3 energy-saving tips for people with lupus

Fatigue can be a big deal when you have lupus. About 43 percent of PatientsLikeMe members with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) who are tracking fatigue as a symptom say that it’s “severe.” A rough day can feel like “walking through knee-deep water,” notes one member. Here’s a roundup of energy-saving tips from a few different sources (spoiler alert: routines and planning ahead can help): A PatientsLikeMe member’s advice: schedule, schedule, schedule. “You can’t schedule too much with lupus because one activity can knock you out,” she says. “I learned to say no in advance to over-scheduling social engagements or things that would keep me out too late or keep me from getting enough sleep.” She also sets alarms and reminders on her phone to keep her on track, including one at 9:30 every night that says, “Time to unwind” – put away electronics, take meds and go to bed. Hint from a writer with lupus: manage your mornings. Heather Glantz, who has been living with lupus for more than 20 years, says it took her several years to nail down a morning routine that preserves energy for the rest of the day. “I try to stay in bed as much …

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Coming together for immunological and neurological health in May

If you follow PatientsLikeMe on social media, you might have seen a few “Pop Quiz Tuesday” posts. Today, here’s a special pop quiz – what do fibromyalgia, myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) have in common? The answer is that they are classified as Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CINDs). And since 1992, every May 12th has been recognized as International Awareness Day for CINDs. Today, in conjunction with Fibromyalgia Awareness Month, it’s time to recognize everyone living with a CIND. While fibromyalgia and ME/CFS are both CINDs, each is a little different. Check out some quick facts about each condition: Fibromyalgia1 Affects 5 million Americans over the age of 18, and the majority are women The cause of fibromyalgia is unknown Common symptoms include insomnia, headaches, pain and tingling in the hands and feet ME/CFS2 Affects between 836,000 to 2.5 million Americans The large majority of people living with ME/CFS have not been diagnosed There are five main symptoms of ME/CFS, as opposed to the more general symptoms of fibromyalgia: Profound fatigue that impairs carrying out normal daily activities Unrefreshing sleep Cognitive impairment Symptoms that worsen when a person stands up Symptoms that worsen after exerting any …

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Seeing [MS]: The invisible symptoms – fatigue

“It’s like I’m deflated. I don’t feel like doing anything.” That’s how Darcy McCann says he feels on most days. He’s a young Australian who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis [MS] at the age of 10, and his most debilitating symptom is fatigue, which comes and goes as a result of his nerves being constantly under siege.   You are now seeing fatigue Photographed by Juliet Taylor Inspired by Darcy McCann’s invisible symptoms Darcy worked with award-winning photographer Juliet Taylor to capture how he feels when enduring bouts of fatigue. His video and picture are part of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Australia’s (MSA) Seeing [MS] campaign, which is all about recognizing the invisible symptoms of MS and raising awareness for the neurological condition. Check out the previous pictures and stay tuned for more Seeing [MS] posts. Share this post on Twitter and help spread the word for MS.

Turning blue for Myalgic Encephalomyelitis Awareness

Did you know that today is International Awareness Day for Chronic Immunological and Neurological Diseases (CINDs)? CINDs include fibromyalgia, Gulf War Syndrome, Multiple Chemical Sensitivities, Lyme disease and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (also know as Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or ME/CFS). ME/CFS is tough to diagnose because there are no tests for it, and other conditions can cause very similar symptoms. Plus, no one knows exactly what causes ME/CFS, and although it is most common in women in their 40s and 50s, it can occur in both genders at any age.1 So why blue? May12.org is encouraging all advocates to turn a part of their body blue for ME/CFS awareness – you can dye your hair (or wear a wig), paint your nails and even Photoshop yourself. Or, just wear a blue t-shirt 🙂 Check out their Facebook page and their website for more information on ME/CFS awareness, and don’t forget to submit your blue photos! If you’re looking for more resources on ME/CFS, PatientsLikeMe member Jen has been working on a film called “Canary in a Coal Mine,” that we shared about on the blog back in October. The film is currently in production after a successful Kickstarter campaign, but you can still check out …

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Someone Like Me

We are pleased to present a guest post by PatientsLikeMe member Jasmine (Jazz1982), who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) in her mid-twenties.  Don’t miss this beautiful essay about the commonalities between all patients who have lost functionality – regardless of how different their conditions might seem. I recently met someone that happened to be just like me but not in the way that I expected. I’m currently doing my master’s thesis and was interviewing an occupational therapist who had had a stroke herself. Her name is Lena, she’s 55 years old and not only has she had one stroke, but four of them. You might think this had made her “disabled,” but as with a lot of people I meet that have a chronic illness, it has only enabled her even further and made her more determined. The interview was supposed to last a maximum of 30 minutes but lasted three hours. We just couldn’t stop talking. At this point I think I should introduce myself. My name is Jasmine, I’m 29 years old and I have multiple sclerosis (MS). To a layman’s ears, this would mean that on a random basis I lose one or more functionalities, and with medication, …

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What Do You Know About Multiple Sclerosis?

