The Fault in Our Scars.

“The marks humans leave are too often scars.” – John Green, The Fault in Our Stars

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As I am walking down the street, running the errands that I need to, short sleeves, shorts and all; I notice peoples eyes darting at me, looking my body up and down. They are staring at the imperfections, the flaws marked upon my skin. Every scar, every mark etched in my skin is on show; the stories that pour from my skin are the main attraction. My 14cm and 11cm scars down either side of my left arm, creating the story of the 6 surgeries that have made my life a little easier. The countless scars that protrude from my skin, ones I carefully laced down my arms and upper legs; tell the story of a troubled girl who tried to soothe the endless pain she feels. It took me months, years to finally feel enough confidence to show my scars, every battle wound that I am carrying. Their darting eyes, piercing through my skin; judgement flowing from their faces. I feel as if I am freak on show, like the old day gypsy carnivals where anyone who looked a tiny bit different became the main attraction. 

“Scars show us where we have been, they do not dictate where we are going.” – David Rossi, Criminal Minds

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 Did my hairline recede? Is my hair not sitting right? Are my teeth crooked? Am I too fat? All these questions floating in my mind, there just has to be something wrong with me that makes me stand out. Never did I realise that the center of attention were my scars. Those red, raised and thick scars that line my arms. Every pair of eyes scan my skin, and I can see their minds judging me.  Until these situations I never realised how judgmental and harsh people in this world can be. What kind of world do we live in? Obviously one that determines the personality of someone just by what the eyes can see. 

“The best people all have some kind of scar.”  – Kiera Cass, The One

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After 8 years of hiding my battle scars, hiding the pain reflected on the outside of my body I started to feel comfortable with the thought of wearing them proudly. They were just scars, I didn’t understand what the big deal was. If a burns victim wears their scars proudly down the street; they are brave, courageous and beautiful. If a Self Harmer wears their scars proudly, they are attention seekers and ugly. What is wrong with society?! Since when did we care about the marks that line a humans body?

“Scars are stories, history written on the body.” – Unknown.

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If you are out in public and you see someone showing their scares. please don’t judge them. Be proud of them.Don’t stare. It takes a lot courage to wear your scares for all to see, don’t make them regret it. You never know the context behind those scars. Therefore you have no right to judge them.

A-Z of Chronic Illness: Z is for Zoloft and Zinc Deficiency.

A-Z Of Chronic Illness.

Z- Zoloft and Zinc Deficiency.

Zoloft:

Zoloft (sertraline) is an antidepressant in a group of drugs called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Sertraline affects chemicals in the brain that may become unbalanced and cause depression, panic, anxiety, or obsessive-compulsive symptoms.

Zoloft is used to treat depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder, panic disorder, anxiety disorders, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).

Zoloft may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

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Zinc Deficiency:

Zinc is an essential trace element and has a number of roles and functions in the human body.

  • It is an essential component/cofactor for more than 300 enzymes involved in the synthesis and metabolism of carbohydrates, lipids, proteins, nucleic acids and other micro-nutrients.
  • It stabilises cellular components and membranes and so is important for cell and organ structure and integrity.
  • It is essential for cell division and is needed for normal growth and development during pregnancy, childhood and adolescence.
  • It is involved in DNA synthesis and the process of genetic expression.
  • It is important for immune function (both cellular and humoral immunity).
  • It is involved in wound healing and tissue repair.
  • It is needed for the senses of taste and smell.
  • Zinc is found in all body tissues and fluids and the total body zinc content is estimated at 2 g (30 mmol).
  • Approximately 60% of the total body zinc content is found in skeletal muscle and 30% in bone mass.
  • The choroid of the eye and prostatic fluid have high concentrations of zinc.
  • Plasma zinc represents approximately 0.1% of total body zinc content.
  • Zinc is absorbed in the small intestine and is excreted via the kidneys, skin and intestine (in faeces).
  • There are no body stores of zinc and so daily intake of zinc is needed to maintain adequate body levels.
  • The recommended daily zinc intake (reference nutrient intake) for an adult man in the UK is 9.5 mg.
  • The recommended daily zinc intake for an adult woman in the UK is 7 mg.
  • The Food Standards Agency and the Department of Health in the UK advise that intake of zinc should not exceed 25 mg per day.
  • Inadequate diet.
  • Gastrointestinal diseases including ulcerative colitis, Crohn’s disease, short bowel syndrome and chronic diarrhoea.
  • Chronic liver disease.
  • Chronic kidney disease.
  • Alcoholism (decreases zinc absorption and increases urinary zinc excretion).
  • Sickle cell disease.
  • Diabetes.
  • Pregnancy and breast-feeding.
  • Vegetarian diet.
  • People taking large amounts of iron supplementation (iron can interfere with zinc absorption).

