Invisible Chronic Illness
Invisible Chronic Illness is categorized by persistent health conditions which have symptoms that are usually not easily identified by naked eye. The way you would notice someone in a wheelchair, or someone whose lost their hair due to chemotherapy. The symptoms of invisible chronic illness are also “non measurable” as with symptoms such as pain and fatigue. Conditions associated with invisible illness are not always easily diagnosed by physicians, because they can often include common symptoms that anyone can experience such as headaches, stomach upset and back pain. Having such common symptoms can also make it incredibly easy for doctors to discount or trivialize even when a patient shows concern. Additionally, the multitude of symptoms associated with many invisible chronic illnesses tend to overlap with one another, making a diagnosis incredibly challenging. Doctors can also encounter patients who do not fit the typical profile for a particular disease or condition. For example, for many years the diagnostic profile for Ankylosing Spondylitis was a white male between the ages of 15 and 40 with inflammatory back pain, while there are a number of women and children, plus individuals from many ethnic and cultural backgrounds living with this auto-immune disease. Additionally, AS can cause inflammation in several areas of the body, such as large and small joints, eyes, bowels and heart. It’s easy for a person to live with symptoms of an invisible chronic illness for many years without being properly diagnosed. This drives home the importance of both education and awareness.
Needless to say, that in spite of the potential for remission, due to the use of the term “chronic” these conditions are incurable. In addition many require constant maintenance, or the disease can progress or symptoms involving syndromes tend to worsen. In many cases there is no single treatment, and as with some conditions there is also no testing protocol other than diagnosis of exclusion as with CFIDS/CFS/ME. Auto-immune diseases and chronic health conditions compromise the immune system, making a person more susceptible to multiple invisible chronic illness and often without them realizing. For example a patient with AS can go on to develop Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or an IBD such as Crohn’s Disease & Ulcerative Colitis. I’m also a great example, as I lived with Ankylosing Spondylitis for many years without realizing that I also had Chronic and Fatigue Immune Dysfunction Syndrome (CFS/CFIDS/ME), which I’d endured since childhood and that I’d also developed Fibromyalgia after being involved in terrible car accident. In spite of living with Invisible Chronic Illness, when taking the proper steps and making conscious decisions about one’s health, it is possible to live “Chronically Happy, Healthy, Fit & Fab!” Check out the lifestyle tips via the articles here on The Positive Pear: Holistic Health & Whole Body Wellness for Chronic Invisible Illness, “Being Positive when Living with a Chronic Illness”, Why Should I Be Positive: When I Have Every Right To Be Negative? The Healing Power of Alternative Therapies, The Healing Power of Herbs & Food Based Supplements, The Healing Power of Exercise, The Positive Pear Articles, Nutritional, Gluten-Free, Diary-Free, Low-Starch & Inflammation Friendly Recipes, The Healing Power of Organic, Real Food, Superfoods & Whole Foods, The Positive Pear’s Did You Know?, Awareness: Invisible Chronic Illness Awareness Week September 10-16, 2012