March is National MS Education and Awareness Month (NMEAM), an initiative of the Multiple Sclerosis Foundation (MSF) to raise awareness for this chronic neurological disease affecting the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves. This year’s theme is “At Your Best with MS,” encouraging the more than 2.5 million people with MS worldwide to seek the best quality of life possible.  This means different things to different people as MS varies widely in severity, with approximately 15% of those diagnosed becoming severely disabled.  It could include adhering to a treatment regimen, eating healthy, keeping fit, developing a support network and/or maintaining good emotional health. It could also refer to nurturing hobbies and interests.  That’s why the MSF has launched the “Show Us Your Best” contest, which calls for creative submissions (such as poems, essays, photo collages, videos, songs and more) demonstrating how people are raising awareness of MS.  The deadline for entry is March 31st, and the grand prize winner will win a cruise for two on MSF’s 2013 “Cruise for a Cause” to Alaska. With 26,000+ members, the MS community at PatientsLikeMe is one of our largest.  Approximately 80% of the MS community is female (reflecting the fact that MS …

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Coping with Holiday Stress and Blues

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.  Or is it? The holidays can be a time of merriment and joy marked by festive parties and family reunions.  But they can also be quite challenging. Despite the great cheer advertised everywhere you look, some people find themselves struggling with stress, anxiety, loneliness and/or depression.  This phenomenon is sometimes called the “holiday blues.”  Add to that things like fatigue, insomnia and seasonal affective disorder (SAD) – which affect many PatientsLikeMe members on a regular basis – and you have the recipe for a perfect holiday storm. Here’s a look at how our patients are attempting to cope with the stresses of the season: “Seeing all the lights, the preparations, the shopping for the holidays makes me dread what is coming.  I try to go to low-key places where there isn’t as much traffic and aren’t as many people.  I try to play down the importance of everything so I don’t become so obsessed with choices and opinions.  I take breaks.  LOTS of breaks.  I try to make sure I take them before I even become overwhelmed in the first place. And I try to find free things to replace some of the …

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A Peek at the November Newsletter for Members

What kinds of things do we cover in our monthly newsletters for members? Take a look at the excerpt below from our November edition. Also, in case you didn’t know, anyone – whether a PatientsLikeMe member or not – can view our current and past newsletters in our Newsletter Archive. See what we’ve been up to recently, and if you are member who’s not opted in to the newsletter, sign up today. MONTHLY MUSINGS “Got dishes in the sink that won’t get washed today. I just feel so worthless. I could lie down and go to sleep right now I’m so tired.” Can you relate to this description of fatigue?  Defined as a feeling of weariness, tiredness or lack of energy, fatigue is the number one symptom reported at PatientsLikeMe.  It affects more than 40,000 of you and plays a role in so many different conditions, from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) to Lyme disease to ALS.  What’s more, over half of you rate your fatigue as “moderate” or “severe.” Yet fatigue can be much more than feeling tired or unmotivated.  As the quote above illustrates, it can also impact your state of mind…and even your physical mobility.  Many of you report fatigue …

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Results from PatientsLikeMe Diabetes Poll

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE PATIENTSLIKEME POLL REVEALS UPCOMING HOLIDAY SEASON MOST DIFFICULT FOR DIABETES PATIENTS CONTROLLING BLOOD GLUCOSE PatientsLikeMe Introduces Daily Glucose Monitoring Feature in December CAMBRIDGE, MA – November 22, 2011 – According to a recent PatientsLikeMe® Poll, one out of every two type 2 diabetes patients (50%) and nearly two out of every three type 1 diabetes patients (65%) say having diabetes affects their holidays.  More than half of respondents (59%) say the upcoming holiday season, marked by Thanksgiving and Christmas, is most difficult for controlling blood glucose; 25% don’t find the holidays difficult.  When asked what strategies they use if their blood glucose rises after increased consumption during the holiday, diabetes patients had mixed responses with three in four type 1 patients (76%) changing their medication dosage, while type 2 patients try alternative things like more exercise (34%) or just avoiding glucose-raising items altogether (34%).  Two hundred and twenty-six (226) diabetes patients sharing their health data on PatientsLikeMe.com responded to the poll. “This week represents the beginning of a challenging season for diabetes patients faced with group meals and gatherings that could impact their health,” says Ben Heywood, President and Co-founder of PatientsLikeMe.  “We all have family or friends …

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See What Other Patients Are Saying About Metoprolol Succ ER

Metoprolol Succ ER (the common abbreviation for Metoprolol Succinate ER and a generic form of Toprol XL) is an extended release formulation of the drug metoprolol, which is used for the treatment of angina or hypertension and to reduce mortality/hospitalization in patients with heart failure who are already receiving cardiac and diuretic medications. At PatientsLikeMe, where more than 120,000 patients are sharing their experiences with conditions, symptoms, treatments and more, 185 patients report using Metoprolol Succ ER.  What can we learn from these patients’ experiences?  Quite a bit, actually, thanks to PatientsLikeMe’s unique data-sharing platform.  For example, the most commonly reported duration amongst current users is two years or more, while the most commonly reported dosage at PatientsLikeMe is 50mg daily. Wondering about Metoprolol Succ ER side effects?  Some of the commonly reported side effects include loss of energy, fatigue, excessive daytime drowsiness and weight gain.  Check out the 29 treatment evaluations of Metoprolol Succ ER submitted by our patients to gain even more insight.  For example, the following are several tips submitted by Metroprolol Succ ER users on their evaluations: “Remember to get up slowly.  [This drug] has been making me very light headed and dizzy.  Also be sure …

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