When someone breaks a leg or arm, you can usually tell by the cast they wear or the crutches they use to get around. But what about things you can’t see on the outside? Mental illness and even some physical illnesses are often overlooked and dismissed simply because they cannot be easily spotted by the average person; however, they can be just as serious as illnesses we see that affect someone’s appearance. Here are a few often-overlooked illnesses that can seriously lower someone’s quality of life:
Osteoporosis occurs when bones begin to atrophy. As people age, the bones grow weaker. With Osteoporosis, bones do not have enough mass to support the body (especially the spine) and become so fragile that even the slightest stress, like bending over or coughing, can cause a fracture. Immense back pain is common with Osteoporosis, as are walking difficulties and joint replacements.
While Osteoporosis mainly affects people as they get older, young adults can get it too, which is where this illness is often overlooked. This condition is avoidable though, and someone’s risk of getting Osteoporosis decreases if they maintain a healthy diet and exercise in their youth. For people with Osteoporosis, pain management therapies like hot and cold therapy or TENS therapy can help reduce pain in the lower back, while canes and walkers can help people get around with less risk of a back injury. Orthopedic braces can help keep the back straight as well and can be worn under clothes if desired.
Endometriosis affects millions of people with female reproductive systems -- and many may not even know they have it. The condition stems from the Endometrium—the body’s uterine lining—growing outside the uterus as well as the inside. Just like it should, this endometrium develops alongside the one inside the uterus and will shed once periods begin. However, since the outer endometrium has nowhere to go and is stuck in the body, it can stick to the ovaries and fallopian tubes, causing cysts. It can also cause organs to stick to each other, and in many cases, develop scar tissue since the areas surrounding it are irritated.
Endometriosis can cause intense, debilitating pain while someone is going through their period, but is often shaken off by those who have it and others alike as “just period cramps.” Unlike period cramps, endometriosis also comes with pain during sex, excessive bleeding during the menstrual cycle, and even infertility in some cases. While there is no cure, there are ways to combat the pain from endometriosis using a mix of birth control, painkillers, and in some cases, surgery. For those looking to manage pain without taking lots of painkillers, TENS units can help stimulate muscles around the uterus to aid with cramping, as can a heating pad on the affected area as well.
Similar to endometriosis, Crohn's Disease can affect people without their notice. Crohn's is defined as an inflammatory bowel disease characterized by chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal tract. This includes any part of the digestive system, including the small intestine and even sometimes the esophagus, but inflammation is most common in the large intestine. With Crohn's disease, those affected may experience intense bouts of diarrhea, abdominal pain, nausea, bleeding, and even weight loss.
Crohn's disease may have no cure, but it is manageable. Eating a balanced diet with lots of fruits and veggies can help reduce symptoms, as can avoiding foods that could upset the digestive system like cured meats and processed sugars. Alongside diet, there are medications to help with Crohn's as well that can reduce swelling and even decrease system flare-ups.
If you or a loved one is suffering from an invisible illness or has any concerns, speak with your doctor as soon as possible. To browse items that can help relieve pain or manage symptoms, visit Medical Supply Depot.