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Sunday, August 18, 2019

Cyber Bullying Can Lead to Suicide

Words hurt, whether you mean them to or not. It's very hard to interpret tone over the Internet. However, with that being said, some people use cruel words and cyber bully you. They even get their friends involved to cyber bully you. I wanted to stress how much this hurts people and they have to STOP cyber bullying people.

According to CBS,

"Cyberbullying Pushed Texas Teen to Commit Suicide, Family Says

Brandy Vela is seen in a family photo provided to CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV.

TEXAS CITY, Texas -- Family members of a Houston-area high school student who killed herself are rallying for tighter laws against cyberbullying.

Brandy Vela’s family says cyberbullying pushed the 18-year-old over the edge, leading her to shoot herself in the chest Tuesday afternoon at the family’s Texas City home as family members watched.

Her father, Raul Vela, said she had been receiving abusive text messages for months from bullies using an untraceable smartphone application. Her father said someone made a fake Facebook page of her, creating another cyberbullying medium.

On Tuesday, Brandy sent an email to her family members telling them she was going to kill herself, CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV reports. They rushed home and found her alive.

'We tried to persuade her to put the gun down, but she was determined,' Raul Vela told KHOU-TV. 'She said she’d come too far to turn back. It was very unfortunate that I had to see that. It’s hard when your daughter tells you to turn around. You feel helpless.'

'I heard someone crying,' Brandy’s 22-year-old sister, Jacqueline Vela, told KPRC-TV of Houston, 'so I ran upstairs and I looked in her room, and she’s against the wall and she has a gun pointed at her chest and she’s just crying and crying and I’m like, ‘Brandy, please don’t. Brandy, no.'

Jacqueline Vela said she went to her parents’ room, 'and I just heard the shot and my dad just yelled, ‘Help me. Help me. Help me.’

'I was almost certain that I could persuade her to put that gun down. It didn’t work. She pulled the trigger,' Raul Vela said.

Her final cellphone text to her family was, 'I love you so much just remember that please and I’m so sorry for everything.'

Her family said the harassment focused mainly on Brandy’s weight.

'They would make dating websites of her, and they would put her number and they would put her picture (on the sites), and lie about her age and say she is giving herself up for sex for free, to call her,' said Jacqueline Vela.

The family said they reported the bullying to the Texas City school district and several law enforcement agencies.

'School was a safe environment for Brandy,' said school district spokeswoman Melissa Tortorici. 'She had a lot of friends and was thought of warmly by her peers and teachers. She did bring it to the school’s attention before Thanksgiving break that she was getting harassing messages to her cellphone outside of school. Our deputy investigated it, and the app that was being used to send the messages was untraceable. We encouraged her to change her phone number.'

Brandy Vela changed her number, but bullies always found her, her family said.

'We have lots of incident reports, and they always say the same thing: They can’t do anything about it,' Jacqueline Vela said.

A Texas City Police Department statement says it continues to investigate the Velas’ complaints. Jacqueline Vela told KPRC that she and her siblings have a good idea who may have been behind some of these attacks and have been assisting in the investigation.

The father said that he hopes for stricter laws against cyberbullying and greater awareness of the problem to give some meaning to his daughter’s death.

© 2016 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report."

Amanda Todd committed suicide on October 10, 2012. She posted a video voicing her pain with bullying

According to MSN,
"Canadian police confirmed Thursday an arrest has been made in the Netherlands in the case of a Canadian teenager who was blackmailed into exposing herself in front of a webcam. The 15-year-old later committed suicide after detailing her harassment on a YouTube video watched by millions around the world."

I wrote this in The Mighty a while back,

We Need to Address the Cyberbullying Happening Within the Chronic Illness Community

