Though not usually life-threatening, an autoimmune disease can still make you feel as though your life is falling apart. Most of them don’t go away, so you’ll undergo treatments for as long as you need to. Fortunately, living well with an autoimmune disease is possible. If you’re a woman, your condition won’t stop you from having children as well if you want to. However, maintaining your health would take a lot more work than expected, regardless of your gender, life goals, etc.
There is no cure for autoimmune diseases, so lifestyle changes are crucial to managing your symptoms. To prevent your condition from getting worse, remember to avoid these things:
1. Staying Up Late
Sleep problems can be associated with autoimmune diseases. When you often wake up tired and spend the rest of the day as so, you could be experiencing one of the first signs of an autoimmune disorder. Your symptoms are called inordinate fatigue or chronic fatigue.
Your sleep problems will worsen as your autoimmune disease progresses. If you have rheumatoid arthritis, finding a comfortable sleeping position can feel almost impossible because of the pain. Another autoimmune disease, narcolepsy, is also notorious for reducing sleep quality. Instead of causing difficulty in sleeping, it makes you fall asleep suddenly and unintentionally. This messes up your natural circadian rhythm, leading to fatigue.
Hence, try to maintain your regular sleep schedule. Create a bedtime ritual that will help you relax at night. You can take a hot bath, read a book, or get a massage. Avoid staying up late, even on weekends. This is essential because managing your sleep requires a consistent routine.
2. Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety can trigger a flare-up, which is a severe onset of symptoms. So find ways to manage your stress and anxiety. Make time for things you enjoy every day. When you get overwhelmed at work or other responsibilities, pause for a bit to calm down.
If your stress and anxiety are taking a toll on your mental health, discuss therapy or counseling with your doctor. In some cases, an autoimmune disease results from an underlying condition, including depression. Consider this possible if your poor mental health seems to trigger your flares. Alternative medicine, like guided imagery, hypnosis, and meditation, may also work in managing stress and anxiety. But talk to your doctor first to ensure that your preferred treatment is the best for you.
3. Eating Unhealthy Food
Living with any disease can urge you to indulge yourself with food because it gives you comfort. But an unhealthy diet sadly worsens an autoimmune disease, too. Also, thyroid problems like Hashimoto’s disease affect your weight, so eating bad food can trigger weight gain you’d struggle to lose.
Make all your meals well-balanced, even if you’re craving junk food. For example, if you want to eat pizza, watch your portions, and fill up with vegetables, whole grain, and protein-rich meat instead. Avoid finishing a whole box of pizza and then imbibing a carbonated drink. Cheat days are fine once in a while, but they should still be controlled.
4. Delaying Treatments
Autoimmune diseases have a variety of symptoms. Common ones include fatigue, weight problems, mood problems, sleep issues, and hormonal imbalances. If your body’s been dealing with those symptoms, get treated immediately.
Effective treatments for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis and other autoimmune diseases are painless. You have nothing to fear when you go to the doctor. Just relay all information that could help with your diagnosis, such as your symptoms and family history of diseases. See a specialist to ensure that you’d get the correct diagnosis. There are different specialists for every autoimmune disease. For example, a nephrologist treats kidney problems caused by lupus, while an endocrinologist treats hormonal problems due to thyroid diseases.
5. Strenuous Activities
While regular exercise is essential in managing an autoimmune disease, it can’t be overdone. Strenuous activities can increase your fatigue, worsening your symptoms in turn.
Stick to exercises that your body can tolerate. Don’t worry if it’s just a short walk or a quick jog. What’s important is that you move your body. Movement can increase your energy levels and reduce fatigue. You can push yourself on better days anyway. If you’re more energized than usual, try to hit the gym to run on a treadmill or lift some weights. Again, as long as your body can tolerate it, it’s safe for you.
Basically, avoid unhealthy routines and bad habits. To people without an illness, these habits may be harmless and just a way to enjoy life. But you can also enjoy life without putting your health in balance. So find joy in a healthy lifestyle, as that would curb your symptoms and barely make you feel sick.