Tips for Staying Sickle Cell H.E.A.L.T.H.Y.
There are several ways to maintain good health while living with sickle cell disease. We are providing some simple steps to increase healthy outcomes in this underserved population. Health starts by following these simple H.E.A.L.T.H.Y. steps.
HHydrate– Dehydration causes your cells to undergo the sickling process. As this occurs, the cells begin to stick together, leading to vaso-occlusive episodes and/or pain crises. Staying hydrated can help keep your blood pumping, leading to lower risk of pain crises. In order to stay hydrated, drink extra water and other fluids, and stay away from alcohol, which can cause dehydration.
EEducate– Sickle cell disease can be very complicated. Keeping yourself informed and up to date on the latest information is key to understanding all there is to know about this disease. But it does not stop there! Educating yourself is vital, but it is just as important to educate those around you. Share information with your family, friends, coworkers and colleagues.
AAdvocate– Sometimes, you may come across healthcare professionals who are not familiar with sickle cell disease. In these cases, it is important to speak up for yourself! Talk to your healthcare provider; tell them what has or has not worked for you in the past and voice your concerns. Do not let a fear of speaking up, keep you from getting the best possible care.
LLose the gluten/sugar– Diet has a MAJOR effect on your body and your health. As with any illness or condition, making the right dietary choices can lead to improvements in your sickle cell health. Processed sugars can contain chemicals that are difficult for our bodies to digest. With gluten, there is some research that suggests that gluten may decrease your body’s ability to absorb needed nutrients. Focus on a diet that is rich in iron, calcium, and vitamin D, and cut out anything that is overly processed.
TTalk to others– Having sickle cell disease can be a daily struggle, and sometimes, family members, friends, and colleagues who do not have sickle cell do not understand that struggle. If you are feeling isolated or like nobody around you truly understands, reach out to others with Sickle Cell. Find a local support group meeting or connect with a group online. Being able to share your struggles with others who have been there is key.
HHave a plan– Experiencing a pain crisis is an extremely difficult situation. Whether you treat yourself at home, see your regular doctor, or go to the emergency room, it is important to have a plan of how to handle these instances. Do not wait until you are in a tough situation to decide what to do. Know what you will do ahead of time so that you do not have to make decisions while in pain.
YYou know you best– nobody knows your body like you do. You should always consult your healthcare provider before making major decisions, but you will know what works best for you. Find your personal plan of keeping healthy and stick to it!
Disclaimer: All information contained in the Sickle Cell 360 blog is intended for general, eduational or background purposes only and should not be used as medical advice for any individual. Please consult your health-care provider or providers for information specific to your own condition or illness. If you need assistance locating a medical doctor or other health-care provider, please call us at 1-844-994-Hope or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.