One of the enigmas in the medical world is the presence of autoimmune diseases. They are mysterious, yet there are lots of people who suffer from these conditions.
You, or someone you know, may even have an autoimmune disease right at this moment but are still unaware of the situation.
Given that women are more susceptible to it (a 3:1 ratio), here are some tidbits about autoimmune diseases and a few tips on how to peacefully live with one.
What causes an Autoimmune Disease?
When foreign intruders like bacteria or microorganisms attack the body, your body will respond by producing antibodies to fight them off. An autoimmune disease is caused by the damage done by antibodies that will instead attack healthy cells.
This happens when your body can’t tell the difference between its own healthy elements and foreign intruders. The immune system loses the ability to recognize a foreign substance vs what should be there, and this causes an autoimmune disease.
To date, there are over 80 known types and symptoms of autoimmune diseases.
The problem with these warning signals are their broad spectrum. The symptoms can range from severe fatigue, to joint inflammation, to light sensitivity.
Because there are no consistent identifying indicators – and the fact that it’s even possible to show absolutely no signs of illness for quite a while – autoimmune diseases are often misdiagnosed, if diagnosed at all. This can be incredibly frustrating and downright scary if you’re suffering from an “undefined” ailment.
Women are a lot more prone to acquire an autoimmune disease, particularly during the childbearing phase. Also, people with family history of autoimmune diseases are more susceptible.
In addition to this, you shouldn’t discount environmental factors because they can trigger these conditions as well.
Some autoimmune diseases tend to be more prevalent in certain races. For example, Hispanics and African-Americans are more inclined to get Lupus, one of the most common autoimmune diseases in the world.
Living with an Autoimmune Disease
The thing with an autoimmune disease is once you have it, it’s said to be yours for the rest of your life (unless you experience healing). That being said, it’s still possible to live a healthy and long life even with an autoimmune condition. You just have to regulate your body’s natural defenses and regain your health.
There are several actions you can take to have a normal healthy life, and to feel good constantly. Here are some great tips to start with:
WHAT TO DO FOR YOUR BODY
- Get intimate with your “inner” body.
Since you can’t see antibodies attacking your healthy cells, it’s important you learn anything and everything about your condition. Start with your gut permeability and antibody levels.
The gut is the most important factor concerning the body’s immune system. When the protective lining of your gut is jeopardized, it can trigger an autoimmune response.
Go over this topic with your physician so you can maintain an average level of gut permeability to prevent unwarranted attacks on your healthy cells.
Depending on your particular autoimmune disease, you’ll have an elevated level of antibodies. Antibodies are triggered by foreign substances in the body.
Make sure you know your specific levels to help you determine your recovery process. Also, understanding your antibody levels can help you detect any abnormalities that may be caused by secondary issues.
- Stay clear of gluten.
Gluten, commonly found in wheat, rye, and barley, is linked to numerous autoimmune diseases. To avoid any flare-ups that can compromise your immune system, avoid grains, starches, and food that contain gluten.
These also include spelt, semolina, cold cuts, French fries, mayonnaise, processed cheese, gravy, marinades, canned baked beans, hot dogs, trail mix, roasted nuts, and flavored coffees and teas.
- Detox regularly.
Your autoimmune condition can change your body’s natural detoxification process. To counteract, practice regular detox to get rid of toxins in your body.
You don’t have to drink specialty detox juices to make this happen. In fact, avoid processed “healthy” drinks altogether. Instead, eat green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach, and stick with water. Also, cut back on sugar and processed foods.
- Know what to avoid and add into your diet.
As often as possible, add green tea and turmeric in your diet. According to studies, both can lessen the autoimmune response in the body.
Alternatively, avoid refined table salt which can worsen autoimmune diseases. Himalayan or Sea salt is better.
The food you eat matters. When you build up your immune system, everything you put in your mouth can make or break your process.
WHAT TO DO FOR YOUR MIND
- Manage your stress.
It’s not a surprise that chronic stress significantly affects your autoimmune condition. Most autoimmune patients first experienced the symptoms of their condition during a very stressful event in their life.
With or without an autoimmune disease, stress can affect you. So, learn to manage tension and anxiety. Meditation is an essential tool to help you deal with stress and to bring stability into your immune system.
- Make sleep a priority.
A lot of young people take sleep for granted, not thinking that the lack of it can trigger severe health damage. When you sleep, you let your body rebuild itself. Give your body the chance to rest and heal on its own by getting enough sleep.
- Ask for help.
Autoimmune diseases can be a mystery. Even physicians find the conditions puzzling. This is even more puzzling if you don’t have a medical degree. Don’t bear the situation on your own. If you feel like you have an autoimmune condition (or don’t know what your illness is), consult a doctor.
If you’re diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, tell your loved ones about it. You will need help battling this out – and you shouldn’t be ashamed to ask for help.
- Have HOPE and hold on to your faith
Even with a disease, you can still experience a quality life. You just need to learn how to take on life’s obstacles and challenges differently; and you can overcome the effects by choosing a better health approach.
Although an autoimmune disease is not technically curable, it’s still manageable (not negating miracles). Do not let the condition dictate your life.