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5 Ways to Help if You Love Someone With Crohn’s Disease

5 Ways to Help if You Love Someone With Crohn’s Disease

Crohn’s disease, named for the doctor who first described it in 1932, is part of a collection of Inflammatory Bowel Diseases. Symptoms include abdominal pain, intense diarrhea, fatigue, weight loss, and malnutrition. Crohn’s is occasionally diagnosed in children, but mostly in young adults up to age 30. Somewhere between 0.2% and 0.3% of adult Americans are diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease, this figures to be almost one million people. It is only diagnosed after a series of tests and biopsies.

Causes primarily stem from immune system infections or hereditary conditions. The highest demographic affected are white people and those living in urban areas, particularly in northern US states. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications can complicate matters with increased bowel inflammation. Smoking can also increase risks and symptoms. Inflammation can extend through several layers of bowel tissue, create bowel obstructions, ulcers, and fistulas producing major digestion issues.

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Crohn’s has no cure, but there are a series of treatments to relieve the pressure, including a medication regimen and surgery. Understanding that this is a chronic, debilitating condition, it helps to have a grasp of what may help alleviate symptoms for friends and family.

1. Stay Aware of Their Diet Modification

Keeping diet in check is a primary means to controlling Crohn’s symptoms. The Mayo Clinic advises to stay away from dairy, fiber, high fat foods, spicy foods, booze and caffeine. It is also prudent to eat small meals and take multivitamins. Helping a person stick to a regimented diet, perhaps even keeping a food diary, will make their lives more pleasant as well as those around them.

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2. Provide Emotional and Physical Support

It is really hard to do most daily tasks with a crippling disease, but the hardest thing is to suffer alone. Friends and family should take extra concern to make sure life is pleasant for the person, like cooking some meals or helping clean their house to make life less stressful. Also, provide an ear for their complaints and take the complaints seriously.

If needed, encourage the person to seek therapy to help deal with the emotional toll. Just because the person isn’t complaining at one moment doesn’t mean they aren’t in pain, or that the pain won’t return at any time. This is something that ebbs and flows. The depression that comes with Crohn’s can be hidden.

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3. Discuss Alternative Medicine Treatment

Healthline mentions some common alternative therapies such as herbal supplements, probiotics, prebiotics, fish oil, and acupuncture. However, the Mayo Clinic notes that studies have shown little to no results with any of these and supplements are also not regulated as to effectiveness by the FDA. Some other alternative therapies to alleviate symptoms include marshmallow root, which contains polysaccharide to help line the stomach cutting down on ulcers and other intestinal disorders while also giving the immune system a boost. Aloe vera is touted as a cure for everything and also has polysaccharides to aid in digestive problems. Barley grass has been popular in health food circles lately, one reason being its digestive enzymes that may fight off gastrointestinal problems. Barley grass does, however, have a high fiber content, so it would be recommended to discuss options with a doctor.

Beyond these, if there is still no relief in sight, there are two major alternative therapies that also merit some consideration.

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4. Read Up on Worm Therapy

Parasitic pig worms have shown to reduce chronic diarrhea in monkeys, and reduced inflammation in the colon and intestines. Such worms, or helminthes, have traditionally been part of human digestive tracts, though the presence of these worms has decreased considerably in the developed world as they are known as a parasite that causes infections in malnourished children. Meanwhile, however, autoimmune diseases have consistently increased in the developed world over the last 50 years. The research showed helminthes work to restore immune regulatory networks by controlling levels of gut bacteria and stimulating mucus production. Gross, parasitic or not, this method could be much better than living with the disease.

5. Consider That Marijuana May Be The Answer

A teacher from Germany dealt with the debilitating nature of Crohn’s and medication side effects for nearly a year before finally trying hemp oil. Within days, the apparently incurable disease and all the side effects had disappeared. Likewise, in a study of people smoking marijuana, 5 of 11 people saw a total remission. The National Institute of Health concedes that cannabis may be beneficial as an anti-inflammatory in bowels, and has been used as such since ancient times.

Though Crohn’s is chronic and painful, there are very real ways of handling the disease and living with it. By following a few pressure relieving treatments and assisting the person inflicted, life is made better. More awareness of this condition will only help the loved ones of people who suffers.

Featured photo credit: Manuel Paul/Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on January 21, 2020

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

The Best Way to Create a Vision for the Life You Want

Creating a vision for your life might seem like a frivolous, fantastical waste of time, but it’s not: creating a compelling vision of the life you want is actually one of the most effective strategies for achieving the life of your dreams. Perhaps the best way to look at the concept of a life vision is as a compass to help guide you to take the best actions and make the right choices that help propel you toward your best life.

your vision of where or who you want to be is the greatest asset you have

    Why You Need a Vision

    Experts and life success stories support the idea that with a vision in mind, you are more likely to succeed far beyond what you could otherwise achieve without a clear vision. Think of crafting your life vision as mapping a path to your personal and professional dreams. Life satisfaction and personal happiness are within reach. The harsh reality is that if you don’t develop your own vision, you’ll allow other people and circumstances to direct the course of your life.