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The A-Z of Chronic Illness: Y is for Yoga.

A-Z of Chronic Illness.

Y- Yoga.

While ‘hands on’ physiotherapy may be helpful to relieve symptoms; movement and exercise are essential following injury. Physiotherapists have exceptional expertise in this regard.

A yogaphysio assessment of your injury or pain will determine an individual specialised programme suited to your needs. Selection of exercise and sequencing can be crucial to acheive best results and that’s our speciality. Yoga postures will often be used as they provide a more thorough and time efficient exercise that is functional and interesting. Also we may integrate breathing practices that help to facilitate movement in addition to calming the mind and relax body tension, which helps to relieve pain. A yogaphysio programme is enjoyable – and we think it’s important to enjoy what you’re doing; it aids healing.

Movement approaches as treatment guide the body in it’s healing and ensure optimum biomechanical efficiency with return to sport or general life activities. Our emphasis is on educating you and teaching you to be your own physio.  At the appropriate time yogaphysio classes can be attended as a cost-effective way of continuing ‘treatment’ in a supervised forum.

A yogaphysio assessment will also identify predisposing factors that may contribute to pain and injury. Sometimes pain is the result of many years of poor posture and habitual movement. You will be encouraged to continue exercise to address the underlying cause of symtpoms and prevent recurrence.

Sometimes injury and pain can leave us with concerns about movement and general function. Yogaphysio emphasises exercise and self management so that you regain confidence in your body’s abilty to heal and function.

When pain persists… (switch tactics)

Pain research suggests weak links between chronic pain and ongoing tissue damage. The likely reasons for ongoing pain are thought to be more related to nervous system sensitivity. Nervous system sensitivity is influenced by physical, emotional, social, lifestyle and stress related factors. In pain managment this holistic approach to treament is called the biopsychosocial model. Yogaphysio uses strategies from a variety of psychosocial therapies to enhance physical rehabilitation. Persisting pain is no fun and it’s even more important that self management strategies are optimised. Such therapies include acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT), mindfulness, graded motor imagery, visualisation, yoga therapy and general life skills counselling. 

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The A-Z of Chronic Illness: X is for X-Rays.

A-Z of Chronic Illness.

X- X-Rays.

An x-ray examination is used to create images of your internal organs or bones to help diagnose conditions or diseases. A special machine emits (puts out) a small amount of ionising radiation. This radiation passes through your body and falls on a film or similar device to produce the image.

The dose of radiation is roughly the same as you would receive from the general environment in about one week. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant. Another type of test may be recommended.

    Two health practitioners are involved in x-ray examinations:

    • A radiographer who conducts the examination
    • A radiologist (a medical specialist) who interprets x-ray images.
      A tiny amount of ionising radiation is passed through the body. In the past, this went onto a sheet of special film. Nowadays x-ray examinations are more likely to use a device that will capture transmitted x-rays to create an electronic image.

The calcium in bones blocks the passage of radiation, so healthy bones show up as white or grey. On the other hand, radiation passes easily through air spaces, so healthy lungs appear black.

