The Month Ahead: Matters of the Heart (and Body)

  • No man is an island entire of itself; every man

    is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.

                                    - John Donne, 1624


    When the last time anyone involved in your medical care talked to you about sex? Have you ever been asked about the impact RA has on your sexuality or relationships? Has a healthcare provider ever talked to you about how to talk to others about your disease?


    None of us is alone. We are connected to others through the practical and emotional, through activities and roles, through necessity and love. What affects us affects those others in our lives, traveling along the invisible threads that connect us to them. When you have a chronic illness it doesn't remain only within you, it impacts how you relate to others and how they relate to you. Throughout February, writers from many HealthCentral communities will participate in our Valentine's Day project, writing about sex, romance and the other relationships in your life and how they are affected by various forms of chronic illness. We have a special page set up to feature posts written for this topic - hop on over and check out what's in our archives from different sites. You may want to bookmark that page and come back regularly to see the new posts added every week.

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    Here on the RA site, several of our writers are participating in this project. Cathy, Leslie and myself will write about sex and RA. Chad will explore RA and dating and Lisa, who is newly engaged, will also write about relationships and RA, as well as how her disease is affecting her choices as she plans her wedding. Brad will share how RA has brought him and his wife closer together and V will expand our theme, writing about loving our neighbors.


    Matters of the heart is not just a metaphor this month. RA is about more than joints: this is a systemic disease that affects other parts of your body, as well. One important part of your body that's affected by RA is your heart - in fact, RA means you have an increased risk of heart disease. Since February is American Heart Month, what better time to look at how to maximize your heart health? Later this month, I'll continue my preventative health screening series and look at ways you can stay healthy and assess your heart health.


    Being aware of what is happening in your body and what could happen in the future is part of the process of maximizing your health when you have a chronic illness. Staying informed is important - it gives you a better chance to know whether what's going on is part of living with your disease, side effects of medication or something else altogether. This month, Leslie will also take a look at how headaches are related to RA and Lupus.


    Tomorrow we celebrate Groundhog Day and it is a reminder that spring is coming. For those of us who live in the more northern parts of the continent, this is very welcome news. To help us throw off the sluggishness of winter and get ready for the coming changing of the seasons, V will write about getting out of the winter doldrums and incorporating a healthy diet and gentle exercise.


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    February is also Black History Month. In her second post this month, Cathy will explore the at times different experience of RA in African-Americans and share her experience with participating in Black History Month.


    Please join us as we explore these and other topics this month. We hope you will share your experiences in SharePosts, as well!


Published On: February 01, 2012