Health

  • Abdominal Pain
    • Abdominal pain can be acute and sudden in onset (parasitic infection, food poisoning, etc.), or the pain can be chronic and long-standing (ulcers, irritable bowel, etc.). Abdominal pain may be minor and of no great significance (lactose intolerance, minor food allergies, etc.), or it can reflect a major problem involving one of the organs in the abdomen (pancreatitis, ecoptic pregnancy, etc.) or a more generalized, but still serious, problem (porphyria, protein deficiency, etc.) The characteristics of the pain - location, timing, duration, etc. are important in diagnosing its cause. Persistent or recurring abdominal pain should ALWAYS be evaluated by a medical professional.
  • Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome
    • Knowledge of different circadian rhythm disorders will help people differentiate whether they have a genuine sleep disorder or whether there are other factors at work. This article will go into some details of Advanced Sleep Phase Syndrome.
  • Amino Acid Requirements, Concentrations, and Functions
    • A theory that has been floating around is that the sanguinarian condition is due to an imbalance in amino acids in the body. All well and good, and actually does have possibilities, but most in the community are not very familiar with the concept of amino acids and what they do. Amino acids serve in many functions in the body: building blocks of protiens, transport signals in the nervous system, bases for making the bodies energy, and even in making hormones. I am not going to go into the chemistry of amino acids (since that in itself is a three credit course!) but just say that all amino acids can be basic (negative charge) or acidic (positive charge) and that can effect what they do in the body.
  • Anemia Overview
    • Anemia in general is one of many conditions in which the circulating red blood cells are either deficient in number or in total hemoglobin content, relative to the normal ranges.
  • Animal Blood
    • Animal blood. The very mention to some conjures up thoughts of disgust. But, sometimes, its all you can get, and though not great, its better then nothing at all. Like all blood, though, there are risks involved, and that what I want to address here. The most common types of animal blood are cow, sheep, chicken, pig, goose, and deer. This is because these are the most common types of animals taken to slaughter. As you will see, most of the disease result from poor slaughter technique allowing for contamination of the meat. However, as we tend to eat undercook or raw meat, and of course raw blood, these disease become more of an issue for us. The "Affected Species" includes those we are most likely to come into contact with, but is not a complete list of carriers of the diseases.
  • Averages For Men and Women
    • Often sanguinarians find themselves looking for what sets them apart from other people, and often these differences are agreed upon simply by the thought that "a lot of us have it, so it must be a trait". The problem with this view is that it rarely, if ever, takes into account normal human variation. This is essential. We cannot claim to be different, if we don't know what we are different from. Below you will find the averages of the human body for height, weight, pulse rate, body temperature, sick days, life expectancy, sunburn time, migrane rates, and a few other tidbits thrown in just for curiosity sake. All the information below was found in The Gale Book of Averages. Variation for each is listed below the tables.
  • Basic Digestion Advice
    • If you are having digestion troubles, don't forget that quite often it can be simply a matter of what you're eating, and when you're eating it. Some digestion issues can be resolved with simple modifications to your diet, or by having a better understanding of the reasons food can impact your digestion.
  • Blood Borne Diseases
    • Many people know that drinking blood is really not the safest thing in the world, but at the same time close their eyes to the reality of just what causes it to be unsafe. A fact I find disturbingly common. For sanguinarians this can be a serious subject, and one that I have found few know that much about. I have broken the risks of blood-drinking into two pages, this one, on Blood-Borne Diseases, and a second on (/oblbrsk.htm)Other Blood-drinking Risks. On to the info:
  • Blood Result Interpretations
    • Often times it seems people get blood tests run, which is good, but then don't know how to interpret the results or understand the abbreviations used. Not uncommon, as they are confusing. Here I will try and list the most common parts of a blood panel, their abbreviations, what they test for, what the normal values are (Laboratory reference ranges, though the "normals" vary depending on the lab used), and what high or low could indicate. Also, these values and desriptions are based on the assumption that the cells themselves are apparently normal in size, shape, and structure. However, I do make the statement I am not a human doctor, and so any in-depth questions should be directed to your doctor or nurse. These are the horses, but they know about the zebras and "what if"s.