We’re a community that supports each other by sharing our experiences.
 4.3K people
There has been a lot of bullying going on within the chronic illness community, a lot of which has been in the gastroparesis community, which is the only one I can really speak on. Furthermore, I cannot speak on behalf of my friends, but I can tell you that I have been cyberbullied to the point where I wanted to leave all social media altogether. I thought that since we are all chronically ill, and we all share the diagnosis of gastroparesis, that we were supposed to be united. Instead, some of the people or groups who are chronically ill seem to find a person to target and make their lives a living nightmare.
We, the chronically ill, face enough adversity from doctors, nurses, family and friends – people who do not understand gastroparesis or think it is “all in our head.” I had this notion that we should be working together to promote understanding and educate those who may not know about our illness. I never, in a million years, thought I would be the target of cyberbullying by the people who were supposed to understand more than anyone, by the people who were supposed to be there to be help to support me, and by the people I thought I could count on. I never thought I would be the victim of cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is a big deal. There have been cases of people dying by suicide because they were cyberbullied. The first person who comes to mind is Gabriella “Gabbie” Green, who died by suicide in January because of cyberbullying.
I wanted to bring this into the light and talk about this issue because words do hurt, more than people realize, and cyberbullying has become a big problem. I want to bring awareness to this issue because it might help save someone’s life.
There is no excuse for cyberbullying. I was just so shocked to learn that it was happening in the chronic illness community, not just the gastroparesis community. I understand we are all sick and we all have bad days, and that does happen when you have a chronic illness. However, that does not give a person a right to bully someone else. I do not understand the reason behind the cyberbullying or why people need to hurt others like that. With gastroparesis, this kind of stress for days (in my personal experience, I was cyberbullied across all of the social media sites I made an account with) can cause a horrible gastroparesis attack that may land people in the hospital.
People need to understand that words hurt and can do some real damage. You never know what struggles the person on the other end of the computer may be facing. All people see is what is posted online, and that is it. You never really know what is going on in someone else’s life. I guess some people may see those with chronic illness as “easy targets” for cyberbullying because they assume we are “too weak” and “too sick” to stand up for our principles on the matter, but we are not.
I always envisioned all of those with chronic illness, from fibromyalgia to gastroparesis, working together to get information out there and to help others who battle chronic illnesses, especially if they are newly diagnosed. It is not about ganging up on people, controlling groups, pages, who has the most members on Facebook, etc. It is great to have so many options for support, and people can join more groups. Joining groups on Facebook should not be a competition and the person should not be cyberbullied for making a decision on a group that fits them.
It’s about support, pure and simple.
There are so many obstacles we have to go through with gastroparesis; we shouldn’t manufacture more – we should stand united. We need to educate those who may not know about gastroparesis and what it entails. We should rally together to educate, not tear each other down. Divided we fall, united we conquer.
I want to talk about cyberbullying, since I’m experiencing it firsthand, and what it’s doing to the gastroparesis community and other chronic illness communities. I also want to help others who may be going through the same things. It’s hard being bullied, especially if Facebook will not listen and you don’t have any other recourse. I’ll share some things I have learned and some tips from an anti-bullying site that I found. We should be lifting each other up, supporting one another and working together to make a difference. All of this fighting within our community has got stop. While having gastroparesis is hard enough, and I will repeat this again because it’s important, we face enough adversity from doctors, nurses, ER staff, etc. We don’t need it from each other.
So, here’s what you can do to avoid cyberbullying.
1. Do not feed the troll. What I mean by that is, do not give the person fuel for their fire to keep attacking you. As hard as it is, it can help to stay silent. These people crave attention and will try to get it by any means necessary.
2. Block these people. They have no control over your life unless you let them. You are better off without these toxic people in your life. You are important, and you shouldn’t let these people have control over what you do.
3. Write yourself an email. Every time these people hurt you and you want to say something back, write yourself an email and send it to yourself to get your feelings out. That way, you don’t bottle it up and you can get out what you want to say. You don’t need to send it to anyone else, this is just for you.
4. Do not be scared. Don’t be scared to log in to Facebook or wherever these trolls might be lurking. That would be giving them power over you. Don’t let them. Like it or not, these people are going to be everywhere so there is really not a way to avoid them.
5. Do not stop living your life. The thing with bullies is that they will try to interrupt as much of your life as possible. Do not let them. The world spins on. You should keep living your life and do not let them make you deviate from it, because that is their goal.
I would also check with your state and see what laws they may have in place about cyberbullying. If you are currently being cyberbullied, do not give up. I had to block many people on Facebook when I would first log in. You can also report those people, located on a drop down menu on their cover page, before you block them to let Facebook know. You can also look up Facebook’s guidelines and there is an email address they give you to send your difficulties to them. Additionally, there are support groups on Facebook for cyberbullying you can join. I would also recommend talking with a psychiatrist about it, because your mental health is important, especially with gastroparesis, or any chronic illness.
I have also written an article about suicide and chronic illness.  You can find it here:

Other Resources:

According to Health Guide,


Bullying and Cyberbullying

How to Deal with a Bully and Overcome Bullying

Sad teen girl looking at phoneThe effects of bullying can be devastating, leaving you feeling helpless, humiliated, angry, depressed, or even suicidal. And technology means that bullying is no longer limited to schoolyards or street corners. Cyberbullying can occur anywhere, even at home, via smartphones, emails, texts, and social media, 24 hours a day, with potentially hundreds of people involved. But no type of bullying should ever be tolerated. These tips can help you protect yourself or your child—at school and online—and deal with the growing problem of bullying and cyberbullying.

What is bullying?

Bullying is repeated aggressive behavior that can be physical, verbal, or relational, in-person or online. Bullies are often relentless, bullying over and over again for long periods of time. You may live in constant fear of where and when the bully will strike next, what they’ll do, and how far they’ll go.
Physical bullying – includes hitting, kicking, or pushing you (or even just threatening to do so), as well as stealing, hiding, or ruining your things, and hazing, harassment, or humiliation.
Verbal bullying – includes name-calling, teasing, taunting, insulting, or otherwise verbally abusing you.
Relationship bullying – includes refusing to talk to you, excluding you from groups or activities, spreading lies or rumors about you, making you do things you don’t want to do.
Boys frequently bully using physical threats and actions, while girls are more likely to engage in verbal or relationship bullying.

