How To Cope With An Autoimmune Disease

Life with an autoimmune disease can often be difficult. We try to carry on as normal, but sometimes our ailments can flare up and leave us in pain and general discomfort. Winter is an especially difficult time for those who suffer from autoimmune diseases or related issues. The cold weather can often aggravate conditions and make them seem worse. Feeling fatigued and run-down is made worse by the fact that you are cold or unwell. Winter bugs and viruses also seem to catch us at our weakest point during the winter and attack our systems.

There are ways to make life easier and to learn how to understand your illness though. The key to this is developing knowledge of your body and learning the warning signs of a flare-up. An autoimmune flare up can come at any time and is basically when your body seems to have a break from fighting against the disease. During flare-up’s we can often feel fatigued, restless, upset and generally unwell. Some people often suffer excess pain at this time and need to take additional medication or to rest up.

Different types of autoimmune issues can cause different problems. It also varies from person to person. People with Lupus, for example, may suffer differently to those with Fibromyalgia.

Great information on all autoimmune diseases can be found by looking for information websites and medical sources. Always consult your doctor before following any advice online though.

Top Tips For Coping With An Autoimmune Disease Flare Up

  1. Know the signs – it is important to know the early warning signs of a flare-up. This will ensure that one does begin, you can deal with it quickly and effectively. Some people begin to feel extremely tired or emotional when a flare-up is near. Others get specific targeted pain in various areas. This can include the clavicles, back, neck or shoulders. The thing about autoimmune diseases is that there aren’t really any rules. This is what makes it so hard to control and predict. The best thing you can do is to always be self-aware and check your symptoms frequently. Remember, there is a fine line between checking your symptoms and living in continual worry though. Check, asses and then try to get on with your day to day life.

  2. Rest when needed – if you’re definitely in a flare up, you’ll know about it. The best thing you can do is listen to what your body wants and needs. If you are tired then take yourself off to bed for a few hours. Explain to friends and family that you’re feeling unwell and don’t ever feel guilty for protecting your health. Sometimes we don’t need to sleep. Maybe a few hours relaxing with a good book or watching your favorite TV show will help. Try to wear clothing that doesn’t restrict you in any way. You need to be comfortable and cozy. On the other hand, avoid bundling yourself up. Overheating is just as bad for you.

  3. Eat and drink well – it can be tempting to give into all of our cravings during a flare up. Avoid the junk food where possible though and seek a healthier alternative. Fruits and vegetables, protein and wholesome foods will help your body get fighting fit again. Drink fluids such as tea with ginger and honey. This will help your immune system without relying on caffeine. Eat little and often, rather than overloading your stomach with too much food at once. This will help keep your stomach and bowels healthy and in good condition, to fight any flare up.

  4. Let it out – sometimes our emotions just get the better of us. It is important to be able just to let them out. Don’t keep your anger or upset under wraps. If you need to cry, then cry. If you need to get angry, then get angry. Just so long as you don’t hurt or upset anyone in the process, it is good to get your feelings out. Sometimes something as simple as putting on a sad movie or some mellow music can help you to let your emotions out. Having a chat with good friends who understand your situation will also help.

  5. Ask for help – sometimes we’re so afraid of offending that we don’t ask for help when it is needed. Ensure that you ask for help or at least speak up when you need assistance with something. You’ll find that most people are happy to lend a hand. Be sure to be graceful and courteous to those who do take time to help you and never take it for granted. Sometimes a helping hand with the smallest of tasks can make all of the difference.

  6. Relaxation techniques – Relaxation is important when you suffer from an autoimmune disease. Find ways to help relax your body and mind, Meditation is a great place to start. You could also try Reiki or gentle walks. These can sometimes help get your blood flow going and give you the fresh air that your system needs. Don’t feel like you always need to stay cooped up inside.

  7. Speak to your doctor – find a good supportive doctor and seek advice when needed. You may have had a bad experience with your doctor, so ensure that you’ve now found someone helpful and considerate. They will advise you on the best health tips and can look at medication options that might help you. Don’t be afraid to voice your opinion to your doctor and make them aware of how you feel they could help you.

  8. Fighting spirit – sometimes it can be easy just to give up and resign yourself to the fact that you’re sick, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Try to remember that these things do improve and that although you feel awful now, tomorrow is another day. Positivity can help with pain and discomfort. You might find that by being positive, you can take things one step at a time. Getting well at your pace is key.

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