  • Bloodletting and UK Law
    • Bloodletting is used by many people for many different reasons. Vampyres use bloodletting to feed. Others use bloodletting as part of sex play. Still others use bloodletting as a form of release. How does the law view bloodletting for what may be described (inaccurately) as recreational purposes?
  • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Overview
    • Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, or CFS, gets mentioned a lot on various real vampire forums. Some websites even list it as a symptom, I suspect primarily because of the "lack of energy" feeling many CFS patients have. This article will go into some of the known details of CFS, and list some of the ailments that mimic some of the symptoms.
  • Circadian Rhythms Overview
    • Mythology describes vampires as being nocturnal, either by preference or necessity. It's pretty common among the vampire community for people to report being nocturnal by preference, but the assumption is often made that this is a symptom of vampirism - and thus unusual outside of the community - when it's more common outside the community as well than many people realize.
  • Components of Blood From Different Species
    • It is well known in the sanguinrian community that human blood is the best. It stops the cravings, makes us feel better, and the effects last the longest. However, it is also known that animal blood can sometimes be a nice subsititute. What is the difference? Why does one work better then the other?
  • Dealing with Photosensitivity - General
    • Actually, dealing with photosensitivity is much more simple and painless than you might think. It's just that the causes are not always simple and painless. This article works under the assumption that the photosensitivity issues are limited to oversensitive eyes and somewhat sensitive (or easily prone to burning) skin, and thus need minor or basic protective measures. (This used to be broken up into two articles - I've cleaned them up a lot and combined them into one so the information is all in one place.)
  • Dealing with Photosensitivity - Sunscreens
    • Sunscreens are a lotion, spray, gel or other topically-applied product that reflects or absorbs some of the sun's UV radiation on the skin, and helps prevent sunburn. Light skin is more susceptible to sun damage than darker skin, so people with lighter skin tones need stronger sunscreen (The melanin in darker skin affords some natural skin protection.) The higher the SPF, the more protection a sunscreen is supposed to offer against UV-B rays (typically the part of the spectrum that causes sunburn.) (You can also see the eMedicine article linked below on sunscreens and photoprotection for more information.)
  • Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome
    • Many people in the vampire community cite "not being a morning person" as a symptom of real vampirism. This often shares the same signs as Delayed Sleep Phase Syndrome, a circadian rhythm disorder where the person's normal wake/sleep schedule is shifted 2 or more hours later than what is commonly considered "normal".
  • Depression
    • Disclaimer: I am not a health-care professional. The information contained here is neither intended nor implied to to be a substitute for professional medical advice. This guide is for informational purposes only, and is in no way meant to take the place of a visit to and advice from a health-care professional. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment, or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Nothing contained in this service is intended to be for medical diagnosis or treatment.
  • Diet - Stomach Troubles
    • We all have what is best described as "stomach trouble" now and then - whether vampire or not - and it can be due to a variety of causes, ranging from food allergies to food poisoning - if you know you are allergic to a specific food, the best bet is to avoid it - and if you are fatally allergic (as with some people who have peanut allergies) it becomes even more imperative to know WHAT is in the foods you're eating! But for situations where you have to deal with foods that you know "don't agree with you", here's a selection of ways to reduce or eliminate digestive trouble.
  • Digestive/GI Problems - Disease Processes
    • Sometimes a digestive complaint is more long term or chronic, a result of a disease or what's often referred to as a "functional disorder". This article covers some of the various diseases processes associated with common digestive complaints.
  • Digestive/GI Problems - Transient Issues
    • Inevitably, someone comes along with complaints similar to these that come up suddenly, or over a recent span of time:
  • Fibromyalgia
    • Many real vampires often complain of various aches and pains. While it can easily be chalked up to "overdoing it" with various strenuous activities, sometimes a person will eventually be diagnosed with Fibromyalgia. Due to the number of people that seem to be diagnosed with it, others have gotten an impression that Fibromyalgia is a vampire symptom - when it's most definitely NOT.
