Step 1 – Proper hydration: It is estimated that 75% of Americans have mild, chronic dehydration. This will affect blood flow so getting the proper amount of water on a daily basis is critically important. It must be pure water. Pop, coffee, diet soda, alcohol, or other doctored beverages to not count. Your body must replace 2-3 quarts of water everyday. As a rule of thumb, for every 15 lbs of weight, you need 8 ounces (1 cup) of water.
Step 2 – Stay warm: Cold reduces blood flow because capillaries constrict. If you live in a cold environment, then take extra precaution to keep your extremities, especially fingers and toes, properly protected.
Step 3 – Avoid high altitudes: Geographic locations with high elevations should be avoided due to the reduce level of oxygen in the atmosphere.
Step 4 – Exercise: Intense exercise should be avoided but mild to moderate aerobic exercise can be a benefit. Exercise improves blood flow and can produce collateral capillary beds that can aid in providing alternative pathways for blood flow when an arterial pathway becomes blocked. Before starting an exercise program, you should always consult your physician.
Step 5 – L-arginine supplementation: The body utilizes L-arginine to create nitric oxide which is necessary for the proper function of the cardiovascular system especially in the control of the elasticity of the arterial walls. Now, before you go out and start buying L-arginine supplements you need to be aware of the dark side of this amino acid. L-arginine ingested in its pure form tastes terrible and will simply go into the stomach, move into the intestinal tract and then into the gut, negating most of its benefits. There is only one way for L-arginine supplement to be safe and effective and that is in a powder form with a specific glycoside rider. By itself, L-arginine can have some serious side effects like: increasing free-radical brain damage, activation of the herpes simplex virus and reduced sperm motility. This is why L-arginine is also called the “double-edged sword.” Because L-arginine is a blind amino acid it must be attached to a rider to properly direct it to the area of the body where it will have an impact. This rider must use a low-glycemic method.
Step 6 – Organic germanium: Organic germanium was first synthesized 20 years ago. It is a trace mineral that helps support the immune system. Its many beneficial attributes include oxygen enrichment, free-radical scavenging, and heavy-metal detoxification. Organic germanium is also known to be a rejuvenator and aid in increasing stamina, endurance, energy, and heart muscle tone. Toxicological studies have documented its rapid absorption and elimination from the body. But, as a precaution, you should discuss this with both your physician and pharmacist especially if you are on any type of medication.
Step 7 – Rest: It is important to get adequate rest since stress can have a negative effect on your overall health and wellness as well as lower your immune system.
Step 8 – Support your immune system: There is so much that could be said in this area. Increasing your consumption of antioxidant rich fruits and vegetables would be an important first step. Daily consumption of at least 500 mg of vitamin C would help both the immune system and liver function.
Step 9 – Support your liver: Again, there is much that could be said in this area. Adequate amounts of green leafy vegetables with proper water intake are two good first steps to help the liver. Taking 500 mg of vitamin C will help increase the rate of synthesis of glutathione which is a major component in liver detoxification.
Step 10 – Avoid people with colds and flu: Try not to place yourself in situations that allow for infections to occur. This may require you to use a mask at times if your work or school environment is compromised with illness issues.
Step 11 – Immunizations: Stay up-to-date with the proper immunizations needed. Work with your health care provider to set up a schedule so that all the proper steps are taken to stay on top of this area.
Step 12 – Folic acid supplementation: Folic acid is a necessary component for the production of red blood cells. The recommended daily amount for adults is 400 micrograms and 600 micrograms in pregnancy. If you are thinking about taking a larger amount, then you should discuss this with both your physician and pharmacist.
Step 13 – Support groups: Because of the emotional challenges of this disease it always helps to find a support group to share frustrations, challenges, hopes, and successes.
Step 14 – Family planning: Due to the genetic nature of sickle cell disease, it is always helpful to discuss options with a family practitioner who has experience in genetic counseling.
Because of the genetic nature of sickle cell disease there is no pill to cure it. This can leave individuals and family members feeling helpless in their battle against the symptoms of this disease. Discuss these 14 steps with a qualified physician to develop a plan of action that will help to empower you to have better control over sickle cell disease.