    This test is very common. About seven million x-ray examinations are made every year in Australia. Some of the many uses include:

    • Diagnosis of fractures – detection of broken bones is one of the most common uses of this test.
    • Diagnosis of dislocations – an x-ray examination can reveal if the bones of a joint are abnormally positioned.
    • As a surgical tool – to help the surgeon accurately perform the operation. For example, x-ray images taken during orthopaedic surgery show if the fracture is aligned or if the implanted device (such as an artificial joint) is in position. X-rays may also be used in other surgical procedures for the same purpose.
    • Diagnosis of bone or joint conditions – for example, some types of cancer or arthritis.
    • Diagnosis of chest conditions – such as pneumonia, lung cancer, emphysema or heart failure.
    • Detection of foreign objects – for example, bullet fragments or swallowed coins.
    Medical considerations prior to the procedure may include:

    • Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant. Another type of test may be recommended.
    • A conventional x-ray examination does not require any special preparation.
    • Some x-ray examinations involve the use of an iodinated contrast agent (a type of dye). This substance helps to improve the detail of the images or to make it possible to see body structures such as the bowel or blood vessels. The hospital x-ray department or private x-ray clinic will give you instructions on how to prepare for the test and what to expect.
    • X-ray examinations can only detect severe cases of osteoporosis. Your doctor may suggest other tests to help confirm the diagnosis.
      Depending on the part of the body being examined, you may be asked to undress, remove all jewellery and wear a hospital gown. The basic procedure then involves:

      • You will either stand up or lie down on an examination table, depending on which part of your body is being investigated.
      • The radiographer will place you between the x-ray machine and the imaging device that captures the x-rays being transmitted through that part of your body.
      • The radiographer may shield parts of your body with a lead apron. This is to reduce the risk of unnecessary exposure to radiation.
      • The radiographer will need to touch you in order to position your body correctly for each picture.
      • The radiographer operates the controls while each image is taken. To do this, they will stand behind a screen and call instructions to you if necessary.
      • You may be asked to hold your breath for a couple of seconds as each picture is taken, so that the breathing movement doesn’t blur the images.
      • A straightforward and conventional x-ray examination of the hand, for example, usually takes a few minutes. Other types of x-ray examination may take longer.

Useful X-Ray images

A-Z of Chronic Illness: W is for Wheezing.

A-Z of Chronic Illness.

W- Wheezing.

Wheezing is a sign that a person may be having breathing problems. The sound of wheezing is most obvious when breathing out (exhaling), but may be heard when taking a breath (inhaling).

Wheezing most often comes from the small breathing tubes (bronchial tubes) deep in the chest, but it may be due to a blockage in larger airways or in persons with certain vocal cord problems.

  • Asthma
  • Breathing a foreign object into the lungs
  • Bronchiectasis
  • Bronchiolitis
  • Bronchitis
  • Emphysema (COPD), especially when a respiratory infection is present
  • Gastroesophageal reflux disease
  • Heart failure (cardiac asthma)
  • Insect sting that causes an allergic reaction
  • Medications (particularly aspirin)
  • Pneumonia
  • Smoking
  • Viral infection, especially in infants younger than age 2

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The A-Z of Chronic Illness: V is for Viral Infections and Vitamins.

A-Z of Chronic Illness.

V- Viral Infections and Vitamins.

Viral Infections:

Many human infections are caused by either bacteria or viruses. Bacteria are tiny single-celled organisms, thought by some researchers to be related to plants. They are among the most successful life forms on the planet, and range in habitat from ice slopes to deserts.

Bacteria can be beneficial – for instance, gut bacteria help us to digest food – but some are responsible for a range of infections. These disease-causing varieties are called pathogenic bacteria. Many bacterial infections can be treated successfully with appropriate antibiotics, although antibiotic-resistant strains are beginning to emerge. Immunisation is available to prevent many important bacterial diseases.

A virus is an even smaller micro-organism that can only reproduce inside a host’s living cell. It is very difficult to kill a virus. That’s why some of the most serious communicable diseases known to medical science are viral in origin.

