Living With An Autoimmune Disease

An autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system identifies harmless molecules or cells in your body as enemies and attacks them. Two common autoimmune diseases that affect millions of people are lupus and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Below are some accounts of what it’s like living with these illnesses. If you have been diagnosed with lupus or RA, please consult with your doctor about a treatment plan that’s right for you. 

Living with Lupus
Symptoms_of_SLELupus is known as “systemic lupus erythematous”, which is a problematic, chronic disorder that causes the immune system to attack any organ. One 45 -year-old female patient shares her experience living with lupus:
“I have had lupus for 13 years. It took 4 years to diagnose it. My blood tests did not show the normal results for a positive lupus test but the doctor said let’s try you on Plaquenil. I responded to the Plaquenil so we decided I have lupus. I was doing fine with no flare ups until last March when I was hospitalized for
pain management. I now have a positive ANA [test] (antinuclear antibody) and low C3 as well as a low Vitamin D. I have recently been struggling with severe hip muscle and knee pain. I am on steroids and I can’t seem to get an answer from any doctor to explain my severe pain in the knees and hips. My CRP does not indicate inflammation.”

Another woman in her late 30’s shares her experience living with lupus:
“I was diagnosed with lupus last year, 2013. I had tickling while walking, butterfly rashes on my face, palms of my hands were dark with sores, ulcers in my nose, painful muscles, fatigue and joint pains. I am on prednisolone drugs. This condition really destabilized my life but now I am more informed…” 


Living with Rheumatoid Arthritis
Rheumatoid arthritis primarily attacks your joints, but may also affect your skin, heart, and lungs.  One 45 -year-old female patient shares her experience living with RA:
29816764_l
One morning I woke up with rheumatoid arthritis. The onset seemed overnight. Weeks passed until I was diagnosed. I had a severe case. The depression was overwhelming at first. Everything changed. My life does not allow immobility. I had months of pain with little progress. My only hope was starting new medications. The methotrexate started to work. Finally, I received Enbrel injections. It took months before I improved. I experienced two flare-ups, but they quickly passed. I still have fears about the future, but things do get better with time.”

Treatment
Treatment for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis often includes a combination of medications and therapy. Click here for what’s commonly prescribed for lupus and rheumatoid arthritis38794917_lMost importantly, doctors recommend getting enough sleep and exercise as well as maintaining a healthy diet to keep a healthy weight. 

Remember, the Watertree Health Prescription Discount Card may help you provide savings on medication for you or your loved ones. Simply click on the “Get Your Free Card” link or text CARD to 95577. The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how the free Prescription Discount Card works, check out this short FAQ video: wtree.us/video 

WH_GPS_logo_web_LORESYou can also look up your prescription savings with our card using the wtree.us/SavingsTool. Simply provide the drug name and zip code to find the best price at a pharmacy near you. 

Sources:
http://www.healthline.com/health-slideshow/lupus-and-ra
http://www.livestrong.com/article/26158-symptoms-lupus-vs.-rheumatoid-arthritis/
http://www.lupus.org/resources/15-questions-lupus-and-overlap-disease-syndromes
http://www.lupus.org/answers/entry/lupus-tests 
http://www.medicinenet.com/systemic_lupus/patient-comments-478.htm 
http://www.medicinenet.com/rheumatoid_arthritis/patient-comments-1030-page2.htm 

By WHBlogger 

5/28/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like.

Back to Nature?

By Shane Power, President of Watertree Health

Did you know that the active ingredients in many prescription medicines are inspired by or derived from nature? Today, I would like to share with you some foods, spices, and seeds that may be beneficial to your health. There could be an opportunity to supplement or reduce the dosage of your current medications with these natural remedies. Of course, always consult with your doctor before making any changes to your diet or prescription regimen.

Lipitor, Zocor, and Crestor are all popular heart-medication drugs used to reduce LDL cholesterol. Spinach, apples, garlic, hawthorn berries, coriander, and psyllium all contain the same active enzyme as these prescription medications, a compound called “HMG-CoA reductase”. Incorporating these foods into your diet may help lower cholesterol levels naturally.

turmericEveryday spices and foods may provide incredible anti-inflammatory benefits. Turmeric, used mainly in South Asian cuisine, contains a potent active ingredient called curcumin, and the health benefits may prove enormous. It may help fight joint pain, autoimmune disease flares, and certain metabolic diseases.