  • Fighting Misinformation
    • The amount of misinformation surrounding vampires is startling. However, when it comes from someone claiming to be in our community, it becomes very disturbing. Out of sheer curiosity, I was surfing the MSN chat room scene when I came upon a Vampire room, which shall remain nameless. Shortly after my arrival, I was given a link to the community associated with the room. On the introduction page I was horrified to read that one could probably not become infected with HIV through blood feeding because stomach acids kill HIV.
  • Food Poisoning
    • A number of people cycle through the lists, the chatrooms and the message boards that claim that they can't eat normal food because they get various bad symptoms after eating. Since I have no way of knowing whether they're just experiencing food poisoning or if they've actually checked things out thoroughly, I don't feel it's my place to say, either way. :)
  • Hypovolemia / Hemorrhagic Shock
    • Hypovolemia basically means low blood volume. "Hypo" means low, "vol" is for volume, and "emia" refers to blood. The reduction of blood volume in hypovolemia means there is a reduction of oxygen carrying capcity. Thus, symptoms of hypovolemia may include cold hands and feet, light headedness, infrequent urination, increased heart rate, and weakness.
  • Insomnia Basics
    • Insomnia is a common problem characterized by a persistent difficulty falling asleep and/or staying asleep, despite having ample time to do so. This can range from mild to severe, depending on how often and long it happens for. A patient with insomnia may be tired and grumpy during the day, have trouble concentrating, and be prone to falling asleep.
  • Iron and Iron Deficiency: Why Most People *Aren't* Deficient
    • Some people take iron because they feel tired and "run down" all the time, and they believe that they have anemia and thus, need to take iron. In the vampire community, I have seen people automatically dish out the advice "Oh, you're a vampire? You need iron!"
  • Irregular Sleep-Wake Disorder
    • Patients with Irregular Sleep-Wake Pattern will usually have a typical average sleep time within a 24 hour period, but it will be broken up into three or more shorter blocks of sleep time in each 24hr time period. This article will go into the differences between this and other circadian rhythm disorders.
  • Joint Pain Overview
    • The average person should not be in acute pain on a daily basis - pain should be short-term, self-limiting, and ideally, show improvement in under six weeks.
  • Keeping That Youthful Appearance As You Get Older
    • There is nothing supernatural about looking younger than you actually are - but there is a LOT of influence from your environment and what you do to your body. Let's go over the most common visual aging factors first:
  • Maintaining Good Health
    • Anywhere I turn in the community, it seems there's always someone complaining about some aspect of their health. Most people would think that emotional issues and physical health problems are part and parcel of being a vampire, but for the most part it doesn't have to be - you just need to know how to deal with what comes up, and how to prevent most of it. Here is a list of things you can start with:
  • Malnutrition: Protein Deficiency
    • Some people take iron because they feel tired and "run down" all the time, and they believe that they have anemia and thus, need to take iron. In the vampire community, I have seen people automatically dish out the advice "Oh, you're a vampire? You need iron!"
  • Nightshades and Arthritis
    • Nightshade foods can be a surprise source of pain - in fact, many people may suffer from it without knowing what the actual cause is. The pain is systemic and widespread, affecting many joints. Some people get inflammation as well - some do not. In any case, the pain can be severe enough to be disabling, especially when nightshade foods are eaten in large amounts.
  • Non-24 Sleep-Wake Syndrome
    • Unlike either Advanced Sleep Phase or Delayed Sleep Phase, Non-24 Sleep-Wake Disorder is a longer than average sleep-wake pattern, not just one that's offset from "normal". This article will explain more about Non-24 and why it's often harder to deal with than most people realize.
  • Other Risks of Blood-drinking
    • Besides the obvious (I hope) risk of becoming infected with a Blood-Borne Disease there are other risks involved, both mental and physical, to your and your donor that you definitely should be aware of. Those wishing to be "turned" especially should take note of these two pages.
  • Pica Basics
    • Occaisionally someone gets the idea that blooddrinking is one of the many forms of Pica, and assumes that anyone engaging in blooddrinking practices are suffering from it. This is usually followed by advice to see the doctor (which, actually, is good advice anyway...) to get the "problem" fixed.
  • Porphyria
    • Porphyria is one of those ailments that gets pegged as "the vampire disease" because the porphyria forms affecting the skin have photosensitivity as one of the side effects. While the photosensitivity may be a shared problem, the effects of it are not. This article will provide an overview of the porphyrias and explain why someone with porphyria isn't necessarily vampiric.