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying occurs when someone uses digital technology, such as the Internet, emails, text messages, or social media, to harass, threaten, or humiliate you. Unlike traditional bullying, cyberbullying doesn’t require face-to-face contact and isn’t limited to just a handful of witnesses at a time. It also doesn’t require physical power or strength in numbers.
Cyberbullies come in all shapes and sizes—almost anyone with an Internet connection or mobile phone can cyberbully someone else, often without having to reveal their true identity.
Cyberbullies can torment you 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and the bullying can follow you anywhere so that no place, not even home, ever feels safe. And with a few clicks the humiliation can be witnessed by hundreds or even thousands of people online.
The methods kids and teens use to cyberbully can be as varied and imaginative as the technology they have access to. they might range from sending threatening or taunting messages via email, text, social media, or IM, to breaking into your email account or stealing your online identity to hurt and humiliate you. Some cyberbullies may even create a website or social media page to target you.
As with face-to-face bullying, both boys and girls cyberbully, but tend to do so in different ways. Boys tend to bully by “sexting” (sending messages of a sexual nature) or with messages that threaten physical harm. Girls, on the other hand, more commonly cyberbully by spreading lies and rumors, exposing your secrets, or by excluding you from social media groups, emails, buddy lists and the like. Because cyberbullying is so easy to perpetrate, a child or teen can easily change roles, going from cyberbullying victim at one point to cyberbully the next, and then back again.

The effects of bullying and cyberbullying

Whether you’re being targeted by bullies or cyberbullies, the results are similar:
You’re made to feel hurt, angry, afraid, helpless, hopeless, isolated, ashamed, and even guilty that the bullying is somehow your fault. You may even feel suicidal.
Your physical health is likely to suffer, and you are at a greater risk of developing mental health problems such as depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, or adult onset PTSD.
You’re more likely to miss, skip, or drop out of school to avoid being bullied.
In many cases, cyberbullying can be even more painful than face-to-face bullying because:
Cyberbullying can happen anywhere, at any time. You may experience it even in places where you’d normally feel safe, such as your home, and at times when you’d least expect it, like during the weekend in the company of your family. It can seem like there’s no escape from the taunting and humiliation.
A lot of cyberbullying can be done anonymously, so you may not be sure who is targeting you. This can make you feel even more threatened and can embolden bullies, as they believe online anonymity means they’re less likely to get caught. Since cyberbullies can’t see your reaction, they will often go much further in their harassment or ridicule than they would if they were face-to-face with you.
Cyberbullying can be witnessed by potentially thousands of people. Emails can be forwarded to many, many people while social media posts or website comments can often be seen by anyone. The more far-reaching the bullying, the more humiliating it can become.

Bullying and Suicide

If bullying or cyberbullying leads to you, or someone you know, feeling suicidal, please call 1-800-273-8255 in the U.S., or visit IASP or to find a helpline in your country.

Why am I being bullied?

While there are many reasons why bullies may be targeting you, bullies tend to pick on people who are “different” or don’t fit in with the mainstream. While your individualism is something that you will celebrate later in life, it can seem like a curse when you’re young and trying to fit in. Perhaps you dress or act differently, or maybe your race, religion, or sexual orientation sets you apart. It may simply be that you’re new to the school or neighborhood and haven’t made friends yet.
It’s important to remember that you’re not alone. Many of us have been bullied at some point in our lives. In fact, about 25 percent of kids experience bullying, and as many as one third of teenagers suffer from cyberbullying at some point. But whatever your circumstances, you don’t have to put up with it. There are plenty of people who can help you overcome the problem, retain your dignity, and preserve your sense of self.

How to deal with a bully

There is no simple solution to bullying or cyberbullying, or a foolproof way to handle a bully. But since bullying or cyberbullying is rarely limited to one or two incidents—it’s far more likely to be a sustained attack over a period of time—like the bully, you may have to be relentless in reporting each and every bullying incident until it stops. Remember: there is no reason for you to ever put up with any kind of bullying.
Don’t blame yourself. It is not your fault. No matter what a bully says or does, you should not be ashamed of who you are or what you feel. The bully is the person with the problem, not you.
Try to view bullying from a different perspective. The bully is an unhappy, frustrated person who wants to have control over your feelings so that you feel as badly as they do. Don’t give them the satisfaction.
Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t make a bullying incident worse by dwelling on it or reading cyberbullying messages over and over. Instead, delete any messages and focus on the positive experiences in your life. There are many wonderful things about you so be proud of who you are.
Learn to manage stress. Finding healthy ways to relieve the stress generated by bullying can make you more resilient so you won’t feel overwhelmed by negative experiences. Exercise, meditation, positive self-talk, muscle relaxation, and breathing exercises are all good ways to cope with the stress of bullying.
Spend time doing things you enjoy. The more time you spend with activities that bring you pleasure—sports, hobbies, hanging out with friends who don’t participate in bullying, for example—the less significance bullying or cyberbullying will have on your life.

