How to Heal A Bruise, An ITP Book

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For Patients and Parents living with ITP,

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There is so much information available about the medical problems of immune thrombocytopenia.  Written by doctors and professionals, it’s difficult to read and even harder to decipher. Medical journals and scientific papers never address the questions you actually want answers to – What is it like to live with ITP?  How can I still live my life?  What will it feel like now that I have ITP?

HOW TO HEAL A BRUISE was inspired by Meghan Brewster’s most popular ITP articles.

 HOW TO HEAL A BRUISE includes stories from Meghan’s ITP Journey, some of the latest ITP research and advice for living a life with ITP.  This book is comprehensive yet easy read; from a person who actually has ITP.

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About the Author, Meghan Brewster

meghan brewster, author, how to heal a bruise, itp blood disorderMeg was diagnosed with immune thrombocytopenia when she was 22 years old.  She struggled to read dense medical journals and scholarly articles to learn more about her ITP.  What was missing from the ITP conversation was information from other patients, about what immune thrombocytopenia was really like.  

In 2012, Meg set up ITPANDME.  Three years later, it’s one of the largest ITP blogs in the world.  Meg has been writing about ITP for more than 6 years, has heard hundreds of patient stories and answered many questions about ITP life from patients and parents.

HOW TO HEAL A BRUISE is an honest account of her journey with ITP, as well as practical advice for living with ITP and information from some of her most popular articles.

This book takes you through the stages of ITP from coming to terms with your diagnosis to finally accepting and thriving with ITP, what to expect while living with ITP and how to make sure it doesn’t take over your life.  An honest and informative account of living with an autoimmune disease.

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Praise for How to Heal a Bruise

The book includes lots of ITP information such as, the science, history, tips and guides, alongside strong emotional support. It is now my own ITP Bible! I could not recommend it more highly! FULL REVIEW HERE from Katie Meloy

Beyond being a book documenting scientific and medical information, is the personal experience of Megan Brewster after seven years of living with this blood disorder and is enriched in fourteen chapters…I didn’t know what to expect on How To Heal A Bruise, then simply I couldn’t stop reading.  FULL REVIEW HERE from Laura

‘My partner and I absolutely love your blog and find many of your post’s to be just what we are looking for.’ Andy USA

‘Thank you for your thoughts…they’ve helped me with finding perspective in our reality.’ Jenny Australia

‘Love the way you write.  Meg, you made me chuckle.’ Bron Australia

‘Thank you for writing this, it will surely help the newbies.’ Padma, India

Features

  • The History of Immune Thrombocytopenia.
  • Practical Diet and Lifestyle advice.
  • Pregnancy and Babies with ITP
  • Advice on Natural Therapies and alternative medicine.
  • Possible Isolation and Depression from an ITP diagnosis.
  • Covering up Bruises, tips for healing and hiding bruises.
  • First aid tips and tricks for around the home.
  • ITP fears and how to overcome them.
  • A Huge list of References – Meg’s favourite blogs, books and ITP Resources.

Pt One – How to Host an ITP Awareness Day

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In the lead up to this years ITP Awareness Day, September 26th (Yes , yes we know it is technically the official day for America not Australia – Don’t be a party pooper!  Australia doesn’t have a day yet ) we are getting a little excited.  ITP and Me have been doing a little bit of party planning and want to share a few helpful tips to make sure you have the best ITP Awareness day EVER!

Firstly, Drinks

What to serve those thirsty guests who have come all the way to your ITP Awareness day party, only to arrive dehydrated and looking for something to sip on as the mingle with your guests?  It is important to always give all your guests a prop or something they can play with while they are in the company of strangers.  It is all about making people feel relaxed and hydrated.

We suggest serving a very dark bloody juice, to get people talking.  After a few experiments in the juice department this one looks like the crowd favourite.  I have written before about the benefits of drinking juice here, Juicing – The Best Explaination and now it is time to put that into practice at your very own ITP awareness a party.

IVIG Beetroot Juice

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  1. 3 carrots
  2. 3 strawberries
  3. a beetroot
  4. an orange or lemon
  5. ginger to taste

This IVIG Beetroot Juice will actually be very beneficial for any guests who have ITP.  Ginger is a great anti-inflammatory and contains minerals that are good for the heart such as magnesium and copper.  Oranges are packed with Vitamin C and you’ll get lots of Vitamin A and K from the Carrots and Beetroots; along with a dash of anti oxidants from the strawberries.  For my favorite juicer, I can’t go past the cold press, slow masticating juicer I have at home.  Yummy!

Sangria

itp awareness day, ITP Party

  1. bottle of red wine
  2. bottle of lemonade
  3. cup of orange juice
  4. chopped fruit to serve.

