Important Nutrients in Blood Work

When having blood work done, it’s important to pay attention to certain mineral and vitamin levels. For example, a lack of iron or of vitamin D can leave you feeling exhausted, yet both conditions are easy to treat with supplements.

If you are experiencing a flare-up, monitoring your iron levels to check for anemia is incredibly important. I became anemic a few times due to blood loss. I felt so weak that I couldn’t stand for even short periods of time, and I couldn’t think properly. I couldn’t focus on school work, I was very pale, and I felt like I was exerting a lot of energy just by doing the simplest activities. When I found out I was anemic, I was relieved because it has an easy cure. My doctor immediately gave me iron tablets. My red blood cell count increased, and I stopped feeling weak. It became much easier for me to go about my day.

Also, pay attention to your vitamin levels. I lacked vitamin D due to UC. It caused me to feel tired, and I couldn’t concentrate properly. Again, it was very simple to increase my vitamin D levels. I was given tablets, and my condition greatly improved.

These are only two things to look for on your blood test results—I recommend looking into all mineral and vitamin levels to make sure your IBD isn’t negatively affecting you when you’re not having a flare-up. Also, ask your doctor if anything is cause for concern. Finally, if you feel tired or ill, have a blood test to find out if anything is seriously wrong.

Click these links to learn more about the importance of vitamin D and how a deficiency may lead to relapse in UC patients, and about iron and anemia in UC patients.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161024140506.htm

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/02/170217161026.htm

 


Anger and IBD

It’s common to feel angry when diagnosed with IBD, and even for years afterwards. When I was first diagnosed, I didn’t understand the disease well, and I didn’t realize how it would affect my life. I knew I would no longer be able to eat the foods I loved. I would no longer be able to dance, and suddenly losing an activity I had loved since childhood made me feel lost and angry. I would have to spend less time with my friends, and when I went on trips I was constantly on edge, worrying that I would make a mistake and eat something that caused a flare-up. Over time, all these emotions have settled, and I’ve realized that the disease is manageable.

Even if you’re angry and frustrated about the situation, there isn’t much you can do but accept it. You have to experiment with medications, listen to doctors, and change your diet and fitness routine. You have to learn to lean on others because you can’t do it by yourself. You can’t shut people out. I used to spend most of my day in my room with the door shut because I wanted to avoid being around people. My anger made me want to lash out at those around me. My parents would hover over me as if I had become fragile, something they had never done before. My friends distanced themselves from me because they didn’t know what to do or how to comfort me. I could feel that everyone was nervous, and they were treating me differently than before.

This feeling will eventually pass. Your family and friends will become used to the disease and will stop asking you questions all the time. If you learn to accept the disease yourself, then they will too. The disease affects your body, so they will trust you when you tell them that you are okay.

Although I can’t give you advice about dealing with your anger when you are having a hard time accepting your disease, I can tell you you’re not alone. I’ve been through it as well. I sometimes still feel angry when I think about my situation, but I know there’s nothing I can do about it. I just have to try my best to get on with my day. This disease has become a part of my life: It doesn’t feel abnormal to have ulcerative colitis; it feels like it’s a part of me. Sometimes, accepting the anger is the only way to move forward.

This article gives four different ways to help cope with the anger that sometimes comes with IBD.

 


Flying with IBD

 

If you have IBD, you may be concerned about traveling long distances by plane. Even though you may be worried and feel that it’s impossible for you to travel, there are ways for you to prepare for long journeys.  

 

Medication

  • Make sure to bring an adequate amount of medication to last for the entire trip, as you don’t want to end up without any medication.  
  • Bring your prescription forms just in case you do run out of your medication, so you can get it refilled as soon as possible.  
  • Keep your medication close by, preferably in whatever bag you may be holding. Do not keep it in a checked bag if you are traveling- your luggage may get lost. 
  • Take over-the-counter medications with you to help manage milder symptoms. 

 

Documents

  • Keep some form of your medical history with you while traveling. 
  • Keep your doctor’s phone number saved in your phone for emergencies. 
  • Keep your insurance card with you at all times. 

 

 

Booking and Preparing  

  • When booking your flight, try and find a seat available in the aisle and close to a bathroom. 
  • Book a specific meal plan for your flight ahead of time, so you can eat on the plane. 
  • Bring snacks that are appropriate for your specific diet needs. It’s better to bring them from home than it is to buy them at the airport. 
  • Buy a water as soon as you arrive at the airport, so you don’t become dehydrated on the flight.  

 

 

Asking Questions  

  • See if you can find a map of the airport or ask an employee where all of the bathrooms are located. 
  • There are cards available that allow you to skip the line in the bathroom if you let the airport know ahead of time. 
  • Ask if you can upgrade your seat to a more comfortable area if possible. 

 

Being Safe 

  • Get all of your vaccinations ahead of time, especially if you are leaving the country. 
  • Don’t travel if you feel like you are getting sick. It could make your symptoms worse. 
  • Be careful with eating. Airport food is not always the freshest or the healthiest, and it could potentially harm your digestive system.  
  • Get travel insurance to cover your IBD problems if possible. Make sure that you are fully covered before flying.  

 

It is fairly easy to fly with IBD after you do it a few times.  Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask the employees’ questions if necessary. Don’t let yourself suffer in silence. Traveling is meant to be fun not to feel like torture.