Find support from those who don’t bully

When you’re being bullied, having trusted people you can turn to for encouragement and support will ease your stress and boost your self-esteem and resilience. Talk to a parent, teacher, counselor, or other trusted adult—it doesn’t mean that you’re weak or there’s something wrong with you. And reach out to connect with real friends (those who don’t participate in any kind of bullying). If you’re new to a school or neighborhood, or don’t feel that you have anyone to turn to, there are lots of ways to make new friends. It may not always seem like it, but there are plenty of people who will love and appreciate you for who you are.
Unplug from technology. Taking a break from your smartphone, computer, tablet, and video games can open you up to meeting new people.
Find others who share your same values and interests. You may be able to make friends at a youth group, book club, or religious organization. Learn a new sport, join a team, or take up a new hobby such as chess, art, or music. Or volunteer your time—helping others is a great way to feel better about yourself and expand your social network.
Share your feelings about bullying. Talk to a parent, counselor, coach, religious leader, or trusted friend. Expressing what you’re going through can make a huge difference in the way you feel, even if it doesn’t change the situation.
Boost your confidence. Exercise is a great way to boost your self-esteem and reduce stress. Go for a run or take a kick boxing class to work off your anger in a healthy way.

Tips for dealing with cyberbullying

Dealing with cyberbullying is rarely easy, but there are steps you can take to cope with the problem. To start, it may be a good time to reassess your technology use. Spending less time on social media or checking texts and emails, for example, and more time interacting with real people, can help you distance yourself from online bullies. It can also help to reduce anxiety, depression, and feelings of loneliness.
As well as seeking support, managing stress, and spending time with people and activities that bring you pleasure, the following tips can help:
Don’t respond to any messages or posts written about you, no matter how hurtful or untrue. Responding will only make the situation worse and provoking a reaction from you is exactly what the cyberbullies want, so don’t give them the satisfaction.
Don’t seek revenge on a cyberbully by becoming a cyberbully yourself. Again, it will only make the problem worse and could result in serious legal consequences for you. If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online.
Save the evidence of the cyberbullying, keep abusive text messages or a screenshot of a webpage, for example, and then report them to a trusted adult. If you don’t report incidents, the cyberbully will often become more aggressive.
Report threats of harm and inappropriate sexual messages to the police. In many cases, the cyberbully’s actions can be prosecuted by law.
Prevent communication from the cyberbully, by blocking their email address, cell phone number, and deleting them from social media contacts. Report their activities to their Internet service provider (ISP) or to any social media or other websites they use to target you. The cyberbully’s actions may constitute a violation of the website’s terms of service or, depending on the laws in your area, may even warrant criminal charges.

Tips for parents and teachers to stop bullying or cyberbullying

No matter how much pain it causes, kids are often reluctant to tell parents or teachers about bullying because they feel a sense of shame from being victimized. In the case of cyberbullying, they may also fear losing their cell phone or computer privileges. Bullies also tend to be adept at hiding their behavior from adults, so if a child is being bullied it may not be obvious to a parent or teacher. Therefore, it’s important to recognize the warning signs of bullying and cyberbullying.
Your child may be the victim of bullying if he or she:
  • Withdraws from family, friends, and activities they previously enjoyed.
  • Suffers an unexplained drop in grades.
  • Refuses to go to school or to specific classes, or avoids group activities.
  • Shows changes in mood, behavior, sleep, appetite, or shows signs of depression or anxiety.
  • Avoids discussions or is secretive about cell phone or computer activities.
  • Becomes sad, angry, or distressed during or after being online.
  • Appears anxious when viewing a text, email, or social media post.

Prevent cyberbullying before it starts

One of the best ways to stop cyberbullying is to prevent the problem before it starts. To stay safe with technology, teach your kids to:
  • Refuse to pass along cyberbullying messages.
  • Tell their friends to stop cyberbullying.
  • Block communication with cyberbullies; delete messages without reading them.
  • Never post or share their personal information—or their friends’ personal information—online.
  • Never share their Internet passwords with anyone, except you.
  • Talk to you about their life online.
  • Not put anything online that they wouldn’t want their classmates to see, even in email.
  • Not send messages when they’re angry or upset.
  • Always be as polite online as they are in person.
Source: National Crime Prevention Council
While it’s important not to threaten to withdraw access or otherwise punish a child who’s been the victim of cyberbullying, parents should always monitor a child’s use of technology, regardless of how much your child resents it.
Use parental control apps on your child’s smartphone or tablet and set up filters on your child’s computer to block inappropriate web content and help you monitor your child’s online activities.
Limit data access to your child’s smartphone. Some wireless providers allow you to turn off text messaging services during certain hours.
Insist on knowing your child’s passwords and learn the common acronyms kids use online, in social media, and in text messages.
Know who your child communicates with online. Go over your child’s address book and social media contacts with them. Ask who each person is and how your child knows them.
Encourage your child to tell you or another trusted adult if they receive threatening messages or are otherwise targeted by cyberbullies, while reassuring them that doing so will not result in their loss of phone or computer privileges.

