Showing posts with label ask an expert. Show all posts
Showing posts with label ask an expert. Show all posts

Monday, 15 February 2022

Ask an Expert: Six Tips For Losing Weight Without Fad Diets

Those of us taking steriods often struggle  to lose weight (or even to stop gaining weight), let's revisit the basics of weight control with an expert in the field of food.

The following post, by Clare Collins, Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Newcastle has been republished from The Conversation.  See the original version here:

Health Check: six tips for losing weight without fad diets
  Clare Collins,
University of Newcastle

Monday - start diet. Tuesday - break diet! Wednesday - plan to start again next Monday.

If this is you, it’s probably time to get off the diet roller coaster and make some bigger changes to the way you eat, drink and think about food.

Here are six tips to help you get started.

1. Improve your diet quality score

When trying to lose weight, it might be tempting to quit carbs, dairy or another food group altogether.
But to stay healthy, you need to meet your requirements for important nutrients like iron, zinc, calcium, vitamins B and C, folate and fibre. These nutrients are essential for metabolism, growth, repair and fighting disease.

Our review of diet quality indexes used to rate the healthiness of eating habits found that eating nutritious foods was associated with lower weight gain over time.

Improving your diet quality means eating more fruit and vegetables, lean meats, poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, legumes, dried beans, wholegrains and dairy (mostly reduced fat).

Rate your diet quality and get brief feedback using our online Healthy Eating Quiz

2. Mum was right - eat your veggies

Fruit and veg are high in fibre, vitamins and phytonutrients, but low in total kilojoules. So eating more can help you manage your weight.

A study of more than 130,000 adults found that those who increased their intake of fruit and vegetables over four years lost weight. For each extra daily serve of vegetables, there was a weight loss of 110 grams over the four years. It was 240 grams for fruit. Small, but it all adds up.

Not all vegetables are equal. Michigan Municipal League/Flickr, CC BY-NC-ND

Drilling down to specific fruit and veg gets interesting. Increasing cauliflower intake was associated with a four-year weight reduction of about 620 grams, with smaller reductions for capsicum (350g), green leafy vegetables (230g) and carrots (180g). The reduction was 620g for blueberries and 500g for apple or pears.

It was not good news all round, though. Corn was associated with a weight gain of 920g, peas 510g and mashed, baked or boiled potatoes 330g.

3. Limit your portion size

If you are served larger portions of food and drinks, you eat more and consume more kilojoules. That sounds obvious, yet everybody gets caught out when offered big portions - even when you’re determined to stop when you’re full.

Research shows offering larger portions leads adults and children to consume an extra 600 to 950 kilojoules (150-230 calories). This is enough to account for a weight gain of more than seven kilograms a year, if the kilojoules aren’t compensated for by doing more exercise or eating less later.

4. Watch what you drink

A can of softdrink contains about 600 kilojoules (150 calories). It takes 30-45 minutes to walk those kilojoules off, depending on your size and speed.

Children and adolescents who usually drink a lot sugary drinks are 55% more likely to be overweight.
Switch to lower sugar versions, water or diet drinks. A meta-analysis of intervention studies (ranging from ten weeks to eight months) found that adults who switched had a weight reduction of about 800 grams.

5. Cue food

Our world constantly cues us to eat and drink. Think food ads, vending machines and chocolate bars when trying to pay for petrol or groceries. Food cues trigger cravings, prompt eating, predict weight gain and are hard to resist. They can make you feel hungry even if you are not.

Ditch the oily popcorn and take your own snacks. rpb1001/Flickr, CC BY-NC

Try to minimise the time you spend in highly cued food environments. Avoid food courts, take a list when you go to the supermarket and take your own snacks to places where highly palatable food is advertised, like the movies.

This will reduce autopilot eating, which sabotages your willpower.

6. Resist temptation

A treatment for food cue reactivity is called exposure therapy. With the help of a psychologist or health professional, you expose yourself to the sight and smell of favourite foods in locations that commonly trigger overeating, like eating chocolate when watching TV. But, rather than eat the chocolate, you only have a taste without eating it.

