How To Deal With An Autoimmune Disease

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health experts

Day and night, our body’s natural immune system works to keep us safe from disease, infections and viruses. However, as with any machine, problems can arise and our defenses may be weakened. An autoimmune disease occurs when the immune system mistakenly perceives normal bodily functioning as a threat and attacks itself, affecting nerves, muscles, tissues, or the digestive and endocrine (hormone) systems. While there is no “cure” for these diseases, health experts tells us there are ways of managing the symptoms.

Rheumatoid arthritis, which is one of the common autoimmune diseases, affects women in 75% of the approximately 2 million cases; within a few years, it leaves 30-40% of untreated sufferers disabled. Patients suffer stiffness of joints, immobility, chronic fatigue and inflammation. Lupus is another of the autoimmune diseases that causes swelling, weakness, muscle or joint pain and insomnia. A butterfly rash and light sensitivity also typically occur as telltale signs of lupus.

The danger untreated lupus presents is serious damage to internal organs and kidney failure, as well as seizures, depression, blood clots, depression, psychosis, strokes or migraines. Other autoimmune diseases include multiple sclerosis (although some debate the classification), type 1 diabetes, hepatitis, Addison’s disease, Wegener’s disease, Guillain-Barre syndrome, Grave’s syndrome and over/underactive thyroids, so you’ll want to check your family history for those genetic diseases as well.

Millions of Americans are living with autoimmune diseases as we speak. Although the pain may feel unbearable some days, there are certain lifestyle modifications that can ease the symptoms, allowing you to accomplish your short and long term goals. To keep your immune system as fueled up as possible, be sure to eat a healthy diet packed with vitamins and spread out across all of the food groups. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and dairy should be added, while fatty foods should generally be avoided. To keep your immune system working to maximum efficiency, you should always get a good night of rest. Often, people with an autoimmune disease and chronic fatigue take medication or try hypno-therapy tapes to ensure a good night’s rest. Reducing stress is another important factor for pain management. Sometimes a yoga class, a visit to the spa, reading or another hobby can lessen the anxiety, pain and depression you may suffer.

Why just “grin and bare it” when you can live a relatively pain-free life? Many sufferers of an autoimmune disease just try to wait out the flare-ups. However, doctors can prescribe many different medications to treat the symptoms, as well as offer practical lifestyle management tips to help patients get through the pain. If you are uninsured or worried about how much a doctor’s visit may cost, then there are many free community resources and group counseling sessions that will help you once a diagnosis has been made. Check for more information.

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