If your child is a bully

It can be difficult for any parent to learn that their child is bullying others but it’s important to take steps to end the negative behavior before it has serious and long-term consequences for your child. Kids who bully others:
  • Have a higher risk of abusing alcohol and drugs.
  • Are more likely to get into fights, vandalize property, and drop out of school.
  • Are twice as likely as their peers to have criminal convictions as adults and four times more likely to be multiple offenders.
  • Are more likely as adults to be abusive toward their romantic partners, spouses, or children.
If your child has trouble managing strong emotions such as anger, hurt, or frustration, talk to a therapist about helping your child learn to cope with these feelings in a healthy way.
Some bullies learn aggressive behavior from their experiences at home. As a parent, you may be setting a bad example for your kids by spanking or otherwise striking them, verbally or physically abusing your spouse, or by displaying bullying behavior such as:
  • Abusing your child’s sports coach, umpires and referees, or members of the opposing team.
  • Swearing at other drivers on the road.
  • Humiliating a waitress, shop assistant, or cab driver who makes a mistake.
  • Talking negatively about other students, parents, or teachers so that your child thinks it’s acceptable to use verbal abuse or cyberbullying to intimidate others.
  • Sending or forwarding abusive online messages that target coworkers or acquaintances.
  • Communicating with people online in ways that you wouldn’t face-to-face.

Tips for parents dealing with a bullying child

Learn about your child’s life. If your behavior at home isn’t negatively influencing your child, it’s possible their friends or peers are encouraging the bullying behavior. Your child may be struggling to fit in or develop relationships with other kids. Talk to your child. The more you understand about his or her life, the easier you’ll be able to identify the source of the problem.
Educate your child about bullying. Your child may not understand how hurtful and damaging their behavior can be. Foster empathy and awareness by encouraging your child to look at their actions from the victim’s perspective. Remind your child that bullying and cyberbullying can have serious legal consequences.
Manage stress. Teach your child positive ways to manage stress. Your child’s bullying may be an attempt at relieving stress. Or your own stress, anxiety, or worry may be creating an unstable home environment. Exercising, spending time in nature, or playing with a pet are great ways for both kids and adults to let off steam and relieve tension.
Set limits with technology. Let your child know that you’ll be monitoring their use of computers, tablets, smartphones, email, and text messaging. If necessary, remove access to technology until behavior improves.
Establish consistent rules of behavior. Make sure your child understands your rules and the punishment for breaking them. Children may not think they need discipline, but a lack of boundaries sends a signal that the child is unworthy of the parents’ time, care, and attention.

Saturday, August 17, 2019

How and Why does Temperature Affect Chronic Illness?

I have wondered why temperature has affected chronic illnesses for a while.  I have a few chronic illnesses (Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Gastroparesis, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, Endometriosis, Poly-cystic Ovaries, etc.) and I have noticed that when I am in extreme heat or extreme cold that I become dizzy, nauseated, and feel like I am about to pass out.  Additionally, I have noticed that pressure changes and storms effect me in the same ways. I can always tell when it is going to rain before it actually does. I wanted to research why this happens and what a person with a chronic illness can do about temperature changes and how it affects their illness.

CVS Speaks,  an organization that, "We are social media outreach organization. We are all volunteer run. We seek to raise awareness of Cyclic Vomiting Syndrome. We seek to help all people of CVS find a support group that fits their needs. We also support and assist admin of a variety of groups maintain the highest quality groups on FACEBOOK," sent me an article on this topic that I found interesting and wanted to share.

According to Just Another Moment,

"Temperature – rapid changes in temperature can either trigger fibromyalgia/chronic pain flare-ups or help ease them. Cold weather is known to contract and tense up your muscles, and this undoubtedly affects your nerves, leading to more aggravation of existing chronic pain.
Wind – whether it’s a full force storm or a light wind, it’s been found to trigger both headaches and muscle pain, again associated with tense muscles and colder air.  
Pressure – barometric pressure is a measurement of the weight that’s exerted by the air around us. A drastic change in this pressure, for example, a sunny day to a sudden storm, can trigger muscle pain and cause flare-ups."
Temperature sensitivity is thought to be caused by hormonal imbalances, that’s the short answer. 
The longer answer is that our body temperature is regulated by the hypothalamus. What’s the hypothalamus? It’s a section of your brain that’s responsible for hormone production. The hypothalamus isn’t the only thing responsible for controlling body temperature though, so is your thyroid. 
An overactive thyroid can cause you to feel too hot, and an underactive thyroid can cause you to feel too cold. Interestingly your thyroid gland is actually controlled by the pituitary gland, and I bet you can guess what I’m about to say next. Your pituitary gland is regulated by the hypothalamus, and anything that disrupts this will disrupt your thyroid function. 
It can be a bit confusing, and you might be asking why this is even connected to explaining why you struggle with temperature sensitivity. Well, it seems that most fibromyalgia symptoms are triggered by imbalances in your hormone levels, and we’ve just explained how these hormones are responsible for regulating your body temperature… 
So, the result is the inability to regulate your body temperature, meaning you’re either too hot or too cold most of the time.

Everyone is different when it comes to temperature sensitivity. Some people will feel too hot, others will feel too cold, and if you’re like me, then you’ll struggle with both throughout the day. Whether you struggle to warm up or struggle to cool down, here are some tips for both. 