Over time, and with persistence, cravings for chocolate reduce, even when cues such as TV ads or people eating chocolate in front of you are present.

You can also draw on your brain’s own self-management skills to resist temptation, but it takes conscious practice. Try this food cue acronym, RROAR (remind, resist, organised alternative, remember and/or reward), to train your brain to resist temptation on autopilot.

When you feel yourself pulled by cues to eat or drink:
  • Remind yourself that you are the boss of you, not a food cue.
  • Resist the tempting food or drink initially by turning your back on the cue. (This gives you time to think about next steps.)
  • Have a pre-Organised Alternative behaviour to use against food cues. Grab a drink of water, walk around the block, check your phone messages, read, take a walk in the opposite direction. Diversion works.
  • Remember what your big-picture goal is. Do you want to eat better to help you feel better, reduce medications, lower blood pressure, improve diabetes control or manage your weight?
You can add another R for Reward. Financial incentives help change behaviour. Each time you complete your organised alternative behaviour put $1 in a jar. When it builds up, spend it on something you really want.

Swap to small plates to reduce your portion sizes. Robert S. Donovan/Flickr, CC BY-NC

You need a plan

The journey off the diet roller coaster needs a cunning plan. Here’s how you can put it all together.
  1. Start by assessing your diet quality using the Healthy Eating Quiz.
  2. Next, plan weekly meals, drinks and snacks. Write a grocery list and buy extra fruit and vegetables.
  3. Swap to small plates, cups and serving utensils. You’ll serve and eat less without thinking.
  4. Aim for half your plate covered with vegetables and salad, one-quarter lean protein (trimmed meat, chicken, fish, legumes) and one-quarter grains or starchy vegetables (potato, peas, corn).
  5. Change your food environment to avoid constant prompts to eat.
  6. Minimise the places you allow yourself to eat and drink to reduce food cue exposure (not in front of TV or computer, at a desk, or in the car).
  7. Keep food out of sight (unless it is fruit and vegetables). Store in opaque containers.
  8. Remove workplace food displays, such as food fundraisers.
  9. Plan driving and walking routes that do not take you past fast-food outlets or vending machines.
  10. Prerecord TV shows and fast-forward food ads.
The Conversation
Clare Collins, Professor in Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Newcastle
This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Wednesday, 7 October 2022

Facebook Lupus Chat

Want to be part of a Facebook discussion of lupus, with some of the leaders in lupus research and treatment in the USA?

Hospital for special surgery: Lupus Chat. In partnership with the Alliance for Lupus Research, SLE Lupus Foundation & the Lupus Institute, get answers to your questions! Wednesday, October 14 5.30-6.30 ET Like HSS and join the conversation on Facebook.

For Australian Eastern Standard Time (Brisbane Time), this is at 7.30am Thursday, 15 October.

(Now that has me thinking, what would it take to organise something similar with Australian researchers and rheumatologists?  Watch this space, when I recover from the adventure of the fleeing feline and have some energy, I'll see if I can manage it.)

Tuesday, 10 February 2022

Anyone want the gold standard treatment for their arthritis?

Gold nanoparticles could be used to build a new class of anti-arthritic drugs that are more effective and have fewer side- effects, according to new research from UOW. 

The researchers, led by PhD chemistry student Lloyd James, tested the efficacy of gold nanoparticles in a type of immune cell or white blood cell, called macrophages, which play a significant role in the autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis.
Gold compounds have been used for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis for approximately 80 years, and are usually given via intramuscular injection. Its use tapered off in the 1990s due to limited efficacy, slow onset of action and numerous side effects, including kidney damage and skin rashes.
However, this latest research shows new promise for the glittery compound.  In their study, recently published in the Journal of Inorganic Biochemisty, the researchers found that by reducing gold into tiny nanoparticles (50 nanometres or 1000 times smaller than the width of a human hair), more gold was absorbed into the cells, with much less toxicity.
“We found that gold nanoparticles were taken up by more cells and in greater quantities than the traditional gold drugs, but without any toxicity which is often associated with negative side effects in clinical therapy,” Lloyd said.
“Effectively, our study found gold nanoparticles didn’t kill immune cells. While cell death is something that you look for, for example in cancer therapies, when it comes to rheumatoid arthritis, cell death can be associated with negative side effects,”  