Sangria is one of the easiest cocktails you can make for a party and is perfect for lots of guests.  You can make a big batch of it in a jug and let people help themselves.  It is also easy to quickly made a bit more in case you run out, just have the garnish fruit chopping in the fridge and ready to go.

 

More to come…

Over the next three weeks, we will be posting more handy tips about decorating your house for the party, which fun foods to serve and how to provide some quality entertainment for your ITP Awareness Day.  We may even throw in a few ways that you could raise awareness and perhaps even some money for ITP Awareness.  Stay tuned for Part Two.

Calcium and ITP

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Feature image from PINTEREST

Natural Calcium

Calcium is the fifth most abundant element by mass in the earths crust.  It is also the fifth most abundant ion dissolved in seawater.  Calcium is essential for all living organisms; in particular their cell physiology, and humans are no exception.  As a major material used in the mineralization of bones, calcium is the most abundant metal on mass in the human body.  Without enough Calcium in your system you are in trouble.  Did you know that Prednisone leaches calcium from your bones?

Taking Prednisone? Take Calcium too

If you are taking any amount of Prednisone on a daily basis then you absolutely need to be increasing your calcium intake, either through diet or with a supplement.  There seems to be a grey area in the Medical profession at the moment about how much prednisone requires a Calcium and Vitamin D supplementation.  All I can say about this is that any amount of Prednisone is too much and every possible precaution should be taken to avoid developing Steroid-Induced Osteoporosis.

Steroid-Induced Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a weakening of the bones, which causes them to lose their density and become brittle and more susceptible to fracture.  Your bones are the organs that produce your blood.  Your bones make your platelets!  Your bones are not something that can be replaced with metal if they are broken or too weak.  Long-Term steroid use weakens your bones, as the Prednisone will leach Calcium from them.

Calcium Absorption

Calcium is absorbed in the small intestine.  This absorption is aided by the presences of Vitamin D in your system at the time of the Calcium uptake.  Most people on Prednisone will need between 1000 to 1500 mg of calcium per day.

The Top 5 ways to increase you Calcium, Naturally

    •  
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      Full cream milk

      Milk (Dairy ) So the best source of Dietary Calcium is of course Dairy.  Australians are very lucky with the quality and quantity of Dairy products available here.   We are able to access a variety of milk, yoghurt, cheeses, cream and curds.  If you are looking for more calcium, then this is where you find it. However, if like me, you have switched to an anti inflammatory diet such as the Paleo Diet, then you will need to look for non dairy sources of Calcium.  I still consume a bit of milk cause I love the Vitamin D + Calcium combo, but a small amount of milk is not enough.

    • help with itp
      sun dried little fish

      Tiny fish (with the bones)  These tiny fish would include Anchovies, White Bait or Sardines.  Canned salmon and other fish are also sold with the bones included, but you would need to read the label.  Eating these fish will provide you with a nice dose of fish oil, probably a bit of Vitamin D, and a whole lot of Calcium.  What better food to eat for bone health than another animal’s healthy bones.  If you are looking for the next best source of Calcium after dairy, then this is it.

  • Seaweed Sushi rolls, Japanese – get the fatty fish and the seed weed together.  The only chance I get to eat seaweed is in Japanese and Korean restaurants.  If anyone knows any great Nori recipes please let me know.
itp vitamins and supplements
Chia seeds
  • Seeds  If you are a vegetarian or Vegan, then the Calcium in seeds will be a great natural healthy source.  Seeds can sometimes be overlooked because they are so small, but it is because of their size that they can easily be incorporated into any dish.  They are easy to sprinkle over salad or add to sauces and bakes,  mash up with vegies, or include in a stir-fry – actually everything could benefit from a little sprinkling of seeds.  Seeds high in Calcium include Chia Seeds, Flax Seeds or Linseeds, depending on where you are from and Sesame Seeds or Tahini will work just as well.
  • itp vitamins and supplements
    roasted almonds

    Almonds  Almonds are the Paleo Dieters dream.  These tasty little nuts may be used for sweet and savory dishes, blended into a baking meal or eaten by the handful between lunch and dinner.  Aim to always have a supply of Almonds in your house, just stay clear of the salted kind – Salted Almonds are moreish and a huge no no for people taking Prednisone.  To read more about staying away from Salt, click here.

 

Vitamin E

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Feature image from HOWSWEETEATS

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is a very important and interesting vitamin.  Vitamin E is the collective name for a group of fat-soluble compounds with distinctive antioxidant activities.  In addition to its activities as an antioxidant, vitamin E is involved in immune function, regulation of gene expression and other metabolic processes.

It is important that you inform yourself about vitamin E before self administering as vitamin E is an active vitamin that may interfere with other medications.

