Auto Immune Disease

A variety of diseases fall under the umbrella of what is labeled auto immune disease. Simply stated, auto immune disease occur when the body attacks its own cells. Typically, the body is auto-regulated by T cells that keep the bodies systems in check. When these cells are unable to keep specific cells for specific body parts in check (as an example the skin), an auto immune response occurs.

Psoriasis, a genetically pre-disposed auto immune disease is a great example of what happens during this response. Typical skin cells shed and regenerate every 28 days. Those with psoriasis see cells on some parts of the skin and body regenerate every 4 days. The result is plaque psoriasis in which patches of raised, scaly, white areas of skin are found. This is just one example of an auto immune response. Others such as Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis respond and react to another type of auto immune response, oftentimes debilitating the individual with symptoms such as diarrhea, fatigue, and weight loss.

While there are a variety of treatments available, a diet specific to the auto immune disease has been shown to be beneficial. Top-of-the-line tumor necrosis factor inhibitors (TNF’s) such as Humira®  or Enbrel® help reduce or eliminate the symptoms caused by these debilitating diseases by blocking the tumor necrosis factor within the body. An even larger issue is the ability to afford the needed and often necessary medications to keep these diseases in check.

As with an diet or medication regime, always consult with your healthcare provider to determine what options are available to you. If you have the insurance and options for such medications and/or help with diet modifications, don’t suffer silently. Help is out there. You just have to ask.

#autoimmunedisease #humira #enbrel #healthandnursing

References:Google Images.





Patient Advocacy

images_patient advocate

Advocate. One who speaks or writes in support of another or a cause.¹ While a person can advocate for any individual, group, or cause, this article address patient advocacy-in particular, the individual who pleads for a another which ultimately has an effect on a patient’s health. So how do we become a patient’s advocate, or, in many cases, your own advocate?

This article is intended to specifically address adult advocacy. Even the most healthy and well educated individual that incurs a health crisis needs an advocate. Unfortunately, the most vulnerable, those that are elderly, the uninsured, underinsured, and those lacking the necessary skills to navigate the healthcare world, need patient advocacy the most.

Hospital admissions and subsequent discharge planning is essential for patient advocacy. The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has been keeping track of hospital readmissions and their causes. Oftentimes, these readmissions can be due to lack of education and understanding with medications, follow-up tests and physician appointments.

Recently when my significant other was readmitted into the hospital on several occasions for an unexpected health issue that was not resolved, he was not able to understand his discharge instructions. And why is that? Not from lack of education or knowledge. Well versed in the medical field with an undergraduate degree in biology and work experience that included many years in hemodialysis, he was unable to understand because of lack of English language fluency on the part of the registered nurse providing his discharge instructions. This is a prime example of the need for another family member or friend to be present for any questions, concerns or updates regarding the patient. And when you are unable to get the answers that you need or feel a lack of understanding, always escalate the issue to the next level, such as the charge nurse, nursing management, or someone in a supervisory role.

Many federal legislative activities and non-profit organizations such as The National Patient Advocate Foundation ( and the American Medical Association ( offer valuable tips and avenues for support regarding patient advocacy.

And remember, when advocating for a friend or loved one, keep a detailed log of conversations that include the name, time, and dates when the conversations occurred, and what the issues was concerning. Be the advocate, for the person and for yourself. ©

²Patient Advocacy. Google Images. advocacy/images