Review of the Med Manager Deluxe

I recently received a Med Manager Deluxe travel case from VivA Life.  The travel case is a place to keep all your medications and health information in one place.  And it is not necessarily for travel alone.  It is a perfect organizer for keeping daily medications and keeping track of your medical records.

The case contains:

  • 15 Durable Elastic Loops
  • A Pill Organizer
  • A Notepad
  • A 6-Pocket 5 Tabbed Color File Manager

The durable elastic loops are a great place to keep pill bottles, especially the ones you are using daily.  The kit also includes a weekly pill organizer for AM/PM medications.

The file manager is removable so you can separate from the entire kit and take with you to a doctor’s appointment or in case of an emergency.  It is a good place to store information about your health—your medical conditions, allergies, and current medications—and emergency and physician contact information.

The kit has a lot to offer and is a great way to keep all your medications and medication documents and information in one place.  The only thing I would suggest is that they add checklists for people to review prior to visiting their doctor so you know what questions to ask about diagnosis and treatment.  Additional information to be included could include health and safety tips.

Viva Life Care also offers Med Manager For Diabetics, designed for holding medications and diabetes supplies, Med Manager XL, which is an expanded version of the Med Manager Deluxe, and Med Manager Mini, which is a smaller version of the Med Manager Deluxe.

For more information on the Med Manager Deluxe and VivA Life Care, check out the VivA Life Care website and the brochure of products.

Disclosure: I received a free Med Manager Deluxe travel case for my review from VivA Life Care.

Is Addiction a Chronic Illness? (Guest Post)

Addiction is a condition affecting millions of individuals in the United States. Figures reveal that the nation has been spending quite a lot to defray the costs associated with using alcohol and drugs.

A person suffering from addiction has the compulsion to continue using a substance despite its negative consequence. With addiction, people lose control over their use and it takes over a person’s life. Many people do not fully understand how substance addiction can significantly alter the chemistry and wiring in one’s brain. This is a reason why it is considered a disease.

Not everyone who uses a substance become addicted to it. There are several factors that lead to the condition. However, when a person experiences a craving for the substance stemming from their brain activity, it becomes difficult to control the urge to use.

Several people with substance abuse disorder know they have a problem. Some want to stop but they cannot. As their use of the substance continues, it causes issues in almost all areas of their lives.

Addiction as a Chronic Illness

There was a time when addiction was perceived as a lifestyle choice. But further research showed a better understanding of what it is really about and what it does to an individual.

Addiction is a chronic illness because it is a result of the drug’s effect on the brain. Just like other diseases of the brain, addiction encompasses behavioral and social elements.

There are certain wires in the brain that influence addiction. Studies show there is a significant difference in the brains of people with addiction compared to those who do not. But despite these findings, society tends to perceive it as a choice or a social problem.

Addiction and other chronic diseases have a lot in common. Among these, environmental conditions can trigger its start and eventually determine the course of the disease, and that some of the factors contributing to the condition possibly stems in the family. And just like other chronic diseases, there is no cure available but the condition can be managed by treatment, which includes lifestyle changes.

Getting Help

Addiction is not a lost cause. It may not have a cure per se, but treatments are available to help individuals rise to the challenge of sobriety. It takes a lot of work, the same as with other chronic diseases. With medication—such as buprenorphine (Suboxone), methadone, and naloxone (Vivitrol)—to control the cravings and lifestyle changes, it is possible to manage the symptoms and let individuals live healthy and fulfilling lives.

But then again, if you go off your medicines—like a diabetic who doesn’t take insulin—or go back to an unhealthy lifestyle, then your condition can spiral out of control. The same is true of addiction. Relapse is a huge possibility and is very common during the first year of recovery.

If a relapse happens—and it almost is inevitable—one should not feel like a failure or be ashamed. Instead, take further strides, seek treatment with the help medical professionals, and try again. The treatment plan may be adjusted accordingly, or a different approach can be employed to get the best results.

