“Could the act of answering open-ended questions about yourself give you new, important insights? It turns out the answer is ‘yes,’ if those questions are selected in just the right way!”
“After running a series of five scientific studies, we’ve discovered a specific set of practical, yet rarely-asked questions that 83% of people reported were valuable for them to answer. And 78% said they would recommend them to others. A remarkably high 88% of people even reported that they enjoyed answering these questions. We’re now making these questions available to you free of charge online so that you can benefit from them too! We think you’ll be surprised at just how valuable answering these open-ended questions about yourself can be!”
Click the image and then scroll down to “Answer the questions.” Thirty-two open-ended questions are provided by Clearer Thinking.
From personal experience, I know how scary the anticipation of the first day of chemo can be. In my case, there was a month interval between my Whipple surgery and chemotherapy. That was to let me be strong enough to endure the rigors of chemo. And rigorous it was. With numerous side effects. BUT, I’d do it all over again because it has improved the overall quality of my life. Thank you Team Vacirca and all the folks at New York Cancer and Blood Specialists.
So, when I came across an infographic on preparing for the first day of chemotherapy, I knew it had to be shared.
“The overall function of the immune system is to prevent or limit infection. An example of this principle is found in immune-compromised people, including those with genetic immune disorders, immune-debilitating infections like HIV, and even pregnant women, who are susceptible to a range of microbes that typically do not cause infection in healthy individuals.”
“The immune system can distinguish between normal, healthy cells and unhealthy cells by recognizing a variety of ‘danger’ cues called danger-associated molecular patterns (DAMPs). Cells may be unhealthy because of infection or because of cellular damage caused by non-infectious agents like sunburn or cancer. Infectious microbes such as viruses and bacteria release another set of signals recognized by the immune system called pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs).”
“When the immune system first recognizes these signals, it responds to address the problem. If an immune response cannot be activated when there is sufficient need, problems arise, like infection. On the other hand, when an immune response is activated without a real threat or is not turned off once the danger passes, different problems arise, such as allergic reactions and autoimmune disease.”
“The immune system is complex and pervasive. There are numerous cell types that either circulate throughout the body or reside in a particular tissue. Each cell type plays a unique role, with different ways of recognizing problems, communicating with other cells, and performing their functions. By understanding all the details behind this network, researchers may optimize immune responses to confront specific issues, ranging from infections to cancer.”
“Primary immunodeficiency disorders — also called primary immune disorders or primary immunodeficiency — weaken the immune system, allowing infections and other health problems to occur more easily. Many people with primary immunodeficiency are born missing some of the body’s immune defenses or with the immune system not working properly, which leaves them more susceptible to germs that can cause infections. Some forms of primary immunodeficiency are so mild they can go unnoticed for years. Other types are severe enough that they’re discovered soon after an affected baby is born. Treatments can boost the immune system in many types of primary immunodeficiency disorders. Research is ongoing, leading to improved treatments and enhanced quality of life for people with the condition.”
“One of the most common signs of primary immunodeficiency is having infections that are more frequent, longer lasting, or harder to treat than are the infections of someone with a normal immune system. You may also get infections that a person with a healthy immune system likely wouldn’t get (opportunistic infections). Signs and symptoms differ depending on the type of primary immunodeficiency disorder, and they vary from person to person.”
“Signs and symptoms of primary immunodeficiency can include: Frequent and recurrent pneumonia, bronchitis, sinus infections, ear infections, meningitis or skin infections. Inflammation and infection of internal organs. Blood disorders, such as low platelet counts or anemia. Digestive problems, such as cramping, loss of appetite, nausea ,and diarrhea. Delayed growth and development. Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus, rheumatoid arthritis or type 1 diabetes.”
“Because primary immune disorders are caused by genetic defects, there’s no way to prevent them. But when you or your child has a weakened immune system, you can take steps to prevent infections:
Practice good hygiene. Wash your hands with mild soap after using the toilet and before eating.
Take care of your teeth. Brush your teeth at least twice a day.
Eat right. A healthy, balanced diet can help prevent infections.
Be physically active. Staying fit is important to your overall health. Ask your doctor what activities are appropriate for you.
Get enough sleep. Try to go to sleep and get up at the same time daily, and get the same number of hours of sleep every night.
Manage stress. Some studies suggest that stress can hamper your immune system. Keep stress in check with massage, meditation, yoga, biofeedback or hobbies. Find what works for you.
Avoid exposure. Stay away from people with colds or other infections and avoid crowds.
Ask your doctor about vaccinations. Find out which ones you should have.”
Other Immunity System Resources from the New York Times
To access the immunity system resources below, either click the image OR click the link of an individual resource.
“Dementia is the loss of cognitive functioning — thinking, remembering, and reasoning — and behavioral abilities to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities. These functions include memory, language skills, visual perception, problem solving, self-management, and the ability to focus and pay attention. Some people with dementia cannot control their emotions, and their personalities may change. Dementia ranges in severity from the mildest stage, when it is just beginning to affect a person’s functioning, to the most severe stage, when the person must depend completely on others for basic activities of living.”
This does sound pretty scary, right? BUT: “While dementia is more common as people grow older (up to half of all people age 85 or older may have some form of dementia),it is not a normal part of aging. Many people live into their 90s and beyond without any signs of dementia.”
The last of these resources, highlights a recent research study that found:
“In all, nearly half of respondents to the National Poll on Healthy Agingfelt they were likely to develop dementia as they aged, and nearly as many worried about this prospect. [The poll asked 1,028 adults ages 50 to 64 a range of brain health questions.]In reality, research suggests that less than 20 percent of people who have reached age 65 will go on to lose cognitive ability from Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, or other conditions.“
“Despite the brain-related concerns of so many respondents, only 5 percent of the entire group, and 10 percent of those who said they had a family history of dementia, said they had talked with a health care provider about how to prevent memory problems.”
“The poll shows that a greater percentage of adults in their 50s and early 60s who say they get adequate sleep and exercise, eat healthily, and are active socially at least several times a week felt their memory was just as sharp now as it was when they were younger, compared to those who do not engage in these healthy behaviors as frequently.But those who said their health was fair or poor, or who reported that they didn’t often engage in healthy lifestyle practices, were much more likely to say that their memory had declined since their younger years. In all, 59 percent of poll respondents said their memory was slightly worse than it used to be.”
“For anyone who wants to stay as sharp as possible as they age, the evidence is clear: Focus on your diet, your exercise, your sleep, and your blood pressure. Don’t focus on worrying about what might happen, or the products you can buy that promise to help, but rather focus on what you can do now that research has proven to help.”
AARP’s mission“is to empower people to choose how they live as they age.” In the United States, it has nearly 40 million members. And annual dues are about $15 per person. [NOTE: Our blog is a nonprofit. This is not an advertisement for AARP.]
The organization offers a number of health-related resources. Some are free. While others are offered at a discount.
Click the image to learn more about each health-related resource offered by AARP. When on the Web site, scroll down to health and wellness.
The Reader’s Digest has an excellent Web site dedicated to health-related issues:https://www.rd.com/health/. As the site notes — “Learn the latest health news along with easy ways to adopt a healthy lifestyle. From diet and weight loss tips to advice on managing and preventing diabetes, we’ll keep you looking and feeling your best.”