Make sure you have a way to cool down your home, whether it’s through an air conditioning unit or a powerful fan. The first thing to do is to control the heat within your surroundings. 
Wear lightweight clothing fits loosely, you don’t want to wear tight clothes when you’re too hot as it will increase your body temperature. Also make sure to avoid dark colored clothing as these absorb heat! 
You can cool down your body temperature quickly by placing your wrists in a sink filled with cold water, or by running them under the cold tap. An ever quicker method is to apply an ice pack on your wrists. 
Another way to quickly cool down your body temperature is to have a cool bath or shower, make sure that it isn’t too cold for your body to cope with though as this can cause symptoms to flare. 
It’s incredibly important to stay hydrated as if you are overheating and sweating you can quickly become dehydrated.

Keeping your home warm will obviously be at the top of the list for cold sensitivity. This isn’t always as easy as it sounds though, whether it’s because you can’t financially afford to keep your heating on or whether it’s because your house doesn’t heat well because of age or size. Choosing one room to spend most of your time in can help with this, choose one with a fireplace in or turn up the radiator in just that room, as well as keeping the door closed to keep in the heat you build up. 
Make sure you dress warmer, especially when it’s colder weather. Wearing thicker clothes and knitted jumpers are an easy way to keep warm. Make sure you also keep your feet warm as it’s known that if you have cold feet your body is usually cold too! 
Using a blanket to keep your body covered will keep in your body heat, and using a heatpad can provide even more warmth. 
Drink warm liquids, like tea or coffee throughout the day. Having hot meals are also a great way to warm up your body. 
Finally, taking a hot bath is an incredibly good way to warm up, as well as relaxing!"
If you would like to read more regarding winter and how temperature affects chronic pain, please check out her other articles below:

According to Synapse

"Temperature Control and Dysautonomia - Fact Sheet

Cold-blooded creatures take on the temperature of their surroundings. They are hot when their environment is hot and cold when their environment is cold. Cold-blooded animals are much more active in warm environments and are very sluggish in cold environments. These animals are very dependent on their environment when compared to warm blooded animals like ourselves.
Warm-blooded creatures, like mammals and birds, try to keep the inside of their bodies at a constant temperature. They do this by generating their own heat when they are in a cooler environment, and by cooling themselves when they are in a hotter environment. This independence from our environment allows warm blooded animals to live in a much broader variety of climates.


It takes a lot of fuel to generate body heat and indeed a lot of fuel is needed to keep cool. Most of the food we eat is used to keep our bodies at a stable temperature with a stable amount of fluid of a stable composition.
Our bodies actually put a lot of effort into staying the same. The medical term for this process is homeostasis.
In human beings, the homeostatic regulation of body temperature involves such mechanisms as sweating when the internal temperature becomes excessive and shivering to produce heat, as well as the generation of heat through metabolic processes when the internal temperature falls too low.

          The Autonomic Nervous System (ANS)

These aspects of homeostasis are regulated through the autonomic nervous system.

The autonomic nervous system manages most of our bodily systems, including the cardiovascular system, gastrointestinal, urinary and bowel functions, temperature regulation, reproduction and our metabolic and endocrine systems. Additionally, this system is responsible for our reaction to stress - the flight or fight response.

          Sympathetic and Parasympathetic

The autonomic nervous system consists of two parts: the sympathetic system and the parasympathetic system. The sympathetic system can best be thought of as controlling the 'fight or flight' reactions of the body; producing the rapid heart rates, increased breathing and increased blood flow to the muscles that are necessary when an individual is in danger or under stress. The parasympathetic system controls the 'quiet' body functions, for instance the digestive system. In short, the sympathetic system gets the body ready for action, while the parasympathetic system gets the body ready for rest. And in most individuals the parasympathetic and sympathetic components of the autonomic nervous systems are in perfect balance, from moment to moment, depending on the body's instantaneous needs.


Brain disorders such as traumatic brain injury can affect the autonomic nerve system and result in Dysautonomia: The autonomic nervous system loses that balance and at various times the parasympathetic or sympathetic systems inappropriately predominate.


Symptoms can include frequent, vague but disturbing aches and pains, faintness (or even actual fainting spells), fatigue and inertia, severe anxiety attacks, tachycardia, hypotension, poor exercise tolerance, gastrointestinal symptoms such as irritable bowel syndrome, sweating, dizziness, blurred vision, numbness and tingling, anxiety and (quite understandably), depression.

A person suffering from Dysautonomia may exhibit all these symptoms and more or only one or two. It can be an acute, short lived problem or a chronic problem that will last a lifetime. There is no cure for Dysautonomia but some medications and strategies can help alleviate the symptoms.

          Management Strategies

The homeostatic regulation of body temperature may be severely impaired in a person suffering from dysautonomia and they may develop excessively high body temperatures and consequent irritability, confusion and disorientation. The treatment for a high temperature as a result of a damaged autonomic nervous system is entirely symptomatic and supportive. That is: the fever is treated but not the cause. Remember the cause is unfortunately incurable.
Essentially the treatment is to cool the person down
A wet towel across the neck can be of help as most of our body heat is lost through the head and the external carotid arteries carry large amounts of blood to the brain. Cooling this area will effectively cool the whole body from the inside out.

Drink plenty of fluids, preferably water. Other fluids, particularly alcohol or caffeine, can reduce the fluid levels in the body by increasing fluid loss through sweating or urination.

