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Sickle Cell Stress and the Holidays

holiday ornament stress calm red xmasWith the holidays approaching closer this is the time of the year for people to spend quality time with their families, friends and loved ones. It makes for a perfect time to celebrate with one another while indulging in great food of the different variety, some of which may not be as healthy for us. It also gives us a chance to just kick back relax and enjoy each other’s company. However for some people the holidays can become a stressful time of the year. With all the hustle and bustle the holidays bring about it is no secret that people can become even more stressed out around the holidays.

Whether it is due in part to holiday shopping, traveling, or just a change in weather this can all put stress on each of us. Most people don’t understand the effect that stress has on their body and what it can do to their health. The long term effects of stress have been linked to illnesses such as high blood pressure, ulcers, and obesity just to name a few. Stress has the ability to slowly take a toll on your body without you even realizing it. Some symptoms of stress include headaches, muscle tension, fatigue, and change in diet among other things but it can vary from person to person. With that being said stress can be of benefit to no one especially someone with sickle cell.

In people who have sickle cell stress can be a trigger that leads to a painful sickle cell crisis. When people become stressed the body tenses up and the breathing patterns are disrupted so the oxygen circulation in your body can flow poorly. As you know in someone with sickle cell whenever there is a decrease of oxygen in the body the red blood cells starts to break down and become sickle. This change in the red blood cells causes them to stick to the walls of the blood vessels and prevent other red bloods cells from passing through the blood vessels. Because of the destruction of the red blood cells a sufficient amount of oxygen can’t be delivered to the rest of the body and body tissues. Once this episode takes place your body reacts by sending you into a painful sickle cell crisis and you experience excruciating pain in different location of the body.

The best way to protect yourself from having a “crisis” during the holidays is to reduce your stress and take precautions.  When you start to feel stressed it may be a great idea to get out and find time by yourself so that you don’t become stressed out. There are a number of ways to handle stress, it can be relaxing in a quiet spot or making sure you get enough sleep, or one of my personal favorites reading a book. Other good ideas to reduce stress can be playing music and listening to your favorite songs on the radio, or just taking a walk by yourself. All these things can free your mind and ease the tension on your body. The holidays are supposed to be a merry time of the year. We all would hate to be stuck sitting in the hospital during the holidays. because to me there is nothing less enjoyable than that. So from one sickle cell warrior to another take care of your body eliminate stress and enjoy your holiday.

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About Author

James Griffin

James Griffin

James Griffin is thirty-two years old and lives with sickle cell anemia SS. He was first diagnosed with the hereditary blood disorder at the tender age of two. The only child of four to be born with sickle cell he faced many hardships and struggled with coping with his illness. For many years he kept his illness a secret. However feeling there was a need for more advocates and wanting to offer to others a support base he felt was lacking, he decided to open up and share his experiences in hope of having a positive impact on someone else’s life with sickle cell.
Due to many hospital admissions and limited work opportunities James developed a strong passion for reading and writing. His personal mission in life is to continue inspiring others living with sickle cell to open up about their illness. James says “For me it is an honor and privilege to be contributing to the largest patient run community in Sickle Cell Warriors.”

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1 Comment

  1. Tana
    Tana December 22, 12:49

    This article was very informative. The ideas to keep stress levels low are great! I can’t wait to read your next article.

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