About the Author: Jon Richardson is a recovery coach for Willow Springs Recovery. When he is not helping people achieve sobriety, he is playing basketball or working out.  His life goal is to spread awareness about addiction recovery and that anything is possible as long as you as you have a clear mind.

Why is Copper-Infused Clothing Ideal for People with Chronic Pain (Guest Post by Kunal Patel)

Copper is an essential trace micro-mineral that is essential for our body and is found in all body tissues. It offers numerous benefits such as promoting immune function, protecting cognitive function, relieving arthritis, supporting bone density, supporting iron absorption, slowing down the ageing process and improving blood circulation, just to name a few!

Since our bodies are not capable of synthesizing copper on its own, it becomes necessary that we either consume it through various food sources or wear copper-infused clothes. The anti-inflammatory virtue of copper makes it an excellent choice for apparel. Let us see three kinds of copper-infused clothing products that would be beneficial for those with chronic illness or pain.

  • Copper Compression Gloves

These are ideal for people suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome and Raynaud’s syndrome.

–              Improves Blood Circulation

Arthritis may cause inflammation and narrowing of the blood vessels which constrict blood flow. The copper compression gloves make your hands warmer by compressing them. This results in better blood circulation and decreases inflammation. Furthermore, they help in reducing swelling and irritation caused during finger and wrist movements.

compression gloves

–              Easy to Use

Numerous physical aids can hinder hand and wrist movement. Compared to them, compression gloves are quite convenient to use. You won’t have to make any big lifestyle changes while wearing them. You can choose between finger-less gloves or fully covered gloves. Buy only good quality gloves that have skin-friendly lining and padding for extra comfort.

  • Copper Compression Socks

 –              Beneficial for Diabetic Patients

People with diabetes are prone to developing deep vein thrombosis (DVT), venous insufficiency and peripheral edema. Graduated compression diabetes socks provide more pressure at the foot and lesser pressure on the calves. This helps in maintaining proper circulation to the lower extremities and prevents swelling. It also improves nerve sensitivities, if any.

compression socks

–              Improves Blood Flow

Compression socks improve blood flow by supporting blood circulation in the legs. They mimic the muscle’s ability to pump blood from the lower legs to other areas of the body. They are generally tighter at the toes and loosen up higher up the leg. The socks help in overcoming gravity to prevent blood collecting in certain areas and they keep the blood moving. This helps in preventing blood clots which can travel to other areas of your body, such as your lungs, which is extremely dangerous.

They also help in relieving leg cramps, swelling, itching and fatigue. Mild pressure is recommended and stronger levels are not necessarily better. Consult with a doctor before wearing compression socks.

–              Improves the Functioning of Valves in the Leg

Compression socks help in circulating blood by gently squeezing the foot and calf muscles. This helps in straightening out the vein walls to a better working state. The gentle compression offered by the socks allows the valves to function properly by opening them to allow blood flow toward the heart and closing to prevent blood from flowing backwards.

  • Copper-Infused Pajamas

–              Anti-Microbial

Copper has anti-microbial properties which kill infection-causing germs naturally. It effectively eliminates bacteria, viruses and fungi upon contact, thus protecting you from potential health risks.

–              Prevents MRSA

There are clinical studies which show that cooper has the capability of killing even the antibiotic-resistant strains like MRSA. Copper-infused fabric is commonly used in hospital clothing, bed linen and various applications where the risk of bacterial contamination is high.

copper infused pajama

–              Improves Blood Circulation

Those suffering from cold hands and feet, varicose veins and issues related to poor blood circulation in the extremities will benefit from using copper-infused nightwear as it increases blood circulation.

–              Prevents Skin Dryness

Copper helps in restoring the skin’s moisture and reduces itchiness and irritation for people suffering from eczema and other skin conditions. Moreover, copper clothes can make your skin more supple and youthful.

–              Comfortable, anti-odor

Copper-infused clothing is designed with bamboo, which is a soft and breathable textile. The copper ions are bonded to fabric on a molecular level, which helps in delivering the myriad benefits straight to the skin.