So why does shrinking the size of gold particles boost effectiveness and decrease side effects?
“That’s the million-dollar question,” Lloyd said. 
Lloyd and his supervisors think that it may be partially due to there being more gold available in the cell - thousands of tiny nanoparticles compared to just a handful of traditionally sized particles. However this is a question their research is now trying to answer, along with the specifics on just how small the nanoparticles need to be.
The Wollongong-born chemist, who started his undergraduate degree with UOW seven years ago and is hoping to finish his PhD this year, said that while this research is in its early stages, it may eventually show promise for the estimated 445,000 Australians who suffer from rheumatoid arthritis, a painful and incurable condition in which the body starts attacking its own joints. 
“It’s very much a possibility that gold nanoparticles could become a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis,” Lloyd said, adding that it may be given orally in the future.  
“I find that very interesting because gold was one of the early success stories for treating rheumatoid arthritis. And now it’s coming full circle.” 
The use of metals for medicinal purposes in actually more common than most people think. Colloidal silver has been used for centuries as an antiseptic, a bismuth compound has been used to quell stomach problems and a platinum drug called cisplatin has been a great success story for chemotherapy.
“Cisplatin is used in the vast majority of testicular cancer cases and has some very successful remission rates. It is now used as a comparison for a lot of other drugs,” Lloyd said.
“I think there is a lot of untapped potential in the medicinal properties of metals.”
This research project also involves Associate Professor Stephen Ralph, Dr Carolyn Dillon, Professor Jenny Beck and Professor Nick Dixon from the School of Chemistry and Dr Ron Sluyter from the School of Biological Sciences. 
Reprinted with permission from University of Wollongong. 
Original story here.

Tuesday, 7 January 2022

What is the Immune System?

This article republished from The Conversation

Explainer: what is the immune system?

By Fabien B. Vincent, Monash University; Fabienne Mackay, Monash University, and Kim Murphy, Monash University

The immune system is an integral part of our body, keeping us safe from diseases - from the common cold to more severe illnesses such as cancer.

The immune system is often the reason we feel unwell when we have an infection, but is the reason we recover from that same infection. It can also malfunction, causing illness such as allergies and autoimmune diseases.

There are two interwoven components of the immune system: the innate and adaptive immune systems. Both are essential in preventing disease and function in very different ways.

Innate immune system

The first line of defence against an infection, the innate immune system consists of tissues such as skin and the lining of our gastrointestinal system. These are a physical barrier, which help to stop infectious pathogens from entering our body.

The innate immune system also has specialised cells that attack any pathogen that enters our body. Cells, including neutrophils, macrophages and dendritic cells, are all able to ingest pathogens and kill them inside the cell.

The innate immune system acts quickly; these cells are present throughout the body and can act within minutes to kill invading microbes and limit the damage that they can cause to the body.
But the innate immune system cannot always rid the body of pathogens. That’s where the second, more specialised, line of defence comes into play.

Adaptive immune system

The adaptive immune system is more evolved than the innate immune system, which responds the same way to all pathogens. The adaptive immune system uses different techniques to destroy different microbes.

There are three major cell types associated with the adaptive immune system: B cells, helper T cells and killer T cells.

B cells make antibodies. Antibodies are small chemicals that are able to bind to some microbes and prevent them entering cells, or bind to the toxins that some pathogens produce and neutralise their effect. Antibodies also “flag” microbes so innate cells can more easily destroy them.

Antibodies are also able to pass through the placenta and through breast milk and help protect babies from disease until their own immune system matures.

