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     Parents Change Too
     Crises In The Family
     Health Aspects
     Your Sick Child
     Medicine Chest
     Infectious Diseases
     Other Problems
     Everyday Incidents
     Physical Handicaps

Chronic Illnesses
  • Multiple chemical sensitivity (MCS) often results from prolonged exposure to chemicals. A person with MCS becomes increasingly sensitive to chemicals found in everyday environments. Reactions can be caused by cleaning products, pesticides, petroleum products, vehicle exhaust, tobacco smoke, room deodorizers, perfumes, and scented personal products. Though reactions vary, nausea, rashes, light headedness, and respiratory distress are common to MCS.

  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a progressive neurological condition with a variety of symptoms, such as loss of strength, numbness, vision impairments, tremors, and depression. The intensity of MS symptoms can vary greatly; one day a person might by extremely fatigued, and the next day feel strong. Extreme temperatures can also adversely affect a person with MS.

  • Muscular dystrophy is a group of diseases in which the muscles progressively weaken and shrivel away. The most common type starts in childhood and initially affects the muscles of the shoulders, hips, calves, and thighs.

    Renal disease/ failure can result in a loss of bladder control, extreme fatigue, pain, and toxic reactions that can cause cognitive difficulties. Some people with renal disease are on dialysis and have to adhere to a rigid schedule.

Those affected by 'chronic illnesses' may have what is termed systemic disabilities, conditions in which there is a dysfunction of one or more of the body's systems: respiratory, immunological, neurological, and/ or circulatory. Systemic disabilities are often unstable so that appropriate accommodations may change.

Some common accommodations for those with systemic disabilities include conveniently located parking, note takers, extended time to complete a task, modified course or workload, flexible deadlines, relocation of a meeting or class, early syllabus and exam modifications. Some examples of chronic illness causing systemic illnesses are:

  • Cancer is a malignant growth that can effect any part of the body. Treatment can be time consuming, painful, and sometimes result in permanent disability.

  • Diabetes mellitus causes a person to lose the ability to regulate blood sugar. People with diabetes often need to follow a strict diet and may require insulin injections. During a diabetic reaction, a person may experience confusion, sudden personality changes, or loss of consciousness. In extreme cases, diabetes can also cause vision loss, cardiovascular disease, kidney failure, stroke, or necessitate the amputation of limbs.

  • Epilepsy/ seizure disorder causes a person to experience a loss of consciousness. Episodes, or seizures, vary from short absence or "grave petite" mal acute" seizures, to the less common grave "grand mal acute." Seizures may be controlled by medications and are usually not emergency situations.

  • Epstein Barr virus/ chronic fatigue syndrome/ fibromyalgia are auto immune disorders which cause extreme fatigue, loss of appetite, and depression. Physical or emotional stress may adversely affect a person with any of these conditions.

  • Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV+), which causes AIDS, inhibits one's ability to fight off illness and infections. Symptoms vary greatly. People with HIV or AIDS are often stigmatized.

  • Lyme's disease is a multisystemic condition which can cause paralysis, fatigue, fever, dermatitis, sleeping problems, memory dysfunction, cognitive difficulties, and depression. It is caused by the bite of a tick.

  • Lupus erythematosis can cause inflammatory lesions, neurological problems, extreme fatigue, persistent flu-like symptoms, impaired cognitive ability, connective tissue damage, and mobility impairments.

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