Lastly, copper inhibits the growth of microbes and bamboo draws away excess moisture from the skin. This prevents body odor. Copper clothing also stays fresh for longer so you don’t have to wash it so often.

As you can see, there are numerous benefits of copper-infused clothing. They are easy to use, comfortable, don’t need any extra care and they retain the qualities of copper even after washing.

Author Bio: Kunal Patel is a young and passionate entrepreneur, fascinated by the workings of the human body and natural solutions for common health problems. He’s single-minded in his aim to make Copper Defence a brand that’s recognized across the globe, by partnering with global brands to make these high-tech materials easily accessible for everyone. If you’d like to get in touch, email Kunal at kunal@copperdefence.com or visit www.copperclothing.com for copper-infused clothing, pet accessories and more.

 

Coping with Anxiety Without Medication – Guest Post from Sara Niemiec

Everyone gets stressed out on occasion. It’s a natural reaction to the challenges and obstacles that life puts us through on a daily basis. And while a healthy amount of stress can motivate us to get things done, sometimes we become overburdened and develop what is known as anxiety. Anxiety, according to the American Psychological Association, is an “emotion characterized by feelings of tension, worried thoughts, and physical changes like increased blood pressure.”

The reason we feel anxious can be traced back to the earliest days of humanity. When mankind needed to be alerted to the approach of predators or incoming threats, we relied on our “fight or flight” response to send a surge of adrenaline in case we needed to act to protect ourselves. Nowadays, we aren’t faced with as many physical threats to our person. But we are faced with a whole slew of other problems surrounding work, relationships, health, and finances. Since we can’t just run away from these problems or physically fight them, that surge of adrenaline just results in a nervous feeling in our stomachs, or in increased blood pressure, or sweaty palms.

 We can’t turn off mother nature, but what we can do is minimize the negative effects of anxiety through the use of stress management relief tactics. We can also learn to recognize thought patterns and situations that cause us to feel anxiety and dissemble them so that they have less power over us. The last thing you should do is turn to substances in order to manage stress. Relying on drugs or alcohol to bring relief is not a long-term plan and will never help the body learn how to help itself.

Non-Medicinal Methods of Coping with Anxiety

Relaxation Methods

Relaxation skills are one way to address anxiety that can be used at nearly any time. These skills can involve simple breathing techniques, mindful thinking, and even yoga. Relaxation techniques help you lower blood pressure and heart rate to help you feel calm. Here are some simple exercises to try at home, at work, or on the go.

Deep Breathing

  1. Sit down with your chest up
  2. Inhale slowly through your nose and hold for seven seconds
  3. Exhale through the mouth for eight seconds (or until all the air is released from your lungs)
  4. Repeat four to five more times 

Meditation

There are many different methods for meditation. Practicing meditation can help you to regulate emotions and react in a more thoughtful and careful manner. Some guidelines to follow when meditating are to focus your attention on breathing, find a quiet place, and have an open mind. Sit down, close your eyes, and focus on something simple, like breath, music, or the sounds of nature. It’s easier said than done, but anything from twenty minutes to an hour can be hugely beneficial.

Exercise

The physical and mental benefits of exercise have long been considered vital to the treatment of anxiety and even depression. Exercise and other physical activity produce endorphins in the brain, giving your body a natural high that can help reduce stress, support health, and improve sleep.

Studies have shown that exercise can quickly improve a depressed mood, and that physically active people have lower rates of anxiety and depression than sedentary people. However, it shouldn’t be assumed that simply running or lifting a weight will cure any form of anxiety or depression. It’s simply another method for managing stress that may work better for some people than others.

The most up-to-date guidelines for physical activity for Americans advocates for at least 2.5 hours of moderate to intense physical activity every week.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

CBT, or Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is a tested and effective method for treating anxiety and other disorders. Cognitive behavioral therapy is more effective than just using medication or exercise/meditation. This is because therapy helps to address the underlying causes of the problem, and not just the symptoms of the problem.

CBT addresses the way we think by looking at negative thought patterns and distortions in the way we view the world. The idea, similar to the cartesian notion of “cogito ergo sum”, is it’s not the external world that determines the way we feel, but our internal perceptions of the situation that decides our feelings.