A rise in temperature is one of many immune system responses to infection. Flickr/sarabeephoto

Helper T cells, as the name implies, help other cells of the immune system. They allow innate cells to see and kill pathogens and help B cells make the right type of antibody to most appropriately deal with a pathogen.

Killer T cells secrete chemicals to directly kill virally infected cells. Viruses cannot reproduce outside of a cell, so they invade our cells. Antibodies cannot get inside the cell so instead, the killer T cells kill the whole cell, preventing the virus from reproducing. After the cell has been killed, cells of the innate immune system will come and clean up the debris.

The adaptive immune system can remember pathogens, so the second, or subsequent, exposure to the same pathogen results in a much quicker and stronger immune response. Often you won’t even know you’ve been exposed to a pathogen. This is why you generally only get diseases like the measles once and it’s the same system we exploit through vaccinations.

Vaccinations expose your immune system to parts of pathogens in a way that won’t make you sick, but will prime your immune system to recognise the pathogen. When you’re exposed to that same pathogen “for real”, the adaptive immune system reacts so quickly you won’t get sick.

Vaccines are just one way to improve your immune system. There is increasing evidence that a diet high in fibre will also influence your immune system. However the effect of vitamin supplements, such as Vitamin C or D, on the immune system is poorly understood.

When the immune system goes wrong

Sometimes the immune system responds inappropriately. Allergies, such as allergic rhinitis (hay fever), allergic conjunctivitis, allergic asthma or allergic eczema (also known as atopic dermatitis), are caused by an immune response to an invader that won’t cause disease.

Allergies are caused by a malfunction of the immune system.

Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, multiple sclerosis and type 1 diabetes, occur when the immune system recognises cells of our own body as foreign and mounts an immune response against them. That is the irony - our anti-sickness system becoming the actual cause of sickness!

Understanding the immune system is crucial in medicine; new vaccines are being designed that will improve our immune response against pathogens, cancer treatments that use the immune system to destroy cancer cells are being developed, newer treatment of serious allergies and autoimmune diseases aim to manipulate and dampen specific aspects of the immune system without hindering our ability to respond to dangerous pathogens.

Everyday, our knowledge of the immune systems increases, opening even more doors to treatments and cures for a variety of diseases.

Fabienne Mackay receives funding from the National Health and Medical Research Council
Dr Kim Murphy does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.
Fabien B. Vincent does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

The Conversation
This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.

Tuesday, 18 June 2022

A Guide To A Second Medical Opinion

Another post republished from The Conversation, because it may be of relevance to people with lupus. We spend so much time with doctors, expert advice on when and how to get a second opinion may be quite useful to some of us.

A guide to a second medical opinion

By Michael Vagg, Barwon Health

How many dealers did you visit before you last bought a car?

Were you happy with the first quote you got for a painting job or kitchen renovation?

When it comes to your finances, your house and your belongings, it makes sense to do your research, shop around and make sure you’re getting the best advice.

But it seems few Australians take such a rigorous approach when it comes to their health.

In order to get the best outcome from a second opinion, it’s important to first negotiate the issues of power and autonomy in your relationship with your treating health professional. As a patient, it is your absolute right to seek advice and to be in charge of what happens to your body.

Respect for autonomy is drummed into health professionals, because the power balance in the clinician-patient relationship is generally with the clinician. Too little autonomy, and you will feel like you are being patronised or given no say. You should expect to be treated as a partner and collaborator in the process. And your opinions and preferences should be respected and honoured, regardless of the option you choose to take.

How do doctors respond?

Discussions about loyalty come up repeatedly, and as a pain specialist, I’ve met many patients who are doggedly loyal to their practitioners under any circumstances. Such people usually feel a second opinion is akin to a betrayal or a breach of trust, and wouldn’t think about it unless they had fallen out completely with their treating doctor.

GPs can have a relationship with their patients which goes back decades, and in my experience are unlikely to feel that it will be permanently derailed by seeing another clinician. When I did some general practice during my training, the much more experienced GPs used to welcome the chance to have a fresh set of eyes on the problem. They were happy to co-operate and provide you with all the information a second opinion doctor might find useful.

