Visual information

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Since it’s creation in 2005 YouTube has been a platform for people of any age, race, or sex, to post their creative content online. From reviews, to how to video’s, nothing is off limits. YouTube has gotten so popular that big corporations, like AT&T, have begun paying creators to advertise their products in the videos they post. In the last month, over 1.8 billion people have watched videos on YouTube. Most of those viewers are millennial and college-aged people. There’s power in numbers.

Some creators on YouTube get millions of views on a single video. This can be very beneficial to people who are looking for information. Autoimmune diseases aren’t talked about as much as other diseases and many people have misconceptions about what they are. A few creators on YouTube have used their success on the platform to educate people about autoimmune diseases.

Buzzfeed is a channel on YouTube with 15 million subscribers. Each week they post a video of a skit, an employee trying a new food or place, and other millennial kinds of videos. There is an employee by the name of Zach who works at Buzzfeed. He is part of a series on the channel that tries various activities.  Zach is known for his funny personality and his upbeat attitude. However, he sat down for a series video to talk about his autoimmune disease.

Zach has an autoimmune disease called ankylosing spondylitis. This is an autoimmune disease that affects only 1% of people in the United States. It’s an autoimmune disease that is most commonly found in men and attacks the spine. It also reduces flexibility in the spine eventually results in a hunched-forward posture. Pain in the back and joints are also common.

During the video you follow Zach in his journey from symptoms, to testing, to finally being diagnosed. He starts the video off by explaining his symptoms and how he doesn’t know what’s wrong with him. He explains that his doctors have been blowing him off telling him it’s just regular back pain. Then he decided to take measures into his own hands and gets himself tested. After several forms of testing, he gets his diagnosis. His message for his video is to never stop fighting for your health because at the end you need to be your biggest advocate.

Zach’s video and the message behind it is extremely important for college students to remember. When you’re in college you’re on your own for the first time. You don’t have your parents making you go to the doctor when you don’t feel good. So if you keep experiencing symptoms that are out of the ordinary, and that isn’t going away find your nearest doctor. Explain what you’re feeling and be persistent. Videos like Zach’s are just one of the millions of helpful videos about autoimmune diseases. YouTube videos give you a chance to visually watch a message. It also gives you a human perspective of the diseases. Anyone can read some symptoms and try to understand a disease, but when you watch a video about someone who is actually experiencing it can be much more helpful. That can help someone understand the disease on a personal level.

There’s power in numbers. Over 1.8 billion people are watching YouTube videos Most of those are the upcoming generation. If more people see videos like the one Zach made, the more people will know about autoimmune diseases.

 

 

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Just a spoonful of baking soda helps the autoimmune disease go down

bake-bakery-baking-5765.jpgWhen we think of how much medicine costs for aggressive diseases we usually expect to pay an arm and a leg at a pharmacy, but what if I told you that instead of breaking the bank just to buy your medication it could cost less than $2 and you can find it in the bakery aisle of a grocery store?

Baking soda is a go-to product for most people and can be found in most homes. It can be mixed into food, used for cleaning, a useful tool to freshen breath, and can even be used to put out fires. However, the uses for baking soda doesn’t stop there. Thanks to research done at the Medical College of Georgia at Agusta University, baking soda can now be used to help fight different autoimmune diseases.

According to scientists at the Medical College of Georgia at Agusta University, a daily dose of baking soda may help reduce inflammation of autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis. Your spleen is part of the immune system and acts as a blood filter. It’s also where some white blood cells called macrophages are stored. Macrophages are known for their ability to consume garbage in the body like debris from injured or dead cells and are early arrivers to a call from an immune response. According to the researchers who conducted this study, when you drink baking soda your spleen tells itself to go easy on its’ negative immune response. After drinking water mixed with baking soda for around two weeks, the population of macrophages shifted from primarily those that promote inflammation, to those that reduce it.