The goal of cognitive behavioral therapy is to identify negative thoughts, trace their false construction down to the root, and rewire the way we think in order to promote positive thinking as opposed to negative.

Tips for Keeping Anxiety Away 

Breathing deeply

Taking deep breaths helps stimulate blood flow and cognition. Inhale and exhale slowly a few times when you’re feeling stressed and you’ll find your brain will be gracious for the extra oxygen.

Exercising daily

Daily exercise works in a similar manner to deep breathing because you’re getting extra oxygen cycling in and out of your body. Daily exercise can help you relieve tension, and if done routinely can improve your overall health.

Talking through your thoughts with somebody else

Keeping your stress balled up inside your own head doesn’t do any good. Talk to friends and family about what’s on your mind and you’ll find it helps relieve some of the tension. If needed, seek out a clinical therapist or physician to share with.

Abstaining from drugs and alcohol

Mood altering substances often give us a temporary boost to the way we are feeling, but those effects rarely last more than a few hours. In the ensuing come down, your body can actually respond by becoming more anxious, and possibly trigger a panic attack.

Eating well balanced meals

You’ve heard it since you were a child but eating well balanced meals actually goes a long way towards improving mental and physical health. The best approach is to incorporate a wide variety of nutritional sources.

If you’re struggling to manage your anxiety, or if you believe you may be suffering from an anxiety disorder, don’t hesitate to reach out for help. It’s important that you don’t develop a dependence on drugs and alcohol to manage your stress levels. If you or a loved one may be suffering from drug use or alcoholism to treat anxiety, Landmark Recovery has the staff and resources to assist you on the journey to health and sobriety.

About the Author:

sjn photoSara Janae Niemiec is a marketing analyst at Landmark Recovery. Sara graduated from Arizona State University with a bachelor’s degree in marketing and a minor in psychology. Sara enjoys combining her passion for marketing and psychology to help individuals in her society. When she is not keeping up with SEO trends and marketing blogs, she enjoys reading true crime novels, cooking new recipes and playing with her dog.

Taking Off the Super-Parent Cape

You might know supermom. You might even be her. I am—well, I was Supermom until chronic illness forced me to take off my invisible cape.

My secret

Once upon a time, I had a secret that few people knew. Behind my perfect façade, I was sick and exhausted. I was losing sleep, setting highly ambitious schedules and goals, and overwhelming myself—all things that aren’t a good idea with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and fibromyalgia.

The natural law of “something has to give” eventually took its toll on me. And I realized I didn’t have the ability to bend time or do things without effort. I was a just a mom with a chronic illness and no superpowers.

A different kind of super parent

Raising children when you are also living with a chronic illness makes you a different kind of supermom or superdad. Every day you deal with symptoms that impact your mood, energy, and physical well-being—all symptoms no one can see. It might be difficult to give up control of your super-parent duties, but something has to change or your world will come crashing down.

Let yourself off the hook and stop beating yourself up for not always being able to live up to the ideal you once established for yourself. You have to give up the super-parent narrative and the idea that you can do it all.

You can’t.

Read the rest at Diabetic Connect.

Bipolar Disorder and Alcoholism: A Dangerous Duo Guest Post by Ryan Jackson

Think about the most serious and life-threatening diseases you’ve ever heard of. Would it surprise you to know that one that one of the most debilitating illnesses has nothing at all to do with physical health?

The World Health Organization (WHO) ranks bipolar disorder (BD) as the 6th leading cause of disability in the world. We’re not talking about America alone or even an entire continent – but the whole world!

The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) estimates that 5.7 million adult Americans age 18 or older have been diagnosed with BD. This means that if you haven’t been affected personally, you undoubtedly know someone who has.

You’ve probably heard that BD is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks.

What does that feel like though?