Getting a second opinion is not akin
to a betrayal or a breach of trust. 
Image from
Some of my colleagues tend to have differing levels of comfort with this idea. There are those who learnt their skills during the era of “doctor knows best” who regard articulate, informed consumers with suspicion. There are those with personalities that are naturally authoritarian, and some who are stressed or busy to the point that they react with frustration or anger to a request from a patient for extra information or time to consider their options.
Other colleagues seem to need reminding that they are meant to be assuming some basic responsibilities and duties of care rather than writing prescriptions or giving referrals on demand. With them, the balance is completely towards patient autonomy, and they seem to feel no real responsibility on their part to educate, advise or motivate their patients. They won’t worry if you want to get another opinion; they’ll have moved on the second you’re out the door.

If your first-opinion doctor seems to be like either of the last couple I’ve mentioned - and reacts either poorly or not at all to your request - a second opinion might be exactly what you need.

Why seek a second opinion?

Patients who seek a second opinion do not necessarily think their diagnosis is wrong, nor do they necessarily disagree with the recommended treatment. A recent French study found that having standard practice guidelines which made diagnosis and treatment consistent did not reduce the need for second opinions. Most patients are not just looking for a Dr House to come up with a novel diagnosis or treatment.

Patients aren’t looking for a Dr House, they want
 genuine information in a readily understandable 
form. Flickr/guilhembertholet

The answer is simply communication. Most patients who seek a second opinion do so because they are unhappy with the information they’ve been given about their situation. They may also be unhappy with the way their diagnosis and treatment recommendations were communicated to them; they are seeking a clearer explanation or a doctor they feel a better rapport with.

Clinicians who provide accurate information in a readily understandable form would likely reduce the need for their consumers to seek second opinions.

Tips for getting a second opinion

Every patient story is different but there are some things that make the process of seeking a second opinion a little smoother:

1. Let your usual treating health professional know. It will help preserve your longer-term relationship with them and make sure the new one you are seeing can get all the information they need.

2. Be clear in your mind about what the reason for the second opinion is. Are you seeking an opinion, or possibly ongoing care from the new provider? Are you prepared to re-think the current diagnosis or treatment plan if this is recommended? A 2012 Israeli study found that second-opinion clinicians tended to choose treatment with greater intervention if they knew there was a pre-existing, more conservative opinion.

3. Be open with the new health professional that you are seeking a second opinion. This will focus the clinician’s attention on the part of your care that you’re concerned about. There is limited literature about the real-life benefits of second opinions, but if they are mostly being obtained for reasons of communication style and rapport, it would be plausible to assume that you will be more satisfied and do better generally with a clinician you can relate to well.

4. Second opinions may lead to spending more time and effort, especially if you have to travel to another suburb, town or even interstate. Be aware that you may feel more obliged to follow advice you’ve gone to so much effort to obtain. This is also one of the reasons that you should have clear in your own mind what the point of the consultation is. Take your time to consider the second opinion as carefully as you did the first.

5. Don’t consider the internet to be the final word on second opinions. The smartest people in medicine are not the ones writing on blogs and forums or selling their unique patented products. Stick to reliable, trustworthy sites from big institutions, and use this information to get a “background briefing” rather than to make a diagnosis yourself.
Medical diagnosis is an arcane art form, informed by equal parts of education, training, experience and judgement. It’s about having a whole diagnostic strategy for a given problem, including knowing when a negative test is as valuable as a positive one. Often it’s easy; occasionally it’s impossible - and sometimes it doesn’t matter at all.

Michael Vagg does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.
The Conversation
This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.

Monday, 17 June 2022

Superfoods: Not so Super After All?

Article reprinted from The Conversation, an expert look at "superfoods" and health.

Superfoods: not so super after all?

By Emma Beckett, University of Newcastle and Zoe Yates, University of Newcastle
Superfoods is a buzzword now part of mainstream food and health language, often touted as miracle foods that cure all ills, stave off ageing and disease, or aid weight loss.

