There are over 100 distinct autoimmune diseases that affect more than 50 million people every day. The symptoms are commonly shared cross different medical specialties and can affect all organs. Fatigue, inflammation, achy muscles, and skin rashes are a few of those. Although some autoimmune diseases can have periods of remission, most require daily management. Coping mechanisms can help in the management and assist in the reduction of flare-ups.
5 Coping Mechanisms for Autoimmune Diseases
1. Taking Care of Your Mental Health
Dealing with a chronic illness can be overwhelming. Experiencing some sadness and anxiety is normal, but if they last for long periods of time, talk with your doctor. Treatment does not necessarily have to be in medication form; there are other coping techniques like taking a timeout and practicing deep breathing exercises.
2. Talk to Your Employer
Autoimmune diseases will impact your work at some point or another. It is understandable that you may feel uneasy about informing your employer about your condition. But, when you notify them and provide education on it, together you can develop a plan of action when work may be impacted. In the end, no employer has the legal right to discriminate based on a medical condition.
Certain foods contribute to inflammation. By keeping track of what you eat, and the symptoms you experience, you can begin to identify what those are for you. The AIP diet is an example that aims to reduce or eliminate known foods that cause inflammation.
Inflammation is one of the common symptoms of an autoimmune disease. By exercising even 20 minutes a day, you can reduce the body’s inflammatory response. Make an achievable movement goal each day and hit it. Some days you may need to do less, and that is OK. On bad days, it is OK to rest.
5. Understand What Your Body Needs
Managing an autoimmune disease involves getting to know what your body needs. Keep a journal that will record how your symptoms respond to medication and any side effects. Taking your medication when you are supposed to is also important. Medications typically require a build-up in your system before changes can begin to happen. When you miss a dose, you may not get all of the intended effects. If you have trouble remembering to take medication, put it in an easily visible spot, or use one of the many apps available for your smartphone. If you do miss a dose, keep track of that.
Attend scheduled appointments whether you are feeling good, or bad. This can give your doctor a comparison of how your body responds in remission and in a flareup.
There is no known cause or cure for autoimmune diseases. Not everyone can benefit from available treatments, so clinical research is needed to establish new therapies and gain a better understanding of why these diseases happen.
If you or a loved one have an autoimmune disease, our site is enrolling patients for clinical studies looking into new treatment options. Qualified participants may receive study-related care and medicine, along with reimbursement for time and travel. To learn more about our studies, click HERE.