Sara was a twenty-year-old college student living in Chicago when she was first diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She’d been missing a lot of classes, not sleeping well, and pulling her hair out due to exceedingly high anxiety levels that seemed to worsen by the day.  Sara went on to describe a list of problems that are common symptoms of diagnosed individuals:

 Initial symptoms:

  • Bursts of energy and staying up all night
  • Rapid speech that tends to go in a hundred directions
  • Distractibility
  • Promiscuous behavior
  • Multiple tasks going on at once but unable to complete them

  Subsequent symptoms:

  • Inability to focus or concentrate
  • Immense regret, depression, and shame
  • Low energy and sleeping all day
  • Decreased appetite and forgetting to eat
  • Thoughts of self-harm and suicide

Sufferers often describe feeling drained from a “roller coaster of emotions,” – from euphoria one minute, to overwhelming depression the next. Fortunately, for Sara and the millions of Americans like her, treatment for BD is typically helpful when you are compliant with the recommendations by physicians and professional caregivers.

Ten months after beginning Lithium and intensive psychotherapy, Sara was back in school, sleeping better and stated, “I feel like myself for the first time in almost a year!”

Medication and therapy are the mainstays of treatment for BD. The change in mood, temperament, personality and even physical appearance are drastically improved after several weeks of mood stabilizing medicine. Additionally, ongoing therapy helps you understand coping skills and strategies that will be essential in managing the illness long-term.

Medication plus therapy – a useful combination that has saved many lives. However, there’s a caveat that threatens optimal health that must be taken into consideration: Many people with BD are also alcoholics.

When a dual-disorder is present, the addiction is an additional complication that needs to be dealt with first. Alcoholics often have years of inner turmoil related to childhood trauma or a painful life experience, and if you want to recover from BD, you need to be sober.

You’re likely thinking substance abuse throws an enormous monkey in the wrench. You couldn’t be more correct.

Alcoholics are often in denial that their addiction is a problem. Combine excessive drinking with mania characteristics, (thrill-seeking and impulsivity), and the pair can be disastrous and even fatal.

In Current Psychiatry, Comorbid Bipolar Disorder and Substance Abuse: Evidence-Based Options, the author states: “Among DSM axis I diagnoses, bipolar disorder (BD) has the highest rates of comorbid substance use disorders (SUDS), and 60% of patients with bipolar I disorder have a lifetime diagnosis of a SUD. Alcohol is the substance most often abused” (Nery, 2016).

Drinking makes you feel less inhibited because it impairs the region of the brain that helps you self-monitor. If you have BD, the enticement of alcohol feels like a temporary escape from disorganized, racing thoughts that accompany mania.

However, accompanying the lowered inhibition from intoxication is an increased tendency to partake in risk-taking behaviors such as overspending, unsafe driving, sexual indiscretions and acting on grandiose ideas.

Do you see why liquor and BD are a bad mix?

Poor impulse control and impaired judgment are already interwoven into the lives of people with BD without alcohol as part of the equation. Throw alcohol in the mix and the likelihood for you to make risky decisions is even higher.

Additionally, think about how someone without BD feels after an alcohol buzz wears off. There’s sluggishness, headaches, and irritability that serve as a reality check that life’s problems were only briefly masked.

If you have BD, coming down from an alcoholic binge is like opening the floodgates to a whirlwind of racing thoughts, illogical thinking, and crippling anxiety. During this downward spiral to sobriety, depression comes rushing back at full speed, and the urge to commit suicide can seem like the only real escape or solution.

Have you struggled with alcoholism and BD, or do you know someone who has? As devastating as this dual-disorder is, there are treatment options available. Sometimes the hardest step is the first one. Go talk to someone you trust, and say three words may very well save your life, “I need help.”

Is My RA Causing My Fatigue? Guest Post Brought to you by NewLifeOutlook

The health complications of rheumatoid arthritis (RA) are numerous. People living with RA face flare-ups, stiffening, and pain and as a result are left with fatigue.

RA can make you feel fatigued for several reasons, and it can be difficult to pinpoint which aspect of having RA is causing your fatigue. Often a combination of factors causes increased tiredness.

Determining the source of your fatigue is the first step, and will help you take the next step to finding a remedy to help relieve your fatigue.