In practice, superfoods are more readily evoked when it comes to exotic and ancient fruits. Goji berry and acai berry, for example, or pomegranate and mangosteen are all famously regarded as being super. Liver is actually more dense in nutrients than any of these foods, but have you ever heard it called a superfood?

As you may have guessed by now, superfood is not a scientifically or technically defined term. It’s not a word that medical professionals or researchers really use. Indeed, it has little meaning in the medical research community.

Nonetheless, enter superfood in any internet search engine and it will return millions of hits - mostly from news, magazines, blogs and sales sites. Repeat the search in the US National Library of Medicines online database of biomedical research publications, PubMed, and you get a grand total of three hits along with the helpful suggestion that you may have, in fact, intended to search for “superfund”.

But that doesn’t mean there’s no scientific research into superfoods. Researchers just don’t call them “super”. And there’s a good reason for this: the giant leap from testing foods in the lab to their amazing marketed powers is simply too far to be scientifically or ethically sound.

Just because a component of a superfood may kill cancer cells in a dish in the lab doesn’t mean that eating lots of a food containing this component will prevent you from getting cancer.

What’s more, the assumptions behind superfood science can be problematic. Much of the available evidence comes from cell culture or animal models. While these models are good tools for scientists, they don’t automatically apply to humans.

Humans have considerable environmental and genetic variances that make us much more complicated.
Even when these studies are done in humans, they’re often tested in very high concentrations over short durations that are not reflective of regular balanced diets. There simply aren’t enough long-term, realistic studies to support the claim that superfoods can stave off illness or old age.

It’s easy to see why the concept is popular; being able to superfoods that protect you from all kinds of harm are a seductive notion. But the idea may be doing more harm than good. At best, it’s a misleading marketing tool, at worst, it may encourage bad habits.

Superfoods can give people a false sense of security, letting them believe that they can somehow balance out other unhealthy habits.

The prohibitive cost of superfoods is also an issue. The average price of “super” berries such as goji and acai is tens of times higher than humble raspberries, blackberries or apples. But they certainly don’t have ten times the nutritional value.

A common feature of superfoods is that they contain large amounts of antioxidants.

Antioxidants protect cells in the body from free radicals, which are reactive molecules originating from sources such as cigarette smoke, processed foods and normal metabolism. Too many free radicals damage cells, leading to age-related diseases, such as cancers.

Most of the research on the health benefits of dietary antioxidants comes from cell and animal models. This research is, again, not necessarily transferable into the regular dietary context.

The studies that have been done in humans generally show short-term elevations of antioxidants after consuming particular foods in very high concentrations, as you would expect. Avoiding sources of free radicals to start with is probably more beneficial than trying to balance them out with antioxidants.
Nutrients are clearly important for good health but seeking out large doses from any one source is not likely to be beneficial. Simply having more of a particular vitamin or mineral is not necessarily better.
Indeed, too much can sometimes be just as harmful as not enough. Also, the body cannot store certain nutrients so there’s no benefit in consuming large amounts of them; they will only be expelled as waste.
A fixation on superfoods can distract people from the benefits of healthy everyday foods. What most western diets are lacking is not any one super source of nutrients, but variety. Everyday fruits, vegetables and whole foods each have their own unique nutrient profile and contain individual factors that can be said to promote health and wellbeing.

No single food item, or even the top ten superfoods combined, have enough superpowers to replace a balanced, varied and healthy diet. Couple this with avoiding excessive consumption of processed and refined foods and alcohol, and you will have done everything you can, nutritionally speaking, to help you stay healthy and well into old age.

Emma Beckett receives funding from CSIRO (CSIRO OCE PhD Scholar)
Zoe Yates does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

The Conversation
This article was originally published at The Conversation. Read the original article.

I've reprinted this article because, while it's nice to think that there is hope in miracle cures, and foods with special properties, no single food or supplement is going to do all the things people claim "superfoods" do.  Nothing replaces a healthy balanced diet, whatever moderate exercise you can manage, and taking your medication.