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    How to Create Your Life Vision

    Don’t expect a clear and well-defined vision overnight—envisioning your life and determining the course you will follow requires time, and reflection. You need to cultivate vision and perspective, and you also need to apply logic and planning for the practical application of your vision. Your best vision blossoms from your dreams, hopes, and aspirations. It will resonate with your values and ideals, and will generate energy and enthusiasm to help strengthen your commitment to explore the possibilities of your life.

    What Do You Want?

    The question sounds deceptively simple, but it’s often the most difficult to answer. Allowing yourself to explore your deepest desires can be very frightening. You may also not think you have the time to consider something as fanciful as what you want out of life, but it’s important to remind yourself that a life of fulfillment does not usually happen by chance, but by design.

    It’s helpful to ask some thought-provoking questions to help you discover the possibilities of what you want out of life. Consider every aspect of your life, personal and professional, tangible and intangible. Contemplate all the important areas, family and friends, career and success, health and quality of life, spiritual connection and personal growth, and don’t forget about fun and enjoyment.

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    Some tips to guide you:

    • Remember to ask why you want certain things
    • Think about what you want, not on what you don’t want.
    • Give yourself permission to dream.
    • Be creative. Consider ideas that you never thought possible.
    • Focus on your wishes, not what others expect of you.

    Some questions to start your exploration:

    • What really matters to you in life? Not what should matter, what does matter.
    • What would you like to have more of in your life?
    • Set aside money for a moment; what do you want in your career?
    • What are your secret passions and dreams?
    • What would bring more joy and happiness into your life?
    • What do you want your relationships to be like?
    • What qualities would you like to develop?
    • What are your values? What issues do you care about?
    • What are your talents? What’s special about you?
    • What would you most like to accomplish?
    • What would legacy would you like to leave behind?

    It may be helpful to write your thoughts down in a journal or creative vision board if you’re the creative type. Add your own questions, and ask others what they want out of life. Relax and make this exercise fun. You may want to set your answers aside for a while and come back to them later to see if any have changed or if you have anything to add.

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    What Would Your Best Life Look Like?

    Describe your ideal life in detail. Allow yourself to dream and imagine, and create a vivid picture. If you can’t visualize a picture, focus on how your best life would feel. If you find it difficult to envision your life 20 or 30 years from now, start with five years—even a few years into the future will give you a place to start. What you see may surprise you. Set aside preconceived notions. This is your chance to dream and fantasize.

    A few prompts to get you started:

    • What will you have accomplished already?
    • How will you feel about yourself?
    • What kind of people are in your life? How do you feel about them?
    • What does your ideal day look like?
    • Where are you? Where do you live? Think specifics, what city, state, or country, type of community, house or an apartment, style and atmosphere.
    • What would you be doing?
    • Are you with another person, a group of people, or are you by yourself?
    • How are you dressed?
    • What’s your state of mind? Happy or sad? Contented or frustrated?
    • What does your physical body look like? How do you feel about that?
    • Does your best life make you smile and make your heart sing? If it doesn’t, dig deeper, dream bigger.

    It’s important to focus on the result, or at least a way-point in your life. Don’t think about the process for getting there yet—that’s the next stepGive yourself permission to revisit this vision every day, even if only for a few minutes. Keep your vision alive and in the front of your mind.

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    Plan Backwards

    It may sound counter-intuitive to plan backwards rather than forwards, but when you’re planning your life from the end result, it’s often more useful to consider the last step and work your way back to the first. This is actually a valuable and practical strategy for making your vision a reality.

    • What’s the last thing that would’ve had to happen to achieve your best life?
    • What’s the most important choice you would’ve had to make?
    • What would you have needed to learn along the way?
    • What important actions would you have had to take?
    • What beliefs would you have needed to change?
    • What habits or behaviors would you have had to cultivate?
    • What type of support would you have had to enlist?
    • How long will it have taken you to realize your best life?
    • What steps or milestones would you have needed to reach along the way?

    Now it’s time to think about your first step, and the next step after that. Ponder the gap between where you are now and where you want to be in the future. It may seem impossible, but it’s quite achievable if you take it step-by-step.

    It’s important to revisit this vision from time to time. Don’t be surprised if your answers to the questions, your technicolor vision, and the resulting plans change. That can actually be a very good thing; as you change in unforeseeable ways, the best life you envision will change as well. For now, it’s important to use the process, create your vision, and take the first step towards making that vision a reality.

    Featured photo credit: Matt Noble via unsplash.com

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