When we are in pain our first option and last resort can be to go in the medicine cabinet, grab our prescription with our pain pills in them, and take a couple of our pain medicine to relieve the pain and discomfort we are experiencing. Everyone with sickle cell knows that once a crisis has set in motion it may be a little too late for you to try any other methods to relieve the pain you are feeling. At this point the most important thing is to take something before the pain spirals out of control and brings us more pain that is just too unbearable to handle. However when it comes to taking pain medicine we are aware that it can put stress on our bodies and cause damage to our organs over an extended period of time. With that in mind, the idea is for us to cut down on the number of crisis we have so we can eliminate the amount of medicine we take and the number of pain crisis we go through altogether. No one enjoys being in pain or having that groggy feeling you get from constantly taking pain medicine. So here are a couple of lifestyle changes you can incorporate into your everyday life to get you on the right track of feeling better and help you stop the pain before it starts.
- Start by eating healthy -The benefits of eating healthy have shown to cut down on significant health problems like heart disease, hypertension, and diabetics. And you can do this by cutting back on a lot of sugary foods in your diet, watching your salt intake, and putting more fruits and vegetables in your diet.
- Work exercise into your daily routine – Next to eating right I say exercise is one of the best things you can do for yourself to improve your health. The body responds to movement and exercise helps to keep your body functioning at a good level because it builds the body up and makes it strong to fight off infections to ensure you stay healthy. Another benefit of exercising is it improves the flow through your lung passages so that you are getting an adequate supply of oxygen through your body which could mean fewer crises. There are many different forms of exercising but aerobics and cardio exercises I think are the best for you. They get the heart pumping and circulating blood throughout the body so that your blood cells move more fluidly throughout the body. Also cardio exercises are less strenuous on your joints and less likely to leave you sore afterword’s or cause any strains to your muscles. If you are unable to perform any of those exercises than I say get out and walk at least 15-30 minutes.
- Avoid smoking and drinking – Smoking decreases the amount of oxygen you are getting to the lungs and into your body which causes your cells to deoxygenate faster and become sickled. Consuming to much alcohol dehydrates you and breaks down your red blood cells at a rapid pace and your body cannot keep up to make new ones which will eventually cause you to have a lower hemoglobin until eventually you end up in a sickle cell crisis.
- Hydrate yourself– We can’t stress the importance of water. It is life’s essential ingredient. It helps provides lubricant for the blood cells moving throughout the veins and delivers oxygen to the body. Water is essential for all of life on earth and many living things can’t survive without it.
We may not be able to totally stop our bodies from going into a sickle cell crisis but I think if you start doing these things you will significantly see a change in the number of crisis you are experiencing. So from one sickle cell warrior to another, stay healthy and take care of your body.