Sunday, 26 May 2022

Ask An Expert: Concealing Lupus Rashes

While my daughter was in the chair for her make-up and hairdressing for her wedding, I took the
Concealers are either yellow-based or green-based.
opportunity to ask the beautician about an issue that bothers a lot of people with lupus: how do you hide rashes on your face?

The answer wasn't to layer on more and more make-up.

She said to start with a silicon-based primer. (Yes, it sounds like painting a house.)  This puts a layer between your make-up and your skin.  It protects the skin from having any reactions to the make-up (so it means your make-up shouldn't aggravate your rash), and also helps the make-up last longer.

The next thing is to choose the concealer colour you really need.  I always thought concealers were supposed to match skin tone.  Actually they're meant to be the opposite of what they're concealing.

Concealers are either yellow-based or green-based.

Yellow-based concealers are to cover things like dark rings under your eyes.  Anything dark, and that blue-black colour gets covered with yellow.  The darker the colour, the more yellow the concealer needs to be.

Green-based concealers are to cover red, so red rashes, broken capilliaries, any red marks at all.  Again, the darker the red, the more green the concealer needs to be.

You don't need tons of concealer, just the right shade.  The cheaper brands of make-up (which I usually use) don't give a lot of choice, and usually just have lighter and darker tones. So for those of us who really have something to conceal, probably need to get high-end concealers which are categorised according to how yellow or green they are. (Even if we keep using our $5 make-up apart from that.)

Saturday, 18 May 2022

Will DisabilityCare Australia Cover Lupus?

I've had a response to my request for information on whether the National Disability Insurance Scheme, now named DisabilityCare Australia, will support people with lupus.

It's a definite "maybe". DisabilityCare Australia is aimed at supporting people with severe disabilities, so whether, and how much, it will support anyone is decided on a case-by-case basis.

A spokesperson from the Department of Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs said: "Eligibility for support will not be defined by diagnosis of a particular disability but by an assessment of an individual’s capacity and their need for care and support and whether the person’s needs are best met by DisabilityCare Australia and not more appropriately met by other systems, such as the health care system.

"There isn’t a list of who is in and who is out because the scheme is designed to be about what an individual can do and what they need to function.

"Likewise, the support provided through DisabilityCare will be based on an individual’s needs.

"DisabilityCare Australia staff will work closely with people with disability participating in the scheme to develop a personal plan that funds reasonable and necessary supports to meet their needs, goals and aspirations taking. In deciding what supports are reasonable and necessary to fund, consideration will be given as to what supports other systems such as the health system might more appropriately provide to the person."

The scheme is being rolled out gradually throughout Australia, beginning with selected regions of New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.  Next year, it will be starting in the Australian Capital Territory and the Northern Territory.

It will be rolled out across Queensland by 2019.

For more information on DisabilityCare Australia, go to the NDIS website:

Other government supports which may help people with lupus are listed in my earlier post: Support for Chronic Illness.

Video: Prime Minister Julia Gillard announces launch of DisabilityCare Australia

Saturday, 13 April 2022

Ask an Expert: How to Hide Thinning Hair

Lots of lupies struggle with hair falls from time to time.  Some lose all their hair, others, like me, just find they have thinner hair and lots more visible scalp.

Here's a video from American hairdresser Daniel Robb (from YouTube) explaining some of the things women can do to disguise thinning hair. (I used the layered hair option.)

Monday, 5 November 2022

Someone just asked me about hydrotherapy exercises.

Hydrotherapy is exercises done in a heated pool. The water helps provide support, and the warmth also makes a difference to painful joints. I find hydro exhausting, but it does help ease joint pain, and to loosen up stiff joints a little.

To get my hydrotherapy program, I went to a physiotherapist to have exercises tailored to my needs - and I'd recommend anyone else to do the same.

To give you an idea of the kinds of exercises involved, here are some demonstrations from Gary Moller on You Tube.