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  • Writer's pictureAmy Salman

Autoimmune Diseases- What You Need To Know

March is National Autoimmune Diseases Awareness Month

What You Need to Know About Autoimmune Disease Triggers and Flare-Ups


Hello Everyone,

Autoimmune diseases occur when your immune system erroneously attacks the body’s own cells. This in turn can lead to over 100 different types of autoimmune diseases.

More common conditions include Hashimoto's, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, celiac, etc., as well as rarer conditions like Behcet’s disease, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), and mixed connective tissue disease (MCTD).

With an estimated 50 million Americans affected and numbers increasing, raising awareness for these diseases has never been more crucial.

This blog post will explore the flare-ups and help you understand more about the potential triggers.

When you get an autoimmune disease, the pain and discomfort comes from flare-ups which are caused by triggers.

What are Flare-Ups and Triggers?

The first thing you need to understand about flare-ups is that they are caused by triggers. Think about the flare up as the moment when your pain starts becoming severe, and the trigger is what caused that pain.

Common Triggers

Chronic Stress

After a large portion of studies have collected information about the effects of extreme emotions on your health, researchers have discovered that sustained stress can cause damage to your immune system and can trigger varieties of autoimmune disease.

The majority of patients studied and surveyed during these studies reported that the first manifestations of illness took place during emotionally jarring times. Many of these included death of a loved one, caring for aging and sick loved ones, financial stress or the dissolution of marriage.

Gluten

Even though there's a large portion of literature that is devoted to getting people to stop consuming gluten, not very many people understand exactly what gluten is or what its function might be.

Gluten is a protein that is found in wheat, rye and barley, among other grains. Some people who experience the effects of autoimmunity might believe that they have celiac disease, but when they're found to show no signs of the disease they continue to consume gluten.

Unfortunately, this can be the beginning of a very serious battle with autoimmune disease. Even food exposed to gluten can be damaging to people who are especially sensitive.

Gluten-free Foods

This might be a bit of bad news to a lot of people who have been doing their best to avoid gluten, but many proteins contained in foods such as rice, corn and oatmeal are very similar to gluten. They can also create many of the same symptoms. This is called molecular mimicry.

Toxic Agents

There are a number of compounds and new chemicals that have been formed as a by-product of man-made processes. Some of these toxins are so dangerous that they can arrest neurological functions in the brain or important processes that keep your cells alive.

While there are a portion of these toxins that can occur in nature, it's still understood that some of the most deadly toxins are the ones that are created as a result of man-made processing.


Tips for Avoiding Triggers

If you are a person who suffers from some type of autoimmune disease, then you probably have become very familiar with flare-ups.

Flare-ups can occur as a result of either some kind of external trigger, or they can occur randomly with no triggers at all. The frustration that these conditions can cause are highly disruptive and emotionally draining.

You might wonder what can be done, but with some small adjustments to your mindset and lifestyle, you are more likely to find peace and increase your quality of life.

The following tips will give you a few ideas on what you can do about flare-ups.

Be Patient

The modern mentality fostered by the pharmaceutical approach has created a false belief and the instant cure. This causes some people who suffer from autoimmune diseases to become discouraged when the changes to diet and attempts to lessen the severity and the number of their flare-ups don't materialize results quickly enough.

Some people who have had great amounts of success on healing diets have reported that it can take as long as a year before real progress begins to become noticeable. Everyone is different. You can also see results in as little as a few weeks.

If you remain positive and stay on course, hopefully the present state will be a thing of the past.

Take Your Own Time

One of the most difficult things about having an autoimmune disease is that your flare-ups can be very unpredictable and cause disruptions in your life. This should be at the forefront of your decision making.

People who love and care about you understand that you may have difficulties that prevent you from being able to be as available as before. It is also a good idea to be ready to ask for help from close friends and family if necessary.

When you feel tired, take the time out to be sure that you get good rest.

Sleep as Much As You Can

Sleep is an important part of life for all living things. This is because the period of sleep is when your body does the most healing.

If you don't sleep enough, then your body won't have the downtime it needs to make repairs. Shut off all of your devices and make your room dark. That way you'll be more likely to drift off into sleep.

Watch Your Diet

One overlooked detail is how important diet is in healing autoimmune diseases and preventing future flare-ups.

Foods that are processed, high in sugar, contain gluten and dairy all cause inflammation. Some people with certain autoimmune diseases may also need to avoid certain grains, nuts, seeds and nightshade vegetables.

Every autoimmune disease is different as is the individual. It's important to work with a health professional who understands your condition and can help you identify what foods are best for healing your body.

To your health & happiness,

xoxo

Amy

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