Have you ever heard of International Red Shoe Day?
International red shoe day is celebrated each year on July 25th to remember those that have passed from an Invisible Illness. An Invisible Illness is a condition that is not outwardly visible to others and can include a broad range of conditions. These conditions can confine a person to their homes or even beds for extended periods. It is estimated that 10 percent of 61 million Americans are affected by an invisible illness. International Red Shoe Day was organized to bring awareness to many of these illnesses which include, Lyme disease, fibromyalgia, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, crohn’s disease, hypothyroidism, vasculitis, irritable bowel syndrome, osteoarthritis, diabetes, celiac disease, migraine, chronic headaches, and heart conditions, just to name a few. Below is a list of some Invisible illnesses in more detail.
Lyme disease is a tick-borne illness. It can be transmitted from the bite of an infected tick. Many of the symptoms include a rash, fever, headache, and fatigue. If not caught and treated correctly the infection can spread to other areas of the body and affect your joints, heart, and nervous system.
Fibromyalgia is a chronic pain disorder, which can cause widespread pain throughout the body. Symptoms include pain and stiffness throughout the muscles and joints of the body. Along with numbness in the extremities, fatigue, and problems thinking or concentrating. It is believed that Fibromyalgia is a hereditary disorder that can be triggered by non-genetic factors such as environmental that can cause a person to develop the disease.
Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a disease that can affect the body’s central nervous system. It’s thought to be an autoimmune disorder that can slowly eat away at the protective coating of the nerves that can disturb the communication between the brain and the body. Many of the symptoms include loss of vision, numbness or weakness, pain, fatigue, and a lack of coordination.
Rheumatoid Arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease that uses healthy cells within your immune system to attack the healthy cells in your body. Occasionally, arthritis attacks your joints, your hands, wrists, and knees. This can cause the lining of the joint to become inflamed making the joints swell and cause discomfort for those with RA. Symptoms of Rheumatoid Arthritis or RA include tender, swollen joints, stiffness in joints after prolonged periods of inactivity, fatigue, fever, and a loss of appetite.
Chron’s Disease is a disease that causes inflammation in the lining of your digestive tract, usually in the small intestine. Symptoms of Chron’s disease include diarrhea, cramping or abdominal pain, weight loss, fatigue, fever, and anemia. Chron’s is an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), that is caused by an autoimmune reaction in the person’s body. This is where the person’s immune system attacks the healthy cells in the body. Genetics also plays a role in a person getting Chron’s disease, if there is a family history of it there is a chance of the person getting it.
Hypothyroidism is when the thyroid gland cannot produce enough thyroid hormone. This can cause a deficiency in the body and can affect your metabolism, heart rate, and body temperature. Symptoms of hypothyroidism include sensitivity to the cold, constipation, dry skin, weight gain, and fatigue. More often hypothyroidism affects more women than men. This is due to the hormone fluctuation women go through during pregnancy and again during menopause.
Vasculitis is the inflammation of the blood vessels in the body. As the blood vessels thicken and swell, the blood is harder to pass through the body. This makes the vessel walls weaken or stretch over time, causing organ and tissue damage. Symptoms of Vasculitis include fever, headache, fatigue, weight loss, and general aches and pains though out the body. People that are more likely to get vasculitis disease are those with blood cancer or an immune system disease like rheumatoid arthritis or Lupus.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS)
Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) is a gastrointestinal disorder that affects the stomach and intestines. IBS is a condition where the muscles of the intestines contract more or less than they should. This can cause excessive gas, abdominal pain, constipation, and diarrhea. People that might get IBS range in age from teens to those in their late forties. Emotional stress, tension, anxiety, food intolerances, and even a family history of IBS also play a factor in someone getting the illness.
Diabetes is a condition where your body does not produce enough insulin in the pancreas. This causes the body’s blood glucose levels to go too high. There are three main types of Diabetes, type 1, type 2, and gestational diabetes. Type one usually affects Children, teens, and young adults. Type 2 takes years to develop and is typically diagnosed in adults. Gestational Diabetes can develop when a woman is pregnant and never had diabetes. The hormones the woman’s body is going through while pregnant are causing the body’s blood sugar to go too high. Symptoms of diabetes include going to the bathroom often, excessive thirst, fatigue, excessive weight loss, and blurred vision. If not caught in time, high blood sugar levels in the body can cause serious health issues like heart disease, loss of vision, and even kidney disease.
Asthma is a condition that causes the airways to become inflamed, swell or produce an excess amount of mucus, making it difficult for the person to breathe. This inflammation can cause a combination of symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, chest pains, and shortness of breath. Asthma can affect both adults and children, ranging from minor nuisance to major problems that can lead to a life-threatening asthma attack.
Celiac disease is an autoimmune disease that is caused by a body’s reaction to foods that contain gluten. The reaction from gluten products can cause inflammation in the small intestine and may damage the lining of the organ. Celiac disease can cause long-lasting digestive issues that can keep the body from getting proper nutrients. The symptoms of the disease can vary between children and adults. The most common ones are diarrhea, fatigue, bloating, gas, abdominal pain, nausea, and weight loss. People that are more likely to get Celiac disease either have a family history of it or have an additional autoimmune disease that has triggered it.
Migraines are a neurological disease that causes severe headache pain usually accompanied by a throbbing sensation on one side of the head. Migraines can be triggered by things such as hormonal changes, Drinking alcohol, Stress, Sleep changes, Physical strain, weather changes, medications, and even foods. There are a few things that might make someone prone to having a migraine, a family history of having them and a person’s age are two of the main reasons. Migraines tend to decrease after the age of thirty. Women are more likely to have migraines or even headaches due to the change in hormones during menstruation.
One of the most significant challenges those with an invisible illness have is a lack of validation and understanding from their peers. While many invisible illnesses are manageable with medication and physical therapy, many of these conditions do not go away and can have consequences and lasting effects on the body. International Red Shoe Day let us take a minute to show those we know with one of these illnesses that we care for and want to support them.