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February 14, 2018

If you think back to the last time you talked to your doctor, did you come away from the doctors office wondering what about half of what was said actually meant?

If you think you heard a lot of medical “mumbo jumbo” then you are not alone. It’s a frequent problem - lost in translation.

Medical experts use words that need deciphering by us ordinary people. It’s very important that we understand, so that we can be partners in our own care and decision making.

And yes, it’s ok to tell health care providers that they sound like they are speaking in Greek or Latin, because sometimes they are! Medical terms go back a long way and can be hard to say and impossible to spell.

Of course you can ask a HealthUnlocked community - most of us have had to learn this stuff too.

You will have probably used the word “morbid” before. It might refer to someone who tends to expect the worst or thinks about death all the time!

In medicine “morbidity” means that something is causing serious problems. For example overweight people who are getting lots of exercise maybe called “fat but fit”. But being very overweight in a person is usually called “morbidly obese” when there are serious health risks, or “morbidity”.

As you know, obesity and diabetes go hand in hand. Together they are called comorbid conditions. If you add in other conditions then you have comorbidities.

Let’s say for example that you have been diagnosed with high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, AND you have joint pain too. That means several comorbidities that are related.

Only exercise is pretty much guaranteed to help with all the comorbid conditions you might experience, including diabetes and depression. That is why it is so important to start moving to help with joint pain and everything else.

That is the why, but what about the how? The Start Moving community can help. Find out more

By Rolf Taylor

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February 8, 2018 

Who in HealthUnlocked makes the biggest impact to you?

Everyday people come to HealthUnlocked to help other people, offer support and share their experiences. These people make HealthUnlocked what it is today and the reason so many of you turn to it so often.

To recognise the difference these people make to you, we have launched the HealthUnlocked Member and Admin Awards 2018.

These awards will recognise the contribution, effect and real life impact both members and admins of the communities have on all of you each year.

You can nominate people to the following awards:

Positive impact member: The user whose positivity helps make your life better

Admin of the year: The admin who makes the biggest difference to your community

Member of the year:
The user who posts, blogs and shares information that helps you manage your health condition better or improve your health

You can vote here.

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February 6 

GirlTrek are a public health nonprofit for African-American women and girls in the United States. They encourage women to use walking as a practical first step to inspire healthy living, families, and communities. As women organize walking teams, they mobilize community members to support monthly advocacy efforts and lead a civil rights-inspired health movement.

We recently spoke to Onika Jervis from GirlTrek to learn more about their initiative.

“Moving is important for our bodies, our hormones, our adrenaline, and that is what gives us that shine, that energy. But we have to ask why - why is it that we see health problems in our communities? We need to recognize that for people of color we have a certain kind of internal stress because racism is part of how society is structured, and that affects us every day.”

Onika describes how in communities of color the stress levels are high, income is lower than average, and opportunities to exercise and eat well are limited. And the history of emancipation for people of color means there has been an accumulated burden over many years, accumulated stress that weighs people down and gets in the way of a healthy lifestyle. Because of this, living healthily can be regarded as a revolutionary act.

“Structural racism does affect our ability to participate, and it leads to a lack of opportunities. Although some people can afford to go run off their stress socially with their peer group, the average person of color may not easily have that option. So we may not deal with the stress in our lives in a healthy way. GirlTrek aims to fix that. We need to unlearn the unhealthy ways of dealing with our stress.”

GirlTrek figured out a healthy way forward by organizing group walks within city communities. The walks are in public spaces, so GirlTrek reaches many other people with its infectious and positive message.

“We don’t talk exercise”, says Onika. “That is not the focus. For us, walking is the new Happy Hour! I’m much more likely to go walk with my group, or run for a cause that I believe in, because I have a team waiting for me, in fact I’m more likely to do that than use an expensive gym membership. We walk, we share our stress and we share our stories. That’s our Happy Hour.”

You can read more about the initiative, get help and tips to get walking and share how you are getting moving, on the Start Moving Knee Pain community on HealthUnlocked.

By Rolf Taylor, VP Partnerships at HealthUnlocked. 

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Some fantastic opportunities for people to ‘ask me anything’ to doctors and experts on a range of subjects have been announced on the HealthUnlocked network.

The Ask Me Anythings (#AMAs) provide access to expert and clinical information outside of the traditional consulting room. The AMAs will be live Q&As for a whole hour and open to anyone  

To post a question you will need to pre register on HealthUnlocked and ‘follow’ the community you will be asking questions on.