The same anti-inflammatory properties that can be derived from turmeric are also found in ginger, cayenne pepper, and certain berries. Studies have shown that red raspberry extract helped prevent animals from developing arthritis and blueberries may help protect against intestinal inflammation.

So the next time you need an Advil or Tylenol to help treat pain from inflammation, you may want to try turmeric supplements or a potent ginger drink with honey and lemon. You should also know that foods high in sugar and saturated fat may spur inflammation.

In addition to eating healthy, it is important to also eat smart. Consult with your doctor to determine if you could benefit from going “back to nature”.

Watertree Health MVP Spotlight: Cheryl Borstad

Continuing series…

CFullSizeRenderheryl Borstad, who lives in Chandler, Arizona, is known for her commitment to children. So it was no surprise, when she joined Watertree Health as a Representative, that she jumped at the chance to work on the program benefitting Make-A-Wish.

Like many parents, when Cheryl’s daughter Mikella was born, her priorities shifted and she sought ways to stay at home while still providing for her family. A more flexible work schedule allowed her to spend more time with her daughter and volunteer often at her school. The time she spent helping children led her to a career as a teacher.

Cheryl connected with Watertree Health when she moved to Arizona from Washington State, following her daughter who was accepted at college there. “Having the ability to help grant wishes and make prescriptions more affordable in my community is really a win-win. I go out every day and know I’m making a difference. I especially like that I’m helping moms who struggle to pay for the medicines for their children,” said Cheryl.

One of Cheryl’s most amazing stories is how she helped the person she normally counts on to help others. She has often heard from pharmacists how the card has helped their patients save money. In this instance, the pharmacist told her that she was personally grateful for the card. She was very anxious when she found out that her monthly medication would no longer be covered by her plan and was unsure how she would cover the cost. She was happy to report that the card is saving her hundreds of dollars a month, and she no longer has to consider cutting something essential from her household budget.WH_MVP_LOGO_web_small

“Cheryl is an integral part of my team that has granted three wishes so far to children with life-threatening diseases in Arizona,” said Dustin Arnold, Regional Manager of Watertree Health. “Thank you Cheryl for helping make these wishes come true. I look forward to watching you continue to grow,” said Shane Power, President of Watertree Health.

By WHBlogger 

5/19/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

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What is Hay Fever?

hay feverIn 2012, over 17 million people, children and adults, were diagnosed with hay fever in the United States. Hay fever, also known as rhinitis, is an allergic disorder in which the immune system flares up in reaction to pollens and other irritants in the air. 

Triggers of Rhinitis
If you have allergic rhinitis, pollen may be your worst enemy. High pollen counts can trigger the immune system to attack itself. It will release histamines and other micro bodyguards that can irritate your nose, ears, skin, and throat. Think runny nose and itchy eyes. 

Other triggers of allergic rhinitis can include dust, pets, molds, and believe it or not, bugs. People who have allergic reactions to a variety of contaminants have perennial allergic rhinitis, meaning hay fever flare ups could occur at any time of the year. Allergic rhinitis is sometimes accompanied by allergic conjunctivitis, where the eyes become red and sensitive. 

30191168_lDiagnosing and Treating Rhinitis
Physicians are able to diagnose the problem easily if symptoms crop up at the same time every year. Annual problems during hay fever season are a dead giveaway, or if rhinitis runs in the family. Asthma and eczema often go hand-in-hand with these seasonal allergy symptoms. Your skin may also break out in hives.

Your doctor will likely suggest allergy testing with a blood test. He or she may also prescribe allergy shots or antihistamines to help combat the immune response. Avoiding airborne pollen completely is nearly impossible, but there are some steps you can take to keep exposure down:

  • Avoid cutting the grass when symptoms are heightened.
  • Never camp or spend long periods of time outside when the pollen forecast in your area is high. There are websites to help you check the forecast.
  • Vacuum the house regularly to keep dust and other irritant levels low.
  • Wear wrap-around sun glasses to help protect your eyes when outdoors.
  • Use air conditioning when traveling in the car instead of lowering the windows. Pollen filters for your car help, too.
Remember, the Watertree Health Prescription Discount card can provide savings on allergy medications. Over-the-counter medicines may also receive a discount when presented to your pharmacist with a prescription signed by your doctor. Simply click on the “Get Your Free Card” link or text CARD to 95577. The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how the free Prescription Discount Card works, check out our video: wtree.us/video 

WH_GPS_logo_web_LORESYou can also look up your prescription savings with our card using the wtree.us/SavingsTool. Simply provide the drug name and zip code to find the best price at a pharmacy near you. 

