HOBBIES ARE GOOD FOR YOUR HEALTH

Do you have a hobby? Hobbies can give meaning and purpose to your life in retirement. As Robert Putnam points out in his book, Bowling Alone, it’s easy to discount the importance of hobbies and social engagements. Putnam details the widespread decline in civic engagement, from PTA memberships to neighborhood potlucks and bowling leagues. Over a couple of generations, Americans have misplaced the concept of free time.

SPECIAL PLANS FOR YOUR SPECIAL PEOPLE

Lily is a beautiful, active and full of personality toddler who happens to have Down syndrome. Lily’s parents and I have been friends for years and I have the continuing pleasure of watching Lily and her siblings grow up. While Lily is becoming a physical therapy rock star and hitting all her milestones in a timely fashion, her parents have started planning for the future.

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WHY WE ENJOY OUR HOBBIES

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines a hobby as “a pursuit outside one’s regular occupation, engaged in especially for relaxation.” Hobbies include anything from playing a musical instrument to gardening, bird watching or sewing. A hobby is a way of focusing on something you enjoy just for the sake of that enjoyment. It may also be a way to clear your mental palette. You could be stressed out by a situation at work or the challenges of raising children and need an escape.

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Ulcerative colitis (UC) is chronic inflammation of the large intestine (colon). It is classified as an inflammatory bowel disease. The symptoms of this autoimmune disease can vary from person to person, depending on the part of the colon that’s affected and the severity of the inflammation. UC is known to involve an interaction of three things: genetics, the immune system and environmental factors. Inflammation occurs when the immune system responds inappropriately to the intestinal tract.


UC symptoms can range from mild to moderate to severe based on where the large intestine is inflamed. Symptoms include abdominal pain or discomfort; loose stools; blood or pus in stool; fever; weight loss; and frequent, recurring diarrhea. People with UC also have tenesmus – a sudden and constant feeling that you have to move your bowels. Some people have periods of frequent flare-ups, followed by fewer symptoms (remission) and then another flare-up.


UC is diagnosed through blood tests, stool samples, colonoscopy and sigmoidoscopy. Your physician may also take X-rays of your abdomen to look for complications such as a perforated colon. UC can lead to other serious complications, such as profuse bleeding that can cause anemia; bowel rupture; and an increased risk of colon cancer. Your doctor or specialist may want to perform surgery to address these issues.  

HEALTH OVERVIEW - COLITIS

Be open and honest with your primary care physician about your symptoms. This will allow her to help you find the best treatment plan for you. (It’s not like she’s never heard any of these concerns before.) Staying on track with your treatment as prescribed will help you manage your condition. Scientific advances have led to a greater understanding of the disease and more treatment options, such as aminosalicylates (5-asas), which decrease inflammation in the lining of the intestines; antibiotics to treat infection; corticosteroids; and immune modifiers (immunomodulators), which modify the body’s immune system activity to stop it from causing ongoing inflammation. These treatments, of course, depend on the type of colitis you have and your symptoms.



For more information, visit www.crohnsandcolitis.com.