While My Health Challenges Are Tough, I Smile Through Life – Sickle Cell Anemia News

One of my favorite features is my smile, and I find that in life, I have many things to smile about.

I have very good people around me who provide an amazing support system, I have a home, I have a job, I live in a country that provides me with free healthcare and effective treatments, I have high hopes for my future; if I wanted to, I could fill this column with a long list of things I am grateful for.

Bryant H. McGill said, “Life is like a mirror. Smile at it and it smiles back at you.” (Courtesy of Tito Oye)

Even with all of this, people constantly ask how I can smile so much, given everything I go through. They’ll tell me they are surprised to see me so positive, and that they would be depressed if they were in my position and had so many health-related complications. But I hate these types of questions and comments, because it is not an encouraging thing to hear — not at all. Do people honestly expect me to be miserable 24/7?

In life, everyone goes through one hardship or another — absolutely everyone, whether that difficulty is medical, financial, or emotional. Everyone faces some kind of difficulty. In my case, it is my health. Sickle cell disease is very difficult to deal with, but I believe that perspective is important. My attitude about how I live my life can either be a reaction to the hardships, or a reaction to the good things, and I prefer the latter.

With that said, no matter how positive a person you may be, life still has highs and the lows, and the lows can get pretty low. I don’t mind sharing how I feel during those low moments, but I try not to dwell on those feelings. When I feel a bit down, I remind myself of all the things I am grateful for. I remind myself that things could always be worse. And I actively do things to improve my mood, such as listening to music or watching a show. If I am unable to improve my mood by myself, I surround myself with loved ones who I know can make me feel better.

Has anyone ever questioned your positivity? I challenge you to share something you are grateful for in the comments below or at our Sickle Cell Disease News Forum. In moments when you feel low, what do you do to lift your spirits?


Note: Sickle Cell Disease News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Disease News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell anemia.

‘Long Covid’ or long-term effects of COVID-19, affects all ages, warns UK drive – The Tribune India

London, October 21

The UK government on Wednesday launched a new campaign to highlight the far-reaching impact of “Long Covid”, or the long-term effects of COVID-19, and that it affects people of all ages.

The symptoms of “Long Covid” include fatigue, protracted loss of taste or smell, respiratory and cardiovascular symptoms and mental health problems. They are described in detail in a new film featuring people of different ages as part of the UK’s wider national “Hands, Face, Space” campaign promoting hygiene and social distancing as ways of controlling the spread of coronavirus.

“I am acutely aware of the lasting and debilitating impact Long Covid can have on people of all ages, irrespective of the seriousness of the initial symptoms,” said UK Health Secretary Matt Hancock.

“The more people take risks by meeting up in large groups or not social distancing, the more the wider population will suffer, and the more cases of long Covid we will see. The powerful new film we’re releasing today sheds light on the long-term impact this devastating virus has and should act as a stark reminder to us all,” he said.

It comes as a new study from King’s College London, using data from the Covid Symptom Study App and health science company ZOE, shows one in 20 people with Covid-19 are likely to have symptoms for eight weeks or more. The study suggests Long Covid affects around 10 per cent of 18 to 49 year olds who become unwell with COVID-19.

“The Covid Symptom Study App has released key findings on Long Covid that show that older people, women and those with a greater number of different symptoms in the first week of their illness were more likely to develop Long Covid,” said Dr Claire Steves, clinical academic at KCL and lead scientist at Covid Symptom Study App.

“Around one in seven had Covid-19 symptoms lasting for at least four weeks, with around one in 20 staying ill for eight weeks and one in 50 suffering for longer than 12 weeks,” she said.

According to the latest analysis, most people recover from Covid-19 without needing special treatment and for the majority symptoms will clear after approximately two weeks.

But some of the persistent health problems reported for weeks and months after include continuing headaches, fatigue, respiratory symptoms such as lung inflammation, cardiovascular symptoms such as chest tightness, protracted loss or change of smell and taste and mental health problems, such as cognitive difficulties.

“The evidence is worrying – Covid-19 is clearly having a long-term impact on some people’s physical and mental health. We are moving quickly to stand up rehabilitation facilities and recovery services,” said Health Minister Lord James Bethell.

The National Health Service (NHS) recently announced 10 million pounds to run designated Long Covid clinics in every area across England where respiratory consultants, physiotherapists, other specialists and GPs will all help assess, diagnose and treat thousands of people who have reported symptoms ranging from breathlessness, chronic fatigue, “brain fog” to anxiety and stress.

The emotive new film released this week features stories four people aged between 22 and 48, who explain how their lives have been affected – weeks and months after being diagnosed with Covid-19.

They discuss symptoms such as breathlessness when walking up the stairs, intermittent fevers and chest pain. The film aims to raise awareness of the long-term impact of Covid-19 as the world learns more about the deadly virus.