Vitamin E deficiencies can be just as harmful to the body as taking an excessive amount.  There is a risk of toxicity if vitamin E is taken without the proper precautions and medical support.  This article is not a comprehensive account of the risks and benefits of vitamin E, but an introduction to your own research.

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Vitamin E and Health

Many claims have been made about vitamin E’s potential to promote health and prevent and treat disease. The mechanisms by which vitamin E might provide this protection include its function as an antioxidant and its roles in anti-inflammatory processes, inhibition of platelet aggregation, and immune enhancement.

A primary barrier to characterizing the roles of vitamin E in health is the lack of validated biomarkers for vitamin E intake and status to help relate intakes to valid predictors of clinical outcomes.

Vitamin E is famous for its regenerative properties on skin, nails and hair.  The antioxidants in vitamin E actually neutralise the free radicals that cause skin damage.  We are not just talking about looking better.  Remember that you skin is your bodies largest organ, it regulates your temperature, senses your environment, detoxifies the body, absorbs nutrients through the skin and holds our whole body together.  Our skin is a very important part of our lives.

Interactions with Medications

Vitamin E supplements have the potential to interact with several types of medications. A few examples are provided below. People taking these and other medications on a regular basis should discuss their vitamin E intakes with their healthcare providers.

Anticoagulant and antiplatelet medications
 – Vitamin E can inhibit platelet aggregation and antagonize vitamin K-dependent clotting factors. As a result, taking large doses with anticoagulant or antiplatelet medications, such as warfarin, can increase the risk of bleeding, especially in conjunction with low vitamin K intake. The amounts of supplemental vitamin E needed to produce clinically significant effects are unknown but probably exceed 400 IU/day.

ITP, vitamin E, avacado, low platelet count, low Platelets, ITP disease, immune system disease, itp blood, immune thrombocytopenia, itp, Prednisone, Like vitamin C, vitamin E plays a significant role as an antioxidant, thereby protecting body tissue from the damage of oxidation. It is important in the formation of red blood cells and the use of Vitamin K. Many women also use it to help minimize the appearance of wrinkles, and mothers use it to help heal minor wounds without scarring, as it is valued for its ability to soothe and heal broken or stressed skin tissue.

Vitamin E Rich Food

  • Sunflower seeds
  • Nuts and nut oils almonds and hazel nuts
  • High value leafy greens like spinach, collard and dandelions.
  • Avocados
  • Asparagus
  • Kiwifruit
  • Mangoes
  • Tomatoes

You can find a more detailed breakdown of Vitamin E here – The Vitamin E Fact Sheet from the National Institute of Health, US – and here – Through the  Nutrient Reference Values from the National Health and Medical Research Council, Australia.

I am now heading dowstairs to make these FUDGY AVOCADO BROWNIES – oh my they look amazing!

 

Vitamin D, Naturally

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Feature image from ITPANDME

We should be striving for a healthy lifestyle that naturally includes a variety of foods and activities that enables us to get a rich assortment of vitamins and minerals without even thinking about it.  This sort of diversity rich diet should be a daily habit for us all.  Unfortunately it is not.  Habits are made by practice and conscious thought.  So lets take a moment to create a few habits that will ensure we always have enough Vitamin D in our system.

What can Vitamin D do for you?

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a natural source
  • Improve your Mood – Did you know that platelets carry a small amount of serotonin through your blood stream to various receptors in your body?  With a very low platelet count, there is no way you are getting the same serotonin absorption as others.  Serotonin is what contributes to a positive happy mood.  Without as much Serotonin, it is important to not let yourself get too sad.  Vitamin d can help you there, as a natural mood elevator it can help you maintain a positive outlook.
  • Strengthen your bones – Vitamin D is directly related to bone health, which cannot be over looked.  Your bones are not simply the scaffolding of you body, but living changing tissue that produces blood from its marrow.  Vitamin D keeps your bones strong and healthy – which is where all your platelets are going to be produced.
  • Tone your muscles – Vitamin D is believed to improve muscle tone and strength, as there are vitamin D receptors in striated muscle, and Vitamin D appears to play a role in the signalling that is responsible for muscle protein synthesis.

