Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dealing with Chronic and Terminal Illness by Eric Stevenson

Hello Everyone,

The following article was written by Eric Stevenson, he is very passionate about people's health and the long term side effects. Thanks Eric for writing this article and sharing information!

Western medicine is built on a model of battle: fighting the enemy disease until victorious. This is an appropriate model for many conditions, but often leaves both doctors and patients feeling helpless when an illness is incurable or fatal. However, living with a terminal or chronic illness should not be thought of as a lost or losing battle.

While chronic illnesses are not always terminal, certain coping strategies can be effective for either. Maintaining mental and emotional health is just as important as physical health. Depression and anxiety can disrupt eating and sleeping habits, which can take a physical toll. The American Psychological Association recommends staying connected to friends, family, or support groups; taking care of one’s self through a healthy diet and exercise; and maintaining a daily routine to provide stability. Of course, consulting with a licensed therapist or counselor is always recommended.

Symptoms of many chronic diseases – autoimmune disease, CFS, endocrine disease, fibromyalgia – may overlap with those of debilitating fatal diseases like leukemia, lymphoma, or mesothelioma. Symptoms of mesothelioma, like many other cancers, can include fatigue. WebMD recommends the following activities for raising energy:

● Increasing magnesium intake with nuts, whole grains, or fish
● Taking a walk
● Taking a 60-minute nap
● Eating a healthy breakfast and not skipping any meals
● Reducing stress
● Drinking more water (and less alcohol)
● Eating more whole grains (and less sugar)
● Eating a healthy snack between meals
● Drinking a latte instead of black coffee

These strategies might not be appropriate or feasible for everyone, but they may help to offset the low energy that comes with many chronic or terminal illnesses.

Living with a terminal illness is obviously different from living with a chronic illness. As an example, mesothelioma life expectancy over five years is less than 10%, whereas chronic fatigue syndrome rarely shortens life expectancy at all. However, authorities on chronic and terminal illnesses alike stress the importance of positive thinking. While being realistic about the future is important, it is also vital to maintain a positive outlook in order to lower stress and reduce depression.

By Eric Stevenson, a health and safety advocate, for questions about this article please feel free to contact him at epicsurvivor@gmail.com

I hope and pray everyone experiences a pain and fatigue free day.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Applying for Disability based on Fibromyalgia (by Tim Moore)

Hello Everyone,

The following article was written by Tim Moore. Tim is a former medicaid-disability caseworker and a former disability claims examiner for the social security administration's DDS, or disability determination services. Thank you Tim!

Applying for Disability based on Fibromyalgia

SSDI (Social security disability insurance) and SSI disability claims that are filed on the basis of fibromyalgia will come up against the same problems as other disability cases, including:

1. High denial rates at the disability application and first appeal levels (the first appeal is the request for reconsideration).

2. Very long waiting periods for decisions at all steps in the system.

3. Incredibly long waits for disability hearings to be scheduled (a problem that has intensified in recent years and may only get worse).

and, finally,

4. A system that, on its face, can not only appear complex and confusing, but almost designed to result in financial disaster for most claimants.

Unfortunately, disability claims for which fibromyalgia is a primary allegation have their own specific problems, problems that are somewhat unique. One of those particular difficulties is that a claimant with this condition can find it difficult to obtain needed support from their treating physician. This can be due to a host of reasons, including, unfortunately, the fact that many doctors do not find it worth their time to provide documentary support for a patient's disability claim, but also the fact that a certain percentage of physicians are not in support of fibromyaliga as a valid diagnosis (this despite the fact that medications are currently being approved by the FDA for the treatment of fibromyalgia).

The other problem, of course, is the fact that SSA does not expend much effort in recognizing fibromyalgia as a condition in its own right. Though there have been policy pronouncements regarding FMS, fibromyalgia still does not have a separate listing in the blue book, the social security administration's impairment listing manual that is published under the name "Disability Evaluation under Social Security".

Is a claim for disability benefits based on fibromyalgia an uphill climb? To some extent, it may be. However, the fact is that seventy percent of all social security disability claims that are filed with the social security administration are initially denied, regardless of the impairment. Those same claimants, if they pursue the appeals process to the level of an administrative law judge hearing and have able representation, will stand a better than sixty percent chance of being awarded benefits. Therefore, the best advice for any claimant is simply not to give up on a claim. If the initial claim is denied, file a request for reconsideration appeal. If this appeal is denied, file a request for a hearing.

What do judges look for when they hear cases based on fibromyalgia? As with all cases, the judge will look for evidence of physical or mental limitations that rule out the ability of the claimant to return to their past work. The judge will also examine whether or not these limitations rule out the ability of the claimant to perform some other type of work that might seem suitable based on the claimant's condition, age, education, and work experience.

However, with regard to claims predicated on fibromyalgia, disability judges will also give more credence to medical evidence that emanates from specific types of treating sources. In other words, medical records obtained from a pain treatment specialist can often offer more validity than records from an internist. Likewise, a diagnosis either obtained from, or corroborated by, a rheumatologist may carry substantially more weight than a diagnosis obtained from a family physician who has no specialization in fibromyalgia or conditions involving pain or fatigue.

The author of this article is Tim Moore, a former medicaid-disability caseworker and a former disability claims examiner for the social security administration's DDS, or disability determination services. Tim Moore is the publisher of The Social Security and Disability Resource Center.

I hope and pray everyone has experienced less pain and fatigue today.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Prayer Position Stretch

Hello Everyone,

The Prayer Position Stretch

1). Start by holding your hands in a prayer position.

2). Raise your arms over your head keeping your hands together in a prayer position.

3). Turn your palms outward (the front of your hands are now placed together in this position).

4). Stretch your arms downward as you separate your hands bringing your elbows down and place your hands back into the prayer position.

5). Repeat (2 to 3) two to three times.

Note: Please make sure to perform this exercise within your pain-free range of motion.

I pray and hope this information has helped someone today.