Sources:
http://www.aaaai.org/about-the-aaaai/newsroom/allergy-statistics.aspx
http://www.aaaai.org/conditions-and-treatments/allergies/rhinitis.aspx
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/160665.php
http://www.webmd.com/allergies/guide/understanding-hay-fever-basics
http://www.netweather.tv/index.cgi?action=pollen

By WHBlogger 

5/5/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like.

What is OCD and How is it Treated?

17348107_lThe term “OCD” is sometimes casually used to describe a person who is being overly clean or organized. However, obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) is a very serious anxiety disorder that can consume the lives of people who have this condition.

OCD symptoms, simply put, are a combination of obsessive thoughts and habitual behaviors that often become uncontrollable without professional help. One of the most difficult things to understand about OCD is that the sufferer often knows they are being irrational, but continues to act on the obsessions regardless. 

Types of OCD 
There are two types of OCD, though many people exhibit both: obsessions and compulsive behaviors.

Obsessions are recurring thoughts that loop in your brain. Fixating on negative thoughts about events or other things that cannot be changed may become an obsession. These thoughts can interfere with the person’s ability to live out daily routines. 

Compulsions are certain habits that are enacted time and again. Compulsions usually manifest as a physical behavior to eliminate obsessions. They usually foster terrible anxieties that add to the problems caused by OCD. 

Every OCD case is unique, but there are several common traits that include:

  • Irrational fear of disease, bacteria, and contamination.
  • Repeating highly superstitious or religious behaviors.
  • A fear of causing harm, whether it is to yourself or loved ones.
  • Repeating the same action over and over again, for example, locking and relocking the door again and again.
  • Recurring negative thoughts. 
  • Excessively checking in on others’ wellbeing.
  • Lining up objects and cleaning the environment until it is “perfect”.
  • The need for extreme order in one’s personal life.
  • Being unable to throw anything out.

OCD Treatmentcleaning
1. Exposure and response-prevention therapy is the most common method for treating OCD. It repeatedly forces patients to face their fears, to uncover the core of their obsession. For those with an irrational fear of disease, they may be asked to drink out of a public water fountain or handle something they perceive as unclean.

2. Cognitive therapy teaches patients the best ways to respond to obsessions and how to avoid compulsions. Often, doctors prescribe SSRIs, or selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors, to rebalance serotonin levels in the brain. Serotonin is responsible for regulation of mood, appetite, and sleep. 

The International OCD Foundation offers more information for people who suffer from the disease.  OCD help comes in a variety of ways, but often requires the guiding hand of a professional.

DID YOU KNOW?: There are a surprisingly high number of celebrities that suffer from OCD.  To name a few notable cases: actress Cameron Diaz, singer Justin Timberlake, soccer star David Beckham, actor Leonardo DiCaprio and radio host Howard Stern. 

Remember, if you or someone you know needs help affording their prescriptions, click on the “Get Your Free Card” link or text CARD to 95577. The card is available to everyone at any time. For more information about how the free Prescription Discount Card works, check out our video: wtree.us/video 

You can also look up your prescription savings with our card using the wtree.us/SavingsTool. Simply look up savings by drug name and zip code to find the best price at a pharmacy near you. 

By WHBlogger 

5/7/2015 

Instructions and Disclaimer: The content on this website is designed for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. You should not use this information to diagnose or treat any health problems or illnesses. Always consult your healthcare provider with any questions or concerns you might have regarding your health. 

Tell us if this was helpful and let us know what other topics you might like.

Sources:

http://iocdf.org/about/
http://www.anxietybc.com/resources/ocd.php
http://www.helpguide.org/articles/anxiety/obssessive-compulsive-disorder-ocd.htm