Lifestyle Tips for Autoimmune Disease

Hard Road to Travel

Some of my earliest memories involve my beautiful mother sitting, painting a product called, “Heet” on her wrists. She was diagnosed with Rheumatoid Arthritis at age 19 soon after giving birth to me. Although she suffered immensely her entire life, that dreadful disease did not stop her from living a full and productive life, which says something for her and her doctor. The day that she was diagnosed, he told her, “Bobbie, there’s not much we can do about this. You have to make up your mind right now that it will not stop you. Do not ever sit down and stay there for long, because if you do, you will spend the rest of your life in a wheel chair and never be independent again.” It scared her and honestly, I almost NEVER saw her sitting down. She got up at 7AM every day and worked like a maniac. Her house was spotless and she looked like a million bucks, always primping and preening and beautiful. She put her make-up on right after her first cup of coffee and proceeded to attack the day. Through the years, she tried several prescription medications aimed at helping RA, but they all made her deathly ill and finally settled in with prednisone being her only relief. While that drug is good for a lot, the effects of long-term use had some devastating effects. I watched her health deteriorate her whole life until she passed away at age 68 from sepsis brought on by a bone infection from a surgery site that was performed to correct a bone deformity that was so bad that something had to be done.

Lifestyle

While my mother was skinny and adhered to a very restrictive diet, she would not drink water, did eat sugar and was obsessed with what other people thought of her and our family to the point that if I got into any kind of trouble whatsoever, she could barely hold her head up in public. I have always believed that her lifestyle may have impacted her health in a very negative way. Human beings have to have water. Adequate intake can help fight inflammation. (1) Sugar is a horribly inflammatory agent and obsession with other people’s opinion will negatively impact you every time. We teach making your world small because you can’t please most people, and constantly trying to please them, will make you produce stress hormones which are also inflammatory.

Practical Tips

Autoimmune Disease of all types can be life-threatening and you MUST be under a medical doctor’s care! There are lifestyle changes that may ease some of your suffering. Check with your doctor before making any changes to your daily routine.

  • Get Regular Physical Activity That Has Been Approved By Your Doctor. Gradual, gentle exercise usually works best. My mother loved to swim whenever she had a chance. It was about the only exercise that did not cause her pain. My dad was going to build her an in-ground pool but she would not let him and I don’t know why. I truly believe that she would have been so much better off. Some people like yoga or tai chi due to it’s gentle nature and it’s ability to calm the mind. Living with chronic pain creates a stress unlike any other and calming activity is so good.
  • Rest. Good quality sleep is so important for everyone but if you have auto-immune disease, it’s especially beneficial in helping repair tissues and joints that may be affected by the disease process. Without enough sleep, stress levels rise and your mind and body both will feel the damage. Sleep helps regulate the immune system which is imperative. Most people need 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
  • REDUCE STRESS. Our ‘Making Your World Small” (David Yochim) motto is one of the best tools for doing this. When stress levels rise, symptoms may be triggered. In my mother’s case, stress was one of the most devastating influential factors in her bad health. She did not seem to have the ability to detach from other people’s opinions and her life was filled with anxiety because of it. When she was stressed, her symptoms always worsened. If someone or something has a negative impact on you, ditch them. If you can’t, find a way to detach from them, or the situation, emotionally. Your struggle for health is more important than ANYBODY’S opinion.
  • Eat a Healthy Diet.  Include lean protein, vegetables, fruits and whole grains. Limit saturated fats, trans fats, salt and added sugars. In auto-immune disease, new cells may be produced that can cause cholesterol to be trapped inside of blood vessels so in light of that, it is recommended to avoid it also. (2)  Most processed foods contain this list of no-no’s in abundance. Freshly prepared food is always best.

 

 

(1) https://www.arthritis.org/health-wellness/healthy-living/nutrition/healthy-eating/best-drinks-for-arthritis

(2) https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181108130543.htm#:~:text=Summary%3A,become%20trapped%20inside%20blood%20vessels.

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