This is a breakthrough for college students. When you’re in college money can be tight and you don’t have the time to work extra shifts just to pay for medication. The money that college students do have usually go to paying for textbooks or even tuition. For college students that have an autoimmune disease not buying your medication isn’t an option, so finding something that is cheap and easily accessible is ideal. A lot of college students might not have access to a car either so for students that have an autoimmune disease, finding treatment needs to be within walking distance or within reach for public transportation. Since baking soda is so cheap and can be found in a wide variety of places this could make treating autoimmune diseases easier.

Not only is this discovery good for college students but this can also help adults who are struggling financially. People who live in poverty or who are barely making ends meet have other things they need to prioritize, so most of the time they put their healthcare on the back burner. Living with an autoimmune disease isn’t cheap so they might not have the finances for medication or doctors visits so having something that can treat their autoimmune disease at an affordable rate can help make their health a priority again.  If we fund more research into this medical discovery and make this information more public this could change peoples lives.

Mobile​ apps and healthcare

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We live in a digital age where everyone has access to the internet right in their pocket. Cellphones have revolutionized our society. We can now access information and contact people in a matter of seconds. With all that convenient technology it’s no wonder why most people are addicted to their phones. Thanks to that addiction, people created apps for our phones to make life easier. With mobile apps, we can have food delivered to our doorsteps, catch a ride in a matter of minutes, and buy everyday necessities without even leaving your house. A recent article from dataconomy talks about new medical developments available for people with autoimmune diseases and other chronic illnesses, as well as how technology plays a role in the medical world.

Technology being envisioned will be able to contact your doctor more quickly, store your medical information more efficiently, offer suggestions for your health care, and will be able to give you access to interviews for clinical trials.As of right now, accessible technology in healthcare is limited is limited to the public. Even though the article states we’re still a long way from the innovative technology that is being planned, there is potential for new technology and scientists are engineers are working closely to create.

Even though people are skeptical of “big brother” having access to their information or the risk of cyber attacks, mobile apps for healthcare have helped people tremendously and is the closest thing we have to the technology we have envisioned for the future.

Here are some medical apps for people with autoimmune diseases and other serious medical conditions.

TRACK+REACT: This app helps you see the impact of your daily activities on your arthritis. It helps track your nutrition, fitness, sleep, medication, and mood and compare it to your arthritis pain in the Arthritis Impact graph.

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MY LUPUS TEAM: This app is a social network and support group for people living with lupus. You can get the emotional support you need from others who live with lupus, get tips to manage your life with lupus, and insights on treatment options and other therapies.

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GLOOKO: This app is for people with both diabetes type 1 and 2 diabetes. This app helps manage your diabetes by tracking your medicine usage, carb counts, and other lifestyle information. It integrates data from most your daily glucose monitoring, blood glucose meter, insulin pumps, and other fitness trackers. Graphs and charts allow you to see your progress in real time, anticipate trends, compare it to your history, and save your personal profile. You can also set a reminder to make sure you don’t miss a meal or dose of medication

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MY PAIN DIARY & SYMPTOM TRACKER: This app is for anyone with a chronic illness. It helps people chart and rates their pain as well as record and tracks other symptoms of their disease, such as fatigue and mood swings. This app also has a feature where patients can connect with others living with the same chronic illness and swap best practices that make them feel better.

 

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Even though we don’t have all the accessible technology we want, mobile apps are the first step towards a future of medical innovations.

 

The Russian​ roulette of diseases

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Russian roulette is a lethal game of chance. You put a single bullet into a revolver, spin the cylinder, put the gun to your temple, and pray it doesn’t kill you. An autoimmune disease is the body’s game of Russian roulette.

Autoimmune disease is defined as the body’s immune system attacking healthy cells. No one knows what causes someone to get an autoimmune disease so unfortunately there are no preventatives. There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases and a lot of them have similar symptoms which makes diagnosing them so much harder.

When you are finally diagnosed your game of Russian roulette has begun. Each autoimmune disease is different and has its’ own unique set of symptoms. The way each body handles an autoimmune disease can vastly vary from person to person. Sometimes the body can easily handle the symptoms the autoimmune disease is causing but unfortunately, in some cases, the autoimmune disease can cause the body to shut down entirely.