It is essential to seek medical assistance if any fever is severe or prolonged as the fever itself may damage organs including the brain, heart and kidneys.
A host of medications have been tried in patients with dysautonomia. Those most commonly felt to be useful include:
  • Tricyclic antidepressants
  • Anti-anxiety medications
  • Medications affecting high or low blood pressure and
  • Non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications.  The most effective medications will vary from person to person depending on the particular symptoms that Dysautonomia produce in them.

As with any long-term health condition, it is highly recommended that a relationship be maintained with a GP or other suitable medical professional.
References and further information
Biology Online:•Dysautonomia Network:•The Children's Hospital at Westmead:"

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How and Why Does Temperature Affect Chronic Illness? 

I found some wonderful information on The Autoimmune Mom's website regarding temperature changes and chronic illnesses.  I did not realize how tough of a subject this would be to research.  It has been a real challenge. However, this website offers some wonderful information.

"Cold Weather’s Impact on Autoimmune Disease Flares + Tips For Being Outside in Fall and Winter
By: Gary Rothbard, MD, MS in Environment 

Changes in or extreme climates can often have an effect on disease conditions.  In some cases, there are certain types of weather that can be helpful in controlling or improving a condition; other times, climate can impact disorders negatively in terms of symptoms and disease progression.  Here we consider the effects of cold weather and temperatures on autoimmune disease.
Why does cold air (dry or wet) affect pain and flares in autoimmune disease?
The first thing to mention here is that autoimmune conditions come in all shapes and sizes, and as such are affected by many factors.  Some conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, are greatly impacted by the weather (especially cold and/or rainy), while others are minimally affected, if at all.  In contrast, other disorders show an improvement in symptoms with cooler weather and may flare on warmer days.  There is no hard and fast rule as to how weather will affect individual patients.  Having said this, the short answer is we’re not entirely sure why autoimmune flares tend to worsen in cold weather, but we do know a few things regarding this phenomenon. 
In general, weather extremes of any kind will place additional stress upon the body, which is usually not helpful for those suffering from a host of conditions, autoimmune and otherwise.  Thus, generalized stress can increase the incidence and severity of autoimmune conditions in a non-specific way, simply by adding to the heightened physiological demands of the body during such periods.  For instance, in very cold weather, bodily heat escapes quickly, leaving less energy and fewer resources available to deal with basic and enhanced requirements.  Other conditions such as cold agglutinin disease, which is a variant of autoimmune hemolytic anemia, only occur during periods of lowered body temperature.  
This emotional and/or physical stress can leave an autoimmune sufferer more susceptible to flares, which might be better controlled in more temperate weather (though sometimes the opposite is true; it is a very individualized presentation). 
More specifically, it seems that one likely cause of cold-induced pain in many cases is the fact that smaller blood vessels tend to spasm in low temperatures, which leads to a restriction of blood flow to the associated areas.  This is known as Raynaud’s phenomenon when it is secondary to an established autoimmune disease (or Raynaud’s disease when it appears on its own) and it is something that many autoimmune patients know all too well, as it often occurs in conjunction with various autoimmune conditions.  The spasms can cause extreme pain, swelling, numbness and discoloration, and they occur most prominently in the fingers, toes, ears and nose (because these are all areas with very small vessels and therefore less blood flow and adaptive ability).  It is possible, though not certain, that similar problems in larger joints (and therefore vessels) are related in terms of pathology.
Another potential but controversial explanation for joint inflammation during certain types of weather involves the postulation that lower barometric pressure leads to increased swelling in the joint spaces.
Are there any studies done on brief breaks from cold weather, e.g., beach vacation in winter, and helping to reduce joint pain and other symptoms from the cold? 
Unfortunately, the literature is fairly sparse in this area, and it appears that there hasn’t been a great deal of research or investigation into the causes of or remedies for such flares.  There is one unofficial site, written by a doctor, that does a decent job of collecting most of the available research on the topic and providing brief summaries. 
  Another brief response from a different physician (not a study, just clinical advice) advises that in most cases the best weather for autoimmune patients is warm and dry, such as in the Southwest.  But again, this will vary from patient to patient, and what works for one may be detrimental to another.  Otherwise, not much else was found upon literature review. 
What is the best way to combat cold weather effects on pain and inflammation?
There is unfortunately no secret weapon used to combat such effects in those diagnosed with autoimmune disease.  That is, there is really nothing special one can do in cases of autoimmune conditions, other than the normal measures anyone would take in extreme cold to prevent complications.  Still, there are several effective ways to prevent or at least mitigate the negative impact cold weather has on some autoimmune sufferers. 
Just as is the case in people without autoimmune conditions, extreme cold requires some contemplation and preparation.  On particularly cold days, one should dress in layers, being sure to wear gloves and a hat; this serves the dual purposes of keeping joints warm and more flexible, and reducing overall cold stress.  If it is absolutely necessary to remain outside for long periods, it is crucial that one plans to take breaks and go inside occasionally, preferably before symptoms can begin to flare. 
And while patients should consider exercising indoors during these temperature extremes, it is important, when doing so outdoors, to remain active for the duration, in order to keep joints and muscles warm and more flexible, making them less prone to pain and inflammation.  Finally, in extreme autoimmune cases, some people have found that changing climates (by moving) is quite helpful, though clinicians and researchers are divided on the issue, and it is, once again, very personalized as to the benefits. 
Questions for your doctor: 
  • What is the best climate, if there is one, for my condition(s)?  Is it worth considering moving?
  • What are the recommended protective/preventive measures I should take when out in extreme cold temperatures?
  • Can you provide me with any resources or information regarding the effects of cold weather on autoimmune disease, or disease in general?
  • What is your opinion of the barometric pressure theory of joint pain and swelling?
  • Are there other causes of cold weather complications in autoimmune disease, besides vessel spasms and those mentioned above?