The Top 5 ways increase your Vitamin D, Naturally

  • Sunshine  – This is the cheapest, easiest and most publicly accessible form to Vitamin D.  It is also my favourite.  But the sun has been getting a lot of bad publicity over the years, leading to people shying away from a lazy afternoon nap in the sun.  You do not need to be out in the sun, uncovered for hours to get the benefit of Vitamin D, instead just head out for 10 minutes at a time, go for a walk, read the paper in the sunshine, bbq, open all the curtains and let the sun shine in.  Alternatively you could fly to Fiji or Bali for a few weeks – for your health of course.
  • Fatty fish – For example Salmon, Trout, Orange Roughy, Anchovies, Tuna and Whitebait.  There are many more to choose from but I have just listed my favourites.  There are a lot of reasons to be eating more fatty fish such as naturally occurring fish oil and Omega 3.  It is a fantastic Paleo option for those are interested in eating a paleo Diet.
  • Whole Un-homogenized Milk– Full cream or full fat milk does contain a very small amount of Vitamin D, probably the lowest of all the suggested food sources, but I have included it here for a very specific reason.  That is the combination of Calcium and Vitamin D in this tasty, fatty and filling food item.  One must be very thorough in order to get enough of both Vitamin D and Calcium to get the best results, and while there might not be a huge amount of Vitamin D found in full cream milk, you can be sure that with all that Calcium your body will absorb every single gram of it.

    itp vitamin D
    free range eggs
  • Free Range Eggs – So I have to tell you that all the good stuff is in the yolk.  All of the fat-soluble vitamins such as A, E, D and K are there.  While there is a large number of foods for meat eaters to consume that contain vitamin D, there are a lot less options for Vegetarians.  The egg yolk is one of the few foods naturally containing Vitamin D and should not be discarded in favour of it’s more slimming, protein rich white.  There is also a notable amount of Calcium, Phosphorus and Magnesium, which we should be taking as well.
  • itp, vitamin D, itp vitamins and suppliments
    mushrooms

    Mushrooms  – Mushrooms a good source for vitamin D, and that you can naturally multiply their levels by exposing them to sunlight?  They actually have the capacity to adsorb the vitamin D in sunlight, much like our own skin.  Next time you are cooking with mushrooms, leave them in the sunshine before you cook with them and the will have charged like a battery, ready to be consumed.  Dried Mushroom that have been dried in the sun are the very best choice – Shiitake mushrooms are particularly high in Vitamin D.

Taking Prednisone?  Get Vitamin D!

When I started to come to terms with just how much long term damage Pred was doing to my system I was alarmed, to say the least.  I was already taking Calcium to make up for the deficit created by taking pred.  But did you know that in order to metabolise calcium in your body and use it to benefit your bones, you need to be getting enough Vitamin D?  Taking Caltrate, or any other single calcium supplement without enough Vitamin D is a total waste of time!

Vitamins & Supplements

VITAMIN E Vitamin E is a very important and interesting vitamin.  Vitamin E is the collective name for a group of fat-soluble compounds with distinctive antioxidant activities.  In addition to its activities as an antioxidant, vitamin E is involved in immune function, regulation of gene expression and other metabolic processes.

VITAMIN D Low levels of Vitamin D have now been linked to auto immune diseases.  Vitamin D keeps your bones strong and healthy – which is where all your platelets are going to be produced.  Vitamin D is abundant down here in Australia and yet we are suffering from a large number of people who are Vitamin D Deficient.  It is not only important for our health and mind but if you are taking Prednisone or another Steroids as part of your treatment then you need to be getting enough Vitamin D to help fight against the nasty side effects.  Vitamin D is a democratic Vitamin available to everyone, for free.  Yet it is being treated like a commercial product sold off by pharmaceutical companies.  For 5 easy, cheap and natural ways to boost your Vitamin D, go to the full article.

CALCIUM Did you know that Prednisone leaches calcium from your bones?   Calcium is essential for all living organisms; in particular their cell physiology, and humans are no exception.  As a major material used in the mineralization of bones, calcium is the most abundant metal on mass in the human body.  If you are taking any amount of Prednisone on a daily basis then you absolutely need to be increasing your calcium intake as every possible precaution should be taken to avoid developing Steroid-Induced Osteoporosis. For 5 easy ways in naturally increase your Calcium intake and help balance your regular diet, go to the full article.

VITAMIN K When Vitamin K was discovered it received the letter K because of its ability to affect clotting in the blood.  Vitamin K is a fat soluble Vitamin that plays a critical role in blood clotting.  It regulates blood calcium levels and activates proteins involved in bone health.  Deficiencies of Vitamin K can result in anemia, bruising, bleeding including spontaneous bleeding from the gums and nose (we’ve all been there!) and a heavy menstruation in women.  For Vitamin K rich foods, go to the full article on Vitamin K.

VITAMIN C Vitamin C also referred to as ascorbic acid, is found in high concentrations in immune cells, and is consumed quickly during infections.  Vitamin C is also a natural antihistamine.  Vitamin C is a water soluble Vitamin, with  any excesses in the blood rapidly excreted in urine.   This makes Vitamin C a low risk, low toxicity Vitamin.  However, the reparation of Vitamin C rich foods is important as Vitamin C diminishes when cooked, depending on the food.