Pain and Medications

Your pain from RA may cause you to feel tired because it’s exhausting to hurt. Also, you may take medications to relieve your suffering, which has side effects that worsen your fatigue.

Muscle relaxants, narcotics, and medications often have sedating effects which persist for hours and may cause you to feel groggy. Medications such as corticosteroids and biologics hamper your immune response, which can make you feel tired too.

Infections

If you have RA, you may be more susceptible to infections, especially if you take immune-suppressing medications. Fatigue may be a sign of an impending infection or other illness.

If you find your energy levels are draining significantly,

Poor Sleep

RA stiffness and pain may be keeping you awake at night. If you have difficulty falling or staying asleep, you may not be getting enough hours of uninterrupted sleep.

A lack of sleep can take a toll on your energy levels. If you find your regular 8 hours of sleep is too much, you may find naps to be beneficial — unless they prevent your to enjoy a good night’s sleep.

Excess Weight

If you are overweight, your energy levels will fall. This is a particularly true if you have RA.

The extra weight from your body puts stress on your joints which may result in feeling more pain, and an increase in medications that cause fatigue as a side effect.

If you maintain a healthy weight, you may find that your energy levels will rise.

Poor Diet

Eating well-balanced diet supplies your body with the nutrients it needs for energy and tissue repair. Following a diet that is rich in fresh fruits and vegetables ensures that you get plenty of antioxidants that will help reduce inflammation and flare-ups.

Your rheumatoid arthritis diet should focus on consuming foods which contain essential fatty acids to help relieve inflammation and pain. As a result, you may find a reduce dependence on medications which may promote fatigue.

Healthy food choices include:

  • Flax and hemp seeds
  • Fish, including herring, salmon, mackerel, and sardines
  • Supplements, including flax, fish, krill, evening primrose, borage, or blackcurrant seed oils

Avoid “junk” foods and an excess intake of meat as both increase inflammation. Limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine.

Exercise-Rest Balance

Exercise are great ways to reduce inflammation and increase energy levels.

Low-impact exercises, such as swimming or stretching routines are often best. Check with your healthcare provider for exercise recommendations and how you can get started.

It’s important to remember to modify your exercise routine during flare-ups as too much or not enough may result in fatigue and injury. Also, be sure to perform warm-up exercises before you begin any type of exercise and a cool-down exercise after.

Pushing Yourself Too Hard

Are you expecting yourself to do all of the activities that you did before you had RA? Depending on your age and level of health, you may be expecting too much of yourself. This may result in energy-stealing frustration.

You must pay attention to what your body is telling you so that you will have less stiffness, and pain. Remember to take things one step at a time and ask for help when you need it.

Emotional Challenges

Living with RA is emotionally challenging. You may be worried about your ability to care for your loved ones and maintaining independence.

It is well-known that pain can impact your emotional well-being. People who suffer from chronic health conditions often suffer from anxiety and depression — both of these conditions can decrease your energy.

If you are newly diagnosed, you may feel angry, isolated, or resentful. You may feel overwhelmed and exhausted due to focusing all of your energy on your RA.

Consider taking a walk in a park, enjoy a cup of soothing herbal tea, get together with friends or family, get a massage, or just considering relaxing by watching your favorite show.

If you find your anxiety and depression is overwhelming, talk with your healthcare provider about the emotional challenges you’re facing and find a treatment plan that is best for you.

Is It Your RA?

While there are many reasons why RA can cause fatigue, it is important to consider that tiredness may not be related to your RAat all — it may be a sign of an unrelated condition.

Discuss with your healthcare provider if you are unable to determine the cause of your fatigue, or if it is interfering with your activities of daily living.

About NewLifeOutlook

NewLifeOutlook aims to empower people living with chronic mental and physical health conditions, encouraging them to embrace a positive outlook despite unfortunate circumstances. 

Our articles are full of practical advice from people who have firsthand experience of rheumatoid arthritis, and as a result truly understand what our readers are going through, and our community members are welcoming, understanding and supportive.