  • Possible Causes for Photosensitivity
    • Photosensitivity can happen for many reasons, not just because of vampiric tendencies. Please take the time to rule out the mundane causes - wouldn't you feel better knowing that you have a medical condition that can be treated and being able to get it treated before it was too late? This article is broken down into the following sections:
  • Prions, Kuru, Cannibals and Sanguinarians
    • Prion diseases are scary. In the bluntest terms, they are fatal within a year of symptoms developing. In humans, the symptoms are depression, memory loss, loss of coordination and fine motor control, eventually leading to inability to move and death. The thing that causes the disease is called a "Prion". It is a little protein in the brain, all brains. The part that causes the problem is a mutant form of this little protein. The mutant form, when it encounters a healthy form, mutates the prion. Eventually, the mutant prions work their way through the brain, causing little fatty spots and holes in the brain, destroying brain function.
  • Psychosomatic? I Think Not!
    • One of the common things I hear when I get e-mails from the curious and skeptical is "How do you know its not all just psychosomatic?" or "How do you know its not just an addiction?" The short answer is that 100%, I don't know... the long answer is I am pretty much 99% sure it's not... and here is why:
  • Reducing Sun Poisoning & UV Damage
    • The information here is pulled from one of the sections of Chapter 3 in the book Vitamin C, Infectious Diseases, and Toxins by Thomas E. Levey, MD, JD, with additional information from the abstracts of the referenced medical studies. I am quoting (the indented sections) from the book, but I am including the references for each pertinent piece with the appropriate section, rather than at the end of the section as Dr. Levey does in the book.
  • Shift Work Sleep Disorder
    • This is likely a more common problem in the vampire community than most realize, for one simple reason: Our tendency to sleep in - or even sleep all day - is very much at odds with having to be up during the day for school or most professional obligations. Attempting to get sleep AND meet obligations sometimes means many of us are sleeping at any time we're not required to be anywhere.
  • The Basics of Food Allergies
    • An allergic reaction involves two features of the human immune response. One is the production of immunoglobulin E (IgE), a type of protein called an antibody that circulates through the blood. The other is the mast cell, a specific cell that occurs in all body tissues but is especially common in areas of the body that are typical sites of allergic reactions, including the nose and throat, lungs, skin, and gastrointestinal tract. Food allergies are usually inherited - if allergies of any kind are common in a family, then developing food allergies will be more likely, especially if both parents have allergies of some kind.
  • Thyroid Disease 101
    • Due to the complex and varied nature of thyroid disease, this article makes the assumption that the reader is seeking general information appropriate to either young adults or adults rather than young children or infants. The links at the end of the article lead to more complete, detailed information if what you are seeking is beyond the scope of this article. There are many, MANY causes and treatments, for example, that are not covered in this basic overview.
  • Vitamin D Deficiency
    • This is probably the number one supplement I tell people in this community to take. After all, most of us avoid the sun on a regular basis, for fairly obvious reasons :) - it shouldn't be any surprise to find out most of us are vitamin D deficient to varying degrees. There is a rather LARGE list of references at the bottom of this article - I highly recommend perusing everything in there if you have time so you have more complete information on Vitamin D and it's role in your health - you'll see that I'm not exaggerating anything.
  • Vitamins & Minerals List
    • The bulk of the information in the following list is taken from a book called The New Professional Chef, and published by the Culinary Institute of America - if you can find a copy, I highly recommend buying it! (Mine's old - 1991 - but still very VERY useful) It's not just a cookbook, it also teaches you about kitchen sanitation and hygiene, the various kinds of food poisoning, it goes into detail about the different kinds of cooking oils and the pros and cons of each, and lots and lots and LOTS of other good stuff. This is essentially a professional chef's handbook on HOW to be a professional chef.
  • What Every Blood Drinker Should Know
    • There are few things more disturbing than contracting a life threatening disease from sheer ignorance. In this day and age there is no real reason one cannot access the information they need to reduce the risks of blood feeding. Unfortunately, myths surrounding blood borne diseases and how they are transmitted are still rampant.