According to the National Institute of Health, around 23.5 million Americans suffer from one of several autoimmune diseases, the vast majority of which are women. Though they express in unique ways, each autoimmune disease shares common elements.
Your body, via antibodies, attacks healthy cells as if they were invaders. Throughout your day, you deal with chronic inflammation, fatigue, and digestive issues that keep you from activities and people you love. To pick up some helpful tips to thrive as you manage an autoimmune disease, read this inspiring guide.
Revolutionize Your Diet
You probably are in the process of doing so, but changing up your diet is your first step towards milder symptoms. There are several sweeping changes you can make, including:
- Cutting out dairy products
- Leaving gluten behind
- Limiting alcohol
- Removing sugars, especially processed ones
- Including sulfur-rich vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, and kale)
- Tossing in turmeric
- Eating omega-3- and vitamin D-filled fish
The goal is to alleviate inflammation—which essentially all these tips strive for—and introduce immune system-regulating vitamin D. As you streamline your diet, you may really struggle with symptoms on cheat days. When it comes down to it, being consistent is the only real way to experience sustained and freeing relief.
Detach from Social Media and Google
Another tip for thriving as you cope with an autoimmune disease is to unplug routinely. While the internet is a wellspring of knowledge about your disorder, reading too much can feel like drinking from a fire hose at full blast—as can excessive activity in autoimmune-focused social media groups.
To properly care for yourself, put down the phone an hour or more before bed and let your thoughts rest. You can also implement this internet ban at other points, such as first thing in the morning. You’ll find that you feel less defined by your health struggles if you don’t repeatedly read and connect with others based only on this one part of your life.
Don’t Be Ashamed of Your Symptoms
Also, you should know that you don’t need to feel shame. After all, your symptoms are not your fault. Instead, reach out for help.
Tell trusted people about your chronic fatigue so they’ll understand when you cancel plans. Furthermore, there is often a link between autoimmune diseases and incontinence. If you start to lose urination control, do everything possible to regain your freedom, even if that involves using incontinence products for a time. If your skin flares up, schedule a visit with your doctor. Shame draws you inward, but the best way to treat your issues is to talk through your experiences, even at your worst, and elicit help.