HIV questions?
Tuesday, January 30, 8pm GMT / 2pm ET
HIV Partners community - ask anything to Angelina Namiba, an HIV activist with over 16 year experience working in the HIV sector
healthunlocked.com/hivpartners

Nutrition and dialysis questions?
Wednesday, January 31, 3pm ET / 8pm GMT
National Kidney Foundation (NKF) dialysis community - ask dietitian Katy Wilkens, MS, RD  
healthunlocked.com/nkf-dyalisis

Ovarian cancer questions?
Wednesday, January 31, 8pm ET / 1am GMT
SHARE ovarian cancer support community - ask anything to gynecologic oncologist Dr David Gershenson
healthunlocked.com/share-ovarian-cancer-support

Breast cancer questions?
Thursday, February 15, 1pm ET / 6pm GMT
SHARE Metastatic Breast Cancer community - ask anything to Dr. Nancy Lin, metastatic breast cancer expert and Clinical Director of the Breast Oncology Center at the Susan F. Smith Center for Women’s Cancers, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
healthunlocked.com/share-metastatic-support

Also coming soon, AMA on financial scamming on the Care Community. More details on this to follow soon.

The AMAs on HealthUnlocked are a popular way to find out specific and expert information on your health condition on HealthUnlocked.

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29 January 2018 

We are pleased to announce an improvement in the way conversations and replies appear on the HealthUnlocked feed making them clearer, and easier to follow and read.

Following a large amount of feedback from our users, admins and partners on this topic, along with some suggestions as to how to improve the overall appearance, we are introducing a number of changes.

The improvements made include:

  • Changed and updated the text, making it clearer how to directly reply to another person’s post
  • Changed the overall look of the feed and replies making them easier to read and follow
  • Improved the layout and amount of indentation that happens on replies, to make the best use of space and again, improve readability

We believe these changes will make it better and easier to use HealthUnlocked. You can send your feedback on these and any further suggestions you have to support@healthunlocked.com

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29 December 

Throughout December we have open the door on 24 health conditions for the HealthUnlocked advent campaign.

Each day we have delved into some of the diseases and conditions that affect millions of people across the world. Some you may have heard of before, whilst other health conditions may have been new to you. We hope you found it interesting and informative as you read about prevalence, symptoms and some key facts about a condition.

Despite millions of people often having the same disease, many people go through their lives never meeting anyone who has their same condition. This can be very isolating and difficult. We are trying to change this. 

Together, people can provide support and compare experiences that can really change lives. 

Each condition in the HealthUnlocked 24 days of advent has its own free online support community on HealthUnlocked. In 2018 we will bring even more online communities onto HealthUnlocked, supporting more and more people, across even more conditions, 

Each of the featured conditions is also supported by a charity or nonprofit organisation who positively change many lives every single day, not only in their HealthUnlocked community, but in the fantastic wider work they do.

We hope you have enjoyed the HealthUnlocked Advent Calender. On behalf of everyone at HealthUnlocked we would like to wish you a very happy New Year. 

See all the conditions we covered and details on them here. In each blog you will find a link to the online community that covers the condition. 

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28 December 

From mighty dogs, to little kittens, the people who come to HealthUnlocked truly love their animals. Everyday we see people post their bold and inquisitive cats, their fun-loving dogs and fluffy rabbits. Thousands of people have done this in the past year, in fact more than any year before.

Many of these photos feature the dog that provides unconditional loyalty, the rabbit that brightens up our day or the cat that provides affection. Importantly all of these animals make a big difference to the lives of the people coming to the HealthUnlocked platform, many of which have a chronic health condition.

We have been through and picked out some of our favourite cat and dog photos from the past year and are delighted to feature them here:

You can tell us your favourite on the HealthUnlocked Latest community

These are just a few of the animal photos on HealthUnlocked (and we would have loved to share them all). Please continue to share your own animal photos on HealthUnlocked communities. 

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4 December 

On Friday 1 December, we opened the first door of the HealthUnlocked advent calendar. Each day we will feature a new health condition and the associated online community you might like to join until Sunday 24 December.

See symptoms, interesting statistics and much more each day on some of the most common and the more unusual health conditions. You can also comment on what you see and read on the HealthUnlocked latest community

You can read the blogs as they are published below - we will add a new one to this blog each day. 

Door 4 - Ovarian cancer with Ovacome

Door 3 - Living with tinnitus with the British Tinnitus Association  

Door 2 - What is Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) with CLLSA

Door 1 - Give your kidneys some heart with the National Kidney Foundation (NKF)

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30 November 2017

Beginning on Friday 1 December, the HealthUnlocked advent calendar will open a door on a new health condition each day, finishing on Sunday 24 December. 

Our unique 24 day health advent calendar, features charities and organisations with online support communities on the HealthUnlocked platform.

Each day a new blog will be published from one of these organisations talking about a different health condition, what it is like to live with it and symptoms to look out for.

The advent calendar will feature everything from cancer, to endometriosis, to waking up in intensive care, right through to Tinnitus.

Check back here each day, as we unveil a new condition by opening a different advent calendar door.

The first door opens on Friday 1 December.