About the Author
Dr. Rothbard is a professional medical writer and consultant based in New York City, specializing in medical education articles targeted at a variety of audiences, from children through clinicians.  After leaving medicine, he worked as a biology and medical science educator for several years, before deciding to pursue writing full-time.  He may be reached at"

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Does Temperature Affect Your Digestion?

According to Everyday Health,

"Your Digestion Could Be A Matter of Degree

Medically Reviewed by Last Updated:  8/7/2013 
Your tongue may crave the icy temperature of an ice pop on a steamy summer day, but your digestion may rebel. 
'Some people perspire after drinking cold liquids,' says Mark Mattar MD, a clinician and assistant professor of medicine at MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, Washington, D.C. 
The body likes to keep its core temperature steady at about 100° F., which is when the best digestion occurs. If cold temperatures — such as ice water or cold food in the diet — enter the stomach, the body works quickly to warm it.

          A Centuries-Old Science

Temperature — of the body, weather, or the foods you eat — and its effects on digestion has intrigued physicians and scientists for at least 100 years. A well-regarded professor of several New York hospitals at the turn of the last century, the late William Gilman Thompson MD, included a chapter on the topic in his 1905 book, Practical Dietetics With Special Reference to Diet in Disease.
In it, he writes: 'One may begin a dinner with iced raw oysters, then take hot soup, and later conclude the meal with ice cream, followed by hot coffee,' he said of a proposed diet. 'And yet throughout, the temperature of the stomach contents does not vary so much as half a degree.' 
Dr. Thompson came to his conclusions based on the outcomes of 'many experiments which I have made upon patients…to whom I have given fluids at different temperatures, which were immediately siphoned out of the stomach and tested for heat loss or gain.'

Warm Is Better 
Even on a hot day, warm liquids generally soothe the system, Mattar said. Colonoscopy patients find warm liquids infused in the colon help alleviate pain or spasms. And anecdotally, he said, the wisdom from our grandmothers was to drink warm liquids — the belief being that warmth caused the muscles to relax — even the minuscule muscles that support the blood vessels. 
It’s also likely that the body’s preference for warmth has to do with the latest frontier in biology, the microbiome — those trillions of microscopic bugs that live in the gut, he said.
In the lab, these microorganisms thrive in incubation. Although these bugs like a warm host, even they have their limit. While hot cocoa on a hot day probably would be fine, Mattar said, 'if it’s hotter than 100 degrees, your body will try to cool it down.'
Air Temperature 
In warm climates, the blood vessels open and more hormones circulate to aid in all systems, including digestion, Mattar said. In cold climates, everything slows down, but not too much. 
In fact, the change is so subtle, the effects of air temperature on digestion usually goes unnoticed — except in extreme cases when the core temperature drops and hypothermia sets in. Treatment generally includes blankets and possibly intravenous fluids that are a little warmer than room temperature. 'You don’t want to shock the system,' he said.

Illness and Diseases 
In the opposite extreme, when hotter becomes the new normal, there is no real consensus on treatment, Mattar said. Some people recommend blankets and warm drinks, despite the discomfort, while others report the body should be kept cool to let the fever take its course. 
Thompson added that while 'cooling drinks have long been used [to treat] fevers…to this day one occasionally meets with opposition from mothers to giving a child with high fever anything really cold.' 
Ice also can be effective in relieving nausea, and hot liquids aid in 'cleansing the mucous membrane,' Thompson said. Likewise 'hot-air baths…are of undoubted service' in treating kidney disease. 
And despite the body’s quick response to cold drinks, the cold still can irritate the bowel, possibly causing diarrhea, constipation or abdominal pain, Mattar said, but that’s not true for everyone. 
'I myself love freezing cold water,' he said. 'But if my wife drinks it, her stomach will hurt.'"

From what I have read, stomach acid plays an essential role in the immune system by killing harmful bacteria and parasites that are ingested with food, so temperature would play a part in that.  Stomach acid activates the enzyme pepsin needed for protein digestion. The stomach acid will send signals to the pancreas to produce digestive juices and enzymes to further break down food.   I put the link above so that you can read more about the enzyme pepsin, and what it does in the digestive system. 

According to Women's Health Magazine, the weather can affect the body in so many different ways, in addition to what has already been discussed in the sources I have found.  It can cause headaches and migraines, dry skin, low energy and changes in mood, vitamin D deficiencies, breathing problems, colds, joint pain, and weakened hair and nails.  The weather can even affect your blood pressure.  According to The Mayo Clinic, your blood pressure is higher in the winter and lower in the summer. 
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