“As we continue to learn more about Covid-19, it is clear that a significant minority of patients are suffering the after effects for weeks or months after contracting the virus,” said Professor Stephen Powis, NHS Medical Director.

Public Health England have found that around 10 per cent of Covid-19 cases who were not admitted to hospital have reported symptoms lasting more than four weeks and a number of hospitalised cases reported continuing symptoms for eight or more weeks after discharge. — PTI


Putnam County Rotary is part of a global effort to eradicate Polio – Putnam County Record

Members of Putnam County Rotary will present a check for $1,000 to help Rotary International’s ramped-up efforts to end polio forever and to prevent a resurgence of the paralyzing, and often deadly virus. The donation will be made in conjunction with World Polio Day on Oct. 24.
Members of Putnam County Rotary will present a check for $1,000 to help Rotary International’s ramped-up efforts to end polio forever and to prevent a resurgence of the paralyzing, and often deadly virus. The donation will be made in conjunction with World Polio Day on Oct. 24.

As we now hope for a vaccine for COVID-19, we can imagine the helplessness, pain and loss felt by millions of families worldwide in the 1950s before a vaccine was found to prevent a different pandemic called polio.

Even 25 years after two different polio vaccines were discovered by Dr. Salk and Dr. Sabin, the polio virus continued to kill or paralyze as many as 1,000 children daily — commonly within days of exposure. Still today — more than 60 years after the vaccines were discovered – new infections are reported in some countries, and the world remains at risk of a resurgence.

Rotary International entered the picture in 1985, at the peak of Polio’s devastation, determined to make a difference. Since then, in partnership with the World Health Organization, UNICEF, the CDC and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and with the support hundreds of thousands of volunteers and donors, Rotary has made that difference.

The number of infections causing death and paralysis has decreased from 350,000 per year in 1985 to less than 100 thus far in 2020, but Rotary’s work is not nearly done. Volunteers have even placed their own lives at risk on occasions to administer the vaccine, particularly in regions of Afghanistan and Pakistan where vaccinations are hindered by cultural and political opposition.

Two of three polio strains have been totally eradicated and Rotary hopes to eliminate the last with expanded vaccination programs supported by donor contributions.

Locally, Putnam County Rotary has been part of the global effort to eradicate the world of polio, raising funds and awareness of the disease and how we can help to prevent it. Members of Putnam County Rotary will add $1,000 this month in recognition of World Polio Day on Oct. 24. For more information contact PutnamCountyRotary@gmail.com.


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    Can cold-water swimming ward off dementia? – Runners World (UK)

    Need a little extra motivation to brave the lido this autumn? Cold water swimming may protect the brain against degenerative diseases such as dementia.

    That’s according to a new study from Cambridge University. It found that a ‘cold-shock’ protein was present in the blood of regular users of London’s Parliament Hill Lido, the presence of which has been shown to slow the onset of dementia.

    Temperatures in UK lidos and lakes is currently hovering around 12-13 degrees and is likely to dip below 5 degrees by the end of the year. But this study, although in its early stages, provides a powerful motivator for braving the icy waters.

    There are currently more than a million people with dementia in the UK, with this total expected to double by 2050. Current treatment options have only limited impact so researchers are looking for new ways to treat the condition.

    The ‘cold-shock’ protein, called RBM3, is believed to help slow – and possible even partially reverse ­– the progress of some neuro-degenerative diseases.

    Until now, the presence of RBM3 had not been detected in human blood. And as any experiment that looked for it would involve people having to become hypothermic, it wasn’t a study that looked likely to happen any time soon.

    That is, until the cold-water swimmers at London’s Parliament Hill Lido stepped forward. Led by Martin Pate, they volunteered themselves to be test subjects during the winters of 2016-2018, during which they were regularly tested for the RBM3 protein.

    For comparison, the researchers used members of a Tai Chi Club, who practise beside the pool but never actually get in. The Cambridge team found that a significant number of the swimmers had elevated levels of RBM3, whereas none of the Tai Chi group’s levels increased.

    Jonathan Cowie, editor of Outdoor Swimmer, says that cold water swimming has a lot of benefits that we’re only beginning to truly understand.

    ‘As well as the well-known physical and mental positive effects of exercising in nature, swimming outdoors in cold water has some bonus benefits,’ he says. ‘Ask any winter swimmer and they will tell you how amazing it makes them feel, but the reasons why are only beginning to be understood by science. A 2018 study looked at cold water swimming as a treatment for depression and anxiety. The theory is that cold water adaptation can combat depression as well as help high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes and arthritis by reducing inflammation.

    ‘Whatever the science, many cold water swimmers (myself included) believe that regular immersion improves mood, reduces stress and strengthens the immune system. The recent research into cold water and dementia is another exciting development, but more than anything swimming outdoors is good for your wellbeing. When you are immersed in nature, feeling the cold water on your skin, all your worries drift away.’

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