Let’s compare Seal and Selena Gomez. Both celebrities have an autoimmune disease called lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes the body’s immune system to attack its own tissues and organs. Symptoms range from fatigue, joint pain, swelling, rashes, and fever. Frequently lupus is misdiagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis or a virus.  In severe cases, lupus can damage the skin, kidneys, heart, nervous system, blood cells, and other parts of your body. Even though both celebrities have lupus the disease has affected them both very differently.

In Seals’ case lupus has mainly affected his skin. Seal was diagnosed as a teen and throughout his life, his skin scarred on his face. Not only did Seal experience scaring but he also had to deal with problems that were caused by the skin on his scalp which resulted in significant hair loss. For Selena Gomez lupus affected her kidneys drastically. She received the news 5 years ago and shortly after her diagnosis, her health began deteriorating. It started with arthritis and then over time, her kidneys began to fail. She began getting dialysis multiple times a week as she waited to get a new kidney from the transplant list. In October of 2017 Francia Raisa, Selena Gomez’s best friend, donated her kidney to Selena to help save her life. Ever since the transplant, her health has improved tremendously.

These two people are just many examples of how every person’s body is different. You don’t get to choose how your body will handle different diseases all you can do is pull the trigger and hope for the best. The good news is you don’t have to handle your autoimmune disease on your own. Throughout the years’ doctors have been studying autoimmune diseases and how they work so they can better know how to treat them. The best thing you can do for your health is listening to your body. The human body is an incredible machine and when you experience a symptom it’s your body’s way of telling you something is wrong. So next time you experience a symptom that seems out of the ordinary don’t ignore it, it could be the red flag that saves your life.

Weed be crazy not to pay attention to this medical breakthrough​

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If you were living with chronic pain and had the choice of taking medicine that doesn’t work or one that is highly stigmatized by the public which one would you take? In an article written by Marisa Taylor at SDPB radio, Anne Marie Owen shares her journey with medical marijuana and how it changed her life.

Anne Marie Owen is living with Transverse Myelitis. Transverse Myelitis is an autoimmune disease that causes severe pain, muscle weakness, and paralysis. For the past four years, her doctors have been prescribing her with opioids that have not only gotten her addicted to them, but have done nothing to resolve her pain. Fed up with the lack of progress she decided to look for other treatment options.

When medical marijuana finally became legal in her state she consulted her doctor to see if she can finally stop taking her daily opioid medication. However, even though it was legal her doctor was unwilling to help her. Even though medical marijuana has been proven to help patients with chronic pain and other diseases, it’s still stigmatized by the public for its recreational use. Eventually, Anne was able to find a doctor who was willing to certify her for medical marijuana use. Ever since she began taking medical marijuana her pain has reduced tremendously and its helped wean herself off of opioids.

Most people think taking medical marijuana is smoking the plant itself but there are other alternatives to taking this medication if smoking isn’t for you.

  • Edibles: These are foods that have medical marijuana inside of them
  • Oils: These can be rubbed on the skin, mixed into a liquid, or put inside the mouth
  • Patches: These are applied to the skin
  • Suppository: These are inserted into the anal cavity
  • Pills: These are swallowed

As of 2018 21 out 50 states have legalized medical marijuana. With how beneficial medical marijuana has proven to be for  people like Anne, hopefully more states will be willing to legalize it soon. Here are the states that have legalized medical marijuana so far.

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maine
  • Maryland
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Montana
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
  • Washington

When you become certified to consume medical marijuana the next step is to find a dispensary. A marijuana dispensary is a store where you can legally buy medical marijuana. When you walk into any dispensary expect to be carded. Since there are strict laws around medical marijuana, dispensary owners will be thorough in following those laws. After being carded the world is your oyster. Employees can show you the types of medical marijuana available and will be able to give you suggestions about which kind will benefit you the most.

If you’re in college dealing with a similar autoimmune disease Annes story is one to pay attention to. Even though most people associate college students with the negative stereotypes of marijuana, it doesn’t mean obtaining it for medical use is impossible. keeping yourself healthy is vital so don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor about switching your medication if the one your currently taking isn’t working.