Thinking Ahead by Cultivating Healthy Habits Now
Having a lifelong condition like sickle cell disease forces people to grow up pretty quickly. We must acknowledge certain responsibilities early on, and we can’t afford to ignore them because we don’t want ignorance to worsen our health.
Many have the luxury of growing up without health concerns, or not having to deal with them until much later in life. As a result, behaviors and habits are influenced by factors other than those that stem from necessity, such as the people around them. If they must eventually confront health complications later down the line, such as high cholesterol, drastic lifestyle changes might be made to improve quality of life.
But when someone learns early on to live with conditions like sickle cell, they often develop healthier habits to aid well-being.
Based on the people I’ve spoken to and the things I’ve seen, I believe sickle cell is a condition that becomes more severe with age. So, I am proactively cultivating healthier habits now to ensure that I have the best chance at a good future.
Some of the habits I am trying to adopt are:
If my health gets harder to manage as I get older, I don’t want to be in a position of feeling unwell yet still relying on a 9-to-5 job to provide for my family. I don’t want to choose between my health and my job. I want to have the flexibility and freedom to enjoy life and look after myself the best way I know how.
With this in mind, I am motivated to work as hard as I can now to build my career and side businesses to ensure I’m in a comfortable position and never have to compromise.
People with sickle cell tend to have deficiencies of certain vitamins, such as vitamin D. These deficiencies can add to existing sickle cell complications, such as bone pain and fatigue.
In addition to vitamin D, I take other vitamins and supplements that have a range of benefits for my body. Please speak to your doctor before taking vitamins to learn which may benefit you.
Drinking enough water
Staying hydrated is one of the most important parts of managing sickle cell disease. However, drinking sufficient water has a plethora of other health benefits that range from clearer skin to better muscle performance.
Although my anemia causes me to have less energy than a typical healthy adult, it is still important to spend time working out. The benefits of exercise range from a reduced risk of heart disease to mental health improvements. It is best to start new exercise regimens slowly, meaning low reps and sets, so that our bodies can adjust. Eventually, as our abilities increase, so will the intensity of our exercises.
We can do many more things to improve our long-term health, such as stretching daily and getting enough rest. But when it comes to healthy lifestyle changes, results aren’t seen overnight — they have a cumulative effect. Building these habits now will benefit me eventually.
Listing these habits was easy, but actually putting in the work can be challenging. The best way I can stay consistent is through an accountability partner, or someone who checks up on me and makes sure I stay on track.
Do you agree that people with sickle cell are more mindful of their health at an early age? What have you started doing to ensure you are as healthy as possible? Please share in the comments below.
Note: Sickle Cell Anemia News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Sickle Cell Anemia News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to sickle cell anemia.