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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 December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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