What Young Women Need to Know About Autoimmune Disorders
While an accurate diagnosis can take years, an autoimmune disease can continue to wreak havoc on a person's body. Often, a dangerous cycle of misdiagnosis can lead to a worsening of symptoms like debilitating pain, low-grade fever, fatigue, headaches, hair loss or diarrhea. Although the blood cells in the body's immune system are supposed to protect against harmful invaders, faulty autoimmunity results in antibodies attacking healthy cells resulting in tissue, joint and organ damage from an inflammatory response. Because symptoms of an autoimmune disease can mimic those of other acute illnesses, receiving an official diagnosis early on can be beneficial in determining the most effective treatment regimen. Although there is no cure for autoimmune disorders, there are numerous things you can do to manage your disease and improve your health and wellness.
Common Types of Autoimmune Disorders
During autoimmunity, your own immune system is activated to attack the body, which causes inflammation and damage to cells. Common types of autoimmune disorders include:
- Type 1 Diabetes
- Celiac Disease
- Addison's Disease
- Graves' Disease
- Hashimoto's Disease
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Systemic or Cutaneous Lupus
- Crohn's Disease
- Sjögren’s syndrome
- Inflammatory Bowel Diseases
- Myasthenia Gravis
- Rheumatoid Arthritis
- Guillian-Barre Syndrome
- Psoriatic Arthritis
- Ulcerative Colitis
- Autoimmune Hepatitis
- Pernicious anemia
- Vitiligo Skin Disorder
After a positive diagnosis, many people believe there is nothing they can do to live a better life with an autoimmune disease; but that couldn't be further from the truth.
Take Control of Your Health and Wellness
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, about 80 percent of people with autoimmune conditions in the United States are women. Moreover, the occurrence of autoimmune-related disorders tends to start during childbearing years in women and later on in men. Although every case is unique, autoimmune disease symptoms can come and go, or can be mild or severe. When symptoms do go away for a while, the disease is considered to be in remission. Although most autoimmune diseases never go away completely, you can treat your symptoms and learn to manage lifestyle issues to make living with the disease more rewarding. In fact, your life goals should not have to change following a diagnosis of autoimmunity.
Many women living with autoimmune disorders today can lead full, active lives. However, it is imperative to work closely with your doctor, who will likely refer you to someone who specializes in your type of disease. Instead of thinking about your genetics as an immutable verdict on your life, consider how the decisions you make regarding the choices that surround you might affect your condition. If you are not moving enough each day, the lack of exercise can have a negative impact on your health making it more difficult to manage stress and stressors that are common to our modern lifestyle. While an autoimmune disease can limit your opportunities, it is important to accept yourself for all that you can be as well as the things you can no longer do.
If you feel bad and have persistent symptoms that just won't go away, contact either PrimeMED location to schedule an appointment with a board-certified physician.