by Diane Harrison.
More than 500,000 Americans live with one or more primary immune deficiency diseases (PIDDs), according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIH). Primary immune deficiencies such as autoimmune lymphoproliferative syndrome (ALPS) and BENTA disease are congenital, while secondary immune deficiencies are acquired later in life. These diseases are often caused by chronic conditions like AIDS, diabetes, viral hepatitis, multiple myeloma, and leukemia, as well as other causes such as medications, malnutrition, radiation, and chemotherapy. If you’ve recently been diagnosed with an immune deficiency, there are several steps you should take to stay physically, mentally, and emotionally well as you cope with your diagnosis. Here are three suggestions from Dr. Aristotle.
1. Minimize Psychological Stress
Research shows that long-term stress can weaken the immune system and impair the body’s ability to recover from illness or infection. But when you’re already immunocompromised, stress reduction is even more important. Here are some ways to keep psychological stress to a minimum as you cope with the diagnosis of an immune deficiency:
Yoga and meditation.
Physical activity (e.g. running, walking, biking, and swimming.
Sleeping at least seven hours a night.
Relaxation exercises (including progressive muscle relaxation and visualization).
Furthermore, there are some other steps you can take to ease stress and make life a bit easier as you learn to cope with your medical condition. As a few examples, you could pay for a meal or grocery delivery service, hire a home cleaning company, or delegate tasks if you’re a small business owner.
2. Include Self-Care Products in Your Daily Routine
To cope with the physical, emotional, and mental effects of your immune deficiency, there are several self-care products to include in your daily routine. Depending on your specific situation, these self-care products may include a gratitude journal, pair of noise-canceling headphones, stress-relieving essential oils, weighted blanket, adult coloring book, and a soft sleep mask.
3. Modify Your Living Space
Some immune deficiencies can be disabling, and it may be necessary to modify your home if you’re having trouble getting around as well as you used to. Some common home modifications for individuals with disabilities include the installation of wheelchair ramps and stairlifts, as well as widened hallways and doorways. You could also add grab bars to your bathrooms, upgrade the lighting throughout your home, and eliminate other obstacles such as carpeted flooring and high cupboards, closet rods, and shelves.
As an alternative to modifying and refinancing your current home, you may prefer to purchase a new house altogether. A real estate agent can walk you through the process of purchasing an accessible property, which typically includes setting your home buying budget, searching for suitable homes, ordering a home inspection, and getting pre-approved for a mortgage.
The pandemic has been especially worrisome for those who live with compromised immunity. In addition to coping with the symptoms of their immune deficiency and managing the stress of their diagnosis, the immunocompromised also learned they have an increased risk of coronavirus-related complications. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to protect your physical, mental, and emotional health if you’ve recently been diagnosed with an immune deficiency. From reducing stress and practicing self-care to modifying your home for accessibility, these simple strategies will help you to live your life as comfortably and normally as possible.
This article is brought to you by Dr. Aristotle, whose extensive clinical experience also includes his role in a diplomatic medical, chiropractic, and acupuncture study exchange tour throughout medical hospitals in The People’s Republic of China. For more information, please visit his website or contact him today!