  • Coughs
  • Sneezes
  • Vomits
  • Bites from infected animals or insects
  • Exposure to infected bodily fluids through activities such as sexual intercourse or sharing hypodermic needles.

Forgetting to wash your hands after handling pets and animals is another way for germs to be taken in by mouth.

A virus is a miniscule pocket of protein that contains genetic material. If you placed a virus next to a bacterium, the virus would be dwarfed. For example, the polio virus is around 50 times smaller than aStreptococci bacterium, which itself is only 0.003mm long. Viruses can be described as either RNA or DNA viruses, according to which type of nucleic acid forms their core.

The four main types of virus include:

  • Icosahedral – the outer shell (capsid) is made from 20 flat sides, which gives a spherical shape. Most viruses are icosahedral.
  • Helical – the capsid is shaped like a rod.
  • Enveloped – the capsid is encased in a baggy membrane, which can change shape but often appears spherical.
  • Complex – the genetic material is coated, but without a capsid.

Viruses pose a considerable challenge to the body’s immune system because they hide inside cells. This makes it difficult for antibodies to reach them. Some special immune system cells, called T-lymphocytes, can recognise and kill cells containing viruses, since the surface of infected cells is changed when the virus begins to multiply. Many viruses, when released from infected cells, will be effectively knocked out by antibodies that have been produced in response to infection or previous immunisation.

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Vitamins:

Vitamins are essential chemicals that take part in all your body’s processes. They do that by participating in reactions inside cells. Each vitamin performs a specific function in the body, and no single food contains all the vitamins you need. Except for vitamin D, the human body cannot make vitamins. So you need to get vitamins from the foods you eat or from vitamin supplements.

The need for certain vitamins varies according to your stage of life. When you don’t get enough of a particular vitamin you need, you run the risk of serious health problems.

Many women know that eating five servings of fruit and vegetables each day is a good way to get their essential vitamins. Most women, though, don’t eat the quantity of fruits and vegetables that are recommended. As a result, many women in every age group are at risk of vitamin deficiencies.

Let’s look at some essential vitamins for women. Let’s explore what each vitamin does to boost your health and which whole foods are good sources of this vitamin. It’s important to examine how much you need to prevent disease, as well as which vitamins are more important depending on your specific life stage.

Essential Vitamins

The A-Z of Chronic Illness: U is for Ulcers and Ultrasounds.

A-Z of Chronic Illness.

U- Ulcers and Ultrasounds.

Ulcers:

A mouth ulcer is the loss or erosion of part of the delicate tissue that lines the inside of the mouth (mucous membrane). Some of the causes include certain drugs, chemicals. The most common cause is mechanical injury, such as accidentally biting your cheek. In most cases, mouth ulcers are harmless and resolve by themselves in a few days without the need for medical treatment. Aphthous ulcers are recurring ulcers with no known cause that affect around 20 per cent of the population. 

The symptoms of a mouth ulcer depend on the cause, but may include:

  • A round sore or sores inside the mouth
  • Swollen skin around the sores
  • Tenderness
  • Problems with chewing or toothbrushing because of the tenderness
  • Irritation of the sores by salty, spicy or sour foods
  • Loss of appetite.

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Ultrasounds:

An ultrasound scan uses high-frequency sound waves to make an image of a person’s internal body structures. Doctors commonly use ultrasound to study a developing fetus (unborn baby), a person’s abdominal and pelvic organs, muscles and tendons, or their heart and blood vessels. Other names for an ultrasound scan include sonogram or (when imaging the heart) an echocardiogram.

The ultrasound machine directs high-frequency sound waves at the internal body part being examined. The reflected sounds, or echoes, are recorded to create an image that can be seen on a monitor. The sound waves are emitted and received from a small, hand-held probe. The high frequency of the sound means the human ear cannot hear it – which is why it is called ultrasound.

An ultrasound scan is usually non-invasive (done from outside the body).

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