These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

It may be possible that a person can get infected by physical human contact (e.g. shaking hands) or by touching a surface or object that has virus on it and then touching his or her own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes.

Both flu virus and the virus that causes COVID-19 may be spread to others by people before they begin showing symptoms, with very mild symptoms or who never developed symptoms (asymptomatic).

Differences:

While COVID-19 and flu viruses are thought to spread in similar ways, COVID-19 is more contagious among certain populations and age groups than flu. Also, COVID-19 has been observed to have more superspreading events than flu. This means the virus that causes COVID-19 can quickly and easily spread to a lot of people and result in continuous spreading among people as time progresses.

How Flu Spreads           How COVID-19 SpreadsTop of Page

People at High-Risk for Severe Illness

Similarities:

Both COVID-19 and flu illness can result in severe illness and complications. Those at highest risk include:

  • Older adults
  • People with certain underlying medical conditions
  • Pregnant people

Differences:

The risk of complications for healthy children is higher for flu compared to COVID-19. However, infants and children with underlying medical conditions are at increased risk for both flu and COVID-19.

Flu

Young children are at higher risk of severe illness from flu.

People at High Risk for Flu Complications

COVID-19

School-aged children infected with COVID-19 are at higher risk of Multisystem Inflammatory Syndrome in Children (MIS-C), a rare but severe complication of COVID-19.

People at Increased Risk of COVID-19 Severe IllnessTop of Page

Complications

Similarities:

Both COVID-19 and flu can result in complications, including:

  • Pneumonia
  • Respiratory failure
  • Acute respiratory distress syndrome (i.e. fluid in lungs)
  • Sepsis
  • Cardiac injury (e.g. heart attacks and stroke)
  • Multiple-organ failure (respiratory failure, kidney failure, shock)
  • Worsening of chronic medical conditions (involving the lungs, heart, nervous system or diabetes)
  • Inflammation of the heart, brain or muscle tissues
  • Secondary bacterial infections (i.e. infections that occur in people who have already been infected with flu or COVID-19)

Differences:

Flu

Most people who get flu will recover in a few days to less than two weeks, but some people will develop complications, some of these complications are listed above.

Flu complications

COVID-19

Additional complications associated with COVID-19 can include:

COVID-19 Emergency warning signsTop of Page

Approved Treatments

Similarities:

People at high-risk of complications or who have been hospitalized for COVID-19 or flu should receive supportive medical care to help relieve symptoms and complications.

Differences:

Flu

Prescription influenza antiviral drugs are FDA-approved to treat flu.

People who are hospitalized with flu or at high-risk of flu complications with flu symptoms are recommended to be treated with antiviral drugs as soon as possible.

Flu Treatment

COVID-19

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has developed guidance on treatment of COVID-19external icon, which will be regularly updated as new evidence on treatment options emerges.

While remdesivir is an antiviral agent that is being explored as a treatment for COVID-19 and is available under an Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), there are currently no drugs or other therapeutics approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to prevent or treat COVID-19. Studies are in progress to learn more.

What to Do If You Are Sick with COVID-19Top of Page

Vaccine

Similarities:

Vaccines for COVID-19 and flu must be approved or authorized for emergency use (EUA) by the FDA.

Differences:

Flu

There are multiple FDA-licensed influenza vaccines produced annually to protect against the 3 or 4 flu viruses that scientists anticipate will circulate each year.

Flu Vaccines

COVID-19

Currently there is no vaccine to prevent COVID-19. Vaccine developers and other researchers and manufacturers are expediting the development of a vaccine to prevent COVID-19.

Prevent Getting Sick with COVID-19

References

CDC flu https://www.cdc.gov/flu/index.htm

CDC covid19 https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/symptoms-testing/symptoms.html