The one thing I wish people knew about my autoimmune illnesses …
Just because I did ‘the thing‘ yesterday, does not mean that I can do ‘the thing’ today. It probably cost me a lot. Not all pain comes with a limp or other visible sign.
Living with more than one diagnosed autoimmune disease is called Polyautoimmunity. Sounds fun doesn’t it!? Well, I’ll be the first to tell you, it’s not. I live everyday of my life suffering with Raynauds Phenomenon and Rheumatoid Arthritis. Having these two autoimmune diseases has caused other health issues for myself to enjoy too! (But I won’t bore you with those).
Raynauds and RA can seriously have its down days. Some days, just the simplest of tasks can become painful. Some days, just sitting relaxing on the sofa can be painful. There really is no in between.
So what are these two autoimmune diseases exactly?
Well, Raynauds Phenomenon is a condition resulting in discoloration of the fingers and/or the toes after exposure to changes in temperature (cold or hot) or emotional events, such as stress. Skin discoloration occurs because of an abnormal spasm of the blood vessels causing a diminished blood supply to the local tissues. During attacks, small blood vessels constrict when triggered resulting in numbness, tingling and pain. Fingers may change colour, from white, red and blue. Those severely affected may suffer from serious blood vessel damage, skin ulcers, infection, gangrene or even amputation.
Rheumatoid Arthrists (RA), is a long-term autoimmune disorder that primarily affects the joints. It typically results in warm, swollen, and painful joints. Pain and stiffness often worsen following rest. Most commonly, the wrist, hands and elbows are involved, with the same joints typically involved on both sides of the body. The disease may also affect other parts of the body. This may result in a low red blood cell count, inflammation around the lungs, and inflammation around the heart. Fever and low energy may also be present. Often, symptoms come on gradually over weeks to months.
Since being diagnosed with both these long term autoimmune diseases, I have began to take extra care of my body on a daily basis. Until there are better treatments and a cure, physicians urge their patients to minimise exposure to the cold. Even the summer months can be painful. That gentle breeze on my flip-flop wearing toes (I know, glorious right!) can lead to chilblains. That walk along the beach in the sunshine can lead to swollen knees. Oh this is the life!
So what can I do to help myself?
Apart from taking daily medication, such as DMARDS (disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs) and Chanel Blockers, there are a few things in which I do daily to help relieve my symptoms.
First of all, I make sure I moisturise daily. My skin can become very dry, chapped and sore very quickly, so daily moisturising is super important!
Exercise! I love yoga! I find this really does help with the movement of my joints, some days can be tough – but those days deserve a gentle restorative flow to help me through. Resting RA joints can make the pain worsen, so the more movement the better!
Insulate! Probably the most important as even the nice warm summer days can result in a flare up or an attack! There are some little hacks when it comes to keeping warm. Layering up, heat patches, woolly socks, lined boots, hats, gloves, scarves. Seriously, people see me on a mild day wearing my hat and gloves and look at me like I’m insane … but it’s just got to be done, for my health! Having an attack can last for hours with severe pain, it’s just not worth it! It really is one of those “if you know, you know” kind of situations.
A fantastic little device I have found on my search is the rechargeable hand warmers from OCOOPA. . . I know, I know, who needs a hand warmer in summer right? Us Raynauds sufferers do, that’s who! This product really can warm up any part of your body, anytime, anywhere. I know this as I have used it to warm my feet up during a car journey (passenger, obviously) and also, quite often, just sitting on the sofa at home. I have tucked it into the waistline of my jeans at the bottom of my back to ease a cold back pain when I have been out walking and also used it against my ears, the cold breeze really affects my ears and the pain is unreal but this amazing little device warmed me back up in no time and my pain was no more. It sure is a little pocket rocket … and I don’t think I can live without it now!
It’s reusable too, which means no more throwing away those one-time-use heat patches (saving the environment, always a winner!), you can just switch it off and switch it on whenever you need it and it’s small enough to fit in your pocket so you can take it anywhere! Bonus!
It’s rechargeable, which is just awesome! Because who wants to be replacing the batteries all the time, ugh nightmare! Crickey, the amount of times I have used it, I’d need shares in batteries by now already! One charge lasts for up to twelve hours and it’s fully charged within five hours. It comes with a portable USB adapter and connector, so it can charge from any USB port of a smart phone charger …. oh also, this is pretty hot information too … the Ocoopa Hand Warmer can also be used as a power bank for your phone! I mean how handy is that to have in your pocket!?
The Ocoopa hand warmer‘s other features include its set of heat controls. Sometimes you just don’t need it to be piping hot, especially if your in the middle of a Raynauds attack. Ouch! The device has a set of three heat levels from low, medium and high and they’re all just perfect temperatures to be honest. I really can’t fault it.
It’s economical (which I love!) and it warms up instantly! Like literally, instantly!
If you suffer from Raynauds or any other circulatory problem then this really is the perfect little pocket tool for you! The hand warmer came in its own little box, with information, charger cables and accessories, a cute little bag to keep it safe and it comes in a range of colours – obviously I went for the pink! It’s small, lightweight, funky looking and pretty dam cool to be honest. I absolutely love it!
OCOOPA products have lifetime customer care service and warranty once you subscribe to their website. I can not fault the communication I have had with the Ocoopa team, they have been very responsive, helpful and delivery was super quick! It literally arrived within 3 days.
So, in conclusion, if you’re suffering and need a little pocket rocket to keep you warm, a handy little device that can help you on your travels and relieve a bit of pain then this is the one for you! Head over to OCOOPA now! Also, social media advertising can bag you a pretty bargain with the team too – Bonus right!
For further information please check out these websites
Shenzhenshi Streetcat Technology Co., Ltd.
518116 Pinhu Street
Phone: +86 189 2849 7719
nay nay x