We will also be sharing updates on the advent calendar as they happen on Facebook and Twitter pages. Please like and share the ones you find interesting, useful, or would like your friends and family to know about.

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As the ADAA community on HealthUnlocked turns one, we spoke to Susan Gurley, ADAA’s Executive Director, about the past year and what the future holds. 

How many people suffer from anxiety or depression globally? 
Anxiety disorders are the most common psychiatric illnesses affecting children and adults. 

Globally, the total number of people with depression was estimated to exceed 300 million in 2015. Anxiety currently affects about one in 13 people (7.3 percent) worldwide. An estimated 40 million American adults suffer from anxiety disorders (including depression). Only about one-third of those receive treatment, even though the disorders are highly treatable.

What are some of the main challenges that people with anxiety or depression often face? 
People with generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) experience excessive anxiety and worry, often about health, family, money, or work. This worrying goes on every day, possibly all day. It disrupts social activities and interferes with work, school, or family. For many, it is often very difficult, either due to geographic or financial constraints, to access quality mental health treatment. As a result, many go undiagnosed and their symptoms worsen.

We believe that bringing people together with the same health conditions can be life changing; do you find that on your community? 
Absolutely. We have seen enormous organic growth on the ADAA online HealthUnlocked community since our launch in November of 2016. We now have 10,000 subscribers from around the world.  We receive emails from members that highlight how beneficial – and in many cases life changing – the community has been. For many who don’t have easy access (either due to geographic or financial challenges) to mental health care, sharing their stories and struggles with peers on the HealthUnlocked community has helped them find support and invaluable information. 

What kind of support is being offered on your HealthUnlocked community? 
ADAA posts/pins a variety of resources on the HealthUnlocked community. We share blog posts authored by our ADAA professional members, webinars on a variety of anxiety and depression related topics, articles and links to our website and other organizations, infographics and more. Two of ADAA’s professional members also hosted a live “Ask the Psychologist/Psychiatrist” chat this past May that many on the community participated in. 

Why is online support so important?
Online support provides the subscriber with an anonymous peer-to-peer anxiety and depression community that is a friendly, safe and supportive place for individuals and their families to share information and experiences. ADAA HealthUnlocked community members can connect with other people – from across the US and from around the world – experiencing anxiety and depression and related disorders just like them. They can contribute to ongoing conversations or start their own conversation with a question or a post about their journey.  The community bridges geography and time zones and offers help and hope on a daily basis to so many.

How does your community help support the needs of your organization? 
The ADAA HealthUnlocked community provides another valuable resource for all those that come to our website, or engage with us on social media or through our email newsletters to find support and hope. The HealthUnlocked community supports ADAA’s mission to improve quality of life for those with anxiety, depression and related disorders. We do this by providing education about the disorders and helping people find treatment, resources, and support.

What difference do you think the Anxiety and Depression Support community has made to people with Anxiety or Depression in the last year? 
The ADAA HealthUnlocked community has made a huge difference to the more than 9,000 current subscribers. The community provides them with a “listening” forum and a place to share experiences, learn from others, and feel less alone in their struggles. They also have access to helpful resources that we post/pin in the community. 

Below is a graphic detailing the answers to a poll we posted four months ago – in addition to this online community, where you do you find the best support? The answers clearly indicate the great need for this type of online community. 

What have been some of the most memorable moments of the Anxiety and Depression Support community of the past year?
Every thank you email, every post that expresses gratitude for the community and their fellow posters is so memorable. We have included a few here:

“This community is my main support, actually I really don’t have anyone else I can count on. People who haven’t had anxiety or depression seem to think you should snap out of it or get a grip.”

“I just want to say thank you for creating this platform for a sufferer like me. More space for us live, talk and share thoughts.” 

Knowing that ADAA is providing this forum to those in need is something that our staff, our board and our members can feel wonderful about. Everyone was very energized by the May live HealthUnlocked chat event and our ADAA professional members loved being able to answer questions and provide support in real time - they could see the immediate, positive impact that they were making first hand. We’re looking forward to offering another similar event in 2018. Our HU members were also very excited when the HealthUnlocked team launched the iPhone app for the community!

What does the next year hold for ADAA and the community? 
We are excited to have just launched (in late September of this year) a brand new Spanish language ADAA HealthUnlocked community – ADAA Grupo de Apoyo en Linea.  We have engaged a number of our younger Spanish speaking ADAA professional members to work with us as site ambassadors and they are collaborating with us to increase our outreach to the Spanish-speaking community. We know that this is unique resource for the Hispanic community and an invaluable one and that member numbers will grow throughout the year.  We plan on hosting a live chat on the Spanish community and sharing Spanish webinar and blog posts that we will be providing throughout 2018.  

Visit the ADAA community on HealthUnlocked or the Spanish speaking ADAA community 

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